My attempt at an edit.
Emmet Fox Speaks. . .
The Hidden Power
Strange as it may seem to you, there exists a mystic power that is able to transform your life so thoroughly, so radically, so completely, that when the process is completed your own friends would hardly recognise you, and, in fact, you would scarcely be able to recognise yourself. You would sit down and ask yourself: “Can I really be the man or woman that I vaguely remember, who went about under my name six months or six years ago? Was I really that person? Could that person have possibly been me?” And the truth will be that while in one sense you are indeed the same person, yet in another sense you will be someone utterly different.
This mystic but intensely real force can pick you up today, now, from the midst of failure, ruin, misery, despair – and in the twinkling of an eye, as Paul said, solve your problems, smooth out your difficulties, cut you free from any entanglements, and place you clear, safe, and happy upon the highroad of freedom and opportunity.
It can lift you out of an invalid’s bed, make you sound and well once more, and free to go out into the world to shape your life as you will. It can throw open the prison door and liberate the captive. It has a magical healing balm for the bruised or broken heart.
This mystic Power can teach you all things that you need to know, if only you are receptive and teachable. It can inspire you with new thoughts and ideas, so that your work may be truly original. It can impart new and wonderful kinds of knowledge as soon as you really want such knowledge – glorious knowledge – strange things not taught in schools or written in books. It can do for you that which is probably the most important thing of all in your present stage: it can find your true place in life for you, and put you into it too. It can find the right friends for you, kindred spirits who are interested in the same ideas and want the same things that you do. It can provide you with an ideal home. It can furnish you with the prosperity that means freedom, freedom to be and to do and to go as your soul calls.
This extraordinary Power, mystic though I have rightly called it, is nevertheless very real, no mere imaginary abstraction, but actually the most practical thing there is. The existence of this Power is already well known to thousands of people in the world today, and has been known to certain enlightened souls for tens of thousands of years. This Power is really no less than the primal Power of Being, and to discover that Power is the Divine birthright of all men. It is your right and your privilege to make your contact with this Power, and to allow it to work through your body, mind, and estate, so that you need no longer grovel upon the ground amid limitations and difficulties, but can soar up on wings like an eagle to the realm of dominion and joy.
But where, it will naturally be asked, is this wonderful, mystic Power to be contacted? Where may we find it? And how is it brought into action? The answer is perfectly simple. This Power is to be found within your own consciousness, the last place that most people would look for it. Right within your own mentality there lies a source of energy stronger than electricity, more potent than high explosive; unlimited and inexhaustible. You only need to make conscious contact with this Power to set it working in your affairs; and all the marvelous results enumerated can be yours. This is the real meaning of such sayings in the Bible as “The Kingdom of God is within you”; and “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and all the rest shall be added.”
This Indwelling Power, the Inner Light, or Spiritual Idea, is spoken of in the Bible as a child, and throughout the Scriptures the child symbolically always stands for this. Bible symbolism has its own beautiful logic, and just as the soul is always spoken of as a woman, so this, the Spiritual Idea that is born to the soul, is described as a child.
The conscious discovery by you that you have this Power within you, and your determination to make use of it, is the birth of the child. And it is easy to see how very apt the symbol is, for the infant that is born in consciousness is just such a weak, feeble entity as any new-born child, and it calls for the same careful nursing and guarding that any infant does in its earliest days. After a time, however, as the weeks go by, the child grows stronger and bigger, until a time comes when it can well take care of itself; and then it grows and grows in wisdom and stature until, no longer leaning on the mother’s care, the child, now arrived at man’s estate, turns the tables, and repays its debt by taking over the care of its mother. So your ability to contact the mystic Power within yourself, frail and feeble at first, will gradually develop until you find yourself permitting that Power to take your whole life into its care.
The life story of Jesus, the central figure of the Bible, perfectly dramatises this truth. He is described as being born of a virgin, and in a poor stable, and we know how he grew up to be the Savior of the world. Now, in Bible symbolism, the virgin soul means the soul that looks to God alone, and it is this condition of soul in which the child, or Spiritual Idea, comes to birth. It is when we have reached that stage, the stage where, either through wisdom or because of suffering, we are prepared to put God really first, that the thing happens.
Different People See Different Worlds
What we experience is our own concept of things. That is why no two people see quite the same world, and why, in many cases, different people see such different worlds. To put it in another way, we make our own world by the way in which we think; for we really do live in a world of our own thoughts. It follows from this that if our thinking is faulty, our conditions must be faulty too until our thinking is corrected; and that it is useless to try to improve outer things if we leave our own mentality unchanged.
Let us suppose for the sake of example that a deaf man goes to Carnegie Hall to a Kreisler recital; and that he happens to be a very foolish person. He sits in the middle of the orchestra and, of course, he does not hear a sound. He is annoyed at this, and changes his ticket for a seat in the first balcony. Here, naturally, he fares no better, and, foolishly thinking that the acoustics of the building are at fault, moves again to the top balcony. Still he cannot hear a sound; so now he goes downstairs again and this time chooses a seat in the very front of the orchestra, only a few yards from the violinist.
Of course, he has no better fortune here, and so he stamps out of the theatre in a huff, declaring that evidently Kreisler cannot play, and that the hall is badly designed for music.
It is easy for us to see that the trouble is really within himself, and that he cannot remedy matters by merely changing his seat. The only thing for him to do is to overcome his deafness in some way, and then he will enjoy the concert. He must change himself.
This parable applies literally to all the problems of life. We see inharmony because of a spiritual lack within ourselves. As we gain greater spiritual understanding, the true Nature of Being opens up. As long as we move from one place to another in search of harmony, or try to bring it about by changing outer things, we are like the foolish man who could not hear Kreisler, and ran about all over the theatre.
Free Will Or Fate
The capriciousness of destiny was a favorite subject with the old-fashioned novelists. In their three volume world, people’s lives were at the mercy of trifling accidents from day to day. A person’s whole life was spoilt because one letter was stolen or went astray. The hero rose from obscurity to wealth and fame through meeting a casual stranger in a railroad car, or through saving someone from drowning at the seashore. One false step ruined an otherwise promising career. One turn of fortune’s wheel solved all problems for someone else.
All this is nonsense. We are not at the mercy of accidents for there are no accidents, and trifles have only trifling effects. In the long run you demonstrate your character; and you cannot ultimately miss the mark for which you are fitted, because of any outer accident. A particular incident may give you a temporary advantage or cause you passing grief or inconvenience, but it does not change your life’s story.
An energetic and enterprising man who attends to his business will make a success of his life whether he meets a helpful stranger in a railroad car or not – and whether a particular letter concerning him is lost or not. The miscarriage of a letter may deprive him of a particular position; meeting with a helpful and influential stranger may bring his success a little sooner; but if he has the qualities demanded for success he will succeed in any case. And if he lacks those qualities no help from the outside can make him successful. No nation is destroyed by the loss of one battle. When a nation is weak in natural resources and divided within itself, it cannot stand; but it is this structural weakness that brings about its fall. If it were united, well organised, and armed, it could lose that battle and still win the war. Your own character makes or breaks you. This is true of the individual, of a nation, of a party, of a church, or of any institution.
If you seem to yourself to be lacking in certain necessary qualities, if your character seems to lack strength, ask God to give you what you need – and He will. You can build any quality into your mentality by meditating upon that quality every day.
Mind Your Own Business
One of the first rules on the spiritual path is that you must attend strictly to your own business and not interfere with that of others. Your neighbor’s life is sacred and you have no right to try to manage it for him. Let him alone. God has given him free will and self-determination, so why should you interfere?
Many well meaning people are constantly “butting into their neighbors’ lives without invitation. They pretend to themselves that their only desire is to help, but this is self-deception. It is really a desire to interfere. Interference always does more harm than good. Actually those who mind other people’s business always neglect their own.
The man who wants to put your house in order has always made a failure of his own life. M.Y.O.B. Of course, this does not mean that you are not to help people whenever you can; in fact, you should make it a rule to try to do at least one kind act every day; but you must do it without interfering or encroaching.When in doubt, claim Divine Guidance.
It is always right to give your neighbor the right thought. Under any circumstances it can only do good to “Golden Key” him when you think of him. Don’t fuss – God is running the universe.
As far as God is concerned, there is no check of any kind upon the amount of divine energy that we can appropriate, or, therefore, upon the things that we can do or be. Yet, for practical purposes, you can draw from the inexhaustible Source only in accordance with the measure of your understanding, just as you can draw water from the Atlantic only in accordance with the size of the vessel that you use. Almost everyone is foolishly content to fill his pitcher, small as it may be, to somewhere very short of the top. The true manner of God’s working is illustrated by a simple anecdote. A certain man was working in his garden, assisted by his little girl who had undertaken the task of watering the lawn by means of the usual rubber hose. Suddenly she cried out: “Daddy, the water has stopped.” The father looked over, and, taking in the situation quietly, said, “Well, take your foot off the hose.”
The ultimate cause of all our troubles is just this. Behind all secondary and proximate causes lies the same primary mistake. We have been pressing our feet and the whole weight of our mentality upon the pipeline of life, and then complaining because the water does not flow. “And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought…and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.” (Isaiah 58:11).
Jesus has told us that we always demonstrate our consciousness. We always demonstrate what we habitually have in our mind. What sort of mind have you? Do not let anyone else tell you, because they do not know. People who like you will think your mentality is better than it is; those who do not like you will think it is worse. Just examine your conditions and see what you are demonstrating. This method is scientific and infallible. If an automobile engineer is working out a new design for an engine, for instance, he doesn’t say: “I wonder what Smith thinks about this. I like Smith. If Smith is against this I won’t try it.” Nor does he say, “I won’t try this idea because it comes from France.” He is impersonal and unemotional about it. He says, “I will test it out, and decide by the results I obtain.” All that anyone can do for you is to help you change your thought. You yourself must keep it changed. No one else can think for you. No man can save his brother’s soul or pay his brother’s debt. “…and I will put a new spirit within you.” (Ezekiel 11:19).
No Reality In Evil
Never recognise evil as having any reality. Never grant it the courtesy of the slightest or most formal acquiescence. Even though you may not be able to demonstrate over error for the time being, still you must not recognise it as having any power or reality.
Every time you speak or think of evil as having any power, you give it that much power. Every time you allow it to scare you – you give it that much authority.
Always fight error in thought – not in the sense of struggling with it, but fight it in the sense of knowing that it is only false belief. Do not let it rest quietly in thought; but harass it.
An old soldier who was with Grant during most of the Civil War, once said;
“The difference between Grant and McClellan was this – McClellan was a mighty fine soldier, knew all the military textbooks by heart and what you ought to do – but he wouldn’t fight. When Lincoln would ask him to fight, he would say, ‘Not ready yet’ or ‘We must be thoroughly prepared for a thing like that; next year maybe.’ But Grant, he was always fighting. No matter how few men Grant had with him, if the enemy was anywhere near, Grant took a sock at him. Grant would always fight.”
The only attitude for the metaphysical student is;
“I believe in Divine Harmony and nothing else. I do not believe there is any power in evil, and it is not going to get any recognition from me. The Truth about my problem is true now, not next week or next year but now, and the Truth concerning anything is all that there is of it.”
This is the scientific way of fighting and harassing error – to see that it has no chance to dig itself in. This is the General Grant touch.
Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.
Prophecy For Yourself
Thoughtless people sometimes say that our affirmations and meditations are foolish because we state what is not so. “To claim that my body is well or being healed when it is not, is only to tell a lie,” said one distinguished man some years ago.
This is to misunderstand the whole principle. We affirm the harmony that we seek in order to provide the subconscious with a blue print of the work to be done. When you decide to build a house, you purchase a vacant piece of ground and then your architect prepares drawings of a complete house. Actually, of course, there is no such house on the lot today, but you would not think of saying that the architect was drawing a lie. He is drawing what is to be, in order that it may be. So, we build in thought the conditions that will later come into manifestation on the physical plane.
To wait like Mr. Micawber for things to “turn up” is foolish, because you will probably die before they do so. What is your intelligence for if not to be used in building the kind of life that you want? Very primitive men in prehistoric times rejoiced when they found food growing anywhere, and then they waited, perhaps for years, until they happened to find another crop. Today we use our intelligence, and plant in good time the actual crops that we want, and the amount that we consider necessary. We do not sit about hoping that wheat or barley may fortunately come up somewhere. If we did that, civilisation would collapse.
The Key Of Destiny
There are a few great laws that govern all thinking, just as there are a few fundamental laws in chemistry, in physics, and in mechanics, for example. We know that thought control is the Key of Destiny, and in order to learn thought control we have to know and understand these laws, just as the chemist has to understand the laws of chemistry, and the electrician has to know the laws of electricity. One of the great mental laws is the Law of Substitution. This means that the only way to get rid of a certain thought is to substitute another one for it. You cannot dismiss a thought directly. You can do so only by substituting another one for it. On the physical plane this is not the case. You can drop a book or a stone by simply opening your hand and letting it go; but with thought this will not work. If you want to dismiss a negative thought, the only way to do so is to think of something positive and constructive. It is as though in order, let us say, to drop a pencil, it were necessary to put a pen or a book or a stone into your hand, then the pencil would fall away.
If I say to you, “Do not think of the Statue of Liberty,” of course, you immediately think of it. If you say, “I am not going to think of the Statue of Liberty,” that is thinking of it. But now, having thought of it, if you become interested in something else, say, by turning on the radio, you forget all about the Statue of Liberty – and this is a case of substitution.
It sometimes happens that negative thoughts seem to besiege you in such force that you cannot overcome them. That is what is called a fit of depression, or a fit of worry, or perhaps even a fit of anger. In such a case the best thing is to go and find someone to talk to on any subject, or to go to a good movie or play, or read an interesting book, say a good novel or biography or travel book, or something of the kind. If you sit down to fight the negative tide you will probably succeed only in amplifying it.
Turn your attention to something quite different, refusing steadfastly to think of or rehearse the difficulty, and, later on, after you have completely gotten away from it, you can come back with confidence and handle it by spiritual treatment. “I say unto you that you resist not evil.” Matthew 5.39
Law Of Circulation
The Law of Circulation is a Cosmic Law. That means that it is true everywhere and on all planes. The law is that constant rhythmical movement is necessary to health and harmony. Now the opposite of circulation is congestion, and it may be said that all sickness, inharmony, or trouble of any kind is really due to some form of congestion.
If you think this subject out for yourself you will be fascinated to find how generally true it is, and in what unexpected places it appears. Much ill health is due to emotional congestion. This leads to congestion of the nerve, blood, and lymphatic fluids, producing disease. The depression belief under which the country labored for ten years was a case of congestion. There was plenty of raw material, machinery, and skill, and a very wide- spread demand for goods; but a case of congestion occurred! The dust bowl trouble and its allied misfortune, the floods, is, of course, an example of congestion. War itself is really due to frustrated circulation on many planes of existence.
Some students of metaphysics shut their minds to the reception of new truth, and this always produces mental congestion and a failure to demonstrate. You should treat yourself two or three times a week for free circulation on all planes – by claiming that God is bringing this about.
What is Your Because?
When you find yourself thinking that your prayer cannot be answered for any reason – treat that reason. When something says that you cannot demonstrate “because” – treat the ‘because’. When you think, I cannot demonstrate because I have not enough understanding, treat for understanding. When you think, I cannot demonstrate because I have a headache – treat the headache. When you think, I cannot demonstrate because I am full of doubts – treat the doubts. When you think, I cannot demonstrate because it is now too late – treat against the time illusion. When you think, I cannot demonstrate because I am in this part of the country – treat against the space illusion. When you think, I cannot demonstrate because of my age – treat your age belief. When you think, I cannot demonstrate because someone else will hinder me – treat the belief in a power other than God. No matter what name the ‘because’ may give itself, it is still your belief in limitation. Be loyal to God and know that He and He alone has all the power. Treat the because.
Never tell people about the fine thing you are going to do, but wait until you have done it, and then show them the completed article. Never point to an empty lot and say: “I am going to build a tower there”; but wait until the edifice is complete, and then if you like, say: “Look at the tower I have built.” But when the tower is there it will not really be necessary to say anything at all, because it will speak for itself.
Talking about your plans before they have actually materialised, is the surest way to destroy them. It is a universal law of nature that the unborn child is protected from all contact with the world; in fact this is the real function of motherhood. Now the inspiration that comes to you is your child; you are its mother; and nature intends that you should protect and nourish that idea in secrecy and shelter, up to the moment when it is ready to emerge upon the material plane.
To chatter or boast about it is to expose it to the world and kill it. This applies to any new enterprise that you may be contemplating, as well as to a new idea. An important business deal, for instance, a large sale, the buying of a house, the forming of a partnership, should be protected in the same way. Don’t discuss these things at the luncheon table, or anywhere else.
Keep your business to yourself. Of course it is quite permissible to consult experts, and to reveal your plan where it is absolutely necessary to do so. This is nourishing the idea, not exposing it. It is chatter, gossip, and boasting that are to be avoided. “In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.”
How To Get a Demonstration
Here is one way of solving a problem by Scientific Prayer, or, as we say in metaphysics, of getting a demonstration.
Get by yourself, and be quiet for a few moments. This is very important. Do not strain to think rightly or to find the right thought, etc., but just be quiet. Remind yourself that the Bible says “Be still, and know that I am God”.
Then begin to think about God. Remind yourself of some of the things that you know about Him – that He is present everywhere, that He has all power, that He knows you and loves you and cares for you, and so forth. Read a few verses of the Bible, or a paragraph from any spiritual book that helps you.
During this stage it is important not to think about your problem, but to give your attention to God. In other words, do not try to solve your problem directly (which would be using will power) but rather become interested in thinking of the Nature of God.
Then claim the thing that you need – a healing, or some particular good which you lack. Claim it quietly and confidently; as you would ask for something to which you are entitled.
Then give thanks for the accomplished fact; as you would if somebody handed you a gift. Jesus said when you pray believe that you receive and you shall receive.
Do not discuss your treatment (prayer) with anyone.
Try not to be tense or hurried. Tension and hurry delay the demonstration. You know that if you try to unlock a door hurriedly, the key is apt to stick, whereas, if you do it slowly, it seldom does. If the key sticks, the thing is to stop pressing, take your breath, and release it gently. To push hard with will power can only jam the lock completely. So it is with mental working.
In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.
God is the only Presence and the only Power. God is fully present here with me, now. God is the only real Presence – all the rest is but shadow. God is perfect Good, and God is the cause only of perfect Good. God never sends sickness, trouble, accident, temptation, nor death itself; nor does He authorise these things. We bring them upon ourselves by our own wrong thinking. God, Good, can cause only good. The same fountain cannot send forth both sweet and bitter water.
I am Divine Spirit. I am the child of God. In God I live and move and have my being; so I have not fear. I am surrounded by the Peace of God and all is well. I am not afraid of people; I am not afraid of things; I am not afraid of circumstances; I am not afraid of myself; for God is with me. The Peace of God fills my soul, and I have no fear. I dwell in the Presence of God, and no fear can touch me. I am not afraid of the past; I am not afraid of the present; I am not afraid for the future; for God is with me. The Eternal God is my dwelling place and underneath are the ever-lasting arms. Nothing can ever touch me but the direct action of God Himself, and God is Love.
God is Life; I understand that and I express it. God is Truth; I understand that and I express it. God is Divine Love; I understand that and I express it.
I send out thoughts of love and peace and healing to the whole universe: to all trees and plants and growing things, to all beasts and birds and fishes, and to every man, woman and child on earth, without any distinction. If anyone has ever injured me or done me any kind of harm, I fully and freely forgive him now, and the thing is done forever. I loose him and let him go. I am free and he is free. If there is any burden of resentment in me I cast it upon the Christ within, and I go free.
God is Infinite Wisdom, and that Wisdom is mine. That Wisdom leads and guides me; so I shall not make mistakes. Christ in me is a lamp unto my feet. God is Infinite Life, and that Life is my supply; so I shall want for nothing. God created me and He sustains me. Divine Love has foreseen everything, and provided for everything. One Mind, One Power, One Principle. One God, One Law, One Element. Closer is He than breathing, nearer than hands and feet.
I am Divine Spirit, the Child of God, and in the presence of God I dwell forever. I thank God for Perfect Harmony.
Cause and Effect
Whatever you experience in your life is really but the outpicturing of your own thoughts and beliefs. Now, you can change these thoughts and beliefs, and then the outer picture must change too. The outer picture cannot change until you change your thought. Your real heartfelt conviction is what you outpicture or demonstrate, not your mere pious opinions or formal assents.
Convictions cannot be adopted arbitrarily just because you want a healing. They are built up by the thoughts you think and the feelings you entertain day after day as you go through life. So, it is your habitual mental conduct that weaves the pattern of your destiny for you, and is not this just as it should be?
So no one else can keep you out of your kingdom – or put you into it either.
The story of your life is really the story of the relations between yourself and God.
“Verily, I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.” – Matthew 21:21
An understanding faith is the life of prayer. It is a great mistake, however to struggle to produce a lively faith within yourself. That can only end in failure. The thing to do is to act as though you had faith. What we voluntarily do will always be the expression of our true belief. Act out the part that you wish to demonstrate, and you will be expressing true faith. “Act as though I were, and I will be,” says the Bible in effect. This is the right use of the will, scientifically understood.
The statement of Jesus quoted above is perhaps the most tremendous spiritual pronouncement ever made. Probably no other teacher who ever lived would have dared to say it, but Jesus knew the law of faith and proved it himself many times. We shall move mountains when we are willing to believe that we can, and then not only will mountains be moved, but the whole planet will be redeemed and re-formed according to the Pattern in the Mount.
Know the Truth about your problems. Claim spiritual dominion. Avoid tenseness, strain, and over-anxiety. Expect your prayer to be answered, and act as though you expected it.
Flee to the Mountains
“When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand): Then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.” – Matthew 24:15-18
The moment you catch yourself thinking a negative thought, you should reject it instantly. Immediately switch your attention to the Presence of God. Do not stop to say “good-bye” to the error thought, but break the connection instantly and occupy your mind with good; you will be surprised how many difficulties will begin to melt away out of your life. Indeed, we may say that when error presents itself to consciousness, the first five seconds are Golden.
In the text quoted above, Jesus teaches this lesson in his own graphic way. The immediate application of these words was, of course, to the coming siege of Jerusalem, but the idea involved is eternal. The holy place is your consciousness, and the abomination of desolation is any negative thought, because a negative thought means belief in the absence of God at the point concerned. Those who are in Judea are those who believe that prayer does change things; to flee to the mountains means to pray, especially that quick switching of the thought to the Presence of God, which I have mentioned.
Now You Must Do It
The only part of our religion that is real is the part we express in our daily lives. Ideals that we do not act out in practice are mere abstract theories and have no real meaning. Actually, such pretended ideals are a serious detriment, because they drug the soul into a false sense of security.
If you want to receive any benefit from your religion you must practice it, and the place to practice it is right here where you are, and the time to do it is now.
