I have been guided to pause and consider the warning in our last teaching (25/10/98 'Introducing the Futures') that there is a state of ego which is both tense and contracted, and is the result of us being 'more aware of ourselves than that which we were responding to'.
It must be that self delusion plays a part in this as I have found it very difficult to contemplate. Also phrases such as 'selfhood', 'self-awareness', and even our (God forbid) Arterial Self, might all persuade us to curtail our response mechanisms to Life. Another persuasive saying that is popular, is that it is 'better to be pro-active than re-active'.
Perhaps our (my) inability to feel the Presence of the living Christ is proof of just how advanced this problem is in us.
Can you please give us some ways that we can study and practice so we can be more responsive and expansive to the 'new' and less self-absorbed?
THE term 'self-consciousness' pertains to that which is self-defining within that consciousness. Consciousness is actual, whether it is imaginative or experiential, whether it is integrated with levels beyond its physical bearings or culminating to and from the natural order ... consciousness is at all times actual, specific, determined and responsive to Life. (It is also provocative to Life, but that is yet another matter.)
The nirvanic 'blow out' of a consciousness which is saturate with an all pervading, all comprehending knowing, is but a perfect example of what you may come to when the consciousness itself has reached its furthermost points of being so completely contracted upon itself, whilst at the same time also being completely expanded beyond itself.
Similarly, if one were to lose definition of one's selfhood - become entity-non-identity, (through a number of ways, illegal or otherwise) - then we could assume that the condition of ego would be as flaccid as death, yet as stimulated overtly as well, submitting to all that besides (whether happily or not - and more likely not).
So we begin with the premise that a functioning self-consciousness requires a degree of precise limitation, without neutrality (for neutrality is soporgenic [sopor: inducing sleep; genic: producing, generating] to the awareness) and it is conceivably healthy that one's thinking and comprehending entitles the self-conscious being to set perimeters of self, even to the point of retraction.
Firstly we can acknowledge that there are two streams of thought in relation to those laws which guide a man throughout the courses of his starry travels in and out of time. As he is drawn to and from various experiences of existence, as he knows both the universal days and the universal slumbers between, when he is swept into much causality, yet effects many events upon himself; as he courses the ages depressed and diffused only to always ever be replenished anew - there are two streams of thought, in philosophical uncertainty, where it is suggested that Man is a being, at this stage of his development, more 'driven' than driving, whilst the other suggests that he is so driven that he drives.
In consideration to the Holy Spirit from which all is empowered to be driven and driving, we must firstly attribute all subsequent furtherance and universal motoring to that. In a second consideration as to whether or not men determine their own fates essentially, remarkably or determinedly - we answer thus: yes and no:
- Insofar as Father God gives us the essential life
- Insofar as Christ has characterized us to make this life remarkable
- Insofar as the Holy Spirit has empowered us to live determinedly
If you look a little further beneath the topsoil consciousness of any man you can see Christ and His Story quite animated within his being. This Life in affirmation - in repetitive monologue, the monologue of the Word - this Life is known by you and by all of those who especially ask 'But what of my inability to feel the presence of the Living Christ?'
The sweet air we inhale comes to us almost imperceptibly. We draw it in past the senses but know it not. If we smell foul or fragrance within the air, it is the foul or the fragrance we do recognize. Water is 'tasteless' and no matter what you may flavor it with, as a drink, you shall never experience the taste of the water itself. You will never arrive in the future, that at least is predetermined.
There are many impossibilities in which we begin to find that our self-consciousness has not the wherewithal to manage. But what if we could know the water or the air or the future in those very terms consciously, that they assist us with? The passage of Christ into our lives is as certain as respiration is to pure air, and thirst is to pure water. Here is one further thought: love, by itself, on its own, is also imperceptible. We know love by what it bears upon it, by that which it brings us, made active, in that which we impart. Do we know Love?
Yes our very angels are invisibly represented beside us, and the laws which contain and protect us are also quite hidden. So from this we can begin to understand that whilst we are defined within our self-consciousness we cannot be as exacting or discerning as we might choose to be theoretically. Some things at present, are not possible for us to experience or know on the levels that they most dominantly operate. Some things, though they be commonplace within our lives, needs, yearnings and existence, are not within our self-consciousness in like or in representation.
