This is part of the Implicit Cosmology Series of essays associated with the Trans-survival Hypothesis. It has been incorporated into a book titled Your Immortal Self. Some potentially important changes have likely been made to this essay for the book. As such, please consider this essay an early draft.
Is the metaphysical approach for you? Please read my comments here before getting very far into this essay.
Updated 3/26/2017 by adding section on Cooperative Community
The Way of Progression
Through community comes knowledge
Through teaching comes understanding
It takes a collective
This was a difficult essay to write. A commonly accepted assumption is that people come into this lifetime with an imperative to gain understanding, and that they are expected to do this by experiencing various aspects of life in the physical.
As I understand this, it means people are expected to actively participate in their community as citizens, students and teachers. The message I would like you to consider is that each of us is responding to an imperative to gain understanding which we have inherited from our Source. As we progress, there is a need for a community of like-minded people to achieve the kind of understanding we think of as spiritual maturity (progression).
It is in our spirituality that we find our true meaning … who we really are and our purpose for existence. One of the best explanations for the meaning of spirituality I have read is offered by Deepak Chopra in his Huffington Port blog: “Spirituality is the experience of that domain of awareness where we experience our universality. This domain of awareness is a core consciousness that is beyond our mind, intellect and ego. In religious traditions this core consciousness is referred to as the soul which is part of a collective soul or collective consciousness, which in turn is part of a more universal domain of consciousness referred to in religions as God.”
Since we are from and part of Source, “our universality” is the fact that our entanglement with Source makes us a citizen of the Source life field (reality, reality field). “Soul” is described as personality which is who we really are, our intelligent core and that part of us which is immortal (I am this). This is the “core consciousness.”
The “collective Soul” in Chopra’s definition is referred to as the collective in the Implicit Cosmology and it is modeled as the multitude of personalities related to this realm of reality. The “universal domain of consciousness” is modeled as the multitude of aspect which inherits their existence and purpose from Source. God is Source, Infinite Intelligence, the one or whatever name you use for the first cause of reality in which we are all one. This is the “domain of awareness.”
In the Implicit Cosmology, life is modeled as the building block of reality, and expressions of life are the venues for experiencing the nature of Source. We express the world around us, usually as a collective view because we share this venue with others. There are likely many realms such as ours, each with many venues for learning and together, they could be seen as the “universal Consciousness.” This may be Jesus’ “Many mansions” from John 14:2.
Reality is modeled as a nested hierarchy of personalities so that the first round of aspectation is Source’s effort to understand its nature. Our personality is an aspect of other personalities, probably many rounds removed from Source, which are further exploring Source’s question: “Who am I and what is my nature?”
(These assumptions are made to provide a beginning point for the model in much the same way the “Big Bang” is modeled as the beginning for the physical universe in physical sciences. The importance of the Implicit Cosmology is in the relationship of our “I am this” personality which is our unconscious core intelligence with our avatar human avatar and our conscious self as “I think I am this.”)
Spirituality then, is our sense of this connectedness from the perspective of our conscious self (I think I am this).
The following concepts are arguably part of virtually every metaphysical cosmology, ancient wisdom and modern view of spirituality I know. The concepts are usually not expressed in these words, but if the terminology is normalized so that the terms can be compared, it will become evident that humankind has been told these things since the dawn of civilization. The meaning of terms used here is specific to the system of thought or model I refer to as the Implicit Cosmology. The cosmology is based on the Trans-survival Hypothesis, which itself has been developed based on current science and information gained via transcommunication.
The evidence brought by virtually all of the sources we have for information about the other side tells us that we are immortal personalities and part of a collective of personalities. While our collective is probably not “the” collective, it certainly is part of a universal whole.
We are an etheric personality entangled with our human host at the moment it left its mother’s womb. Our purpose for entanglement with an avatar is to gain understanding by way of life experiences. We know this understanding as spiritual maturity and its objective of progression back to God (Source in this model). Entanglement with our human host enables us to experience this physical venue for learning during a lifetime. Consider this experience an opportunity to fulfill our purpose.
