LITERARY FRAGMENTS OF ESOTERIC TEACHING
Esoteric teaching has always presented its disciples with symbols; either diagrams or literary fragments in symbolic form. These fragments must be learnt by heart, then represented by an appropriate figure. The exercise is also practiced starting from the diagram, in which case a literary fragment must be written.
Here is one of these fragments:
Lost in a forest full of wild beasts, moved by confused but deep feelings, a bewildered man searches for the way. Exhausted after running the gauntlet of a thousand dangers, he emerges at the edge.
Spread out before him is a view which fills him with admiration mixed with fear: a great castle of primitive beauty is on the other side of a large moat filled with clear and living water. Behind the castle a happy valley opens out, lit by the last rays of the sun. To the left, a dark reddish horizon warns of a coming storm.
Marveling, and seized by a passionate desire to reach the castle, he forgets the dangers and fatigue to which he has been exposed.
— 'How do I get there?' He asks himself.
Suddenly he hears a Voice speaking to him from his inmost heart.
“The moat”, it says, “can only be crossed by swimming... the current is strong and
the water icy.”
In spite of this, the man feels a surge of new strength mounting within him.
Committed, he throws himself into the moat. The cold paralyses his breathing, but by an extreme effort of will he reaches the other side in a few strokes and jumps on to the first step of the stairs, where he gets a foothold. Three more immense granite steps tower above him. They lead to a large stage in the form of a semicircle, defended by two towers. Two closed doors give access to them.
A roaring sound comes to his ears. The man turns. At the place where he stood only instants before, a pack of wolves paw at the ground.
The day is coming to an end. In the dusk he can still distinguish the blazing eyes of the hungry beasts.
Again he hears the Voice telling him:
— “All in all, the risk was not that great. If you had refused, you would have been torn to shreds by the wolves.”
Terrified by his escape from that danger, the man estimates the difficulties that will accompany his climb.
He had hardly started to climb the second step when a deluge of rain falls, making the stones slippery and obstructing his movement — yet he ends by getting a foothold. The storm passes and the rain diminishes. His face and clothes drip heavily onto the stone.
— “Little does it matter,' says the Voice, 'you had already got wet crossing the
The man regains his breath again and starts climbing. Night falls, and the crescent of the new moon appears pale and golden on his right, towards the setting sun.
— 'A good sign,' he hears within himself.
The man smiles. Now he clings to a tiny ledge, reaching for the third step. He reaches it, hands and legs stained with blood. No sooner had he stood up than a gust of glacial wind almost throws him off again. Clinging to the ground, he climbs up to the wall forming the fourth step, and finds shelter there.
— “That is not all,' says the Voice. Do not waste time taking shelter. The step can split, and then the earth will swallow you up.”
His resistance to the storm, instead of exhausting him, redoubles his strength.
Now he climbs the fourth step with little difficulty, although it is as high as the preceding ones.
Standing, he hears an alarm trumpet like thunder. Suddenly, a scorching wind strikes him in the face. He lifts his eyes. In the obscurity of the night, a shining figure stands to attention before him: It is the Guardian, clad in armor and shining helmet, arms outstretched, a blazing sword in his hand and pointed towards the man.
— 'Who are you, pilgrim?' he asks. 'To what end and in whose name have you passed these obstacles and climbed the steps of paradise?'
Overcome by a surge of ineffable joy, the man repeats in a loud voice the words he has just heard in the depth of his heart. He feels as if they are now his, and answers the Guardian with courage.
— 1 am the Soul in search of divine happiness; a particle aspiring to unite with the Creative Principle I'
— 'Your answer is correct', replies the Guardian.
The door to the tower on the right opens. The sword returns to its sheath. The Guardian takes the man by the hand and leads him across the threshold of the open door...
Dawn gilds the eastern sky. Precursor of the Sun, the morning Star shines above the happy Valley.
There is another of these fragments, taken from classical literature: a passage from Turgenev.13
I see a great building, one enormous mass. In the front wall is a narrow arch with open doors; behind them, dark mists. In front of the high threshold there is a young girl... a pretty Russian girl.
A breeze comes from the dark and icy mists, a current of freezing air, bringing with it from the depths of the building the sound of a slow and muffled voice.
— “You who aspire to cross this threshold, do you know what awaits you here?”
— 1 know,' answers the young girl.
— “Cold, hunger, hate, mockery, scorn, injustice, prison, illness and even death?”
— 1 know it.”
— “Do you expect to be shunned by everyone? Do you expect to be totally alone?”
— “I am ready. I know it. I shall bear all the suffering and all the blows.”
— “Even if they do not come from enemies, but from parents, from friends?”
— “Yes... even from those...”
— “Good. Do you accept the sacrifice?”
— “An anonymous sacrifice? You will perish and nobody... but nobody will even
know whose memory to honor?”
— “I have no use for recognition and pity. I have no use for a name.”
— “Are you ready for crime?”
The young girl bowed her head.
13. I. S. Turgenev, Poems en prose, Editions Le Seuil. First complete edition published in the order of the original manuscript with notes, translated by Charles Salamon, Gap, Imprimerie Louis Jean, 1931. The poem was censored and forbidden in its time. (See bibliography)
— “Even for crime.”
The voice which was questioning her did not continue right away. At last it started
— “Do you know that one day you will believe no more in what you believe in
now, and come to think that you have been a dupe and that it was for nothing that
you have lost your young life?”
— “That too I know. Well though I know it, I wish to enter.”
The young girl crossed the threshold. A heavy curtain fell.
Gritting his teeth, someone uttered behind her:
— “A foolish girl!”
At which, from another place, a voice replied:
— “A saint!”
“GNOSIS” I BORIS MOURAVIEFF
LTHE VISITE TO THE CAVE
( from “The opening of the way” of Isha Schwaller de Lubicz)
There was a man who had all that learning, love, and wealth can give, and yet a gnawing anxiety troubled his unsatisfied heart. He sought relief in travel, but seemed only to be making circles around his anxiety, and every stage led back to his unhappy starting point.
He climbed mountain peaks, but found only danger in them and no escape. He cried, as he crossed the snowy wastes and found them void of life: "Where is the Spirit?”
He crossed the seas, and watched the ocean spend itself on the shore, but nothing revealed to him the mystery of its flowing.
The starry heaven of the Chaldean Magi threw him into a paroxysm of despairing calculations. The sands of the desert aggravated his fever, for he had not understood their voice and could not bear their silence.
At length he returned to his own country, as unsatisfied as he had set out
One spring night he was wandering aimlessly in an old oak wood, and as he stood, weary of everything, dreaming beside a broken tree trunk, he remembered a deep cave where dwelt a wise old hermit.
He found it, all gray with smoke, and entering, saw an old man who bade him sit down in front of afire of dry wood.
He said to the old man : "I have been all over the world, but I have not found `the answer.'"
"What are you seeking?"
"Can you not read?"
"I have studied all the philosophies."
"What have books to do with Truth?"
"What else is there to read?"
"Are you blind?" asked the hermit.