Divine Love is the only real power. If you can realise this fact even dimly it will begin to heal and harmonise every condition in your life within a few hours. The way to realise this fact is to express it in every word you speak, in every business transaction, in every social activity, and, in fact, in every phase of your life.
An early New Thought writer said: “Knead love into the bread you bake; wrap strength and courage in the parcel you tie for the woman with the weary face; hand trust and candour with the coin you pay to the man with the suspicious eyes.” This is beautifully said, and it sums up the Practice of the Presence of God.
FORGIVE US OUR TRESPASSES, AS WE FORGIVE THEM THAT TRESPASS AGAINST US
This clause is the turning point of the Prayer. It is the strategic key to the whole Treatment. Let us notice here that Jesus has so arranged this marvelous Prayer that it covers the entire ground of the unfoldment of our souls completely, and in the most concise and telling way. It omits nothing that is essential for our salvation, and yet, so compact is it that there is not a thought or a word too much. Every idea fits into its place with perfect harmony and in perfect sequence. Anything more would be redundance, anything less would be incompleteness, and at this point it takes up the critical factor of forgiveness.
Having told us what God is, what man is, how the universe works, how we are to do our own work – the salvation of humanity and of our own souls – he then explains what our true nourishment or supply is, and the way in which we can obtain it; and now he comes to the forgiveness of sins.
The forgiveness of sins is the central problem of life. Sin is a sense of separation from God, and is the major tragedy of human experience. It is, of course, rooted in selfishness. It is essentially an attempt to gain some supposed good to which we are not entitled in justice. It is a sense of isolated, self-regarding, personal existence, whereas the Truth of Being is that all is One. Our true selves are at one with God, undivided from Him, expressing His ideas, witnessing to His nature – the dynamic Thinking of that Mind. Because we are all one with the great Whole of which we are spiritually a part, it follows that we are one with all men. Just because in Him we live and move and have our being, we are, in the absolute sense, all essentially one.
Evil, sin, the fall of man, in fact, is essentially the attempt to negative this Truth in our thoughts. We try to live apart from God. We try to do without Him. We act as though we had life of our own; as separate minds; as though we could have plans and purposes and interests separate from His. All this, if it were true, would mean that existence is not one and harmonious, but a chaos of competition and strife. It would mean that we are quite separate from our fellow man and could injure him, rob him, or hurt him, or even destroy him, without any damage to ourselves, and, in fact, that the more we took from other people the more we should have for ourselves. It would mean that the more we considered our own interests, and the more indifferent we were to the welfare of others, the better off we should be. Of course it would then follow naturally that it would pay others to treat us in the same way, and that accordingly we might expect many of them to do so. Now if this were true, it would mean that the whole universe is only a jungle, and that sooner or later it must destroy itself by its own inherent weakness and anarchy. But, of course, it is not true and therein lies the joy of life.
Undoubtedly, many people do act as though they believed it to be true, and a great many more, who would be dreadfully shocked if brought face to face with that proposition in cold blood, have, nevertheless, a vague feeling that such must be very much the way things are, even though they, themselves, are personally above consciously acting in accordance with such a notion. Now this is the real basis of sin, of resentment, of condemnation, of jealousy, of remorse, and all the evil brood that walk that path.
This belief in independent and separate existence is the arch sin, and now, before we can progress any further, we have to take the knife to this evil thing and cut it out once and for all. Jesus knew this, and with this definite end in view he inserted at this critical point a carefully prepared statement that would compass our end and his, without the shadow of a possibility of miscarrying. He inserted what is nothing less than a trip clause. He drafted a declaration which would force us, without any conceivable possibility of escape, evasion, mental reservation, or subterfuge of any kind, to execute the great sacrament of forgiveness in all its fullness and far-reaching power.
As we repeat the Great Prayer intelligently, considering and meaning what we say, we are suddenly, so to speak, caught up off our feet and grasped as though in a vise, so that we must face this problem – and there is no escape. We must positively and definitely extend forgiveness to everyone to whom it is possible that we can owe forgiveness, namely, to anyone who we think can have injured us in any way. Jesus leaves no room for any possible glossing of this fundamental thing. He has constructed his Prayer with more skill than ever a lawyer displayed in the casting of a deed. He has so contrived it that once our attention has been drawn to this matter, we are inevitably obliged either to forgive our enemies in sincerity and truth, or never again to repeat that prayer. It is safe to say that no one who reads this booklet with understanding will ever again be able to use the Lord’s Prayer unless and until he has forgiven. Should you now attempt to repeat it without forgiving, it can safely be predicted that you will not be able to finish it. This great central clause will stick in your throat.
Notice that Jesus does not say, “forgive me my trespasses and I will try to forgive others,” or “I will see if it can be done,” or “I will forgive generally, with certain exceptions.” He obliges us to declare that we have actually forgiven, and forgiven all, and he makes our claim to our own forgiveness to depend upon that. Who is there who has grace enough to say his prayers at all, who does not long for the forgiveness or cancellation of his own mistakes and faults. Who would be so insane as to endeavor to seek the Kingdom of God without desiring to be relieved of his own sense of guilt. No one, we may believe. And so we see that we are trapped in the inescapable position that we cannot demand our own release before we have released our brother.
The forgiveness of others is the vestibule of Heaven, and Jesus knew it, and has led us to the door. You must forgive everyone who has ever hurt you if you want to be forgiven yourself; that is the long and the short of it. You have to get rid of all resentment and condemnation of others, and, not least, of self-condemnation and remorse. You have to forgive others, and having discontinued your own mistakes, you have to accept the forgiveness of God for them too, or you cannot make any progress. You have to forgive yourself, but you cannot forgive yourself sincerely until you have forgiven others first. Having forgiven others, you must be prepared to forgive yourself too, for to refuse to forgive oneself is only spiritual pride. “And by that sin fell the angels.” We cannot make this point too clear to ourselves; we have got to forgive. There are few people in the world who have not at some time or other been hurt, really hurt, by someone else; or been disappointed, or injured, or deceived, or misled. Such things sink into the memory where they usually cause inflamed and festering wounds, and there is only one remedy – they have to be plucked out and thrown away. And the one and only way to do that is by forgiveness.
Of course, nothing in all the world is easier than to forgive people who have not hurt us very much. Nothing is easier than to rise above the thought of a trifling loss. Anybody will be willing to do this, but what the Law of Being requires of us is that we forgive not only these trifles, but the very things that are so hard to forgive that at first it seems impossible to do it at all. The despairing heart cries, “It is too much to ask. That thing meant too much to me. It is impossible. I cannot forgive it.” But the Lord’s Prayer makes our own forgiveness from God, which means our escape from guilt and limitation, dependent upon just this very thing. There is no escape from this, and so forgiveness there must be, no matter how deeply we may have been injured, or how terribly we have suffered. It must be done.
If your prayers are not being answered, search your consciousness and see if there is not someone whom you have yet to forgive. Find out if there is not some old thing about which you are very resentful. Search and see if you are not really holding a grudge (it may be camouflaged in some self-righteous way) against some individual, or some body of people, a nation, a race, a social class, some religious movement of which you disapprove perhaps, a political party, or what-not. If you are doing so, then you have an act of forgiveness to perform, and when this is done, you will probably make your demonstration. If you cannot forgive at present, you will have to wait for your demonstration until you can, and you will have to postpone finishing your recital of the Lord’s Prayer too, or involve yourself in the position that you do not desire the forgiveness of God.
Setting others free means setting yourself free, because resentment is really a form of attachment. It is a Cosmic Truth that it takes two to make a prisoner; the prisoner and a gaoler. There is no such thing as being a prisoner on one’s own account. Every prisoner must have a gaoler, and the gaoler is as much a prisoner as his charge. When you hold resentment against anyone, you are bound to that person by a cosmic link, a real, though mental, chain. You are tied by a cosmic tie to the thing that you hate. The one person perhaps in the whole world whom you most dislike is the very one to whom you are attaching yourself by a hook that is stronger than steel. Is this what you wish? Is this the condition in which you desire to go on living? Remember, you belong to the thing with which you are linked in thought, and at some time or other, if that tie endures, the object of your resentment will be drawn again into your life, perhaps to work further havoc. Do you think that you can afford this? Of course, no one can afford such a thing; and so the way is clear. You must cut all such ties, by a clear and spiritual act of forgiveness. You must loose him and let him go. By forgiveness you set yourself free; you save your soul. And because the law of love works alike for one and all, you help to save his soul too, making it just so much easier for him to become what he ought to be.
But how, in the name of all that is wise and good, is the magic act of forgiveness to be accomplished, when we have been so deeply injured that, though we have long wished with all our hearts that we could forgive, we have nevertheless found it impossible; when we have tried and tried to forgive, but have found the task beyond us.
The technique of forgiveness is simple enough, and not very difficult to manage when you understand how. The only thing that is essential is willingness to forgive. Provided you desire to forgive the offender, the greater part of the work is already done. People have always made such a bogey of forgiveness because they have been under the erroneous impression that to forgive a person means that you have to compel yourself to like him. Happily this is by no means the case – we are not called upon to like anyone whom we do not find ourselves liking spontaneously, and, indeed it is quite impossible to like people to order. You can no more like to order than you can hold the winds in your fist, and if you endeavor to coerce yourself into doing so, you will finish by disliking or hating the offender more than ever. People used to think that when someone had hurt them very much, it was their duty, as good Christians, to pump up, as it were, a feeling of liking for him; and since such a thing is utterly impossible, they suffered a great deal of distress, and ended, necessarily, with failure, and a resulting sense of sinfulness. We are not obliged to like anyone; but we are under a binding obligation to love everyone, love, or charity as the Bible calls it, meaning a vivid sense of impersonal good will. This has nothing directly to do with the feelings, though it is always followed, sooner or later, by a wonderful feeling of peace and happiness.
The method of forgiving is this: Get by yourself and become quiet. Repeat any prayer or treatment that appeals to you, or read a chapter of the Bible. Then quietly say, “I fully and freely forgive X (mentioning the name of the offender); I loose him and let him go. I completely forgive the whole business in question. As far as I am concerned, it is finished forever. I cast the burden of resentment upon the Christ within me. He is free now, and I am free too. I wish him well in every phase of his life. That incident is finished. The Christ Truth has set us both free. I thank God.” Then get up and go about your business. On no account repeat this act of forgiveness, because you have done it once and for all, and to do it a second time would be tacitly to repudiate your own work. Afterward, whenever the memory of the offender or the offense happens to come into your mind, bless the delinquent briefly and dismiss the thought. Do this, however many times the thought may come back. After a few days it will return less and less often, until you forget it altogether. Then, perhaps after an interval, shorter or longer, the old trouble may come back to memory once more, but you will find that now all bitterness and resentment have disappeared, and you are both free with the perfect freedom of the children of God. Your forgiveness is complete. You will experience a wonderful joy in the realisation of the demonstration.
Everybody should practice general forgiveness every day as a matter of course. When you say your daily prayers, issue a general amnesty, forgiving everyone who may have injured you in any way, and on no account particularise. Simply say: “I freely forgive everyone.” Then in the course of the day, should the thought of grievance or resentment come up, bless the offender briefly and dismiss the thought.
The result of this policy will be that very soon you will find yourself cleared of all resentment and condemnation, and the effect upon your happiness, your bodily health, and your general life will be nothing less than revolutionary.
Treat The Treatment
Spiritual treatment is really knowing the Truth about a given condition. There appears to be something wrong – someone is sick, or there is inharmony, or perhaps lack – but instead of accepting this, you remind yourself of the Truth. This reminding oneself of the Truth is a very powerful treatment, because in this way we do not try to wrestle with the evil, but we know that it is not there. The truth about life is that all is perfect, utter, unchanging harmony, because God is the only Presence and the only Power. As a student of metaphysics you know this, and often merely reminding yourself of it brings a quick and beautiful demonstration. Of course there are, however, so-called chronic cases in which the student, despite all he can do, seems to make no progress. I have known some obstinate and long-standing difficulties to be overcome by the following method: Give one final and definite treatment for the difficulty in question by reminding yourself of the Spiritual Truth concerning it, and then do not treat about the problem again but treat the treatment whenever you feel inclined to. Do this by claiming that that treatment was a Divine activity and must be successful. Claim that God worked through you when you gave the treatment and that God’s work must succeed. Insist that your treatment, being a Divine activity, cannot be hindered by seeming difficulties or material conditions. Give thanks for its perfect success and mean what you say. This is “treating the treatment,” and you may do this as often as you like. It has none of the disadvantages that are apt to arise from treating the problem itself too often.
Treat the “because”. When you find yourself thinking that your Prayer cannot be answered for any reason whatsoever – treat that reason. When something says to you that you cannot demonstrate “because” – treat the because. When you think, I cannot demonstrate because I have not enough understanding – treat for understanding. When you think, I cannot treat because I have a headache – treat the headache. When you think, I cannot demonstrate because I am full of doubts – treat the doubts. When you think I cannot demonstrate because it is now too late – treat against the time illusion. When you think, I cannot demonstrate because I am in this part of the country – treat against the space illusion. When you think, I cannot demonstrate this thing because of my age – treat your age belief. When you think, I cannot demonstrate because someone else will hinder me – treat the belief in a power other than God. No matter what name the because may give itself, it is still your belief in limitation. Be loyal to God and know that He and He alone has all power. Treat the because.
In the scriptural sense, ‘prosperity’ and ‘prosper’ signify a very great deal more than the acquirement of material possessions. They really mean success in prayer. From the point of view from the soul, success in prayer is the only kind of prosperity worth having; and if our prayers are successful, we shall naturally have all the material things that we need. A certain quantity of material goods is essential on this plane, of course, but material wealth is really the least important thing in life, and this the Bible implies by giving the word ‘prosperous’ its true meaning.
Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. To be poor in spirit does not in the least mean the thing we call ‘poor spirited’ nowadays. To be poor in spirit means to have emptied yourself of all desire to exercise personal self-will, and, what is just as important, to have renounced all preconceived opinions in the wholehearted search for God. It means to be willing to set aside your present habits of thought, your present views and prejudices, your present way of life if necessary; to jettison, in fact, anything and everything that can stand in the way of your finding God. One of the saddest passages in all literature is the story of the Rich Young Man who missed one of the great opportunities of history, and ‘turned away sorrowful because he had great possessions’.
This is really the story of mankind in general. We reject the salvation that Jesus offers us – our chance of finding God – because ‘we have great possessions’; not in the least because we are very rich in terms of money, for indeed most people are not, but because we have great possessions in the way of preconceived ideas – confidence in our own judgement, and in the ideas with which we happen to be familiar; spiritual pride, born of academic distinction; sentimental or material attachment to institutions and organisations, habits of life that we have no desire to renounce; concern for human respect, or perhaps fear of public ridicule; or a vested interest in worldly honor and distinction. And these possessions keep us chained to the rock of suffering that is our exile from God.
The Rich Young Man is one of the most tragic figures in history; not because he happened to be wealthy, for wealth in itself is neither good nor bad, but because his heart was enslaved by that love of money which Paul tells us is the root of all evil……
Why was not the Christ Message received with acclaim by the ecclesiastics of Jerusalem? Because they had great possessions – possessions of Rabbinical learning, possessions of public honor and importance, authoritative offices as the official teachers of religion – and these possessions they would have had to sacrifice in order to accept the spiritual teaching. The humble and unlearned folk who heard the Master gladly were happy in having no such possessions to tempt them away from the Truth.
Why was it in modern times when the same simple Christ Message of the immanence and availability of God, and of the Inner Light that burns forever in the soul of man, once more made its appearance in the world, it was again, for the most part, among the simple and unlettered that it was gladly received? Why was it not the Bishops, and Deans, and Moderators, and Ministers, and Presbyteries, who gave it to the world? Why was not Oxford, or Cambridge, or Harvard, or Heidelberg, the great broadcasting center for this most important of all knowledge?
And, again the answer is – because they had great possessions – great possessions of intellectual and spiritual pride, great possessions of self-satisfaction and cocksureness, great possessions of academic commitment, and of social prestige.
The poor in spirit suffer from none of these embarrassments, either because they never had them, or because they have risen above them on the tide of spiritual understanding. They have got rid of the love of money and property, of fear of public opinion, and of the disapproval of relatives or friends. They are no longer overawed by human authority, however august. They are no longer cocksure in their own opinions. They have come to see that their most cherished beliefs may have been and probably were mistaken, and that all their ideas and views of life may be false and in need of recasting. They are ready to start again at the very beginning and learn life anew.
The Golden Key to Prayer
I have compressed this essay into a few pages. Had it been possible I would have reduced it to as many lines. It is not intended to be an instructional treatise, but a practical recipe for getting out of trouble. Study and research are well in their own time and place, but no amount of either will get you out of a concrete difficulty. Nothing but practical work in your own consciousness will do that. The mistake made by many people, when things go wrong, is to skim through book after book, without getting anywhere. Read The Golden Key several times. Do exactly what it says, and if you are persistent enough you will overcome any difficulty. – Emmet Fox
Prayer will enable you, sooner or later, to get yourself, or anyone else, out of any difficulty on the face of the earth. It is the Golden Key to harmony and happiness. To those who have no acquaintance with the mightiest power in existence, this may appear to be a rash claim, but it needs only a fair trial to prove that, without a shadow of doubt, it is a just one. You need take no one’s word for it, and you should not. Simply try it for yourself, and see.
God is omnipotent, and man is His image and likeness, and has dominion over all things. This is the inspired teaching, and it is intended to be taken literally, at its face value. Man means every man, and so the ability to draw on this power is not the special prerogative of the mystic or the saint, as is so often supposed, or even of the highly trained practitioner. Whoever you are, wherever you may be, the Golden Key to harmony is in your hand now. This is because in scientific prayer it is God who works, and not you, and so your particular limitations or weaknesses are of no account in the process. You are only the channel through which the divine action takes place, and your treatment will really be just the getting of yourself out of the way. Beginners often get startling results at the first time of trying, for all that is absolutely essential is to have an open mind, and sufficient faith to try the experiment. Apart from that, you may hold any views on religion, or none.
As for the actual method of working, like all fundamental things, it is simplicity itself. All that you have to do is this: Stop thinking about the difficulty, whatever it is, and think about God instead. This is the complete rule, and if only you will do this, the trouble, whatever it is, will presently disappear. It makes no difference what kind of trouble it is. It may be a big thing or a little thing; it may concern health, finance, a lawsuit, a quarrel, an accident, or anything else conceivable; but whatever it is, just stop thinking about it, and think of God instead – that is all you have to do.
The thing could not be simpler, could it? God Himself could scarcely have made it simpler, and yet it never fails to work when given a fair trial.
Do not try to form a picture of God, which is impossible. Work by rehearsing anything or everything that you know about God. God is Wisdom, Truth, inconceivable Love. God is present everywhere; has infinite power; knows everything; and so on. It matters not how well you may think you understand these things; go over them repeatedly.
But you must stop thinking of the trouble, whatever it is. The rule is to think about God, and if you are thinking about your difficulty you are not thinking about God. To be continually glancing over your shoulder, as it were, in order to see how matters are progressing, is fatal, because that is thinking of the trouble, and you must think of God, and of nothing else. Your object is to drive the thought of the difficulty right out of your consciousness, for a few moments at least, substituting for it the thought of God. This is the crux of the whole thing. If you can become so absorbed in this consideration of the spiritual world that you really forget for a while all about the trouble concerning which you began to pray, you will presently find that you are safely and comfortably out of your difficulty – that your demonstration is made.
In order to “Golden Key” a troublesome person or a difficult situation, think, “Now I am going to ‘Golden Key’ John, or Mary, or that threatened danger”; then proceed to drive all thought of John, or Mary, or the danger right out of your mind, replacing it by the thought of God. By working in this way about a person, you are not seeking to influence his conduct in any way, except that you prevent him from injuring or annoying you, and you do him nothing but good. Thereafter he is certain to be in some degree a better, wiser, and more spiritual person, just because you have “Golden Keyed” him. A pending lawsuit or other difficulty would probably fade out harmlessly without coming to a crisis, justice being done to all parties concerned.
If you find that you can do this very quickly, you may repeat the operation several times a day with intervals between. Be sure, however, each time you have done it, that you drop all thought of the matter until the next time. This is important.
We have said that the Golden Key is simple, and so it is, but, of course, it is not always easy to turn. If you are very frightened or worried it may be difficult, at first, to get your thoughts away from material things. But by constantly repeating some statement of absolute Truth that appeals to you, such as There is no power but God, or I am the child of God, filled and surrounded by the perfect peace of God, or God is love, or God is guiding me now, or, perhaps best and simplest of all, just God is with me – however mechanical or dead it may seem at first – you will soon find that the treatment has begun to “take,” and that your mind is clearing. Do not struggle violently; be quiet but insistent. Each time that you find your attention wandering, just switch it straight back to God.
Do not try to think out in advance what the solution of your difficulty will probably turn out to be. This is technically called “outlining,” and will only delay the demonstration. Leave the question of ways and means strictly to God. You want to get out of your difficulty – that is sufficient. You do your half, and God will never fail to do His.
“Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
What Is Scientific Prayer?
Scientific prayer or spiritual treatment is really the lifting of your consciousness above the level where you have met your problem. If only you can rise high enough in thought, the problem will solve itself. This is really the only problem you have – to raise in consciousness. The more “difficult,” which means the more deeply rooted in your thoughts, is the problem concerned, the higher you will have to rise. What is called a small trouble, will yield to a slight raise in consciousness. What is called a serious difficulty, will require a relatively higher rise. What is called a terrible danger or hopeless problem, will require a considerable rise in consciousness to overcome it – but that is the only difference.
Do not waste time trying to straighten out your own or other people’s problems by manipulating thought – that gets you nowhere – but raise your consciousness, and the action of God will do the rest.
Jesus healed sick people and reformed many sinners by raising his consciousness above the picture they presented. He controlled the wind and the waves in the same way. He raised the dead because he was able to get as high in consciousness as is necessary to do this.
To raise your consciousness you must positively withdraw your attention from the picture for the time being (The Golden Key) and then concentrate gently upon spiritual truth. You may do this by reading the Bible or any spiritual book that appeals to you, by going over any hymn or poem that helps you in this way, or by the use of one or more affirmations, just as you like.
I know many people who have secured the necessary elevation of consciousness by browsing at random through the Bible. A man I know was saved in a terrible shipwreck by quickly reading the 91st psalm. Another man healed himself of a supposedly hopeless disease by working on the one affirmation, “God Is Love,” until he was able to realise something of what that greatest of all statements must really mean.
If you work with affirmations, be careful not to get tense; but there is no reason why you should not employ all these methods in turn, and also any others that you can think of. Sometimes a talk with a spiritual person gives you just the lift that you need. It matters not how you rise so long as you do rise. “I bore you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself.”
