William Meader, an influential and respected teacher of the Esoteric Philosophy — also known as “the Ageless Wisdom” with roots apparent in Theosophy, Masonry and other ancient spiritual traditions — is returning to his native Minnesota in September to present three public talks and two daylong workshops on the soul.
The noted author and speaker, who grew up in Minneapolis and later Bayport, is a graduate of Stillwater High School and Mankato State University. Meader has established an international reputation for his gift as a communicator of this philosophy. His extensive teaching program includes a diverse array of workshops and lectures devoted to nurturing a deeper understanding of the spiritual path, both from an individual and global perspective.
He is the author of Shine Forth: The Soul’s Magical Destiny and he publishes regularly on such esoteric topics as the spiritual constitution of human beings, the evolution of consciousness, spiritual initiation and practical mysticism. He has produced a fine library of audio and video recordings and is a regular speaker at the Wrekin Forum, international conferences and Theosophical Society venues. Meader offers individual counseling utilizing esoteric astrology as a tool to facilitate students towards a deeper understanding of their unique spiritual purpose.
His work — often described as a “next step” in spiritual evolution — assists students in the refinement of the higher abstract mind in order that they might align with the soul’s creative intention, thereby coming en rapport with the One Life and the ashram (inner home of the soul). He resides in Portland, Ore., and presents regular workshops in the United States, Europe, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. His column, “Emergent Light,” is presented each month by The Edge — read it here.
Meader spoke with The Edge about the soul and his coming events in the Twin Cities.
Let’s start with the very basics, what is the Soul?
That’s a great question, and actually it’s not asked enough, because it’s a word that is used so loosely and widely. I think if you were to have 20 people answer that question you’d find differences in all of them. But, let me give you how the esoteric philosophy views it.
The broad definition is that soul is simply a word that discusses consciousness. It’s simply the capacity to perceive, to register vibration from the environment, and to organize perceptions around that process. In the broadest sense, everything that we see as living is actually soulful, in as much as everything has some measure of consciousness to it.
For instance, a plant has soul because it has some measure of intelligence, some measure of consciousness to it. Each kingdom of nature is a greater pattern of what constitutes soul. In the animal kingdom the concept of soul, the instrument of perception, is more complex than it was when life was lived through the plant kingdom, and in the human kingdom, it becomes even more intricate and complex. One of the main things that happens when life finally enters into the human kingdom is that the consciousness of a human being, unlike an animal, is now developing the capacity to individualize their thoughts; a human being can think independent of animal instinct. We can think contrary to the mass, so to speak, and accompanying that is a gradual process of a human being over many incarnations to develop the capacity to introspect.
As a kingdom of nature, our soul experience is actually heightened by the idea that we can become aware of awareness. To be aware of awareness is a critical factor when it comes to soulful consciousness, or consciousness of self, in the human kingdom. Eventually that process of introspection leads an individual to a major discovery in their long incarnational history, and that is the discovery that you have two of you in there. You start to discern that there is a day-to-day consciousness, and then there is something higher. You start to sense a higher prompting within, a higher kind of love, and you start to distinguish between knowledge and a deep recognition of wisdom inside.
So the notion of soul starts to become more refined, as discussed in the esoteric philosophy, when a person is living life on the path, because you discover your own duality, this higher and lower dimension of consciousness. What we do in this philosophy is define the higher portion of that realized consciousness, what we call soul, and the lower part, what we call personality. That higher dimension of consciousness, which we call soul, is what is believed to be carried on from one incarnation to the next, and it is evolving and acquiring and gathering and garnering wisdom through every incarnation. The lower dissolves away into the reservoir, you might say, at the time of death.
The higher division of consciousness that is equivalent to what we now call soul is very much what we mean by the solarized mind.
Why would one want to embark upon the journey of not only relating to the soul, but embodying the soul?
From a philosophic point of view, there is an ultimate inevitability to that. What happens over the course of many, many incarnations is that all that is known and dealt with and developed is the lower self, the personality, until that awakening takes place. That’s where you start to really awaken to your own individual identity. Why that becomes important is that as a person starts to awaken to a higher prompting within, or sensing that deeper soul quality, there is a variety of patterns of consciousness that arise because of that.