"If you cannot read the truth which is Nature's signature in heaven and earth and in your body, how can you expect to discover her secrets in the writings of men?"
"What is Truth?" said the man.
"That which is. "
"How can a man know that?"
"By knowing Nature and himself."
"I know myself very well. "
"What do you know of yourself?"
"I know my vices and virtues, my likes and dislikes, my will."
"Is all that yourself? You mistake the crowd for the individual."
"Then who am I?"
"No one can tell you, except your own conscience. When you explored the outside of the earth, you found nothing. Try exploring the inside of your world. You will be surprised."
"I do not know how. Will you guide me?"
"All I can do, " replied the sage, "is to blow away the clouds, and that only if you will it in very truth.
"The hermit came and sat opposite the seeker. After a silence he said
"The man gazed into the hermit's eyes and observed his image. He said to the sage:
"I see the Other. He is examining your thoughts intently, drawing up a list of clever questions to discover your secrets .. . . No, that is not I! That is not what I want."
"How do you know? Still, never mind, continue looking. What is he doing now?"
"Magic formulas! He is invoking power, he wants to control men, to compel love, he is forging his will like steel to avenge an injury. It is terrible, he wants to. . ."
"Let him! His will come back on his own head."
"Stop him!" cried the man. "He will go mad!"
I cannot. Only you can renounce these accursed `powers.' Do you truly want to?"
"I renounce them.
"The hermit effaced the vision with a gesture.
"If I can efface it," he said, "that means it is not yourself. Now search in yourself
" And he placed his fingers on the man's temples.
"Here is myself. . .my thoughts."
"Indeed?" The hermit smiled.
The man pondered for a moment, his eyes closed.
"No," he concluded,
"I was wrong, they are just a crowd, a mad fandango of confused ideas, one following another wildly. When one melts away others come along, one suggests another, they get transposed, multiplied, divided. I cannot follow it, it is a mad rush!
"Irritated, the seeker became involved in the game ; he saw himself face to face with confusion and trying vainly to stop its course. Ideas came and went in every direction, beliefs struggled together, doubts tugged at him, every sort of opinion charged at him, all trying to overwhelm him. He struggled, tried to fight a way through, pushed them away in the hope of casting a look behind, but others still rushed in.
"Stop!" he cried. "This is sheer confusion!
"The hermit made a gesture, and the movements became slower, and as in a slow-motion film details were seen which before had passed unnoticed. The intricate complications became clearer, and revealed the chain of their causation. The seeker was astounded. All his intelligent ideas seemed to go strangely lame. What he had called "logical" was suddenly demolished by an unforeseen consequence. He saw what knotted strings led up to an act he had thought spontaneous. He could follow his thoughts right back to their origins, and was astonished at their diversity. What? All these inspirations, which he had though this own, came to him from without?
His professional achievement showed as a compact group of extraneous notions. His most superb idea had come from a rival! Others, in long entwining chains, had come from his family tradition. But most had been snatched in passing from a thousand other influences, and arduously worked in with oddments of reading and his personal studies. How could he claim to be the father of all that?
"How long will this horrible dance continue?" he exclaimed.
"Until death of your brain."
"What will remain after that?"
"Vague floating forms such as you see, without aim or order."
"What will become of those forms?"
"They will become the property of other brains, which they will touch unnoticed."
"But what shall I get out of it all?"
"Nothing, because your instrument will no longer exist."
"I am not missing much, am I?" he sighed.
"So little of that was myself! But then where is my Self?"
"You must continue the search. "The hermit touched the man”s solar plexus. He shivered, and waves of emotion swept over him like a rising tide. Hope, love, and malice flowed over him, just as he had known them not long since, and he trembled.
"I know all these," he cried.
"Why do you bring them back?
"But eagerly he lived them over again, trying in vain to catch the ideas he loved and push away the sufferings which were too intense. Wearily he tried to expunge them, but they only changed, and were replaced by older ones; like a film shown backward, memories flooded up, reversing the course of time. He watched them uncomprehending. At the passionate adventures in which his reflection was involved he now felt no emotion; quite undisturbed he watched it sinking in to despair or rising to paroxysms of joy; at the most, an indulgent smile for one or two excesses. He was amazed at the waves of bliss which had filled certain scenes, and rejected the storms of anger which no longer seemed to have any meaning. And where was he himself, the Self of today, in this long story about the past? That in him which could still respond to those echoes had now such different vibrations! Were there, in all these waves of movement, just a few which composed his own true harmony? If so, how could he recognize them? The hermit, answering his secret thought, said :
"To know that, you must explore even deeper."
And he placed his hand on the back of the seeker's neck. For a moment the man was silent, then a violent shudder went through him, and the blood reddened his face. Revolted, he exclaimed:
"What have I to do with these horrors? I have rejected all these obsessions! They do not concern me!"
"If you have been liberated from them, why do they trouble you?" The man trembled, trying in vain to escape from what had been evoked; but gradually and in spite of himself, panting and sweating, he succumbed to its grip. Burning images flowed over him, sensual folly played with temptations and tortuous perversions, while possessive rage confounded vivid eroticism with surly sadism. This was the witches' Sabbath of his dreams.
The hermit let the storm die down, and the man asked brokenly: "I came in search of peace. Why have you aroused my demons?"
"You came in search of Truth. Peace is its fruit. We must first reactivate your deepest roots."
"Are they buried in that crowd?"
"Vice comes from a deviation of the natural tendencies of your being. It works out as opposition to your true destiny."
"Must one allow these oppositions to grow strong?"
"It is indispensable for the enlargement of consciousness that you recognize them as such."
"Is consciousness found in the dunghill?" the man asked with a sour smile.
"That is truer than you think! Contradictory forces show their true nature when they come in to conflict. The specific quality incarnated in you will be revealed by the shock of contrast. For instance, the Martian nature, made all of violence, will easily be enslaved by Venus. The Venusian, seeking for beauty, will rather plunge himself in filth in order to heighten his awareness of beauty.
The Solar type, which is dominating, can be a masochist. And the Saturnian, who loves solitude and mystery, often looks for his complement in exhibitionism."
"Can the Spirit not be reborn in man without these troubles?"
"Before the resurrection comes the descent into hell."
"Where is hell? Do you know?"
"In the bowels of the earth of your body! But its fire is also that which causes the resurrection!"
"How can the same principle bring forth opposite effects?"
"When your soul was incarnated in matter, it married itself to the baseness of matter; it can only free itself by subtilizing that which has become bound to it by attraction."
"That does not answer my question."
"Because you fail to see the double movement of life. Separation resulted from the need to see oneself reflected; attraction is the result of the need for reunification. But reunification cannot happen until each complement has become perfectly itself. And how could it do that except by recognizing all its tendencies?"
"So regeneration is only possible by diving into all this filth?"
"I did not say that! No sage would advise a man to put into practice all the filthiness he finds in himself. But no attainment is possible if you shut out the light for fear of thieves and fire. The only way, and you must face it, is to let all your impressions rise to the surface, with all your impulses and urges, and there observe them without telling yourself lies about them, and so learn to play on their contrasts in order to arouse your consciousness of their cosmic tendency, which is their main spring.
