Monday, November 18, 2013

Interpretation of the Great Master Teaches Spiritual Allegory

For those of you who haven't read the allegory, please check out the post "The Great Master Teaches Part 1" and "The Great Master Teaches Part 2" to understand the following interpretation.


The Master and the Many Robe Colors

To begin with, the master is one who embraces the truth and all paths. In the allegory, "The Coming of the Great Master," she has a white robe with black trim to emphasize this since black absorbs all colors and white includes all colors. It is a "colorful" way to emphasize an alpha and omega concept, a unity concept, and a wholeness concept. She is a complete being and radiates the truth of being from within.

On the other side, we have the Believers. The believers are essentially the leaders, teachers, healers, and so forth of the many different faiths. I don't align the robe colors to any particular faiths, so please don't misconstrue that as any kind of direct correlation with other religions. The different colors also naturally imply a lack of awareness of other paths. Yellow is yellow. Green excludes red, and so forth. Even though the Believers are surrounded by the other faiths as signified by the different colored robes they each wear, they don't learn from one another. So they are not growing. They are stuck in the structure of their faiths.

The Master's Instructions

The master comes with instructions for all, and of course, it is really important that the Believers--who are there to help spiritually guide the Village--follow them. But they are too stuck in their paths, and their stuckness is illuminated very quickly because of the master's instructions. The wisdom and guidance from the master is a light that exposes. So when they all disobey, you see where they are stuck.

The master's original instructions are to tear down the great house that they'd built for her and give everything back to the community. In their original ignorance, they thought a master needed to be exalted in earthly ways. To correct this misunderstanding, she tells them to live an impoverished life and rely on the good will of others to live. This, of course, isn't appealing, but for these particular Believers given their lack of understanding, it is crucial that they follow this instruction so that they can truly serve the Village and God from a place of humility. The candle she tells them to take within them is the light of God's illumination and their own aspiration to serve the divine plan. This is what is necessary to find one's way on the path ahead when there are so many difficulties and challenges that can arise in life.

Notice too that she comes and warns each of them. She gives each of them an opportunity to save themselves, but because the path she offers doesn't appear to be safe from the human vantage point, they think she's punishing them instead. It should always be emphasized that true spiritual teachers and spiritual masters are only ever interested in people's freedom, and what may sometimes look like suffering and pain is actually showing them the way out of suffering and into freedom.

The Seven Deadly Sins

If it wasn't already obvious, I assigned each of the seven deadly sins to a Believer. It breaks down like this:

Yellow robed believer -- Greed
Red robed believer -- Gluttony
Purple robed believer -- Sloth
Blue robed believer -- Lust
Brown robed believer -- Pride
Orange robed believer -- Wrath
Green robed believer -- Envy

It was fun to write this spiritual allegory because the results are very human, are they not? It's not all happy endings, and there are some surprising twists. Because we do not see the bigger picture from our narrow viewpoint as a human beings, I left some mystery in this allegory as to why things happen as they did.

The Yellow Robed Believer and Greed

Instead of following the master's instructions, the man in the yellow robe sets up shop in the very home that they'd created for the master. While there is certainly some pride to this, the main sin is that of greed. He wants to have stuff. He thinks it'll make him feel happy and safe. It doesn't matter that the master--the very individual that he and other Believers had dedicated themselves to serving--tells him to do differently. This vice is too deeply rooted, and so a harder spiritual path is necessary. This is less about showing God to be a hard taskmaster (which God definitely can be), but rather, showing how hard the individual ego and its vices can be. So a sledgehammer is used on a rock that won't crack from gentle tapping.

The sledgehammer, in this case, is for the man to have everything taken from him. The first several times things are taken from him, he doesn't realize it. He's still under the "spell" of his own greed, and therefore, he cannot see things clearly. So an outside source is needed to give him perspective, but instead of realizing the lesson, he holds on tighter. He could have realized that the redistribution of things and the demolishing of the house was happening as had been requested. He could have taken a step farther to take down the rest of it, but instead, he gets in a fight, stripped naked, and dumped far away from home, having to walk back.

How often does this metaphorically happen to people on the spiritual path? How often do we not learn to let go and think we're being tortured?

Fortunately, he remembers his faith, which is signified by picking up the candle of illumination. Because he picks this up and ironically is now in rags as he had been instructed, he can find his way on the journey and does exactly what the master had told him to do in the first place now that the great house has been dismantled and contents redistributed (albeit not in the most healthy of ways, but that is how life often goes on this world).

When he returns, he is much humbler, but he is still early on in his learning. He has learned that his home is in his heart, but we get the sense that he has much more traveling to do on his path to continue to gain a deeper and clearer perspective. She kisses him on the head (the third eye) to encourage his inner sight to continue to open.

