Towards Freedom – The Corporeal

Unless you are some dis-incarnate being wandering through space-time it is likely that you are, as yet, corporeal. And this meatiness of being corporeal presents a major challenge for the times I live in. We have the new phenomenon of body dysmorphia and the ability to surgically alter outer appearance. Thanks to the availability of leisure time and high definition photography we are surrounded by images of people, bodies and food. Due to the decline of manual labour and the availability of food, for the first time in history, humanity has a problem with being overweight. The advances in modern medicine together with its magic bullet hint at an increased longevity and a panacea for old age. People can compare what they look like to those held to be exemplar and beautiful. The obsession with corporeal image is at the root of much unhappiness and dissatisfaction. The simple truth remains, as things stand, all humans face the prospect of growing old, losing their faculties and dying. It comes to us all. There is an identification with form, with body and a hypochondriacal worry about its workings and the imminence of death. People are shit scared of dying, by and large. This corporeal identification is a part of the fear, as well as fear of the unknown.

Are you your body or your thoughts?

This simple question points at the fact that the essence which makes you a being is more than either your body or your thoughts. It is possible to observe your body and let people stick needles in it. It is possible to observe your thoughts. This means that there is something more than these, something extra or maybe less, doing the observations, your essence. If a partial non-attachment is possible, then it follows that this degree of detachment might be enhanced, with practice. If you are going to vacate the form, the body and are unpractised, when the time comes it is going to be harder. Now here is the weird bit, many understand that they are not simply a body full of thoughts at an intellectual level, but that is as far as it goes. The thinking isn’t joined up, or clear.

If you are going to drive a car, then it is best that the car is looked after, serviced and checked out from time to time. There is nothing wrong with taking care of the form you inhabit, but when it becomes an obsession that is unhelpful. When you are continually worrying about the next MOT test, you can forget to live. It doesn’t matter if someone else has an Audi, you have the car you were born into. You can’t swap cars, but you might be able to add a spoiler and change the exhaust. So long as the car functions it can still get you from A to B, from birth to death. The car may have a few tantrums and with the help of a mechanic (doctor) you can get it back on the road again. Changing the badge on the car does not change what is inside the car or the car itself. When you get to B, you will have to leave the car at the breakers’ yard. There is no choice in this. It may be used for spare parts or simply torched or buried.

In order to have more freedom, it is necessary to lessen the corporeal attachment and reduce the levels of drama about both its appearance and how it works. Not everyone can run as fast as Bolt. The body has certain biological functions, and these are necessary, it has reproductive drive, it has hunger. Associated with these functions is a mass of mind stuff where the mind makes up a whole bunch of drama to indulge in. The primal reproductive desire is overlaid with pleasure seeking gratification and indulgence. People can fuck themselves stupid. To be free is to have these urges in balance and not to be slave to them. One must see them as they are and not as some glamorous thing, some competition. Remember freedom is increased by reducing the number of things which have power over you. If sexual lust controls you, there is no freedom, simply a commanding basal urge. 

In our antiseptic times there is a tremendous squeamishness about bodily function and phobias against bacteria. Whilst some prudence is good, it can get out of control. And to have a taboo about basic bodily function is to be hung up by them. Just like death we all have some commonality in the need of these. Anything which you have a hang up about, impinges on your freedom. To be precious is to be constrained. In the west we have the luxury of modern sanitation which renders life easy and lowers health hazards. Being a little more earthy about the body demystifies it and frees up. I am not going to delve into the psychology of bodily function here, but the mental drama so associated is widespread and unnatural. In this respect modern western living, largely detached as it is from nature, lends a hand to phobia.

If one over exercises in order to sculpt a body, there is a very real danger that body identification increases. This worry in comparison to others does not liberate. The wretched pass time of comparison is at the root of much dissatisfaction and suffering. You have the car you were born with, learn to appreciate it and treat it reasonably well. Find out what it can do instead of comparing it to the Joneses all the time.

If one has invested heavily in the body and the intellect thereof, the degree of attachment increases, as does the fear of loss. But if you are not your body or your thoughts, both of these are simply on loan and impermanent. Everyone knows that they will die, yet this emphatic evidence of corporeal impermanence is set to one side and ignored by most, at least for the first four decades or so. It is only when the body starts to malfunction and grumble that the reality of death starts to knock. The gift of a body is taken for granted and imagined eternal. 

 Along with materialism, corporeal obsession works to decrease freedom. If someone can take away your possessions, they can take away your life or injure your vehicle. Fear of this is rife. Thinking a little it follows that if fear has power over you, then you are not free. And so many human fears are associated with this, the corporeal. These meat fears and social faux pas fears both inhibit freedom.  I am not here advocating a reckless disregard, rather a decrease in identification with the form side of life. If your essence is not the form, then why be so overly concerned about the form? Treat it with some respect but do not let it dictate.

 The more control over your mind you gain, the clearer you see that the corporeal is not tantamount, it is not the be all and end all. Perhaps you can see the degree of interrelation of mind and body, beyond mind there is essence. It is with the essence that authenticity lies. Getting to this essential core does not happen overnight. Glimpses of it loosens corporeal obsession, which increases freedom. And when the time comes you are much more ready and willing to let go of the body. This transition is less fearful, and you don’t live with the cloud of fear overhanging.