"The man pondered, and asked: "Playing with fire, isn't it?"
"Is fire any safer hidden beneath its ash? Surely you are not any longer the victim of these obsessions?"
" No . . . unless perhaps in dreams."
"Your dreams are the mirror of your reality. When you escape in sleep from the prison of your intellect, then your instincts show themselves in their true colors, and prove that the force you thought extinguished was merely held in check.
"The seeker remarked angrily : "So little good have I seen as I went about the world, and so much ill, that I have condemned any sin which offended my dignity!
"The hermit smiled. "You will be judged by that which you judge, and condemned by that which you condemn."
"I do not understand."
"That, for oneself, is sin, which one judges to be a sin. Thus, without knowing it, you make your own law, at your own risk and peril."
"But that is perfectly amoral! Much better refuse to recognize Evil at all!"
"Your conclusion is unsound. The aim, remember, is to attain knowledge of the essential principal behind Good and Evil, and then to understand how it relates to the experience of every individual."
"What is the Law then?"
"Learn to know yourself, to the depth of your profoundest instincts. Just as a lion tamer tries an animal until he knows its every trick, so must you outface your most hidden reflexes, and then do whatever your newly developed consciousness will let you do."
"That law sounds too flexible, and too arbitrary."
"It is more rigid than you can possibly imagine. Perception of danger is the best of guides."
"And if I fall by the way?"
"I did not advise you to put into practice all your instincts, only to uncover and recognize them. What more could you have to fear than you have now? Today your soul is a jungle, much of it unexplored. You must throw light into all its dark corners, search out all its dangerous beasts and reptiles, that heterogeneous collection that you still conceal behind the little word "I." Learn to recognize them by their appetites, to become aware of their tricks. Some will be strange to you; others are a part of your kingdom. When they are all docile to your orders, you will know in what your true Self consists.
"When you have learned that, return to me. When the corn is ripe, and the grapes are beginning to color, then if I find you so disposed I will try to widen your horizon.
SECOND VISIT TO THE CAVE
(from “The opening of the way” of Isha Schwaller de Lubicz)
The man returned to the cave. But time has transformed the countryside. The corn had been cut, exposing an arid soil; thickets of thorn had grown up to cover the rocks, and under the yellowing leaves all trace of a path had vanished. He was disappointed to find no sign of an entrance. Having looked in vain for a landmark, he drew a plan and made some calculations, but without result. He was about to give up when he noticed hanging on a bush some reddened vine leaves and a few ripe grapes. He approached, but in his greed to get them made a false step, stumbled, and his foot slipped in a hollow. In a moment he was lying at the foot of a staircase, curled up, bruised, and unable to see. A throaty laugh brought him to his senses. "Where were you looking for the way in, you careful man? Up in the stars? "Where did the voice come from? To the visitor's shamefaced glance the room seemed empty. Two bars of light shone in through a couple of slits high up, and threw seductive reflections on the wall. There were shadows too, which gave the impression of living forms and fantastic scenes. Fascinated, the man began watching the wonderful play of light, the combinations of colors and the incessant metamorphoses of the shadows. He forgot both voice and cave. Then from other slits came inexplicable noises, a strange concert in which voices and sounds of movement were mixed without being confused. Words and familiar
the sacred Fire beginning to burn brighter."
"It seems to me that you are bringing me back to the vague idealism that you condemned." "Not at all. I am speaking of your body, for in that alone can you find the nucleus of your Kingdom of Heaven."
"Is success certain?"
"It is certain, for the man who makes it his sole aim. That is why I deplore the complexity of your life."
"But that sole aim is egoism!"
"On the contrary, it is supra-egoism; for you cannot bestow the Light until you are yourself luminous."
"But the contingencies of life?"
"Are not obstacles to the man who uses them as exercises in self-mastery. It is a peculiarity of our era that the Quest is not pursued in hermitages. The elect who are called to the higher kingdom must drink the whole cup of human experience, and then rise above it by altruism and not by violence. But this altruism is not an idealistic dream, nor the result of petty charity. It arises naturally from our consciousness of human solidarity, and also from the feeling of power which comes from the certainty of being on the path. For hatred, envy, and stupid selfishness are only reflexes of impotence in a personality which is prey to contradictory aspirations . . . . Have I made the aim clear enough?"
"It is becoming so. So my mistake was in giving in to my ambition for knowledge?"
"Yes, and to the empire of the senses. But that was inevitable, for in attempting to get out of yourself you gave up the endeavor to be master of yourself! He who would play the angel ends by playing the fool. "But we shall return to that subject later. Consider the second question. What do you seek?"
"I seek that which I am not, and I do that which I would not."
"You seek the impossible, and yet Divinity is within your reach! Be more exact; what do you seek?"
"I seek the end of my struggles. I seek Peace and Joy and Life."
"Those are the ends, not the means. Be still more exact; what do you seek?"
"I seek the solution to the problem of existence, the power to rise above the mediocre and the mass, to control my lower powers and attain the higher powers and higher perceptions." "At last you are beginning to be frank and state your aim clearly. Your ambition is quite legitimate, for humanity has reached the stage at which the kernel is ripe to open and cast forth its seed. Blessed are those who are part of the kernel, for they shall be the elect, members of the new seed of which all religions have spoken. Every man who feels himself called to this service has a duty to follow it. "But note this well: to claim membership of the kernel will make you, as the Christ said, "not of this world"; you will bear the marks of isolation, for the spirit of the kernel is not compatible with that of the mass, and the mass cannot accept its requirements. "The man listened with some anxiety. "But the separation will not be violent, It will happen of itself, gradually?"
"Do not deceive yourself. In practice, you can still live in the world; but until you have broken irretrievably with the mentality of the worldly you will never attain your goal. "There is a direct opposition between the path to the Light and the ways of the World, between the methods of Science and the road of knowledge. They seem to meet sometimes in their results, but their aims are diametrically opposed. The one seeks earthly fruit, the other eternal fruit. Only the latter can justify your ambition. "And do not suppose that there can be any possible compromise between the two paths. Your struggles and failures are the result of that mistake. There is no bridge either; you must leap, with both feet together, and not look back to the methods of the past. But the crowd will abuse you for it, and accuse you of utopianism and vanity and love of paradox."
"That I do not mind. Their helplessness shows their methods to be useless; they stand condemned by their failures and by my own. But I am afraid of my own weaknesses; every success I have had was followed by a fall."
"Before we consider that, let us look at the third question. Where are you?"
"I have no idea! So often I have started off in enthusiasm, and yet I seem to go around in circles and always come back to the same spot. "The old man gave a mocking laugh. "Do you think you are the only one? The whole of life goes around in circles and returns upon itself, but never to the same spot. Do you not know the Law of the Spiral in Nature and the Universe? Each time you come to a point which is comparable to someoher, you have comparable difficulties, but with a different rhythm, and with the experience gained before. You have seen the trunk of a tree, and photographs of nebulae?"
"I do not see the connection."