You Can Alter Your Life
There is no need to be unhappy. There is no need to be sad. There is no need to be disappointed, or oppressed, or aggrieved. There is no need for illness or failure or discouragement. There is no necessity for anything but success, good health, prosperity, and an abounding interest and joy in life.
That the lives of many people are full of dreary things is unfortunately only too true; but there is no necessity for them to be there. They are there only because their victims suppose them to be inevitable, not because they are so. As long as you accept a negative condition at its own valuation, so long will you remain in bondage to it; but you have only to assert your birthright as a free man or woman and you will be free.
Success and happiness are the natural condition of mankind. It is actually easier for us to demonstrate these things than the reverse. Bad habits of thinking and acting may obscure this fact for a time, just as a wrong way of walking or sitting, or holding a pen or a musical instrument may seem to be easier than the proper way, because we have accustomed ourselves to it; but the proper way is the easier nevertheless.
Unhappiness, frustration, poverty, loneliness are really bad habits that their victims have become accustomed to bear with more or less fortitude, believing that there is no way out, whereas there is a way; and that way is simply to acquire good habits of mind instead of bad ones – habits of working with the Law instead of against it.
You should never “put up” with anything. You should never be willing to accept less than Health, Harmony, and Happiness. These things are your Divine Right as the sons and daughters of God, and it is only a bad habit, unconscious, as a rule, that causes you to be satisfied with less. In the depths of his being man always feels intuitively that there is a way out of his difficulties if only he can find it, and his natural instincts all point in the same direction.
The infant, as yet uncontaminated by the defeatist suggestions of his elders, simply refuses to tolerate inharmony on any terms, and therefore he demonstrates over it. When he is hungry he tells the world with a confident insistence that commands attention, while many a sophisticated adult goes without. Does he find a pin sticking in some part of his anatomy? Not for him a sigh of resignation to the supposed “will of God” (it is really blasphemy to say that evil or suffering could ever be the will of God, All Good), or a whine about never having any luck, or a sigh that what cannot be cured must be endured. No, the defeatist view of life has not yet touched him; his instincts tell him that life and harmony are inseparable. And sure enough, that pin is located and removed even if everything else has to come to a stop until it is done.
But “shades of the prison-house begin to close about the growing boy,” and by the time he is old enough to think rationally the Race habit will have trained him to use his reason largely in the inverted way.
Refuse to tolerate anything less than harmony. You can have prosperity no matter what your present circumstances may be. You can have health and physical fitness. You can have a happy and joyous life. You can have a good home of your own. You can have congenial friends and comrades. You can have a full, free, joyous life, independent and untrammeled. You can become your own master or your own mistress. But to do this you must definitely seize the rudder of your own destiny and steer boldly and firmly for the port that you intend to make.
What are you doing about your future? Are you content to let things just drift along as they are, hoping, like Mr. Micawber, for something to “turn up”? If you are, be assured that there is no escape in that way. Nothing ever will turn up unless you exercise your Free Will and go out and turn it up for yourself by becoming acquainted with the Laws of Life, and applying them to your own individual conditions. That is the only way. Otherwise the years will pass all too swiftly, leaving you just where you are now, if not worse off, for there is no limit to the result of thought either for good or evil.
Man has dominion over all things when he knows the Law of Being, and obeys it. The Law gives you power to bring any condition into your life that is not harmful. The Law gives you power to overcome your own weaknesses and faults of character, no matter how often you may have failed in the past or how tenacious they may have seemed to be. The Law gives you power to attain prosperity and position without infringing the rights and opportunities of anyone else in the world. The Law gives you Freedom; freedom of soul, and body, and environment.
The law gives you Independence so that you can build your own life in your own way, in accordance with your own ideas and ideals; and plan out your future along the lines that you yourself desire. If you do not know what you really want to make you happy, then the Law will tell you what you want, and get it for you too. And the Law rightly understood and applied will save you from the danger of what is called “outlining” with all its risks and limitations.
The Law will endow you with the gift of what is called Originality; Originality is the doing of things in a new way which is a better way, and different from anyone else’s way.
This is what life looks like before we see the light of understanding, stumbling from one invisible barrier of suffering to another. Finally, we grok the need for true light and so we find the portal to understanding that lets us in to the next level where we do it all over again, but slightly differently.
There is no choice.
The Holy Name: Mysticism in Judaism explores the mystic truths common to Judaism and the teachings of the saints (Sant Mat). It covers several thousand years of Jewish mystic history and thought and provides the reader with a rich and varied compilation of writings collected from the prophets of the Bible, Jewish Sufis of thirteenth-century Egypt, the Kabbalists of Safed, the Hasidim of Eastern Europe, and many other Jewish philosophers and mystics.In order to clarify and elaborate on certain concepts and demonstrate the commonality of mystic experience, the author includes quotations from such mystics as Rumi (Maulana Rum), Bulleh Shah, Kabir Sahib, Guru Nanak and Mira Bai. She brings references from Judaism and other mystic traditions to show that the practice of meditating God’s Holy Name, or the inner sound reverberating within each one of us, is a timeless path to God-realization. She also affirms from mystic texts that we need the guidance of a living spiritual master or teacher for spiritual liberation.The first edition of The Holy Name was published in 1989. Maharaj Charan Singh passed away in 1990, naming Gurinder Singh Dhillon to succeed him. Under the present master’s guidance, the publications department of the Radha Soami Society at Beas is revising many of its English titles in the context of the globalization of knowledge about different religions and spiritual paths.This newly revised edition of The Holy Name thus reflects a decision by the publisher to minimize the use of Indian terms in books intended for a Western audience. Needless repetition has also been eliminated. In view of the explosion of interest in Jewish mysticism and meditation in the West, particularly in the U.S., the author has written a new introduction chronicling the history of mysticism in Judaism. She has also expanded the first chapter, “The Human Condition,” by adding more information concerning the Kabbalah’s treatment of the process of creation. The chapter consequently became disproportionately long, and so she has divided it into two: “God, Soul, and Creation,” and “The Human Condition.” Some minor editorial changes and correction have also been made throughout.This book will be of interest to anyone who seeks to understand more about the mystic tradition of Judaism and its place in the universal teachings of the saints.
The goal of all religions is the same – to help man know God. Rituals, prayers and ceremonies may differ from religion to religion, but they are all expressions of this universal human desire to meet the Creator. In Judaism, great emphasis is placed on the transmission of religious values from generation to generation. The family, perhaps even more than the synagogue or religious school, serves as the vehicle for this purpose. In a traditional Jewish family like the one in which I was raised, almost every daily activity is given religious meaning and expression. In our home we recited blessings before and after each meal, on going to bed and awakening, and on many other occasions; we ate special foods and celebrated the Sabbath and holy days. Because my father was a rabbi and scholar, our conversations often centered around Judaism as both a religion and a culture. Books on Judaism in Hebrew, English, Aramaic, and other languages lined vast bookshelves. Until I entered college, I attended parochial schools where half the day was devoted to secular subjects and half to religious subjects-Bible, Prophets, Talmud, creed, Hebrew language and literature, and Jewish history. As child, I found great beauty in the Bible and other religious books and happily adhered to the rituals, beliefs, and studies associated with Judaism. I would sit with my father and discuss the deeper meaning of many of the biblical narratives and stories, which, from time to time, provoked questions and doubts in my naive and curious mind. He instilled and encouraged in me a spirit of open-minded inquiry, and shared with me his deep and intuitive appreciation of the Bible and other religious texts. As I grew older, I realized that I shared a common spirit with people who did not come from the religious background. This spirit seemed to transcend our religious differences. I began to wonder if Judaism was primary identity, and questioned whether something deeper and more universal existed, linking me with other people and with the Divine. I started asking the basic questions of human existence: What is my real identity? What is the purpose of human life? What is death? Is there a God, and if so, what is his relationship to me? I wondered why some people belonged to one religion and some to another. My elders explained that God had instructed our ancestors to follow certain commandments, and that it was our duty to continue this tradition. I was taught that being Jewish was a special gift of God, as God had given the Jews a unique mission or purpose in the world. However, my best friend, with whom I felt a great closeness of spirit, was Roman Catholic. She performed different rituals and said other prayers. Yet she didn’t seem any the less blessed by God, and I couldn’t understand why I would be chosen for his special purpose any more than she. It appeared that accident of birth was determining our religious allegiance and outlook. Our religions were telling us to worship God differently, but the God we were trying to worship was the same God-the ultimate eternal Lord, the Creator, the source of everything. Why were there two ways to worship him if he was one? Were both ways equally effective? Both our religions sought to answer questions about death, justice, and mercy. How could there be different answers for different people to such universal question? Was one right and the other wrong? And what relationship did our religious observances have to the closeness of spirit that we shared, which seemed to go deeper than religion? No one could venture a satisfactory answer. Yet I felt that there must be something deeper, more universal, at the core of both religions. This experience was duplicated over many years in other relationships and arenas of life. In some people, I felt a spirit which drew me to them that had nothing to do with outer circumstances of religion, nationality, or cultural background. Religion began to seem like something that separated me from the people in whom I felt this kindred spirit, rather than being a source of love and harmony. Thus there came when the traditional answers did not satisfy, when the rituals no longer held me, and I was pulled from within to make a deeper and broader search. Ultimately, that search led me to the living mystic, Maharaj Charan Singh of Beas, Punjab, India. In 1970 he initiated me into the teachings of the saints, in India called Sant Mat, Sant meaning teachings, the age-old method of uniting the soul with God through inner meditation practice. Although Maharaj Charan Singh came from India, his teaching is universal and has been taught throughout in all countries and civilizations. The philosophy appealed to me immediately; it went to the depth of my being and struck a chord of truth. Suddenly everything made sense-like a jigsaw puzzle finally, easily, coming together, all the oddly shaped pieces finding their rightful places. After years of struggle, I now had the key to understand the contradictions and basic questions of life.In 1977, at a family gathering, I met one of my cousins, who comes from a background even more orthodox than my own. A seeker of truth himself, he asked me many probing questions about the Sant Mat philosophy and how I was able to reconcile it with my Jewish background. His questions started me thinking that a book on the subject might have some value. Just as I had felt the need to make a deeper search into the purpose of human life and the meaning of religion, I felt there were probably other spiritual seekers from a Jewish background who would benefit from my search as well. I wrote to Maharaj Charan Singh and proposed such a book. He approved the idea in principle, and in 1978 I embarked on the research that forms the body of this book. Through his teachings, Maharaj Charan Singh bestowed on me the key to mystic understanding, deepening my appreciation of Judaism and increasing my awareness of the universal relevance of Jewish mysticism. On the surface it might seem the there would be little in common between traditional Judaism and the mystic path taught by a living master from India. However, as I pursued my research, I became increasingly impressed by how much these seemingly disparate teachings have in common.
Jewish mystics have always believed that a profound mystical meaning is hidden in the scriptures, for discovery only by those ready for the spiritual journey. They regard the literal text of the Bible as a shell which protects the inner essence, the spiritual meaning, from the uninitiated. Only one who is well versed in spiritual knowledge can appreciate the true value and meaning of the Bible.
The great hasidic rabbi, Dov Baer, the Maggid of late eighteenth-century Mezhericz, Poland, taught that the Bible’s “inner essence is robed in stories, commandments, admonitions, and exhortations. Man’s limited powers of comprehension necessitate these particularizations.” In this light, I have studied the Bible and other religious texts to see where there are parallels with the mystic principles that are taught today by the spiritual masters in the Radha Soami line of mystics at Beas. Many of the interpretations I have offered are traditional and can be found in the writings of the Jewish mystics; others are my own interpretations, based on my perception of universal mystic truths. I do not pretend to be a scholar of Jewish mysticism or of any other form of mysticism. My purpose is simply to share my discovery of the commonality to be found in Judaism and the teachings of the saints. Historically, there is a great deal about Jewish mysticism that we still do not know. In recent years, researchers have unearthed the writings of many Jewish mystics that had been lost or hidden. The more we discover, the more we find similarities between Jewish mysticism and the mystic teachings of other religions. And thus many questions are raised about our assumptions and definitions of specific religions and definitions of the limits and borders of specific religions. What researchers and scholars are discovering today will probably prove to have great bearing on our understanding of Jewish mysticism as a whole.
|Introduction: Mysticism in Judaism||1|
|1||God, Soul, and Creation||21|
|The Soul and the Lord||21|
|The Ain-Sof aand the Sefirot||26|
|Substance of the Ain-Sof||31|
|Teachings of the Indian Saints||37|
|Cycles of Creation||41|
|The Return of the Soul||42|
|2||The Human Condition||44|
|The Story of Adam and Eve||44|
|Good and Evil||49|
|Karma and Reincarnation||51|
|Free Will and predestination||58|
|The ?Human Condition||61|
|State of the World||67|
|3||The Path Home||72|
|The One Lord||72|
|The One Path||75|
|The Lord is Within||77|
|The Barrier of Mind||80|
|4||The Name of God||89|
|The Holy Name of God||90|
|Prohibition on Pronouncing God’s Name||98|
|Word as Creator||100|
|Mystic Revelation of the Torah||105|
|Sound and Light of the Name||109|
|Fountain of Living Waters||112|
|Salvation and God-Realization||117|
|The Third Eye||130|
|Listening to the Sound||140|
|“The Path of the Names”||144|
|Dying While Living||149|
|Sound and Light Within||152|
|The Experiences of Moses||155|
|The Inner Journey||159|
|6||The Living Master||165|
|The Master and the Lord||165|
|Need for Living Master||169|
|Moses and the Prophets||181|
|The Master and the Disciple||187|
|Company of the Master||189|
|The Master’s Power and Protection||195|
|There Have Always Been Perfect Masters||200|
|What is a Genuine Master?||202|
|7||Rituals and Prayer||208|
|Symbols of Light and Sound||215|
|The Sabbath as Meditation||219|
|The Holy Land||221|
|Study of Scripture||224|
|8||The Way of Life||235|
|Four Basic Principles||240|
|The Vegetarian Diet||242|
|Abstention from Alcohol and Drugs||247|
|A Clean, Moral, and Honest Life||249|
|Remembrance, Association, and Service||253|
|Love and Longing||259|
|Addresses for Information and Books||315|
|Books on this Science||321|
9 June 2014
Letter to a Young Poet
I have sat down to write this letter several times but I have had to abandon it each time. Hopefully, this current attempt does justice to the intention. I believe the problem is that I have sensed, in your writing to me, a complexity that I rarely encounter. It is a joy to converse with someone with that level of apparent eclecticism and subtlety, but it is also more challenging when attempting to properly address the possibilities. Please, understand that I cannot cover, in one letter, all the things I would like to, or should, say in reply. We will need to let this unfold. Also, if I sound, at times, preachy or didactic, it is not intended as such. I try to share my perspective and my discoveries, but only for your consideration. I do not expect or want you to adopt anything I say without challenge. I simply want you to consider it and to see where it leads. Finally, just because I write something to you, does not mean that I presume you do not already know it. You are obviously an erudite and considered person, but I do not know what it is that you know. I can also learn from you.
I acknowledge your story. I want you to feel free to share whatever of your life you wish to or that you feel will explain whatever we may be discussing at any time. I am, however, focused on possibility. This exists now, and its uncovering projects it into the future. The story that we call our past has no possibility in it. Only now has possibility. The future will be the extension of the possibilities we uncover now. When the future arrives, it will also be “now” and will contain its own possibilities. This is the new that we must find for you.
We are, all of us, at once students and teachers. The conclusion I have reached about our earthly existence is that its purpose requires us to learn and to teach. We must learn what we have not yet understood, and we must teach what we have already realised. Not one of us is the same as another. We all have things to learn, and we all have things to teach. The purpose of this process is for us, individually and collectively, to evolve in consciousness until we transcend the human experience and burst through into the realm of reality where we fully realise our true identity. Everything here is for that purpose. There is nothing else going on here – only that. But it takes on many forms, and the process is progressive along a continuum. As we each progress along that continuum towards the goal, we become incrementally more capable of expressing reality in its beauty and perfection. But until we reach the final goal, our expression remains contaminated by conditioning and a sense of limitation – both of which are not true but appear to be so. We exist within our own consciousness only, filtered through the prism of the mind, and the contents of that mind produce the appearance we take to be reality. This, of course, is only a version of reality – one corrupted by the beliefs, anticipations, memories, fears and regrets that are the content of the mind. Put simply, the world we perceive is actually a projection of our minds onto the perfect reality that surrounds us. We seek perfection because we are born with the memory of it, and we inherently know that it lies before us, if only we could look without prejudice or desire. When we write, for instance, we are performing a spiritual practice, searching for the purest form of expression but never quite achieving it.
I have a sense that you probably already understand much of what I have just said to you. If not, we can discuss this further. It is the most important point to get in life, in my humble opinion. Without it, nothing else makes sense and we drift across the landscape seeking solutions while the truth lies at our feet waiting to be discovered.
The fact is that there is nothing actually to learn. What we must do is unlearn. We must unlearn all the values, conditions, limitations, structures and fears that have been inculcated into our sense of ourselves from the moment of our birth into this human condition. None of these is true. We have forgotten the truth about ourselves and replaced it with a tragedy – the tragedy of human earthly suffering. It is not necessary.
As my teacher said when he was here: “Heaven is the earth correctly understood.”
If we can even begin to understand what this means, we will abandon hope, and replace it with anticipation. This is the promise that has been stated by all the sages throughout human history. They have all told us that the only problem we have is that we have forgotten – and all we have to do is remember. Life in this world is a process of remembering. The sages have remembered, and they report what they have found. That is the opportunity presented to us in this life, the reason we are having this unbearable experience. We are forced to suffer only by our own ignorance. Suffering is not essential, but it is required as long as we persist in our ignorance. It is the prod used by Providence to direct our path away from the ineffectual towards truth.
We must wake in the dream. By this, I mean we must realise the truth about existence while still within this appearance of truth. We are having a nightmare, and as with all nightmares, there is nothing to do for it except simply to wake up. Then you see that it was just a dream. We do not fix the dream – we just wake up and see that it was a dream. People today still talk about going to Heaven or to Hell after one dies. The good news is maybe a little startling – we are already in Hell, this is it. One of the tricks about Hell is that there is no announcement that you are there. It is a devious state that lets you believe you are in some intermediate state called “life”. But where you are is Hell, now. The good news, also, is that Heaven is in the very same place. Your own consciousness determines which one you experience. It is a question of perception. This is the quest: To learn to see reality as it is, in all its perfection, thereby transforming Hell into Heaven. In that process, you will realise much about yourself, including your inherent perfection, abundance and joy. You will learn to see that all the limitations and fears, all the inadequacies and wants, are self-imposed through the contents of your mind. They are not real.
I offer all of the preceding words for your consideration. I do not know whether you agree with any of it, but please consider it and let the picture unfold as this conversation continues – assuming it does. You may have already decided that I am mad and you want nothing more to do with it. That’s alright too. I can only refer to my own research and contemplations for this information. I can, of course, categorically state that every sage has always said exactly this truth about us. This is the central teaching of all uncorrupted religions, of all spiritual doctrines and of all gurus, yogis, avatars and other mystics. It is the “pearl of great price”.
I say all this because it is necessary that I explain the foundations of my paradigm, as it stands at present, so that what I say in the future can be understood by you : a frame of reference, if you like. My life is based on this as the tenet of all tenets. I cannot speak from anything except what I currently take to be the closest thing I have to truth. But we still live in the world as we currently find it. So we must find a way of living until the truth is realised in our consciousness. We will get to that, I promise. In the mean time, please consider what I may be promising, or insinuating, and see where it could lead, if it were true. What does it say about our mundane lives and our perceptions of ourselves and the world, if there is any basis for what I have said above? It is worth considering.
I would like to offer one of my favourite reminders:
“Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot , full of sound and fury,
Human Beings are stories. There are seven billion stories in this world at the moment, all writing themselves and searching, often desperately, for endings. We all of us expect our tribulations to end once we find the solution or the key. Then we expect life, as it was meant to be, to start in earnest – an end to woe and the beginning of happiness. While we run around trying to find those endings, life happens to us – our story is written. When we look back over the landscape that we have traversed on this journey, we see what we call our past. It is the trail of words and feelings and anticipations, of actions and inactions, of hopes and regrets that we own as “our story”. This story is filled with events, reactions and opinions. We study it to see what we should believe about life, and we refer to it as evidence to support our warmly embraced personal paradigm. We are proud of it, or we are ashamed of it. It is used either as support for our self esteem or as ammunition for our self destruction. We take our story personally. It is our trail of glory or failure, of honour or dishonour that we have left in the dust of earthly existence. It points to our presence and activity. We know we exist because we have our story.
As a poet, of poetic sensibility, you are constantly writing to make sense of your existence and of the world that appears to surround and engulf you. You feel – and you attempt to express the truth of what you feel, like a painter uses a canvas and brushes to show what he perceives. But the expression always falls short of the truth. The truth that you feel can never be fully expressed through any form of language, be it words of prose, words of poetry, paint smears on a canvas or musical notes dancing in the air. Even the most ethereal and subtle forms of expression – even touching, smiling, eye contact or lovemaking – none of these can ever fully express the truth that you sense. We are always left feeling bereft and incomplete. This is because truth cannot be expressed. It can be hinted at. It can be pointed at. It can be insinuated, suggested and indicated. But it can not be expressed through modes of communication. Truth is an experience. In fact, it is more than that. Truth is existence itself. You can only be the truth. A flower does not communicate its qualities as a flower. It does not write a book about its flowerness. A flower simply is a flower. To appreciate a flower, you cannot hear about it, even if the greatest poet described it. You must see it, experience it first hand. Then you will understand the beauty of a flower. Then you will know what it is to smell its delicate perfume and gaze upon its glorious petals and subtle colouring.
Whilst ever we hold on to our stories, we cannot be the truth. We are, then, only a version of ourselves as told to us by the world. But we clutch our stories and protect them as if they were our very selves. We love them or despise them as if they were us. Our stories inform us as to who we seem to be and they determine who we will be tomorrow. We believe the stories as if they were true, as if they were concrete and existent in the present moment. They are just a memory having no presence in this moment except through mind. We fear that the future will bring more of the bad experiences and we hope that the future will contain more of the good experiences. Because of this, we are unable to let the future unfold as it might. We constrain tomorrow because we do not believe it. We refuse to see the unlimited potential of the next moment because we filter its possibilities through the contents of our minds, as dictated by our stories.
And yet, in reality, the stories are untrue. All our stories are untrue. They are the perceptions of a consciousness that has since moved on and changed. That earlier consciousness no longer exists. It has transformed into the consciousness that observes its world today and, however subtly, sees its world differently, thus precluding the repetition of those perceptions and, therefore, of that story. The story cannot come into the present. It died in the moment that it was created. Nothing ever actually happened. It happened in our experience, but experience is a perception. It is the layer of perception that we paint over reality. Reality is unchanging, perfect, harmonious and gentle. We do not experience it because we insist on the apparent truth of the conditioned view of reality that we have taken on as members of the collective human mind. We see and experience what we have been taught to see and experience – not what is actually there. Our heritage and our future, as consciousness, is to return to our original, pure state and to experience that which we actually are. This true identity remains in wait for us to uncover it. It is unblemished by our experience. It is as pure and good and perfect as it was at the beginning of time, and we will find it again one day – then we will recognise ourselves and be grateful for the reality of who we have always been. But we are that reality now. The possibility exists now. This is true about you in this moment. It is you that is preventing yourself from seeing who you really are because of what you have learned and experienced. You must unlearn.