In the Implicit Cosmology, we as personalities are aspects of Source and exist to gain understanding about the nature of Source. Life experiences are opportunities to extract this understanding as we learn to relate experience with the true nature of reality. We inherit this purpose from a collective of personalities. Since our collective’s purpose is also to gain understanding, possibly none of the personalities in the collective are able to return this understanding to Source until all of the personalities in the collective have fulfilled their purpose.
This urge to gain understanding can be modeled as the Prime Imperative. It is the reason personalities cooperate to help one another gain understanding. This imperative applies to everyone no matter what religion, nationality or age. For most of us, it is an unconscious urge that has more or less influence in our life, depending on how aware we are of our behavior; depending on how mindful we are.
Achieving understanding is not a solitary process. Just as our etheric collective partners cooperate to help us while we are in this lifetime, so are we expected to help others who are in this lifetime with us. This does not mean we are our brother’s keeper, but it does mean that we are unavoidably part of our brother’s experiences. The part we play is our life experience, and so, we are unavoidably linked in the greater community and especially in our local community.
Cooperation between two personalities, say between you and a loved one, establishes a link of entanglement which is characterized by the nature of our attention, perception and intention: our attention establishes the link (more focused attention means a stronger link), how we perceive the link colors it as favorable or not and our intention colors how the other person experiences the link (they consciously or unconsciously sense our intention).
Rapport can be considered a conceptual form of energy and the rapport of mutual cooperation builds what might be thought of as a contact field which is necessary for etheric to physical influences. A contact field can also be thought of as a type of thoughtform which becomes entangled with a group of people.
The model for trans-etheric influences is the channel created by a personality entangled with a human avatar. However, it is possible that a contact field may support similar trans-etheric influences. A haunted places is an example, but also churches and places often considered with reverence.
A community is a group of like-minded people cooperating to achieve same or similar objectives. Consider the purpose, Prime Imperative, cooperation, rapport and contact field concepts as described above. A community is the expression of these influences. People cooperating as part of a community establish links of rapport amongst fellow members of the community. Sharing common objectives, which hopefully converges toward common perception of objectives, the intention to achieve those objectives builds the potential of success (the contact field).
Friends as Teachers
With few exceptions, I have looked to a teacher to show me the way. I don’t mean this in any mystical sense; it is just that I have managed to have someone I trust show me how to do extraordinary things before venturing out on my own. For instance: Lisa introduced me to Electronic Voice Phenomena; a mutual friend taught us how to gold mine; a work friend introduced me to the Tarot; and, another showed me how to navigate the Sacramental Delta waters at night. They did not just shay, “Here it is.” They took me through everything I needed to know to get started. It was always a natural sharing.
There is value in contemplating the meaning of the “selfless” concept. Dictionary.com defines selfless as “Having little or no concern for oneself, especially with regard to fame, position, money, etc.; unselfish.” There are many ways in which selflessness is expressed: the family that takes in a foster child, a person who stops to help an animal, individuals who feed the poor and inspire selflessness in others, the activists who dedicate themselves to a cause which probably should be important to everyone, even the person who takes the time to develop a talk for this society.
What causes people to be selfless? In some obscure way, there may be an evolutionary benefit. Evolutionists argue that there is a selfish gene which induces people to selfless acts. If they do not survive, their selflessness tends to benefit their family which would by inheritance have some of the selfless gene. In that way, they argue, selflessness helps survival of the gene by helping the survival of family.
While the selfish gene theory sounds reasonable, it is based on pretty tenuous evidence. However, when viewed from the perspective of human as avatar, the concept of cooperation amongst personalities seeking mutual progression is perhaps a more reasonable concept. The Prime Imperative would seem to invoke an urge in every personality to help one another, because by doing so, they are helping themselves and their collective. Ultimately, one could argue that selfless people are those who respond to the urge to answer Source’s question. From a religious context: “God desires that I do this.”