"Of course not; you neglect the essential and lose yourself in vain speculations without knowledge of Causes. Your curiosity is greedy for intellectual notions. Their superficial aspect impresses you, but it does not awaken in you any awareness of the deeper meaning of their vital correspondences. "Every fiber, cell, and organ in your body bears the signature of these correspondences. Every function is conscious of itself, but you, who are the sum of them all, know nothing of them! "Your brain claims to have made a diagram of the physiology of all that lives on earth, by the analysis and resynthesis of notions derived from sense-perception; but Science is continually being obliged to correct the mistakes in these notions, and so your mind gains a wealth of new assertions which are as hypothetical as the old. "This knowledge is gained by subtraction and only knows Nature by destruction; and at your death it will all go up in smoke."
"Then does death destroy all understanding?"
"You must distinguish between understanding and knowledge. Knowledge is simply to grasp something; but Understanding is experience engraved in the permanent aspect of what will become your immortal being. "
" But this Understanding cannot exist without formulation in thought! ""If you had practiced the meditations that I advised, you would have learned that it can exist without any formulation in words. Having evidence of that, you would not need to reason about it. You would know the silent identification of oneself with a law, which animals exemplify when they show awareness that a plant is poisonous, or that an avalanche is coming."When this understanding has been acquired, the disciplined mind can transmit it in terms of thought, but only insofar as the listening consciousness can vibrate harmoniously with it; for thought expressed is limited, arrested like the hammer of a piano on a string, which in its turn, however, will vibrate and arouse echoes indefinitely."
"But the world I live in is built on thought!"
"That world which you believe in is only a net in which you are caught, and thought is the power that weaves it. It is always setting traps for you in the form of your artificial desires, your imaginary fears, and your useless sufferings. By ingenious arguments it holds your sense of reality prisoner. It makes you resist your Destiny by entangling the guiding thread, and then leaves you helpless and desperate at the confusion. "The man put his head in his hands and began to think. When he raised it there was a gleam of certainty in his eye. "Master, I have seen through the trick at last! That was what persuaded me to give up your methods as a useless waste of time! What is the best weapon for dealing with it?"
"First of all, a passionate effort to succeed in the meditations I advised you. "Second, make a holocaust of your intellectual opinions. Give up the relative values of the world of appearances, and in exchange you will find vital consciousness and a sense of absolute values. "For example, all that happens to you, all that you experience through the senses, you should accept like listening to a simple tune, without thought or intellectual plan, and it should arouse in you a condition which, to begin with, you can call "emotive." It will make you either tranquil or restless, so listen to the tranquility or the restlessness. That is all. Leave aside analysis and speculation, and simply be. "Third, in everything look for the central point, the heart, the motive force. ""This program does not fit in with my accustomed rhythm of life; what will give me the strength to accomplish it?"
"The Fire which meditation will arouse."
(from “The opening of the way” of Isha Schwaller de Lubicz)
The man said to the hermit: "What you say seems right, but how will the meaning be made clear? Man is too heavy to climb the heights! His weight always drags him down to earth."
"You are wrong; man is too light. His brain drags him up and makes him float in a cloudy state where all is illusion, unreal by the standards of both spirit and matter."
"Oh, I admit that. Whenever the real vision comes, I am out of my depth and can remember nothing of it."
"Yet look how afraid you are of losing touch with appearances! How it terrifies the animal man to lose his foothold in the void! But to the fully conscious man, what a joy!"
"But you were reproaching me for floating in a cloudy state! "
"Yes, in the cloudy state of idealistic aspirations and intellectual guesswork. I hope, however, to bring you down, so that you will know the heart of things. You must go down inside the earth,
inside your own earth; otherwise my teaching can only be superficial."
"You are my Master; show me the way. "The hermit showed him a deep well at the back of the cave. "First you must do your best to reach the very deepest depth. Go down to the very foundations where sleeps the sacred Fire. If you can arouse it you will know your aim and your power. "So concentrate the force of your desire, turn in upon yourself, and go down. "But I can see no foothold!" Then the man saw the cord, and found it wound several times around his body, and it seemed
attached to his navel. He looked up to discover its other end, but it disappeared in the darkness. However, the hermit was holding it firmly to the edge of the well. "How far must I descend, Master?"
"Until you find your own self in absolute solitude."
"How can I fail to?"
"Remember my words: I said, in absolute solitude. After that, if you can, go to the very bottom. But remain alert, and never for a moment lose consciousness of the cord. "So the man gripped the cord and, overcoming his hesitation, let himself slide down into the well. After what seemed an endless journey his fall suddenly stopped, but on raising his eyes he found he had descended to only his own height. "Master, what shall I do? "No answer, and the weight of his body made it difficult to think. He hoped he would fall lower and so find a foothold. His desire brought him down, bumping painfully against the sides, and he tried to understand the appropriate gesture for his situation. But he listened to his fear, and it brought him up again. He questioned himself, and his thoughts answered. He found he was thinking: "This is not real solitude!" Again his desire brought him lower; but he was still seeking a foothold, and his thoughts tormented him until he understood their tyranny and deliberately rejected them. For a long time he battled with their insistence; each new image that he repelled returned in another form, imposing like an importunate intriguer, and in the end he tired of the effort. "How," he cried, "can one uproot that which is part of oneself? "Then suddenly he saw himself as he was, drawn down by his desire, but held up by the insistence of Ideas, and he realized that this conflict was the source of his difficulty. His amazement was extraordinary, for his thoughts appeared to be outside himself! So that in him which considered his thoughts was independent of them, and did not need them! He did not formulate this; he experienced it; and that was proof, it was an indescribable certainty which filled him with unexpected peace. He seemed to be warned not to disturb it by any impatience. And as he felt deep within himself for the root of this new "sense," gradually he sank into the Silence. Perhaps he had a moment of somnolence, for the inner voice awoke him. "Never lose consciousness of the rope! "Then his feet touched the ground, and he saw himself (whether within or without himself hardly matters). He was in a deep cave like a hollow sphere whose walls moved away as he tried to touch them. The sky in this sphere was that on which he had at first put his feet, but now it seemed translucent and lit by a diffused light. The seeker marveled, for a new world was revealed, neither within him nor without, but with no separation between the two. Then the Fire of the depths awoke; intense heat filled his whole body like a tide of superabundant Life, and joy flooded him, for all his doubts disappeared, his obstacles melted away, and he perceived the treasure that he had found, which by its power is both end and means, the source of Life, the Living Fire, the One Thing Necessary
THE SECRET OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER
Translated and Explained By Richard Wilhelm
This section explains the origin of the Great Meaning of the world (Tao). The Heavenly Heart is the germinal root of the Great Meaning. If a man can be absolutely quiet then the Heavenly Heart will manifest itself. When the feeling springs up and flows
.out in the natural course, the person is created as primordial ,,
creature. This creature abides between conception and birth in true space·. 'When the One note of individuation enters into , birth, essence and life are divided in two. From this time on, if the utmost peace is not achieved, essence and life never see each other again.
