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In Search of the Miraculous

P.D. OUSPENSKY
1949

Chapter 1
  • Observation showed that people who were weak in life proved themselves weak in the work. I have far too little spare time to be able to sacrifice it on others without being certain even that it will do them good. I value my time very much because I need it for my own work and because I cannot and, as I said before, do not want to spend it unproductively. People do not value a thing if they do not pay for it.
  • One must not talk too much. There are things which are said only for disciples.
  • Our starting point is that man does not know himself, that he is not what he can and what he should be. For this reason he cannot make any agreements or assume any obligations.
  • Speaking of schools, there are only special schools; there are no general schools. Every teacher, or guru, is a specialist in some one thing.
  • All the people you may get to know, are machines, actual machines working solely under the power of external influences. But there is a possibility of ceasing to be a machine.
  • Psychology refers to people. What psychology can there be in relation to machines?. Mechanics, not psychology, is necessary for the study of machines. It is possible to stop being a machine, but for that it is necessary first of all to know the machine. A machine, a real machine, does not know itself and cannot know itself.
  • A man is responsible. A machine is not responsible.
  • A man must first of all understand certain things. He has thousands of false ideas and false conceptions, chiefly about himself, and he must get rid of some of them before beginning to acquire anything new.
  • Within the limits of given perceptions man can err more or err less. As I have said before, man's chief delusion is his conviction that he can do. All people think that they can do, all people want to do, and the first question all people ask is what they are to do. But actually nobody does anything and nobody can do anything. This is the first thing that must be understood. Everything happens. All that befalls a man, all that is done by him, all that comes from him—all this happens. And it happens in exactly the same way as rain falls as a result of a change in the temperature in the higher regions of the atmosphere or the surrounding clouds, as snow melts under the rays of the sun, as dust rises with the wind. Man is a machine.
  • Habits are the results of external influences, external impressions.
  • It always seems to people that others invariably do things wrongly, not in the way they should be done. Everybody always thinks he could do it better. They do not understand, and do not want to understand, that what is being done, and particularly what has already been done in one way, cannot be, and could not have been, done in another way. Everything is dependent on everything else, everything is connected, nothing is separate. Therefore everything is going in the only way it can go.
  • To speak the truth is the most difficult thing in the world; and one must study a great deal and for a long time in order to be able to speak the truth. To speak the truth one must know what the truth is and what a lie is, and first of all in oneself.
  • Considering can be defined as that attitude which creates inner slavery, inner dependence.
  • Humanity, or more correctly, organic life on earth, is acted upon simultaneously by influences proceeding from various sources and different worlds: influences from the planets, influences from the moon, influences from the sun, influences from the stars. It is impossible to become free from one influence without becoming subject to another. The whole thing, all work on oneself, consists in choosing the influence to which you wish to subject yourself, and actually falling under this influence. And for this it is necessary to know beforehand which influence is the more profitable.
  • Real art, especially works of ancient art, you meet with many things you cannot explain and which contain a certain something you do not feel in modern works of art. In your art everything is subjective and based on accidental associations. In real art there is nothing accidental. It is mathematics. Everything in it can be calculated, everything can be known beforehand. An objective work of art is just such a book, except that it affects the emotional and not only the intellectual side of man.
Chapter Two
  • One man can do nothing, can attain nothing. A group with a real leader can do more, A group of people can do what one man can never do.
  • If a man in prison was at any time to have a chance of escape, then he must first of all realize that he is in prison. So long as he fails to realize this, so long as he thinks he is free, he has no chance whatever. If liberation is possible, it is possible only as a result of great labor and great efforts, and, above all, of conscious efforts, towards a definite aim.
  • In order to be able to speak of any kind of future life (after death) there must be a certain crystallization, a certain fusion of man's inner qualities, a certain independence of external influences.
  • What may be called the 'astral body' is obtained by means of fusion, that is, by means of terribly hard inner work and struggle. Man is not born with it. And only very few men acquire an 'astral body.' If it is formed it may continue to live after the death of the physical body, and it may be born again in another physical body. This is 'reincarnation.'
  • Sacrifice is necessary only while the process of crystallization is going on. When crystallization is achieved, renunciations, privations, and sacrifices are no longer necessary. Then a man may have everything he wants.
  • Ancient knowledge as distinct from our science and philosophy or even surpassing it, is not concealed; and cannot, from its very nature, become common property.
  • Knowledge is far more accessible to those capable of assimilating it than is usually supposed; and that the whole trouble is that people either do not want it or cannot receive it. Knowledge, like everything else in the world, is material. It possesses all the characteristics of materiality. One of the first characteristics of materiality is that matter is always limited. If a certain definite quantity of knowledge is distributed among millions of people, each individual will receive very little, and this small amount of knowledge will change nothing either in his life or in his understanding of things. Large quantities of knowledge concentrated in a small number of people will give very great results.
  • The fact is that the enormous majority of people do not want any knowledge whatever; those who receive knowledge take nothing that belongs to others, deprive others of nothing.