A Vision about Collectives
Just minutes after a meditation session at the Monroe Institute, I had the waking vision of the face of a clock. It was suspended in the air, face-up but tilted toward me a little so that I could see that there were many black specs scarring about on the white surface. My impression was that they were little stick people as I would draw in a hurry. The space between three and four o’clock was an open hole and a few stick people had apparently fallen through.
The people on the face of the clock were somehow helping the people who had fallen through the hole. As the hour hand made a complete circuit, the ones in the hole came to the surface and a few of the others jumped into the hole.
My sense was that the stick people were all part of a collective of personalities, a soul group if you want, and they were doing all they could to help their fellows who had entered into a lifetime, symbolized by falling through the hole. I knew that they were helping one another to progress by gaining in understanding, and that none of them would be able to move on until all had made sufficient progress. The hour hand represented a lifetime.
Probably not all of them, but many of my helpers, friends and guides, both on the other side and in the physical, are part of my collective. I am never very far from them and just as I am a student, in turn, I am teacher, for we must all move as one.
First a Student Then a Teacher
You have probably heard the phrase, “Our lot is to learn and having learned, our lot is to teach.” The student becoming the teacher is the natural order of life. Civilization survives because lessons learned by elders are passed on to offspring. We cannot be around other people, especially children, without influencing them in some way as accidental role models. However, in modern society, education is left to schools and hired teachers. There is a business of educating our young, leaving little more than role model duty to elders. Yet, there are many examples in which individuals have taken the time to preserve knowledge for others.
The Internet has countless websites in which information for the sake of information is available at no charge. Looking past all of those commercial sites, one can find that there are many ordinary people have spent time developing a personal website just to share what they have learned. An important point to this essay is that many of these people probably know they will not receive a thank you. Yes, there is a human compulsion to leave a legacy for the next generation, but virtually all of these websites will vanish when the server fees are not paid, so discounting legacy, the most probable reason is that they do it out of the desire to help others.
Consider the ancient wisdom schools. The Masons are a popular ancient wisdom organization and hints at the more arcane schools. Typically, a seeker begins as an apprentice and works toward mastership of the wisdom. Each degree is usually marked with some form of test and initiation. While there are likely collateral economic benefits of being part of a guild or society, the usual relationship between teacher and student is voluntary. Usually, mastership requires many years of dedicated study under masters who came before. The only realistic explanation for their service is that that they are responding to the Prime Imperative.
Consider the model offered by the ancient wisdom schools. There is typically a path one must follow to gain masterhood. The first step on the path is for an individual to seek understanding by deliberately asking for a teacher. What follows is a series of lessons, tests and initiations as the seeker progresses from neophyte to initiate and finally to teacher and master.
Here, it is important to make a distinction between information, knowledge and understanding. The lessons provide the seeker with pertinent information. Tests are intended to determine whether or not the seeker has assimilated the information in a way that can be expressed in novel ways. If so, then the seeker has demonstrated that the information has been assimilated as knowledge.
But here is the important part. During the initiation, the seeker is asked questions which may only indirectly relate to the lessons. If the seeker is able to provide reasonable answers that indicate understanding, then the seeker will be passed to the next level.
A selfless response to the urge to teach is difficult to ignore; however, the student is drawn to the lessons with usually only vague reasons for pursuing understanding. It is this teacher-seeker relationship I wish to address here.
This is a concept which has become an organizing Principle in the Implicit Cosmology. As it is explained in Your Immortal Self:
Cooperative Community: An effort to express understanding is necessary for progression. Collectives are inherently cooperative communities. A person is attracted to communities of like-minded people cooperating to facilitate progression.
Note the distinction between collectives and communities. There is evidence that groups of personalities sharing the same source cooperate as a collective to fulfill the intention of their source. This cooperation is part of the response to the Prime Imperative.