The fore it is said in the plan of the Great Pole : The Great One includes within itself true power (prana), seed, spirit, animus, and anima. If the thoughts are absolutely quiet so that the Heavenly Heart can be seen, the spiritual intelligence reaches the source unaided. This essence lives indeed in true space, but the splendor of the Light dwells in the two eyes. Therefore the Master teaches the circulation of the Light so that the true essence may be reached. The true essence is the primordial spirit. The primordial spirit is precisely essence and life, and if one accepts what is real in it, t is the primordial power. And the Great Meaning is just this thing.
The Master is further concerned that the people should not
miss the way that leads from conscious action to unconscious non-action. Therefore· he says : The magic of the Elixir of Life makes use of conscious action in order that non-action may be attained. Conscious action consists in setting the Light in circulation by reflection in order to make manifest the setting free of Heaven. If then the true seed is born, and the right method applied in order to melt and mix it, and in that way to create the Elixir of Life, then one goes through the pass. The embryo, which must be developed by the work of warming, nourishing, bathing, and washing, is formed. That crosses over into the realm of unconscious non-action. A whole year of· this fire-period is needed before the embryo is born, sheds the membranes, and passes out of the ordinary world into the holy world.
This method is quite simple and easy. But there are so many
transforming and changing conditions connected with it that it is said : Not with one leap can a man suddenly get there. Who ever is seeking eternal life must search for the place whence essence and life originally spring.
“El secreto de la flor de oro” C. G. JUNG
MYSTICAL POEMS OF RUMI
Reason says, "I will beguile him with the tongue;"
Love says, "Be silent. I will beguile him with the soul."
The soul says to the heart, "Go, do not laugh at me
and yourself. What is there that is not his, that I may beguile him thereby?"
He is not sorrowful and anxious and seeking oblivion
that I may beguile him with wine and a heavy measure.
The arrow of his glance needs not a bow that I should
beguile the shaft of his gaze with a bow.
He is not prisoner of the world, fettered to this world
of earth, that I should beguile him with gold of the kingdom of the world.
He is an angel, though in form he is a man; he is not
lustful that I should beguile him with women.
Angels start away from the house wherein this form
is, so how should I beguile him with such a form and likeness?
He does not take a flock of horses, since he flies on wings;
his food is light, so how should I beguile him with bread?
He is not a merchant and trafficker in the market of the
world that I should beguile him with enchantment of gain and loss.
He is not veiled that I should make myself out sick and
utter sighs, to beguile him with lamentation.
I will bind my head and bow my head, for I have got out
of hand; I will not beguile his compassion with sickness or fluttering.
Hair by hair he sees my crookedness and feigning; what's
hidden from him that I should beguile him with anything hidden.
He is not a seeker of fame, a prince addicted to poets,
that I should beguile him with verses and lyrics and flowing poetry.
The glory of the unseen form is too great for me to
beguile it with blessing or Paradise.
Shams-e Tabriz, who is his chosen and beloved - perchance
I will beguile him with this same pole of the age.
BRINGING THE WOMAN TO LIFE
CHAPTER 15 of "The human biological machine as a transformational apparatus" E.J. Gold
If we follow the machine as a lover would unrelentingly fix his gaze upon his Beloved, filled with astonishment, rapture and gratitude, the machine will come to life, awakening and responding to the power of adoration with a profound emotion which will in turn bring about our own transformation.
We have already established that in order for the human biological machine to be operational as a transformational apparatus it must be in the waking state, and that only in the waking state can this function be fully activated.
How can we intentionally bring about the waking state whenever we wish to and, at the same time, know definitely that we have actually accomplished this?
Let us begin by considering the relationship of the machine and the essential self as a work partnership. What are the conditions of this partnership?
Perhaps a parallel with human relationships could help us in this matter, since in them, we can observe a similar process.
If we look at the relationship of a man and a woman and ask ourselves what it is that a woman really wants for a man, the answer is quite evident.
A woman wants a man”s complete, utter, totally non-wandering attention to be placed entirely upon herself. She wants to bathe in it, to immerse herself in it, and when she is able to receive this from a man, she in turn responds with adoration.
She does not really want anything else from him, and everything she does- from cosmetics and having babies to going with him as a sailor on a barefoot cruise or sitting grimly under a blanket at a Homecoming football game- serves this aim. She will do anything necessary to obtain this attention, and the more deeply profound the attention, the more centered on herself it is, the better.
Why else do you suppose that she invests many hours during the majority of her youth learning a variety of exotic walks and postures which she feels will make her seem unique and interesting?
Why does she spend hours before the mirror training her machine to smile, to laugh, to frown, to talk in a variety of tones expressing a large repertoire of moods?
Why does she learn to theatrically manipulate her mouth and eyes?
Why does she cover her face and body with scrubs, mudpacks and cosmetics, endure chemical treatments in her hair, spend hours under a hair-dryer, invest hour after hour removing body hair, giving herself a manicure, pedicure, curling her eyelashes and arranging her coiffure?
The life of an actress is not natural to her, but she knows that by these artifices she will almost certainly be able to attract and absorb the attention of a man, at least temporarily while she still has whatever it was that netted his roving attention, and she knows that he will still respond to her even if he happens to realize intellectually that she has artificially produced the glitter and flash which has happened to catch his eye and keep his attention riveted for the moment.
And if his is what a woman really wants, what does a man want?
He wants his attention to be free to wander wherever it will go. He wants to be distracted and amused. His attention is scattered and fickle. It is almost as if the two genders were entirely different species, each the opposite of the other.
In order to anticipate the many directions his wandering attention will take a woman will accommodate herself to his interests as they suddenly change tack and direction.
If he is interested in computers, she will unaccountably develop an interest in them even if she had never been interested in them before. If he is interested in sciences, she, too, will find some way to be interested and to be useful to him so that she can appear in his field of attention as he pursues his momentary fascination.
A woman who is really a woman wants this attention, and she will do absolutely anything, no matter how degrading or debase or self-effacing to her own interests, to gather the scattered attention of her man and draw it to herself. Of course she may eventually give up entirely and pursue her own interests if she is unable to obtain this attentions from a man by these artifices.
But if she has any success at all in this game, she will remain interested in one thing and one thing only; a complete, deep relationship. She wants to be reached, to be touched, to be fulfilled.
Fulfillment is a very weak word which cannot really express the intense anguish which characterizes a woman”s experience in her relationships with men, and words alone cannot do justice to the deep feelings of incompleteness and disappointment that haunt her.
With the deepest part of herself, with all her heart, she wishes to be found and to be known.
And so every woman has learned to become yet another glittering, attraction, hoping, that a man”s attention will someday fall upon her, even if only accidentally- and finally come to rest upon her, warming her heart and bathing her in the intense radiation of total adoration.
It rarely happens that a man gets the message, and many woman though gifted and intelligent, have felt it necessary to resort to various forms of personal fascination in order to win- or steal- the attention of a man. Fascination seemed to be their last recourse.