One of the things that becomes more realized as you recognize this higher part of you is that that higher part of you is actually what you are to become more fully expressive of. It’s almost a recognition that that higher part of you is more the true you, and that you begin to strive to become more and more identified with and expressive of that higher part of you. So, it’s not just a matter of, “Oh, should I pursue more of that higher part of me?” Ingrained in the awakening of that higher part of you is a subtle sense of recognizing that that actually is you.
As you said, this is a path that we all find ourselves on, incarnation after incarnation?
That’s right. In the big picture it’s unavoidable. The pace, the speed and the measure of resistance to that will vary greatly for a variety of reasons, but in the end, it’s all moving forward to a higher note. And there’s a reason for that. It’s because in this philosophy there’s something called Hylozoism — an incredibly important principle in esotericism and in ancient thought. It’s this idea that every unit of life is a cell within a vaster unit of life.
For instance, let’s start with a cell within your body. A cell is an entity. It is a unit of consciousness. It’s true that it’s infinitesimal in its consciousness, but, nonetheless, it’s a unit of consciousness — and yet, it’s a cell within a larger living system called “me,” and you and I are cells within a larger entity called “Humanity,” and humanity in this philosophy is viewed as one being, one entity, that has a soul and has a personality. Indeed, much of the crisis of the world today is a reflection of a crisis between the soul of humanity and its personality expression.
But humanity is just a unit of consciousness within a vaster entity called “The Planetary Logos.” The Planetary Logos is the being, the livingness of our whole planet, and you and I are subsets, units of consciousness within its evolution. And like each of us, the Planetary Logos is evolving over the vastness of time.
So the whole human kingdom is just a subset of a larger living system that also is evolving, and that’s why human evolution, our individual evolution toward a higher, wiser, broader awareness, is inevitable. It’s because the larger entity that we are evolving within is also evolving to a higher level.
And, the idea of collective consciousness plays into the Hylozoism, and that’s how we can connect with each subset that we’re a part of?
Absolutely. Yes. And, what’s so interesting about that is that in ancient esotericism it’s understood that the whole of humanity is the throat chakra to the Planetary Logos, the entity that ensouls the whole planet. Imagine that for just a moment: the sum total of human consciousness is simply the throat chakra vibration to that entity.
What’s really interesting is that it begs a question: “Well, what’s the function of the throat chakra?” To understand what that is is to get at the very root of what it means to be living life in the human kingdom. The purpose of the throat chakra is to be the center for creative ideations. Just like with a human being, your throat chakra is the place through which your soul’s creative ideas find expression and service to the outer world. So, too, on a higher turn of the spiral, does the entire human kingdom. It’s destiny is to be the collective throat chakra to the creative intention of the Planetary Logos. It’s an amazing concept, when you really think about it.
How would you compare a life lived without recognizing the soul and one that does recognize the soul?
That’s another great question. In fact, that’s crucial to the path. It’s not just about awakening to a higher prompting, but it’s also a recognition of, or the need to discern, the main differences.
The personality is going to be guided by what, in Hinduism, is called Ahamkara. That is a Sanskrit word meaning, “the tendency to self-reference.” The personality is preoccupied with its individual identity. The soul, although it has an individualized identity, is preoccupied by its dynamic interconnectedness with the wholeness of things. It’s the soul in us that senses that underlying the diversity of outer life. There is this feeling of a deeper, inner unity, an inner oneness. The soul in you is the part of you that not only senses that underlying unity, but also increasingly wants to find ways to contribute to the upliftment of something in support of that larger whole, to make an uplifting contribution to something beyond your individuality. The personality’s mode is one of action.
In the end, without any soul influence, the personality’s motive will be not only self-referencing, but self-gratifying, and egotistical in the way that we traditionally use that word, “ego.”
Who is the Solar angel that you will speak of in your talk and how does it relate to this whole experience?
One of my two workshops I will be presenting is “The Solarized Mind, The Soul and Its Angelic Companion.” When we talk about the angelic companion, that gets into an understanding of what constitutes the intelligence of our inner system. For instance, on a lower level we have a physical body made up of physical intelligence substance. On the next level up, we have an emotional body. It, too, is made of a different type of intelligent substance, and the intelligence that arises from that substance is what brings forth our awareness of feeling states. Our concrete, logical thinking, the mental dimension, also is a layer of intelligent substance, and that substance gives rise to thoughts.