In this sense the body is but a vehicle used to explore the earthly reality of our day-to-day world. It did not ought to be master. One can enjoy the use of the body but to over indulge in it is unhelpful. Equanimity arises out of an increasing objectivity, where corporeal function is seen for what it is and no more.  We are here to learn, and the means is corporeal.

Towards Freedom – Materialism and Possession

I think it fair to comment that a swathe of humanity is somewhat obsessed with material things; houses, ‘phones, cars and maybe even yachts. There is a desire for the less concrete material things, the man-made things, like position, status and kudos. These are the markers, the accoutrements of the show-and-tell story of success, material success. People attach a lot to objects and stuff. Some houses are brimming. There is a like of the shiny, the medals, the trophies of societal conformity. One can even have a trophy wife and post-nominal letters. These things can be taken away, an event which causes distress and suffering because of the attachment, thereto. People have possessions and are possessed by them. That which they are attached to has power over them. In the hunger for acquisition rarely does it occur that people are giving their power over to their possessions.

If you are to be free then the equation of freedom is that the fewer things that have material power over you there are, the freer you become. In the limit of no possessions, one might wander the streets penniless dependent upon the hand-outs of others. This, depending upon mind-state, is a state of powerlessness. This can also not be free, because of the dependency. Is there perhaps a happy medium? Well in a world where relative might operate, there is. One can have only those belongings which one actually needs and that suffices. Many acquire way more than this, perhaps in a vain attempt to satiate some hunger, some hole in being. Their “happiness” is correlated somehow, to number count of material accoutrement. It is straightforward to see that, in such cases, the thinking behind is faulty.

Even then it is likely that some degree of clinging to accoutrement occurs. This clinging is needy and not free. If one uses, with respect the needed things, knowing that their use is a temporary gift of the universe and without a sense of entitlement, there is less attachment. Non-attachment without respect is wasteful and profligate, it engenders a throw-away society. Non-attachment with respect is perhaps a hallmark of a free being. In this one has no belief that the universe owes us a living or anything much at all. Thereby one is grateful for the loan of the material things offered, yet not attached to having them.

Materialism implies a lack of spirituality, which comes in many flavours and degrees. Despite all the reason, logic and justification, many find that some sense of spirit is the icing on the cake of life. Without it life is incomplete, unfinished. In our times spirit seems to be dying in favour of material, it may be that this underlies the tremendous levels of world angst and anger. This is an opinion for you to consider.

There are many wise quotes that suggest materialism is a hollow path, that whilst shiny and bauble laden, offers no lasting happiness or peace. This gnawing materialism is insatiable; at the end of its rainbow is the pot of enough, which cannot be found because for those so oriented it simply does not exist. This elusive enough, often sought, can cause suffering. It is sought with the wrong mind-set and motive and ergo, is elusive.  There is a Buddhist expression which I am fond of; hungry ghosts. A ghost then is a being divested of spirit seeking always to quench a thirst and silence a hunger pain, in the netherworld of materialism. If you don’t believe in “actual” ghosts, perhaps you can see the manifest hungry ghosts walking alongside you on our streets? They are quite common, and they do come out during the day.

In order to walk towards freedom, it is necessary to reorient in respect of the material so that it all but ceases to have power over you.  Despite the prevalence of totems, relics and the like, they have no inherent power. The power is only in the mind of the reverential and acquisitional. This power is a mental construct attached by the being who holds it. These attachments can bind and hold.

Objects can be the talismans of memories, markers of stories and anchors of such. They evoke baggage and strengthen its hold. To be free of the past is to reconcile and dissolve it. To evoke and bolster it is unwise. In this respect sentimentality is a burden.

A major part of the obsession with materialism is, as I have hinted, this show-and-tell competitive social behaviours based in comparison mind and exploited by the advertiser. This fear of missing out on the latest grooviest thing is the marketer’s dream and a fundamental weakness in the herd of consumers. So many buy stuff they do not need so as to partake of a show-and-tell life. This to the extent of living beyond means in many cases. A trophy cabinet is of little solace when the creditors foreclose. You could say that this attraction to shiny baubles is a little primitive and yet pervasive.

If one looks ever outward to the material world for “happiness”, reward and acknowledgment, the inner world becomes barren and untended. There is no balance, no centre. It is difficult to be free when near perpetually off balance.  In this respect simplicity is a counterpoint to acquisition, where need as opposed to want or desire, is the basis of interaction with the material world. Not everyone can tolerate the idea of monastic sparseness, yet relative comfort without excess is liveable for most. And in not feeling owed, or attached, knowing that your tenure of goods is transitory not guaranteed, equanimity can be found. The concept of ownership and permanent ownership at that, is a human invention. Nature can at any time challenge human perceived ownership of goods and irrevocably so. This construct of ownership and possession is of human origin and thereby a part of the illusion of the common dream, the prevailing world version.  The mantram of “must have” is chanted daily by millions and it is not a mantram of peace or fulfilment. It is mantram of hunger. “Must have” is not free.