The term 'self-absorbed' relates quite wonderfully to that period in which the individual has taken a pause in order to assimilate much of what has effectually been received within him. Although this may be a preliminary effort which may go on to a contractive spasm, it is in itself a useful practice and quite necessary for one to go on and stabilize the ecology of their ego thereby. Inasmuch as it may intensify potentially the contractive condition, it may equally afford the individual a stronger position from which he may become quite expansive. To be self-absorbed, we would term as that time which we take-up that which we have taken in.
Even ideas circulate within our inner cosmic activity. They test the various magnetisms therein, they affiliate with various aligning attributes. Many present to us in dreams - fractured from their original context, we survey the various realities of insight in which we have not necessarily taken the conscious time or effort to absorb intentionally in other terms.
Meditations or spiritual exercises which require repetitive contemplations or mantric affirmations are all practices of self-absorption. Often we are required within these practices to refer to those concepts which contain the unfamiliar and the unknowable. In other words, the reality of that which we are contemplating is vague to our consciousness because it is only remotely comprehended ... and it requires the imaginative forces to help us sense the reality we are trying for.
In relation to self and the process of taking up as it were, we find that because the individual need work through the imaginative faculties in order to make progress, he is necessarily working 'within ', rather than experiencing directly that which is determinedly and tangibly, ordinarily and naturally 'without'.
There is often a caution given to students who attempt imaginative practices because of the nature of their inner work - involving the 'chaos' of such intensive traveling within. We find three considerations becoming apparent, namely:
- Physical health
Any aspirant upon the spiritual path would hopefully cherish his own reasoning to be as in accordance and enlightened by the divine reasoning which abides 'without' him. Reasoning in this context is neither rationalisation nor nonsense, but rather the ability to discern truth where truth is, and determine poorly evolved sequences for where and what they are as well.
We are required to balance our imaginative forces ideally with equal measure of reasoning, practical reasoning, and the discipline thereof. This will enable us to be strong enough to recover ourselves out from any given imagination - and this holds true for the novitiate to the initiate; for it shall be the same forces employed in the early work to that which will later become so plastic to the spiritual realities that one is transported directly into the realm. So one might say it would be inadvisable to encourage an individual who had difficulty with reasoning clearly, to practice intently that which required an imaginative practice. It would only encourage madness to do so.
Morality is very much a concern because our own personal demons may be encountered and exaggerated when inflamed with the imaginative forces. If our astral body holds a predisposition towards a certain corruptive behavior; if for example we are given to violent tempers, weakened by years of narcotic practice; given to indulgence whereupon the astral body begins to feed upon its own desires; if our thoughts are undisciplined and our criticisms are hurtful (bearing in mind that thoughts hold as much reality in the spiritual world as actions do in the physical world - for which we have impact and are accountable); if we are beset also by traumatic memory (our own or of another's imprinted upon our subtle body); if we are attempting the meditation or exercise within an environment that has formerly been corrupted .... then we are at danger of enhancing those very characteristics there within our less fortunate nature, and giving them life through our very imagination.
Of course the very best of men shall confront the many weaknesses and demons of both himself and of the world, but there are the majority of individuals who are not sufficiently prepared, and can measure this themselves by asking first of the above.
Lastly there is also the consideration of the physical condition, because interestingly enough one may be overcome in the imagination by a prevailing problem that is experienced within the body itself. This is a fascinating occurrence - we have seen many student who have experiences of a fantastic nature described, whereupon they have gone inward only to meet Mr. Colon or Mr. Lymph etc. Now this is not to be discounted because the process of such traveling can actually find its way to many places 'without' as well. However, for the beginner the problems may originate if there is an underlying malady within the physical system which is disrupting the ecology of all.
This is interesting because folk may presume it to be a corrective practice to an illness, to meditate or concentrate imaginatively so that the original health may become restored. However, once again there can be an exacerbation of the problem, if in fact the problem itself holds a spiritual causation which is ongoing and unattended to.