Can you imagine yourself letting go of your story? Do you think you could ever see the story of your life so far as just a story? Is it possible to not take the story personally? Can you see the past as a perception that is no longer true? How can it be true? You are not what you were even yesterday, let alone five, ten or fifteen years ago. As we let go of the past, we free up our perception to more closely reflect the truth of the present moment. As we learn to unlearn, to release our presumptions about life, ourselves, the world and our relationship to all that is, we become free to see. We must strive to see what is, rather than what we have been taught. Nothing can be new as long as we hold onto what is old.
What the world thinks of us cannot be controlled by us. It will think what it chooses to think. We are who we are, and we can do that which we are suited to do and equipped to do. That is what we must pursue. The only opinion that is meaningful is your own. Act with integrity – act in a way that is consistent with your talents and potential, honestly and earnestly – and the rest is none of your business. Be the flower. Express by being. You are a poet. You channel the sensibilities that manifest as the writings of a poet. What more can you do than that? Write. Write some more. Then write, and write and write. Do not be concerned about the future or where the writing will go. Listen to the promptings of your heart. It will instruct you as you come to a crossroads. It is your silver cord connecting you to your soul, the resting place of your true identity. In listening to it, you will always be guided towards your proper destiny.
We do not know with the mind. The mind is the source of all our troubles. The mind contains what we call facts. These are not truths. Facts are collections of information about a world we do not understand and about the self we presume to be us. None of it is true. Its value is only relative to, and within the bounds of, the false perception that we take to be our lives. We can know only through our hearts. Knowing is not a process of intellection. Knowing is a feeling. It is this feeling that dictates our behaviour. We do not choose our holidays or our careers or our dinner based on a purely intellectual process. We do not think our decisions. Yes, we collect information, and process it with our minds, but in the final analysis our decision is made with our feeling. This is seated in the heart. That is where knowing comes from.
If you listen to your heart, you will find that it knows nothing of your story. The heart knows only possibility. It is unreasonable. It is irrational. It is non-linear. It contains potential that is in no way proportional to its effort. There are no limits, constraints or compromises in the heart. It has no fear or doubts. Fear and doubt are products of the mind. Life comes from the heart. All possibility resides in the heart. This must be your guide. This must be the only voice you hear, the only whisper for which you turn to listen. What does it say to you?
There is no geography in the heart. It knows nothing about circumstance or location. It carries the entire universe within itself. All manifestation has its origin in the heart. Do not confuse emotions with feeling that is felt in the heart. Emotions are of a different origin. Learn to see the difference. We react emotionally to our circumstances. Geography and our sense of being lost and far from home is emotional. The heart is never lost. It is home. By all means pursue comfortable and sympathetic surroundings, those which promote and sustain your creative impulses. But do not confuse that with your potential for creativity. That exists wherever you may physically be. Circumstance in no way impacts on the heart’s ability to guide you and to nurture you. You are always at home in your heart.
I know very well what you describe when you talk about home. You do not know where it is, but you desperately want to find it. I still seek it. I have done so for many years. But I know why I cannot find it. It does not exist in the physical universe. That impulse and yearning we feel that prompts us to search for our home, that makes us nostalgic for the home of our childhood, is actually the heart’s call to us to look for our true home. This lies in our consciousness and is reached through the heart. We will find it when we learn to unlearn sufficiently that we uncover the truth about ourselves. It is our true self calling out to us to come to it. It is waiting.
You are perfect. You are unblemished. You are pure. Nothing can change that. But if you cannot feel the truth of that, it might as well be a fiction. I know it is true. It is true about you, and it is true about me. It is true about all of us, and always has been, and always will be. But we need it to be our experience – we need to feel it as true. We cannot feel that as long as we insist on living in our story. It cannot be felt until we accept that which is always offered. We reject it because we have been taught the opposite. We believe rather than know, and what we believe is not true. So we must abandon our beliefs and find out for ourselves. We will find out by letting the moment unfold in its own way. We will find out by surrendering our cherished views, our fears and desires, and by being fully willing to see what is as it actually is – without interpretation or judgement. Then we will know who we are and what the world is. Then the world will curl up at your feet and the angels will whisper the words you need to write.
But I must bring this down to more specific, everyday considerations. What do we do if we take all that to be true? How do we live, and what do we think that would be consistent with the paradigm I have just outlined. Hopefully, you have not completely rejected my explanation, and even more hopefully, you can see some theme or essence that we can use as the main ingredient in living. So, how should we inform our mundane life to be in tune with this as the truth that powers all possibility?
We must extract the useful points that can be applied directly.
You are living in a world made up of your perceptions.
These perceptions are functions of your mind.
Your mind is a faculty of awareness but it contains all your beliefs.
Beliefs are untruths about the world and about yourself.
These beliefs were given to you.
Your beliefs create your perception of yourself and of the world.
You cannot see reality as it is because you filter it through your beliefs.
Reality is not a belief system. It is an experience. It is what is left when all beliefs have been purged.
Reality is perfect.
Reality is harmonious.
Reality is permanent.
Reality is gentle.
We must learn to see reality as it is. This occurs progressively, through unlearning.
We learn to see reality by unlearning what we believe – by not judging or desiring, but by being willing to just see.
You are that reality.
Therefore, you are perfect, unblemished and permanent.
The experience you have of life is the experience created by your mind which is contaminated by the beliefs you hold as true, as supported by your story.
Your story is not true because the consciousness that experienced that story no longer exists. It is not about you, now.
Your beliefs come from, and belong with, that story – in the past.
The past does not exist in the present, and therefore its facts do not apply.
Holding on to the story only continues the sense of limitation and imperfection that is represented by that story.
The present is only a possibility. It has not yet been written.
Limitations are not true. They are presumptions based on facts given to you by a world that is deluded and which you have incorrectly perceived.
You have no limitations.
You have nothing but possibility.
All of these points are true about you. You do not believe it. You are limited by your beliefs. I know this about you because you are a human being. You have yet to realise your true identity. When you do, you will smile.
You must act in spite of your limiting beliefs.
You are possibility.
That is what you are here to express. Choose your method and listen to your heart – that is all you need do.
The proof of all this will not come by thinking about it, or by waiting for evidence. It will come by seeing the result of acting as if it is true. We start in a small way, and progress from there.
First we commit to the outcome. Then the means will appear. We step into the void.
“Come to the edge, he said.
We are afraid, they replied.
Come to the edge, he said.
So, what do you want, specifically? Tell me, in detail, what you want and why you do not have it already. Tell me what you would like to have and do, and why you are not already there. Tell me your dearest dream, your worst fear and your greatest ambition. But look for all this in your heart. By all means list the objections that your mind will speak of. Tell me who your mind thinks you are, then listen while your heart tells you who you are. Can you hear a difference? Tell me about those differences.
If your life was exactly the way you feel it should be, what would it look like? Describe where it is, and how it works.
We will start there and find our way.
I know that what I have written appears highly hypothetical. It is not. It has been reported, not hypothesised, by all the sages that have awakened in this dream and remembered what they really are. They speak from direct experience, not doctrine, and when they speak of reality they are in that reality.
The importance of this is that, if it is true, surely we must use it to inform our lives, to direct our behaviour and to support our actions. We must break out of the shell that confines us by realising that the shell is of our own making. We can strive with confidence because the explorers have returned to tell us what we really are and of what we are capable. They have told us of our inherent perfection and of our unlimited possibilities. They tell us that reality is alive and powerful and embracing. They tell us that there is nothing in the universe but love. We are loved. We are complete. There is nothing we need. Nothing can hurt us. We are already that which we secretly hope is true, that which we dream of and strive to accomplish.
If we base our lives on this as truth, we may see outcomes that will surprise us. If we ignore it, of course, we will see nothing but continued limitation, failure and loneliness. We will continue to suffer as Providence nudges us towards reality, and we will continue to see that suffering as more evidence of the inherent ugliness and tragedy of life on earth. But if this is not necessary, if the above is true, do you want to ignore that, when the promise is that your suffering is not necessary?
It is worth thinking for a while about how this, if it is true, could impact on your life. Then experiment by acting as if it is true. The first step is to doubt – doubt everything you have ever been taught. Doubt everything you have ever experienced and the conclusions you have drawn from your experience. Doubt even what you see around you. Doubt your own story. Leave the story where it is and move forward free of the baggage of history, a free and unencumbered being willing to express truth and to see reality as it actually is. Nothing could be more practical. Nothing holds more potential for newness than the possibility that the next moment is entirely free of the moment before it.
Take this on board, and let it mull in your consciousness. See what effect it can have on your world view and, particularly, on your view of your self. Then listen to the true source of knowledge that is your heart. Act on its promptings without fear. Just see.
True change, true progress, does not come about through the continuation of old ways of being, or even from the supposed improvement of the old ways. True change requires a revolution of our sensibilities and a surrender to possibilities. We must turn our backs on the past so that we can see the future. If you can see your shadow, you are facing away from the sun. Turn and see the sun.
That is enough for now. I must abandon this letter or I will never send it to you. I will never be satisfied that I have properly expressed the ideas I want to share with you, but the reader must also make the effort to try to see what the writer is attempting to convey. Please do that. Please consider what this limited language is trying to indicate. If I wrote an entire book, it would still be inadequate to satisfy all objections to the presentation of this truth. But without the attempt, no progress can be made. I sincerely hope that you find a place for this. Then the conversation can continue.
Forgive me for the inadequacy of my words. Listen to your heart.
A friend (mfc)
“What does it mean to die? To give up everything. Death cuts you off with a very, very, very sharp razor from your attachments, from your gods, from your superstitions, from your desire for comfort, next life and so on. I am going to find out what death means because it is as important as living. So how can I find out, actually, not theoretically, what it means to die? I actually want to find out, as you want to find out. I am speaking for you, so don’t go to sleep. What does it mean to die? Put that question to yourself. While we are young, or when we are very old, this question is always there. It means to be totally free, to be totally unattached to everything that man has put together, or what you have put together, totally free. No attachments, no gods, no future, no past. You don’t see the beauty of it, the greatness of it, the extraordinary strength of it – while living to be dying. You understand what that means? While you are living, every moment you are dying, so that throughout life you are not attached to anything. That is what death means.”
– Krishnamurti, The Future is Now, Chapter 10
Meditation, along that quiet and deserted road, came like a soft rain over the hills; it came as easily and naturally as the coming night. There was no effort of any kind and no control with its concentrations and distractions; there was no order and pursuit; no denial or acceptance nor any continuity of memory in meditation. The brain was aware of its environment but quiet without response, uninfluenced but recognizing without responding. It was very quiet and words had faded with thought. There was that strange energy, call it by any other name, it has no importance whatsoever, deeply active, without object and purpose; it was creation, without the canvas and the marble, and destructive; it was not the thing of human brain, of expression and decay. It was not approachable, to be classified and analysed, and thought and feeling are not the instruments of its comprehension. It was completely unrelated to everything and totally alone in its vastness and immensity. And walking along that darkening road, there was the ecstasy of the impossible, not of achievement, arriving, success and all those immature demands and responses, but the aloneness of the impossible. The possible is mechanical and the impossible can be envisaged, tried and perhaps achieved which in turn becomes mechanical. But the ecstasy had no cause, no reason. It was simply there, not as an experience but as a fact, not to be accepted or denied, to be argued over and dissected. It was not a thing to be sought after for there is no path to it. Everything has to die for it to be, death, destruction which is love. A poor, worn-out labourer, in torn dirty clothes, was returning home with his bone-thin cow.
Krishnamurti – Krishnamurti’s Notebook, pag 161
The simple fact that the average person permits whatever desire for knowledge he may possess to be overborne by dislike arising from his superficial impression of philosophy or by a feeling of fear of the abstract itself unfits him to pursue such study. For there are certain cardinal characteristics required of every man before he can even be permitted to cross its very threshold. Nobody can hope to philosophise with profit who lacks seven psychological qualities. They are necessary because they represent the means whereby he may hope successfully to reach his end. An explorer who wishes to penetrate into difficult new territories, who will have to cross mountains, rivers and deserts on his journey, should, if he knows his business at all, first prepare for the expedition by obtaining a proper equipment. He who seeks to explore the hidden philosophy and penetrate into the new territory of truth must likewise look to the nature and quality of his own personal equipment before his mind may venture forth into an activity which is likely to try and test his capacity to the uttermost.
It is not anybody and everybody who can undertake such an expedition. Those who will fulfil the preliminary conditions can alone hope for final success. These conditions are not externally imposed but are inherent in the very nature of the apprehension of truth, and therefore their fulfillment is inexorable. Nor are they manufactured arbitrarily by any exacting teacher. They are imposed by Nature herself and accepted by long tradition. However, nobody need trouble himself with them unless he or she belongs to the earnest few who seek to know the ultimate secret of life at any cost. All other persons can comfortably ignore them and take their own time and ease in life. Emerson has well said : ” Take what thou wilt, but pay the price.” These words fit quite squarely at this point of our quest.
In the Western countries it has always been open for anyone to enter upon a philosophical study, but in Asia the aspirant was first required to show or acquire a modicum of suitable capacity for the task. Until both aptitude and attitude were acceptable he was regretfully refused instruction. It did not matter to the custodians of wisdom whether he held any religious faith or none, whether he was an atheist or a Christian or a Muslim, but it did matter that he should get psychologically fit. This difference is an important one and helps to account for the superior result and notable success obtained by the Asiatics. Fichte, however, must have caught a glimpse of the need for this disciplinary preparation, because he once said : “What kind of philosophy a man chooses depends ultimately upon the kind of man he is.” The successful assimilation of the higher truth will be in exact proportion to one’s personal qualification.
Dr. Paul Brunton – The Hidden Teaching Beyond Yoga, 1941 (Ch. V – The Philosophical Discipline)
If you are not embarrassed by who you were last year,
you are not learning enough.
Alain de Botton
All over the world human beings are degenerating to a greater or lesser extent. When pleasure, personal or collective, becomes the dominant interest in life—the pleasure of sex, the pleasure of asserting one’s own will, the pleasure of excitement, the pleasure of self-interest, the pleasure of power and status, the insistent demand to have one’s own pleasure fulfilled—there is degeneration. When human relationships become casual, based on pleasure, there is degeneration. When responsibility has lost its total meaning, when there is no care for another, or for the earth and the things of the sea, this disregard of heaven and earth is another form of degeneration. When there is hypocrisy in high places, when there is dishonesty in commerce, when lies are part of everyday speech, when there is the tyranny of the few, when only things predominate—there is the betrayal of all life. Then killing becomes the only language of life. When love is taken as pleasure, then man cuts himself off from beauty and the sacredness of life.
– Krishnamurti, Letters to the Schools vol I, p 83
It is to deny what the history of the world tells us is true, to suppose that men of ambition and talents will not continue to spring up amongst us. And when they do, they will as naturally seek the gratification of their ruling passion as others have done before them. The question then is, Can that gratification be found in supporting and maintaining an edifice that has been erected by others? Most certainly it cannot.
Many great and good men, sufficiently qualified for any task they should undertake, may ever be found whose ambition would aspire to nothing beyond a seat in Congress, a gubernatorial or a presidential chair; but such belong not to the family of the lion or the tribe of the eagle. What! think you these places would satisfy an Alexander, a Caesar, or a Napoleon? Never!
Towering genius disdains a beaten path. It seeks regions hitherto unexplored. It sees no distinction in adding story to story upon the monuments of fame erected to the memory of others. It denies that it is glory enough to serve under any chief. It scorns to tread in the footsteps of any predecessor, however illustrious. It thirsts and burns for distinction; and if possible, it will have it, whether at the expense of emancipating slaves or enslaving freemen.
Is it unreasonable, then, to expect that some man possessed of the loftiest genius, coupled with ambition sufficient to push it to its utmost stretch, will at some time spring up among us? And when such an one does, it will require the people to be united with each other, attached to the government and laws, and generally intelligent, to successfully frustrate his designs. Distinction will be his paramount object, and although he would as willingly, perhaps more so, acquire it by doing good as harm, yet, that opportunity being past, and nothing left to be done in the way of building up, he would set boldly to the task of pulling down.
We are facing a tremendous crisis; a crisis which the politicians can never solve because they are programmed to think in a particular way—nor can the scientists understand or solve the crisis; nor yet the business world, the world of money.
The turning point, the perceptive decision, the challenge, is not in politics, in religion, in the scientific world; it is in our consciousness. One has to understand the consciousness of mankind, which has brought us to this point.
– Krishnamurti, The Network of Thought, p 9
The Master Key System
– Charles Haanel 1916
1. When the scientists first put the Sun in the centre of the Solar System and sent the earth spinning around it, there was immense surprise and consternation. The whole idea was self-evidently false; nothing was more certain than the movement of the Sun across the sky, and anyone could see it descend behind the western hills and sink into the sea; scholars raged and scientists rejected the idea as absurd, yet the evidence has finally carried conviction in the minds of all.
2. We speak of a bell as a “sounding body,” yet we know that all the bell can do is to produce vibrations in the air. When these vibrations come at the rate of sixteen per second, they cause a sound to be heard in the mind. It is also possible for the mind to hear vibrations up to the rate of 38,000 vibrations per second. When the number increases beyond this, all is silence again; so that we know that the sound is not in the bell, it is in our own mind.
3. We speak and even think of the Sun as “giving light.” Yet we know it is simply giving forth energy which produces vibrations in the ether at the rate of four hundred trillion a second, causing what are termed light waves, so that we know that we call light is simply a form of energy and that the only light there is, is the sensation caused in the mind by the motion of the waves. When the number increases, the light changes in color, each change in colour being caused by shorter and more rapid vibrations; so that although we speak of the rose as being red, the grass as being green, or the sky as being blue, we know that the colors exist only in our minds, and are the sensations experienced by us as the result of the vibrations of light waves. When the vibrations are reduced below four hundred trillion a second, they no longer affect us as light, but we experience the sensation of heat. It is evident, therefore, that we cannot depend upon the evidence of the senses for our information concerning the realities of things; if we did we should believe that the sun moved, that the world was flat instead of round, that the stars were bits of light instead of vast suns.
4. The whole range then of the theory and practice of any system of metaphysics consists in knowing the Truth concerning yourself and the world in which you live; in knowing that in order to express harmony, you must think harmony; in order to express health you must think health; and in order to express abundance you must think abundance; to do this you must reverse the evidence of the senses.
5. When you come to know that every form of disease, sickness, lack and limitation are simply the result of wrong thinking, you will have come to know “the Truth which shall make you free.” You will see how mountains may be removed. If these mountains consist only of doubt, fear, distrust or other forms of discouragement, they are none the less real, and they need not only to be removed but to be “cast into the sea.”
6. Your real work consists in convincing yourself of the truth of these statements. When you have succeeded in doing this you will have no difficulty in thinking the truth, and as has been shown, the truth contains a vital principle and will manifest itself.
7. Those who heal diseases by mental methods have come to know this truth, they demonstrate it in their lives and the lives of others daily. They know that life, health and abundance are Omnipresent, filling all space, and they know that those who allow disease or lack of any kind to manifest, have as yet not come into an understanding of this great law.
8. As all conditions are thought creations and therefore entirely mental, disease and lack are simply mental conditions in which the person fails to perceive the truth; as soon as the error is removed, the condition is removed.
9. The method for removing this error is to go into the Silence and know the Truth; as all mind is one mind, you can do this for yourself or anyone else. If you have learned to form mental images of the conditions desired, this will be the easiest and quickest way to secure results; if not, results can be accomplished by argument, by the process of convincing yourself absolutely of the truth of your statement.
10. Remember, and this is one of the most difficult as well as most wonderful statements to grasp…. remember that no matter what the difficulty is, no matter where it is, no matter who is affected, you have no patient but yourself; you have nothing to do but to convince yourself of the truth which you desire to see manifested.
11. This is an exact scientific statement in accordance with every system of Metaphysics in existence, and no permanent results are ever secured in any other way.
12. Every form of concentration, forming Mental Images, Argument, and Autosuggestion are all simply methods by which you are enabled to realize the Truth.
13. If you desire to help someone, to destroy some form of lack, limitation or error, the correct method is not to think of the person whom you wish to help; the intention to help them is entirely sufficient, as this puts you in mental touch with the person. Then drive out of your own mind any belief of lack, limitation, disease, danger, difficulty or whatever the trouble might be. As soon as you have succeeded is doing this the result will have been accomplished, and the person will be free.
14. But remember that thought is creative and consequently every time you allow your thought to rest on any inharmonious condition, you must realize that such conditions are apparent only, they have no reality, that spirit is the only reality and it can never be less than perfect.
15. All thought is a form of energy, a rate of vibration, but a thought of the Truth is the highest rate of vibration known and consequently destroys every form of error in exactly the same way that light destroys darkness; no form of error can exist when the “Truth” appears, so that your entire mental work consists in coming into an understanding of the Truth. This will enable you to overcome every form of lack, limitation or disease of any kind.
16. We can get no understanding of the truth from the world without; the world without is relative only; Truth is absolute. We must therefore find it in the “world within.”
17. To train the mind to see Truth only is to express true conditions only, our ability to do this will be an indication as to the progress we are making.
18. The absolute truth is that the “I” is perfect and complete; the real “I” is spiritual and can therefore never be less than perfect; it can never have any lack, limitation, or disease. The flash of genius does not have origin in the molecular motion of the brain; it is inspired by the ego, the spiritual “I” which is one with the Universal Mind, and it is our ability to recognise this Unity which is the cause of all inspiration, all genius. These results are far reaching and have effect upon generations yet to come; they are the pillars of fire which mark the path that millions follow.
19. Truth is not the result of logical training or of experimentation, or even of observation; it is the product of a developed consciousness. Truth within a Caesar, manifests in a Caesar’s deportment, in his life and his action; his influence upon social forms and progress. Your life and your actions and your influence in the world will depend upon the degree of truth which you are enabled to perceive, for truth will not manifest in creeds, but in conduct.
20. Truth manifests in character, and the character of a man, should be the interpretation of his religion, or what to him is truth, and this will in turn be evidenced in the character of his possession. If a man complains of the drift of his fortune he is just as unjust to himself as if he should deny rational truth, though it stand patent and irrefutable.
21. Our environment and the innumerable circumstances and accidents of our lives already exist in the subconscious personality which attracts to itself the mental and physical material which is congenial to its nature. Thus our future being determined from our present, and if there should be apparent injustice in any feature or phase of our personal life, we must look within for the cause, try to discover the mental fact which is responsible for the outward manifestation.
