Brotherhood Series no. 1
Being our brother’s keeper can be a difficult concept to accept, when most have us have enough on our plates keeping our own body and soul together.
But it is an idea whose time has come, and one we need to embrace if we are to improve world affairs and create a more equitable society.
Our interconnectedness is a major premise of Ageless Wisdom, that we are all part of the One Life: the sum-total of all life, manifest and unmanifest, seen and unseen.
As each of us can be considered as a cell in this greater life, we are responsible for our impact, positive or negative, on the good of the whole.
This can be quite a mind-bending concept, but it is easier to understand when we consider it from the perspective of energy and consciousness, and not just a material connection.
Each individual human consciousness, or soul, forms a part of:
- the Human Family.
- the Planetary Logos – the life of the entity ensouling the earth, which includes the sub-human and super-human kingdoms of our planet.
- the Solar Logos – the life which pervades the entire solar system, of which the planetary life is a part.
This means that we are all a spark of divine energy, incarnating in physical bodies, to anchor light and divinity in the material world. AKA enlightenment.
Brotherhood is in the ether
“But what is ether?” I hear you ask…
The ether is defined as “a kind of undividable light substance, which fills all space and acts as a transmitter of light, sound and electrical waves”. Nice and easy, eh? Well, the Ageless Wisdom is not called “esoteric” philosophy for nothing!
What we need to understand here is that we each possess an etheric body, that connects us to the vast ocean of energy that gives life to all existence.
“The individual etheric body is not an isolated and separated human vehicle but is, in a peculiar sense, an integral part of the etheric body of that entity which we have called the human family; this kingdom in nature, through its etheric body, is an integral part of the planetary etheric body; the planetary etheric body is not separated off from the etheric bodies of other planets but all of them in their totality, along with the etheric body of the sun constitute the etheric body of the solar system.… Just as the forces of the planet and of the inner spiritual man (to mention only one factor among many) pour through the etheric body of the individual man upon the physical plane, and condition his outer expression, activities, and qualities, so do the varying forces of the universe pour through every part of the etheric body of that entity we call space and condition and determine the outer expression, the activities and qualities of every form found within the cosmic periphery.”1
The physical body is really a duality, known as the physical-etheric body, which consists of:
- the flesh, bones, liquids and gases that make up the material form.
- the etheric body, an energy double of the physical organism, that energises and vivifies the material form. Known as the vital body in naturopathy, it is the vehicle of life force, AKA prana, chi or qi, which gives the body warmth, motion and sensitivity.
“One of the main purposes of the etheric body is that it acts as a stimulator and the energizer of the dense physical body. It is almost as if the dense physical body had no independent existence but simply acted as it was swayed and motivated by the etheric body. The etheric body is the force or vital body and it permeates every part of the dense vehicle. It is the background, the true substance of the physical body. According to the nature of the force animating the etheric body, according to the activity of that force in the etheric body, according to the aliveness or the sluggishness of the most important parts of the etheric body (the centres up the spine) so will be the corresponding activity of the physical body.2
An interesting digression
The “phantom limb” phenomenon, in which amputees continue to experience sensation in the part of the body which no longer exists, originates in the etheric body.
So, every form has its etheric counterpart, which in turn is a part of the etheric body of a greater whole. Thus the fact of our brotherhood is established across the Great Chain of Being, linking us vertically, to the higher and lower kingdoms, and horizontally, to our fellow humans.
Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité
Brotherhood is an ideal that humanity is endeavouring to manifest on earth, as the next stage in our evolution. This was recognised over 200 years ago, when the French revolution introduced the national motto of France, “Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité”, (“Liberty, Equality and Fraternity”).
According to Rudolf Steiner, the inspired educator and philosopher, “the slogan … expressed exactly what was needed if only it had been understood.”3 The ideas were “in the air”, but our mass consciousness was simply not developed enough at that time to really bring them into expression.
Happily, the last couple hundred years have done their work, and humanity has progressed and grown up to a point where there is a mass understanding of our interconnectedness, even if we still struggle to embody the principle.
Advanced thinkers show us the way
Enlightened thinkers such as Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama and Martin Luther King Jr. have spread their influence across the globe, and touched the hearts of humanity with their messages of liberty, equality and the brotherhood of man. Mother Teresa, whose love and caring for some of the most wretched and poverty-stricken people on the planet, was a living example of the selflessness that puts us in right relationship to our fellow men.
More popular modern thought leaders like Oprah Winfrey and Bob Geldof inspire millions to uplift themselves and others for the good of the whole, and to engage in finding solutions to the pressing problems of the world.
Oh, how I love Bob! (He’s actually Sir Bob!)
While we can’t all be Gandhis and Sir Bobs, we can heed their message and create a saner and more equitable world, where we look after each other, and flourish as a whole.
Humanity is big brother
According to the Ageless Wisdom, the human kingdom serves as the custodians of the lower kingdoms, namely the animal, vegetable and mineral kingdoms.
I don’t suppose you’ve ever thought of a donkey or a potato as your brother, nevermind a rock, but on the basis of all of the kingdoms of nature, human included, forming a part of a greater whole, that is indeed what they are.
Outrageous assertion alert!
All of the kingdoms of manifestation are evolving, and contrary to the Darwin’s theory of evolution, (yes, it is a theory, not fact, though most scientists believe in it religiously!), the Ageless Wisdom teaches that all of us who are now human souls have cycled through thousands of incarnations, first in the mineral kingdom, then in the vegetable kingdom and finally the animal kingdom, before graduating to the status of a human soul.
It is the consciousness that is evolving across vast expanses of time, through various forms. Today’s animal souls will become human souls when the doors to the human kingdom next open.
Humanity is the macrocosm of the lower kingdoms. Our animal bodies are made of the minerals of the earth; our circulatory, lymphatic and nervous systems are akin to the complex nutrient delivery system in plants. Add a mind, and you have the distinguishing factor that makes us human souls.
Raping and pillaging
Although humanity may seem bent on raping and pillaging our way through the lower kingdoms, as the highest level of consciousness in manifestation we have a cosmic responsibility as their caretakers.
Yes, they are resources there for our use. But we need to protect them and steward them, and keep in mind that they are evolving too.
Human, animals, plants and minerals, we are all in this together, interdependent and interconnected.
We can uplift and enrich the whole, or we can act with purely selfish motives that violate that most fundamental of spiritual principles: the Oneness of all life.
Gandhi et al may no longer be with us in person, but their spirit lives on in the growing human desire to have a beneficent influence in the world. The seeds that they planted in our collective consciousness are bearing fruit – in the proliferation of non-governmental and not-for-profit organisations for humanitarian, animal welfare and environmental concerns – and in the minds of millions of right-thinking people who desire to create a world where we can all flourish.
The human race is awakening en masse to an increasing recognition of our brotherhood. But how do we actively live this concept of being our brother’s keeper, without being a meddling and interfering know-it-all?
How do we become agents of healing in the world?
How do we look after our “little brothers” across all of the kingdoms of manifestation? And just who and what is the higher kingdom from humanity?
These are the next topics of discussion in this series on Brotherhood.
1 Alice Bailey, Esoteric Astrology, pp. 10 – 11
2 Alice Bailey, The Light of the Soul, pp. 218 – 219
3 Stewart C. Easton, Rudolf Steiner: Herald of a New Epoch