By Jakeb Brock
The sense of identification with our mind and body is deeply engrained and unconscious. For this reason, we often lose sight of the perspective that we are actually spiritual beings living temporarily here on the earthly plane. For better or for worse, we call this plane “home”. But the truth of the matter is, that this “home” is not — now and never can be — our true home. Regardless of how many lifetimes we may end up spending here, we are always just passing through.
The concept of home has deep emotional ties for all of us. Our culture and literature often allude to the poignancy of the desire to “go home.” We all have felt this, because even for those of us who have settled down into a decent living situation, there invariably comes an occasional reminder that this good situation is but temporal and can never be our true lasting home. Thus, our longing for home never goes away and is never truly satisfied.
The occasional reminders that beset us usually take the form of disturbances, breakdowns, natural wear and tear, or financial hardship. As nice as things can sometimes happen for us on this plane, it is never completely problem-free and never gets to the root of our longing. This is what Dorothy experienced in the Land of Oz. That was a beautiful and magical realm to be sure, but there was always some witch or another trying to make things difficult for her. And as a result, her desire to go home only grew stronger and stronger during her stay there. She also had to overcome her fear that maybe she never could go home again. Maybe her strong desire for home was just a fantasy; this is what happens to us too. We either forget that we have a true eternal home, or we feel despair that we cannot return to it.
As we grow in our spiritual consciousness however, we begin to gain glimpses of both our true eternal nature and our true eternal home. We begin to perceive a clear-cut delineation between the temporal quality of the earthly plane and the timeless state of being that is our true spiritual demonstration. As this happens, it is as if a gulf or chasm begins to form between these two realities. Ever so slowly, we begin to detach ourselves from and transcend the earthly plane. Moreover, we may also begin to have a sense of purpose about this process of disengagement. We may come to the realization that if this plane is not our true home, we must belong somewhere else.
Unfortunately, we rarely have an assurance about this; nor do we have any knowledge about where we are going. Rather, more often than not, we feel ourselves caught in a sort of transition zone — a zone that is neither here nor there. Thus, our sense of purpose tends to be instinctual, as if we are being prodded along by a power greater than our own choice and will. Only the ongoing demonstration of transcendence in our experience confirms to us that we do not ultimately belong here.
So it is that all of us on the spiritual journey are moving in a degree of darkness, as we are being drawn instinctually toward the light of the spiritual plane. All human beings feel the pull of these dynamics. None of us feel completely fulfilled or comfortable here. Most of us do not even know why we are here, except for the fact that we were born.
What about those who happen to find abundant success in their earthly plane endeavors? This may ease their discomfiture for a time and give them a sense of belonging here, but their sense of belonging always has a vague quality of detachment about it. Their success carries with it a temporal fleeting sensation, as if it will not endure. In fact, success can turn out to be a curse, because it tends to strengthen the temporal illusion of life on this plane. It often breeds arrogance, and arrogance makes us more closed to the idea that there could be a parallel universe out there. Thus, it makes the darkness of the earthly plane even darker. No, it is more blessed to respond to the instinctual spiritual impulse by gradually pulling away from and transcending the earthly plane, even if we don’t know exactly where we are going. For this instinctual impulse always moves us forward into greater light.
Very few among us have discovered the truth of why we are here on the earthly plane. This is not to say, however, that the topic has been neglected or ignored. On the contrary, this one question has provided abundant fodder for our greatest minds to mull over and ponder throughout this age. It has been the impetus behind the majority of human philosophical conjecture. But so few have found truly enlightened answers. The best we have done is to be able to eliminate some of the ideas that logic tells us cannot be true. For example, when we consider the mystery of death and the fact that we cannot take anything with us when we go, we must conclude that the true object of human life cannot be the accumulation of material wealth and possessions. But reasoning such as this still does not answer the question: why then are we here? How can we find the answers that will bring us out of darkness? This is where spiritual practice and enlightenment come in. Through the ongoing pursuit of transcendence, we eventually will learn the truth about these matters. There is, in fact, no mystery that will remain unsolved for us. Superstition and ignorance give way as we press on toward the light of the spiritual plane. Even the mystery of why we are here on the earthly plane begins to unravel. And as this happens to us, not only do we come to understand the nature of our deep longing for home; but eventually, that longing is satisfied.
What then is the earthly plane? How did it come into being? What is its purpose? And why do we instinctually seek to transcend it?
