By Bernhard Guenther, October 29th, 2010
With people presenting solutions everywhere, be it through the political circus, spiritual leaders, to more progressive movements offering self-sustainable solutions, many people seem to have a plan of how to “fix” the world. Others say all is just as it is supposed to be and all we need to do is to go with the “flow”, focus on “love” and “light” and everything will be good.
I voiced my concerns with the “solutions” presented in Zeitgeist Addendum in my article about that film. Visionary ideas are good and great to have, however false hopes based on ideals can shatter into nothingness if there is no foundation to build it on. People always say we must “do”, “act” or “vote” and it seems most folks want just someone to tell them what to do, so they don’t have to think too much on their own. The question is what are we really able to “do” if we don’t even know ourselves? What is humanity? Yes we’re all one, but are we all truly the same inside, seeing/thinking/feeling the same way? Who is to say what is good for the world and what not?
The issues the world faces, the destruction, greed, genocide, economic meltdown, etc… cannot and won’t be resolved until man faces himself, looks at himself and does the work to gain Self Knowledge, beyond worship of the personality and ego. Humanity is deeply conditioned through Culture, Society, Religion, Media, Nationalism, Education, Government, our upbringing and all kinds of illusionary Beliefs. Before we can offer any solutions we need to become aware of this conditioning and do the work necessary to truly understand ourselves, our mechanical reactive behaviors, emotional addictions, our biases to take in certain information but automatically reject information that conflicts with our (conditioned) belief system.
Honest self work takes effort and courage as one will have to confront the social conditioning and programming as well as the lies one is telling oneself in order to “fit in”. If one is sincere with oneself, this process will lead inevitably to confront lies in the world and one starts to SEE the world more as it IS, not as one likes it or assumes it to be. What happens is a raise of consciousness and awareness, moving from subjectivity to a more objective view, letting go of the false conditioned self and embracing one’s true self based on Truth, Knowledge and essentially Love, which is a higher state of being and not merely an emotional state. The more we see ourselves and the world objectively, the wiser our choices become and our resulting actions will have lasting positive impact. This work is to be done within and without, for both are interconnected. Much like when Neo woke up in the film “The Matrix”, the “view” is not necessarily pleasant once the illusions, buffers and programs have been dislodged, but only Truth will set us free. Once we can SEE, especially the “unpleasant” aspects of reality so many people like to ignore, we’ll have a better understanding of what to DO.
“Awakening is possible only for those who seek it and want it, for those who are ready to struggle with themselves and work on themselves for a very long time and very persistently in order to attain it.” ~ G.I. Gurdjieff
The necessity to “Know Thyself” has been transmitted through many wise men and ancient teachings throughout the world for thousands of years. However, the depth of these teachings and the required work to attain a higher state of Being/Awareness/Consciousness has been distorted and watered down in the New Age “arena” and “Conscious Movement” these days. Some of it even deliberate in order to steer people away from truth. COINTELPRO is still active and not only used by the powers that be (ptb) to infiltrate political parties and progressive groups/organizations, but also the New Age Movement.
Religion has been used for social control for ages. The New Age Movement with its Disinformation and many distorted teachings seems to become the new “global religion”, vectoring people into complacency and conformity with an oversimplified understanding of “we’re all one” or “all you need is love”. Many people already believe that they are awake and aware, yet they are merely “dreaming to be awake”, just like fundamental Christians who claim to have a “direct line” to Jesus. As a matter of fact what we see nowadays in the New Age is similar to followers of dogmatic religions: blind belief, wishful thinking, emotional projections and lack of critical thinking. That is also true for many folks who believe themselves to be “awakened” because they tripped on DMT or had “magical” experiences with Ayahuasca and other mind expanding substances. The Neo- Shamanism that is around this day has distorted what Shamanism is truly about and rendered it into a hyped attraction where all you have to pay is some $ to have THE experience. Sure, medicine plants can give some insight and help in the healing process, as I’ve seen it in my own life, however they can also distract people from what deeper spiritual and esoteric work is about. There are also many dangers, energetically, psychically and otherwise, when forcing to enter a higher state of consciousness through these drugs. Chemically induced “Feel good experiences” are no proof for Truth.
