Reflections – The Importance of Self-work
By Bernhard Guenther, November 10th, 2010
Lately I’ve been in a more introspective mood. There is a lot happening in the world outside and within, the inner world. Self-work always entails a certain struggle and conflict in order to confront the predator within. According to traditional esoteric teachings, without friction there is no conscious evolution. Suffering is the catalyst for growth if it is transmuted accordingly, the work to own the shadow and not suppress it or project it, within and without. The battle inside, to manifest the real “I”, the center of true Being, Knowledge and Love. John Lennon said, “all you need is love” and you hear it everywhere these days in the New Age World that “love is the answer”. Yes, love is the answer, but we first need to really know what love is. It is a word that is and has been abused and mistaken for many things.
I’m talking about Love not in the sense of sentimental emotions, affection, romance or attachment, but of true Knowing and Understanding, the Kingdom and Wholeness within. If one looks into accounts of Near-Death experiences and what people have “seen” or realized, there is a common theme: This profound experience of “objective” Love, which is not related to the Love as the human personality experiences it and cannot even be expressed in words. It can only be described as what it is not. They can’t truly explain what they experienced or what love is but only what it isn’t. It is for example, as Eric Pearl said, “not a sentimental, get a tear, ‘feel someone’s pain’ feeling, not an emotion. It is beyond sentiment or feeling someone else in this form, but relates more to an all expansive, knowing and understanding.” Love is a higher state of awareness/being/consciousness and not a “feeling” as Love is often confused as.
I remember when I smoked 5meO-DMT in 1999, a powerful entheogen. After the breakthrough, which was quite terrifying as my ego got shattered into pieces, I was going through a tunnel of light and came out at a “plateau” as if coming “home”, fully nurtured by Source/Creator/God, experiencing bliss like I have never known before. However, it was not an emotion or even feeling as we know it. It was beyond the Known and not restricted by the body. As I was coming back and I was able to open my eyes and get up, this “state of being” stayed with me for a while. I saw my friends around me and literally saw everyone as he/she is, seeing “through them” beyond the mask of the personality/ego, seeing all the pain, conditioning, suffering, beauty and innocence at the same time. I was not able to speak at all, but just in awe with my mouth open, trying to articulate what was happening but I couldn’t. Years later when I was getting into certain channeled material, I came across the Cassiopaea Transmissions, and there was something they said about Love, which reminded me of the experience I had back then:
“The problem is not the term “love”, the problem is the interpretation of the term. Those on third density have a tendency to confuse the issue horribly. After all, they confuse many things as love. When the actual definition of love as you know it is not correct either. It is not necessarily a feeling that one has that can also be interpreted as an emotion, but rather, as we have told you before, the essence of light which is knowledge is love, and this has been corrupted when it is said that love leads to illumination. Love is Light is Knowledge. Love makes no sense when common definitions are used as they are in your environment.To love you must know.
And to know is to have light.
And to have light is to love.
And to have knowledge is to love.”
However, simply doing medicine journeys with the help of psychoactive substances does not alone facilitate permanent change. There is no “magic pill”. The work to be done is in waking everyday life in order to manifest the true Self permanently and see the world as it is, beyond social and psychological conditioning. As I wrote in “Know Thyself“: 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.
The more I engage in conscious self-work and apply the knowledge gained, the more I’m centered in my true self with all centers working harmoniously. Daily Qi Gong, yoga and a breathwork/meditation practice also helps in that regard as well as receiving bodywork on a regular basis. Yet, in my everyday life I still fall back into my mechanicalness if I’m not watchful and react unconsciously based on habits and patterns, as the ego comes forth with its self-importance and predatory mind.
At times it is shocking to see the mechanical nature of one’s personality if one examines oneself more closely and looking back I can see many instances where I did not act out of my true self, but was simply driving on reactionary, conditioned patterns. Interestingly, the more I see my own mechanical behavior, the more I see it in others and understand why Gurdjieff said that humans are “machines” who have no free will, although they think they do. Free Will can only happen if there is conscious doing without conditioned unconscious impulses driving ones’ being.
“Suffering” in the esoteric sense of the word comes in if one doesn’t feed one’s predator (false “I”) and doesn’t give into the mechanicalness of one’s conditioned personality, but observes what is happening internally and then acts with conscious intent rather automatic response. This is called “Conscious Suffering” and a necessity for esoteric evolution. But recognizing one’s mechanical and reactionary behaviors in any life circumstances is a tricky thing, for at times they are quite subtle and can only be detected after long and persistent work on the self. Most of all if one has no supportive network or group with other people/friends engaged in the same work who can give honest feedback and mirroring, one can easily be “deceived” by one’s own subjective blind spots and lies to the self. There are many buffers to work through.
