Nature is raw, uncontrolled, pure creative chaos, bounded only by death.

Music is rarified, controlled, distilled creativity; it is the conscious combination of individual universal truths (harmonies and motifs) to form a pathway (as the music progresses and modulates) to a sort of transcendence.

The common musical structure of simple to complex and then back to simple is important because the ‘simple’ represents our human state and the ‘complex’ represents the transcendent state. The return to the simple brings us back into our selves before the piece ends.

The composer’s destination, and the listener’s goal, lies in the complexity of the piece and is a sort of immersion in, recognition of, and understanding of (perhaps achieved in that order) some aspect of the human experience, viewed with the clarity of the outside perspective of the transcendent state.

The composer leads us to understanding through the musical journey, the progression, development and modulation of themes, but the truths themselves are expressed through harmonies. A single chord carries deep meaning.

Harmony is a representation of truth, of celestial order, of God. Music is a distillation of the mortal human experience, the removal of nature’s chaos and death leaving only the eternal, and¬†perhaps the most accessible pathway to the divine.

I went to a Celebratory Evensong at Exeter Cathedral yesterday. I always find services at the cathedral to be profoundly reassuring. There is a palpable sense of permanence, of a continuous chain of human skill and striving across the centuries, and a quiet (and very English) determination to ‘fight the good fight’ in the face of a world that’s very noisily going crazy. I was given hope that the rock of faith can weather this storm too and that mankind’s spirit will remain essentially untouched as long as that continuous chain of striving remains unbroken.

When I got home I found myself contemplating the power of common worship, of prayer, of love, and of forgiveness.

Love is light. Light is energy. Energy is food. Love is food, the food of life.

Love, and, crucially, memories of love sustain us as we move through our lives. Memories of love are just as real and powerful a lifetime later as they ever were, and they nourish us. Just think back to a moment in your life which was full of love, and notice yourself smile, feel your spirit being lifted, feel your body being energised. It’s an everyday miracle, and it truly is “better to have loved and lost” because love is never lost. It never loses its power to nourish us.

But when we love, loss is inevitable, and loss is frightening. Fear causes hurt and harm. Hurting oneself or another blocks the light of love. Hurt comes in many forms, and just as love never loses its power to nourish, fear never loses its power to destroy. Bitterness, resentment, despair, hatred, loneliness, jealousy, guilt… all of this must somehow be left behind when we experience loss.

To leave the hurt behind we must overcome the fear. To overcome the fear we must understand that loss is necessary. We must understand that we choose our experiences, and that we therefore choose their endings; that everything is transitory, and while we crave permanence we also know that we only need to experience things temporarily in life in order to learn what we need to grow; that anything that didn’t happen as it should or wasn’t completed can be corrected, but only by moving forward and welcoming new experiences; that we are here to grow, and that growth by definition means loss.

Love and fear. Good and evil. We are bound up in both on this Earth, and in order to fully experience the one we must conquer the other. And it really is very simple, although of course it is profoundly difficult. If we can forgive ourselves and others for the hurt and harm that we did and that was done to us then at a stroke the hurt and harm will disappear, because the fear will disappear. The grace of forgiveness is everything. Without it, even love loses its power to nourish, sustain and transform us.

Spend time in nature and you will be in the company of the lesser beings, and you will meet the higher beings later in your sleep.

Consume chemicals in your food, surround yourself with wireless radiation, and stare at screens emitting blue light, and you will render yourself blind, deaf and dumb to the guidance of spiritual world.

Experience that blindness, deafness and dumbness, and you will experience lethargy, purposelessness, misery, despair and insanity.

Consciously control the technology that is a barrier between you and the spirit world and you will gain a new awareness: of the existence of your spiritual senses, of the loss that you experienced when they were numbed, of at last taking the place in the universe that was waiting for you.

And you will be Human in an entirely new and meaningful way.

The man who faces no temptation cannot claim to be good. The man who turns his back on temptation cannot claim to be strong. The man who welcomes temptation and overcomes it cannot be defeated.

When Steiner looked ahead to the future that would become reality if humanity didn’t rise to the occasion and rediscover their spiritual selves last century, he saw a world of decadence and sexual depravity, including homosexuality.

This is of course happening. We are now seeing a move not just towards accepting (even admiring / aspiring to?) homosexuality, but also bisexuality, trans-gender identity…

But perhaps these are necessary steps, not necessarily signs of disaster.

Surely our spiritual selves don’t have gender? So surely if we are going to cast off our physical chains, one of the things that has to go is the binding of gender roles and relationships? Perhaps it is too big a step for humanity to cease to be bound by gender and simultaneously rise above sexuality completely. If that were the case, surely there would be an evolutionary step where we would still experience sexuality but not the strict gender roles – so it would be natural for gender lines to be blurred and new types of relationships to form.

It’s hard enough for me to conceive of the idea that what we are witnessing around us could be called spiritual progress. So I wouldn’t be in the least bit surprised if Steiner had felt the same but even more strongly, and misinterpreted his insight!

The gender divide was first breached after World War One with the emancipation of women, when they started working and wearing men’s clothes because their dresses were impractical. What a shock to a 1920s family to see their daughter wearing trousers! In the sixties men started wearing more feminine clothes too, but they stopped in the eighties. Perhaps when they reached a certain age and discovered that they wanted power in their jobs and their families and re asserted their masculine dominance.

Now, so many young men have no need to demonstrate masculinity to further a career – there are no careers for them – so perhaps that is ‘freeing’ them to allow the gender barrier to break down a bit more. Of course this is all unconscious, but surely the deeds of the unconscious masses are like an indicator paper.

I think I will see the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender ‘movement’ in a different light now, and try to better understand it and what it signifies for humanity.