In the physical, we are attracted to communities of like-minded people for mutual cooperation toward gaining understanding. Cooperative communities likely support people from different collectives with rather different inherited objectives. The intention to gain understanding is a common factor. Cooperation is facilitated by rapport which is established between personalities as they interact in the community. The instinctual urge to cooperate is expected to be very strong in a collective; however, attraction to and cooperation in a community is secondary to normal challenges of living.
As an old adage goes, “Our lot is to learn, and having learned, our lot is to teach.” Each member of a cooperative community fills both the role of seeker and that of teacher, simply by interacting with other members of the community.
The Golden Rule states that we should “Do unto others as we would have them do unto us.” Virtually every religious organization has the Golden Rule somewhere in its literature. Considered from the perspective of the Implicit Cosmology, the meaning is that people should cooperate with one another to achieve their true purpose. Teachers come from those who have been taught. Perhaps a better way of stating the Golden Rule is: Teach me as I teach you. Also see the Collective Principle.
The Nature of Understanding
It may be a good idea to explain how “understanding” is used here. There is a distinction amongst information, knowledge and understanding:
Information can be compared to raw data. In the context of mind, it is sensory input from the environment brought by the physical senses, and as is being discovered, countless psi signals. As it is received, information is undifferentiated and is only sensible when organized into some context. In a practical sense, much of what you have read in this essay so far is just information. I think of the bits and pieces as information as data points which I must eventually integrate into a sensible concept.
Much of what people think they know is just information.
When information is considered and the related concepts are understood, the resulting comprehension is considered knowledge. To be knowledgeable about something is to comprehend related concepts so that they can be reasonably well visualized. This is the key to the nature of knowledge. It must be comprehensible enough to be visualized as a concept. Here, “visualize” is used in the general sense of being imaged in some way in the mind. That might be sufficient recognition of an odor to name its source or formulation of many seemingly unrelated concepts into a form that can be described to others.
For instance, the old story of blind men examining an elephant: if each man represents a concept (leg, tail and such) then knowledge would be the ability of the men as a group to be able to describe an elephant. Knowledge is a combination of information, understanding concepts and comprehension of a global sense of meaning.
In the Implicit Cosmology, perception is modeled as the outcome of a process that begins with encountering information that is external to the mind. We as etheric mind and physical body are immersed in an array of external signals. Some are physically sensed by the body but most are psychically sensed via mind. All of these signals are processed in our Attention Complex where they are first filtered according to whether or not we are interested . (See the Perception sidebar below.)
The degree to which understanding agrees with intended reality is also a function of the person’s worldview. For instance, a person who has been taught to be prejudiced about something, and who retains that prejudice, will likely take what emerges from the unconscious perception process without question. Here, the exercises of mindfulness—the conscious effort to see things as they are intended—become important in helping us see the world as it is, rather than as we are taught to think it is. 
Understanding is not an absolute. As is shown in the Limits of Understanding diagram above, correct perception (understanding) is typically limited upon first exposure to a concept. As a mindful person seeks to better understand the concept, understanding approaches perception that agrees with reality. This is an obvious effect when say, a new principle in science is introduced but less obvious is the process of overcoming prejudices learned at youth and fears foisted upon the avatar relationship by the human instincts.
As a person moves through a lifetime from youth to old age, things held to be true populate worldview and tend to reinforce future perception. A conscious effort is usually required to break this cycle, and perhaps even more distressing, a person carries these “truths” into the process of transition out of this lifetime. The result can be a complex, reportedly emotionally painful period of “getting well” while worldview is better aligned with reality.
A brief explanation about how “concept” is used here may help. As the term is used in the Implicit Cosmology, a concept is a fundamental element of thought with meaning that is shared by a community.