22. It is this truth which makes you “free” and it is the conscious knowledge of this truth which will enable you to overcome every difficulty.
23. The conditions with which you meet in the world without are invariably the result of the conditions obtaining in the world within, therefore it follows with scientific accuracy that by holding the perfect ideal in mind you can bring about ideal conditions in your environment.
24. If you see only the incomplete, the imperfect, the relative, the limited, these conditions will manifest in your life; but if you train your mind to see and realise the spiritual ego, the “I” which is forever perfect and complete, harmonious; wholesome, and healthful conditions only will be manifested.
25. As thought is creative, and the truth is the highest and most perfect thought which anyone can think, it is self-evident that to think the truth is to create that which is true and it is again evident that when truth comes into being that which is false must cease to be.
26. The Universal Mind is the totality of all mind which is in existence. Spirit is Mind, because spirit is intelligent. The words are, therefore, synonymous.
27. The difficulty with which you have to contend is to realize that mind is not individual. It is omnipresent. It exists everywhere. In other words, there is no place where it is not. It is, therefore, Universal.
28. Men have, heretofore, generally used the word “God” to indicate this Universal, creative principle; but the word “God” does not convey the right meaning. Most people understand this word to mean something outside of themselves; while exactly the contrary is the fact. It is our very life. Without it we would be dead. We would cease to exist. The minute the spirit leaves the body, we are as nothing. Therefore, spirit is really, all there is of us.
29. Now, the only activity which the spirit possesses is the power to think. Therefore, thought must be creative, because spirit is creative. This creative power is impersonal and your ability to think is your ability to control it and make use of it for the benefit of yourself and others.
30. When the truth of this statement is realised, understood, and appreciated, you will have come into possession of the Master-Key, but remember that only those who are wise enough to understand, broad enough to weigh the evidence, firm enough to follow their own judgment, and strong enough to make the sacrifice exacted, may enter and partake.
31. This week, try to realise that this is truly a wonderful world in which we live, that you are a wonderful being that many are awakening to a knowledge of the Truth, and as fast as they awake and come into a knowledge of the “things which have been prepared for them” they, too, realise that “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man,” the splendors which exist for those who find themselves in the Promised Land. They have crossed the river of judgment and have arrived at the point of discrimination between the true and the false, and have found that all they ever willed or dreamed, was but a faint concept of the dazzling reality.
Though an inheritance of acres may be bequeathed, an inheritance of knowledge and wisdom cannot. The wealthy man may pay others for doing his work for him, but it is impossible to get his thinking done for him by another or to purchase any kind of self-culture.
– Charles Haanel 1916
It is my privilege to enclose herewith Part One of The Master Key System.
Would you bring into your life more power? Get the power consciousness. More
health? Get the health consciousness. More happiness? Get the happiness
consciousness. Live the spirit of these things until they become yours by right.
It will then become impossible to keep them from you. The things of the world
are fluid to a power within man by which he rules them.
You need not acquire this power. You already have it. But you want to understand it; you want to use it; you want to control it; you want to impregnate yourself with it, so that you can go forward and carry the world before you.
Day by day as you go on and on, as you gain momentum, as your inspiration
deepens, as your plans crystallize, as you gain understanding, you will come to
realize that this world is no dead pile of stones and timber, but that it is a living thing! It is made up of the beating hearts of humanity. It is a thing of life and beauty. It is evident that it requires understanding to work with material of this description, but those who come into this understanding, are inspired by a new light, a new force, they gain confidence and greater power each day, they realize their hopes and their dreams come true, life has a deeper, fuller, clearer meaning than before. And, now, Part One.
1. That much gathers more is true on every plane of existence and that loss leads to greater loss is equally true.
2. Mind is creative, and conditions, environment and all experiences in life are the result of our habitual or predominant mental attitude.
3. The attitude of mind necessarily depends upon what we think. Therefore, the secret of all power, all achievement and all possession depends upon our method of thinking.
4. This is true because we must “be” before we can “do,” and we can “do” only to the extent which we “are,” and what we “are” depends upon what we “think.”
5. We cannot express powers that we do not possess. The only way by which we may secure possession of power is to become conscious of power, and we can never become conscious of power until we learn that all power is from within.
6. There is a world within – a world of thought and feeling and power; of light and life and beauty and, although invisible, its forces are mighty.
7. The world within is governed by mind. When we discover this world we shall find the solution for every problem, the cause for every effect; and since the world within is subject to our control, all laws of power and possession are also within our control.
8. The world without is a reflection of the world within. What appears without is what has been found within. In the world within may be found infinite Wisdom, infinite Power, infinite Supply of all that is necessary, waiting for unfoldment, development and expression. If we recognize these potentialities in the world within they will take form in the world without.
9. Harmony in the world within will be reflected in the world without by harmonious conditions, agreeable surroundings, the best of everything. It is the foundation of health and a necessary essential to all greatness, all power, all attainment, all achievement and all success.
10. Harmony in the world within means the ability to control our thoughts, and to determine for ourselves how any experience is to affect us.
11. Harmony in the world within results in optimism and affluence; affluence within results in affluence without.
12. The world without reflects the circumstances and the conditions of the consciousness within.
13. If we find wisdom in the world within, we shall have the understanding to discern the marvelous possibilities that are latent in this world within, and we shall be given the power to make these possibilities manifest in the world without.
14. As we become conscious of the wisdom in the world within, we mentally take possession of this wisdom, and by taking mental possession we come into actual possession of the power and wisdom necessary to bring into manifestation the essentials necessary for our most complete and harmonious development.
15. The world within is the practical world in which the men and women of power generate courage, hope, enthusiasm, confidence, trust and faith, by which they are given the fine intelligence to see the vision and the practical skill to make the vision real.
16. Life is an unfoldment, not accretion. What comes to us in the world without is what we already possess in the world within.
17. All possession is based on consciousness. All gain is the result of an accumulative consciousness. All loss is the result of a scattering consciousness.
18. Mental efficiency is contingent upon harmony; discord means confusion; therefore, he who would acquire power must be in harmony with Natural Law.
19. We are related to the world without by the objective mind. The brain is the organ of this mind and the cerebro-spinal system of nerves puts us in conscious communication with every part of the body. This system of nerves responds to every sensation of light, heat, odor, sound and taste.
20. When this mind thinks correctly, when it understands the truth, when the thoughts sent through the cerebro-spinal nervous system to the body are constructive, these sensations are pleasant, harmonious.
21. The result is that we build strength, vitality and all constructive forces into our body, but it is through this same objective mind that all distress, sickness, lack, limitation and every form of discord and inharmony is admitted to our lives. It is therefore through the objective mind, by wrong thinking, that we are related to all destructive forces.
22. We are related to the world within by the subconscious mind. The solar plexus is the organ of this mind; the sympathetic system of nerves presides over all subjective sensations, such as joy, fear, love, emotion, respiration, imagination and all other subconscious phenomena. It is through the subconscious that we are connected with the Universal Mind and brought into relation with the Infinite constructive forces of the Universe.
23. It is the coordination of these two centers of our being, and the understanding of their functions, which is the great secret of life. With this knowledge we can bring the objective and subjective minds into conscious cooperation and thus coordinate the finite and the infinite. Our future is entirely within our own control. It is not at the mercy of any capricious or uncertain external power.
24. All agree that there is but one Principle or Consciousness pervading the entire Universe, occupying all space, and being essentially the same in kind at every point of its presence. It is all powerful, all wisdom and always present. All thoughts and things are within Itself. It is all in all.
25. There is but one consciousness in the universe able to think; and when it thinks, its thoughts become objective things to it. As this Consciousness is omnipresent, it must be present within every individual; each individual must be a manifestation of that Omnipotent, Omniscient and Omnipresent Consciousness.
26. As there is only one Consciousness in the Universe that is able to think it necessarily follows that your consciousness is identical with the Universal Consciousness, or, in other words, all mind is one mind. There is no dodging this conclusion.
27. The consciousness that focuses in your brain cells is the same consciousness which focuses in the brain cells of every other individual. Each individual is but the individualization of the Universal, the Cosmic Mind.
28. The Universal Mind is static or potential energy; it simply is; it can manifest only through the individual, and the individual can manifest only through the Universal. They are one.
29. The ability of the individual to think is his ability to act on the Universal and bring it into manifestation. Human consciousness consists only in the ability of man to think. Mind in itself is believed to be a subtle form of static energy, from which arises the activities called ‘thought,’ which is the dynamic phase of mind. Mind is static energy, thought is dynamic energy – the two phases of the same thing. Thought is therefore the vibratory force formed by converting static mind into dynamic mind.
30. As the sum of all attributes are contained in the Universal Mind, which is Omnipotent, Omniscient and Omnipresent, these attributes must be present at all times in their potential form in every individual. Therefore, when the individual thinks, the thought is compelled by its nature to embody itself in an objectivity or condition which will correspond with its origin.
31. Every thought therefore is a cause and every condition an effect; for this reason it is absolutely essential that you control your thoughts so as to bring forth only desirable conditions.
32. All power is from within, and is absolutely under your control; it comes through exact knowledge and by the voluntary exercises of exact principles.
33. It should be plain that when you acquire a thorough understanding of this law, and are able to control your thought processes, you can apply it to any condition; in other words, you will have come into conscious cooperation with Omnipotent law which is the fundamental basis of all things.
34. The Universal Mind is the life principle of every atom which is in existence; every atom is continually striving to manifest more life; all are intelligent, and all are seeking to carry out the purpose for which they were created.
35. A majority of mankind lives in the world without; few have found the world within, and yet it is the world within that makes the world without; it is therefore creative and everything which you find in your world without has been created by you in the world within.
36. This system will bring you into a realization of power which will be yours when you understand this relation between the world without and the world within. The world within is the cause, the world without the effect; to change the effect you must change the cause.
37. You will at once see that this is a radically new and different idea; most men try to change effects by working with effects. They fail to see that this is simply changing one form of distress for another. To remove discord, we must remove the cause, and this cause can be found only in the world within.
38. All growth is from within. This is evident in all nature. Every plant, every animal, every human is a living testimony to this great law, and the error of the ages is in looking for strength or power from without.
39. The world within is the Universal fountain of supply, and the world without is the outlet to the stream. Our ability to receive depends upon our recognition of this Universal Fountain, this Infinite Energy of which each individual is an outlet, and so is one with every other individual.
40. Recognition is a mental process, mental action is therefore the interaction of the individual upon the Universal Mind, and as the Universal Mind is the intelligence which pervades all space and animates all living things, this mental action and reaction is the law of causation, but the principle of causation does not obtain in the individual but in the Universal Mind. It is not an objective faculty but a subjective process, and the results are seen in an infinite variety of conditions and experiences.
41. In order to express life there must be mind; nothing can exist without mind. Everything which exists is some manifestation of this one basic substance from which and by which all things have been created and are continually being recreated.
42. We live in a fathomless sea of plastic mind substance. This substance is ever alive and active. It is sensitive to the highest degree. It takes form according to the mental demand. Thought forms the mold or matrix from which the substance expresses.
43. Remember that it is in the application alone that the value consists, and that a practical understanding of this law will substitute abundance for poverty, wisdom for ignorance, harmony for discord and freedom for tyranny, and certainly there can be no greater blessing than these from a material and social standpoint.
44. Now make the application: Select a room where you can be alone and undisturbed; sit erect, comfortably, but do not lounge; let your thoughts roam where they will but be perfectly still for from fifteen minutes to half an hour; continue this for three or four days or for a week until you secure full control of your physical being.
45. Many will find this extremely difficult; others will conquer with ease, but it is absolutely essential to secure complete control of the body before you are ready to progress. Next week you will receive instructions for the next step; in the meantime you must have mastered this one.
One writer has expressed the chief distinction between the two phases of mind thus:
Conscious mind is reasoning will.
Subconscious mind is instinctive desire,
the result of past reasoning will.
Charles Haanel – The Master Key System [Part 2 Para.15]
In the presence of nature, a wild delight runs through the man, in spite of real sorrows. Nature says, he is my creature, and maugre all his impertinent griefs, he shall be glad with me. Not the sun or the summer alone, but every hour and season yields its tribute of delight ; for every hour and change corresponds to and authorizes a different state of the mind, from breathless noon to grimmest midnight. Nature is a setting that fits equally well a comic or a mourning piece. In good health, the air is a cordial of incredible virtue. Crossing a bare common, in snow puddles, at twilight, under a clouded sky, without having in my thoughts any occurrence of special good fortune, I have enjoyed a perfect exhilaration. Almost I fear to think how glad I am. In the woods too, a man casts off his years, as the snake his slough, and at what period soever of life, is always a child. In the woods, is perpetual youth. Within these plantations of God, a decorum and sanctity reign, a perennial festival is dressed, and the guest sees not how he should tire of them in a thousand years. In the woods, we return to reason and faith. There I feel that nothing can befall me in life, no disgrace, no calamity, (leaving me my eyes,) which nature cannot repair. Standing on the bare ground, my head bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite space, all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eye-ball. I am nothing. I see all. The currents of the Universal Being circulate through me ; I am part or particle of God. The name of the nearest friend sounds then foreign and accidental. To be brothers, to be acquaintances, master or servant, is then a trifle and a disturbance. I am the lover of uncontained and immortal beauty. In the wilderness, I find something more dear and connate than in streets or villages. In the tranquil landscape, and especially in the distant line of the horizon, man beholds somewhat as beautiful as his own nature.
The greatest delight which the fields and woods minister, is the suggestion of an occult relation between man and the vegetable. I am not alone and unacknowledged. They nod to me and I to them. The waving of the boughs in the storm, is new to me and old. It takes me by surprise, and yet is not unknown. Its effect is like that of a higher thought or a better emotion coming over me, when I deemed I was thinking justly or doing right.
Yet it is certain that the power to produce this delight, does not reside in nature, but in man, or in a harmony of both. It is necessary to use these pleasures with great temperance. For, nature is not always tricked in holiday attire, but the same scene which yesterday breathed perfume and glittered as for the frolic of the nymphs, is overspread with melancholy today. Nature always wears the colors of the spirit. To a man laboring under calamity, the heat of his own fire hath sadness in it. Then, there is a kind of contempt of the landscape felt by him who has just lost by death a dear friend. The sky is less grand as it shuts down over less worth in the population.
Ralph Waldo Emerson – Nature, 1836 (his only book)
When you begin to perceive the evanescent nature of this world, when you begin to see that there can be no reality in that which ever changes, then only does life release you from her clutches of pleasure and pain, joy and sorrow. When you realise that life is a ceaseless dream, then alone will her mesmerising charm cease to grip you, then alone are you liberated from the prison-house of circumstance you have built around yourself. The scales fall from your eyes and you behold the truth: that you are spirit which cannot change, that you are spirit which cannot decay, that you are spirit which cannot die, that you are life eternal and omnipotent.
Selvarajan Yesudian: Self-Reliance Through Yoga – Thoughts and Aphorisms 1963/1975
It is impossible to know the results of your actions.
Ancient Chinese proverb.
Are you aware that you are conditioned? That is the first thing to ask yourself, not how to be free of your conditioning. You may never be free of it, and if you say, ‘I must be free of it’, you may fall into another trap of another form of conditioning. So are you aware that you are conditioned? Do you know that even when you look at a tree and say, ‘That is an oak tree’, or ‘that is a banyan tree’, the naming of the tree, which is botanical knowledge, has so conditioned your mind that the word comes between you and actually seeing the tree? To come in contact with the tree you have to put your hand on it and the word will not help you to touch it.
– Krishnamurti, Freedom from the Known,25
If a factory is torn down but the rationality which produced it is left standing, then that rationality will simply produce another factory. If a revolution destroys a government, but the systematic patterns of thought that produced that government are left intact, then those patterns will repeat themselves. . . . There’s so much talk about the system. And so little understanding.
—Robert Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
To every challenge there must obviously be a new response because today the problem is entirely different from what it was yesterday. Any problem is always new; it is undergoing transformation all the time. Each challenge demands a new response, and there can be no new response if the mind is not free. So freedom is at the beginning, not just at the end. Revolution must begin, surely, not at the social, cultural, or economic level, but at the highest level; and the discovery of the highest level is the problem -the discovery of it, not the acceptance of what is said to be the highest level. I don’t know if I am explaining myself clearly on this point. One can be told what is the highest level by some guru, some clever individual, and one can repeat what one has heard, but that process is not discovery; it is merely the acceptance of authority, and most of us accept authority because we are lazy. It has all been thought out, and we merely repeat it like a gramophone record. Now, I see the necessity of discovery because it is obvious that we have to create a totally different kind of culture -a culture not based on authority but on the discovery by each individual of what is true, and that discovery demands complete freedom. If a mind is held, however long its tether, it can only function within a fixed radius, and therefore it is not free. So what is important is to discover the highest level at which revolution can take place, and that demands great clarity of thought; it demands a good mind -not a phony mind which is repetitive, but a mind that is capable of hard thinking, of reasoning to the end, clearly, logically, sanely. One must have such a mind, and only then is it possible to go beyond.
– Krishnamurti, Collected Works, Vol. IX”,Social Responsibility
If one is really earnest in the sense that one is willing to go to the very end, then there must be this freedom -freedom from all nationalities, freedom from all dogma, ritual, beliefs. And apparently this is one of the most difficult things to do. You find in India people who have thought a great deal about these matters and yet they remain soaked in Hindu tradition. In the West they are immersed in the Catholic, Protestant, or Communist dogmas and so they cannot possibly break through. And if one is to have a different kind of life, a life at a different dimension, one must not only be free consciously from all this, but also deep down in the very roots of one’s being. Then only is one capable of really looking, seeing. Because to find reality the mind must be sane, healthy, highly intelligent, which means highly sensitive.
– Krishnamurti, Talks in Europe 1968, Social Responsibility
You work hard for your daily living, you spend years at the whole business of being bossed around in order to earn a livelihood, swallowing the insults, the discomforts, the indignity, the sycophancy. But to work so that the mind is free is much more arduous; it requires great insight, great comprehension, an extensive awareness in which the mind knows all its impediments, its blockages, its movements of self-deception, its fantasies, its illusions, its myths. Once the mind is free, it can begin to investigate, to search out, but for a mind to seek when it is not free has no meaning. Do you understand? The mind which would find truth, God, this extraordinary beauty and depth of life, the fullness of love, must first be free. It has no meaning for a mind that is shaped, conditioned, held within the boundaries of tradition, to say, ‘I am seeking truth, God.’ Such a mind is like a donkey tethered to a post: it cannot wander further than the length of its rope.
– Krishnamurti, Collected Works, Vol. X”,164,Individual and Society
The second kind of mentation, that is, “mentation by form”—through which, by the way, the exact meaning of all writing should be perceived and then assimilated after conscious confrontation with information previously acquired—is determined in people by the conditions of geographical locality, climate, time, and in general the whole environment in which they have arisen and in which their existence has flowed up to adulthood.
Thus, in the brains of people of different races living in different geographical localities under different conditions, there arise in regard to one and the same thing or idea quite different independent forms, which during the flow of associations evoke in their being a definite sensation giving rise to a definite picturing, and this picturing is expressed by some word or other that serves only for its outer subjective expression.
That is why each word for the same thing or idea almost always acquires for people of different geographical localities and races a quite specific and entirely different so to say “inner content.”
In other words, if in the “presence” of a man who has arisen and grown up in a given locality a certain “form” has been fixed as a result of specific local influences and impressions, this “form” evokes in him by association the sensation of a definite “inner content,” and consequently a definite picturing or concept, for the expression of which he uses some word that has become habitual and, as I said, subjective to him, but the hearer of that word—in whose being, owing to the different conditions of his arising and growth, a form with a different “inner content” has been fixed for the given word—will always perceive and infallibly understand that word in quite another sense.
This fact, by the way, can be clearly established by attentive and impartial observation during an exchange of opinions between persons belonging to different races or who arose and were formed in different geographical localities.
George Ivanovich Gurdjieff – Beezlebub’s Tales to His Grandson
‘If the light in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness’. It is the Christ within who is the First Initiator. The entrance to the Path is to be sought within, not without, for it is a state of exalted consciousness. But once that consciousness is attained, the Path is objective as well as subjective. Some teachers declare the Path to be entirely subjective, saying that the aim of initiation is the perfecting of man; others teach that initiation is an astral experience; while popular thought often believes than the man who seeks initiation will find it in some remote district behind high walls. None of these concepts contains the whole truth, but there is an element of truth in all of them. In order to attain to initiation the raising of consciousness to a degree higher than is common among the average of humanity is necessary Consciousness must not only transcend the five physical senses, but it must also transcend ordinary psychism if the experience which is connoted by the term initiation in these pages is to be achieved. Initiation is a spiritual, not an astral experience; the candidate shifts the focus of his consciousness from the personality the unit of incarnation, to the individuality, the immortal ego, or unit of evolution, and the consciousness of the individuality, being abstract, is able to apprehend the things of the spirit.
The initiate transfers the focus of his consciousness from the personality to the individuality, and therefore things which are hidden from the ordinary man are perceptible to him. He lives in an evolution, not in an incarnation, and consequently all his values are changed. He can see deeply into the realm of causes, perceiving events brewing on the inner planes long before they become manifest on the outer; therefore he has the gift of prophecy. Seeing causes, he can often control them; therefore he appears to have magical powers. Operating upon the higher planes, which act as controlling-levels to the lower planes, he can balance force against force by throwing his will into the scale, and so change the issue of events on the physical plane. These things it is which cause the initiate to be regarded as possessed of magical powers; but these powers are not of the nature of magic; the initiate achieves his ends by employing the powers of his higher self on the higher planes, even as does the wayfaring man whose prayer achieves an answer.
The Path which leads to initiation is the way of life which enables a man to rise above the desires and limitations of his personality and live in his higher self, and the experience of initiation is the transference of consciousness from the personality to the individuality.
A man sets foot upon the Path immediately he desires to do so. This is the first step, and a very simple one. But it is only by continuation of desire that he sets one foot before another, which is the treading of the Path. It is very few souls who maintain a sufficiently steadfast desire to enable them to make perceptible progress; but desire, steadily continued, will presently be found to have achieved the desired aim, and the candidate will be placed in possession of the necessary knowledge to enable him to make purposive progress and to direct his efforts to a definite end. It is for this reason that the Masters found and support such organizations as the Theosophical Society, the Anthroposophical Society, the Rosicrucian Fellowship, and many others, less well known but not less useful, and to all such, those who have seen the dawn should give their support out of gratitude for the light they have themselves received and in order that the Path may be made easier for others.
Through the books and lectures of such societies as these the candidate will learn that his dream has a foundation in fact, and that his inner urge is founded on a true instinct; they will give him a map of the Path, though no one but himself can tread it. From them he will learn of the origin of man as a divine potentiality, of his evolution through the sevenfold experiences of form, and of his ultimate transcendence of form in the development of the divine actuality; he will learn of the seven planes and the possibilities of those planes, and he will also learn of the existence of the Masters.