Doing sincere self-work does also bring up negative emotions to the surface that cannot be blamed anymore at other people or circumstances, for we are always responsible for our inner world.
However, “conscious suffering” is not about focusing on suffering or getting attached to suffering in a masochistic way. Modern man is in many ways addicted to suffering and I can see in my practice as a bodyworker where some clients of mine simply are stuck in “suffering”, mostly emotionally, not being able to let go and not changing life style or habitual patterns (in particular thought patterns). “Conscious suffering” means to use the fire ignited inside by putting oneself in a state of vulnerability and conscious struggle between the true and the false and use it as a catalyst to “burn” and transmute “lead into gold”, the inner alchemical process of transformation.
This means to transmute negative emotions into positive ones eventually and not get stuck in the lower frequencies. It needs to happen naturally and can’t be forced, neither through substances/drugs or certain “New Age” techniques, such as visualizing “love and light” or simply thinking “happy thoughts”. That doesn’t do anything good other than producing a self-deceiving, self-calming, faux-spirituality and suppressing that which eventually needs to come out. The only way out is through.
Whatever is hidden in our shadow needs to be confronted and looked at, “shine light into it” and then the shadow will dissolve and transmute into light. This process can be uncomfortable and painful at times, yet it is in this state of open vulnerability where true healing occurs. In Esoteric Christianity this is called the “dark night of the soul” or “Moral Bankruptcy” when the old needs to die for the new to manifest. This process doesn’t happen over night, but depending on the issues (karmic, psychologically, cultural, childhood conditioning/trauma), it can take anything from years to lifetimes to resolve and “ascend” to a higher state of Being. It is not easy and the first step is the hardest to take.
We live in the information age and the Internet has become like a the biggest library in recorded history . But what information is reliable, true and what is simply false and garbage? The better we know ourselves and separate lies and truth within us, the easier we can navigate in the world and everyday life, knowing what to do and focus on, what information to pursue or what to discard, what decisions to make and when, acting from our true self in alignment with spirit/god/higher self (or whatever word you want to use) instead of the conditioned personality with its distorted wants and desires, wishful thinking and illusionary hopes stemming from the conditioned false Self.
The future is never set in stone. There are signs and prophecies that indicate a shift, a collapse, a “Wave” coming that affects us globally, but exactly how it is playing out we don’t know. A Golden Age, a splitting, a unification under a fascist world government, an alien invasion (or “space brothers” who will “save” us), a time/reality split….or anything in-between. There are many self-proclaimed prophets and “awakened” folks who try to tell us (and sell us) how and what is happening. However, all outside information is useless if one has no inner Knowing, our own source for information that always speaks to us if we can find its voice. To get there requires much inner work as well as a supportive network.
I think many people are more or less in a state of uncertainty these days. It seems impossible to make long-term goals. I can see in myself the struggle of my little “I’s” that mask up the true Self. Some days I’m better connected than others. Yet, there are masses of people who are not concerned with what is going on in the world at large or within their own being, not questioning why they are doing what they are doing, but “content” with living life like “sheep in pen”, mechanically like automated machines. Ignorance is not really blissful but merely a state of numbness and desensitization with a superficial sense of “happiness”.
Modern living, culture, mass media and entertainment has numbed us (by design), as we are not able to truly recognize what is going on behind the layers of armor and walls we have built around us for the sake of social conformity and appearance, ego trips and ambition, desires and wants, so-called fulfillment and wealth…which reminds me, the other day I listened to Alan Watts and something he said was quite fitting:
“We confuse many things with reality and the world as it is, just as we confuse money with actual wealth”
We are disconnected from nature. We are disconnected from ourselves. This can only result in chaos and suffering. Yet we must not give in but see any form of conflict as a chance for transmutation, healing and growth. Friction creates a fire and as long as we can keep the flame up inside we can find the way “out”. This only happens through inner work.
I can’t deny to feel a some sort of quickening happening and slowing down at the same time. Actually a slowing down is the best response to “time speeding up”. We need to be careful not to make hasty decisions and actions out of desperation, panic, fear, pressure, inner or outer. We need cooperation and communication, not isolationism and survivalist narcissism. We need to make sure that we listen to our true voice and that voice helps us along in the times to come.