“Nowadays most people interested in the spirituality of the East desire the “experience,” though they may call what they are after intimate communion with God. Those familiar with the standards and norms of spiritual experience set down by disciplined paths like Sufism are usually appalled at the way Westerners seize upon any apparition from the domain outside of normal consciousness as a manifestation of the “spiritual.” In fact, there are innumerable realms in the unseen world, some of them far more dangerous than the worst jungles of the visible world. [Al-Arabi himself said:] “So preserve yourselves, my brothers, from the calamities of this place, for distinguishing it is extremely difficult! Souls find it sweet, and then within it they are duped, since they become completely enamored of it.”” – William Chittick, The Sufi Path of Knowledge
Good disinformation always contains a good amount of truth to lure the seeker in, but enough lies to steer him/her away or keep him/her in a subjective tunnel vision. The same can be said about the many “self-help” gurus out there. Be it “The Secret” gang and many others who claim to know the “way to happiness and abundance”; they are here to “help you help yourself”, giving you techniques how to “attract” and “manifest” money, a fulfilling relationship, the perfect job, lover, great life circumstances, etc….while they make millions off the desperation of the people who seek “happiness” and a way”out”.
“Man must have results, real results, in his inner and outer life. I do not mean the results which modern people strive after in their attempts at self-development. These are not results, but only rearrangements of psychic material, a process the Buddhists call *samsara* and which our Holy Bible calls *dust*.”
– Jacob Needleman
When looking deeper into some of the “self-help teachings”, one can see that they mostly enhance personality and ego with its subjective and conditioned desires and buffers. They promote and push to follow desire and wants without truly trying to understand where they come from to being with. In a sense, what is sold today as “spirituality” and “self-work” is quite the opposite of what the ancient esoteric teachings have been talking about. It is more an escape, another buffer to stop seeing the world and oneself as it/one is. It pushes man more into the Subjectivity (shutting out anything that is a “threat” to ones belief system) of his already conditioned personality, rather than moving towards Objectivity of the real “I” that does not seek to force its will on to the world, but acts out of Knowledge, Truth, objective Awareness (higher state of consciousness) and essentially Love, which is not an emotional fixation. True self-work is not a walk in the park or about “creating one’s reality“.
“”There is no coming to consciousness without pain…People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own soul. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious” – Carl Gustav Jung
That is not to say that all prominent authors and teachers are COINTELPRO. They themselves can be duped and spread disinformation unknowingly, even if their intent is well meant. Others just want to become rich and famous and some have more knowledge about marketing/selling themselves than understanding of spiritual work. It’s not black and white, but lies are mixed with truth, so discernment is key. The truth about our world and humanity has been suppressed for thousands of years and it certainly won’t be revealed on Oprah anytime soon.
In his book “Pushing Ultimates: Fundamentals of Authentic Self-knowledge” Lew Paz writes:
“James Hillman, whose works delve deeply in Jungian archetypes, sees most New Age therapeutic methods as failing to deal with the true complexities of the soul. We can see this lack of substantial psychological awareness in many New Age writers and lecturers. Though such spokespeople may specialize in Hindu and Buddhist terminology relating to the levels of consciousness, few speak with any background knowledge of Western art, literature, poetry, science, philosophy, and how these have contributed to highlighting the further heights and depths of the human situation today. Many become popular because they speak and write with a reductionist style that brings the complex and disturbing down into canned formulas of what spiritual growth is supposedly all about. Dozens of such New Age authors could bring their works together into one large volume entitled, “How To Become Aware of the Depths of Your Being Without Disturbing the Routine of Your Comfortable Lifestyle.“
The necessity to seek truth in oneself and the world and act upon it has to come from oneself. No one can do it for another and no one can push another to do it, until he/she himself/herself realizes the precious times we live in, acts upon it and starts to work on him/herself. Only if man knows himself truly is he able to “do”. Before that he’s just like a blind man walking in a porcelain store. Free will is not really “free” as long as man acts from his conditioned personality.
Looking at the world right now, we have billions of people lost in a porcelain store. People who do not know themselves will build and are building a prison for themselves, a prison without bars and walls, cherishing their “leaders” as “saviors” like in a global Stockholm Syndrome, worshiping/defending the ones who keep them imprisoned. They become tools for the matrix, thinking that they are “free”, but they are merely reacting to external influences (planetary, social, cultural) and accumulated conditioning over a life time(s). No one is exempt from that and the ones shouting the loudest how “awake”, “spiritual” and “aware” they are, are in many ways more deluded than they are capable of admitting to themselves.
No change is going to happen by simply forwarding the newest conspiracy videos, questionable New Age Teachings and dubious Channeled material (which are mostly corrupted and puts man deeper into sleep), meditating on love and light, striving for sustainable solutions or just protesting with some banners and slogans.
Yes, some of it can trigger and plant seeds, but ultimately Change happens only if we change and separate lies from truth, within AND without. Only then will we be able to see the world as it is, without filters of denial, wishful thinking, false hopes and misperceptions because of our corrupted state of being. In order to see truth in the world, we need to see truth in ourselves and stop lying to ourselves. Only then will we be able to know what to “do” and act upon it.