Concepts can be thought of as thoughtforms that have at their core a kernel of information specific to one subject, and to which related elements of information are attracted. For instance, the concept of something to protect a foot is the fundamental concept for shoes, sandals and such. “Protection for feet” is the core concept and “shoe” and “sandal” are related concepts. In the context of a thoughtform, related concepts are attracted to the core concept, but if the perspective is changed, then it is possible that “shoe” might become the core concept while “Protection for feet” and “sandal” would be attracted elements.
The Mapping Concepts diagram at the right illustrates this. The diagram shows a possible relationship amongst four of the listed concepts. The large blue number represents a concept on the list and the smaller numbers in a cluster around it represents the other concepts. The relative importance of the related concept is in parenthesis. Note that Concept one is true whether or not there is an avatar relationship (Concept 2).
As fundamental elements of thought, concepts might be considered a building block of reality, but more importantly, concepts are the building block of understanding. Comprehension of concepts is fundamental to understanding the nature of anything.
The Process of Gaining Understanding
As a person gains in understanding via the accumulated lessons of many lifetimes (our own and/or those shared by other personalities in our collective), the person begins to understand the need for more mindful living and the desirability of having a worldview that is in agreement with reality.
A magical thing happens when a person begins to consciously seek understanding. You may have heard the phrase: “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” A similar saying was offered by the famous psychologist Carl Jung: “Synchronicity is an ever present reality for those who have eyes to see.”
“For those who have eyes to see” is also a term used in the Bible and secret wisdom schools. In fact, the whole idea of the occult or secret wisdom is not so much the secret but the need for the seeker to have sufficient understanding to recognize the lessons. An example is the concept of polarity: “Everything has an opposite.” The seeker is expected to realize that the middle way is the hidden knowledge to be derived from such concepts. In practice, this realization translates as perceptual understanding based on worldview which is in alignment with reality.
At least one reason mindful living works is that consciously seeking understanding effectively tells the unconscious part of mind to pay attention to external information that might help, rather than ignoring it as irrelevant. In many ways, the unconscious mind is an obedient servant that shields us from a world that does not support what we think is true. Questioning assumed truths moves the horizon of conscious self deeper into the unconscious process.
Read the Perception sidebar, especially the last paragraph. Worldview effectively prevents us from experiencing or believing anything that is not in agreement with worldview. That is how it shapes our personal reality, even when it conflicts with actual reality. It is also how a person can obsessively believe something even though the facts seem overwhelmingly to the contrary.
Change must come incrementally. That is, if incoming information is clearly not acceptable to worldview, it is ignored, but information that is reasonably similar will sometimes be accepted with the “Maybe” outcome of the Perceptual Loop. The “maybe” outcome is consciously experienced and incrementally changes worldview. In that way, progression in understanding is a gradual thing. Engineers will recognize the curve in the Limits of Understanding diagram as a naturally occurring rate of change found in many physical processes. Change is usually evolutionary and seldom catastrophic.
We Exist to Learn
Given the concepts described above, it is arguable that each of us is here to gain understanding, but there is an old saying that “When you’re up to your neck in alligators, it’s easy to forget you came to drain the swamp.” While we are in this lifetime and immersed in daily living, it is easy to forget what we came for. In a practical sense, there are few signs to remind us of our Prime Imperative.
Progression may seem to be a solitary path. Perhaps that is why they call such paths “personal improvement.” In fact, the old saying that we are all connected is more truth than platitude, and the path we may seem to be walking alone is more a march of the multitude of personalities who await our progression while doing what they can to assist us.
We who are seeking understanding are a community, a collective of like-minded people that exists in the physical as personality entangled avatars and in the etheric as immortal beings.
It is worth repeating the opening motto:
The Way of Progression
Through community comes knowledge
Through teaching comes understanding
It takes a collective
Spiritualist Society of Reno
While it is certainly possible to gain progression other ways, it is considerably easier to work as a member of a community. Using the Spiritualist Society of Reno as an example, the Sunday talks, offered by a different person each week, typically provide insightful messages that help members understand the nature of progression, perhaps as a role model via a personal story and sometimes via focused lessons.