To fascinate means not only to put under a spell, to charm, to captivate, but also to hold motionless, to hold someone”s attention by being very interesting or delightful, or even annoying, bitchy, argumentative or congenitally ill. Anything that compels the attention can be a method, and when everything seductive fails, then nothing remains but the sad, plaintive and bitter mechanisms of neurosis, psychosomatic illness and little personal tragedies which are the common weapon of the contemporary housewife. Seductive or nagging, both mechanisms serve the same function.
A woman knows instinctively that her life can be completed through a man, but she may be unaware that this can never be achieved through an ordinary relationship with a man.
She knows that something unusual must somehow occur, but just what this may be escapes her, and her search among men in ordinary life is doomed to end in failure.
She does not know how to get his real attention but without the Work, even if she were able to obtain and hold his attention, she would not really know what to do with it.
She does not know, and in the ordinary course of life cannot know, that what she wants from man can only be obtained through the process of mutual initiation and transformation.
A man is in general even more ignorant than she is about this, because his interests lie completely outside the domain of deep relationships. All he knows is that he wants a new toy, and then, when he finally obtains it, he quickly tires of it and no longer wants that toy… then he wants another new toy….Then he wants another toy, and yet another.
As long as his attention continues its incessant, restless wandering, he can never be initiated.
Shall the woman say to the man: Put your full attention on me, this is how you can accomplish what you are after. I know what you are after. Be with me, be fully with me, don”t take your attention away from me for a single moment.
Thread your way through my labyrinth of love and find me. If you find me you will find what you are after, what you have been after all your life.
Were a woman to actually say this to a man, his body would make a hole in the wall exactly corresponding to its momentary shape as it hurtled through, because he could not open the door quickly enough!
How can a woman convince a man that by this mutual reciprocal initiation, something genuine can be achieved; that initiation is not out there somewhere, that it is not even deep within himself, that it is within her?
This has been the dilemma of women for tens of thousands of years, how to communicate to man what a woman so deeply intuits about the process of mutual initiation, without causing his fragile ego to hopelessly fragment.
Yet a woman is willing to sit and wait very patiently for years for a man to develop from the state of restless activity, chatter and excitement, to a state of calm where he is able to just sit and be with her; where his attention stops its restless wandering and falls completely and utterly upon her.
A man can become, if he is willing to make the sacrifice, a special type of alchemical fuel to be consumed in the warming of a woman”s womb, her heart of initiation, and in the process of his annihilation he is totally consumed, annihilated, as the woman come to life.
Only when she comes to life is she able to resurrect him. Like Osiris, he must trust in his Isis, offering himself up unselfishly as fuel for her inner fire, completely and without hesitation, without the slightest consideration for himself, in the same way that a mother will sacrifice herself for the sake of her children.
A man must learn from a woman that intense heart-bursting adoration which makes a woman want to devote herself to a man without concern for herself.
A woman knows how to place all her attention on a man. She instinctively knows how to follow his moods and dispositions. She is always there, always with him. She knows what he needs. She knows what he feels. She knows his heart more than he himself does.
She has learnt to read him like a book. She knows his movements, his postures, his voice, his intonations and facial expressions, his breathing.
Even the smallest detail reveals something to her, and she is able to follow it and be there with him.
A man, on the other hand is usually totally oblivious to a woman”s changes. He does not see and cannot sense her inner moods and outer movements; he does not know how to follow her, how to read her, and in any case he does not care to; it is his opinion that she should follow him, and not he her.
But if he wishes to be initiated, he must in all things follow her. If she blinks, he must blink. If she is happy, he must be happy also. If she is sad, he too should be sad. As her moods melt one into another, he must go where she goes, and do as she does, not lagging behind but always simultaneously.
He must lose his breath, his heart, his mind to her, cleave to her, follow her, be one with her; move as one, breathe as one, think as one, feel as one, sense as one, as she does instinctively. He must learn the woman”s most basic secret- “wheresoever thou goes’, there also will I go”
So long as a man chooses the imaginary outer freedoms, he is choosing the life of cattle, doomed to wander from one glittering attraction to another. If only a man could use his full attention… give himself as a woman knows how to give herself!
In essence, for a man to achieve what he really wants to achieve, he must learn from a woman to be a woman and, at the same time, maintain his sanity as he loses his gender-identification and discovers what a woman really is.
If a woman hopes to accomplish her own fulfillment, she must find a real man who is willing to penetrate these deep inner secrets of a woman in order to attain the real depth of a relationship. Such a man is called an alchemist.
Pity a woman; she cannot tell what she knows; to protect his fragile vanity, she must appear passive, she must wait, she must be very cautious. She must not frighten her man.
She can only reveal herself when he actually has found his way through the labyrinth and arrives at her chamber. By this time, he will have lost much of what he imagined himself to be as a man; the fire will have burned away his gender pride, and he will be able to confront himself and her as two sides of the same coin. This is the true journey that beckons.
Now, in the same way, if we could view the human biological machine as a woman, as our initiator, our true teacher, and we could effectively place our restless, wandering attention completely upon it, the machine would come to life, just as a woman comes to life when a man”s attention is placed upon her, completely, absolutely, unwaveringly.
The essential self is uneducated. If left to itself, it will remain passive and do nothing. It will just continue to exist, patiently waiting things out.
The machine provides the motivation for work. It understands the necessity for work. In spite of its will to remain asleep, it also yearns to serve a higher purpose.
We may be surprised to discover that it is actually the machine which seeks a school. The essential self is too detached, too complacent, for such concerns.
The machine behaves oddly in ordinary life. As we study its patterns of behavior, we discover that these peculiarities are signs of anger and frustration.
It falls into the pursuit of trivia because we rarely allow it to perform its objective function.
As these transformations take place, the machine will also undergo a series of changes. But these changes are not artificial interferences in the machine”s behavior or conditioning. We must not alter this for fear of reversing the transformational process.
If we tamper even slightly with the machine, we may destroy its properties and capabilities as a transformational apparatus. In our observation of the machine, we must not be judgmental or critical, we must strive to achieve impartiality and detachment.
We are not working to change the machine. It must not change artificially if we expect to benefit from its transformational potential. We must realize that in changing the machine directly, we would unknowingly alter the very factors which make transformation possible.
This is exactly the opposite of personal enhancement methods.
As we begin our work, the relation existing between the essential self and the machine is somewhat remote and strained.
The only will that we can actually exert over the machine is the will of attention, but this will weak and so we are continually seduced into identification with the sleep of the machine.
In the course of ordinary life, we learn to want attention but not to give it. We make basics assumptions about ourselves, which eventually become hardened belief. If the machine does not conform to our beliefs about ourselves, we lie to ourselves by reducing our attention on the machine still further.
Our time is limited, we have only so much time at our disposal, we don”t have all our lives. Before transformation begins, we must use our attention to study the process of transformation and the methods of awakening the machine.
In addition, we must study methods of using attention to awaken the machine, methods of the unremitting placement of attention, and then somehow develop the will to actually place the attention on the machine.
We do not ordinarily have the will to place our attention unremittingly on the machine. A certain intensity of attention is required to arrive at any results whatsoever.
To obtain this intensity of attention, we must provide ourselves with an outside source of force; we can borrow the will to place our full attention on the machine by adding something to it.