  • The acquisition or transmission of true knowledge demands great labor and great effort both of him who receives and of him who gives. And those who possess this knowledge are doing everything they can to transmit and communicate it to the greatest possible number of people.
  • Man who has attained the full development consists of four bodies composed of substances which gradually become finer and finer, mutually interpenetrate one another, and form four independent organisms:
    • The first is the Physical body, in Christian terminology the 'carnal' body
    • The second is the Astral body, in Christian terminology, is the 'natural' body
    • The third is the Mental body, or 'spiritual' body
    • The fourth is Causal body, in the terminology of esoteric Christianity, is the 'divine' body
  • Man is not born with the finer bodies, and that they can only be artificially cultivated in him provided favorable conditions both internal and external are present.
  • If a man gives way to all his desires, or panders to them, there will be no inner struggle in him, no 'friction,' no fire. But if, for the sake of attaining a definite aim, he struggles with desires that hinder him, he will then create a fire which will gradually transform his inner world into a single whole.
  • All religions and all ancient teachings contain the idea that, by acquiring the fourth body, man acquires immortality; Immortality is not a property with which man is born. But man can acquire immortality.
  • All existing and generally known ways to immortality can be divided into three categories:
    • The way of the fakir is the way of struggle with the physical body. The fakir strives to develop physical will, power over the body. If he does not fall ill and die before what may be called physical will is developed in him, then he attains the possibility of forming the fourth body. But his other functions-emotional, intellectual, and so forth—remain undeveloped. He has acquired will but he has nothing to which he can apply it, he cannot make use of it for gaining knowledge or for self-perfection.
    • The second way is the way of the monk. This is the way of faith, the way of religious feeling, religious sacrifice. Subjecting all his other emotions to one emotion, that is, to faith, he develops unity in himself, will over the emotions, and in this way reaches the fourth room. In order to be able to make use of what he has attained, he must develop his body and his capacity to think.
    • The third way is the way of the yogi. This is the way of knowledge, the way of mind. The yogi reaches the fourth room by developing his mind, but his body and emotions remain undeveloped and, like the fakir and the monk, he is unable to make use of the results of his attainment.
  • All the ways have one thing in common. A man must give up his home, his family if he has one, renounce all the pleasures, attachments, and duties of life, and go out into the desert, or into a monastery or a yogi school.
  • The fourth way requires no retirement into the desert, does not require a man to give up and renounce everything by which he formerly lived. The more a man understands what he is doing, the greater will be the results of his efforts. This is a fundamental principle of the fourth way. On the fourth way a man must satisfy himself of the truth of what he is told. And until he is satisfied he must do nothing.
  • The method of the fourth way consists of simultaneous work on a whole parallel series of physical, mental, and emotional exercises.
Chapter Three
  • It is the greatest mistake to think that man is always one and the same. The activity of the human machine, that is, of the physical body, is controlled, not by one, but by several minds, entirely independent of each other, having separate functions and separate spheres in which they manifest themselves.
  • 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. The evolution of mankind corresponds to the evolution of the planets, but the evolution of the planets proceeds, for us, in infinitely prolonged cycles of time. Humanity neither progresses nor evolves. What seems to us to be progress or evolution is a partial modification which can be immediately counterbalanced by a corresponding modification in an opposite direction.
  • Humanity, like the rest of organic life, exists on earth for the needs and purposes of the earth. 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.'
Chapter Four
  • There are two lines along which man's development proceeds, the line of knowledge and the line of being. In right evolution the line of knowledge and the line of being develop simultaneously, parallel to, and helping one another. But if the line of knowledge gets too far ahead of the line of being, or if the line of being gets ahead of the line of knowledge, man's development goes wrong, and sooner or later it must come to a standstill.
  • A man's knowledge depends on the level of his being. If a man really wants knowledge, he must first of all think about how to wake, that is, about how to change his being.
  • Understanding depends upon the relation of knowledge to being. Understanding is the resultant of knowledge and being. The thinking apparatus may know something. But understanding appears only when a man feels and senses what is connected with it.
  • One of the reasons for the divergence between the line of knowledge and the line of being in life, and the lack of understanding is to be found in the language which people speak. People do not clearly realize to what a degree their language is subjective.
  • The fundamental property of the new language is that all ideas in it are concentrated around one idea, that is, they are taken in their mutual relationship from the point of view of one idea. This idea is the idea of evolution.
  • Everything in the world, from solar systems to man, and from man to atom, either rises or descends, either evolves or degenerates, either develops or decays. But nothing evolves mechanically. Only degeneration and destruction proceed mechanically. That which cannot evolve consciously - degenerates.
  • The division of man into seven categories, or seven numbers, explains thousands of things which otherwise cannot be understood. This division gives the first conception of relativity as applied to man. All the inner and all the outer manifestations of man is also divided into seven categories. Every man is born number one, number two, or number three:
    • Man number one means man in whom the center of gravity of his psychic life lies in the moving center. This is the man of the physical body.
