08 Golden Dawn

        THE RISE OF THE GOLDEN DAWN

        LESSON VIII

 

As one reaches this level of consciousness -- without knowing it -- he prepares himself for the next point of initiation, whether he is in a temple or in his own home.  He is conditioning himself to the state of mind in which he can and will receive the implications -- the consciousness and the reactions which are necessary for him to attain and make it possible for him to attain that initiation.

Call it an initiation; call it an experience in life.  But, the reality of it is that you will pass -- during your waking life, and during your sleeping life -- through these experiences.  Life, of course, is a continuity of continued cycle.  You might call it a cosmic cycle.  There is no point of actual mental rest except that which you take when you have control of mind.

The arresting of our consciousness is always an impossibility.  The mind may be put at rest, but the consciousness may not.  We are continually moving forward in consciousness -- either as on a plateau, or in a gradual ascent in the state of vibration and reality, world upon world.

But, at times, it seems as though life was a series of definite changes from one point of view to another -- conception -- or attitude of mind to another.  The transition from this one such state to another may be so gradual that we do not notice it.  Suddenly, we realize that our whole approach to life -- our interpretation of the vicissitudes of life -- is different from the way in which it was five, ten or twenty years ago.  We are then, allegorically, in another chamber -- so to speak.  We have passed from one part of life to another. 

There are three different ways in which our personal lives are enlarged.  One is by experience -- by seeing and hearing.  For example, a multitude of realities come into our existence.  This, we become conscious of.  It constitutes knowledge of the objective kind.  However, our lives are also enlarged by contemplation and reasoning, or by abstract thought.

We take an experience, some event, a lesson learned, or a phrase heard or analyzed, and we then arrive at a personal understanding of it which constitutes an advanced kind of knowledge.  It becomes thought in its purest essence of word.

Very few persons really think in this manner today.  Their thinking is made up of surface impressions.  It consists of ready-made ideas transmitted to them by word of mouth, or by writing -- but not by a realistic living in consciousness.

Another manner of enlarging our lives -- which helps to fill in the panacea of life -- is by means of psychic apparitions, apprehensions, or the illumination that comes through the intuitive self.

This is derived principally from the art of meditation and it is not the consequence of necessarily dwelling upon a particular thought.  In this regard, this third manner of enlarging our lives differs from the reasoning and from the contemplation that one must attain for the Light of Christ.  One must remain passive if he is to be successful in his meditation.

There are flashes into his consciousness of some ideas which have great clarity and which open up to him new vistas and agencies of thought.  Such new thought is actually an entrance into another environment -- an entirely different level of life.

If you will reflect for a moment, you will recall many of these different chambers of mental attitudes in your life in which you have dwelt for various lengths of time -- some for only a few moments -- some an hour.

For example, do you recall what you considered to be a major interest and the real value of the personal living when you were about 15 years of age?  How different were your interests, your hopes and aspirations, when you attained the age of 22 years.  Also, how much at variance were your present ideas and concepts of life compared to that which you are now holding in your own mind and are thoroughly convinced of and you have seen the true reality of.

In accordance with the introduction to these facts, this is the study of the panacea of life.  We are interested in all of these things.  We might call it a word like an adytum, meaning a secret chamber, or an inner shrine of some ancient place or temple.  For, in many cases, we are an ancient temple and within us, we hold the everlasting knowledge.  The discourse of some principles or points or teaching will be revealed as we go through the Illumination into the greater Light which comes.  This is placed upon the spiritual inclination and devotion to the impulse dictates of the inner self.  This is sometimes called the female intuition, etc.

It points out the materialism -- the devotion to central pursuits and to things of the world.  Eventually, apathy dulls our sensitivity to the finer psychic and finer emotional vibrations of our selves where we have focused our attention on the mass mind.  This must be broken through.

After, we must realize that we are more than intellectual beings, and more than mere aggregates of appetites and desires.  If we do not admit this and act accordingly, we retrogress, for we do not stand still in any way except mentally to the status of what might be called a lower form of man.

At the same time, the body and its physical requirements do sometimes constitute an obstacle to the moral and spiritual being -- especially when a higher level of idealism is set to a certain extent.  However, to consider that the body is a menace to spiritual awakening, or that it is an inherent evil, is not only illogical, but it is cosmically wrong.

For a homely analogy, the wearing of shoes may be a burden to our feet.  They are relatively heavy and do not afford the comfort and freedom of going barefoot.  However, the burden of wearing shoes is very minor when compared to the protection they afford against insect bites, rough terrain and bitter cold of the winter seasons.  Thus, we cannot do without shoes.  Neither can we do without the body on this level of consciousness.

We, as real students of mysticism and the occult, will recognize that that body of the living organism is a complex of natural laws.  The respiratory, circulatory, digestive and nervous systems, the bone structure and tissues, as well as the cells by which they are composed, all function in accordance with nature.

Cosmic laws -- they carry out the inherent mandates to function as they do.  The creation of living matter is as much the result of spiritual causes as is that which man calls Soul -- for in here are the records.

For a further analogy, the lower notes are as much a part of the Dionic musical scale as are the higher notes.  Man's preference for one or the other does not change their relationship to the whole scale.

So, too, the mass of matter of man's body is as much a cosmic manifestation as any part of his complex self.  It is not rational, nor is it proper to deny the physical aspects of our being to the degree of abusing it in any effort to attain spiritual development.