“With the approach of the era of the Holy Spirit, everything must be gradually brought to the light of day, nor only the secrets of the laboratory but the deepest meanings of esotericism.The same must happen with illusions, errors and lies, which must also be revealed so that they can later be rectified.[…]
The world is suffering from a lack of harmony which gets deeper on every plane, and this is a serious danger to the moral and spiritual recovery of humanity. It also involves a serious risk of failure in the last stage of this Time of transition that we are now entering, If this risk is not overcome, the Deluge of Fire awaits us. We wilI have to make an immense effort to ward off this fate, and we have very little time in which to do it. Man has only himself to blame for the greatness of the effort needed: this is a result of his obstinate refusal to heed the warnings that have been addressed to him time and again by the Divine Voice, just as he continues today to blind himself to the fact that the Deluge of Fire is being made ready.”
– Gnosis II, Boris Mouravieff
It’s like the silence in the eye of a hurricane. Yet, the storm is not only out there, it is inside as well. As the energies increase and institutions crumble, something inside of us is dying as well. The lies have to go (made conscious of) for the truth to shine through. Whatever happens out in the world is happening in us as well. Nothing is isolated. As the Cassiopaean’s said: “The war is through you.” And earth at this time and age is the battleground for spiritual warfare.
The future seems very uncertain in the wake of a global financial collapse with a very possible world institutionalized banking and fascist government system, earth changes, food sources depleting and being poisoned, and psychopaths in places of power. Am I being negative for stating that? No, there are many facts and information out there in regards to the issues mentioned above and more that show that something just ain’t right on this big blue marble…and hasn’t been for a long time.
Should I maybe jump on the Obama bandwagon chanting ‘hope and change’, for he will lead us to the golden age? No. The political game is just a sideshow for distraction. However, good things are happening as well and there is an opportunity for humanity to make the “right” choice. But ultimately positive change won’t happen until the dark is made conscious of, within and without.
No matter what happens in the world at large, the lessons to learn are in our own personal lives, inner and outer, the way we relate to people and to ourselves. How well do we really know ourselves and who do we think we are? What masks do we use and put up? People always say, “just be yourself!”, but do we really know who we are to begin with? How honest are we really with ourselves and others? Not honest in the sense of having no secrets, but in the sense of truly understanding and seeing oneself as one is, seeing the lies, illusions, assumptions and beliefs we have about the world and ourselves.
Life on planet earth is like a school, a rough one at times, but a school non the less. We all have different lessons to learn and different parts to play. Not one person is alike and what works for one may not work for another. There are people whose soul lessons do not seem to entail waking up in this cycle, but have a different soul wiring, so to speak, and others who are more drawn to esoteric work and seeking truth.
A big danger I see these days is the over-simplification of “We’re all one” and “humans are all the same”. Yes, we’re all one, Bush , Hitler, you, me, Gandhi, we’re all one, but we’re NOT the same. Not everyone is born a Mozart or Michelangelo. Humans are not born equal. 6 billion people on this planet are not the same. From the outside we appear all the same, but the inside is a whole different story and some folks seem not to think and feel like you or I do and have no connection to the higher centers in this current cycle, something that certain esoteric teachings also mention.
The New Age Movement these days takes lofty higher spiritual truths, projecting their conditioned understanding into it that creates more “problems” and misunderstandings than “solutions” by trying to apply them in this lower density without clearly seeing the limitations, distortions or without even clearly seeing themselves. There is much wishful thinking and self-deception going on.
Our consciousness is limited in our current state, so by design we can never fully grasp what is going on. Let’s not forget, only 500 years ago we thought the earth is flat. What else will we discover? Maybe we are not the main show here and maybe we’re in control as much as we believe or wish to be? Maybe we’re not even on top of the food chain?
The process of awakening is not a walk in the park, not for this planet, nor for a single person. Yet, there seems to be some sort of thread that becomes clearer the more one becomes clearer in oneself. During the process of conscious inner work there are moments of clarity here and there, of more objective understanding and knowing, of true Love, as suddenly the true self makes its appearance, but shies away at the next “trigger” that activates our mechanical personality, the ego with its self-importance, reactionary behaviors and conditioned habits. I certainly fall into my predator’s trap here and there. I look sometimes back into my older writings or communications with others on the net or in person and can see where I was acting mechanically and reactionary. Some things I would have said differently, some things maybe not at all. Yet, all this is my learning process as well. Humility is the ground stone for spiritual work to counteract the self-importance of the ego. An interesting excerpt from the “Cassiopaea material” in that regard:
Q: What creates this environment of limitation?
A: It is the grand illusion which is there for the purpose of learning.
Q: And who put the illusion into place?
A: The Creator who is also the Created. Which is also you and us and all. As we have told you, we are you and vice versa. And so is everything else.
Q: Is the key that it is all illusion?