    • Man number two means man on the same level of development, but man in whom the center of gravity of his psychic life lies in the emotional center.
    • Man number three means man on the same level of development but man in whom the center of gravity of his psychic life lies in the intellectual center.
    • Man number four is always the product of school work. Man number four is not born ready-made. He is born one, two, or three, and becomes four only as a result of efforts of a definite character. He has a permanent center of gravity which consists in his ideas, in his valuation of the work, and in his relation to the school. In addition his psychic centers have already begun to be balanced.
    • Man number five has already been crystallized. But it must be noted that man number five can be the result of right work and he can be the result of wrong work. He can become number five without having been four. And in this case he cannot develop further.
    • The knowledge of man number six is the complete knowledge possible to man; but it can still be lost.
    • The knowledge of man number seven is his own knowledge, which cannot be taken away from him; it is the objective and completely practiced knowledge of All.
  • The teaching of the three forces is at the root of all ancient systems. The first force may be called active or positive; the second, passive or negative; the third, neutralizing.
  • All three forces are equally active. The first two forces are more or less comprehensible to man and the third may sometimes be discovered either at the point of application of the forces, or in the 'medium,' or in the 'result.' We cannot observe the world as it is and this should help us to understand why we cannot see the third force. The three forces together form a trinity which produces new phenomena.
Chapter Five
  • In the Absolute there is only one force and only one law—the single and independent will of the Absolute. In the next world there are three forces or three orders of laws. In the next there are six orders of laws; and so on. In our world, that is, the earth, forty-eight orders of laws are operating to which we are subject and by which our whole life is governed. If we lived on the moon we should be subject to ninety-six orders of laws. Our life and activity would be still more mechanical. The will of the Absolute has less and less possibility of manifesting itself.
  • In our system the end of the ray of creation, the growing end, so to speak, of the branch, is the moon. The development of the moon and for the formation of new shoots, goes to the moon from the earth, where it is created by the joint action of the sun, of all the other planets of the solar system, and of the earth itself.
  • Organic life on earth feeds the moon.
  • Different degrees of materiality depend directly upon the qualities and properties of the energy manifested at a given point. In the Absolute vibrations are the most rapid and matter is the least dense. In the next world vibrations are slower and matter denser; and further on matter is still more dense and vibrations correspondingly slower.
  • The seven worlds of the ray of creation represent seven orders of materiality.
  • Man is a complex organization consisting of four parts which may be connected or unconnected, or badly connected. There are three connections between the four sections of this complex organization. If something is lacking in one of the connections, the organization cannot act as a single whole. Working on himself man works simultaneously on the 'bodies' and on the 'connections.'
  • Things leave, as it were, a trace behind them, something like invisible wires or threads which remain stretched out through space. These threads connect a given object with the person, living or in certain cases dead, to whom the object belonged.
Chapter Six
  • In order to know the future it is necessary first to know the present in all its details, as well as to know the past.
  • What happens or may happen to us may depend upon three causes: upon accident, upon fate, or upon our own will. Such as we are, we are almost wholly dependent upon accident.
  • Freedom, liberation, this must be the aim of man. He cannot cease to be a slave outwardly while he remains a slave inwardly. To become free, man must gain inner freedom.
  • All ancient teachings first demand at the beginning of the way to liberation is to Know thyself.
  • Self-study is the work or the way which leads to self-knowledge. The chief method of self-study is self-observation.
  • Recording is the result of a direct observation of what is taking place at a given moment, and is the most important material in the work of self-study. When a certain number of 'records' have been accumulated and when, at the same time, laws to a certain extent have been studied and understood, analysis becomes possible.
  • All the activity of the human machine is divided into four sharply defined groups: the thinking, the emotional, the moving, and the instinctive.
  • Speaking on very broad lines, one may say that the thinking function always works by means of comparison.
  • Sensation and emotion do not reason. Sensations are instinctive. Feeling functions or emotions are always pleasant or unpleasant; indifferent emotions do not exist.
  • When a man begins to study himself he must understand that if he discovers in himself something that he dislikes he will not be able to change it.
  • In the general plan of the work and functions of the human machine there are certain points in which a change may be brought about without giving rise to any supplementary results.
  • Daydreaming is absolutely the opposite of 'useful' mental activity. The motive for daydreaming always lies in the emotional or in the moving center. The actual process is carried on by the thinking center.
  • All three centers are filled with habits and a man can never know himself until he has studied all his habits.
  • The moving functions of man must be learned; but instinctive functions are inborn. The moving center imitates what it sees without reasoning.
Chapter Seven
  • In reality consciousness is a property which is continually changing. Now it is present, now it is not present.
  • The characteristic feature of self-remembering is an attention directed both towards the object observed and towards myself.
  • The first fundamental law of the universe is the law of three forces, or three principles, or, as it is often called, the law of three. According to this law every action, every phenomenon in all worlds without exception, is the result of a simultaneous action of three forces—the positive, the negative, and the neutralizing.