In order to be free, one must at least lessen the power which things and awards have over one. There needs to be a responsible lessening of attachment, perhaps in a stepwise manner. Slowly the umbilical to the world of materialism needs severed. To be possessed by possessions is to be hooked to them and their purveyors. And short of a full-blown exorcism it is best to wean yourself towards autonomous living and thinking. This addiction to materialism is powerful and it holds power over most.

Nirvana in the Blue Books

15. Non-attachment is freedom from longing for all objects of desire, either earthly or traditional, either here or hereafter.

Non-attachment can also be described as thirstlessness. This is the most correct occult term to use as it involves the dual idea of water, the symbol of material existence, and desire, the quality of the astral plane, whose symbol is also water. The idea of man being the “fish” is curiously complete here. This symbol (as is the case with all symbols) has seven meanings; two are of use in this place:

  1. The fish is the symbol of the Vishnu aspect, the Christ principle, the second aspect of divinity, the Christ in incarnation, whether it is the cosmic Christ (expressing Himself through a solar system) or the individual Christ the potential savior within each human being. This is the “Christ in you, the hope of glory!” If the student will also study the fish Avatar of Vishnu he will learn still more.
  2. The fish swimming in the waters of matter, an extension of the same idea only carried down to its more obvious present expression, man as the personality.

Where there is no longing for any object whatsoever, and where there is no desire for rebirth (ever the outcome of longing for “form-expression” or material manifestation) then the true thirstlessness is attained, and the liberated man turns his back upon all the forms in the lower three worlds and becomes a true savior.

In the Bhagavad Gita the following illuminating words are found:

“For the possessors of wisdom, united in soul-vision, giving up the fruit of works, freed from the bondage of rebirth, reach the home where no sorrow dwells.

“When thy soul shall pass beyond the forest of delusion, thou shalt no more regard what shall be taught or what has been taught.

“When withdrawn from traditional teaching, thy soul shall stand steadfast, firm in soul-vision, then shalt thou gain union with the Soul.” (Gita II, 51, 52 and 53.)

J. H. Woods makes this clear in his translation of the comment by Veda Vyasa which is here appended:

Passionless is the consciousness of being Master on the part of one who has rid himself of thirst for either seen or revealed objects.”

“The mind stuff (chitta) – if it be rid of thirst for objects that are seen, such as women, or food or drink or power, if it be rid of thirst for the object revealed (in the Vedas) such as the attainment of Heaven or of the discarnate state or of resolution into primary matter – if even when in contact with objects either supernormal or not, it be, by virtue of elevation, aware of the inadequateness of objects – will have a consciousness of being Master…”

The word “traditional” carries the student’s thought away from that which is usually regarded as the object of sensuous perception into the world of thought forms, into that “forest of delusion” which is constructed of men’s ideas about God, heaven or hell. The sublimation of all this and its highest expression in the three worlds is that “devachan” which is the goal of the majority of the sons of men. Devachanic experience must, however, be transformed eventually into nirvanic realization. It may be of value to the student to remember that heaven, the object of aspirational desire, which is the outcome of traditional teaching, and of all formulations of doctrinal faiths has several meanings to the occultist. For the purpose of a clearer understanding the following may be found to be of use:

  1. Heaven, that state of consciousness upon the astral plane which is the concretion of the longing and desire of the aspirant for rest, peace and happiness. It is based upon the “forms of joy.” It is a condition of sensuous enjoyment, and being constructed for himself by each individual is as varied as there are people participating in it. Non-attachment has to be achieved with respect to heaven. It is realized as enjoyed by the lower self, and by the man when bereft only of his physical body, prior to passing out of the astral body on to the mental plane.
  2. Devachan, that state of consciousness upon the mental plane into which the soul passes when deprived of its astral body and functioning in, or limited by, its mental body. It is of a higher order than the ordinary heaven and the bliss enjoyed is more mental than we ordinarily understand by the word, yet nevertheless it is still within the lower world of form and will be transcended when non-attachment is known.
  3. Nirvana, that condition into which the adept passes when the three lower worlds are no longer “attached” to him through his inclinations or karma, and which he experiences after he has:

a. Taken certain initiations,
b. Freed himself from the three worlds,
c. Organized his Christ body.

Strictly speaking those adepts who have achieved non-attachment but who have chosen to sacrifice themselves and abide with the sons of men in order to serve and help them are not technically Nirvanis. They are Lords of Compassion pledged to “suffer” with, and to be governed by, certain conditions analogous to (though not identical with) the conditions governing men who are still attached to the world of form.

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali – Book 1 – The Problem of Union

————————————-

Stage VI – The Chela within the Master’s Heart

We arrive now at a consideration of the last of the six stages of discipleship. This was described by me in the following terms:

“The stage where the disciple is in close touch always; he is being definitely prepared for immediate initiation or having taken initiation – is given specialized work. At this stage he is described as a Chela within his Master’s Heart.”

