Centers (Fourth Way)
The 4th Way teaching attributes different areas of man's functioning to so-called centers. Different accounts of the teaching differ in particulars but generally centers are divided into 3 lower and 2 or 3 higher ones.
The lower centers are:
- 1. Moving, responsible for the physical body in its instinctive as well as learned functioning.
- 2. lower emotional, responsible for assigning values to things and emotion in general.
- 3. Intellectual, responsible for memory of facts and thinking in general.
The higher centers are almost never available for conscious observation in man's normal life. The higher centers are higher emotional and higher intellectual. Additionally, there is a sexual center which is sometimes seen as a higher center and sometimes bundled together with the moving and instinctive functions. The moving center is also sometimes divided into moving and instinctive centers.
The lower centers are further divided into positive and negative halves. Again, each half of each center is divided in three, so that each of the three lower centers is divided in 6, for a total of 18 slices of lower centers. Each center has positive and negative aspects of mechanical, emotional and intellectual aspects of its function. Thus we can speak of mechanical part of intellect, intellectual part of emotion, emotional part of motion etc.
Mouravieff's Gnosis series contains the most detailed systematic description of the centers. Ouspensky's In Search of the Miraculous also discusses these in some detail. Gurdjieff in his own work does not go to as much detail on centers but constantly refers to man as a 'three brained being,' with reference to the three lower centers, moving, emotional and intellectual.
The configuration of centers is expected to change as the Work proceeds. First the three centers will become subject to a single authority, the newly formed magnetic center. This is an intermediate step on the way of the lower emotional center merging with the higher emotional center. Finally, the higher emotional center is supposed to open the door to the higher intellectual center.
The core of the 4th Way teaching on centers is that the lower centers practically always work inefficiently and at cross purposes. Due to this, energy which should go into making contact with the higher centers gets dissipated and the higher centers remain disconnected from regular waking consciousness, except for exceptional moments, usually involving intense emotion or shock. Therefore, the key to accessing the higher is to bring the lower into order. Another key concept is the use of emotional shocks as a tool for spiritual work. These shocks, when consciously received, can be transformed into energy that will feed the higher centers and bring them to consciousness. The idea is to energize the lower centers so that they can 'catch up' or meaningfully interact with the higher centers. The idea is not to bring the higher down to the lower but to improve the lower so as to reach for the higher. If the lower centers work efficiently, they will work fast enough to make sense of the higher centers and there will be energy left over to feed the higher centers so that these can work as they were designed to. This condition is however very rare and nearly always transitory.
From Mouravieff's Gnosis Excerpts taken from page 19, 21, 22:
- We find the Personality between the body and the Soul. Though tied to both, it is generally more attached to the former. We have also constated that the 'I' of whom we speak every day corresponds to the Personality, known by our name.
- The question that faces us next is how we may know what the Personality is in itself. We certainly feel it within us. We are aware of it's attitudes, it's desires, and it's actions; but we are not at all able to represent it.
- Thinking about oneself evokes a certain image; of a clothed body, or a face which strives to be dignified and charming. The image is only a reflection of the Personality. If we want to discover the latter, we have to penetrate more deeply, and only introspection would permit us to discover its true face. Introspection leads us to discover that there exists a sort of little 'nebula' within us. This is insubstantial, or almost so, but is gifted with the capacity for experiencing and thinking, for feeling emotion, and for action. An exercised and sustained attention permits us to constate that this 'nebula' is mobile: it is sometimes found in the brain, and sometimes it descends to the heart and sometimes to the solar plexus. After a violent impression is made--for example after some great terror--it can move downward through the whole body to the feet. In such cases, everything goes on as if it has abandoned the general direction of the body, which it governs when it is situated in the brain, in order to act on a local plane only, in reflexes of a very elementary nature. Once the emotion has passed this 'nebula' re-ascends to a placer in the higher part of the head. We can say that the person has come back to himself.
- ...the personality is an organism. As such it has a structure. But we miss this structure because we neither know nor study it. Our attention is constantly being held by exterior facts and events, and by the mechanical reactions which they provoke within us. The first attempts at internal observation have already led us to distinguish three foci of mental life, represented by the three centers. It must be understood that these three centers are not physical points or organs, located in exactly determined places in our bodies. They are more in the nature of CENTERS OF GRAVITY for each of the three currents of our mental life. Even this is not an altogether exact definition. For example, the motor center takes an active part in all physical and mental movement. When thought initiates movements within us, the motor center is present and regulates the motor element of the phenomena. It is the same for feelings, passions, sensations, etc. Thus a discovery made by the intellectual center with the aid of the motor center, is immediately communicated to the later, then transmitted to the emotional center, where it immediately provokes corresponding reactions.
- That transmission can also take place in a different order. That is how Archimedes, transported with joy by the discovery of the principle which bears his name, ran around the town of Syracuse shouting: 'Eureka'! : thought, emotion, movement. That shows that the three mental centers which embrace, regulate and express the life of our Personality, and also constitute its structure, are not autonomous.
- Persistent introspection will later allow us to constate that each one of the three centers is decided into two parts: positive and negative. Normally these two parts act in conjunction with one another: for they are in fact polarized as the double organs of the body, which duplicate the same function or participate in the same work at the same time; our arms for example.
- That division of the centers, a reflection of the universal polarization, allows them to establish COMPARISONS; to consider both sides of the problems posed to them.
- The positive part of each center looks--one might say--to the head, and the negative part to the tail of these problems. The center as a whole constructs an appropriate synthesis and draws its conclusions, inspired by the constatations made by each of the two parts.
- An example is the process of critical analysis. It is therefore totally erroneous to consider that the names of these parts indicate a beneficent or harmful role depending on whether they are positive or negative. These terms do not imply any value judgment--any more then the constation of positive and negative charges upon elementary particles.
- If we consider the functioning of the motor center, we can perceive that these parts are inseparable one from the other, in their structure as well as in their action. With certain reservations we can say that the positive part of the center corresponds to the ensemble of the instinctive functions of the psycho-physical organism of man, and its negative part to the motor functions. In other words, the motor center is in the full sense of the word the manager of our bodies; it must equilibrate the energies that it accumulates by its positive part with those that are consumed by its negative part.
- This symmetry--this polarity--is to be found in the two other centers.
- Constructive and creative ideas are born in the positive part of the intellectual center. But it is the negative part that evaluates an idea, that takes its measure, so to speak. It is on the basis of this functional polarity that this center, as a whole, judges.
- It is the same with the emotional center, the action, the action of the negative part opposes the positive part, which at the same time completes it, for example permitting the center as a whole to distinguish the agreeable from the disagreeable.
- We can nevertheless misuse the faculties of the negative parts. This negative abuse is a real danger. The case is obvious as far as the motor center is concerned, yet here physical exhaustion acts as a control, intervening to stop excessive consumption of energy. When it comes to the other centers, the misuse of the negative parts takes much more insidious forms, which entail more series consequences for our minds as well as our bodies.
- That is how the negative part of the intellectual center nourishes jealousy, afterthoughts, hyprocrisy, suspecion, treachery, etc.
- The negative part of the emotional center receives all the disagreeable impressions and serves as a vehicle for negative emotions, for which the keyboard is very large, ranging from melancholy to hate.
- We shall have occasion to go deeper into the problem of negative emotions. Their destructive role is generally unknown, but represents one of the major obstacles to esoteric evolution.
Description of Centers
Gurdjieff speaks of four lower Centers: moving, instinctive, feeling, and thinking. He also spoke of a fifth center which he called the sex center. Concerning the sex center, Gurdjieff said that it practically never worked independently because its energy was often robbed by the moving/instinctive/feeling/and thinking centers. This produced quite wrong work of the lower centers producing useless excitement and in return gave to the sex center useless energy which it was unable to work with. Gurdjieff also postulated that there were aspects of higher consciousness manifesting in two additional Centers: the Higher Emotional and the HigherThinking.
According to Gurdjieff these two Higher Centers are intact, fully operational, and are ready for the psyche to use. However to access the Higher Centers, our lower centers need to be fully balanced.
When the lower Centers are balanced, then we think properly with the Thinking Center, feel properly with the Feeling Center, and the body is properly regulated by the Instinctive Center. It is noted that the Instinctive Center, while not connected with a 'Higher Instinctive Center,' operates freely in accordance with other parts of nature.
Due to the abnormal conditions in which we live, the working of the Higher Centers fail to reach our ordinary consciousness and are seldom experienced, due to a phenomenon called 'scrambling' of the lower centers. This 'scrambling' of the lower centers (or what Mouravieff called Confluence) become so distorted and off balance that the signal from the Higher Centers cannot get through. Scrambling or Confluence causes the misuse of the Centers. For example, we can think with our feelings or feel with our instincts. This misuse of energy creates an imbalance, a 'gnashing of teeth' in the lower centers inhibiting a clear or PURE connection to the higher centers.