  • The next fundamental law of the universe is the law of seven or the law of octaves. The principle of dividing into eight unequal parts the period, in which the vibrations are doubled, is based upon the observation of the non-uniform increase of vibrations in the entire octave, and separate 'steps' of the octave show acceleration and retardation at different moments of its development.
  • The structure of the musical seven-tone scale gives a scheme of the cosmic law of 'intervals,' or absent semitones.
  • The law of octaves gives us an entirely new explanation of the whole of life, of the progress and development of phenomena on all planes of the universe observed by us. This law explains why there are no straight lines in nature and also why we can neither think nor do, why everything with us is thought, why everything happens with us and happens usually in a way opposed to what we want or expect.
  • Nothing can develop by staying on one level. Ascent or descent is the inevitable cosmic condition of any action.
  • Octaves can develop consecutively and continuously in the desired direction if 'additional shocks' enter them at the moments necessary.
  • There remains for a man the choice either of finding a direction for his activities which corresponds to the mechanical line of events of a given moment, in other words of 'going where the wind blows' or he can learn to recognize the moments of the 'intervals' in all lines of his activity and learn to create the 'additional shocks'.
Chapter Eight
  • There are four states of consciousness possible for man:
    • The two usual, that is, the lowest, states of consciousness are first, sleep, and second, the state in which men spend the other part of their lives which they regard as active.
    • The third state of consciousness is self-remembering or self-consciousness or consciousness of one's being. We cannot create it in ourselves by desire or decision alone. It constitutes the natural right of man as he is, and if man does not possess it, it is only because of the wrong conditions of his life.
    • The fourth state of consciousness is called the objective state of consciousness In this state a man can see things as they are. It is the result of inner growth and of long and difficult work on oneself.
  • Self-observation brings man to the realization of the necessity for self-change.
  • A man must realize that he indeed consists of two men. One is passive and the most it can do is to register or observe what is happening to it. The other, which calls itself 'I,' is active, and speaks of itself in the first person, is in reality only 'Ouspensky,' 'Petrov' or 'Zakharov.' This is the first realization that a man can have. Having begun to think correctly he very soon sees that he is completely in the power of his 'Ouspensky,' 'Petrov,' or 'Zakharov.'. There is a very definite danger arising from the very first moment of self-observation. It is 'I' who begins self-observation, but it is immediately taken up and continued by 'Ouspensky,' 'Zakharov,' or 'Petrov.' He calls 'I' what he likes in himself, while he calls 'Ouspensky,' 'Petrov,' or 'Zakharov' what he does not like or what he considers to be weak. On this basis he begins to reason in many ways about himself, quite wrongly.
  • One of the fundamental characteristics of man's attitude towards himself and to all his surroundings. Namely, his constant 'identification' with what at a given moment has attracted his attention, his thoughts or his desires, and his imagination.
  • Identifying is the chief obstacle to self-remembering. So long as a man identifies or can be identified, he is the slave of everything that can happen to him. Freedom is first of all freedom from identification.
  • Considering: after general forms of identification, attention must be given to a particular form of identifying, namely identifying with people, which takes the form of 'considering' them. Considering is wholly based upon 'requirements.' A man inwardly 're-quires' that everyone should see what a remarkable man he is and that they should constantly give expression to their respect, esteem, and admiration for him. Another form of considering which can take a great deal of energy from a man. This starts with a man beginning to think that he is not considering another person enough.
  • Sincerity and honesty are in reality something quite different. What a man calls 'sincerity' in this case is in reality simply being unwilling to restrain himself.
  • The opposite of internal considering and what is in part a means of fighting against it is external considering. External considering is based upon an entirely different relationship towards people than internal considering. By considering externally a man does that which makes life easy for other people and for himself. External considering requires a knowledge of men, an understanding of their tastes, habits, and prejudices. External considering requires a great power over oneself.
  • Right external considering is very important in the work.
  • For a man's own successful work, ten times more external considering is necessary than in life, because only external considering on his part shows his valuation of the work and his understanding of the work; and success in the work is always proportional to the valuation and understanding of it.
  • Buffers are created by man to lessen the impact from the clash of contradictory views, contradictory emotions, contradictory words. 'Buffers' make a man's life more easy, but they keep man from the possibility of inner development because 'buffers' are made to lessen shocks and it is only shocks that can lead a man out of the state in which he lives, that is, waken him.
  • 'Buffers' are appliances by means of -which a man can always be in the right.
  • Conscience is a state in which a man feels all at once everything that he in general feels, or can feel. A man cannot live in this state; he must either destroy contradictions or destroy conscience. He cannot destroy conscience, but if he cannot destroy it he can put it to sleep, that is, he can separate by impenetrable barriers one feeling of self from another, never see them together, never feel their incompatibility, the absurdity of one existing alongside another.
  • Conscience is possible only in the absence of 'buffers.' There are no contradictions. This conscience is not suffering; on the contrary it is joy of a totally new character.