One thing I would here emphasize as I seek to give some light upon this subject. Being within the Master’s Heart in no way indicates a love-relationship between Master and disciple. The normal reaction is that at last the disciple has merited the right to be truly loved and, therefore, to be truly close to the Master. His life or lives of service have brought him at last the reward; he has now free access to the Master in the closest possible and mutual relationship of loving understanding. This stage of discipleship has absolutely no reference to this at all.

For another thing, brother of mine, when the disciple reaches this stage he is no longer what you understand by an accepted disciple. He is an initiate of high standing and of elevated degree and has passed out of the supervision and the safeguarding of a Master into a direct relation with the Master of all the Masters, the Christ, who is the central point in the Hierarchy, just as the Master is the central point in an ashram. The Master is the heart of his group and the Christ is the heart of the Hierarchy. The closer one gets to realization, the clearer becomes the concept that the point at the center and the periphery are one.

The significance of the word “heart” is the significance of life itself, as it beats eternally at the very heart of the universe. Within that life, the initiate now consciously stands, realizing himself not so much as being a recipient of life, but as a distributor of life. This is a very different thing and holds the key to this stage of discipleship.

The “Master’s Heart” is a technical term, indicating the sources of life and many analogous interpretations. There is at this stage and after a certain major initiation, a direct line of energy or of life – sensed, recognized, active and utilized – between the conscious disciple and

  1. The disciple’s heart center.
  2. The heart center in the head.
  3. The egoic lotus, which (until the fourth initiation) is the heart center of the monadic life.
  4. The Master at the center of his group.
  5. The Christ, the heart center of the Hierarchy.
  6. The life of the Monad which begins to make itself felt at the third initiation.
  7. The Lord of Life himself, the heart center of Shamballa.

The line of relationship then extends from these onward and outward, and upward (spherically considered) to the Life at the very center of our Earth’s “alter ego,” the planet Venus, to Jupiter and thence to the solar Lord himself and on to a point in the Sun, Sirius. You can see, therefore, how different this stage is from what might be imagined. It is one which marks a new departure or beginning and a great transition. It is a stage which one enters through the open door of Nirvana, the beginning of the Path of the Higher Evolution. It is a stage which marks a specific location (if such an inappropriate word can be used) of the disciple upon that upward Way which is revealed by the lighted Way; it is the attainment of the innermost point of realization, called esoterically “within the heart.”

Discipleship in the New Age I – The Six Stages of Discipleship – Part IX

———————————————————-

We are on that path of transition (can we call it the Path of Discipleship?) which will lead us into a new dimension, into the interior world of true fact and right energy. It is a world in which only the spiritual body can function and only the eye of spirit can see. It cannot be perceived by those whose inner perception is unawakened and whose intuition sleeps. When the spiritual body begins to be organized and to grow, and when the eye of wisdom slowly opens and trains itself to see truly, then there will come the indications that the Christ, latent in each son of God, is beginning to control and to lead man into the world of spiritual being, true meaning and essential values. This world is the kingdom of God, the world of souls, and – when manifested – is that expression of divine life which we can call the fifth kingdom in nature. But it cannot yet be generally perceived. It is through the process of initiation that this world stands revealed.

Before initiation can be given, the significance of the above ideas must be grasped, and certain great developments are necessarily presupposed. These requirements can be seen working out in the life of every disciple at this time, and, for those who have eyes to see, they can be seen actively bringing changes in the race.

Aspiration is a basic requirement, both in the individual and in the race. Today humanity aspires to great heights, and this aspiration is responsible for the great national movements seen in so many countries. At the same time, individual disciples are striving anew towards illumination, incited thereto by their longing to meet world need. Spiritual selfishness, which has been such a characteristic of aspirants in the past, has to be transcended and transmuted into love of man and a sharing in the “fellowship of Christ’s sufferings.” (Phil., III, 10.) Self must be lost to sight in service. Service is rapidly becoming the keynote of the time, and one of the incentives in racial endeavor. The meeting of disaster and the undergoing of painful experiences is ever the lot of the individual disciple. It is becoming obvious that the world disciple, humanity itself, is now deemed worthy of such a testing. This universality of difficulty, in every department of human life and excluding no group, indicates that mankind as a whole is being prepared for initiation. There is purpose underlying what is happening today. The birth pangs of the Christ within the race have begun, and the Christ will be born in the “House of Bread” (which is the meaning of the word “Bethlehem”). The implications of our present world pain and suffering are too obvious to need further explanation. There is purpose underlying all world affairs at this time, and there is reward at the end of the way. Some day, sooner perhaps than many may think, the portals of initiation will open wide to the suffering world disciple (as they have ever opened in the past to individuals), and humanity will enter into a new Kingdom and stand before that mysterious Presence Whose light and wisdom shone forth before the world through the Person of Christ, and Whose voice was heard at each of the five crises through which Christ passed. Then will mankind enter into the world of causes and of knowing. We shall dwell in the inner world of reality, and the outer appearance of physical living will be known to be only symbolic of inner conditions and happenings. Then we shall begin to work and live as those who are initiate in the mysteries, and our lives will be regulated from the realm of reality where Christ and His Disciples of all time (the Church invisible) guide and control human affairs.