Mystically, the body is conceived as a vehicle for that expression of the self in which we term Soul.  The consciousness of the Soul personality needs the body for self-expression and realization.  It is the body -- with its organism, brain and nervous system -- that provides the medium for that very highly developed self consciousness that is heralded as mystical attainment and cosmic consciousness.

The most beautiful musical compositions we know need the lower instruments as a means for the rendition.  Likewise, then, we need the body for its similar reason.

Asceticism has played a very important part in religion since antiquity. The word asceticism is derived from the Greek term meaning training.  The ascetic was one who was thus preparing for spiritual training, or mystical enlightenment.  But, as we have many noble ideas and principles, asceticism became distorted and vague and different in many conceptions.

Let us devote very little time to asceticism, but a great deal of time to the light, because light concerns the subject of this -- our reality.

Asceticism is of two kinds.  The first is the discipline of the body.  This requires the modification of temperature and appetite.  It is involved in control and understanding -- the philosophy of life that gives physical pleasure to the highest good.  Such a form of asceticism -- the discipline of the body -- is commendable for it allows the expression of others and their aspects and their ways of nature.  

The other type of asceticism is one of distrust of the body.  This concept is that the body is inherently evil.  It constitutes an obstruction to the Soul and, therefore, should be migrated to a point and minimized so that it is eventually disposed of.  This latter concept of asceticism results in self-mortification and abdication of the body's needs.

The ascetic of this type often did not bathe.  They did not nourish themselves properly.  To further indicate their disregard for the body, they would subject themselves to a variety of torture such as piercing the flesh with needles, sleeping on sharp stones, or flagellating themselves with rods or whips.  This is a panorama of the world and man's way of attainment.

The authentic mysteries of Greece included the doctrine that the Soul was imprisoned in the body, and could only regain freedom and its divine state of purification by incarnating cycle after cycle until such purification eventually occurred. The body was regarded with a degree of contempt and neglect.

Neo-Platonism, whose principle advocate was Platonius, taught that there were emanation from the divine or cosmic, and the further these animations extended downward from their source, the less perfect and the less divine the being became.

Matter was considered to be at the virtual lower end of these emanations, and was thus thought to be corrupt.  Into the category was placed the human body.

The Brahmins of India -- in their philosophy -- strove for absorption of the individual self into the Atman, or the Universal self.  The physical body and the earthly existence were considered an obstacle to the absorption.  As a result, we find that those highly intellectual Brahmin priests often have emaciated bodies.  The extremists among the ascetics of India are the sect Sadhus.  Their manner of often living in filth to display their contempt of the body is quite repulsive to those of the western world.

In our journeys to India , either physically or in the spirit, along the river Ganges , you would see that these holy men particularly burrowed in the sand by the under-piling of a wharf, or in the river, with their heads and beards unkempt -- their hair falling over their faces and shoulders -- twisted and matted and infected with vermin.

Their bodies are extremely emaciated and often covered with sores.  Their eyes -- if they consented to gaze at you -- were distended and reddened -- perhaps by infection.  This is the way of producing self-mortification of the body with the hope that it will bring about spiritual salvation.

In a milder form, many ascetics consisted of one's becoming a recluse in caves, or dwelling in the open forest.  Such individuals show disdain for the advantages of civilization.  They consider that the body comforts are a hindrance to the spiritual advancement.  These hermit ascetics wear rough primitive clothes of animal skins, go barefoot, or wear sandals.  They usually eat raw vegetables.  Such refinements as cooked foods are condemned by them.

Christianity has included some forms of asceticism.  In its various sects, the early monks were extremists in this regard during the rise of the Roman Church in the Middle Ages.

The Second coming of Christ was anticipated as an early event.  The turbulence of the people, the licentiousness, placed emphasis on the needs of man to do penance if salvation was to be obtained.  As a result, men retired from the world by the multitudes to become monks.  Perhaps some just wanted to escape the rigors of life and be supported rather than put up with the ordeal of everyday existence.

In these monasteries, they subjected themselves to severe self-discipline.  The abdication of their bodily needs eventually caused the ruin of their health in the majority.

As an example of this practice, the life of Pope Gregory the Great in 1590 is shown.  He was the son of a wealthy Roman Senator, who through the influence of his father, was appointed by the emperor to the office of Perfect.

Later, he felt that his prominent position and fine clothes would make him vain.  His mother was a pious woman and under her influence, he studied the works of the Christian father -- Father Augustine.  All of these factors caused him to abandon his position and way of life

As his father had died, he used a portion of his inheritance to be received into a monastery.  He subjected himself to such severe discipline that it seriously affected his health.

In the year of 526, St. Benedict drew up rules to govern the lives of the monks since monasteries were then spread throughout the Christian world.  St. Benedict, however, did not form the monastic order which subsequently took his name.  These rules which he prepared, mainly prevail today as the regulation of a monk's life.

The rules require a solemn vow of obedience, poverty, and chastity.  The monks, as ascetics, were not allowed to marry for such relationships would interfere with their religious studies and duties.  They had to raise their own food and produce nearly all of the things they needed.  However, the Benedictine rules were reasonable.  They forbade self-mortification, or living in any manner that did destroy the health or wealth of the monk.

These inner awarenesses began a reality and they eventually found that which they sought.

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