This additional force which gives us the extra will necessary to fixate our attention on the machine is called adoration.
Adoration is an emotional ingredient, but not the emotion of the machine. It is a higher emotion which can be aroused in the essential in the essential self.
This implies, however, that the emotional centrum is fully functional, not the caricature we usually take to be our true emotional centrum, not machine reverberations emanating from the mental centrum.
In other words, before we can bring the machine to life, we must have brought to life the one centrum which is ordinarily dead in every human being, the feeling centrum.
We assume that the essential self, because it is spiritual, is endowed with special higher powers, that it is capable of many wondrous things. But the fact is, the essential self in its present state, is quite limited. It has only two characteristics; presence and the ability to place and fixate its attention.
If we can bring the attention to stops its restless wandering, and at the same time overcome our own complacency about our situation in relation to our possible evolution, we could learn to use the machine as a transformational apparatus.
By intentionally placing our unwavering attention directly upon the machine and following its every motion with the emotional intensity of adoration, we develop a deep relationship with the machine.
We must learn to lovingly observe not only the obvious motor-centrum activities of the machine, but also its moods, thoughts, preferences and attitudes, its qualities and weaknesses, what we pride ourselves on, and what we prefer to disregard.
How can we really observe the machine under our fixed gaze or unwavering attention if we do not love what we are observing? How will we even remember to hold the machine in our full attention if we are not transfixed by the machine, filled with gratitude toward its every movement, filled with astonishment and rapture?
We must follow the machine as a lover unrelentingly fixes his gaze upon his Beloved, root our attention wholly upon the machine and not let it drift. We must clearly obtain glimpses of that part of the machine which is lazy and unwilling to work, and gradually separate ourselves from it, work our way out from under its influence.
If we understand how the adoration of the woman brings her to life, then we understand how to use adoration to focus our attention upon the machine and bring it to life in the same way.
Simple attention is mental, but adoration is a function of the essential self. Adoration is much more potent.
Obviously, when we speak of adoration of the machine, we are not referring to something romantic and stupid. We intend to envelop the machine in the same intense mood of adoration which we would naturally feel toward a lover in the ordinary sense.
In certain schools, demonstrations intended as analogies to the wind-and-water technique of awakening the machine- which is to say, the inexorable pressure of unremitting attention upon the machine- are sometimes given to pupils.
Some of these demonstrations have had the unfortunate destiny of being distorted and alienated from their original meaning and purpose, and no longer serve their proper function as is so often the case with teaching tools, methods, and ideas.
One such tool is a bell used in Tibetan Buddhist schools. It is called the bell of the Dharma, the bell of the teaching.
We should take especial note that it is called the bell of the Dharma-the teaching- and not the bell of the Sangha- the work community- or the bell of the Buddha- the teacher, because it is a demonstration of the method of awakening and transformation, a vivid portrait of something to be accomplished through a definite method.
Rubbing the edge of the bell, a vibration begins and, once the bell is vibrating at full pitch and resonance, we must continue rubbing the edge of the bowl without interrupting the vibration if we wish the vibration to persist.
If we are careless, inattentive or hesitant, we will break the flow and the ringing will cease. We must then begin afresh. We must continue this exercise until we are to make the bell ring and keep it ringing indefinitely.
If we lose the vibration, the singing bowl must be brought slowly and carefully back up past a definite barrier, a threshold of vibration before it will again produce the full sound. It is not easy to make the bowl really sing and, like a woman”s awakening, requires patience and subtlety.
Another demonstration used by schools to visualize the process of bringing the machine to life, is the Japanese Shakuhachi. The Shakuhachi is a type of flute. It can be made of bamboo, rosewood, maple, mahogany or even plastic.
The easiest of all to play is the plastic flute, and its sound is perfectly adequate for ordinary music. However, the real Shakuhachi is a teaching mechanism and is difficult to play.
The bamboo Shakuhachi with a root base is the true teaching instrument, because only perfect effortless breathing and no-mind mindfulness- which we call pure presence and the unremitting attention powered by the essential higher emotion of adoration- will produce a vibrant and mellow sound from it.
The Shakuhachi teaches how to breathe a perfect breath, how to breathe one”s last breath into the flute, as if giving one”s final breath to death, the ultimate lover.
All of these devices are vivid examples of the quality and heightened level of vibration of an awakened machine.
They all illustrate that the awakened machine requires constant powered by the subtle force of adoration.
We learn from the singing bowl and the Shakuhachi that the machine will go dead- fall back into sleep- the very moment that attention, which has brought it to life, falters or is withdrawn, even momentarily.
If we consciously adore the machine, it will respond by reflex to our adoration with a profound higher emotion. This higher emotion with which the machine answers our adoration brings about our own transformation.
HOW TO KNOW HIGHER WORLD
R U D O L F S T E I N E R
5. After these introductory comments, intended to dispel any fears, we shall now look more closely at some of these so-called “dangers.”
Great changes definitely occur in the subtler (ether and astral) bodies of a person who undertakes esoteric training. These changes are connected with certain evolutionary
processes taking place in the three fundamental forces of the soul: willing, feeling, and thinking. Before our training, the relationship between these is determined by higher cosmic laws. Nothing about the way we think, feel, or will is arbitrary. Every idea that becomes conscious is connected by natural laws to a particular feeling or act of will. For instance, when we enter a stuffy room, we open the window, or when we hear our name called, we answer the call. Similarly, a foul smell evokes a feeling of disgust in us. These seemingly simple connections between The Splitting of the Personality thinking, feeling, and willing are the foundation upon which, if we survey it, we find that our whole life is built.
We even consider the interconnectedness of these powers of thinking, feeling, and willing—based, as they are, on the laws of human nature—to be a prerequisite for a “normal” life. We would consider a person who took pleasure in foul odors or refused to answer questions as “not normal,” as violating the laws of human nature.
We expect a good upbringing and appropriate instruction to have results because we assume that we can connect a child’s feeling, willing, and thinking in a way that corresponds to human nature. Thus we teach children certain concepts on the assumption that these will later connect with their feelings and will. All such efforts are based on the underlying fact that the midpoints of thinking, feeling, and willing are connected in our finer soul bodies in a definite and lawful manner.
This connection in the finer organism of the soul is reflected in the coarser physical body. Here, too, the connection between the organs of will and those of thinking and feeling is determined by laws. This is why a certain thought will regularly evoke a particular feeling or activity of will. In the course of higher development, however, the threads connecting these three basic powers are interrupted, severed. At first this break occurs only in the subtler soul organism, but later—as we continue our ascent to higher knowledge—the separation also extends into the physical body.
(In fact, as one develops spiritually, the brain actually separates into three distinct members. Admittedly, this separation is not physically perceptible to the ordinary sense organs and cannot be proven with even the finest physical instruments. Nevertheless, it occurs. Clairvoyants can see that the brain of a person possessing advanced abilities separates into three independently active entities: a thinking brain, a feeling brain, and a willing brain.)