The goal which They have in view and the end towards which They are working has been summed up for us in a commentary upon an ancient Tibetan scripture. The words are as follows:

“All beauty, all goodness, all that makes for the eradication of sorrow and ignorance upon earth must be devoted to the one Great Consummation. Then when the Lords of Compassion shall have spiritually civilized the Earth and made of it a Heaven, there will be revealed to the Pilgrims the Endless Path, which reaches to the heart of the universe. Man, then no longer man, will transcend Nature, and impersonally, yet consciously, in at-one-ment with all the Enlightened Ones, help to fulfil the Law of the Higher Evolution, of which Nirvana is but the beginning.”


Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines, by W.Y. Evans-Wentz, p. 12.

Such is our goal. Such our glorious objective. How can we progress towards this consummation? What is the first step that we must take? In the words of an unknown poet:

“When thou canst see
Beneath the outer seeming
The causes which to all effects give birth,
When thou canst feel, in warmth of sunlight streaming
The Love of God, encircling all the earth,
Then know thyself initiate in the Mysteries
The wise men ever deemed of greatest worth.”

From Bethlehem to Calvary – Chapter One – Introductory Remarks on Initiation

—————————

This rather unexpected responsive activity has necessitated much increased activity on the part of the Hierarchy, in order to offset the consequences of any premature inflow of the will force. After the third initiation, when the soul body, the causal body, starts to dissipate, the line of relation or of connection can be and is direct. The initiate then “stands in the ocean of love, and through him pours that love; his will is love and he can safely work, for love divine will color all his will, and he can wisely serve.” Love and intelligence then become the servants of the will. Soul energy and personality force contribute to the experience of the Monad in the three worlds of life service, and then the agelong task of the incarnating spiritual man is finally accomplished. He is ready for Nirvana, which is but the Way into new fields of spiritual experience and of divine development – incomprehensible as yet, even to the initiate of the third degree. This Way is revealed only when the antahkarana is built and completed and the man becomes focused in the Triad as consciously as he is now focused in the threefold lower nature.

Then, and then only, is the true dualism of the divine nature apparent and the illusory duality disappears. Then you have Spirit-matter, Life-form. For this the triple experience of the unfolding consciousness is only preparatory. Through the unfolding consciousness, the initiate knows the significance of life and the uses of form, but stands completely unidentified with either, though blending these dualities in himself into a conscious synthesis. The attempt to convey his state of mind, in words that but limit and confuse, leads to apparent contradictions, and this is one of the peculiar paradoxes of the occult science. Do the above imparted facts make sense to you? Have they meaning for your mind? I think not. You have not yet the needed equipment through which the type of implied awareness can work, or the realization of that true Self-consciousness which would produce in you an understanding reaction. I simply, make the esoteric assertion; later will come apprehension of the truth and that consequent energizing which always comes when any abstract truth is truly appreciated and assimilated. But the time has not yet come for the comprehension of the above information. Disciples and aspirants grow through the means of a presented vision – unattainable as yet but definitely an extension of the known and previously grasped. Such is the mode of evolution, for it is ever a pressing forward towards the sensed.

The Rays and the Initiations – Part Two – Section One – The Aspirant and the Mysteries of Initiation

——————————————————–

After the major initiations are undergone, the state of consciousness of the illumined and liberated adept is such that language serves only to blind and to hinder true understanding. The consciousness of the initiate is of so lofty a nature that it can only be described in terms of release, of negation, and through the emphasis of that which it is not. It is a state of No-thing and Non-ego, for all egoic awareness is superseded by a state of Being and of consciousness which is only capable of comprehension and expression when form life is of no further use to the perfected spiritual life. It is a state of non-individuality, yet with the subconscious knowledge and gains of the individual experience. The center of consciousness is so far removed from any individual separate identity that that particular factor has faded entirely out, and only the macrocosmic life is sentiently realized. It is a state of non-activity from our present angle of vision, because all individual reactions to the activity of matter or to that state of being which we call egoic, have dropped away, and Life and Mind can no longer be swept into motion by any of the factors which have hitherto produced what we have called soul activity and form existence.

Nevertheless, though the consciousness is other than all that has been hitherto known, and though it can only be expressed in terms of negation, the truth must be borne constantly in mind that the greater awareness must always include the lesser awareness. Consequently all possible actions and reactions, identifications and focusings, awarenesses and contacts, ray impulses, approaches and withdrawals, and all possible expressions of the divine activity and qualities, phenomenal and non-phenomenal, are included in the state of Being which is now the natural state of the liberated and enlightened spiritual Existence. All are possible of recovery through the will or in response to a need, but the spiritual Being is no longer held by them or identified with them. Each of the stages on the great Path of Liberation or Enlightenment with which we have been concerned – Individualization, Initiation and Identification – have led the Life or the spiritual, interior man, from point to point, from quality to quality, from realization to realization, from phenomenal appearance to spiritual living, from physical awareness to sentient, emotional awareness, and from that to mental differentiation and separateness. He has been carried from hell to heaven, from heaven to Nirvana, from the life-conditioning of the personal Ego to that of the group soul, and thence to that of the liberated state of pure intuitional life. He has passed from form experience as a whole to that complete freedom from all vibratory impressions which it is the nature of pure Being (divorced from phenomenal existence) to demonstrate. But at the same time, nothing is lost of capacity, or quality or of sentient awareness. This is beautifully expressed for us in the words of the Old Commentary, found in the archives of the Masters.