Having learnt of all these things, having as it were, acquired the theory of esoteric science, how is the candidate to translate that theory into practice? How is he personally to experience that of which he reads? He can achieve the perception of the astral plane by the use of autohypnosis and drugs; the method is simple, but the consequences are disastrous to the higher self. He can also bring the astral into manifestation on the physical plane by the use of magic. The knowledge of these methods, however, is carefully guarded and not easily obtained, neither may it safely be used by anyone except an Adept.
The way to attain personal knowledge of the higher worlds may easily be told, though it may not so easily be practised. The senses of the individuality can cognize these worlds; if therefore the higher aspects of man, the spiritual nature and the power of abstract thought, be cultivated until they have attained a considerable degree of development. and if the focus of consciousness be then shifted from the personality, the unit of incarnation, to the individuality, the unit of evolution, it will be found possible to further develop these aspects of the nature until the universe shall be apprehended in terms of abstract thought and spiritual intuition. The shift of the focus of consciousness is attained by shifting the focus of desire from the things of the senses to the things of the spirit. It is not enough that the will should be directed to a spiritual objective; a stage of development must be reached at which the spontaneous desires are also directed there. Many would-be initiates make the mistake of thinking that the will to initiation is sufficient, but this is not the case; the majority of the desires of the nature, both conscious and subconscious, must be turned away from the things of sense towards the things of spirit; and as the subconscious mind contains much that concerns the childhood of the race and tends towards matter in its densest forms, it is necessary to extend consciousness far into what is usually the territory of the subconsciousness in order to secure the assimilation of the instinctive desires to the aims of the spiritual nature.
In order to achieve this assimilation we must first know ourselves in our most primitive aspects, and then sublimate those aspects till they can be assimilated to the personality; for not until the personality has itself been integrated can it deliberately, of its own enlightened volition, seek the fulfilment of its life in the ideals of the individuality This is the apotheosis of the personality; it is for this that the hunger of the soul is for ever crying out, for it can find no satisfaction in the things of sense. Union with the divine aspect of the self, the God within, must precede awareness of the God of the Whole of which it is but a part. The spiritual level of man’s nature is but a circumscribed portion of the One Spirit, the All, the Noumenal aspect of manifestation. For that which is itself Noumenal, or an underlying actuality, there can be no satisfaction in that which is phenomenal, or of the nature of projected experience. The spark of the Divine Light, which is the nucleus of the reincarnating ego, or individuality must associate with its equals if it is to know companionship; the spiritual aspect of the herd instinct can only achieve satisfaction through union with Spirit; it has no abiding place in the world of phenomena, and if consciousness has ever been raised to the apprehension of spiritual realities apart from experiences in the world of form, it will never again accept anything as valid which has not a nucleus of such noumenal actuality. Such a reality, once experienced, bringing as it does, the complete satisfaction of life itself, not of any satiated appetite, forms the type of all future satisfaction and determines its validity. Should such an experience ever have taken place in the history of the incarnating ego, it will never be forgotten, but will be carried forward life after life and imprinted upon the subconsciousness of the personality, the unit of incarnation, until such time as evolution shall render it possible for that which is ultra-conscious to be made conscious.
The first initiation consists of the flash of cosmic consciousness wherein the ego sees with the eyes of the spirit instead of the eyes of the flesh. This is only achieved by exaltation of consciousness, and comes from within. But such an experience having been known, to reproduce it in any subsequent incarnation it is only necessary to link consciousness with subconsciousness by means of an association-chain in order to bring this particular aspect of subconscious content into conscious awareness. This is achieved by means of ritual initiation, and the symbolism of the ritual employed is designed to carry consciousness along the appropriate association-chain which shall end in the memory of the Light of Reality.
Ritual initiation can do no more than this, but it is sufficient; for in the Great Light, Masterhood is comprised. The developed psychic or fully trained magician may become an Adept upon all the planes of the cube of manifestation, but beyond lies something more, which has its affinities with that which, in relation to the solar universe, is unmanifest, being Cosmic. No one can be called an initiate who has not experienced cosmic consciousness. To pass through the degrees of the Greater Mysteries without it may mean no more than a psychic upheaval, the eyes being blinded by excess of light which consciousness possesses no symbol to interpret; on the other hand, the neophyte, if properly prepared, may see the Light behind the symbols and receive illumination.
If the preceding pages are to be understood, they must not be interpreted in their literal or verbal meaning. Those things which they are intended to describe have no words or images in the language to represent them. In order to arrive at their meaning the reader must interpret them by means of analogous experiences of his own. If he has no analogous experience, he will not receive the impression it is intended to convey, and will not unreasonably account these things foolishness. To such a one I can offer nothing; evolutionary time must do its work.
Dion Fortune – Esoteric Orders and Their Work, Ch. 14 (1928)
Relation of soul to God
What then is the relation between God and soul? The soul is an aspect of God, it exists only by His self-existence. The individual lives in God, by God and for God. Hence the soul can attain its highest truth by entire dependence upon the Divine who is its origin. Union with God is the object of its descent into the world of Ignorance. Complete self-surrender is the door that leads to this union in mind, life and body. Yet that unity does not preclude close yet different personal relations with the Divine. The relations of Father, Mother, Master, Friend or Lover do not contradict but fulfil the realisation of identity. The experience of difference in unity is a spiritual truth that is revealed by soul experience. By surrender we become identified with the Supreme Divine and his Divine Nature, yet we retain our individual existence. A difference in the soul personality remains even in the midst of the closest identity. That is a supreme mystery which can only be known by spiritual experience.
Process of Evolution
The evolution proceeds from the physical man who, living in the physical mind, attaches most importance to objective things and to his outer life. Next comes the vital man dominated by the vital mind and the ambition for affirmation and expansion of life-power. Lastly, we find the mental man who is guided by the pure mind of thought and intelligence. He is the poet, the thinker, the seer, the guide and leader of men. Finally, rising above the mind, man comes to possess the supramental consciousness by which he becomes aware of, enters into and finally unites himself with the Divine Reality. Evolution proceeds from matter through plant and animal to the physical man, vital man, mental man and spiritual man. Last comes the supramental man who is the perfection of the spiritual man.
The evolution of man is a movement of progress from lower to higher levels of consciousness. The highest level is the Supreme Sachchidananda or the Absolute that is the origin and support and reality of all existence. This divine Being becomes all and dwells in all that it manifests. Man is an eternal portion of the Sachchidananda and partakes of its Being, Consciousness, Energy and divine Delight; this is the ‘root principle’ of his existence. The soul in the universe has to become one with the divine Being, its divine Existence, Consciousness and Delight of Being. Its nature too must raise itself to the divine Nature by a gradual process of transformation. The outer self no less than the inner must be possessed of the Divine and at the same time possessed by Him and moved by his Divine Energy. The entire being should become a channel of expression of the Infinite and live and act in a complete self-giving and surrender.
But the individual lives, moves and has his being in his greater cosmic Self and Nature; so he must recover his unity with all individual beings and the whole universe. He finds that he is one with the cosmos and Nature, but he also realises that he is one with God, the Spirit that is manifest in the cosmos and the Lord of Nature. Lastly, the unity of God and Nature also becomes manifest to the individual. He discovers that it is the Spirit who has become all these becomings; he feels that it is the Shakti or Power of the Lord of all creation which is the Nature and is acting in the cosmos. This ‘triune knowledge’ of himself, of God and of Nature is the highest goal of human effort and labour. The conscious unity of the three – God, Self and Nature – in man’s own consciousness will be the summit of his spiritual evolution and the sure foundation of his divine perfection.
The consciousness of the One Divine in all, sarvam brahma, brings liberation from our ordinary limitation by the mental, vital and physical consciousness. The members of our being are released from their habitually narrow, petty and egoistic movements and they come to embrace calm, equality, wideness, universality, infinity. This liberation makes possible the ascent to the Supermind and the descent of its Power, which alone can transform mind, life and body for their highest divine perfection. For the goal of development is not only the fullness of inner consciousness but also the transformation of our outer nature into the divine Supernature. So there must be an evolution of the outer nature as well as an evolution of the inner being for an integral perfection of our personality. A spiritual completeness of the internal and external life is the sole object of man’s endeavour in his terrestrial existence. Sri Aurobindo says, “To find, know and possess the Divine existence, consciousness and nature and to live in it for the Divine is our true aim and the one perfection to which we must aspire.”
Tulsidas Chatterjee – Sri Aurobindo’s Integral Yoga 1961
MYSTICAL CONTEMPLATIONS – QUIETISM
By Paul Dunne
The most effective and advanced Esoteric techniques are free to access and easily acquired, if that is one knows how to find them. Often we already have the ability in a latent and undeveloped form, and once we find a technique or method that works, then we soon begin to develop the Unlimited capabilities of our Inner Self. Each of us is a Child of the Universe, holding within ourselves the potential to reach and manifest the Infinite. It is simply a case of the right keys open the right doors. We might also add here that one of these keys is perseverance with Mystical work, for our Inner abilities will develop steadily over time.
In the current age we live in, the Human Mind is being under developed and under utilised as our focus is ever upon a fast changing world. We are simply so busy trying to keep up with our mundane daily lives, that we are failing to find the Spiritual Contact with the Universal Stillness. We know instinctively that we are missing something very important in our lives, something that will bring us peace, self-fulfillment, self-empowerment and connection with the Forces of Universal Harmony. What we are in fact missing is the Still Point, which is a State of Mind in which the Human Being can access a blissful contact with the Eternal Cosmic Moment of Now that is the Bridge into awareness of Infinity. The Human Mind can be brought into harmonisation with the Cosmic Mind through techniques of Mystical Contemplation. One such technique is the practice of Quietism, and we shall look at its origins, history, purpose and use within this article. It is also hoped that this article will debunk and denude the notion that Mystical techniques are difficult to acquire or use – they are in fact Methods of Great Simplicity. Like the concept of the Tarot Fool, who is one that Knows Nothing, Nought, or has attained the Awareness of Point Zero Energy. The Tarot Fool epitomises the simplicity of the Supreme Mysteries.
How then might we define the term of Quietism? Also what exactly is it? These are very reasonable questions to ask, from those whom are new to the various forms of Mysticism.
Quietism is the finding and attainment of a state of mind that could be defined as Inner Peace and Tranquillity of the Mind, Perfect Calmness, Mental Inactivity, Indisturbance Indifference and Serenity.
The Mystical Meditation system that the Quietist, aims to cultivate consists in the controlled daily meditation practice which involves the withdrawal of the mind from normal worldly interests and anxieties, in order to attempt to develop and evolve an Inner Contact that is a passive and receptive form of Mystical contemplation with the Cosmos. To find the Still Point of Divine Harmony and Bliss of the Unity within All things. The techniques of Quietism are a withdrawn method of finding Self Harmonisation and contact with the Higher Divine side of the Human Being. Its practice requires little more than a comfy chair in a quiet room where one will not be disturbed during these personal and private Meditation sessions. Quietism, to coin a Cosmic Pun, is quite literally the finding of some very high quality “I TIME”, both the I that is our individualised self and the Cosmic I which stands for INFINITE. There are three III’s in the word Infinite and Three is the Number of the Mystical Triad. So in Mystical parlance I is a very powerful thing indeed, and we should disabuse ourselves of the notion that to take personal time out is in anyway selfish. Indeed finding our own space and I TIME is very important indeed within our overcrowded modern society.
To find the Inner Self, or I, we need to set aside some self time. Perhaps anything between 10 minutes and half an hour a day, upon which to develop techniques such as withdrawal into Quietism. A quiet and non-combative withdrawal from the hectic pressures of mundane daily life. A peaceful private rebellion. From the earliest days of childhood we have had impressed upon us that notion that we must not be selfish, hence even the idea and notion of taking a little time out in order to find personal space, may seem challenging and heretical to the lower psyche. It is a part of Mystical development to challenge the status quo of the conditions of the unenlightened lower self. In Mysticism one of the great goals is to become SELF-Ish. To develop the I into a fully awakened Cosmic Being that has full contact with the transpersonal Super-Consciousness. This of course does not mean neglecting friends, family, the day job or the daily grind of chores about the house that still have to be done. However, it is not really selfish at all to want to take half an hour a day out for our own Spiritual Development and SELF Healing. Our half an hour out each day is nought compared to the Universal Consciousness which has taken it’s own Higher Consciousness into the Eternal Still of the Limitless and Un-manifest. The Cosmic Divinity itself is SELF-Ish and we can learn to parallel this Highest Art within the development of our own Mystical Consciousness. If one cannot find a clear half hour during the day, then one can either rise slightly earlier in the morning before the rest of the household get up, or one can stay up half an hour later each night after the household retires to bed. Once a mediation pattern is set up then gradually we get used to having our daily fix, a bit like our 11.30am daily chocolate break, or lunchtime walk. Consciousness responds well to repetitive patterns.
Those of us with a naughty streak and wicked sense of humour may be interested to know that the origins of Quietism are from an heretical form of religious Mysticism that was founded by Miguel de Molinos, a 17th-century Priest in Spain. Quietism, again to coin a pun, quietly developed within the Roman Catholic Church in Spain and slowly spread outwards, finding especial prominence in France, where it became widely espoused by a very influential lady called Madame Jeanne Marie Bouvier Guyon who had been born at Montargis in April 1648.
Madam Guyon had come from a good line of parentage, but grew up to be a somewhat slightly troubled and neurotic child. Possibly this was due to her upbringing at a convent run boarding school, where it was said she had certain religious experiences, this is a psychological feature not uncommon of adolescents of this type. She was later befriended as a young woman by the Duchess of Bethune, until marrying the wealthy but much older Monsieur M. de Guyon. Her marriage lasted for twelve years, during which time she had three children, before her husband died leaving her a somewhat wealthy widow. During her widowhood she became friendly with a monk of weak character and failing mind, who was called Father Lacome. He taught her some of the ideals of Quietism and these teachings and doctrines fascinated and absorbed her. She travelled France with the monk spreading the exciting news about Quietism.
Madam Guyon promoted the somewhat esoteric doctrines of Quietism to the French aristocracy. Her greatest Coup d’etat was in winning the support of Madame de Maintenon, King Louis XIV’s wife, and she became a full convert. Another ally in this Dangerous set of Liaisons was her conversion of Archbishop Fénelon. Quietism spread like wild fire and this rather upset the less enlightened mundane authorities who were of course trying to maintain control of their mundane wealth and power. Quietism held the potential to upset the apple cart, as it offered personal empowerment and the opportunity to find Divinity within one’s self rather than in the exoteric church doctrines. Needless to say that a High Commission in France soon investigated and naturally found Madame Guyon’s written works and ideas to be intolerable. Typical of the Witch Finder type attitudes, in 1699 Pope Innocent XII issued orders that prohibited the circulation of Archbishop Fénelon’s book, entitled The Maxims of the Saints. In 1687, the Inquisition arrested nearly 300 Quietists.
Serious trouble had seemingly beset Madam Guyon’s Quietists revolution in 1686, when Father Lacome, along with so many of his fellow brethren in Italy and France, was arrested. He was sent to the Bastille and later remained a prisoner in Lourdes, where he died in 1715. Madam Guyon herself was arrested as a suspected heretic in 1688, and she was confined to a convent, but her old friend and ally the Duchess of Bethune secured her release later that year. Madam Guyon joined a school at St Cyr, run by a Madam Maintenon, and the school provided a relatively safe environment for her to continue teaching the doctrines of Quietism. Madam Guyon was one of those charismatic, charming and well educated people, and a woman ahead of her times. She soon endeared herself to an ever widening number of intellectual and deep thinking religious people. Her circle of contacts widened and Quietism again received some further publicity. However, when it came to light that Madam Guyon had been associated with Father Lacome, Madame Maintenon broke the friendship and requested that she leave the school. She was soon again receiving attention from the authorities, and she was taken before Bossuet the Bishop of Meaux who examined her and cautioned her to desist in her heretical teachings. Madam Guyon was not one to be told and continued openly as a Quietism activist and induced and encouraged others to do the same. The authorities grew intolerant and arrested her, she was sent to the Bastille and detained until 1703. During her imprisonment Fénelon was more or less coerced and forced to sign a recantation of his support for Madam Guyon’s work. He had to agree to disassociate himself from her, and was offered the carrot of becoming Archbishop of Cambric.
When finally released from imprisonment Madam Guyon went to live on her son’s estate at Blois. The French had now broadly come to regard her as something of a deluded eccentric, however, hundreds of English and German people still made pilgrimages to Blois, for some now viewed Madam Guyon as a Saintly personality. She undoubtedly suffered for her belief system, in a way that we today would find shocking and completely unacceptable. However, she also undoubtedly found Enlightenment upon her personal Quest. In her writings she coyly revealed that her Quest had not been in vain, and that the Silent Contemplation had brought her the Greatest Gifts. In her own words:
“My Spirit disenthralled became united with and lost in God, and this was so much the case, that I seemed to see and know God only, and not myself.”
Madam Guyon died on 9th June 1717. Apparently personally fulfilled and Enlightened, even though her mission was not fully delivered upon the Earth at that time. However, Mystical Quietism has survived in some forms and is as useful and useable today as it was in her own time.
The quintessential essence of the Art of Quietism is fundamentally that Self Perfection lies within the complete passivity of the Human Consciousness before the Still Point of Cosmic Consciousness. The Higher Consciousness of Universal Stillness thus floods into the Lower Consciousness bringing Supreme Bliss and Enlightened harmonised Being. Taken to a very advanced degree this form of Mystical Consciousness brings cessation of the lower self consciousness, and replaces it with Infinite Consciousness – the Bringing Down of the Cosmic Divinity into a Human Being. In the case of Madame Guyon’s tussles with the alleged earthly authorities, she maintained as her case for defence that she could not possibly sin, for sin was of the (lower) self, and she had rid herself of the (lower) self. These rather Esoteric Doctrines were out rightly condemned by Pope Innocent XI in 1687. A reaction to which the intelligent reader will draw their own conclusions. This Quietism was obviously feared for it was potent and powerful stuff that actually worked in applied practice. Hence the success of the phenomena of Quietism, so much so that this Heretical body of work was suppressed and banned. Forbidden Lore indeed. Yet really this is a rightful gift and inheritance for evolving Humanity, and Quietism could be compared to the Buddhist doctrine of the finding of Nirvana. Incidentally, the proceedings against remaining Quietists in France and Italy lasted until the eighteenth century. So it was not a flash in the pan phenomena, but a practice very highly valued by it’s own adherents.
In Quietism the Human Mind is withdrawn from lower worldly interests into a condition of receptive passively and stillness in which it becomes possible to constantly contemplate and channel a centralised and balanced condition of No-Thing that encompasses ALL-Things. The interconnected Higher / Inner Consciousness of the Cosmos. In it’s simplest form it begins with harmonisation of breathing – that is breathing in gently to the mental count of four, holding the breath for a mental count of two, then gently relinquishing the breath to the count of four, in repetition until there is a harmonised breathing pattern. Then it is a quiet rebellion of Stilling the Mind and attempting not to think or be distracted by the lower thought process, which will eventually be turned off in these Quietism Sessions. You cannot stop the chaotic lower level thought patterns by attempting to turn them off, instead you have to rather learn to dismiss and ignore them. Initially you develop an indifferent attitude to the intruding thoughts of the normal mundane lower consciousness. If thoughts keep intruding then just say to yourself “Yes, I will deal with that later” and keep enjoying the feeling of stillness and peace. Having not a care in the world. Simply you are CONTEMPLATING. In a State of Mind that is Contemplation itself. Contemplation of Nothing. Over time with practice this builds and develops into an indescribable state of Higher Awareness and at One-ment with the Universal Consciousness and increasingly feelings and senses of Higher Awareness awakens and grows into a very fulfilling Realisation. Then awakens our own Higher Potential, which accords with Point Zero Energy and is INFINITE. Those three III’s. This is a gradual working towards a realisation of the Supreme Enlightenment. Knowledge of that which is Unknowable, and which cannot be put into words on paper, for it is beyond Human Language, Number, Symbol or Archetype. It is perhaps best described as “0”.
The essence and ideals of Quietism may have been summed up almost fifteen hundred years before it’s 17th Century arrival. For Hierotheus, a convert of St Paul, said:
“To me, it seems right to speak without words, and to understand without knowledge, that which is above words and knowledge; this I apprehend to be nothing but the Mysterious Silence and Mystical Quiet which destroys consciousness and dissolves forms. Seek, therefore Silently and Mystically, the Perfect and Primitive Union with the Arch…”
Thus if we interpret aright what old Hierotheus was saying, we get the idea that the Human Mind of the Lower Consciousness deals with mere words and knowledge which gets in the way of forming a true Inner contact with the Highest levels of Cosmic Divinity. The Mysterious Silence is the Still Point known within Mystical Religions such as ZEN, which deal in subtle Mystery Teachings for the Highest level of Human attainment -Enlightenment. By achieving the Still Point we can therefore obliterate awareness of the lower consciousness that usually intrudes in a constant thinking babble, and we can dissolve the illusionary form type perception of physical reality, allowing for transcendent conditions to prevail. The Perfect and Primitive Union is something of a connection with the Primordial Consciousness that has spawned the manifestation of the Cosmos.
Quietism also seems to have evolved from a form of Mysticism practiced by the likes of St Teresa, and from St John of the Cross. They were about seeking the Inner Light of Truth, and their Spiritual Pathways were not about any intellectual quest for Truth. St Teresa taught the importance of Passivity and Silent Prayers. Later the Quietists came to know and believe that an hour practicing their Mystical Contemplations was of far more value than a lifetime of practicing good deeds. Although quite likely really good and great virtuous Divine Deeds could follow and flow forth from the practice of Mystical Quietism.
Quietism is a little known Esoteric branch of Mysticism. It is based upon personal Devotional Service to Humanity, and its adherents do not seek to change any one else’s established systems and principles of their own religion. The Quietist does not seek to criticise, nor offer opinions on the merits or faults of other organised groups of religion. The Quietist knows that little is changed by working outwards towards the exoteric systems, but understands that progress for all Humanity can be made through personal Inner Worlds workings. For to change yourself and to find a personal union with the Divine is to aid all Humanity upon the Path towards Enlightenment. The successful Quietist has succeeded in the Bringing Down of the Godhead into Humankind.
Madam Guyon in her own Words:
“All I had enjoyed before was only a peace, a gift of God, but now I received and possessed the God of peace.” (It was on July 22, 1680, that Madame Guyon experienced this Divine Ecstasy)
“A readiness for doing good was restored to me, greater than ever. It seemed to me all quite free and natural…”
“If one may judge of a good by the trouble which precedes it, I leave mine to be judged of by the sorrows I had undergone before my attaining it.”
