© Kit Constable Maxwell

Chapter 11.


The story of mankind's spiritual awakening, and of the part we play in it.
© Kit Constable Maxwell


The human race has been incomparably successful in mastering its environment through the ages. In both numbers and distribution we have excelled, and in recent generations we have doubled our longevity and more than quadrupled our birth rate.

The penalty we must pay for this runaway success is the cost to our environment. There are now so many of us in the world that the planet's resources are showing signs of irreversible fatigue. Oil is running out, ancient rain forests are being decimated, our remaining coal stock is almost exhausted, the ozone layer is breaking down and global warming is melting the Polar ice caps. Food chains are now swelled by chemical additives, growth hormones and antibiotics, and both quality and nutritional value are deteriorating as a result. Pollution is widespread and the human race is suffering from the toxic by- products of its industrial success. The world is nearing saturation point.

Despite these menacing portents we are proliferating faster than ever before. From a paltry 2.5bn in 1950 our population has mushroomed to 5.5bn today. We are increasing at a staggering quarter million new faces every day, and in a generation from now we will have swelled to over 8bn. If this kind of environmental pressure was brought to bear on livestock herds, poultry flocks, or fish shoals then we would expect to see signs of aggressive behaviour leading to victimisation, a breakdown of the immune system, an increase in disease and a growing incidence of birth deformities. The first of these, aggression, is already widespread in our inner cities, while AIDS, Ebola Fever and BSE are all examples of the second15.

15 The ebola virus was first identified in Zaire. It is highly infectious causing a rapid failure of all organs. Death rate is around 90%. It is incurable.


There are over 1100 PVS patients in the UK at this time, unknowingly and unconsciously enduring the new medical advances which prevent them from dying. PVS (Persistent Vegetative State) is a condition new to science - in the old days the injured, sick or aged died of what used to be called 'natural causes'. Such incidences challenge our collective conscience and we now cling to the often ignominious remnants of physical life for want of a spiritual belief, or more likely, threat of legal action; from a practical viewpoint we worship a false god, the god of earthly premise.

We shy from such morally contentious issues as euthanasia and controlled life support, and allowing the misformed tragedies of natural birth to die of natural causes, or by the absence of unnatural medical intervention. We search for collective laws to spare us the responsibility of making individual choices, and make one decree to govern a multitude of different situations; we prolong human life and suffering beyond its allotted span; we strive to control the output of life with our zealous geriatric care and miracle medicines) without attempting to control the input of life, through the responsible implementation of birth control, pre natal screening and, where appropriate, abortion. The 1996 outcry over the destruction of three thousand human embryos, miniature test-tube miracles past their 'sell by' date, demonstrate how ill-prepared we are to accept responsibility for our technological achievements. With the unstoppable achievements of modern medicine go unprecedented problems. Two nuns were among the many applicants offering to host these hapless innocents.

Bereavement and grief will trigger change in our spiritual perspectives.

For a mother clutching her dying child no obstacle would or should stand in the way of attempted resuscitation; most of us do not know how we would react under this sort of stress, so generalisations must be restricted to points of discussion.

Professional practitioners, however, plunged suddenly into the life and death struggles of their charges could be readily tempted to arouse false hopes, or engage in experimental life saving techniques, multiple organ transplants or animal inserts, suppressing natural defence systems by anti rejection drugs and antibiotics, all of which could make them famous and put their careers on the map. It would be easy for clear judgement to become clouded under these circumstances....

The Right to Life lobbies proclaim their valid if unilateral views on contraception and abortion, even when it conflicts with respected medical advice or responsible parenting, or when pregnancy results from juvenile sexual violation, gang rape or incest. In the case of genetic disorders we may seek to prolong the life of our sickly child with desperate searches for the organs of the dying or the newly dead. We do this for the best of human reasons, but reasons which are frequently experimental and generally devoid of spiritual belief; reasons which fail to acknowledge that the gift of life is no more than a loan to mankind. We submit to a questionable urge to challenge the right of our god and the life force to know better than we do. This is what the Greeks called Hubris, the sin of mankind who dares to challenge the gods on their own ground. This misjudged search for eternal life voices the indignant cry of the self righteous few who believe that life is theirs to order and control.

We must banish desire, as Gautama Buddha directs us, that we might find peace in our acceptance of Life's eternal plan. We must discern between our desire to provide care for our loved ones and our wish to snatch them back from the dead for our own motives. So what should we do when confronted with some of the greater moral dilemmas of life and death? I believe we should draw from a balanced union of heart and soul, and learn to accept responsibility for our own decisions, which, if truly ours, will be right; right for us and right for our god and for our conscience.

While we should cherish life, so also must we revere the powerful experience of death, and let go of our physical hold on the spiritual journeys of others. Our generation has become preoccupied with Life and we rally to change the path of fate when it suits us. Fate assures us of death, ours and our loved ones; but free will alone brings us the choice of our response to it. It is now customary to clutch at the transitory state of physical life at sometimes unreasoned cost, in an unhappy disregard for our professed faith or our respect for the souls of the dying and the dead. We have forgotten how to respect death's dignity.

Our body is a low-frequency vehicle in the vibrationally low-frequency world of matter, our planet earth. When our body dies our spirit is released, to continue its spiritual evolution in the ether of eternal consciousness and the affinity with its wondrous source.

The Tibetan writer Sogyal Rimpoche reminds us to observe the great calm required at the time of our death. We need to experience this most profound time in peace, and I feel only disquiet for those who die under the frantic stress of invasive resuscitation techniques, high voltage currents, saline drips, adrenaline pumps and other unnatural intrusions. These valiant life-saving efforts frequently lead to brain damage, sense deprivation or vegetative states supported indefinitely by mechanical means. Those that recover temporarily often wait until they are alone before taking their last breath - dying is a profoundly personal affair.

Doctors, patients and next-of-kin may encounter situations they find dire and grim. Matters of life and death make great demands on us. The veracity of judgements made from a biological standpoint will always be open to question. Whereas those made from a spiritual perspective will withstand the test of time.

Good health belongs to the spirit, not just the body. Perhaps we could learn something from the unchallenged rhythm of life and death in the animal world, the world of our physical heritage, where sickness is usually fatal and death goes unlamented.

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Table of Contents - click on any chapter to open it
Prologue                   Click here...
Space and Matter
Evolution of Life
Birth of Awareness
Spiritual Goals
Evolution and Astrology
Astrology and Fate
Light, Love and Feeling
Primal Scream
World Religions
Ethics of Caring This page
Thought Conditioning
Miracles and Prayer
Shadow and the Unconscious
Journey in Spirit
Pantheism and Matter
Appendix I
Glossary of Terms
Appendix II
Appendix III