  • Morality consists of buffers. What is moral in one class of society is immoral in another and vice versa. Morality is always and everywhere an artificial phenomenon.
  • One may say that evil does not exist for subjective man at all, that there exist only different conceptions of good. Nobody ever does anything deliberately in the interests of evil, for the sake of evil. Everybody acts in the interests of good, as he understands it.
  • If a man understands that he is asleep and if he wishes to awake, then everything that helps him to awake will be good and everything that hinders him, everything that prolongs his sleep, will be evil.
  • Awakening begins when a man realizes that he is going nowhere and does not know where to go.
  • Just as good and evil do not exist for ordinary man, neither do truth and falsehood exist. Permanent truth and permanent falsehood can exist only for a permanent man. If a man himself continually changes, then for him truth and falsehood will also continually change.
  • In order to destroy the lies in oneself as well as lies told unconsciously to others, 'buffers' must be destroyed. Consequently, if a man begins to destroy 'buffers' within himself he must at the same time develop a will. In school work, which includes the destruction of 'buffers,' a man must be ready to obey another man's will so long as his own will is not yet fully developed.
  • A man can have the fate which corresponds to his type but he practically never does have it. This arises because fate has relation to only one part of man, namely to his essence.
  • Man consists of two parts: essence and personality.
  • Essence in man is what is his own. Personality in man is what is 'not his own.' 'Not his own' means what has come from outside, what he has learned, or reflects, all traces of exterior impressions.
  • Essence has more chances of development in men who live nearer to nature in difficult conditions of constant struggle and danger. But as a rule the personality of such people is very little developed. Culture creates personality and is at the same time the product and the result of personality.
  • The element that is 'not his own' differs from what is man's 'own' by the fact that it can be lost, altered, or taken away by artificial means. Certain nareotics have the property of putting personality to sleep without affecting essence.
  • The development of essence depends on work on oneself. Personality must become passive and essence must become active. This can happen only if 'buffers' are removed or weakened. Buffers are the chief weapon by the help of which personality holds essence in subjection. A certain development of personality as well as a certain strength of essence are necessary. An insufficiently developed personality means a man cannot begin to work on himself, he cannot begin to study himself, he cannot begin to struggle with his mechanical habits, simply because there will be no reason or motive for undertaking such work.
  • Just as there is individual accident, so is there general or collective accident. And in the same way as there is individual fate, there is a general or collective fate.
Chapter Nine
  • The process of creation never stops, although, on a planetary scale, growth proceeds so slowly that if we reckon it in our time planetary conditions can be regarded as permanent for us. 'All suns' of the Milky Way influence our sun. The sun influences the planets. 'All planets' influence our earth and the earth influences the moon. These influences are transmitted by means of radiations passing through starry and interplanetary space.
  • The chemistry of which we speak here takes into consideration not only the chemical and physical, but also the psychic and cosmic properties of matter.
  • The atom is the smallest quantity that retains all the properties of the substance. On further division some of these properties disappear. The gaseous state does not differ chemically in any way from a liquid state but possesses different functions and therefore different cosmic and psychic properties.
  • In everything we do we are tied and limited by the amount of energy produced by our organism. Energy is wasted on the wrong work of centers; on unnecessary tension of the muscles out of all proportion to the work produced. The human organism represents a chemical factory. In the ordinary conditions of life the output of this factory never reaches the full production possible to it. The work of the factory consists in transforming one kind of matter into another, namely, the coarser matters, in the cosmic sense, into finer ones.
  • Learn to separate the fine from the coarse - this principle from the 'Emerald Tablets of Hermes Trismegistus' refers to the work of the human factory. If he brings the production of the fine 'hydrogens' to its possible maximum, he will by this very fact create for himself the possibility of an inner growth which can be brought about by no other means.
  • If the physical organism begins to produce a sufficient quantity of these fine substances and the 'astral body' within it becomes formed, this astral organism will require for its maintenance less of these substances than it required during its growth. The surplus from these substances can then be used for the formation and growth of the 'mental body'. The surplus of the substances left over from the feeding of the 'mental body' will go to the growth of the fourth body.
  • The human organism receives three kinds of food:
    • The ordinary food we eat
    • The air we breathe
    • Our impressions
  • Energy cannot be transmitted without matter. If an external impression brings external energy with it into the organism it means that external matter also enters which feeds the organism in the full meaning of the term.
  • Of the three kinds of food the most important for us is impressions.
  • There is a possibility of increasing the output, that is, of enabling the air octave and the impression octave to develop further. For this purpose it is necessary to create a special kind of 'artificial shock' at the point where the beginning of the third octave is arrested. An 'artificial shock' at this point means a certain kind of effort made at the moment of receiving an impression. Efforts to remember oneself, observation of oneself at the moment of receiving an impression, doubles the intensity of the impressions.
  • We all breathe the same air but we extract different substances from it. In order to extract more, it is necessary to have in our organism a certain quantity of corresponding fine substances. The fine substances contained in the organism act like a magnet on the fine substances contained in the inhaled air.