Works About Madam Guyon:
Madam Jeanne Marie Bouvier de la Motte Guyon, from the Catholic Encyclopedia
Autobiography of Madam Guyon, from Digitized by Harry Plantinga
Madam Guyon, from The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge
Madam Jeanne Marie Bouvier de la Motte Guyon, from Didier Lebeau
Works By Madam Guyon:
Complete Poetical Works (Authoress of a section of this work)
Song of Solomon / Explanations and Reflections having Reference to The Interior Life
Short & Easy Method of Prayer
In all ages and among all races there has existed a tradition concerning certain esoteric schools or fraternities, wherein a secret wisdom unknown to the generality of mankind might be learnt, and to which admission was obtained by means of an initiation in which tests and ritual played their part. Whoever is familiar with the literature of folklore and anthropology knows that this belief exists among primitive peoples, from the Eskimos of the Arctic Circle to the Digger Indians of Tierra del Fuego. Whoever has also studied history knows that it has prevailed from the first dawn of human culture. Today, in the centres of the civilized world, this belief is still alive; and although it may be ridiculed by the orthodox-minded, an unprejudiced observer cannot fail to note that some of the noblest of men have been among its advocates, and that the greatest creative intelligences have, almost without exception, borne witness to a source of inspiration in the Unseen.
It is hard to believe that this rumour should be so widespread and so long-lived if it were entirely without foundation; moreover, the fact that it has the same form among races who have had no intercourse with each other, such as the primitive Mexican and primitive Egyptian, is a further evidence in favour of its truth. It is not possible to demonstrate to those who are without the pale the existence of the organizations to which we have referred, because with the revelations of their secrets comes the obligation of silence. It is permissible, however, to give sufficient information to enable the earnest seeker to discern the path whereby he may approach the entrance to one or another of these schools, and for that purpose the following teaching concerning the esoteric orders and their functions is placed before the reader, though the proofs of the statements therein contained must of necessity be withheld until he shall have entitled himself to receive them.
The different occult schools declare themselves to be the holders of a secret traditional science, communicated to them, in the first place, by divine founders, and enriched and revised from time to time by great teachers; this science concerns the study of the causes that lie behind observable phenomena and condition them. After preliminary tests as to character and fitness, the occult fraternities are prepared to communicate the theory of this science to accepted candidates, and subsequently to convey the powers for its practical use by means of ritual initiations. These, briefly, are the claims made for the occult schools by those competent to speak on their behalf.
It is very frequently, and very reasonably, asked why it is that societies avowedly formed for the service of humanity, and having such valuable teaching to give, should not freely communicate it to all corners; should not, moreover, conduct active propaganda work in order to induce people to come and share in their wisdom, and not, as they appear to be doing, hide themselves away as if seeking by every possible device to avoid observation and prevent themselves being discovered by those who would learn from them.
The answer to this question will be found when the nature of occult science is understood. It concerns certain little-known powers of the human mind and certain little-understood aspects of nature. Were its researches into these subjects purely theoretical there would be no need to guard their findings so carefully, but the knowledge of the facts thus discovered immediately reveals their practical applications; knowledge bestows power in this field of research, even more than in the fields explored by orthodox science, for the power thus rendered available is the power of the mind, and the effects of the use of this power are so far-reaching, whether for good or for evil, that it is a thing not lightly to be trusted into the hands of any human being, Just as the Dangerous Drugs Acts restrict the purchase and administration of potent drugs, so do those who are the custodians of this ancient traditional knowledge seek to safeguard its use. Being of so subtle a nature, it is impossible to guard it from abuse at the hands of the unscrupulous, and therefore its custodians do all in their power to prevent such persons from gaining access to it. Hence the restrictions with which its teaching is hedged about. But the restrictions are no more severe than those which attend the practice of medicine, for which a five years’ onerous apprenticeship is required. We are so accustomed, however, to see spiritual teaching freely given, to hear the call, ‘Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters of life and drink freely.’ that we cannot understand a policy which refuses any stream from this spring to those who are athirst. The reason lies in the fact, which cannot be too clearly understood by its would-be neophytes, that occult science is a mental, not a spiritual thing, and is neither good nor bad in itself, but only as it is used. It is potent for good or for evil; it can save souls which no other means could approach, and it can, even without evil intention, destroy them. It is no child’s play, and few there be who are suited to that path to the heights. Nevertheless, for such as can adventure it, here is a noble quest for the soul, a true crusade against the Powers of Darkness and spiritual wickedness in high places. In the hidden places of the world there is so much occult evil, little suspected by those who have not met it face to face, that men and women of courage, strength, and the necessary knowledge are needed to deal with it.
The training given in occult schools is designed to produce the adept, a human being who, by intensive training has raised himself or herself beyond the average development of humanity, and is dedicated to the service of God. Certain work in connection with evolution and the spiritual development and safeguarding of the nations is undertaken by highly-trained men and women, though their work is never seen and the place of their training is never known. Their actual training it may be said, is given on the Inner Planes, and only the preliminary training which fits them for the Inner Schools takes place on the physical planes. Consciousness is prepared for its Great Quest, and adventures alone into the Unseen.
Not much can be told concerning this training and not many are suitable for it, but enough has been said to give food for thought.
Esotericism, Occultism and Mysticism
Before embarking upon the study of the subject of this book, The Esoteric Orders and their Work, it is necessary to define the sense in which the term esotericism is used to include all aspects of super-physical science. To do this is a matter of some difficulty as it is a relative term, being used in contradistinction to exotericism. Esotericism begins where exotericism ends; and as the boundaries of exoteric science are always advancing so the boundaries of esotericism are always receding; that which was taught to the initiates of Egypt is taught to the schoolchildren of England. Reading, writing and arithmetic were once occult arts. So also are the profounder aspects of hypnosis, though some of its minor aspects have been rediscovered by exoteric scientists. As evolution advances, the average man becomes capable of that which once was only possible to the exceptional man. As the civilized man is to the savage, so is the adept to the average man. The powers of the civilized man appear miraculous to the savage because he does not know the laws to which they conform; but the civilized man knows only too well that he does not transcend the realm of law when he flies like a bird or heals the sick; he achieves his results by knowing certain natural laws and utilizing them, and so does the adept.
The individual savage may be capable of benefiting by education, or he may not; it depends upon his capacity The average man may be capable of benefiting by initiation, or he may not; it also depends upon his capacity; but each individual should have the opportunity of advancing to the highest development of which he is capable. A certain degree of evolution must be reached before initiation becomes operative; a student does not enter upon a postgraduate course until he has graduated. It is the function of exoteric religion to see to it that each member of the race reaches the normal standard of evolution; it has to seek the lost sheep and raise the submerged tenth. Until a man has learnt the lessons of his faith he is not ready for the lessons of initiation.
It is the function of the Lesser Mysteries to enable each individual admitted to their teaching to attain the highest degree of development of which he is capable. In the Lesser Mysteries are unfolded the latent capacities of man; but in the Greater Mysteries are unfolded the hidden capacities of nature. The Lesser Mysteries deal with the subjective sphere, the Greater Mysteries with the objective sphere, and the one is the essential preliminary to the other. It is not possible for a man to command the elemental essences of nature unless he is master of the elemental aspects of his own nature, for the powers within, if rebellious, will betray him to the powers without. Discipline must precede dominion. We operate upon that which is without by the corresponding aspect that is within. If the nature be not purified, it will make a mixed contact when it touches the Unseen. The operations of occultism are based upon the powers of the will and the imagination; both blind forces. Unless they are controlled and directed by a motive which has relation to the universe as a whole, no ultimate synthesis is possible. The personality must be universalized by the ideal at which it aims in order that it may function as an organized part of the cosmic whole. It is this urge towards universalization which is the ultimate hunger of the soul; the lesser self seeks to achieve it by drawing all things into itself in a rage of possession; the greater self seeks to achieve it by transcending the bounds of self and becoming one with the universe There are two unions to be achieved: the self may become one with the universe by means of universal sympathy—this is the goal of the occultist; the self may also be made one with the Creator of the universe by means of absolute devotion— this is the goal of the mystic. But the occultist, having achieved his own goal, has not yet made the ultimate integration, he has not yet passed from the manifested phenomenal aspect into the cosmic; and the mystic, having achieved his transcendent union, cannot hold it, but must lapse back into the phenomenal universe. The ultimate integration can only be achieved by means of universal sympathy and absolute devotion united in one nature. Into such a one all things are gathered by means of sympathy, and he is in his turn gathered into the All by means of devotion.
This is the ultimate aim of evolution for the manifested universe as a whole; and he who goes by the Way of Initiation does but anticipate evolution. It is the function of the Mysteries to assist the initiate to tread that section of the Path which has already been explored, but beyond lies a section that is known to no consciousness that is in a physical form; this section a man must tread alone with his Master; and beyond lies a section where a man is alone with his God.
Not in one incarnation can this be achieved. Three incarnations of absolute devotion without error may serve; but who is without error, and how far must we be upon the Path before absolute devotion is attained? We cannot step out of the march of evolution with one foot, into the Cosmic Light with the other; it takes many steps to tread the Path, and some of them slip and have to be retraced. The difficulties are emphasized because many embark lightheartedly upon this great and terrible venture, but the fruits of it are not minimized, for they transcend all that eye can see or heart can dream. Neither do we have to wait until the end of the journey before we begin to reap. Day by day the manna fell during all the journey through the wilderness, though Egypt had to be abandoned and the Red Sea over-passed before it appeared.
So in the great journey of the soul to the Promised Land, which is the Way of Initiation, the safety of human habitations has to be left, and the soul journeys houseless and alone into the wilderness and comes to the Red Sea; here it is that the weak turn back and return into slavery to make bricks without straw for which they receive no wages. But if the supreme test of the Red Sea is faced, the waves are parted by an unseen force and the traveller passes through dry-shod, with a wall of waters standing up on either hand; this is the test of faith, for by mundane law those waters should fall; it is only a higher law that keeps them back.
Then, the test being safely passed, though still in the wilderness, waters flow from the rock and manna falls daily, for though still in the world of sense, the traveller has come under the operation of a higher law.
Dion Fortune – Esoteric Orders and Their Work 1928
from “The Training and Work of an Initiate”.
The great majority of our fellow men are.willing to take the world as they find it, and so long as it does not treat them too hardly, they are content.” Others, however, question what lies behind the world as they see it, and until they learn the answer to that question, suffer from the divine discontent which has for ever urged men to “seek beyond the skyline, where the strange roads go down.” Most men are also inclined to take for granted the inevitableness of suffering, and unless they ‘are brought into personal contact with some flagrant case, or are themselves the victims, they offer no protest : others, however, seem to be so linked with the human race that they suffer with the suffering of humanity, and cannot accept happiness or peace for themselves while any are in grief or pain. In the older days such natures were few and far between; but now they are very many, and none who are observers of mankind can fail to be struck with this sense of fellowship with all things which is becoming increasingly common among us.
When we. consider these two types in relation to the problem of evolution we can see that they react to it differently, yet that the result of their attitude is fundamentally the same; the one type seeks to improve upon evolution by the application of science, so as to hasten the slow processes of Nature, the other seeks to lessen the suffering which the working out of Nature’s plan entails; and both seek knowledge in order that they may more efficiently serve their fellow-men.
If we study the lives and writings of these men and women who sought to know, not merely for the sake of the knowledge, but in order to apply that knowledge to the relief of human suffering, we shall be struck by the fact that these lives have many things in. common, factors which mark them off from the lives of eminent men of other types. They usually have from early childhood a sense of some work which they are to do; sooner or later they find this work, and never falter in their devotion to it ; and thirdly, whether they are agnostics or believers (we seldom find atheists in their ranks), they have a sense of being in contact with something higher than themselves which uses them as instruments for the service of their fellows; and we also see that these people, though often frail of body, possess an almost superhuman power of endurance when in the service of this power, and that they invariably ascribe their strength to a source outside themselves. We cannot fail to be struck by the fact that all these men and women, whatever may be the particular piece of work they are embarked upon, look upon life from the same standpoint, that of universal sympathy. We notice, moreover, if we observe them closely, that some, though not all, have tricks of phraseology in common, which indicates that they are familiar with some subject which has a terminology a little out of the ordinary, and that, although this subject is never directly referred to, its phraseology has influenced their literary style and unconsciously creeps into their writings.
We see then, that these workers for humanity had, one and all, community of character, and that some must also have had community of study. We also see that, one and all, they are no longer content to be borne along by the slow tide of natural evolution, but have commenced to swim. Self-consciousness has transcended the blind urge towards other things, and they dimly sense their goal, as it is said a thirsty horse will sense the presence of water afar off. And finally we notice that from afar off comes the response, and some power, such as material science takes no cognisance of, seems to co-operate with their efforts, to guide them in doubt and to support them in difficulties. The history of these individuals gives weight to the claim that this contact with something higher than themselves is no figment of an over-wrought imagination, for they achieved what men have seldom achieved, and with frail bodies endured what would have availed to break down the strongest.
What is this power that great souls contact? Esoteric tradition affirms that they take initiation of one kind or another ; for there are two kinds, physical and non-physical, which are usually taken together, though. some-times only one and not the other is experienced. The physical initiation admits to the study of the esoteric wisdom acquired by generations of men who sought beneath the surface of existence, who sought the inner meaning of things rather than their outer forms; it admits the student to the fellowship and confidence of these men, and disposes them to share their knowledge and to accept the initiate as a co-worker or pupil.
The second form of initiation is declared to be a spiritual experience, wherein the soul establishes contact with the higher powers and is admitted to the fellowship of great souls on the Inner Planes. Of these two forms of initiation, sometimes one and sometimes another comes first; some-times the physical, the lesser initiation, is the earlier, and the student is then taught how to prepare himself for the spiritual experience. In other cases it is the spiritual initiation that comes first, and then the student is shortly afterwards placed in the way of taking the physical initiation if he so desires; but esotericists are all agreed that, although. individuals may not necessarily take both initiations, the one always carries with it the opportunity for the. other.
How is it, we may ask ourselves, that any individual should come to step out of the march of evolution? We notice,. in the first place, that it is only men of advanced character who take this step. What is it that causes this abnormal development of character?
Esoteric science has its traditional explanation of this problem also. It begins by premising that the evolution in which we find ourselves taking part is not unique, but was preceded by other evolutions and will be succeeded by still others. It also declares that evolution is not a blind, mechanical, material process, explicable in terms of physics and chemistry, but.is essentially a mental process, a coming into manifestation, the embodying in a concrete form of an idea in the Divine Mind. Esoteric science further declares that the subjects of this evolution can bear a part and aid in the work, for as soon as we become conscious of an idea that the Divine Mind is expressing, we ourselves are expressing it, we have given it a concrete form and embodied it in our lives, and so have ourselves taken up the work of evolution; we are consciously co-operating with God; for it is seldom that anyone who has achieved to the realisation of the greater purpose remains passive; this great idea fructifies within him so vigorously that he is compelled to colonise mentally; as a vigorous nation colonises physically.
We take spiritual initiation when we become conscious of the Divine within us, and thereby contact the Divine without us.
It is well known that like attracts like, and that sooner or later we tend to drift into the society of our fellows. Especially is this true of those who have contacted the Divine; the great mental currents which play through the cosmos, just as the invisible magnetic currents play round the earth, bear him to his appropriate place. This is why esoteric science never goes out to seek its pupils ;it knows that its pupils will come to it. We never see the occult lodges advertised on the hoardings, but we do feel the setting in of a current in men’s minds.
What are the ways whereby a man reaches the point when he is ripe for this deep spiritual experience? We have seen that it is a particular type of character that takes initiation; how is that character acquired? Esoteric science gives the explanation under the doctrine of reincarnation, the theory that the immortal soul takes many bodies, acquiring experience and character-growth in each, discarding each as its use is fulfilled and taking a new one for new work. Esoteric science always thinks in terms of an evolution, whereas the ordinary man thinks in terms of an incarnation, a single life; this difference of view-point fundamentally influences their attitude towards life; to the one, death is the end of all; to the other it is the end of a phase. To the one it is a cataclysm; to the other a sunset.
If, in the course of the long ages of evolution a soul shows the educability and the capacity to profit by the fruits of experience beyond its fellows, those great Intelligences. the product of earlier evolutions, who are consciously co-operating with the Divine Mind in concreting the abstract idea of good-just as we ourselves do when we become self-conscious of the Divine-these Intelligences pick that individual out from the generality of his fellows and give him special tuition, not for his own benefit, but because they see in him a future co-worker. The more of these co-workers with the Divine there are to leaven the inert mass of evolving life, the quicker and smoother will be the progress of evolution. Esoteric tradition declares that as soon as a mind is sufficiently advanced to be able to grasp its significance, it is made aware of the esoteric theory of evolution, so that, knowing the plan, it may be able to co-operate with the work. But long before the individual is ripe for the conscious realisation of this great task, his mind is being schooled and prepared in readiness; this training goes on for several incarnations before the realisation of the process to which he is being submitted works through into consciousness and the individual takes up the work on his own account.
If the record of the past lives of such an individual be recovered by means of certain methods known to esoteric science, the process of training can be plainly seen; the lives show a distinct type of experience; their course is much more adventurous than that of their fellows; into a few short lives are packed many adventures. Their training also is harder; but with the heavier burden there is also the greater strength. Life by life, this concentration of experience goes forward till the individual is finally brought in touch with the chance of physical initiation, usually into some minor degree, yet into a position which acts as a: starting-point of opportunity. One is struck, in looking over these records, by the fact that the individual frequently becomes attached to a temple or some other centre of esoteric knowledge in a menial capacity, as a cleaner, a craftsman, or one employed in the routine of the ritual. The inner teaching never seems to be given on the occasion of the first contact with esotericism ; the ritual, the outer form, is the first thing with which we make our acquaintance. But enough is seen to arouse curiosity, and if a mind can once be stimulated to ask a question, it proves its readiness for the answer.
If we trace the record of this individual, we see him advancing and receding as the waves of the sea according to the use made of opportunities, but if he is to make good and become one of the greater initiates, advancing steadily through all set-backs, as does the tide, and working his way gradually into the deeper knowledge. In incarnation after incarnation taking his initiation into the Mysteries of his time and race, and using the experiences gained in each life as a starting-place for the next. It.is interesting to note that what is acquired is never lost; capacity remains although memory disappears ; that which has been learnt is stored in the sub-conscious mind and goes to the formation of character. In each life we quickly recapitulate the progress we have made in previous lives till we come to the point where we left off, then we begin the laborious process of acquiring the new. This fact accounts for the. rapid progress made by some, while others slowly toil their way up ; but let it be remembered that the piece of road over which we so painfully struggle to-day, we shall rapidly recapitulate when the to-morrow of a new incarnation dawns.
Let us now consider what happens in our present life if we have followed this road in the past. To begin with, we recapitulate; as soon as we begin to think for ourselves, we arrive at the mental state we were in when we left off. Though we have not yet got the actual data on which to base our opinions, yet we find our minds possessed by certain foregone conclusions, which, to those who do not look upon things from our point of view, seem to be reasonless prejudices. and yet which are so much a part of our. deeper selves that no evidence or argument serves to move them ;we know, in the same way that we know we have hands and feet, because this knowledge has been ground into us by centuries of experience, and the pressure of a single life is insufficient to force us out of these deep· scored ruts. Thus it is that a man can go through life finding no sympathy or support for his views and yet remain unshaken; but sooner or later, though it may not be until the point of death, he will be drawn into the company of his fellows.
These ideas seem to be inherent in the mind, so early are they recovered; and every scrap of information bearing on the subject sticks in the memory as if. it were endowed with some peculiar fascination of its own; we all no doubt recall the. reading of many novels the memory of whose plots has completely passed away. and yet some chance reference to the Mysteries has stayed in the mind. All studies of this nature come easy to the student, for he is in reality not learning anew but revising; he is not introducing ideas into his mind for the first time, but recalling to consciousness that which is lying dormant in the sub-conscious mind. It seems as if much of our sub-conscious mind. carried on from incarnation to incarnation, it is the conscious mind only that. we build again with each life.
The student will often recover from his sub-consciousness many memories of things he has learnt in the past, and these he may be inclined to look upon as of the nature of revelations. so foreign are they to his normal consciousness; it is unlikely, however. that the student at this stage of his career would be reading from the ” Akashic Records,” he is much more likely to be exploring the depths of his own sub-conscious mind, whose wealth is far greater than he suspected.
This tapping of the sub-consciousness may be mistaken by the student for external aid and teaching, and because this. error is common it must not be thought that such aid is never available; it is indeed ever present and its avail-ability depends solely upon our power to avail ourselves of it.
External aid always comes to the student who has advanced sufficiently far to be benefited by it, and many will relate how apparent chance played into their hands so repeatedly that they could no longer look upon it as unmotived. It must be remembered however, in this connection. that the power of the mind over circumstances is very great, and we must not make the mistake of looking without until we have looked within. We can, moreover, do much to bring about that which we desire by realising the power of the mind. The potency of a clearly-formulated. and long-continued wish is difficult to overrate.
So the earnest desire goes forth in search of the Master, and it has not far to seek. If the student is worthy he will presently be rewarded either by the inner knowledge that he has achieved this mental contact, or he will find that “chance” has placed him in touch with a source of occult information and training, and his conscious. work has commenced. The gate is open, it is for him to tread the Path.
Dion Fortune – “The Training and Work of an Initiate”, Ch 2
Chapter 1 of “The Training and Work of an Initiate”
There has always been a widespread belief that some men know more than others, and that instead of sharing certain aspects of their knowledge with their fellowmen, as they were willing, nay eager, to do with certain other aspects of it, they kept them sedulously to themselves, or communicated them only to a chosen few, whom they either bound to inviolable secrecy, or permitted to impart the knowledge in their tum only to those who were prepared to assume the same obligations and who were judged worthy to receive this great privilege. This tradition meets us in the literature of all peoples in all periods of their history, and we find the belief generally held that these secret doctrines concern the inner nature of man and the universe, the aspect that is not observable by the direct action of the five physical senses, but for whose perception the higher senses have to be brought into play. Further, it was generally believed that a large portion of the secret teaching was concerned with the training of its students to use these higher senses for the purpose of observation, as the student of the physical sciences is trained in laboratory technique and the use of the microscope. It was also held that occult science had its practical aspect, and that the knowledge of its laws conferred power in the subtler worlds, just as knowledge of natural laws conferred power in the dense physical world.
That this knowledge was carefully guarded by those who were its custodians was also recognised, and throughout the ages the same reason for their caution was assigned; that in the wrong hands this power, if abused, could produce serious harm, because men had no right to make use of it for any personal end, since it was derived from the Great Author of the Universe. The men who held it were trustees and not owners, and might not appropriate this sacred power to their own uses without being guilty of a crime against their God and their fellow-men; and we have many traditions of the swift and heavy punishment which befell those who thus offended, either at the hands of their fellow-initiates, or of the higher powers against whom they had sinned.
It was also held, however, that although this knowledge was kept so secret that none knew where were its colleges, its libraries, or its students, yet if a man by his character and his life rendered himself a’ worthy recipient, sooner or later he was brought in contact with those who were competent to instruct him, and then he also passed under the ban of secrecy.