“The quality of life fades out.
It flickers and is gone.
Yet the Blessed Ones reveal at will that quality.
The color pure remains.

The nature of life in form fails to appear.
It flashes forth a little while, then disappears.
The Blessed Ones, at will, can take a form,
yet are not then the form.

The seven great rays sweep into manifested life.
They are, and then are not. All is and all is not.
But the Blessed Ones at any time can sweep forth into manifested light.
They carry then the potencies of spirit to meet the need expressed.
Light holds Them not; Their purpose is not imprisoned; Their will is not subdued.
They appear and disappear at will.”

(An expression of the truth of this can be seen demonstrating in the world each full moon of May, when the Buddha flashes forth into manifestation, for the fulfilment of the Plan and at the urgent behest of His own spiritual will.)

“Naught holds the Blessed Ones.
Neither the deities nor form; neither desire nor mind;
nor any quality of life.
Pure life they are; pure being and pure will;
pure love and pure intent;
this is all that unenlightened man can grasp, and only that in part.

  • The Blessed Ones are not, and yet They are.
  • The Blessed Ones know naught, and yet know all.
  • The Blessed Ones love not, yet offer love divine.
  • The Blessed Ones remember not, yet all is recollection.
  • The Blessed Ones remain in isolation pure; and yet at will can take a form.
  • The Blessed Ones dwell ever in the high and lofty place, yet oft can walk on earth in light phenomenal.
  • The Blessed Ones manifest not through form; yet are all forms and all intents.”

Esoteric Psychology II – Chapter I – The Egoic Ray – The Growth of Soul Influence

———————————————————————————-

(1) The Period of Pralaya between two Incarnations

This is of a triple nature and affects the substance of the three vehicles, physical, astral and mental, reducing the form to its primitive substance, and dissipating its atomic structure. The energy of the second aspect (that of the form-builder) is withdrawn by the will of the Ego, and the atoms composing the form become dissociated from each other, and are resolved into the reservoir of essence to be recollected again when the hour strikes. This condition is brought about gradually by stages of which we are aware.

The first stage is the withdrawal of the life force in the etheric vehicle from the threefold (dense, liquid and gaseous) dense physical body and the consequent “falling into corruption,” and becoming “scattered to the elements.” Objective man fades out, and is no more seen by the physical eye, though still in his etheric body. When etheric vision is developed, the thought of death will assume very different proportions. When a man can be seen functioning in his etheric physical body by the majority of the race, the dropping of the dense body will be considered just a “release.”

The next stage is the withdrawal of the life force from the etheric body or coil, and its devitalization. The etheric coil is but an extension of one aspect of the sutratma or thread, and this thread is spun by the Ego from within the causal body much as a spider spins a thread. It can be shortened or extended at will, and when the period of pralaya has been decided upon, this thread of light, or of solar fire (note the word “solar”) is withdrawn, and gathered back to the atomic subplane where it will still vitalize the permanent atom and hold it connected within the causal body. The life impulses are then – as far as the physical plane is concerned – centralized within the atomic sphere.

The third stage is the withdrawal of the life force from so that it disintegrates in a similar manner and the life is centralized within the astral permanent atom. It has gained an increase of vitality through physical plane existence, and added color through astral experience.

The final stage for the human atom is its withdrawal from the mental vehicle. The life forces after this fourfold abstraction are centralized entirely within the egoic sphere; contact with the three lower planes is still inherently possible by means of the permanent atoms, the force centers of the three personality aspects.

In each incarnation the life forces have gained through the utilization of the vehicles,

  1. An increased activity, which is stored in the physical permanent atom.
  2. An added coloring, which is stored in the astral permanent atom.
  3. A developed quality of strength, or purpose in action, which is stored in the mental unit.

These are wrought into faculty in devachan.

Devachan is a state of consciousness, reflecting, in the life of the Personality, that higher state which we call nirvanic consciousness, and which is brought about by egoic action. It is but a dim reflection in the separated units (and therefore tinged with selfishness and separative pleasure) of the group condition called nirvanic. In this high state of consciousness each separate identity, though self-realizing, shares in the group realization, and therein lies bliss for the unit. Separation is no longer felt, only unity and essential oneness is known. Therefore, as might be naturally deduced, there is no devachan for the savage or little evolved man, as they merit it not, and have not the mentality to realize it; hence, therefore, the rapidity of their incarnations, and the brevity of the pralayic period. There is little in their case for the Ego, on its own plane, to assimilate in the residue of incarnations, and hence the life principle withdraws rapidly from out of the mental form, with the resulting impulse of the Ego to reincarnate almost immediately.

