For each one of us, esoteric studies start precisely with the study of the content, structure, and functioning of the Personality. The personality is an organism. As such, it has a structure. But we miss this structure because we neither know8 nor study it. Our attention is constantly being held by exterior facts and events, and by the mechanical reactions which they provoke within us. The first attempts at internal observation have already led us to distinguish three foci of mental life, represented by the three centers (Fig. 4)
Let us define accurately the mental functions of the three centers:
He must pass through a serious bankruptcy and a moral collapse,both of
which he must constate and accept without seeking to patch them over.10
It is only then that we start to search, and only then that we discover the
reasons for working on ourselves, and only then do we acquire the necessary
strength to do so. This is true for all the world. There is only one
exception: that of the just, for whom such work is a joy; as they are just, it is
not necessary for them to constate such a bankruptcy
In fact, there are not many ofthem, but only three basic types.
These types are distinguished by the preponderance in the Personality
of one or the other of the three mental centers: the man who is
predominantly intellectual; who thinks, calculates and researches; the
man who is emotional above all; who is sentimental, artistic, romantic;
lastly the man of action. In the Doctrine we name them as follows:
In contrast to men 1,2 or 3 who are called exterior men, men 5,6 and 7 are interiormen. The Fourth Way, called the way of the sly man, because the person who chooses it makes use of all his faults and negativeemotions to assist his progress leads directly to the state of Man 4, the fifth wayleads directly to that of man 5.
Let us now examine from the practical point of view how man can reach esotericism; by what means he can work towards the aim of establishing permanent connections which will make it possible for him to evolve. The problem is treated in the Tradition by the help of the diagram below. Seen in perspective, the previous figure would appear like this:
Inesoteric teaching this figure could be said to be the most important. It incorporates a multitude of ideas; far more than the comments we are about to give. That is why we must return to it often and meditate upon it. The black arrows represent influences created within life by life itself, this is the first variety of influence by which man is surrounded. These are called“A” influences. We will notice that they are distributed almost equally over all the surface of the circle of life. As in the case of all radiant energy in nature, their effect is inversely proportional to the square of the distance; thus man is subject most of all to arrows influencing him from those immediately around him. He is pulled every instant by the way they act at that moment. The influence of the “A” arrows on exterior man is imperative; driven, he wanders in the circle of his life from birth to death, following a broken line which is sometimes subject to dangerous changes of direction. The ensemble of “A” influences forms the Law of Chance or Law Of Accident.Man is subject to its rule, yet if we examine the figure more closely we will perceive that each black arrow is counterbalanced, neutralized in some other part by another arrow equal in force and diametrically opposed, so that if we had left them to effectively neutralize each other the resultant force would have been equal to zero. This means that in their ensemble the “A” influences are illusory in their nature, although the effect of each one of them is real, so that exterior man takes them for reality. The white circle represents the esoteric Center, located outside the general laws of life. The white arrows represent influences called “B”. These influences are thrown into the turmoil of life and originate from the esoteric Center, treated outside life, these arrows are all oriented in the same direction. In their ensemble they form a sort of magnetic field. Since “A” influences neutralize each other, “B” influences actually constitute the only reality. The small circle with the shaded lines represents man, who in this figure is taken in isolation. The oblique shaded lines signify that the nature of exteriorman is not homogeneous: it is mixed. If man spends his life without distinguishing between “A” and “B” influences, he will end it as he started, one could say mechanically, driven by the Law of Accident.However, according to the nature and the intensity of the resultant forces to which he is subjected, it can happen to him to make a brilliant career, in the meaning the world gives to this expression. Yet he will come to the end of his days without having either learned or understood anything of Reality. And earth returns to Earth. In life, every being is subjected to a sort of competitive test. If he discerns the existence of the “B” influences; if he acquires a taste for gathering and absorbing them; if he continually aspires to assimilate them better; his mixed inner nature will slowly undergo a certain kind of evolution. And if the efforts which he makes to absorb the “B” influences are constant and sufficient in force, a magnetic center can be formed within him. This magnetic center is represented in the diagram by the small white space. If this center once born in him is carefully developed, it takes form, and in its turn will exercise an influence over the results of the “A” arrows which are always active, deflecting them. Such a deflection may be violent. In general it transgresses the laws of exterior life and provokes many conflicts in and around man. If he loses the battle, he emerges with the conviction that the “B” influences are nothing but illusion: that the only reality is represented by the “A” influences. Slowly the magnetic center which had been formed within him is reabsorbed and vanishes. Then, from the esoteric point of view, his situation is worse than the one he had started with, when he was just beginning to discern the “B” influences. But if he emerges a winner in this first struggle, his magnetic center, consolidated and reinforced, will draw him to a man having a 'C influence stronger than his own, and possessing a stronger magnetic center. And so on in succession, the last man being in connection with another having an influence 'D', who will be his link with the Esoteric Center 'E'. Henceforth in life, that man will no longer be isolated. He will certainly continue to live as before under the action of the “A” influences, which for a long time will continue to exercise their power over him; yet little by little, thanks to the effect of the influence of the chain “B”-'C'-'D'-'E', his magnetic center will develop. To the measure of its growth, the man will escape the dominion of the Law of Chance and enter the domain of Consciousness.