  • The higher centers exist in man and are fully developed. It is the lower centers that are undeveloped. And it is precisely this lack of development, or the incomplete functioning, of the lower centers that prevents us from making use of the work of the higher centers.
  • Where accidental contact with the higher thinking center takes place a man becomes unconscious. So-called 'mystical' and 'ecstatic' experiences represent a temporary connection with a higher center.
  • All psychic processes are material. There is not a single process that does not require the expenditure of a certain substance corresponding to it. If this substance is present, the process goes on. When the substance is exhausted, the process comes to a stop.
Chapter Ten
  • Man lives in life under the law of accident and under two kinds of influences again governed by accident:
    • The first kind are influences created in life itself or by life itself.
    • The second kind are influences created outside this life, influences of the inner circle, or esoteric influences.
  • The beginning of the way depends precisely upon this understanding or upon the capacity for discriminating between the two kinds of influences. If a man in receiving these influences begins to discriminate between them and put on one side those which are not created in life itself, then gradually after a certain time a man can no longer confuse them with the ordinary influences of life. These influences collect together within him and after a certain time they form within him a kind of magnetic center, which begins to attract to itself kindred influences. The influence of the man who knows the way upon the first man is a special kind of influence, differing from the former two, first of all in being a direct influence, and secondly in being a conscious influence. Influences of the third kind can never be subject to the law of accident. Influences of the third kind can proceed only from one person to another, directly, by means of oral transmission.
  • The conditions for ascending the stairway on the fourth way are that a man cannot ascend to a higher step until he places another man upon his own step. The higher the teacher, the more difficult for the pupil. And if the difference in the levels of the teacher and pupil go beyond a certain limit, then the difficulties in the path of the pupil become insuperable.
  • As the teacher is indispensable to the pupil, so also is the pupil indispensable to the teacher.
  • What a man has received he must immediately give back; only then can he receive more. Otherwise from him will be taken even what he has already been given.
  • Each cosmos is a living being which lives, breathes, thinks, feels, is born, and dies. All cosmoses result from the action of the same forces and the same laws. Laws are the same everywhere. But they manifest themselves in a different way on different planes of the universe. In order to know one cosmos, it is necessary to know the two adjoining cosmoses, the one above and the one below the first.
  • The quantitative interrelation of the worlds one to another in the ray of creation is not permanent. But the interrelation of the cosmoses is permanent and always the same. One cosmos is related to another as zero to infinity. There is much that seems paradoxical in the system of cosmoses, however, this apparent paradox is simply relativity.
  • The broadening of consciousness does not proceed in one direction only, that is, in the direction of the higher cosmoses; in going above, at the same time it goes below.
  • The manifestation of the laws of one cosmos in another cosmos constitutes what we call a miracle.
  • A perfectly clear example of the relation of cosmoses is the relation of zero to infinity, and also the relation of one unit of a certain number of dimensions to another unit of a greater number of dimensions. The relation of a point to a line, of a line to a plane, of a plane to a solid, of a solid, that is, of a three-dimensional body to a four-dimensional body, and so on. The relation of one cosmos to another is the relation of two bodies of different dimensions.
  • Every moment of time contains a certain number of possibilities, at times a small number, at others a great number, but never an infinite number.
  • The actualization of one of the possibilities creates a new moment. The consecutiveness of the moments of actualization of one possibility constitutes the line of time.
  • As every cosmos has a real physical existence, every cosmos therefore is three dimensional for itself. In relation to a lower cosmos it is four-dimensional, in relation to a higher cosmos it is a point.
Chapter Eleven
  • When a man awakes he can die; when he dies he can be born. These are three successive stages. Being 'born' relates to the beginning of a new growth of essence. A man must die to free himself from a thousand petty attachments and identifications which hold him in the position in which he is. To awaken means to realize one's nothingness, that is to realize one's complete and absolute mechanicalness and one's complete and absolute helplessness.
  • Kundalini is the power of imagination, the power of fantasy, which takes the place of a real function. Kundalini is a force put into men in order to keep them in their present hypnotic state. 'To awaken' for man means to be 'dehypnotized.'
  • The work of self-study can proceed only in properly organized groups. One man alone cannot see himself. But when a certain number of people unite together for this purpose they will even involuntarily help one another. A man sees the faults of others more easily than he sees his own. He learns that he himself possesses all the faults that he finds in others.
  • General conditions at the beginning of the work are usually of the following kind:
    • They must keep secret everything they hear or learn in the group. This restriction consists in the fact that they are unable to transmit correctly what is said in the groups. Silence is the most difficult abstinence. But it will constitute for him the best exercise possible for self-remembering and for the development of will.
    • They must tell the teacher of the group the .whole truth.
    • They must remember why they came to the group. If a man begins to distrust the teacher, the teacher becomes unnecessary to him and he becomes unnecessary to the teacher.
    • Members of the group must work.
