November 2012

Fellowship of Friends

Awakening through Self-Remembering

Esoteric schools throughout history have recognized the chaos of the human condition and have sought to provide an escape from it. The solution is not a quantitative change, but a qualitative one. It’s not a question of striving to experience more love or joy or goodness, but of becoming a different order of creation.

In our “normal” state of waking sleep, we live an animal existence imagining that we are human. Yet we have the potential to purify our hearts to attain a truly human existence, and to develop our consciousness to attain a divine existence. This is the ultimate journey for a human being. There is a vast spectrum of consciousness in the universe, ranging from the consciousness of a rock to that of the Absolute. The potential range of consciousness within a human being is also vast. The awareness in a man or woman can be nurtured to approach that of the divine.

With precise and sufficient work, higher consciousness can begin to appear in flashes within us, and ultimately become permanent. When we uncover this state of awareness—of divine presence—we find the source of true love, joy, and goodness.

“The key to all problems is the problem of consciousness.” Ancient Egyptian Texts

The first step is to understand consciousness, and we begin by understanding what consciousness is not. Consciousness is not functions: not movement, sensation, feeling, or thought. It is deeply shocking to verify that we can act and move and talk and experience emotions without awareness. We make sincere aims and forget them; we hurt those we love without intending it; we travel with no memory of the journey. Our awareness is not single but multiple, fragmented among the competing functions.

How do we begin to forge a unified consciousness? All schools teach the same effort, which in the Fourth Way is called self-remembering. This is an inner discipline where one watches one’s mind and heart and body and is separate from them, aware of them, and aware of oneself observing them. Self-remembering does not depend on specific circumstances or conditions. It can be applied to any moment of one’s life, whether significant or ordinary, to bring awareness to whatever one is doing.

Working on self-remembering requires working on the heart. Our untrained hearts are immersed in uncontrolled and destructive passions and negative emotions that stalk us relentlessly throughout our lives. Through school disciplines, the heart can be trained to gain the strength and willingness necessary to nourish and protect divine wordless presence. When we have purified the heart, our pure essence can emerge. The real can grow only at the expense of the unreal.

“The Art of the Heart consists of maintaining firmly one’s heart-anchor in peace and correctness.
One must not allow oneself to be carried away by trembling passions or abandon oneself
to the never-assuaged desires of the senses.” Huang Di (Yellow Emperor)

How can we say this in a simple way?

Be where you are, and be awake to what you are doing. Empty your heart of passions and fill it with
longing for union with the divine within you. Find those with whom you can share your journey.

Awakening is the Master Game. And the Master Game has a simple method that is easy to learn but hard to master. The method, self-remembering, is invisible and portable. Free from external or internal conditions, self-remembering has only one requirement: one’s own sincere wish to use it. This is why it is so urgent to train the heart to desire presence. Together, this trinity of higher consciousness, the heart, and the method weave a fabric of divine presence. With sufficient skill, the fabric becomes pure gold: self-remembering and one’s own Higher Self become permanent.

“God [the Higher Self] is always beyond goodness, righteous, all-wise, unchanging, true, invisible,
untouchable, ungraspable, perfect, beyond being, full of mercy, full of compassion and sympathy,
all-ruling, all-seeing.” Philokalia, Peter of Damaskos /em>


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