Only in a state of 'clear consciousness' can the lower centers be properly unscrambled so that they can synchronously work together and not distort the communications coming from a higher source.
Below is a simplified description of these centers from Ouspensky's book, The Psychology Of Man's Possible Evolution, pages 27 through 29:
- In the following lectures I shall speak about these obstacles, the greatest of which is our ignorance of ourselves, and our wrong conviction that we know ourselves at least to a certain extent and can be sure of ourselves, when in reality we do not know ourselves at all and cannot be sure of ourselves even in the smallest things.
- We must understand now that psychology really means self-study. This is the second definition of psychology.
- One cannot study psychology as one can study astronomy; that is, apart from oneself. And at the same time one must study oneself as one studies any new and complicated machine. One must know the parts of this machine, its chief functions, the conditions of right work, the causes of wrong work, and many other things which are difficult to describe without special language, which is also necessary to know in order to be able to study the machine.
- The Human machine has seven different functions:
- 1) THINKING (or intellect)
- All Mental processes are included here: realization of an impression, formation of representations and concepts, reasoning, comparison, affirmation, formation of words, speech, imagination, and so on.
- 2) FEELING (or emotions)
- The second function is feeling of emotions; joy, sorrow, fear, astonishment, and so on. Even if you are sure that it is clear to you how, and in what way emotions differ from thoughts it is advisable to verify all your views in regard to this. We mix thoughts and feelings, in our ordinary thinking and speaking; but for the beginning of self study it is necessary to know clearly which is which.
- 3) INSTINCTIVE FUNCTION (all inner work of the organism)
- The words 'instinct' and 'instinctive,' are generally used in the wrong sense and very often in no sense at all. In particular, to instincts are generally ascribed external functions which are in reality moving functions, and sometimes emotional. The instinctive function in man includes in itself four different classes of functions:
- FIRST: All the inner work of the organism, all physiology, so to speak; digestion and assimilation of food, breathing, circulation of the blood, all the work of inner organs, the building of new cells, the elimination of worked-out materials, the work of glands of inner secretion, and so on.
- SECOND: The so called senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch; and all other senses of weight, of temperature, of dryness and moisture, and so on; that is, all indifferent sensations - sensations which by themselves are neither pleasant nor unpleasant.
- THIRD: All physical emotions, that is, all physical sensations which are either pleasant or unpleasant. All kinds of pain or unpleasant feeling such as unpleasant taste or unpleasant smell, and all kinds of physical pleasure, such as pleasant taste, pleasant smell, and so on.
- FOURTH: All reflexes, even the most complicated, such as laughter and yawning; all kinds of physical memory such as memory of taste, memory of smell, memory of pain, which are in reality inner reflexes.
- 4) MOVING FUNCTION (all outer work of the organism, movement in space, etc.).
- The moving function includes in itself all external movements, such as walking, writing, speaking, eating, and memories of them. To the moving function also belong those movements which in ordinary language are called 'instinctive,' such as catching a falling object without thinking.
- The difference between the instinctive and the moving function is clear and can be easily understood if one simply remembers that all instinctive functions without exception are inherent and that there is no necessity to learn them in order to use them; whereas on the other hand, none of the moving functions are inherent and one has to learn them as a child learns to walk, or as one learns to write or draw. Besides these normal moving functions, there are also strange moving functions which represent useless work of the human machine not intended by nature, but which occupy a very large place in man's life and use a great quantity of energy. These are: formation of dreams, imagination, daydreaming, talking with oneself, all talking for talking's sake, and generally, all uncontrolled and uncontrollable manifestations.
- 5) SEX FUNCTION (the function of two principles, male and female, in all their manifestations).
- 6) HIGHER EMOTIONAL FUNCTION (which appears in a state of self consciousness).
- 7) HIGHER MENTAL FUNCTION (which appears in a state of objective or 'clear' consciousness).
- Concerning the Higher Emotional and Higher Mental functions, we are not in these states of consciousness so we cannot study these functions or experiment with them, and we learn about them only indirectly from those who have attained or experienced them. See Centers, Higher.
- ...It is very important to remember that in observing different functions it is useful to observe at the same time their relation to different states of consciousness.
- ...it is necessary to understand that man's consciousness and man's four lower functions (intellectual, emotional, instinctive, and moving) are quite different phenomena, of quite different natures and depending on different causes, and that one can exist without the other.
- FUNCTIONS CAN EXIST WITHOUT CONSCIOUSNESS, AND CONSCIOUSNESS CAN EXIST WITHOUT FUNCTIONS.
Formation of centers
Excerpt From Mouravieff's Gnosis Vol I, pp. 33-35:
- The formation of the three mental centers in the Personality is not synchronous with this development.
- The MOTOR CENTER is already highly developed in the newborn. Its positive instinctive part grows and forms itself while still in the mother's womb, beginning at conception, and continuing throughout pregnancy in such a way that at birth it functions in normal rhythm. After this it will no longer be subject to qualitative change. On the other hand, the negative motor part of this center is much less developed. It can be said that if the instinctive part of the newborn functions at around 75 percent of its normal output, the percentage for the motor part only reaches 25 percent and this is almost totally devoted to the internal processes of the body.
- Throughout growth, before and after puberty, this part of the motor center not only develops quantitatively, but qualitatively. In addition, all the savoir-faire of the bodily 'I', from the time the infant takes his mother's breast until he performs the most complex movements, must be complemented at every step by qualitative development. This development continues throughout life.
- The EMOTIONAL CENTER in the newborn is characterized by its purity. As long as the child has not learned how to lie, he retains the marvelous faculty--proper to this center--of spontaneously discerning the true from the false over a very wide range of experience. With time, education, and all that is instilled in the child, this center is deranged and this faculty lost, to be found again only much later as a result of esoteric work, special exercises, and sustained efforts. It must also be noted that the emotional center in the newborn is generally much less developed than the motor center, and that commonly during the life of man 1, 2, or 3, exterior man, it does not develop like the two other centers.
- Although education is a major preoccupation of families and public authorities, the emotional development of the child is almost totally left to chance. In our contemporary civilization, this leads to an extraordinarily impoverishment of our affective lives. Even in the eighteenth century, the Abbe Prevost notes:
- "There are few people who know the full force of the different movements of the heart. The vast majority of men are only sensitive to five or six passions, in the circle of which lives are passed and which define the boundaries of their imagination. Take away love and hate, pleasure and pain, hope and fear and they will feel nothing."
- He further added:
- "But persons of nobler character can be moved in thousands of different ways. It seems that they can receive ideas and sensations which surpass the ordinary norms of nature."
- The development of the emotional center is the principle object of esoteric culture. We shall see later that it is only through this center that man can find the key which will open the door to give him access to a higher life.
- The INTELLECTUAL CENTER is in an embryonic state in the newborn. It goes through an intensive development which continues for the length of life, very often taking hypertrophied form in our civilization. Man's shaping is almost exclusively the shaping of his intellectual center through instruction, personal experience, and analytical or constructive work, whether original or compilatory.
- The intellectual center in the child is a tabula rasa. It can be compared to a system of gramophone discs which have not yet been recorded. The system is vast, well regulated, and provided with a mechanism--that of association--by which any disc arriving at its end automatically releases a second, the contents of which are related to the first. A record which turns as someone speaks can similarly provoke in us--again by association--the release of an equivalent record. In general this is how dialogue is born and sustained.
- This procedure is mechanical. We can easily observe this in any conversation between a number of persons who know each other slightly. Such an interchange necessarily falls to an elementary level of the most banal interests: weather, political news, or the city. We hear these records being played, turning continually and passing from one person to another, each with their faces congealed in a grimace which--we commonly agree--gives evidence of an amiable attitude.
- The recording continues practically forever, as the disc library is vast and the recording apparatus very sensitive. When a person speaks, it is generally easy to distinguish whether his recordings are played or whether he speaks from some deeper part of himself. In the later case, he uses a pictorial, rustic and sometimes awkward language; in the former he speaks in a singing tone of voice. It is important to make these observations upon ourselves, in order to be able to constate variations in speech. One moment it is 'I' who speaks then, unnoticed, it is no longer I; a recording from the past begins to play in me. A curious thing: once a record has been started, it is almost impossible to stop it before it has run through its content.
- There are discs which we should carefully preserve, while others should be re-recorded. A special series of discs sometimes concerns the techniques of one's work. Everyone in his everyday work unconsciously creates a collection of such discs, which he uses for the needs of his profession.