Then we have what is called the causal body, a term used to describe the container of intelligent substance deep within that is holding the wisdom of the soul itself. This causal body is a huge factor in understanding our journey. That’s the solarized mind, the thing that moves from one incarnation to the next.
The causal body is the storehouse of acquired wisdom that you have garnered over countless incarnations. It’s also a natural repository for Christ-like love. The container, itself, is said to be associated with an angelic life that is actually said to be providing you that container, so that you can, over time, realize that wisdom, and you can, over time, realize that higher, more selfless, more Christ-like love.
It is believed in this philosophy, and in some aspects of Hindu thinking, that there’s a great angelic life, sometimes called a Deva. Every human being has an angelic entity overshadowing them, and it has been so since the process of individualization began. Individualization is the term used to describe movement into the human kingdom from the animal kingdom millions and millions of years ago. There’s an angelic entity, called the Solar Angel, that has been a companion.
You might say the Solar Angel has provided what is needed for a human being, over countless incarnations, to gradually develop an understanding of wisdom beyond knowledge, to develop a relationship to higher love that is more selfless, and to ultimately help that individual spiritually evolve — to the point of final liberation, where full enlightenment occurs. It is said that at that time, the solar angel is set free. It’s done what it could do. In Christianity, you’ve heard the expression “Guardian Angel.” In ancient esotericism, the Guardian Angel is just a reference to the protective nature of the Solar Angel that’s been with you all along.
The work of the Solar Angel is to contain us, and then we begin to integrate with it, and then it’s no longer needed once we finish that integration?
That’s a way of putting it, yes. It’s called the Solar Angel because it is believed in ancient esotericism that its life nature, its livingness, issues forth from the livingness of the sun itself. That’s also why sometimes the soul is called the Solarized Mind, because a solar angelic entity is believed to be supporting you all the way.
Let’s talk about your second workshop, “Revelation: Holding the Mind Steady in the Light.” It seems that many people on the spiritual path view the ego and the mind as two separate parts that are not part of the process of the spiritual path, but you’re saying that the mind is actually a part of the process?
Absolutely. One of the greatest tragedies in the spiritual community today is that there’s an attitude about mind that is slightly amiss. A lot of people will say to you that the mind is the slayer of the real and, therefore, the mind should be distrusted, in terms of its relationship to your spiritual development. That’s not correct. It’s not that the mind is the slayer of the real, it’s that the lower mind is the slayer of the real. Your higher mind is your greatest gift.
Your higher mind is the mind of the soul. It’s the sum total of the wisdom and intuitive understanding that you have deep within, and the great tragedy of alternative spirituality today, and this is also very evident in the New Age movement, is what you’ve said, that there are people who think that the mind is your obstacle. That’s nonsense. The lower mind, indeed, can be an obstacle because it’s tinctured with ego and self-reference and it’s strictly analytical, it’s not intuitive, but the higher part of your mind is literally the most astounding gift that you have as a function of spiritual living.
So, the higher mind is actually the content provided to us by the soul.
If you look at the human body as a container.
That’s right. It’s a deep container. The causal body is this deep container that’s holding the wisdom that you have earned over thousands of incarnations, and that soul, that solarized mind, will shape progressive ideations within your mind and intuitive realizations within your mind to help you not only evolve further, but to help you to more effectively make an uplifting contribution to something beyond yourself. The last thing I would want to do is forfeit my higher mind as a function of spirituality.
What do we do with our higher mind, in terms of the spiritual path? Is there anything that needs to be done, or do we just relax in meditation and just allow it to come over us and surround us?
Certainly meditation is an incredibly important tool as understood in this philosophy. In fact, there are said to be what are called the three pillars: meditation, study and service. All of those three pillars are essential in terms of becoming more intimate with the higher mind or the solarized mind and, therefore, the capacity to be a revelatory agent in service to others. Meditation is so important, because it’s the process of helping you to draw inward, draw your sense of identity inward into the causal body, and there are various meditation techniques that are very specifically designed for that. I will be presenting some of that at the workshop.
