Thursday, 30 January 2014

"Know Thyself!" - Part 1 of 2

I have reached a point with Gwynt where, even though I am unlikely to change my direction, I at least must become more focused on my heading. Over the recent weeks, ever since my experience of "A Different Nativity" (posted 1.1.2014) and its aftermath, my view of my inner, spiritual life has changed markedly. Because of that, I wish to try to retrace my steps, to rediscover and share how it was that I arrived at this point in my inner life. As most of the literature and history of psycho-spirituality has been couched in religious language, the country across which I will be travelling is necessarily going to reflect that bias towards the religious. This cannot be avoided. What I seek are the realities that lie beyond the symbols of language, for those symbols can only point the way, they are not of themselves the realities for which I search. 

As an introduction to the quick journey back to the beginnings of my story, I would like to quote the final three of five lines of one of the sayings, or logia, attributed to Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas.  [See the Nag Hammadi Scriptures - ed. Marvin Meyer.]  

Logion 3:

"..........Rather, the kingdom is inside you, and it is outside you. When you know yourselves, then will you be known, and you will understand that you are the children of the living Father. But if you do not know yourselves, then you dwell in poverty, and you are poverty.........."

The source of spiritual wisdom and enlightenment lies within, and that is the direction that needs to be taken, not through some third party or agency, not through literalism and fundamentalism. Furthermore, I would suggest that the way to spiritual wisdom and truth is also indicated by the symbolism that is the universe around us.* "Know Thyself!" This is the key injunction here, and it links the sayings and teaching of Jesus with all other spiritual/wisdom teachings. My experience of "knowing myself" was like living in a foggy matrix that gradually dispersed when I investigated my personality make-up.  When I first saw my ego for what it was, it was as if I were being 'seen' or understood by something else that had been trying to see me through the fog. There has always been that sense of 'otherness', a twinship or relationship with something else that wanted to be known and recognised. (Does this not lie at the heart of the process of 'Individuation'?) This logion goes on to say that I will become aware that 'I' am in some way related to, or even become part of, Spiritual Truth synonymously personified as the living Father. However, it doesn't say what "I" am.

It has been claimed with some justification that we are what we eat;  by that I mean that our physical bodies are built from the substances that we ingest, whether those ingested materials are useful, good, useless or even damaging. Might this not also apply at a spiritual level? If the Hermetic doctrine is correct, "As above, so below!" (or its inverse), then this application might well be appropriate. Put more specifically, perhaps I am that with which I choose to identify. If I identify with the my ego and its attachments, that is what I gradually become. Not only am I in a state of spiritual impoverishment, but through identification I become that impoverishment. That of course does not define what "I" am, but it does suggest the alternative possibility of identification with something which can enrich and enliven my spirit and soul.  

Out of that choice of identification, in one case towards darkness, or spiritual impoverishment, in the other case towards the Light, a great deal flows.  If I choose to identify with my ego and its attachments, (or ahamkara, if my understanding of that term is correct), I cannot claim that the mantra, "I am not my body, my thoughts or my emotions" is true for me, much as I would have it otherwise. Only through a higher identification can I honestly make that claim. To disidentify from my ego does not mean to reject it. It does mean, however, that I need to know it, acknowledge its presence, curb its attachments with the persuasive power of love so that "I", my soul, spirit or Higher Self can gain - or should that really be regain - my spiritual freedom and emancipation.

*It can be demonstrated that everything in the 'outer' universe is known as a product of our brains and minds. Our brains process the inputs from our senses, and our minds interpret the results of that process. In a very real sense, therefore, the universe that we sense exists only in our minds. In other words, the outer universe is perceived only as symbols. That is not to say that a universe does not exist 'out there';  only that it might not quite be as we believe it to be.

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