- Interior observation of this phenomenon would reveal a whole repertoire of such records. A discovery like this would offer the opportunity of working to control the release of a particular type of recording, and so try to eliminate it completely.
- For that, we must first start to distinguish these from useful discs which have some purpose. This is done by analysis of their contents, and by the characteristic inner 'taste' which causes them to be played, as well as by the charecteristic intonation that they give to the voice. Thereafter, we must try to catch the exact moment of their release. It is in that precise moment--we shall see later on why this is so--that it is possible to control these recordings and eliminate those which are useless.
Playing card analogy for the centers
The picture cards of a regular playing card deck are sometimes used as a metaphor or memory aid for describing the lower centers.
All such systematizations run the risk of becoming too theoretical, where the reader may mistake the description for the real thing, leading to "formatory thinking", removed from the experience. Still, the below classification is relatively hands-on and helpful in placing various observations of the self on the map of centers. Because the notion of center in itself is an abstraction of something more complex, the number of centers figuring in descriptions, as well as the nature of their subdivisions varies, even within 4th Way literature. So, while most of the time there are three lower centers, the below description makes this four, dividing the moving center in two. The higher centers do not enter into this description.
The centers are instinctive = clubs, moving = spades, intellectual = diamonds and emotional = hearts. Each center is divided into mechanical, emotional and intellectual slices. These slices themselves have a positive and negative side. The slices are compared respectively to jacks, queens and kings of each suit. The playing cards have a mirror image pattern. This symbolizes the positive/negative division of each slice.
The jack of clubs is the mechanical instinctive. It is the center which maintains the body. Not all of its actions such as digestion or blood flow need to become conscious. Indeed, making these conscious can disrupt their natural functioning. Centers can take each others' energies. When one is sick, the jack of clubs takes every other center's energy for healing the body. One will not move, be drawn to anything, will not be interested in things.
The queen of clubs is responsible for liking/disliking physical things like touch, smell, texture etc. It protects one from eating spoiled food, for example. It is also excited about physical pleasures. It leads to instinctive emotions, such as becoming happy about the taste of a good wine.
The king of clubs is responsible for planning for survival and of value judgements on safety. This may also have to do with concerns for money, material security etc. This card is needed for survival but is not interested in the Work. A sixth sense (psychic sensitivity) can be a result of a well developed king of clubs.
All the 5 senses are the domain of the instinctive center.
The jack of spades is responsible for unconsciously executed motion like walking. Playing a musical instrument well needs a good jack of spades for the technical aspect of playing. The difference between instinctive and moving centers is that the instinctive center does not need to be taught, it will automatically activate behaviors typical of the species based on environment clues. The moving center does have to be taught and trained. Well practiced motions are executed by the jack of spades without much attention from other centers.
The queen of spades is concerned with liking or disliking motion. It likes to dance, ride a motorbike or play pinball, for example.
The king of spades has intelligence about spatial relationships. It can figure out how to pack things efficiently in boxes, for example. The jack can also do this but will do it by trial and error, the king will do it by design. The jack takes a long time to learn. This is why movements must be practised endless times, first with intellectual attention to each step before these steps become automatic, assimilated from the king by the jack.
The jack of diamonds is the formatory apparatus. It is good for storing information. It can only agree or disagree. It thinks it can think but it is categorical, yes/no and is not good with context or depth of understanding. It has no finesse. It will 'think' that something is always good or always bad without regard for the situation.
The queen of diamonds is excited by ideas. It likes to know everything but is not particularly deep. It is shopping around in a bookstore. It buys books which it may then never read. It may be good for starting with the Work but does not have the patience to stay with it.
The king of diamonds is capable of studying something in depth, of getting to the bottom of a question. This may be good for the Work, but if not completed by other centers, the efforts of the king of diamonds may result in no action but only endless speculation or high sounding phrases.
The "second thought is the wiser". The king of diamonds can think twice and not react immediately. The queen will grasp a concept in a conversation and start identifying with an idea and will want to say something immediately. This is identification. The king may moderate this tendency and bring context into the process.
The jack of hearts is concerned with people. It has functions such as 'all babies are cute,' social chatter, all group emotions. It picks up the mood of the company and will cause one to feel happy or sad because others feel so. It will get excited at a sports match and shout because everybody else shouts.
The queen of hearts is the drama queen. It thrives on passion. It falls in love. But it is also selfish and fickle and may conceive of an equally deep hate. Fanaticism is its business. It is the only card that can commit suicide. It is often at odds with the king of clubs whose job it is to preserve the machine. The queen of hearts is good for starting the Work. It will be excited at first but will not have the persistence to go through with it, it will get distracted by something else. The queen of hearts may be very sensitive to people's energies and intents but it can overreact. It will call this or that 'destiny' and most often will be wrong.
The king of hearts is the only card with a genuine interest in the higher, it is the only card capable of self-sacrifice. The sacrifice of the queen of hearts is a thing for the self. Committing suicide is the ultimate in identification and subjective self-absorption. The king of hearts may conceive of altruistically sacrificing the self for concern for an objective external higher value, not for concern for a subjective inner state.
The king of hearts may understand and apply higher ethical principles and may be the gateway to the higher centers.
The intellectual center is the slowest. The emotional center is 30000 times faster. The moving/instinctive centers are again 30000 times faster than emotions. What one feels in a second one may spend hours analyzing or describing. Again, for the instinctive/moving functions there will be a huge amount of information processed in order to, for example, recognize a face which will then result in an emotion. Modern neurology seems to confirm the statement about the centers' relative speeds. There is, for example, talk about the 'bit-rate' of sensory functions as opposed to that of speech or verbal thinking. Also, reaction time differences between brain functions such as emotional interpretation taking place in the amygdala (queen of clubs/spades) and the frontal cortex (queen of diamonds/hearts) seems to support this notion. Again, the idea of center is not an exact reference to anatomy or function, nor is the concept strictly limited to the physical body as understood by medicine, thus such analogies should not be taken too far.
The attention of the jacks is mechanical, automatically going where circumstance pulls it. The attention of the queens is also pulled by outside objects and is automatically drawn without the self needing to work for focusing the attention. Only the kings require will, a deliberate effort in order to be active.
All cards have a useful role but generally they usurp each others' energy and work incorrectly and take over each others' functions.
Purity of centers
Excerpt from Mouravieff's book Gnosis: Study and commentaries on the Esoteric tradition of Eastern Orthodoxy. Book I, Exoteric Cycle:
- Homo Sapiens lives immersed in his everyday life to a point where he forgets himself and forgets where he is going; yet, without feeling it, he knows that death cuts off everything. How can we explain that the intellectual who has made marvelous discoveries and the technocrat who has exploited them have left outside the field of their investigations the ending of our lives? How can we explain that a science which attempts everything and claims everything nevertheless remains indifferent to the enigma revealed by the question of death? How can we explain why Science, instead of uniting its efforts with its older sister religion to resolve the problems of Being - which is also the problem of death - has in fact opposed her?
- What strikes us from the very beginning is that man confuses moral progress with technical progress, so that the development of science continues in dangerous isolation. The brilliant progress that has come from technology has changed nothing essential in the human condition, and will change nothing, because it operates only in the field of everyday events. For this reason it touches the inner life of man only superficially. Yet from very ancient times it has been known that the essential is found within man, not outside him.
- Humanity has arrived at an important turning point in its history. The Cartesian spirit which destroyed scholastic philosophy is now in turn being left behind. The logic of history demands a new spirit. The divorce between traditional knowledge, of which religion is a trustee, and acquired knowledge, the fruit of science, threatens to make sterile our civilization.
- Yet it is an aberration to believe that Science by its very nature is opposed to [spirit], and it must also be firmly stressed that [spirit] does not include any tendency opposed to Science. On the contrary, the [mystics] foresaw the prodigious development of Science. The celebrated formula of St. Paul: Faith, Hope and Love, summarizes a vast programme of evolution for human knowledge. If we examine this formula in relation to its context we see that the first two terms are temporary, while the third is permanent. [...] It was appropriate to the epoch in which it was expressed, and its significance has had to evolve with time. [...] Science and knowledge are called on to replace Faith and Hope, which defined the limits of what was accessible to the mentality of the epoch when he taught - have since then known extraordinary development.
- He therefore adds: "Now that I have become a man, I have put away childish things."
- This is how the passage from Faith to Knowledge is described. [Faith being appropriate to that time, Science replacing Faith in our time.]
- St. Paul then specifies that this last, although necessary in evolution, is NOT a final state, as it is incomplete by nature. He adds that "When that which is perfect is come, that which is incomplete disappears."
- The perfect is Love, which unites in itself the accomplishment of all virtues, of all prophecies, of all mysteries, and of all Knowledge.