This is why it is recommended that students take their rising thoughts that drive them inward, to search directly for Father God or for Christ, or of the realities of the virtues themselves. If the motivation into the imaginative forces is primarily for psychic experience, if the eagerness or intention is upon unlocking the spiritual existence in general, there are many more excitable forces which may go on to stimulate a pursuing chaos therefrom. It is a serious matter when we urge our thinking into abstractions which require a relaxing of self, coupled with the self-absorption thus spoken of.
For example: if I am to meditate upon the properties of a given plant I may come to the plant informed as to whether or not it is poisonous, and I may go on to discover the properties of that plant: its aspect, its virtue, its radiance etherically and so forth, as experienced simply in its presence and through my imaginative clairvoyance. Yes, this can be done.
Moreover however, individuals begin to imaginatively project what they creatively feel the plant should or could be to them. Yes, this can also be part of the spiritual exercise to do just this. Yet depending upon the efficacy of the student in discerning the truth of it, it may also become a dangerous nonsense. If you are clear enough in head and heart to intensely come to the plant for the sake of the plant, to realize the plant and what it may bring to you, then it requires that you be relaxed imaginatively in that sense of self and what you may already be predisposed to thinking about the matter. This is something of a contradiction, because on the one hand we are emphasizing the importance of interpreting a truth when it is before you (rather than Mr. Colon rising up before your inner eye and appearing as the plant) and on the other hand we are suggesting that you must also be required to relax the preconceived ideas in order to make the imaginative and empathetic connection.
This becomes more complex again when the plant itself is but a modem for another form of spiritual life to be represented and experienced within it. However and funnily enough though, there is no guarantee that if one were to try to find Master Buddha amongst the stem and bud they would not be discussing with Mr. Colon instead! Now it may well be important to meet with Mr. Colon and it is not intended that we trivialize the miles one could go with him, but what is to be regarded is that all intent holds consequence, and when we enter into those self-conscious practices which require a repetitive employment of imaginative force we should be careful indeed, and most prudent with our intentions.
Never enter into such practice in a disturbed state of mind. If there are questions begging to be addressed, if the mind is wandering over its duties for the days or weeks ahead, if the physical body is fatigued, it is recommended that one does not try to become imaginative to correct the instabilities. But if one so desires to pursue this path of exercise (after satisfying of themselves that they are indeed reasonably, morally and physically able) always then return to the task only when the body is rested and the mind is obedient.
What is the difference between prayer and the imaginative practices you have described? Wouldn't prayer be healthy? Isn’t prayer an imaginative practice too?
The distinction between prayer and all else (in relation to this), is that in prayer, when we ask for the umbrella of grace to anneal us, we by the very prayer to God or to Christ are then given to them. It happens at the beginning, in that first inner cry, that wondering to meet with them, the solemn longing when we experience our depths within - it is what it is, and in this is far from abstract in the practice.
Although prayer may assist the self-development, and it is possible for one to pray for guidance in this self-development, one does not usually pray in the context of self in that moment, to come to experience. The certainty often felt, the peace that may follow, is because we have relaxed our egoic stronghold, not so much without our bearings, but within, in relation to the divine workings of our life.
As you may begin to see now, there are many ways we consciously and self-consciously react and adapt and address experiences which come to us, and it is no easy mean for any individual to attempt this, let alone one who wrestles also with a succession of past selves who beg addressing. Our transition into prayerful thought allows the unknowables to pass before our invisible eye and enter into our invisible taste, and be drawn in and through invisibly responsive egos. We sense quite perfectly that there are unknowables - the variety which are good and pure and perfect of substance and character - and we ask of their charity, without any effort of self.
Every man has been given prayer as remedy, as a dignifier, an ennobler and collaborator with the highest of powers. In prayer we are capable of exceeding the limits of this Globe immediately. It is true to say that the passage out is still inwardly taken, but it is not confined within this world at all (as it is with the imaginative and psychic practices).
In order for a man to interpret this world with an extrasensory psychical interpretation, there needs be a physical system he has developed which is conducive to the forces that shall go on to cause the extraordinary abilities. Some men are born with a clairvoyance which occurs naturally (i.e. they have not intentionally driven a chaos within), whilst others can come to experiences through injuring their centers of activity and perception (narcotic or spiritual practice); whilst others may find that they come to intermittent experience later in life due to the natural development which has occurred because of a wholesome inner activity, as their bodies become stronger and adaptable to 'go to the edge of reality' and perceive some localized etheric or astral vitality.