The exterior manhas three “I”s: the “I”of the body (physical), the ”I”of the Personality (mental), and potentially the real “I”(spiritual). But since the fall of Adam, the real “I”, inits aspect as the inmost heart,has been relegated to the background ofconsciousness, dominated by the mental“I”of the Personality. The latter, who commands by default, so to speak, lacks unity. In man 1, 2 or 3, the Personality dominates. It is the Personality which acts, while the real “I”who, since the fall of Adam, occupies a very passive position in man, must bear the consequences of those acts. The Personality follows its own goals and acts as it likes, often transgressing against the principles and maxims of the real “I”.
The narrow road leading to Life offers the possibility — which is real — to
reversethe situation represented in the previous figure (Fig. 13). This is
done by introducing a continuous and permanent attachment between the
Personality and the passive real “I”, so as to render the presence of the latter
constant in the field of action of the Personality. Then, with time and
according to the intensity of efforts, the situation can undergo a complete
change: the more24 the real “I”—like the grain of mustard seed — takes root
in the mental26 life which was until then dominated by the Personality, the
more the latter is subjected, little by little, to the will of the judge. Identifying
himself with it, man will rediscover his real “I”in all its integrity and
The higher emotional center is to be found at the level of the heart, and the higher intellectual center at the level of the head. Their functions are different. To sum up: our higher centers are two divine sparks: one issues from the other: the higher emotional center — spark of the Son — and the higher intellectual center—spark of the Father in his consubstantial aspect of the Holy Spirit.
Once the three lower centers are fully developed
and equilibrated, the magnetic center once and for allidentifies itself with
the higher emotional center, dragging with it the lower emotional center
which it finally absorbs. From now on the lower emotional center, with the magnetic center, will form an integral part of the higher emotional center.
This unionrealized, he who has carried out this work on himself will
become man 5.
Men 1, 2 or 3, driven by the energy of the sexual center freely
flowing through the three centers, make do with the provisional “I”of thePersonality, an unstable “I”; changing; illogical with himself;
leading a factitious existence. The situation is completely reversed when
—crossing the stage of man 4 successfully — the dedicated searcher
becomes an interior man: 5, then 6 and finally 7:
— Having become man 5, he becomes permanently
conscious of his real”I”;
Seven ways are open to the courageous and persevering Faithful-and each one leads to the final Victory, where setbacks and falls are no longer possible. Traditionally, the first three are intended for men 1,2, and 3 respectively. They are called: the Way of the Servant, (of the fakir in the Orient), the Wa3, of the Monk, and the Way of the Scholar (Khoja in the Orient and Yogi in India). These three ways, which ultimately combine in man 5, all lead to the state of man 4.5 We have abo seen that there exists a fourth way which, by accomplishing the tasks of the first three ways combined, allows one to come directly and more quickly to the state of man 4: this is called the Way of the sly man, because the person who chooses it makes use of all his faults and negative emotions to assist his progress. This way has been dealt with in detail in the Tradition, especially in the teaching of . John Climacus, who describes it concisely in the following words: 'The true wise man is who turns everything to his favor.'' The key words of the first four ways are the following: I. WORK: chiefly physical work, including special efforts aimed at mastering the body and its organs; 11. PRAYER: prayer having as a support the Love of God, cultivated by exercise, and leading to a limitless devotion to the Lord and to what is called contemplative prayer, at which stage, according to the Fathers of the Orthodox Church, he whoprays in this way never knows satiation; 111. STUDY: study in depth in any branch of science, leading to the limit of pure reason in order to reach the contemplation of the thing in itself; IV. CONTROL: control of oneself, by which the sly man forces himself to act, inwardly and outwardly, as if his magnetic center were already passably developed and had assumed the general direction of the three lower centers - in other words, to act in all circumstances, using the three centers as if they were already passably developed and balanced. Self controlby means of constatation practiced on all occasions is a particular characteristic of the fourth way. If the faithful has this attitude towards his Personality, he is led in his daily life to make almost uninterrupted constatations, and it is this that ensures his progress, Even as the fourth way leads directly to the state of Man 4, thefifth way lead s directly to that of man 5. However, there is a fundamental difference between this way and the other four: in the latter, the postulant (male or female), can reach the Second Threshold on his own. It is when he crosses this Threshold that he becomes conscious of his real I, which is androgynous by nature, and this then places him, inspirit, face to face with his polar being-his true neighbor- whether the partner is living or dead, for, as St Paul says '... neither is the man without the woman, nor is the woman without the man in the Lord." This fifth way is open only to couples, especially to couples who sincerely believe they are polar, because, on this way, the sine qua non condition for success is simultaneous obedience to two commandments on which, according to Jesus' words, "hang all the law and the prophets: Love God with all one's being" - an obligation which has to be respected very naturally on whichever way one wishes to advance - and "to Love one's neighbor at oneself."' Knowing now that in the esoteric sense, the neighbor is the polar being, we may understand better that the bipolar real I, monad of the Christ, residing in Its Love, (the Love of the Absolute II), which itself resides in the Love of God or the Holy Spirit, (the Love of the Absolute I),
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