- It is by the joint efforts of traditional science, based on Revelation, and of acquired Science, the domain of positive knowledge, that is, on "Faith and Hope," that one can hope to fulfill the programme traced out by St. Paul, and finally attain Love in its integral meaning."
- The romance, by which Christian society expressed the principle of reciprocal choice, reached its climax in the Middle Ages. In spite of the decline it has known since then, and in spite of a current tendency to return to regressive forms of relations between the sexes, it still remains the avowed ideal of our society.
- Is it not exact, then, to speak of the death of romance? A revolution is occurring silently which will replace the free romance, distinctive mark of the Christian era, with the singular romance characteristic of the Holy Spirit. Liberated from servitude to procreation, this romance of tomorrow is called on to cement the indissoluble union between two strictly polar beings, a union which will assure their integration in the bosom of the Absolute. As St. Paul says:
- "Nevertheless, neither is the woman without the man, nor man without the woman in the Lord."
- The vision of such a romance has haunted the highest minds for thousands of years. We find it in platonic love, the basis of the singular romance in the myths of Androgyne man; of Orpheus and Eurydice; of Pygmalion and Galatea... This is the aspiration of the human heart, which cries in secrecy because of its great loneliness. This romance forms the essential aim of esoteric work. Here is that love which will unite man to that being who is unique for him, the Sister-Wife, the glory of man, as he will be the glory of God. Having entered into the light of Tabor, no longer two, but one drinking at the fount of true Love, the transfigurer: the conqueror of Death.
- Love is the Alpha and Omega of life. All else has only secondary significance.
- Man is born with the Alpha. It is the intention of the present work to show the path which leads towards the Omega.
- When we ask someone who lives under this constant pressure of contemporary life to turn his mental vision towards himself, he generally answers that he has not enough time left to undertake such practices. ... If he acquiesces, he will in most cases say that he sees nothing: Fog; Obscurity. In less common cases, the observer reports that he perceives something which he cannot define because it changes all the time.
- This last observation is correct. Everything is in fact continually changing within us. A minor external shock, agreeable or disagreeable, happy or unhappy, is sufficient to give our inner content a quite different appearance.
- If we follow up this interior observation, this introspection, without prejudice, we will soon note that our "I" of which we are so consistently proud, is not always the same self: the "I" changes.
- As this impression becomes more defined we begin to become more aware that it is not a single being who lives within us but several, each having his own tastes, his own aspirations, and each trying to attain his own ends.
- If we proceed with this experience, we will soon be able to distinguish three currents with that perpetually moving life: that of the vegetative life of the instincts, so to speak; that of the animal life of the feelings; and lastly that of human life in the proper sense of the term, characterized by thought and speech.
- It is as though there were three beings within us, all entangled together in an extraordinary way.
- So, we come to appreciate the value of introspection as a method of practical work which permits us to know ourselves and enter into ourselves. The inner content of man is analogous to a vase full of iron filings in a state of mixture as a result of mechanical action. Every shock received by the vase causes displacement of the particles of iron filings. Thus real life remains hidden from the human being due to the constant changes occurring in his inner life.
- Even so, as we shall see later, this senseless and dangerous situation can be modified in a beneficial way. But this requires work; conscientious and sustained effort. Introspection carried out relentlessly results in enhanced internal sensibility. This improved sensibility in its turn intensifies the amplitude and frequency of movement whenever the iron filings are disturbed. As a result, shocks that previously were not noticed will now provoke vivid reactions. These movements, because of their continuous amplification, can create friction between particles of iron so intense that we may one day feel the interior fire igniting within us.
- The fire must not remain a harmless flare-up. Nor is it enough that the fire smolders dormant under the ashes. A live and ardent fire once lit must be carefully kept alight by the will to refine and cultivate sensitiveness. If it continues in this way, our state can change: the heat of the flame will start a process of fusion within us. Troubles and uncertainties are normal during a period of transition. Sunrise is always preceded by an increase in night's chill.
- Today man feels acutely the opposition between the tremendous technical progress and the obvious moral deficiency of humanity. In fact, while life on the material plane is moving at an accelerated pace due to the political, social and industrial Revolution, man has made no marked progress on the moral plane.
- Today, any being who thinks will feel unhappy; if his ability to do is deficient, his overdeveloped sensibility makes his active will all the more exacting and refined. This is so much so, that he sees his good intentions wither before they have had the strength to blossom.
- There is no reason to hope that the present situation will correct itself automatically. On the contrary, the more technical progress accelerates, the wider grows the gulf in modern man between wanting and the ability to do. This contradiction can be seen on every plane. For example, [over fifty years after] the end of the second world war, the world is trapped in a situation which is neither war nor peace. This in itself is an eloquent demonstration of the powerlessness of those in authority.
- Man must now discover new sources of moral energy in the same way that he has - thanks to science - found new sources of physical energy. [The solution lies in a network of human beings] whose latent moral faculties are developed and cultivated.
- The knowledge and understanding and savior-faire needed to attain this aim have been preserved through the centuries...
- In their ensemble, they form the WAY.
- This is "esoteric Christianity."
- Century after century, while the flame of primitive Christianity burned low, esoteric work has remained vigilant. The esoteric meaning of the work was a preparatory effort: its objective was to accumulate the necessary energies on the astral plane, and so make it easier for humanity to pass through the great turnings of History...
- These changes in direction, and the coming of the new era they imply, have been constantly notable for the varied active and eminent roles played by women....The principle of Woman's intervention is found in ALL crucial periods of history. Periods where the ennobling role of the woman in the life of human society has faded are marked by a triviality of morals and manners, expressed in particular by a taste for realism carried to its utmost limits.
- Today, human relations suffer from a real distortion in the innate role that woman is destined to play at the side of man: instead of being the active force in these relations, the inspiring and fruitful complement to the man, the woman tends to follow a parallel path, which no longer permits her to exercise her own creative vocation.
- [...] Man and woman once formed a single spiritual being - [even if in separate bodies] - endowed with the unique consciousness of the real Self; The Being described in the myth of the Androgyne.
- In the cycle of the "Fall," the male dominator conceptualization, the rule of the Father and the son, human beings became isolated from their real "I." Human beings take the illusions of the "I," the "predator's mind, so to say, as reality.
- The incomplete "I" of the Personality, unfinished and powerless, wanders in life with no faith and no true affection. It goes from error to error, from weakness to weakness, and from lie to lie. A prisoner - perhaps voluntarily - but nevertheless a prisoner - man does not do what he wants to do in life, but does what he hates, blindly obeying a diabolical mechanicalness which, under its three aspects: fear, hunger and sexuality, rules his life. This purely factitious existence has nothing real except the possibility of evolution - which remains latent, and forms the objective of esoteric studies and work. Apart from this seed, everything in exterior life is based on lies.
- If the Fall is a direct consequence of identifying with the "I" of personality [the predator's mind, the degraded DNA state], and the solitude of polar beings separated by the Fall is the source of weakness in humans who have in this way become mortal, the return of Unity appears to be an inexhaustible source of new energies. These energies are necessary to man, and to restore the dangerously disturbed equilibrium of today's public and private life, he must seek them out.
- However, this return to the perfect unity of polar beings is not given freely. It is the exclusive privilege of those who have crossed, or are ready to cross, the Second Threshold of the Way.
- It is through realization of the totally indivisible unity of their real "I", by two polar Individualities arrived at the Second Birth, that the original sin can and must be redeemed. This is the solution to the problem - the need to find a new source of moral energy. We have reached this solution by means of the positive method of esoteric study. Man must link together the work of the intellectual and emotional centers. If the question to be studied and solved is of an intellectual nature, then, after the intellectual center has elucidated it, before reaching a conclusion or final decision and before taking action, man must consult his emotional center. Conversely, he must not act impulsively or exclusively under the influence of the emotional center: before acting, he must consult his intellectual center.
- In general, man must cultivate in himself the ability to grasp any phenomenon and any problem - in the inner and outer worlds - by simultaneously using the two centers - emotional and intellectual.
- The natural growth of the Personality stops long before it is complete. It has an individual limit which depends upon a whole ensemble of factors including: civilization, race, caste, family and social surroundings, education and instruction.
- Without continuous conscious effort, the development of the Personality beyond this limit can never occur. ...To take development further, conscious efforts must be made. The rule is exact: whoever does not develop his talents loses them.
- We generally seek to develop these talents through education. As long as our studies or researches continue, the Personality continues to grow, although often in a not very harmonious way. But when studies and researches end, and we start to exploit the knowledge we have acquired in this routine manner, the development of the Personality ceases.
- The most important and most difficult stage of the Way to pass is the Staircase, also called the path of Access, which leads to the level of man # 4 [the master of the coach.] Anyone who seeks to climb this must make this effort the principal aim of his life. From now on, esoteric work must become the axis of his existence, round which the inner and outer circumstances of his life revolve.