When the life of the personality has been full and rich, yet has not reached the stage wherein the personal self can consciously cooperate with the ego, periods of personality nirvana are undergone, their length depending upon the interest of the life, and the ability of the man to meditate upon experience. Later, when the Ego dominates the personality life, the interest of the man is raised to higher levels, and the nirvana of the soul becomes his goal. He has no interest in devachan. Therefore, those upon the Path (either the probationary Path, or the Path of Initiation) do not, as a rule, go to devachan, but immediate incarnation becomes the rule in the turning of the wheel of life; this time it is brought about by the conscious cooperation of the personal Self with the divine Self or Ego.

A Treatise on Cosmic Fire – Section Two – Division D – Thought Elementals and Fire Elementals

Non-attachment in a Materialistic World

If you live a “normal” western life in which the pursuit of career, family and social standing is important to you it is likely that you will be attached to all sorts of things. These might include your reputation, your children, your car, the pet budgerigar, your money in the bank, your self-image and your view of the world, your ideas on what constitutes life the universe and everything. You may well be prone to arguing the toss about mundane and trivial things. You may even imagine that you have a life philosophy of sorts. If you are so minded, missing the observation of grown men kicking a bag of wind around in front of tens of thousands of other “grown” men and women is something that you would prefer not to do. You may find it difficult not to care who is where in the premier league football results table, which on occasion you will feel impelled to check.

It is beyond your comprehension that anyone may not be attached to worldly and mundane things in a similar manner to you. You will have no concept or feeling or understanding of what non-attachment means. It might exist as a pseudo-intellectual possibility in which some geezers wearing funny robes, probably of Indian or Asian extraction and maybe be monks are non-attached. But it would be very hard to reconcile that someone you once knew, who was fond of a shandy or two, could be non-attached. Therefore, you would perhaps project your own attachment on to him and imagine that he had similar attachment-based drivers and motives as you do.

You would find it really difficult not to become attached to any thoughts which might arise in the mind, partially because you like to argue the toss. If you believe in binary answers like right or wrong, you would be seeking certainty and absolute certainty if possible. You may find it difficult to detach from your thoughts or rather the internal dialogue which masquerades as thought. You will live largely in a world parametrised by your internal dialogue and the social conditioning which surrounds you and into which you are a fully paid up and subscribed member.

If someone said to you read the Diamond sutra, you might read it, but could you attain it?

Pseudo-intellectual exercise and living practice differ considerably. The diamond sutra contains an intellectual trap for those keen on debate.

If you are keen or adamant on being right because you suffer from self-diagnosed omniscience the very first line will possibly slip by unregistered, because if you do fully register it AND agree with it your entire world view will come tumbling down.

All appearance is delusion.

Your view of yourself as a human being is a bit off. Your picture is assembled by mind.

What your eyes see is probably different from what you cognitively assimilate. If you think about it even a little, your pictorial images in your mind are built from a cis-trans isomerism photochemical reaction and yet you imagine yourself as some serious important dude or a glamorous chick!!

People are greedy, they covet all sorts of stuff. There is a psychologically manipulative industry which encourages covetousness, it is called advertising. We have this new species “influencer”, allegedly.

Inherent in the Diamond sutra is the teaching of impermanence, everything changes and fades.

I view this sutra as saying, please stop taking yourself so God dammed seriously, admit you don’t know everything, live fully in the moment, relax a little {if you can} and stop being so attached to shit because existence is fleeting, savour and respect it whilst you can.

My view is that we do not own anything we temporarily have a loan of things and can be grateful for that. We can appreciate instead of demand, insist and covet.

——————-

Here is a little exercise.

Fill a sink partially with some water.

Open your hand and make a palm. Pick up some water with your hand.

How much can you hold and how long for?

Next place your hand under water and try to grab some water with your fist. Clench your fist as tight as you can.

How much can you hold and how long for?

Which of these two is best?

Impermanence and Value

For a long while I was resistant to many of the ideas of Buddhism such as non-attachment and suffering. It struck me that this was one miserable philosophy of life always focussing on suffering. Then one day I had a Tango moment. I saw dukkha translated as dissatisfaction. Now, it all made sense. Many people are perennially dissatisfied with their lot and love a good old whinge, complain, and moan. It could become an Olympic sport.

It was a truth, the truth of dissatisfaction.

How then to live in a world without being attached to anything and yet not having anhedonia or being nihilistic?

It requires only a subtle shift. Instead of resenting being born, which many appear to do, why not accept with joy the gift of life. In which one is merely borrowing the things which the universe supplies. Why not value these gifts without grasping, without clinging, because they just like you are impermanent. On the scale of the universe a human being is mightily impermanent, you exist for around 10-8 of the age of the current universe!! That is pretty fleeting.

But hey we can tend to see ourselves as mightily important.

The trick is to value without coveting, to enjoy without indulging, to take only so much as you need from life and to be thankful for the loan. Know that the universe does not owe us anything whatsoever, so we have no right to feel in anyway entitled.

If we are such fleeting beings time is precious and is a gift that is not to be wasted. You cannot hang on to a second, a minute or an hour.