“Try for a moment to accept the idea that you are not what you believe yourself to be, that you overestimate yourself, in fact that you lie to yourself. That you always lie to yourself every moment, all day, all your life. That this lying rules you to such an extent that you cannot control it any more. You are the prey of lying. You lie, everywhere. Your relations with others-lies. The upbringing you give, the conventions-lies. Your teaching-lies. Your theories, your art lies. Your social life, your family life-lies. And what you think of yourself-lies also. But you never stop yourself in what you are doing or in what you are saying because you believe in yourself. You must stop inwardly and observe. Observe without preconceptions, accepting for a time this idea of lying. And if you observe in this way, paying with yourself, without self-pity, giving up all your supposed riches for a moment of reality, perhaps you will suddenly see something you have never before seen in yourself until this day. You will see that you are different from what you think you are. You will see that you are two. One who is not, but takes the place and plays the role of the other. And one who is, yet so weak, so insubstantial, that he no sooner appears than he immediately disappears. He cannot endure lies. The least lie makes him faint away. He does not struggle, he does not resist, he is defeated in advance. Learn to look until you have seen the difference between your two natures, until you have seen the lies, the deception in yourself. When you have seen your two natures, that day, in yourself, the truth will be born.”
– from “First Initiation” by Jeanne de Salzmann
Krishnamurti said over half a century ago:
“To bring about peace in the world, to stop all wars, there must be a revolution in the individual, in you and me. Economic revolution without this inward revolution is meaningless, for hunger is the result of the maladjustment of economic conditions produced by our psychological states; greed, envy, ill-will and possessiveness. To put and end to this sorrow, to hunger, to war, there must be psychological revolution and few of us are willing to face that. We will discuss peace, plan legislation, create new leagues, the United Nations and so on; but we will not win peace because we will not give up our position, our authority, our money, our properties, our lives. To rely on others is utterly futile; others cannot bring us peace. No leader is going to gives us peace, no government, no army, no country. What will bring peace is inward transformation, which will lead to outward action. Inward transformation is not isolation, is not withdrawal from outward action. On the contrary, there can be right action only when there is right thinking and there is no right thinking when there is no self-knowledge. Without knowing yourself, there is no peace. An Ideal is merely an escape, an avoidance of what is, a contradiction of what is. An ideal prevents direct action upon what is. To have peace, we will have to love, we will have to begin not to live an ideal life but to see things as they are and act upon them, transform them. As long as each one of us is seeking psychological security, the physiological security we need; food, clothing and shelter, is destroyed. Some of you will nod your heads and say, “I agree”, and go outside and do exactly the same as you have been doing for the last ten or twenty years. Your agreement is merely verbal and has no significance, for the world’s miseries and wars are not going to be stopped by your casual assent. They will be only stopped when you realize the danger, when you realize your responsibility, when you do not leave it to somebody else. If you realize the suffering, if you see the urgency of immediate action and do not postpone, then you will transform yourself.”
He was right, to this day most people just nod their heads, maybe watch “Zeitgeist”, and then go back and “do” exactly what they have always been doing, slave to the mechanicalness of their conditioned Personality.
During this time of transition more and more people are wanting to seek “truth”, more and more people seem to want to “Know”. There IS an “awakening” happening, no doubt. However, we’re also in the Age of Deception and if people don’t know themselves, they will take “reality for illusion and illusion for reality” as Mouravieff wrote in “Gnosis”. The term “awakening” needs to be carefully looked at, because people can “awake” to merely another form of illusion and “dream of waking up” while still being asleep. On the other hand, Self-work can also easily turn into a narcissistic activity, if one is too absorbed with oneself or has no network that can give honest feedback and mirroring.