- If the desire for transformation has enough vigor and intensity, this will fill the interval between the notes DO and Si, which is the First Threshold - the seeker will then stand with a firm footing on the first step of the Staircase.
- The four notes which form the Staircase are linked by a deep interdependence, since their resonance draws its strength from the initial impulse of Desire. This means that if this initial desire does not unite all man's existence in obedience [to the thing desired, i.e. to become free] if it does not dominate his whole being, it is better for him to stop in time and not cross the Threshold. We repeat: The Way is a path of no return. This is the real reason for this test of Desire. This Desire must have the strength of Thirst.
- This categorical demand must not frighten us. At the same time, we must realize that the tests begin from the first step of the Staircase. To cross the first Threshold, many must undergo the first test successfully without looking back: he must be ablaze with the ardent desire to overcome the entanglement of life in the wilderness, so that he can throw himself into the unknown in a search for a new, reasonable and real life.
- The first step leads to the test of Faith. To Believe is not enough; one must have faith. Here we not that we are not talking about faith or belief in some outside source, but in the self. Here the seeker must surmount his fear of abandonment. Many trials and troubles will face the seeker... all designed to destroy his faith in his own ability to be and to succeed in finding the life that is not materially evident but is only a dream...
- Be not therefore anxious saying, what shall we eat? Or What shall we drink? or Wherewithal shall we be clothed? Your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. but seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His truth; and all these things shall be added unto you.
- The second step is a test of Strength.
- The third step is the test of Discernment and Skill. He who can see and understand the precept "you cannot serve God and Mammon" will be better prepared to withstand this test.
- The fourth step is the test of Love, or true, life-giving love, a consuming fire quite different from what now smolders under the ashes. It is a blazing sword whose flames burn up all alloy mixtures; all that man takes for love - within him or towards him - when it is not that. If we keep these words before our minds, we will immediately be able to judge every movement of the heart, and will know whether or not it contains traces of true Love.
- To live in the True, with all lies excluded, is the prerogative of the Cycle of the Spirit: Light without shadow.
- We speak here about certain human beings who have attained or who are about to attain the Second Birth. The text leaves no room for ambiguity; Lie not to one another; seeing that you have put off the old man with his doings and have put on the new man, that is being renewed until the knowledge after the image of God: where there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman; but Christ is all and in all.
- This is only addressed to those who are on the Way in their relations between themselves. He who reaches Love would not know how to lie. But to triumph over lies requires an esoteric culture which is inaccessible to ordinary man. This highlights the important problem of lying. The struggle against lying is long and drawn out. It is first of all a struggle against ourselves, against our spontaneous tendencies, and against that mechanicalness that makes us revert constantly to lying.
- Useless lies to others are far less harmful than lying to oneself - and easier to master and heal. Lying to oneself sometimes takes on finely shaded forms that necessitate total and sustained attention, together with methodical and persistent efforts. To eliminate useless lying to others does not demand continual effort: one must simply watch to see that it does not slip into conversation. At the moment when it is on our lips a simple effort of attention is sufficient to stop it. That is why in struggling for truth, it is recommended to begin with this type of lie.
- But, we easily understand that lying to oneself, or the struggle against this kind of lie, is not perceptible from the exterior.
- When we stop lying uselessly, this will also be unnoticed by those around us. One can say that in practice, the struggle against these two categories of lies does not alter man's relations with other men in any way, although it is very effective for the person who undertakes it. We can therefore begin it without delay, as long as we do it discreetly so as not to draw attention to ourselves, and so do not provoke increasing pressure from the General Law [of accident and mechanicalness which will try to circumvent these efforts; [...] As for efforts at suppressing lies to oneself, they entail quite different and important consequences. Such lies grow deep roots. In this domain, paradoxical situations sometimes arise, some of them of such psychological subtlety that it is difficult to draw them out of the shade.
- Here we must mention the question of marriages where one of the partners, having realized that this union is an error, persists in trying to convince him or herself of the contrary. If he is of an affectionate nature, he will redouble his amiability towards his partner as if truly toward his polar "other." The absurdity of the situation reaches its limits if the other partner reacts by adopting a corresponding attitude - without any sincere or spontaneous glow of tenderness.
- The danger from the esoteric point of view is that, by mere force of habit, such a situation takes on for one of the partners, or even for both of them, the value of true love. This kind of lying to oneself can go on for dozens of years with people who are amiable and of good faith, and they entail tragic disillusions in the end.
- The man who starts to struggle against lying to himself must be forewarned of these difficulties, and of the possible collapse of some or all his greatest values. All should know that true esoteric work only begins after the individual has passed through a general bankruptcy and has had his gods helplessly thrown to the ground. We have indicated the absolute necessity for anyone who aspires to esoteric development to cure himself as soon as possible of this deep-rooted habit of lying to himself. We shall now look at this problem from another angle: that of the objective results which man obtains when he is able to stop lying.
- This work takes time, demands the courage to face disillusion, and needs self-confidence and faith in the self. As the seeker advances, he feels a new sentiment. He will sometimes feel bitter regret as his beautiful dreams vanish, but at the same time he will feel himself more and more liberated.
- His growing sincerity towards himself will establish an atmosphere of truth in his inner life. The law proclaimed "you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free" will apply to him in its fullness.
- The word "free" was deliberately chosen to contrast a state of slavery. After each operation of inner purification, painful though it may be, the seeker will feel more and more fully a profound gratitude for being freed from this absurd slavery. Having reached a certain stage in internal liberation, the individual will understand the full value of the magical power expressed in the word Freedom.
- The acquisition of Inner Freedom is the sine qua non condition of further success in esoteric work.
- This elimination of lying to the self enables one to observe the work of the lower centers in the self objectively. This observation is commenced from this "command post" of impartial observation and judgment of the individual who has overcome the lies to the self.
- When our interior world is thus purified by these rays of the "B", when we have ceased to lie to ourselves, how then are we to act towards others? This problem is far from easy.
- It is written: "the kingdom of heaven is forced, and it is the violent men who hold it." If we remember that the kingdom of heaven is within, and NOT outside us, then we begin to understand that some force or even violence must be employed INTERNALLY to retake our own fortress.
- This is very often necessary to eliminate the roots of Illusion within us, the mother of lies to ourselves. Thus we see that the test at the fourth step is decisive. Until lying stops, man drags along the defects of his past: lying, weakness, self-pity, inner compromise. Generally, it takes time, the opportunity and the possibility to rid himself of his baggage before committing himself to the fourth step is met. Many individuals, because of the weight of their past, waste time and allow many opportunities which present themselves to go by.
- But, on the fourth step, the balance sheet must be drawn up and accounts settled. Man, poor and naked, is accepted at the second Threshold, but only on condition that he is consistent and pure.
- The essential is that he be consistent, meaning that he contains within himself true Love, which can only be revealed by the cessation of lying to the self. Everything false within him will be burned by the flames of this blazing sword. All of these steps happen more or less together in many combinations. They are distributed unequally according to different personalities, and driven by the force of our Desire to be free.
- In stepping onto the Staircase, to approach and then cross the Second Threshold, man adopts a new attitude towards himself: from this point on, he takes his fate in his own hands.
- During later development, the Individuality becomes progressively integrated with the higher cosmos.
- The life of man is a film. It is certainly difficult for our Cartesian minds to grasp this concept. Our three-dimensional minds are badly adapted to ideas and facts which touch on the domain of the eternal.
- Incomprehensible as it may seem, our life is truly a film produced in accordance with a script. This film goes on continuously, without ever stopping, in such a way that, at the time of his death, man is born again. What seems absurd is that he is born in the same place, at the same date where he was born before, and of the same parents. So the film goes on again. Each human being, then, is born with his own particular film. this represents the field of action in which man is called to apply his conscious efforts.
- The repetition of the film is not reincarnation, although these two notions are often confused. Exterior man, who lives in the system of the Future-Past cannot embrace in a single moment the ensemble of his film, nor even the part that contains his immediate future. To do so, he would need to enlarge the slot of his Present.
- It thus happens to him that, faced with certain events, he will feel that he has already seen or lived those events. Some see in such phenomena the proof of so called reincarnation. In reality, phenomena of this sort are the result of a casual and temporary surge of fine energies in the organism: the slot of the individual Present then enlarges for a few moment, and some significant facts of the immediate future slip into the waking consciousness. In this way, the impression is created of a return of another time. In a certain way this is true, although the impression of having lived before is only caused by mechanical unfolding of the film.
- By reincarnation, we must understand a phenomenon of a very different order. Although the theoretical film revolves integrally on the plane of possibilities, meaning in eternity, the film of the exterior man clings to the plane of realization, that is, of Time, but only to the extent strictly necessary to satisfy the ends of the Ray of Creation.