    • Rules are obligatory for all members of a group. If they remembered themselves and realized this, rules would not be necessary for them. Rules can never be either easy, pleasant, or comfortable. On the contrary, they ought to be difficult and unpleasant. There are certain individual conditions which are given to each person separately and which are generally connected with his 'chief fault,' or chief feature.
    • In a group all are responsible for one another. A mistake on the part of one is considered as a mistake on the part of all. This is a law.
    • A group must work as one machine. All the members of a group are friends and brothers.
  • Only when a man has truly and sincerely arrived at the conviction of his own helplessness and nothingness and only when he feels it constantly, will he be ready for the next and much more difficult stages of the work.
  • In true work, that is, in true 'doing,' the producing of infatuation in people is not allowed. What you call black magic is based on infatuation and on playing upon human weaknesses. No one ever does anything for the sake of evil. Black magic may be quite altruistic, may strive after the good of humanity, but black magic has always one definite characteristic. The tendency to use people for some, even the best of aims, without their knowledge and understanding, either by producing in them faith and infatuation or by acting upon them through fear.
  • In properly organized groups no faith is required; what is required is simply a little trust and even that only for a little while, for the sooner a man begins to verify all he hears the better it is for him.
  • The struggle against the 'false I,' against one's chief feature or chief fault, is the most important part of the work, and it must proceed in deeds, not in words.
  • Nothing that a man did yesterday excuses him today. If a man did nothing yesterday, no demands are made upon him today; if he did anything yesterday, it means that he must do more today.
  • Small accumulators suffice for the ordinary, everyday work of life. But for work on oneself, for inner growth, and for the efforts which are required of a man who enters the way, the energy from these small accumulators is not enough. We must learn how to draw energy straight from the large accumulator. The connection with the large accumulator can be effected only through the emotional center. The instinctive, moving, and intellectual centers, by themselves, can feed only on the small accumulators.
  • Yawning is the pumping of energy into the small accumulators.
  • In the intellectual center, there can be impressions which fall at once on two halves of the center and produce at once a sharp 'yes' and 'no.' Such a simultaneous 'yes' and 'no' produces a kind of convulsion in the center. The center begins to throw out in the form of laughter the energy which flows into it from the accumulator whose turn it is to supply it.
  • In the higher centers there can be no laughter, because in higher centers there is no division, and no 'yes' and 'no.'
Chapter Twelve
  • Each man has a definite repertoire of roles which he plays in ordinary circumstances. Put him into even only slightly different circumstances and he is unable to find a suitable role and for, a short time he becomes himself.
  • A man must be sufficiently disappointed in ordinary ways and he must at the same time think or be able to accept the idea that there may be something— somewhere. If you should speak to such a man, he might discern the flavor of truth in what you say no matter how clumsily you might speak.
  • Knowledge about the repetition of lives will add nothing for a man if he does not see how everything repeats itself in one life, that is, in this life, and if he does not strive to change himself in order to escape this repetition.
  • If people were to live in essence one type would always find the other type and wrong types would never come together. But people live in personality. Personality has its own interests and its own tastes which have nothing in common with the interests and the tastes of essence.
  • Essence knows what it wants but cannot explain it. Personality does not want to hear of it and takes no account of it. It has its own desires.
  • Sex plays a tremendous role in maintaining the mechanicalness of life. Everything that people do is connected with 'sex'. Normally in the sex center as well as in the higher emotional and the higher thinking centers, there is no negative side. In all the other centers except the higher ones, in the thinking, in the emotional, in the moving, in the instinctive, in all of them there are, so to speak, two halves—the positive and the negative; affirmation and negation.
  • In the sex center there are no positive and negative sides. The role of the sex center in creating a general equilibrium and a permanent center of gravity can be very big. If it uses its own energy, the sex center stands on a level with the higher emotional center. And all the other centers are subordinate to it.
Chapter Thirteen
  • There is something in phenomena of a higher order which requires a particular emotional state for their observation and study. And this excludes any possibility of "properly conducted" laboratory experiments and observations.
  • Those around him see a man's chief feature however hidden it may be. Of course they cannot always define it.
  • People usually think that they can sit between two stools, that is, that they can acquire the new and preserve the old; they do not think this consciously of course but it comes to the same thing.
  • Without sacrifice nothing can be attained. People do not understand the idea of sacrifice. They have to sacrifice only what they imagine they have and which in reality they do not have. Another thing that people must sacrifice is their suffering. A man will renounce any pleasures you like but he will not give up his suffering.
Chapter Fourteen
  • One of the most central of the ideas of objective knowledge is the idea of the unity of everything, of unity in diversity.
  • The aim of 'myths' and 'symbols' was to reach man's higher centers, to transmit to him ideas inaccessible to the intellect and to transmit them in such forms as would exclude the possibility of false interpretations. 'Myths' were destined for the higher emotional center; 'symbols' for the higher thinking center.
  • In striving towards a knowledge of the universe, man should begin with the study of himself and with the realization of the fundamental laws within him.