6. At this point in our spiritual evolution, the organs of thinking, feeling, and willing function separately, quite independently of one another. Their interconnection is thus no longer regulated by their own inherent laws, but by the individual’s awakened higher consciousness. Therefore one of the first changes we notice in ourselves as we advance in esoteric training is that neither ideas and feelings nor feelings and decisions are connected unless we ourselves create the connection between them. No impulse leads us from thought to action unless we ourselves freely create it.
Consequently we can now confront, dispassionately, events that before our training would have filled us with either burning love or bitter hatred. We can refrain from acting even in the presence of thoughts that would have spurred us automatically to action. Similarly, we can now act solely on the basis of pure will, even though others who have not undergone esoteric training cannot see the slightest reason for engaging in such actions. Thus the great accomplishment bestowed upon us on this path is the attainment of complete mastery over the interaction of our thinking, feeling, and willing. But such complete mastery over our soul forces also means that we have complete and individual responsibility for them.
7. Not until we have transformed our being in this way can we enter into a conscious relationship with certain supersensible beings and forces. For our soul forces (of thinking, feeling, and willing) are related to specific fundamental forces in the universe. For example, the force inherent in our will can affect certain things and beings of the higher world. It can also perceive them. But it can do so only once it has become free from its connection to feeling and thinking in our soul. As soon as this connection is undone, the activity of the will can be directed outward.
The same is true of the powers of thinking and feeling. If someone sends a feeling of hatred toward me, a clairvoyant can see this as a delicate cloud of light of a certain hue and can ward off this hatred just as we would ward off a physical blow that is aimed at us. Hatred thus becomes a perceptible phenomenon in the supersensible world. But we can see it only when we are able to direct the force inherent in our feeling outward, much as we direct the receptivity of our eyes outward into the sense world. And not only hatred, of course: other, more significant facts of the material world are also perceptible in the higher world. And one can enter into a conscious relation with these by discovering and liberating the basic forces of the soul.
8. Unless we follow the instructions of esoteric science closely, such a separation of thinking, feeling, and willing can easily lead us to deviate from the proper human path of development in three ways. Such a deviation occurs when the links connecting the three forces of the soul are destroyed before higher consciousness and its understanding
are sufficiently advanced to be able to take the reins and lead the now separated forces in the right way to a free, harmonious working together. The achievement of higher consciousness is necessary because, as a rule, the three forces do not develop equally in every phase of a person’s life. In one person thinking may be more developed than feeling and willing, while in another feeling or willing may be predominant. As long as the connection between thinking, feeling, and willing remains regulated by the higher laws of the cosmos, however, such developmental discrepancies do not cause any disturbing irregularities in the higher sense.
If will predominates in a person, for example, then the cosmic laws ensure that other forces counterbalance it and keep it from becoming excessive. But once we begin esoteric training, then the regulating influence of feeling and thinking on the will ceases, and the will, now no longer held in check, constantly impels us on to tremendous performances of power. If we reach this point before we have mastered higher consciousness and are able to create harmony between our forces, then our will can run rampant. It can overwhelm us, so that our feeling and thinking sink into complete powerlessness and we become slaves, scourged by our will. As a result, we can become
violent in character, rushing from one unbridled action to the next.
We can also go astray if our feeling frees itself from the restraint of higher cosmic laws. A person inclined to revere others, for instance, can then become so completely dependent on them that he or she loses the will and ability to think. Instead of higher knowledge, such a person’s lot is the most pitiful inner emptiness and impotence. If the natural tendency of our feelings is toward piety and religious exaltation, on the other hand, we can fall into raptures of religious self-gratification.
A third evil arises when thinking predominates. This produces a contemplative nature, but one that is closed in upon itself and hostile to life. For a person of such a nature the world has meaning only insofar as it provides objects to satisfy a boundless desire for wisdom. Thoughts no longer stir such a person to action or feelings. Instead, such people become indifferent and cold, avoiding contact with ordinary things as if they were nauseating, or at least had lost all meaning.
9. Thus there are three ways in which we can go astray and deviate from the proper path of esoteric training. We can fall into willful violence, into sentimental luxuriating in feelings, or into a cold, loveless striving after wisdom. Viewed from the outside—by materialistic psychiatry, for instance—people who go astray in these ways do not seem very different, certainly not in degree, from those who are insane or at least extremely “neurotic.” Naturally, esoteric training should not lead to such a condition. The important thing is to ensure that thinking, feeling, and willing—the three fundamental forces of the soul—have developed harmoniously before they are freed from the connection implanted in them and become subject to the awakened higher consciousness. If any mistake is made in this development and one of the three basic human forces loses its restraint, then the higher soul’s birth into existence will be a miscarriage. When this happens, unrestrained force completely floods our whole personality, and it will be a long time before balance can begin to be restored.
Thus what seems a harmless aspect of our character before we enter esoteric training—such as whether we are predominantly thinking, feeling, or willing types—is so intensified once we become students that it can overpower the universal human element so necessary for life.
This only becomes a real danger, however, once we are able to have conscious higher experiences in sleep consciousness as well as in the waking state. As long as our experience of sleep remains at the level of the mere awareness of the intervals in it, our sensory life, regulated by universal cosmic laws, has a compensatory effect on our soul when we are awake, restoring the soul’s balance.
Hence it is critically important that our waking life be normal and healthy in all respects. The more fully we can respond to the demands that the outer world places on a
healthy, vigorous constitution of body, soul, and spirit, the better. On the other hand, an overly exciting or exhausting daily life can be harmful because we then add potentially destructive and hindering influences to the great transformations taking place in our inner life. We should deliberately seek out situations for which our strength is adequate and that can bring peace and harmony into our relationship with our surroundings. And
we should avoid everything that might disturb this harmony and bring anxiety and turmoil into our lives. Here it is not so much a matter of getting rid of anxiety and turmoil in an outer sense as of taking care that our moods, intentions, and thoughts—as well as our physical health— remain stable and do not constantly fluctuate.
All this is not as easy for us after we have begun esoteric training as it was before. The higher experiences that now play into our lives continuously affect our whole existence. If anything is out of order in these higher experiences, then this irregularity lies in wait everywhere and can potentially throw us off at every turn.
Therefore we must do all we can to ensure complete self-mastery. We should never lack presence of mind or fail to survey calmly all situations under our consideration. In fact, any true esoteric schooling itself develops all these qualities in us. In the course of such training, we learn of the dangers and, at the same time (and at the right moment) discover all the power we need to eliminate them from the field.
“How to know higher worlds” Rudolf Steiner
My heart holds Your home,
my head desiring You;
Night and day have all passed,
while I am pledged to You.
I have suffered at the hand
of the people of the time;
In the world I’ve only seen
fidelity from You.
I’ve been drunk with Your wine
I’m surrendered to Your will
I’ve no hope for heaven
or for the Resurrection;
I have never wanted
anyone but You.
Once I realized that in reality
the Path cannot be traveled
Except on Your feet,
I lost both my head and feet.
With every breath I take
I am conscious of You;
I gave up heart and soul
for contentment from You.
If, like Nurbakhsh, you have pledged
yourself wholeheartedly to God;
The creation then will be ready
to pledge itself to you.