The Red Robed Believer and Gluttony

Gluttony is a pretty easy vice to spot, and yet it has become rampant in Western Culture. There seems to be a lot of confusion about how this is possible, but at the simplest level, it's because we think we can feel good about ourselves through food. It is a reflection of a severe lack of self-love in many cases, which makes the lessons afforded to the red robed Believer particularly urgent, I think.

However, this is an aside to the red robe believer because I don't really focus on self-love for her. Her gluttony is more epicurean in nature; she just really likes to eat, and this gets out of hand. When the love of physical pleasures is not in balance, problems can arise. She also enjoys the comforts of an easy life, and being able to have access to all this food, which was originally intended for the master, allows her to sink more deeply into this vice.

Her saving grace is that she does care about the Believers and about the Village. So she makes her changes, begins fasting (symbolizing purification of one's self), and gives away the food she was supposed to give away. She, however, did not heed the master's warning soon enough, so she has a heart attack (an interesting metaphor for self-love issues, don't you think?). Because things get difficult in this way, she realizes the enormity of her vice and the urgency of making change. In this way, we see the spiritual healing path that many of you are on. For most people, the sledgehammer has to fall in an almost fatal blow to get people's attention.

Then, she sincerely repents. In that sincerity, God's healing can help her. Finally, she too follows the original instructions from the master, finds one of the remaining candles of illumination to guide her through difficulties, and leaves the Village to travel in worldly poverty.

When she comes back, she is a much changed person and further along the spiritual path than the yellow robed Believer. The master immediately recognizes her as well because she is always looking beneath the surfaces and always knew who each Believer truly was. With the red robed Believer, we have a chance to see how a spiritual person can be transformed into a social agent of change through transcending internal issues. It's her very vice that helps her to see more clearly the issues with poverty, famine, and lack of wealth distribution. In this way, we see that we can transform vices into virtues as she did.

The Purple Robed Believer and Sloth

This story probably surprised many of you. Even after being warned by the master, this Believer does nothing. It is the nature of this vice to do nothing even when there is a need for action. So a very difficult lesson comes; her house gets burnt down. She can't stop it because her laziness has depleted her stamina to face issues. Then after she's lost everything she decides to do nothing and demand that God fix it for her. You get the image of a petulant child, do you not? She is still refusing to take up the changes she needs to make to overcome her laziness and follow the spiritual path. She then gets crapped on (literally and metaphorically). This is the last straw, and the truth comes out. We find out that she was never really a Believer. She probably was on the spiritual path because it seemed easy, and when push comes to shove, she quits. She finds a situation where she can continue to be lazy and live out her life in that way.

I know that some of you will feel like she should have been punished and not given an easy, luxurious life, but this is not how God is or how soul paths are. Being unawake and unconscious to the truth gives many, many people easy lives. It's not that ignorance is bliss (generally speaking ignorance causes huge issues), but some people will simply have luxurious lives without having earned it any human sense. So we see this reality with her, and her story poses an important question to all of you: If you could have a soulful life full of difficulty and challenge or a life of ignorance and luxury, which would you choose?

The Blue Robed Believer and Lust

This Believer is such a wonderful metaphor for falling in love with the messenger to the detriment of the message. He doesn't care about following the spiritual path; he cares about the pleasures he can get. I also like this metaphor because it shines a little light on how men view women as objects. So in turn, his lesson is to be objectified and turned into an object of other women's lust. His lust attracts their lust in this situation. So as he becomes more vocal to "protect" the great master, it's almost as if he's calling out to the lust in many women all around the Village. Then he gets lured in and seduced, thinking he's finally going to get what he wants.

In some ways, he does. Because despite his ideas about the great master, he really just wants an exciting sexual experience. He thinks the master would have that for him, but she does not (although I want to be clear, she's not asexual as a master. It's just for the purpose of this allegory that any interests she has in sexuality did not come up. Maybe I'll write about that in another allegory). In his lust, he is easy to fool and be controlled. When he finds out he's committed adultery, he's upset, and he runs away to avoid facing the consequences of his actions. However, he does not dress in rags, and he does not pick up a candle of divine light to guide him. He doesn't repent in any way, so he does not fulfill the instructions from the master. Without that candle of divine guidance, he cannot find his way on the path. In running away, he becomes lost, which is why he's never heard from again.

The Orange Robed Believer and Wrath

The orange robed believer is probably one of the easiest to spot in Western Culture. The language of anger is much listened to, so it's not hard to hear someone yelling and shouting about how others are going to Hell, politically incorrect, rooting for the wrong sports teams, and such nonsense. Their anger and wrath is blinding, and it calls in the same. It can call forth some of the most painful and deadly lessons. The orange robed believer is actually fearful of the lessons he's calling in, which is why he gets an armed guard. He is so lost in his anger that nothing the master can say will change that. She doesn't try particularly hard precisely because she knows that, but as a master, it seems that she felt guided to at least say something. With masters, this may not always be the case, so in some respects, he is quite fortunate to have received any kind of direct warning. But he misses this as well.