- True reincarnation, on the other hand, occurs entirely in time, and belongs integrally to the domain of the Real, well understood as part of the broader frame of Manifestation. The human personality is not a reality in the proper sense of the word, but a possibility. It plays a role in the film to which it is attached, from which it will not disappear until the moment of the Second Birth. At that moment, it will cease to be a Personality. Because of its indestructible union with the real "I", it will be transfigured, and so it will become an Individuality. As long as man lives in the wilderness, self-satisfied and immersed in lies and illusions, the film will unfold with mechanical inflexibility, and the Personality will remain entirely unchanged.
- These circumstances start to change the moment man crossed the first Threshold. This passage can be compared to the conception of the future Individuality. The Staircase symbolizes the period of gestation, and the crossing of the second Threshold represents the second Birth, the birth of Individuality. As man becomes more and more integrated with his "I", growing his Individuality, he becomes progressively integrated with the Cosmos and acquires "gifts" appropriate to his individual nature. Simultaneously, he progressively participates in real, objective existence, which finally characterizes his being.
- This is liberation from the bonds of the film.
- It is only at this point of evolution that true individual reincarnation becomes possible. True reincarnation is not mechanical; it is done consciously, generally to accomplish a mission.
- The heart must therefore be pure, and if not already pure, it must be purified. This is the sine qua non condition of success.
- All the discussion of lying in all its aspects is given to emphasize the absolute need for purifying the heart, and for beginning to re-educate the emotional center in a positive direction. [Remember, the emotions are represented by the horse pulling the coach.] This necessity explains the meaning of the words of Jesus: "Except you turn, and become as little children, you shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven."
- This refers specifically to the emotional life. Many have interpreted this as a restriction on the development of the intellect. This is a huge mistake. Intelligence and intellect must be developed and stimulated. The admonition to "become as little children" only points to the need for purity of the centers, NOT the idea of keeping them in a primitive state. Paul wrote: Brothers, be not children in that which concerns judgment, be children in what concerns malice, but as to judgment, be fully grown men."
- It is now time to turn to a possible short cut in esoteric work which can rapidly take us to the second Threshold.
- This is a possibility offered to Polar beings, those couples described by the ancient Tradition in the myth of the Androgyne.
- On the basis of the preceding analysis, the essential data for the film of any ordinary person can be described as follows: as the hero of the romance of his own life, the subject must necessarily be the star of the film.
- But he can also play a minor role in the film of people who play a secondary role in his own film. In this way, each film gets enmeshed with other films, where the same people are found in totally different situations.
- One must also distinguish between two categories of actors.
- The first are really part of the cast. A definite role is assigned to them: they are organically tied to the film.
- The second group only appear by accident in the film, drawn into the action by the free movements of the hero. This complexity is further increased because some of the actors who have genuine parts in the film play their roles badly, while others play roles which are not their own. Situations like this are widespread.
- The human Personality is an organism with multiple parts or facets, 987 to be exact. In the ideal case, only realized by polar beings, and the only effective one from the esoteric point of view, the 987 facets of man and woman are strictly polar. These are the predestined husband and wife whose union will create a true couple.
- However, the cast contains other people, who play roles organically tied to that of the hero, and who are necessary to bring the film in its ensemble to its natural end. These are friend souls, brother souls, sister souls, collaborating souls, servant souls, etc. The Personalities of each of them have a certain number of facts identical to those of the hero, for actors of the same sex, or polar for actors of the opposite sex. In the case of brothers and sisters, the number of identical or polar facets can be as many as half or even more. The lack of discernment and of sincerity towards ourselves, the innate desire to find a perfect resonance to the vibration of our soul, and the impatience that follows, all multiplied by the action of the General Law [of accident], induce us too often to contract unions which can only result in absurd situations. Instead of resisting the mirage; instead of waiting and seeking, we slip into imperfect unions, which are a source of suffering both for the partners and their children. In addition, these unions alter the meaning of the film in its ensemble, and so corrupt the personal lives of all the actors in the drama. Lastly, the esoteric results foreseen in the initial composition of the film are gravely compromised. It is as a result of considering on the matrimonial plane, or through lack of consideration on the sexual plane, that most of our errors are committed, including those which demand the heaviest payment.
- Even beings of good faith are not exempt from error.
- To confuse a brother or sister soul for husband or wife compounds very complicated situations, especially from the esoteric point of view. The situation is all the more confused when children are born from such unions.
- Life then takes on the character of a perpetual compromise with oneself. the moral and physical health of "accidentally united couples" suffers: with changes in the intellectual center due to cheating and lying; heart disease if the emotional center is sensitive and still aspires to the truth; also diseases of obscure origin, of which cancer is one that attacks the body in its most fragile parts. In every case, the condition necessarily leads to permanent loss of fine energies which, in its turn, brings on accelerated aging and leads to premature death.
- Difficult as are these situations that arise out of our errors, they must not prevent anyone who throws himself into esoteric work from finding the courage in himself to look them in the face and to search for a satisfactory outcome. If the Devil - the General Law - tries to lead us into new errors to obstruct our esoteric evolution, the supporting hand of the Lord is always stretched out to help us. Yet our minds, too rational and too realistic, often stop us from sensing this help.
- When a situation has been entangled by our errors, the Gordian knot must NOT be cut, it must be untied in such a way that the participants, both tied by the same knot, feel only relief at the disappearance of a situation which was simply a source of suffering for both. If the situation is resolved, the original meaning of the film and its normal development can be found.
- The ensemble of people organically linked in one film forms a team. In the initial conception of the film, this team must attain a predetermined aim as a result of the way the participants play their roles in the play of life. This esoteric aim is always different from the aims we follow under the influences of the General Law [the Matrix]. The objective for such a team always has an esoteric meaning in fact, though the Personalities which compose it may be very different. they will share a deep need: a desire to end lies and illusions once and for all, the escape the domination of the [Predator's mind] and, in one form or another, to reach that objective existence in which man finds his real "I" and identifies himself with it.
- Here we must describe the principal law which underlies the formation of these teams. On the material plane, the greatest reward goes to him who commands. On the esoteric plane, the greatest reward goes to him who serves.
- The confusion between these two important master ideas - that of commanding and of serving - sometimes appears dramatic. Even among Jesus' disciples, the question of knowing who was greatest among them tormented them.
- The more evolved the team, the more important the task entrusted to it. History provides examples of the work of teams in all fields. The role of women in teams is particularly marked in crucial periods of the history of peoples.
- [...]Once the First Threshold is crossed, esoteric work will begin to reveal the true meaning of the film. Man must proceed with an impartial analysis of its contents: the role that each of the actors plays in it - and the value of this role - must be passed through a sieve.
- Gradually, as this stripping work progresses, the positive or negative character of different roles emerges more and more clearly. After this, inappropriate elements tend to disappear from the scene.
- At the end of this analysis, the film will contain only a reduced number of actors. But all of them are organically bound together, and with the hero, by the contents of the play, as it was conceived from the beginning of these experiences... which are pursued by the real "I" through centuries or even millennia. The play must then be played out to its resolution or denouement.
- The basic task of man, once he has crossed the first Threshold, is to shelter himself from the karmic influences which are the effects of errors committed in his free movements, either in the present life or in the past. In the past, workers used to go to some monastery or hermitage where they were able to concentrate on introspective work. In the present, our times require energetic and rapid methods.
- Our last question is to examine the method whereby the Staircase between the two Thresholds can be climbed more quickly, while we remain and work in the contemporary world.
- This means exists: it is to work as a couple. However, for this esoteric work to be completed successfully by two people, it is essential that the two beings - man and woman - are integrally polar.
- In the "long path," by successive elimination based on long and minute analysis of his film, and after new errors and new failures, man may end by finding his legitimate spouse, a fully integral polar being with whom to unite himself.
- In the "short path", man must begin by a conscious search for his polar being. If found, they can work together on the film which - in its origin - is common to them both. A man alone is incomplete. But just where he is weak, his polar being is strong. Together, they form an integral being: their union leads to the fusion of their Personalities and a faster crystallization of their complete subtle bodies, united into a common second Birth. This is the redemption of "original sin."
- The system of films is conceived in such a way that polar beings will necessarily meet in life, in certain cases more than once. Only the confused ties contracted in this life by each of them, as a result of their free movements, combined with the karmic consequences of one or more previous experiences, can divert the man or woman from the ONLY being with whom they could from a Micro cosmos.
- If there were no karmic debt, everything would go wonderfully: two young people would meet in the most favorable family and social atmosphere, and their union would represent a true fairy-tale. But this is not reality.