Literature and history bear universal testimony to the existence of this belief among all people in a:ll ages; many times has this belief been expressed, and as many times contradicted, only to be reasserted in each succeeding generation. That there can be no smoke without fire, and especially such a large volume of smoke as we see here, will be acknowledged by most people, and that this knowledge and method of training do actually exist as an organised system can be vouched for by many who have encountered them at first hand.
As of old, it is declared that it is only necessary for the student to fit himself for this knowledge for the mysterious currents that play upon the universe to bring him in contact with those who can enlighten him, and many can vouch from personal experience that this belief is well founded. Whosoever formulates, even sub-consciously, a wish to study the higher knowledge, will be given the opportunity to do so. Life by life, he will be given the training necessary to fit him for its study, until finally, if, through all the hard discipline to which he has been subjected, it has still maintained its place in his esteem as the one thing worth while, this sub-conscious wish will work through into consciousness; that which was formless will become articulate, and the man will deliberately take up the quest of the evidence of things not seen.
What, then, can a man do so to cultivate his mind as to be ready for this higher knowledge when it shall come to him? What can he do by way of preliminary training, working as a solitary student, to fit himself for the reception of the knowledge he desires? The student who is not grounded in the elements cannot understand the advanced teaching, he who has no knowledge of arithmetic cannot grasp mathematics. “Earn the means first, God surely will contrive use for our earning,” said one who himself had trodden the path of knowledge. What can the student do who has not yet found his Master – though many lives before his Master must have found him, or he would not have attained the articulation of his wish. What can he do to make the utmost use of the material that lies to his hand, so that, when the time of his training shall come, there may be nothing left undone that could have been done before, and his progress may be unimpeded by the absence of that: necessary ground-work of mental culture which it was in his power to lay while as yet he was without the gate? Much time is wasted in teaching a man what he ought to have learnt in the schoolroom in order to enable him to grasp. the import of the knowledge of which his initiation makes him free.
It is true that, although glorious glimpses are caught by the intuition unaided by the intellect, much more is lost from. sheer inability on the part of the student to grasp the significance of his opportunity.. Infinite things can be perceived by the spiritual intuition,but unless the intellect be fitted to co-operate, these things can seldom be rendered of practical avail for the solution of world-problems. The mystic has his moments of ecstatic emotion during which he reaches great. heights, hut he is seldom able to bring back water from the wells of life for those he has left behind. It is only when each vehicle of consciousness in man is in perfect correlation that the current of inspiration can flow through him and be translated into manifestation in the physical world in which we are living to-day; and while a man can learn great things and store them in his sub-conscious mind, it is only during the life in which he has learnt to correlate his vehicles so that he can bring the spiritual through into manifestation, that he. can be of service to his fellow-men.
I would, therefore, urge those who desire the higher knowledge to set immediately about the task of correlating their vehicles of consciousness, and especially the mental one, so that when the higher knowledge is revealed to them they may act as links between that which is above and their fellow-men who as yet stand upon a lower step of the great stair. I would urge them, if they need any spur to this effort, to remember how much it would have meant to them, when they themselves stood upon that self-same step, had the help which it will be in their power to give been available. No effort after development is wasted, even if he who strives seems to lose sight of his goal and turn aside. It is the passage of many feet that widens the path for the multitude; we, in our day, will never have to face such trials as did the earlier initiates who broke the way for us.
With regard to the practical consideration of the problems involved in this correlation of the vehicles of consciousness, it is important that the student should think of his vehicles as something separate from himself, as tools which he uses to carry out his work; for this purpose he sharpens and cares for them, and the higher the level upon which he can accustom himself to function, the better start he will have when his opportunity presents itself. Few enlightened people identify themselves with their physical bodies, but many can live in their emotions; some can think freely and coherently upon concrete subjects, but only a few. can reason in terms of the abstract, and only one or two in a generation can experience the intuitions of the spiritual plane in such a way as to be able to think in terms of inceptive and unmanifest thought. The initiates of the occult sciences are taught to function upon these different levels, to use a terminology derived from the East; or, to express the same idea in Western words, to think in these different ways. Before we are ripe for a Master’s teaching we have to conquer the physical and emotional levels for ourselves, for to this stage the normal state of evolution enables us to develop without any external interference. We must render the body an absolute servant which has no longer the power to make its needs imperative; it is to this end that much of the extreme asceticism of the Yoga methods of India is directed. We of the West, however. do not practise these methods; it is enough that the body should be rendered a voluntary collaborator and not an abject slave, Turn a man’s desires there; as a great Initiate said: “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.”
The emotions must flow freely, without conflict or distortion, in the channels which Nature has appointed for them before they can be lifted to a higher level. You cannot sublimate a pathology.
The direction of the energies of life must be removed from the domain of the desires to that of the will. Until this is done there can be no steady progression in any direction, for the desires are called forth from without, not directed from within, and vary with the external stimulus.
Let us now consider the culture of the mind in preparation for occult training. It must be remembered that there are two distinct levels of the mind, the region of concrete thought and the region of abstract thought, and each of these requires culture. To a man who is accustomed to think in nothing but concrete forms, the abstract appears meaningless when first he comes in contact with it. Its terms evoke no corresponding image in his consciousness, but are just so many words to him, and it is necessary to habituate the mind to think in ideas instead of images. One of the readiest ways to do this is the study of algebra, for here the mind is forced into an elementary type of abstract thought and acquires the habit of thinking of proportions apart from things. From this point advance may be made to the study of philosophy and metaphysics, and a good introduction to this study is Herbert Spencer’s First Principles.
With regard to the level of concrete thinking, we can do much by way of preparation for the higher training. The field before us is wide, so wide that it would be difficult to extend our studies beyond the bounds of usefulness. The larger the sphere of our knowledge, the more numerous are our points of contact with the cosmos.
The student who wishes to acquire knowledge direct from the Cosmic Mind proceeds in much the same way as a patient who is submitting to psycho-analysis, only in this case his attention is directed outward and not inward. He starts with an idea in his own mind, and follows the chain of associated ideas till he reaches the root-complex in the Cosmic Consciousness. So it will be seen. clearly that unless he has a starting-point in his own consciousness, some clear-cut idea fairly intimately connected with the subject of study, he cannot begin to wind in the links of the association chain and so draw the root-complex within the field of his consciousness.
The good occult student should have a sound general knowledge of natural science, history, mathematics and philosophy. He cannot, naturally, have a thorough know-ledge of all these subjects, but he should know their out-lines; he should be familiar with the principles of all the sciences and know the methods of philosophy. Then, when he acquires special knowledge, he will be able to see it in relation to the cosmic scheme of which it forms a part, and hence will know it in a very different way from the man who perceives it apart from its environment. The one has the living plant in the garden under his observation, the other has the dried specimen in the herbarium. The relativity of knowledge has long been realised, but the unity of knowledge has not yet received justice. Although a man can only excel by specialisation, it is essential that he should have a background against which he can see his knowledge in perspective.
For the occult student there is another reason for this framework of general information; in seeking to study by contacting the Cosmic Mind he will often gain access to a mass of miscellaneous ideas, but will frequently let slip a piece of priceless information for lack of realisation of its worth; or bewildered by an unfamiliar terminology, he may not grasp the import of what he is learning.
The professors of a university are not willing to ground students in the elements of knowledge that belong to the schoolroom, and when the student wishes to undertake the higher studies of esoteric science, he should come as completely equipped as exoteric studies can make him.
Dion Fortune – “The Training and Work of an Initiate”, Chapter 1
Obviously the present crisis throughout the world is exceptional, without precedent. There have been crises of varying types at different periods throughout history – social, national, political. Crises come and go; economic recessions, depressions, come, get modified, and continue in a different form. We know that; we are familiar with that process. Surely the present crisis is different, is it not? It is different first because we are dealing not with money nor with tangible things but with ideas. The crisis is exceptional because it is in the field of ideation. We are quarreling with ideas, we are justifying murder; everywhere in the world we are justifying murder as a means to a righteous end, which in itself is unprecedented. Before, evil was recognized to be evil, murder was recognized to be murder, but now murder is a means to achieve a noble result. Murder, whether of one person or of a group of people, is justified, because the murderer, or the group that the murderer represent, justifies it as a means of achieving a result that will be beneficial to man. That is, we sacrifice the present for the future, and it does not matter what means we employ as long as our declared purpose is to produce a result that we say will be beneficial to man. Therefore, the implication is that a wrong means will produce a right end and you justify the wrong means through ideation. We have a magnificent structure of ideas to justify evil and surely that is unprecedented. Evil is evil; it cannot bring about good. War is not a means to peace.
– Krishnamurti, J. Krishnamurti, The Book of Life
We all want to become something: a pacifist, a war hero, a millionaire, a virtuous man, or what you will. The very desire to become involves conflict, and that conflict produces war. There is peace only when there is no desire to become something, and that is the only true state because in that state alone there is creation, there is reality. But that is completely foreign to the whole structure of society, which is the projection of yourself. You worship success. Your god is success, the giver of titles, degrees, position, and authority. There is a constant battle within yourself, the struggle to achieve what you want. You never have a peaceful moment, there is never peace in your heart because you are always striving to become something, to progress. Do not be misled by the word progress. Mechanical things progress, but thought can never progress except in terms of its own becoming.
– Krishnamurti, The Collected Works, Vol. VI,”,196
It is one of the fallacious concepts that man is free. Of course, man is free to choose, but when he chooses he is already in confusion. When you see something very clearly, then you do not choose. Please look at this fact in yourselves. When you see something very clearly, where is the necessity of choice? There is no choice. It is only a confused mind that chooses, that says, ‘This is right, this is wrong, I must do this because it is right,’ and so on, not a clear precise mind that sees directly. For such a mind there is no choice. You see, we say that we choose and therefore we are free. That is one of the absurdities we have invented, but we are not basically free at all. We are conditioned, and it requires an enormous understanding of this conditioning to be free.
– Krishnamurti, Collected Works, Vol. XVII”,270,Individual and Society
Organized religion, organized belief, and totalitarian states are very similar because they all want to destroy the individual through compulsion, through propaganda, through various forms of coercion. The organized religion does the same thing, only in a different way. There, you must accept, you must believe, you are conditioned. The whole tendency both of the left and of the so-called spiritual organizations is to mold the mind to a particular pattern of conduct because the individual left to himself becomes a rebel. So, the individual is destroyed through compulsion, through propaganda, and is controlled, dominated, for the sake of the society, for the sake of the state and so on. The so-called religious organizations do the same, only a little more suspiciously, a little more subtly, because, there too, people must believe, must repress, must control, and all the rest of it. The whole process is to dominate the self in one form or another. Through compulsion, collective action is sought. That is what most organizations want, whether they be economic organizations or religious. They want collective action, which means that the individual should be destroyed. Ultimately, it can only mean that. You accept the Left, the Marxist theory or the Hindu, Buddhist or the Christian doctrines, and thereby you hope to bring about collective action.
– Krishnamurti, Collected Works, Vol. VI”,279,Individual and Society
When we cast a glance around us, we find ourselves in a heterogeneous world with a keen struggle for life raging on all sides. All try to stay on here as long as they can and make their stay as pleasurable as possible. With most of us, this has become the very aim of our earthly existence. Our thought is solely riveted to this present life; it seldom goes beyond to know what lies on the other side. Instead of probing deep to the ultimate reality, we remain satisfied with phenomena or appearance. But if we would not be driven blindly, we must pause to reflect on ourselves and try to find out what we are and where we are going. There are several pressing problems which meet us on the very threshold of consciousness and demand a solution.
Professor Lekh Raj Puri: “Mysticism: The Spiritual Path” 1938 p3 (Opening paragraph of Ch 1)
And of all the habits, death is surely the most obstinate.
The Mother (partner of Sri Aurobindo)
It is only when the mind is free from idea that there can be experiencing.
Ideas are not truth; and truth is something that must be experienced directly, from moment to moment. It is not an experience which you want, which is then merely sensation.
Only when one can go beyond the bundle of ideas, which is the ‘me’, which is the mind, which has a partial or complete continuity, only when one can go beyond that, when thought is completely silent, is there a state of experiencing.
Then one shall know what truth is.
– Krishnamurti, J. Krishnamurti, The Book of Life
There is a root from which all knowledge has emerged. Humanity has many names for it; we call it Gnosis.
gnosis (-g·no·sis): From Greek γνῶσις. Knowledge.
The higher meaning of Gnosis is knowledge from experience, especially experience of divinity or that which is beyond the five senses. The word Gnosis does not refer to knowledge that we are told or believe in. Gnosis is conscious, experiential knowledge, not merely intellectual or conceptual knowledge, belief, or theory. This term is synonymous with the Hebrew דעת “da’ath” and the Sanskrit “jna.”
Gnosis can also refer to the tradition that embodies the core wisdom or knowledge of humanity, although in the physical world it has not been known by that name, but instead has adopted varying appearances according to culture, time, and place.
The Greek word Gnosis (γνῶσις) implies a type of knowledge that is derived from experience, and encompasses the whole of a person. That is, it is genuine knowledge of the truth. Reality, truth, does not fit neatly into a concept, dogma, or theory, thus genuine Gnosis must also be something that one must experience. Personal experience is not transmissible in conceptual terms; a concept is merely an idea, and experience is far more than an idea. In other words, real Gnosis is an experience that defies conceptualization, belief, or any attempt to convey it. To understand it, one must experience it. This is why real spirituality is based on one’s own effort to experience the truth, and the method to reach that experience is primarily practical.
Without knowing yourself, do what you will, there cannot possibly be the state of meditation. I mean by “self-knowing,” knowing every thought, every mood, every word, every feeling; knowing the activity of your mind – not knowing the supreme self, the big self; there is no such thing; the higher self, the Atman, is still within the field of thought. Thought is the result of your conditioning, thought is the response of your memory, ancestral or immediate. And merely to try to meditate without first establishing deeply, irrevocably, that virtue which comes about through self-knowing, is utterly deceptive and absolutely useless.
Please, it is very important for those who are serious to understand this. Because if you cannot do that, your meditation and actual living are divorced, are apart – so wide apart that though you may meditate, taking postures indefinitely, for the rest of your life, you will not see beyond your nose; any posture you take, anything that you do, will have no meaning whatsoever.
It is important to understand what this self-knowing is, just to be aware, without any choice, of the “me” which has its source in a bundle of memories – just to be conscious of it without interpretation, merely to observe the movement of the mind. But that observation is prevented when you are merely accumulating through observation – what to do, what not to do, what to achieve, what not to achieve; if you do that, you put an end to the living process of the movement of the mind as the self.
That is, I have to observe and see the fact, the actual, the what is. If I approach it with an idea, with an opinion – such as “I must not,” or “I must,” which are the responses of memory – then the movement of what is is hindered, is blocked; and therefore, there is no learning.
The transformation of the world is brought about by the transformation of oneself, because the self is the product and a part of the total process of human existence. To transform oneself, self-knowledge is essential; without knowing what you are, there is no basis for right thought, and without knowing yourself there cannot be transformation. One must know oneself as one is, not as one wishes to be, which is merely an ideal and therefore fictitious, unreal; it is only that which is that can be transformed, not that which you wish to be. To know oneself as one is requires an extraordinary alertness of mind, because what is is constantly undergoing transformation, change; and to follow it swiftly the mind must not be tethered to any particular dogma or belief, to any particular pattern of action. If you would follow anything, it is no good being tethered. To know yourself, there must be the awareness, the alertness of mind in which there is freedom from all beliefs, from all idealization, because beliefs and ideals only give you a color, perverting true perception. If you want to know what you are, you cannot imagine or have belief in something which you are not. If I am greedy, envious, violent, merely having an ideal of non-violence, of non-greed, is of little value. The understanding of what you are, whatever it be -ugly or beautiful, wicked or mischievous- the understanding of what you are, without distortion, is the beginning of virtue. Virtue is essential, for it gives freedom.
The capacities by which we can gain insights into higher worlds lie dormant within each one of us. Mystics, gnostics, and theosophists have always spoken of a world of soul and spirit that is as real to them as the world we can see with our eyes and touch with our hands. Listening to them, we can say to ourselves at every moment: “I know that I, too, can experience what they talk about, if only I unfold certain forces within me that today still lie dormant there.” All we need to know is how to begin to develop these faculties for ourselves. Only those who have already developed such powers for themselves can help us to do this. From the beginning of the human race, a form of schooling has always existed in which persons possessing higher faculties guide those who seek to develop these faculties for themselves. Such schooling is called esoteric or mystery schooling; and the instruction one receives there is called esoteric or occult teaching. By their very nature, these terms invite misunderstanding. Hearing them, we might easily be led to believe that those who provide this kind of schooling wish to form a privileged class of human beings who arbitrarily withhold their knowledge from their fellows. We might even think that perhaps there is nothing much to this kind of knowledge. Were it genuine knowledge, we are tempted to think, there would be no need to make a secret of it; it could be made public and its benefits shared by all.
Those initiated into the nature of esoteric knowledge are not in the least surprised that the uninitiated should think like this. After all, the secret of initiation can be understood only by those who have themselves, to some degree, undergone initiation into the higher mysteries of existence. How, we may well wonder, under these conditions, are the uninitiated to develop any human interest whatsoever in this socalled occult knowledge? Why and how should one seek for something of whose nature one can have no clear idea? Such questions are based on a completely false idea of the nature of esoteric knowledge. In actuality, esoteric or inner knowledge is no different from other kinds of human knowledge and ability. It is a mystery for the average person only to the extent that writing is a mystery for those who have not yet learned to write. Just as, given the right teaching methods, anyone can learn to write, so too anyone can become a student of esoteric knowledge, and, yes, even a teacher of it, if he or she follows the appropriate path. Ordinary knowledge and ability differ from esoteric knowledge in one respect only. A person may not have the possibility of learning to write because of the cultural conditions or poverty he or she is born into, but no one who seeks sincerely will find any barriers to achieving knowledge and abilities in the higher worlds.
Many people believe that they must seek out masters of higher knowledge wherever such masters may be found in order to receive teachings from them. There is a twofold truth to this. On the one hand, if our aspiration to higher knowledge is sincere, we will certainly spare no effort and avoid no obstacle in our quest for an initiate able to lead us into the higher mysteries of the world. On the other hand, we can be certain that, if our striving for knowledge is sincere and worthy, initiation will find us whatever the circumstances. There is a universal law among initiates that the knowledge due a seeker cannot be withheld. But there is also another universal law that esoteric knowledge may not be imparted to anyone not qualified to receive it. The more perfect the initiate, the more strictly these two laws are observed. The spiritual bond uniting all initiates is not an outward one, but the two laws just mentioned are what hold its members together. You may live in close friendship with one who has been initiated, but until you yourself have been initiated something will always separate you from that initiate’s inmost being. You may enjoy an initiate’s full heart and love, but the initiate will not share the secret with you until you are ready. You may flatter, you may torment, but nothing will induce the initiate to betray anything that should not be divulged to you if, at the present stage of your development, you do not yet understand how to prepare a proper welcome for this secret in your soul.
Quite specific methods prepare us to receive such secrets. Their course is traced out with indelible, eternal letters in the spiritual worlds where initiates preserve the higher secrets. In ancient, prehistoric times, the temples of the spirit were outwardly visible, but today, when our life has become so unspiritual, they no longer exist where we can see them with our physical eyes. Yet spiritually they are still present everywhere, and whoever seeks can find them.
Only within our own souls can one find the means of opening an initiate’s mouth. But before one can receive the highest treasures of the spirit, one must develop definite inner qualities to a specific high degree.
Fields of the soul, battlefields,
of voracious appetites and obsessions!
The voluptuousness of passions
dominates kings and monarchs.
An unrestrained passion silences
like a storm, the harmonic songs
of the nightingale, and with strong intentions
in the sands of pleasure one gets stranded.
The body is a boat sailing over a furious sea
that is headed by the colossus Spirit:
the Spirit floats, whereas the boat is sunk.
This is the law for those who are called and chosen:
whoever quiets the rage of the senses,
also quiets the rage of life.
Quoted in “Samael Aun Weor: The Absolute Man”
All belief is credulity.
The only valid stages of knowledge are uncertainty, certainty and the transitional stage of inclination.
If one knows then one is certain. This can only come about through direct personal experience.
If one does not know then one is uncertain. However, in this state one may be inclined towards a particular view or possibility of truth. Then one continues to pursue and investigate that until it becomes certainly true through direct knowledge of its truth, or it becomes certainly untrue.
While in the transitional state of inclination, one is giving greater weight to the possibility towards which one is inclined. Then the only valid course of action is to follow the advice and example of those who are certain of that possibility. They provide the guidance that may lead to knowledge.
But one has to arrive at certainty through one’s own experience of truth. One cannot have certainty through reports of the certainty of others. That is only belief, and is always the product of credulity.
Further, there is no trustworthy standard by which we can separate the “real” from the “unreal” aspects of phenomena. Such standards as exist are conventional: and correspond to convenience, not to truth. It is no argument to say that most men see the world in much the same way, and that this “way” is the true standard of reality: though for practical purposes we have agreed that sanity consists in sharing the hallucinations of our neighbours. Those who are honest with themselves know that this “sharing” is at best incomplete. By the voluntary adoption of a new conception of the universe, the fitting of a new alphabet to the old Morse code — a proceeding which we call the acquirement of knowledge — we can and do change to a marked extent our way of seeing things: building up new worlds from old sense impressions, and transmuting objects more easily and thoroughly than any magician. “Eyes and ears,” said Heracleitus, “are bad witnesses to those who have barbarian souls”: and even those whose souls are civilized tend to see and hear all things through a temperament. In one and the same sky the poet may discover the habitation of angels, whilst the sailor sees only a promise of dirty weather ahead. Hence, artist and surgeon, Christian and rationalist, pessimist and optimist, do actually and truly live in different and mutually exclusive worlds, not only of thought but also of perception. Only the happy circumstance that our ordinary speech is conventional, not realistic, permits us to conceal from one another the unique and lonely world in which each lives. Now and then an artist is born, terribly articulate, foolishly truthful, who insists on “Speaking as he saw.” Then other men, lapped warmly in their artificial universe, agree that he is mad: or, at the very best, an “extraordinarily imaginative fellow.”
Moreover, even this unique world of the individual is not permanent. Each of us, as we grow and change, works incessantly and involuntarily at the re-making of our sensual universe. We behold at any specific moment not “that which is,” but “that which we are”, and personality undergoes many readjustments in the course of its passage from birth through maturity to death. The mind which seeks the Real, then, in this shifting and subjective “natural” world is of necessity thrown back on itself: on images and concepts which owe more to the “seer” than to the “seen.” But Reality must be real for all, once they have found it: must exist “in itself” upon a plane of being unconditioned by the perceiving mind. Only thus can it satisfy that mind’s most vital instinct, most sacred passion — its “instinct for the Absolute,” its passion for truth.