Some people always claim that Truth is simple and all you have to do is this or that, be compassionate, positive, show love, visualize, follow your “bliss”, no judgments, etc…..and many other ideals and words are being used for which everyone seems to have a different understanding or just a memorized definition. Boris Mouravieff gives an insight into the “Simplicity of Truth” in his “Gnosis” Trilogy:
“We often demand simplicity from esoteric teaching on the generally accepted principle that Truth itself must be simple. We conclude from this that access to this Truth should also be simple, and so the method which leads to it must be easily assimilable. This argument is perfectly correct on condition that we ourselves are simple, that is, just, in the sense used in the Gospel. Sadly, this is not so, because of the anarchy that reigns among our “987” little I’s. There is a long path to travel from our distorted state of inner disorder to our original simplicity. This is the Way that leads the seeker from the wilderness of ignorance to the Light of Tabor. Experience shows that in practice this doctrine of ‘simplicity’, if it is regarded as an axiom, turns the student aside from the strait gate and the narrow way that leads to life. Impelled by this counter-truth, he believes he stands before this door, when he is in reality-although undoubtedly in perfectly good faith-walking on the wide path that leads to perdition. This doctrine of simplicity, correct in itself but wrongly interpreted, becomes a snare for our hearts that are already too corrupt; a danger which should be recognized and avoided.“
The question comes up, how is one to gain self-knowledge, to separate lies from truth in oneself? It’s easy to talk about and seeing the necessity of it, but what does it mean and how to proceed in practical terms? What are the techniques and where to start? Boris Mouravieff talks about self-work and man’s position in “The Parable of the Coach“:
“In Western civilization the interior life of the individual, with all its richness, finds itself relegated to a minor role in existence. Man is so caught up in the toils of mechanical life that he has neither time to stop nor the power of attention needed to turn his mental vision upon himself. Man thus passes his days absorbed by external circumstances. The great machine that drags him along turns without stopping, and forbids him to stop under penalty of being crushed. Today like yesterday, and tomorrow like today, he quickly exhausts himself in the frantic race, impelled in a direction which in the end leads nowhere. Life passes away from him almost unseen, swift as a ray of light, and man falls engulfed and still absent from himself.
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 we insist and 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 constate, not without surprise, 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 man who lives within us but several, each having his own tastes, his own aspirations, and each trying to attain his own ends. Suddenly we discover within us a whole world full of life and colors which until now we had almost entirely ignored.
If we still proceed with this experience, we will soon be able to distinguish three currents within 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 almost as if there were three men 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. As we gradually progress, we become more clearly aware of the real situation in which we find ourselves….”
The Russian mystic G. I. Gurdjieff talked about man being a machine and that one needs to build a “soul” or activate the higher centers through effort and conscious self-work, fusing the individual centers within, so they work all in harmony and in right relation. It doesn’t happen just by itself. There is no evolution of Consciousness if there are no conscious efforts. He insisted that man is not “doing” anything because he doesn’t know himself and all man is “doing” are mechanical reactions based on external influences and conditioning until he starts to work on himself.
“People are machines. Machines have to be blind and unconscious, they cannot be otherwise, and all their actions have to correspond to their nature. Everything happens. No one does anything. ‘Progress’ and ‘civilization,’ in the real meaning of these words, can appear only as the result of conscious efforts. They cannot appear as the result of unconscious mechanical actions. And what conscious effort can there be in machines? And if one machine is unconscious, then a hundred machines are unconscious, and so are a thousand machines, or a hundred thousand, or a million. And the unconscious activity of a million machines must necessarily result in destruction and extermination. It is precisely in unconscious involuntary manifestations that all evil lies. You do not yet understand and cannot imagine all the results of this evil. But the time will come when you will understand.
The evolution of man can be taken as the development in him of those powers and possibilities which never develop by themselves, that is, mechanically. Only this kind of development, only this kind of growth, marks the real evolution of man. In speaking of evolution it is necessary to understand from the outset that no mechanical evolution is possible. The evolution of man is the evolution of his consciousness. And ‘consciousness’ cannot evolve unconsciously. The evolution of man is the evolution of his will, and ‘will’ cannot evolve involuntarily. The evolution, of man is the evolution of his power of doing, and ‘doing’ cannot be the result of things which ‘happen.’
People do not know what man is. They have to do with a very complex machine, far more complex than a railway engine, a motorcar, or an aeroplane—but they know nothing, or almost nothing, about the construction, working, or possibilities of this machine; they do not even understand its simplest functions, because they do not know the purpose of these functions.
[…]”You often think in a very naive way,” [Gurdjieff] said. “You already think you can do. To get rid of this conviction is more difficult than anything else for a man. You do not understand all the complexity of your organization and you do not realize that every effort, in addition to the results desired, even if it gives these, gives thousands of unexpected and often undesirable results, and the chief thing that you forget is that you are not beginning from the beginning with a nice clean, new machine. There stand behind you many years of a wrong and stupid life, of indulgence in every kind of weakness, of shutting your eyes to your own errors, of striving to avoid all unpleasant truths, of constant lying to yourselves, of self-justification, of blaming others, and so on, and so on. All this cannot help affecting the machine. The machine is dirty, in places it is rusty, and in some places artificial appliances have been formed, the necessity for which has been created by its own wrong way of working. These artificial appliances will now interfere very much with all your good intentions. They are called ‘buffers.‘”
– from “In Search of the Miraculous” by P.D. Ouspensky
Suppression of Knowledge is the name of the game. There are traps and dead-ends on the path towards Awakening and there are forces that do their best to keep humanity asleep. All of which the ancient teachings have talked and warned about. It is no coincidence that much of this crucial esoteric Knowledge has been “filtered out” and is hard to come by in today’s Spiritual, Conscious and New Age Movements. Knowledge protects; Ignorance endangers.