Value is the middle way. Not clinging and attached, not nihilistic and uncaring, valuing with humility.

Attaining the meaning of impermanence, a being turns from dissatisfaction with a growing sense of equanimity and balance, and places value on the gift of life. Its chance to learn and evolve, here on this beautiful blue planet for but one fleeting moment of now.

Almost Inconceivable

Partially because of a dream and partially because of an interaction I am going to delve into this a little today.

I’ll start with something of a hypothesis.

“If someone changes radically in their orientation towards life it is very difficult for others to accept or believe in that degree of change.”

I base this on my own personal experience, people tend to see one through the old lens which they have constructed for you and through the lens of their group-mind imagining that one shares a considerable fraction of that group mind. Perhaps they find it difficult to conceive that one does not share similar motives and motivations.

To give a simple example, back when I first started doing deep voice chanting, my family rather than inquiring as to what was going on preferred to write it off as me simply being weird. They sought to treat me as the piss-artist rugby player of old rather than countenance that I was changing radically.

If my former career, gaining large amounts of research grant funding, publishing articles is high impact factor journals, getting invites to conferences, getting a tenured chair at a prestigious university and maybe finally becoming a fellow of the royal society, were all symbols of success and kudos. It is almost inconceivable that someone from such a go-getter background as this would resign a job willingly and go into what was tantamount to unemployment. It is a DNC, a does not compute.

The whole basis of promotion in such a system is based around some “agreed” goals, targets and milestones. People therein are goal oriented. It is almost inconceivable for a goal-oriented person that anyone might not be goal oriented in any way whatsoever.

For people who are materialistic a decent salary is a target, a measure of success. And in the UK the housing ladder is an obsession. To only want enough to get by, is an anathema.

Way back I genuinely was involved in some very high technology stuff, fancy femtosecond lasers, semiconductor clean rooms and ultra-high vacuum, I even did some ab inito quantum chemical calculations. It is hard, almost inconceivable, that someone with near a decade left on the clock, so to speak, would swap that life for gardening, DIY and cooking in a very rural location. It would be difficult for people to get their head around. There might be some weird idea that I would return from gardening leave to the fold like some prodigal. It is possible that people might imagine that I am running in submarine mode.

Someone suggested that I might like to be on an advisory board, I said that this wasn’t necessary they could ask me anything they want or send me stuff to comment on for free. I said that I do not like contracts and would much rather do things informally. In one world people are expected to pay for things and  recompense is seen as a motivator. But if I say I will do it for free, I mean exactly that. It is almost inconceivable in our grasping world. I expect nothing in return.

If people are attached say to money, family, house, car and job, the notion on non-attachment is beyond comprehension. There are degrees of non-attachment or rather weaking levels of attachment. To be completely non-attached is beyond mind, for the vast majority of people. I phrased this deliberately in this manner. The tendency would be to think, “he says he is not attached but what he really means is he is not strongly attached”. The mind cannot or will not accept the concept of non-attachment as a conceivable reality, so it fudges it.

If you like attention, respect, power and kudos it is difficult to adopt the mindset of a quasi-hermit. People cannot live like that, surely.  Especially if previously, they had some respect, a little power and a degree of kudos. Luckily here nobody knows anything much of my background we are just les anglais.

The simple fact that I do not have a personal mobile ‘phone, in this day and age, is hard to believe on one level and more than a little eccentric on another. You should see the reaction of the, often young, salespeople when they are trying to sell you a ‘phone when one informs them of how few calls and how little data one uses. There is no plan available which goes low enough to match. The mobile ‘phone companies cannot conceive of such low usage.

I have changed my orientation towards life radically…I know this but only I am fully aware of the extent of that change.

I’ll wager for a whole bunch of people it is a DNC.

Here is an interesting question:

What for you is almost inconceivable?

Strange Perceptual Space

Since I started this blog, I have been revisiting some of my poems and material from my other blogs. I can track, a little, my evolution and some of the strange events that have happened, to me. I recognize me in some of it, but it was a quite different me. One of the things that has struck me, is that I know when I am speculating and extemporizing, it is possible that people on reading what I wrote / write believed that this is / was what I held to be true, ergo, I must be / have been loony.. a whacko.

If I explore a theme, it is just that, an exploration. Yet people can seize on these as my reality, literally. They presume to know what I am thinking and believing.

What I have noted of late is that people simply do not get my degree of attachment or rather non-attachment. If one is keen to impress, ambitious to move forward, to make a mark, then it is difficult to comprehend someone, perhaps like me, who is dis-interested.

My default is that we will live here on a pretty small income, not far removed from minimum wage, for the foreseeable future. There are two outliers to this scenario, a putative involvement with a friend in the states, and my patent application. That world of big cheeses is far away. I am in no way attached to these outliers and if nothing comes from them, we are in the default.

It is hard to understand that if fate decrees, 2000 euros a month is enough to live on, plenty even. Back in 2006, I was on ~£4200 a month, before tax.

Yeah in a strange perceptual space tonight, I don’t think that “others” understand that what they might see as a carrot is in fact not as attractive as it might be, perhaps they have the wrong end of the stick…