However, clairvoyance itself may be distracting or disruptive to the ill-prepared. In dream-life men have many clairvoyant experiences and know from this how 'at the mercy of' they often wake feeling. Would that you were capable of producing your dreams as self-consciously as any movie director, you would then begin to be at that level of development which could accordingly quite manage a natural clairvoyance. If not, then you are as susceptible and suggestible to the outer influences of the day and the inner pictures which present, as overwhelmingly as the bizarre and the nightmare from which you still fall influence to.
What then of channeling and mediumship? Many people have recently asked about this ... and in the light of what you are saying, how does it follow that this form of clairvoyance is for self-development when it intentionally puts self aside to effect the process? Before coming to this question, it should be added about clairvoyance in general that there are those folk who have atavistic tendencies which come from an older form of consciousness (and physical body), that they bring with them into this life. Then there are the mainstream incarnates, which during this period have forgone much of their 'chaos' in order to work their relationship with their physical body (this occurs on many levels and is no small work in the incarnating/deifying of matter); and then there are those also who begin to introduce the attributes of what will become clairvoyantly in all future men in some centuries to come. These three categories are naturally occurring conditions, which once again we reiterate, are not synthesized by externally imposed practices.
In relation to mediumship and channeling there becomes a sacrifice given to the ensuing entity whereby the individual forces themselves out from their own body's centers of activity of consciousness and willingly makes way for the submission to another being's presence and influence as well. When we depart our consciousness from our body during sleep, prayer or meditation, the connecting auric fibers are apparent and relating, and our body, which does love us faithfully, is still the living representative of our being. However, when it is temporarily ensouled or enspirited or endeva-ed or enshrouded, when this body is haunted by what is a disincarnate being, there are two conflicts taking place:
- the body itself is becoming imbued and incised with a completely different characteristic of indwelling entity
- any entity which has not the living keys into incarnation into matter does not negotiate matter, but rather imposes upon it and disturbs its processes. (Viruses can be viewed in this manner also.)
Some might maintain that there is no harm in one receiving into their body a 'higher' being and subsequently becoming imbued with their emanations and so forth. But here is the catch: we maintain that there is no possibility of a greatly advanced being ever entering into a human body of another or being attracted to do so, unless the nature and development of the owner of that body was also so advanced as to meet with its needs in every way. Even then (and this would be rare indeed), there would still become unbearable searing tensions within both the habitable frame and the purity of the passing spirit, and they could not coincide for very long at all.
At present the physical condition within the substance of matter, being what it is today, is so difficult that even advanced souls whose bodies belong to them, are worn prematurely and must be rested and properly restored in order that they can keep up with the forces within the etheric. The very properties of the etheric vitalities which enable life its continuance in matter, do also very quickly tire the matter as well. It might make for a great looking corpse, but it still has its operational and functional problems!
Returning to the question of channeling and mediumship, we find that in most cases the individuals concerned are rather 'overshadowed' by certain entities instead of being actually possessed temporarily by them. This overshadowing holds to it a safer proximity of action whereby the body itself is not interfered with, although the subtle exchange still requires that the psychic is given in self-consciousness to the then overruling 'other'.
This negation of self brings about an interesting question, namely: to what point do we trust another's thinking or being to be preferable to our own? What makes a man then another? In channeling one surrenders their right and responsibility to self-conscious discernment. Conversely, when one is overshadowed there is still yet a portion of that self-consciousness present which can at any time enter back and take charge once again. In the submission to channeling the individual is disincarnating. He is discharging himself of his obligations in the world. With the case of an individual being overshadowed by an entity, yet not overcome, there is a coherence which remains - indicated also in the fact that the voice will not change, the breathing etc. is not interrupted in the exchange.
As to the question of our self giving preference to another self with opinion, with ideal, or even with a consuming affection, the reality is that no man or woman can become for another in the long run, although with mutuality there can be great assistance offered both equally.