“The goal of any esoteric work must be that of objectivity, first in our understanding of ourselves, and then, as our filters and programs are dislodged, of the world. A true esoteric teaching will, therefore, not only focus on “Know Thyself”, but will also provide knowledge about the reality of our reality. If one or the other of these aspects are missing from a teaching, then you can be certain that it is incomplete, and an incomplete teaching, even if through ignorance of the teacher, even if unconscious, is dangerous.”- Henry See, from “Spiritual Predator: Prem Rawat AKA Maharaji“
I read every word. This is my understanding as well, the Alchemy, the formula of self transformation.I have been a student of Caroline Myss’s work for several years. The Archetypal language really helps to sort out all the shattered pieces of our soul. I went through a “dark night of the soul” with Caroline in my nano, constantly listening, as I walked through that fire of loss. My anxt is born of the reaching out to my other selves, and how one goes about that. Whenever I reach a new level of horror, discovering yet another layer of global deception, I know that somewhere within me, a microcosm of that dwells. I enjoy your writing. It has helped me smooth a wrinkle or two, for today in my effort to stay awake and fearless, but not take the cold narrow hallway directly to despair. I know better, and I am fearless. I will share this.
I read every word too, shaking my head along the way and letting out deep overwhelming breaths. You’re not gonna let us off easy, are you Bernhard?! Just kidding. This was very powerful.
One of my favorites: “As long as each one of us is seeking psychological security, the physiological security we need; food, clothing and shelter, is destroyed.”
Also the quote/exercise from “First Initiation” by Jeanne de Salzmann. It feels almost “freeing” to be reminded what liars we all are, to ourselves and others. “Observe without preconceptions, accepting for a time this idea of lying.” I think ‘acceptance’ is the key word here.
“Learn to look until you have seen the difference between your two natures, until you have seen the lies, the deception in yourself.”
And G.I. Gurdjieff:
“People are machines. Machines have to be blind and unconscious, they cannot be otherwise, and all their actions have to correspond to their nature. Everything happens. No one does anything.”
The way I understood it is that since we are machines that need to “build a soul”, every feeling we have felt, sadness, anger, happiness, etc. was chosen for us also. Feelings are also an illusion, “mechanical reactions based on external influences”, very disturbing and liberating.
It’s difficult to connect with your ideas when you constantly use “man” and “he.” For the women and shes out there, consider rephrasing your writing to be inclusive of both sexes.
I use “man” in the ancient esoteric meaning of the word which is “huMAN”, relating to both sexes. Most of it is used in quotes anyway, which are not my words and I’m not going to change tehm, but obviously leave the original wording. Gurdjieff for example uses “man” a lot and it is also implied to be “HuMAN beings” of both sexes. All the women I talk to about these topics, including my girlfriend, have no issue with that whatsoever, but get the point and can relate it it to themselves. Also, if you look at my other writings I do use he/she in particular cases.
I understand that in quotations it wouldn’t necessarily make sense to change other people’s words, but for you, the choice of using the word “man” in your own writing to refer to “human” is in effect making men the norm and women are then a deviation from that norm. How would you feel if someone walked into a room of men and said “Hey Ladies!” and yet people walk into a room of ladies and say “Hey Guys” regularly. Language definitely does matter – it is a direct link to the manner in which we construct our realities.
I also recognize that while not all women take issue with this, but I think it would be safe to say that even fewer women would take issue with gender-inclusive language like saying human or people instead of “Man.” It would be easy enough to implement it – not sure I understand your objection or why you would only want to do it in particular cases? If, for instance, you find it too cumbersome to say s/he etc. (which I know can get wordy in some instances) another option is to switch around from he and man to she and woman in different examples and instances. It may seem trivial to you, but until you, as a man, read a document using the word “woman” and “she” to refer to collective humans, respectfully, I don’t think you can really see whether or not that would make a difference in how well you can connect to the material.
I know for me, I’m interested in your content, but find that this tendency in your writing turns me off. Just some constructive feedback…take it as you will.
Ignore Sally. She’s just a feminist derailing the point.
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There is an “Email Subscription” link on the right column under the “Time of Transition” pic.
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