Such a gathering of like-minded people generates a contact field which grows in strength with each meeting. Participants can sometimes sense the field during meetings and even as it extends into their daily lives. The thread of rapport strengthens with each shared memory. It is this field that facilitates communion across the veil, making it easier for loved ones on the other side to assist our seeking. In a multitude of ways, the community fosters a culture of seeking and mutual assistance.
The community offers many ways for individuals to teach others, especially by way of giving the Sunday talk, but also because members have a unique opportunity to ask questions of other who have similar interests, and to join into conversations that provide a powerful means of sorting out ideas and bringing clarity to both the one asking and the one answering. It is by teaching that the necessary ordering of thoughts and clarity of thinking brings understanding. It is very difficult to make progress without a forum in which to explore ideas.
The diagram above was drawn for the Implicit Cosmology series of essays. It shows that perception is the output of a complex unconscious process. The Attention Limiter filters external information by ignoring or considering it, depending on interests, fears and instincts. The rules for this are established by both the entangled personality and the avatar host, and as such, that part of the world that is considered for perception is weighted toward things important to the animal and the personality.
Interest in fearful influences, food, sex and tribe likely come from the human avatar while curiosity about influences not related to survival likely come from the entangled personality. The psi sense of nonphysical influences is common to both with the avatar’s emphases on survival and personality’s emphasis on learning and communion.
As shown in the diagram above, once past the Attention Limiter, the information is visualized in the Perceptual Loop based on worldview. This is an iterative process in which information is visualized and compared to what is in the worldview database. The output might be rejection, in which case it may never be consciously sensed. Also, the visualized information may be accepted, probably after a few cycles of trial visualizations, and then consciously sensed. However, what is sensed will probably be some version of the original information as it is colored by worldview.
Evolution and learning comes from the “Maybe” conclusion. Visualization is probably an inventive stream of creative design as incoming information is incrementally compared to worldview as it comes in. Each attempt to visualize the information would be offered to worldview for consideration. Even if not correct, if the resulting visualization is close enough to seem familiar, the Perceptual Loop will offer a version of it to conscious perception … and this is the important part … that version will also become part of worldview. In this way, worldview is able to evolve. It is up to the individual to find ways of influencing that evolution.
The Prime Imperative as a Spiritual Obligation
While we all share an urge to gain understanding, in a very real sense, we have a sort of spiritual obligation to respond to that urge. While it may seem to be a sacrifice to teach or help others learn, every such effort is rewarded with new understanding and resulting progression that likely would not be possible otherwise.
It is much too complex of a concept to say that each of us needs to serve in some way in the physical. As I have noted above, there are many ways we teach. Perhaps the majority of us are too early on the path to be more than inspiration to others. However, if we have reached a point in our evolution at which we are accustomed to self-evaluation, it is time to begin finding ways to serve by teaching.
In a very real sense, progression can go only so far without teaching and that requires a community.
- Chopra, Deepak (2010), “Only Spirituality Can Solve The Problems Of The World,” Huffpost Healthy Living, 04/26/2010 (Updated: 11/17/2011), huffingtonpost.com/deepak-chopra/only-spirituality-can-sol_b_474221.html
- Butler, Tom (2014), Implicit Cosmology, Etheric Studies, ethericstudies.org/implicit-cosmology/
- Olivia, Olivia (2007), The Selfless Gene, users.manchester.edu/Facstaff/SSNaragon/Online/texts/201/Judson-SelflessGene.pdf
- Monroe, Robert, The Monroe Institute. [Online] The Monroe Institute. monroeinstitute.org.
- Carpenter, James C. First Sight: ESP and Parapsychology in Everyday Life. s.l. : Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2012. ISBN 978-1-4422-1392-0 (ebook).
- Butler, Tom (2014), “Mindfulness,” Etheric Studies, ethericstudies.org/mindfulness/
- Butler, Tom (2014), “Perception,” Etheric Studies, ethericstudies.org/perception/