  • Man has five centers: the thinking, the emotional, the moving, the instinctive, and the sex. The full and proper functioning of five centers brings them into union with the higher centers which introduce the missing principle and put man into direct and permanent connection with objective consciousness and objective knowledge.
  • Any attempt to understand literally, where speech deals with objective knowledge and with the union of diversity and unity, is doomed to failure beforehand and leads in most cases to further delusions.
  • The enneagram is a schematic diagram of perpetual motion, that is, of a machine of eternal movement.
Chapter Fifteen
  • Religion is a relative concept; it corresponds to the level of a man's being; and one man's religion might not be at all suitable for another man, that is to say, the religion of a man of one level of being is not suitable for a man of another level of being.
  • Religion is doing; a man does not merely think his religion or feel it, he 'lives' his religion as much as he is able.
  • The earth is growing in the sense of greater consciousness, greater receptivity. The planetary influences which were sufficient for her at one period of her existence become insufficient. She needs the reception of finer influences. To receive finer influences a finer, more sensitive receptive apparatus is necessary. Organic life, therefore, has to evolve, to adapt itself to the needs of the planets and the earth.
  • If we recall the law of octaves we shall see that a balanced process proceeding in a certain way cannot be changed at any moment it is desired. It can be changed and set on a new path only at certain 'cross-roads.'
  • We can imagine the whole of humanity as consisting so to speak of several concentric circles:
    • The inner circle is called the Esoteric. This circle consists of people who have attained the highest development possible for man, each one of whom possesses individuality in the fullest degree. They cannot perform actions opposed to their understanding. Therefore their activity is entirely co-ordinated and leads to one common aim without any kind of compulsion because it is based upon a common and identical understanding.
    • The next circle is called the Mesoteric, that is to say, the middle. Their knowledge is of a more theoretical character.' They know and understand many things which have not yet found expression in their actions.
    • The third circle is called the Exoteric. The people who belong to this circle possess much of that which belongs to people of the esoteric and mesoteric circles but their cosmic knowledge is of a more philosophical character.
    • The outer circle is the circle of mechanical humanity to which we belong and which alone we know. In this circle mutual understanding between people is impossible excepting in rare exceptional moments.
  • The fourth way differs from the old and the new ways by the fact that it is never a permanent way. It has no definite forms and there are no institutions connected with it.
  • Schools of the fourth way exist for the needs of the work which is being carried out in connection with the proposed undertaking. They never exist for the purpose of education and instruction. If there were not these pseudo-esoteric schools the vast majority of humanity would have no possibility whatever of hearing and learning of the existence of anything greater than life because the truth in its pure form would be inaccessible for them.
  • Transitions from one level of being to another were marked by ceremonies of presentation of a special kind, that is, initiation. But a change of being cannot be brought about by any rites. Rites can only mark an accomplished transition.
  • There is not, nor can there be, any outward initiation. In reality only self-initiation, selfpresentation.
Chapter Sixteen
  • There is nothing dead or inanimate in nature. Everything in its own way is alive, everything in its own way is intelligent and conscious. Only this consciousness and intelligence is expressed in a different way on different levels of being.
  • The cosmic level of being of every living creature is determined: "First of all by what this creature eats, "Secondly by what he breathes, and "Thirdly by the medium in which it lives.
  • The intelligence of a matter is determined by the creature for whom it can serve as food. A raw potato can serve as food for pigs and a baked potato as food for man. A baked potato is more intelligent than a raw potato. It is not possible for him to improve his food and air he can improve his impressions to a very high degree and in this way introduce fine 'hydrogens' into the organism. It is precisely on this that the possibility of evolution is based.
Chapter Seventeen
  • Schools are imperative - a man is much too lazy. He will never attain the necessary intensity by himself. In work only super-efforts are counted, that is, beyond the normal, beyond the necessary; ordinary efforts are not counted.
  • The sole possibility of making the other centers work in a new way is to begin with the moving center; that is with the body. The first things a man must learn previous to any physical work on himself is to observe and feel muscular tension and to be able to relax the muscles when it is necessary, that is to say, chiefly to relax unnecessary tension of the muscles. A man is unable to change the form of his thinking or his feeling until he has changed his repertory of postures and movements.
  • All our movements are automatic. Our thoughts and feelings are just as automatic. One cannot be changed without the other. If a man's attention is concentrated, let us say, on changing automatic thoughts, then habitual movements and habitual postures will interfere with this new course of thought by attaching to it old habitual associations.
  • Sins are what keep a man on one spot if he has decided to move and if he is able to move. Sin is what stops a man, helps him to deceive himself and to think that he is working when he is simply asleep.
  • At the beginning of the fast the difficulty in fasting consisted in not leaving unused the substances which are prepared in the organism for the digestion of food. It is necessary to expend as much energy as possible. Then fasting can be beneficial.
  • Astrology deals with only one part of man, with his type, his essence—it does not deal with personality, with acquired qualities.
  • In the same situation one man sees and does one thing, another—another thing, a third—a third thing, and so on. And each one acted according to his type.
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