A: Basically, yes. As we have told you before, if you will be patient just a moment, the universe is merely a school. And, a school is there for all to learn. That is why everything exists. There is no other reason. Now, if only you understood the true depth of that statement, you would begin to start to see, and experience for yourself, all the levels of density that it is possible to experience, all the dimensions that it is possible to experience, all awareness. When an individual understands that statement to its greatest possible depth, that individual becomes illumined. And, certainly you have heard of that. And, for one moment, which lasts for all eternity, that individual knows absolutely everything that there is to know.
And from the RA Material/Law of One:
“At the time at which each of you incarnated, my friends, each of you was aware that certain lessons, hitherto unlearned, were to be the goals for achievement in this incarnation. If it seems to you that your entire incarnation within this illusion has been a series of difficulties of one particular type, then you are almost certainly aware in some manner of one of your lessons. As you can see, these lessons are not to be avoided. They are to be learned. “
There are many tools for gaining Self-Knowledge. Whatever works best for oneself, but no one can tell you what works for you. There is not ONE way or ONE path. ‘Truth is a pathless land’, as Krishnamurti used to say. However, there are certainly so-called “Spiritual”, “Self-Help” and “New Age” teachings out there that are mere deceptions and distortions of true spiritual inner work. Let’s not forget, the “New Age” is a billion dollar industry as well and there seems to be many people who have better sale/marketing skills (with quite large egos) than spiritual/esoteric understanding. So discernment is necessary and not confusing truth with emotional manipulation, as it is all too common in the so-called New Age Movement.
The goal of Self-Work is to be in this world but not of it, not to be persuaded by external influence, Mind control attempts (be it through the media an other ways) or spiritual deception, but to build the inner cage, the kingdom within, that keeps our connection to Knowledge and Spirit always intact, so that we don’t need any outside sources of information, but can trust our inner guidance system in any moment. There might be even a time when there is no internet anymore, so it is good not to make oneself too dependent on technology, but as long as we have it, it is the best tool to research, reach out, network, connect and spread information world-wide.
While doing inner work and learning the lessons in our personal lives we also must not forget the bigger picture and what is happening in the world, for seeking inner truth goes in hand with seeking outer truth, and recognizing the lies within and without. Simply seeking inner peace and being passive while ignoring the outside world misses the point and that’s also where the danger and deception lies in many New Age teachings these days. As M.V. Summers warned:
“[…]The next is manipulation of spiritual values and tendencies. It is no accident that in the last four years that we’ve seen in new religious thought the religion of acquiescence and passivity: trusting in the process; whatever happens is what needs to happen; everyone is right where they need to be; if the extraterrestrials are here it’s because they’re supposed to be; you don’t resist; you acquiesce; to resist is to be negative, is to be fearful, is to be unconscious. A great prescription for convincing the natives to give over the keys to the kingdom, a very good, clever form of manipulation.”
We need to act and engage in the world at the same time and apply what we learn. Yet, the only resort and safety is inside each of us, our connection to Source, Spirit, to All That Is, so that we always know what to do and when.
“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.” – Krishnamurti
Whatever happens in the world and in our lives, we must be careful not to get stuck in a frequency of fear or negative emotions, for that is what certain beings would like to see happen on this planet, using all kinds of deceptions and mind control techniques to keep us away from our true Self and Knowledge, from true Love and Understanding. Our path to (Self-)Knowledge and Truth is the biggest threat to the ones wanting to control humanity for their own good. Hence, don’t expect this to be a smooth ride, but enjoy it all the way, the ups and downs. The reasons for the importance of Self-Work and hence vibrating on a higher frequency of TRUE Love and Light in this time and age are obvious and self-evident when looking at the state of the world. With that in mind I’ll end this writing with an excerpt from the RA Material that gives a little insight into shift we’re currently in…….
“There is a choice to be made very shortly, and it would be preferable if all of the people of this planet understand the choice that is to be made. It will be difficult for many of the people of this planet to understand what this choice is, because it is a choice that they have not considered. They have been much too involved in their daily activities and their confusion and their desires of a very trivial nature to be concerned with an understanding of the choice that they are very shortly to make. Whether they wish to or not, whether they understand it or not, regardless of any influence, each and every one of the people who dwell upon planet Earth will shortly make a choice. There will be no middle area. There will be those who choose to follow the path of love and light (knowledge) and those who choose otherwise.
This choice will not be made by saying, “I choose the path of love and light,”or “l do not choose it.” The verbal choice will mean nothing. This choice will be measured by the individual’s demonstration of his choice. This choice is measured by what we term the vibratory rate of the individual. It is necessary, if an individual is to join those who make the choice of love and understanding, for his rate of vibration to be above a certain minimal level.”