It is natural to for men to seek out higher company, and to a degree the influence of any who holds a greater ability will 'rub off' to the point of introducing the way into the signature of the virtue or ability that is admired. But this cannot but lead the way to such laziness, as with those who believe it is enough to simply keep company with the great and yet not do the work that it also entails. False pride is very dangerous because it dissuades folk from their true potential. So it must be said that each and every one must become great souls within their own right; whilst at the same time exerting both patience with their own attempts in timing and patience with the progress of others as well.
That we may choose to take into ourselves the advice or opinion of another, displays that we hold them in such high regard to begin with. Whether it be the advice of a person or a disincarnate being, it is important that we are mindful that the responsibility of our own thoughts, whether borrowed or not, always returns to ourselves; this, you cannot give away. It is precisely this attitude of responsibility which will further the aspirant into a heightened sense of self-consciousness as he progresses along his way into spiritual insights.
There was the issue raised about returning from that sense of Arterial Selfhood and reconnecting with the world in a way that is not separate, but expansive. When men become more awake in the world they commonly feel as though they are distanced from all that they were once a part of. They gradually find that the consciousness that once was taken up in the moment reservedly looks on, with the watching aspect of a guardian soul; and this sense of separateness comes from the yearning to empathize more. This indicates that the man is actually embracing so much the greater than he did in the past, because he begins to deservedly try for something better.
When folk are given to a group mentality (in the context of camaraderie or tribal consciousness) they find comfort in dissolving themselves within that greater group consciousness. But this does not mean that they are actually contributing much of their best or truly empathizing in an expansive way. If anything, one can see in looking on within such groups, that it is as if the participants agree to extinguish each other's selfhood into the bargain of foregoing their own. You see this may appear to be a condition of great love and affiliation, whereas if the folk concerned are not being true to their egoic tendencies and needs of the working self-consciousness, then it is but an elaborate stage-play, albeit with a chorus that we all know so well.
It is no wonder that men come to the prospect of real connectings being possible, and then fret for such in every situation, even that which did not, in truth, hold so before. Yes you can contribute and encourage, but one also comes to realize that this may also be a willfulness, a single-mindedness, which will be frustrated because the correspondents are not ready to meet your consciousness as you would have them.
We are often disappointed at the sore contrast between the dynamics from soul to soul, in inequality, in unresponsiveness; and so the question of living an expansive consciousness amongst these difficulties is well put, and important to the consideration. We find that it is not, however, the development of the Arterial Self which incurs a contractive selfishness, but moreover the ashamedly low opinion one might hold of love and the importance of laughter.
If there becomes a difficulty in reconnecting it may well be the case that you are not asked to be connecting. The time may not be right, the place, the people, wanting, wanting you. They may need to connect to something or someone quite different now. This is something you cannot manage on your own. One cannot single-handedly effect a whole connection! Rapport must be given, it can not be taken. It is a difficult thought. Why are we not required? Will the world not turn? - and so forth. We ask it all the time. Still more disappointments.
So we go where the great love is. If men invest their love wisely, and invest and invest and invest and invest - if they go where the connections are lively for them, and discern gracefully where they are not, then they begin to be worthy of their arterial connection to Father God with honoring this self-conscious actuality. By all means, one can be in many places and try always to be good company, with a cordial and sincere interest and interaction; however, if upon the trying, a situation does not discernibly feel right, then know it and decide upon it and move on.
Self-consciousness can be remarkably uncomfortable when we discern difference upon difference, but it also equips us to venture into those things which are worthy of our investment in the long run.
We have spoken so often of the needs within men to find light-heartedness, and to reconnect with the world through that which they love. This does not mean that one must find merriment where it does not exist or manufacture love where it is not sincere within you. Such falsities are disastrous, for appearances are nothing and the effect upon the soul within is debilitating. Christ does not Love us because of obligation. He actually enjoys it! He rejoices!
He delights in you!
He is confounded by your beauty!
He is absorbed with you!
He is dedicated to you!
He is excited by you!
He is cherishing of you!
He is protective to you!
He is loving the Love that he holds especially for you!
He Lives for You!
He died for You!
And He finds you are very lovable indeed.
What a profound meditation this is. That we, all of us, do make Him so very pleased - so lively and so complete.
Our next paper shall deal with anxiety and its many conjuring specters.
Good cheer to all,