- Obeying the principle of Imperfection, and moved by the action of the General Law, the two predestined beings will commit errors. Deeply buried in lies, they do not generally know how to appreciate the gift they are given. Often, they do not even recognize each other.
- If this is the case, then an agonizing question is put: is there one or more means to detect our polar being, and if so, what are these means? To meet that person, to do so without recognition, to let our polar being pass by, is the worst mistake we could possibly make: because we would remain in our factitious life, without light.
- Must not everything be sacrificed in favor of a union which is the only chance of our life: the promise of return to paradise lost?
- Nevertheless we should beware of the last trap, one we can fall into just at the moment when ineffable happiness seems to smile upon us. We have just said: all must be sacrifices; we have not said: all must be broken. If, having recognized one another, the two polar beings triumph over this last ordeal or test, often the most painful, the new life, will open in front of them, as they are then called to be One on earth and in heaven.
- But let us now return to the question of knowing how not to pass by after having met our true alter ago, the pledge of happiness and salvation. There is a whole series of subjective and objective clues which assist us in recognizing our polar being. The polarization is manifested on ALL planes simultaneously: sexual, physical, mental and spiritual.
- Two elements must be taken into consideration: If it is correct to say that the predestined man and woman are absolutely polar beings, this polarity is not simple because, to a certain measure, both are physically, mentally and spiritually hermaphroditic beings. That measure, that proportion, is at the same time, sufficient and necessary. It is necessary to permit every being coming into this world to carry within himself the image of the polar being; this image is expressed, in each case, by means of the organ of the opposite sex which exists in every being in a state of non-development. It is, so to say, a part of the flesh and blood of his polar being that each one of us carries within himself. This proportion is sufficient, that is, it is the absolute minimum that will not jeopardize the complete polarity, since the proportion of hermaphroditism in both polar beings is strictly equivalent.
- The second element, which is subjective, is the distortion of our personality due to conscious or unconscious deviations to which the initial film was subject during the course of our existence. Distortions of this kind make it more difficult to recognize the polar being, and can make us less willing to exert ourselves to unite with that being. [...] It is the Androgyne who constitutes a true Micro cosmos, not the isolated man or woman. The creation of man in the image and likeness of god was in the form of the Androgyne: this description refers to the joint astral body of two polar beings. For man as for woman, salvation in the bosom of the Absolute depends on their reintegration in the Micro cosmos, as Paul indicates explicitly: "neither is the woman without the man, nor the man without the woman in the Lord."
- Man and woman are in fact, incomplete beings who - taken apart - cannot reflect in His fullness the image of God who is all in all.
- It is an axiom that every man and every woman has a polar being. Nevertheless, not all human beings feel the imperative need to be united to their polar being. Beings who live enclosed in their Personality without thinking deeply - which constitutes the great majority of humanity - enthusiastically involve themselves in a life ruled by material influences, and do not really feel the need for such a union. For them, the polar being is on the same plane as everyone else. The Personality does not perceive anything exceptional in him, and if by some chance an extraordinary impression is experienced, it is instead felt as something abnormal and embarrassing.
- We can speak of couples formed under the influence of the Law of Accident in which the partners have opposite aspirations. At the base of such unions we often find, beside a double error of judgment, the influences of karmic debt, remote or recent. The most intelligent attitude to take on such occasions is to unite the efforts of the couple to unravel the situation to their mutual benefit. Left to itself, the situation will only get worse. Very special care must be taken of the children of such a union, as they suffer within the union. Everything must be done to remedy this. As a general rule, we must not lose sight of the fact that, even if it is permitted to the human being to offer himself in sacrifice, he has no right to accept the sacrifice of others. To sacrifice yourself to a union that is formed under the law of accident only teaches your children to do likewise and hinders their possibilities of ever discovering their own polar being.
- Accelerated evolution of the hero of a film via work on the self - i.e. purification - brings him ever nearer to his polar being. At the same time, it automatically removes from the film those personalities who are not organically integral.
- After the formation of the magnetic center within him, man starts to feel the desire, the need, to be united to his polar being. This desire and need will increase in proportion to the growth of the latter.
- The concept of the Androgyne has purely mythical or theoretical value for ordinary man. But we now realize that a living aspiration to be re-integrated in the Micro cosmos - the most direct way to the re-integration in the Absolute - is the fruit of a high moral culture within the individual.
- As mentioned, esoteric evolution is conditioned at the start by bankruptcy, a moral breakdown. To make progress after this, man must know exactly where he stands. He must SEE himself.
- Isaac the Syrian said that he who has been able to see himself as he IS, is better than he who has seen angels. What we call bankruptcy, the ancient traditions call "death." It is death while still in a living body. One must first die, then be resurrected. By progressively taking his fate into his own hands, man at the same time takes responsibility for ALL the partners in his film. He must restore the original meaning of his film, then push the development of the latter in such a way that the "play" be properly played out to its intended denouement. The hero, while working on himself, must apply himself to create new circumstances around him, which will enhance the unfolding of the action towards its originally intended conclusion.
- His exterior efforts must above all be directed towards the creation of these circumstances, NOT towards seeking direct influence over people. Such direct influence over people may seem opportune, but it is an error. Instead of unraveling the situation, the influence creates karmic debts which complicate things all the more. One must be very prudent and circumspect.
- Yet new circumstances must be created in a way that effectively helps those interested to act in the direction desired.
- Once again: man should seek to serve, not to impose himself.
- Patience, perseverance and faith are qualities of great practical value in this work. For man to recognize his polar being, he must be fully attentive on all planes accessible to his consciousness. In fact, as a result of the distortion of the film, the meeting always occurs in circumstances and in a manner least expected, generally at a moment and in a form which resembles nothing he could ever have imagined.
- The rule is precise: to recognize his polar being, man must know himself. This is obviously logical: to recognize his alter ego, man must first recognize his own ego. We are thus confronted once again with the problem of the search for the way. It is true that the "I" of the body, like the "I" of the personality, aspire to find the perfect response from another being. This means that ONLY by identifying himself more and more with his REAL "I" that a man magnetizes the union with his polar being. It is with a heart full of faith, sharpening within himself his highest faculties of intuition and attention, his sense of critical analysis taken to the highest point of alertness, that man will go in search of the being without whom he is not real.
- As it was for the troubadour long ago, it is in Courtly Love that he can hope to find and recognize "la Dame de ses Pensees." The difficulty we find in discovering our polar beings lies in the fact that we are deformed, and constantly distort our film by free movements. We must rectify our own distortion and renounce our impulsive movements. This explains the prescription not to act under the influence of only one center. It is the necessity to correct for our distortion, which, logically, imposes on us the need, both in reception and transmission, for conscious effort to make our emotional and intellectual centers work together.
- When polar beings meet, by what immediately perceptible signs can humans who are still imperfect, still deformed by karmic debt, be certain in all objectivity that they are not making a mistake?
- Here are some indispensable criteria that can have objective value in mutual recognition. From the first meeting, in the presence of the polar being, both the "I" of the Personality and the "I" of the body vibrate in a manner which resembles nothing ever felt before. The reason for this is that these "I's" find themselves then in the presence of their First Love which continues through the centuries. Without clearly being conscious of it, the polar beings know each other; and this knowledge, as ancient as they are themselves, is expressed by the voice of their subconsciousness. This creates an atmosphere of absolute confidence and SINCERITY from the moment they meet.
- This is the Touchstone: for polar beings do NOT LIE to each other. They do not need to lie, for inwardly both are one single being, from the depths of which the real "I" issues his call and gives his assent.
- After this, that absolute, spontaneous sincerity constitutes the basis of their relationship. This gives these two beings an otherwise inconceivable feeling of Freedom in Unity, which ends the impression of servitude and isolation under which we ordinarily live. Soon afterwards, vague reminiscences of past experiences will start to come to the surface in their waking consciousness.
- The reader will now understand the deepest reason why lying to oneself is forbidden: he who lies to himself will also lie to his alter ego. That will be the end of the miracle. The wonderful side of the meeting will disappear behind a curtain of trivial lies, which will rapidly take the aspect of an impassable wall.
- This is how and why exterior man passes by his polar being without recognizing her. This is why practical work on the esoteric Way starts and necessarily continues with a struggle against lying to oneself. Success in this field is indispensable. To reach this aim, no price whatsoever is too high to pay.
- If they are open to the truth, and if their meeting makes chords - silent until now - vibrate in harmony within them both, the way is then marked out, for polar beings, by their conscious efforts to re-create the Micro cosmos which had formerly been dissociated and broken.
- They will traverse the Staircase like an arrow and will suddenly find themselves in front of the second Threshold. The catechumen crosses the First Threshold under the impetus of a negative feeling: the horror of life in the wilderness, and the ardent desire to escape from it.
