Vertical and Horizontal Living
Articles By M.E. Haselhurst
It is an axiom of spiritual philosophy that the soul's life, its recognition, responsibilities and realities, extend beyond the confines of the personality it happens to be using. Granting this, vertical living is manifested as the personality seeks to reach up into the spreading light and glory of the soul; horizontal living demonstrates as sparks of that light and glory are worked into the fabric of daily life.
Vertical living involves the capacity intuitively to sense an idea; horizontal living results from the effort to bring the idea to expression in the world of form. The former effort is one of being, characterised by detachment; the latter is one of doing, of applied effort, which calls forth the natural tendency of the personality to attachment. Integration, and the achievement of the right balance between inner and outer effort, are achieved when these two tendencies are reconciled.
On the cosmic stage, man appears as a creature who bridges different stages of consciousness. He is the at-one-ment factor in the plan of spiritual evolution. This means that he must constantly meet changing conditions and new emergencies without relinquishing his spiritual aspiration. In other words, the vertical life must thrust up through the horizontal, whilst the horizontal must grow from, and express, the spiritual urge.
Vertical living is related to realisation of the Divine Plan, and to recognition of Divine possibility. Horizontal living takes these realizations and recognitions and applies them in the world of men, adapting the divine potential to the differing needs of human beings who stand on widely varying levels of unfoldment and achievement. Something of this can be seen working out in the planning, of nations; five-year plans, three-year plans, aimed at lifting the national level of living, and more specifically, in the work of the United Nations as it strives to reconcile national objectives and an international plan designed to widen the potential of human life everywhere.
Unfortunately, it is easy for words used as name symbols to become reparative in use, creating opposing concepts, setting objectives one against the other. That is one reason why occult teaching places such stress on the need to press through appearance to meaning. Vertical living, horizontal living, these are not separate endeavours. Rather do they represent the complete life of the spiritually oriented individual as expressed in the world of humanity. Two sticks of wood lying side-by-side are just sticks, useful perhaps, but without particular significance. Moved into the right relationship one with the other they become a cross, symbol of the most profound truths to millions of men and women. Equally, significance in life is achieved when the horizontal line of human force is laid across the vertical line of spiritual energy, creating thereby a life which is significant, inspiring, uplifting and compelling within its particular sphere.
Vertical living is not easy: it demand increase with strength and knowledge, as do the demands of the horizontal life. Both efforts must make use of the mind, must achieve constantly more complex relationships, and must realize that the simplicity of Oneness is a synthesis of un-numbered difficult recognitions. There is a tendency for students of esoterism to brush aside the difficulties of occult science, claiming that spiritual living does not depend on prodigious mental effort. Thus is a dangerous half-truth. Granted that even the most ignorant, the most circumscribed, the most ill-equipped individual may live a life notable for its spiritual quality; it is none the less true that understanding enhances the capacity for service, and forges the keys that give entry to states of consciousness at present beyond human comprehension.
Vertical living means something more than the receipt of spiritual energies, more than being merely a channel through which such energies may be directed into the life of man. It demands an understanding of these energies, knowledge of how to direct them, and an unwavering determination to attain ever-greater skill in applying them to human situations.
Let it be said that this task is too onerous. Most truly it may be unachievable in any one incarnation, even as horizontal living poses problems, requires skills, which cannot be solved or acquired in any one day. Vertical living reaches beyond the confines of the immediate present, demanding of the mind a bridging effort which will relate the human and spiritual kingdoms, which will carry steadily forward through successive life-expressions, and which will lead eventually to conscious co-operation with the Masters of the Wisdom.
Keywords: Vertical and Horizontal Living, Divine Plan, spiritual energies, M.E. Haselhurst, Intuition, Intuitive, Articles, UK, South Africa, Cape Town