But then, there is study, meaning: building your higher mind, learn how to think abstractly, because if you start to learn how to think more abstractly about things, you’re in the neighborhood of the soul. Your causal body is found on the higher mental plane, and the higher mental plane is the plane of abstract realization. So, to cultivate your abstract thinking is to cultivate the capacity to see the underlying blueprint of the outer world. That’s the difference between the higher mind and the lower mind. The higher mind sees larger patterns, the lower mind is attentive to specificity and detail.
The third pillar is service, with heartfelt intention to selflessly bring something good into the life that you live, so that others can benefit from that. All three pillars are important.
Is there one thing that each of us can do every day to connect more deeply to the soul?
I’m a big advocate of daily meditation, and have been in my own life for 40 years now. Meditation has been central for my journey. But, also, one of the ways to do it in your day-to-day life is to be more attentive to your thinking. Ask yourself when you are interacting in the world, “At this moment, which one of me is doing the thinking?” Actually, the soul is.
People often think that the soul is this remote thing that you discover as you approach death or something. No, actually the soul, as the agent of higher consciousness, is available to you in the fabric of day-to-day life. When you align yourself correctly with it, the soul contributes to the shaping of your perceptions at any given moment. So when you look out at the world and you’re focusing on some event that you’re engaged with, it’s always useful to momentarily turn inward and say, “Who is doing the thinking here? Is this coming from my ego, my lower self, or is this somehow indicating some broader truth, broader patterns of awareness?”
That’s just an exercise in becoming more attentive to recognizing the two parts of you and what’s operating at any given time — and then with that awareness comes a greater capacity to choose.
From your perspective as a teacher of ageless wisdom, how do you assess humanity’s current state of desire to quest for the soul?
I think that it’s definitely rising strongly. I think humanity is at a very pivotal point.
You might say, “Well, that sounds strange, given the crisis of the world today,” and at first glance it would seem so, but the truth is that from an esoteric point of view major expansions of consciousness always have crisis as a prelude to them. If you really look at those times where you made major changes in your life, with honest reflection most often people will say, “You know, there was a crisis right in front of it. There was something that was causing a lot of challenge, and I had to have a breakthrough.” The change becomes the breakthrough process.
Crisis is a prelude to all expansions of consciousness, and that doesn’t apply just to an individual. That also applies to the collective of humanity. Humanity is in an amazing transition period right now. It’s a transition period from an astrological perspective, moving from Pisces to Aquarius, and it’s a transition period from a rayological perspective, moving from what is called The Age of the Sixth Ray to The Age of the Seventh Ray. With that kind of transition comes enormous psychological challenge, as humanity struggles to move into a new and dawning way of living.
I would say that the world crisis itself is indicative of a great potential dawning era. It’s like just over the horizon there’s a golden age of humanity, where humanity can actually start to recognize and live its oneness, because that’s what’s trying to happen today. Humanity, in the ultimate sense, is struggling around the question of how to be one, and out of that question of how to be one there is a recognition of the necessity of it. Because if we don’t figure that out, then we really don’t have any way of survival, really.
From your personal standpoint, do you even question the idea of survival, or is that a given that we will just continue evolving and moving forward and it’s pointless to even consider the fact that humanity will not survive?
It’s a question that has a kind of yes and no response, actually. If we’re talking about humanity as it is now in outer incarnation, yeah, we could screw up. We could really mess up to the point where we make it impossible for our outer incarnational existence to be possible. We could destroy the environment.
But, if you’re talking about it from the deeper perspective, which is humanity as a category of consciousness within the Planetary Logos, then it’s a different story. That’s the true humanity, and the true humanity is actually a subset of the Planetary Logos, and it’s evolving and no matter how badly we may damage our physical environment. From a soul level perspective, you as a unit of consciousness and part of the Planetary Logos will carry on. How that works thousands of years from now, I suspect the Planetary Logos will slowly evolve itself and recondition its physical manifestation to the point where the human kingdom can reset itself and try again, but that is speculative.
All I’m saying is that from a soul-level perspective, you will never cease to exist. From an outer personality perspective, that’s a question mark. It just depends upon if we outwardly can recognize that we have to be together as a oneness to move forward as a humanity.
For more information on William Meader and his events coming to the Twin Cities, visit Emergent Light at Meader.org.