Our scientists have their own answers to these questions –answers that have, in turn, filtered down into our culture and come to be accepted as truth. According to science, the earth is a planet in our vast solar system that just happened to have all the right elements needed to support human existence and promote flourishing. But also according to science, these elements are not purposeful. They are accidental and haphazard. This viewpoint implies that the earth must be our true home. Why? Because it is the only planet or star in the known universe that supports human life. It is the only place where we can live and thrive as a species. Therefore, the idea that we do not really belong here and have another true home is not only unscientific; it is ludicrous.
Spiritual wisdom, however, presents us with an alternative view. It asserts that the earthly plane is, in fact, purposeful — that nothing on this plane came into existence through happenstance or by accident. Rather it was created to not only support human life biologically, but also to play an important role in the spiritual evolutionary unfoldment of our species. In other words, the earthly plane is primarily a spiritual phenomenon, but this does not mean that it is our true home. Rather it was meant to be a place where we could come for a time, in order to have experiences that cause us to grow and develop spiritually.
It is for this reason that life on the earthly plane has and always has had a challenging edge to it. The challenging presentiments we encounter here are conducive to spiritual growth. They inspire us to press through the inertia and overcome it. Thus, the earthly plane was created just as it is for a definite purpose. And we are all here to respond to this purpose with new growth and development. In the East, they call this the working out of our karma. And since this maturation process usually takes more than one lifetime of earthly plane experience, there is also a phenomenon that they call the karmic wheel or the cycle of births and deaths. This being said, there comes a point in our development when our karma has been satisfied and we are ready to get off the karmic wheel and put an end to the cycle of births and deaths. And this point often coincides with an irresistible impulse to begin transcending the earthly plane and go home.
The spiritual masters of our race have been diligent to delineate these dynamics for us. They have taught us about varying states of consciousness and how these correspond to our earthly plane experience. They have gone further than explaining our situation by way of karma; they have also added the dimension of consciousness to our understanding. In other words, our karma tends to reflect our state of consciousness, and it so happens that the earthly plane resonates with a consciousness of ignorance and fear. Karmically speaking then, we come here when our state of consciousness is aligned with the earthly plane climate of ignorance and fear. Then we go on to have experiences on this plane that help us to grow and evolve into a higher state of consciousness.
The Bible also testifies to this spiritual perspective on the purpose of the earthly plane; only it does so through more of a correctional slant. It teaches that the earthly plane was created as the habitation for those moving in the state of consciousness that it calls Adamic. This state of consciousness is darkened by conditioned mental functions such as dualistic thinking, judgment, and negative emoting — functions that invariably result in what the Bible calls sin. Thematically, it then asserts that it is only through overcoming sin that we can be liberated from this plane and ascend back to our true heavenly home. This overcoming is not accomplished by human effort, but only through faith — faith that spurs the experience of evolutionary spiritual transcendence. Then to complete its testimony, the Bible tells of the life experience of a great spiritual master, Jesus the Christ. And not only did Jesus teach the truth about these matters, he also gave us an exemplary demonstration of the fully evolved state of consciousness to which we are all heading, thereby facilitating our earthly plane transcendence.
But whether or not the earthly plane was created specifically as a correctional realm remains a matter of conjecture and personal belief. The main points to understand are these: 1) the earthly plane is a purposeful spiritual phenomenon, not a haphazard environmental realm useful only for supporting biological human life; 2) it was created as it is to help facilitate our spiritual consciousness evolution; 3) it is therefore a destination to which we are karmically assigned based on our present state of consciousness and must keep coming back to, until we grow to the point of being able to transcend it; 4) and lastly, the earthly plane is only our temporary home — a reality plane that we pass through en route to our full evolutionary demonstration.
What then is our true home like? None of us who are still in-process on the earthly plane can answer this question with certainty. But that has been another great contribution of the spiritual masters. For, in addition to the many other things that they have shown us, they have also testified to the nature of our true home — that state of consciousness that is a glorious reality plane of light, peace, and goodness.
Our transcendence of the earthly plane is not merely a spiritual practice that gives us relief from our problems and suffering. It is actually a portal, through which we can pass out of the earthly plane altogether by accessing a new state of consciousness. And when this happens to us, we will indeed get off the karmic wheel and break the cycle of births and deaths that has kept us coming back here over and over again.