I choose not to go into too much detail about why a woman assassin finds him in the bathhouse. It simply happens. Perhaps this is the output of all the anger and dissension he'd been stirring up as well as his neglect of his responsibilities as a spiritual believer. Perhaps, he'd angered someone else who decided to take out their revenge on him. Perhaps, he'd angered her. Maybe he even knew her at one point, but being so lost in his anger, he doesn't recognize her, cannot see the situation for what it is, and is killed.

So this Believer does not learn any lessons. This is too often the case on the spiritual path with some of the most seemingly spiritual people and leaders.

The Green Robed Believer and Envy

The green robed believer is lost to her envy. She wants to not just be the master, but be better than her. This, of course, is impossible. It's not because the master is any more "spiritual," but rather, it is impossible to compare ourselves to others. This is the purview of the ego, and it will lead many of you to very extreme and unhealthy actions if you keep comparing yourself to others' spiritual paths. All that matters is the turning inwards to follow the light from the candle of our divine knowing.

But she doesn't do this. She tries to be better than the master by going in opposition to her and joining with the orange robed believer. When this doesn't work and she sees how all the others have been "punished," she fakes repentance. Then she tries to "out-spiritual" the master. She goes into the desert of her soul completely unprepared. Because she is unprepared and doesn't have a candle to guide her, she is destroyed by her envy. It is a most sorry state of affairs indeed. Had she followed the master's original instructions, she could have faced her envy in a more constructive and conscious way. Instead, she goes to extremes to show how much she can endure, and most obviously of any of the Believers, she creates the destructive lesson that takes her life.

The Brown Robed Believer and Pride

The brown robed believer didn't believe that the master's instructions applied to him, but the seeds of service and love were actually already sewn. We see him helping the people of the Village in his neighborhood at one point. When she does come to warn him and shows the error of his prideful assumption, he does what she says. He is the first to leave and the last to return. This signifies a longer journey to heal him not just of all elements of pride but of the other vices. Perhaps I'll write more about his journeys and his ascension to the role of Teacher another time, but it is enough to say that in following that light and listening to the direction of the master, he goes the furthest on the spiritual path. I would caution you to think that he has done better than any of the other Believers. We do not know God's full plan, and because of that, it is important that we embrace all stories and lives as equal to another. Some have more suffering than others; it doesn't mean that they are more or less "successful."

In returning to the Village, the brown robed Believer comes back in the golden robes of enlightenment, and he can now step into his role as Teacher. The master's role in this story was to bring harmony to the Village. The Teacher's role is to be caretaker and to help maintain the balance through offering spiritual guidance. It is natural for him to take over now. She bows to him in acknowledgment of this spiritual achievement (don't get hung up on the word achievement though; there's nothing to gain on the spiritual path). The bow isn't a form of diminishing herself because hierarchies don't exist for the master. She simply sees him and chooses this method of acknowledgment. That's how it is for the master, who can use any means available to do her work in integrity.

It should be mentioned that the Teacher is not at the level of awareness of the master, and her last touch to his heart is her final guidance to help him open and continue his journey inward. Thus, as he teaches, he will continue to grow and perhaps move into the space of mastery as she has.

The Return of Harmony to the Village

With the main perpetrators of the seven deadly sins gone or healed, harmony can return to the Village. The irony of this story is that harmony in the Village was lost by the very people who were there to serve and protect it. The beginning of the story in "The Coming of the Great Master" shows the Believers bankrupting the Village to prepare for the master. Their actions do, in fact, call in the master precisely to correct their poor behavior. But this is human. This is part of the many misconceptions people have, so we do not judge this as wrong per se. We simply see it as an error that perpetuates suffering and the lessons that come with suffering. So it is possible that the Village is now wiser for the whole process of going through these difficult times together, and now there has emerged a Teacher who can guide them better thanks to the great master.

The Leaving of the Great Master

In this story, the master's role was to bring the Village to harmony. Now she can leave. Other masters have different roles. In a different story, she might stay. But here, we see her depart the Village and continue on her journey. Who knows where she'll go? She might not even intellectually know, but she'll follow the path where it guides her just as it brought her in rags to this Village in the first story.

No Vice Easier or Harder Than Any Other

I do want to be clear that I'm not saying any one vice is any harder or easier to release. The point of this allegory is about showing the range of responses dedicated people on the spiritual path have to actually facing their internal crap. More often than not, something very extreme has to land on them to get them moving onto an authentic spiritual path and to get them to let go of the ego crap they're involved with. Even then, this allegory shows that sometimes the crap wins out. This story also shows the multi-varied ways that life works out, so there isn't exactly a human rhyme and reason to it all. So I encourage you to not try to assign meaning to all of it. If anything, this spiritual allegory is an urging towards sincerity, love, and service because that's ultimately where we can always find the master in ourselves.

Today's picture is a gift from my reader, Ricci. Thanks very much, dear one.
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