- To reach the Second Threshold, the two polar beings who present themselves in front of it must be holders of a positive password, which will be required from them at that precise moment.
- The Way opens to those who know what they want; know what they aspire to, on the Way and outside the Way, in an exterior life which after this can never again be detached from esoteric work. Happy are those who can be useful in it.
- The Door which leads to Life will open before them, and they will read on the pediment of the wall the sacramental inscription:
- The laborer is worthy of his hire.
- It is important to grasp clearly the difference which exists between the film, a mixture of possibilities, and reincarnation in time, which belongs to the domain of the Real, and to understand the meaning of this difference.
- At the time of the second Birth, that is to say, by crossing the Second Threshold, man escapes his bondage to the film, and enters the domain of redemption. He is then admitted into the sacred brotherhood of living Beings. These beings are an unshakable force: those who are part of it are no longer subject to illness or sorrow. Death loses its hold over them. They have overcome the world.
- In theory, the film in which man is born and in which he lives can go on until the end of the world, on condition that he is happy, satisfied with himself, attributing his virtues to himself, and blaming others for his mistakes and misfortunes. Properly speaking, this kind of existence cannot be considered as human; it could be described as anthropoid. This term is justified in the sense that exterior man, immersed in self-satisfaction, represents the crowning achievement of millions of years of evolution of the species from its animal ancestors, yet from the point of view of esoteric evolution, he is a possibility which has not yet been realized.
- If we envisage the problem of esoteric evolution from the point of view of the film and the different parts man can play in it, it is clear that this kind of evolution is impossible as long as the film can always be considered as turning in the same circle. People who perform in such a film are those we have called anthropoids, puppets, the dead who, in the words of Jesus, "believe themselves to be alive."
- Esoteric evolution starts when man, by his conscious efforts, proves capable of breaking the circle and transforming it into an ascending spiral. The spiral represents an intermediate state between the position where the human Personality is found to be trapped in the film, which revolves mechanically in a way hardly separated from the eternal plane, and that of the perfect, free Individuality, who is able, if need arises, to reincarnate consciously in Time.
- This is an intermediate state in this sense, that the film definitely departs from the plane of the eternal, from the plane of possibilities. The curve of life, which for exterior man does not in practice differ from a circle, transforms itself into a spiral and does not end - as it did previously - almost at its point of departure: the distance between these two points now marks a definite progression in Time.
- The film in the form of a spiral belongs to human beings who climb the staircase. Complete disengagement of the film is produced at the moment of crossing the second threshold. If man is able to do that successfully during a single life, so breaking the circle for the very first time, he does not return to it. Such a case is very rare: it is the lot of the just.
- Generally, this liberation requires several lives; several revolutions of the spiral. As a general rule, each revolution occurs in Time, and consequently can appear to be a reincarnation. In reality, it is nothing but a return to exterior life. A pseudo-reincarnation like this is neither conscious nor personal: it is the actors in the film who return, and they do not remember any previous experiences.
- However, a change is possible as soon as the conscious efforts of man increase the effect of the Time factor by enlarging perception of the Present. In a film which unfolds in a spiral in this way, the contents of the play change; they change in two ways: first in each life, that is, during each revolution, and also from spiral to spiral. The composition of the cast, the circumstances, and the scenery all change. Two elements however remain permanent: first, the general aim, to reach and cross the second Threshold; then the absolute condition for crossing this Threshold, that all the karmic debts which have been accumulated in the present life, as well as during previous spirals, must be neutralized and liquidated.
- Before the Second Threshold, every drama must be played out to its denouement. The work is hard and difficult because man constantly makes mistakes.
- The attentive reader has already understood that following the spiral, or climbing the Staircase, is reserved for human beings who have already absorbed a certain quantity of "B" influences and who thus possess a more or less developed magnetic center. This does not guarantee that they will make no more errors.
- It is true that from the time man first mounts the Staircase he is watched, especially if he makes sincere and considerable efforts. The Esoteric Brotherhood offers him a helping hand. Certain meetings, a play of favorable circumstances, are the forms taken by this help. This assistance does not, however, free him of the need to work on himself and to go on making conscious efforts. In addition, it must be said that often the proffered help is not used, because man does not listen to the advice given, or because he does not grasp the meaning of the favorable circumstances and the possibilities of progress which open before him. He is still more than half a creature of the domain of Illusion, he continues to take frequent impulsive decisions, and often turns against his own avowed aims.
- It must be understood that as long as a man has not attained and crossed the Second Threshold, he will have to start all over again. He will restart every spiral in the wilderness, he will once again have to discern the Cosmic Solar influences, cross the First Threshold, and climb the Staircase step by step. It is true that no conscious effort is ever lost, but the experience acquired in one spiral only appears in the next in the form of innate personal aptitudes, or vague recollections of people in the cast.
- We should know that, at the end of a spiral (incarnation), a comparison is made between the film as it was conceived at the time of birth and what it has become at the time of death. The balance sheet between these two states is drawn up, as in accounting, by listing assets and liabilities, followed by a profit/loss statement. This will show the result of the elapsed life objectively.
- This balance sheet furnishes the basic elements for composing the film at the start of the following spiral. If we could avoid all errors and complications in this new experience, produced as a result of free movements, esoteric evolution would then occur in a harmonious rising curve. Generally, this is not the case. Man most often comes to this idea of evolution after he has already complicated the film to which he belongs.
- But true evolution cannot occur except on the basis of the original film - after all artificially added elements have been eliminated. The latter is conditional on a return to the PURITY of the centers, especially the emotional center which - at least at the start - is the sole receptacle of Cosmic Solar influences.
Wrong work of centers
In 4th Way teaching, a basic tenet is that the lower centers of man hardly ever work together as they are supposed to.
Mouravieff gives us some common examples of the wrong work or unharmonious development of centers. When considering this, it helps to think of little 'I's as composed of slices of different centers working together. We remember that each of the thinking, feeling and moving centers is split into positive and negative halves, which in turn are each divided into mechanical, emotional and intellectual aspects. This gives us 3x2x3=18 slices. A little I corresponds to a collection of up to three of such slices. This lends them their different character, interests etc. The possibilities for disharmony or even pathology are practically endless but some forms are culturally more common than others.
Any of the three lower centers may usurp the energy of sexuality. When this happens, they launch into their characteristic activity with a sort of frenetic but ultimately ineffectual zeal. The moving center will climb mountains and set records. The feeling center will imagine grand passions of romance or fanatically embrace diverse causes. The thinking center will build edifices of logic that have nothing to do with reality. The power of illusion attributed to kundalini may be off-hand related to this also.
Centers have their typical hydrogen which they use for fuel. These are higher hydrogens which do not correspond to matter as we understand it. Still, the material metabolism of man produces these. For the thinking center this is H48, the hydrogen of impressions. For the moving center this is H24. For the emotional center, this is supposed to be H12 but due to poor functioning of the system this is not available so the feeling center runs on H24. This causes emotions to lack their possible highest refinement and keeps the lower emotional center cut off from the higher emotional center. This comes from the fact that it simply works too slowly in the absence of its intended fuel. Great intensity or refinement of incoming impressions may produce a surge of H12 so as to allow a momentary contact between the lower and the higher emotional center.
The thinking center may be filled with the hydrogen of the emotional center. This causes a change in its functioning where it loses its capacity to doubt. It can become a simple device for rationalizing the demands of an overriding emotion. This is called emotional thinking. This has chemical characteristics, such a high levels of adrenaline, dopamine, serotonine and so forth, depending on the type of state. Still, these substances are themselves neither H24 or H12. Rather, they are physical manifestations that occur together with this non-physical energy and belong to the general category of H96.
The moving center may take over any area of functioning. This is the most capable and best formed of the centers, benefiting from the whole length of biological evolution. This is justified in situations involving survival but can be limiting otherwise. The moving center is capable of great discipline, up to the point of obtaining quasi-magical powers but these effects are esoterically impure and not Informed by 'heart.' . Thus they are often centered on power for the self. This power can silence any doubt arising from the negative half of the emotional or intellectual centers and thus the magician can be remarkably consistent and free from doubt.
A noteworthy anomaly is the so-called chimera. This is specially favored by a society emphasizing intellect over other values. This is a being with a strong moving center and a strong intellect but a disconnected or atrophied lower emotional center. The coarser drives and passions of the moving center have taken the place of emotion in the chimera. The chimera is not inhibited by remorse and will do anything it does not get punished for. Such can be a reckless adventurer, calculating manipulator and many other things but the main idea is that this form is without moral compass and does not really have any deeply integrated set of values. A psychopath is an extreme form of chimera.
All the peculiarities of wrong work of centers may occur in either Adamic or preadamic man.