We have covered the basic ideas of study, meditation, and service and I have not yet mentioned psychic development. This is to a certain extent, by design. Psychic development may be running parallel to the entire process described above, but this is a natural process and somewhat misunderstood. We have been told that telepathic as well as other sensitivities are not developed but rather, recognized over time as having always been present. We don’t become sensitive but become aware of our sensitivities. This is done in part by quieting the mind in meditation and is a natural part of the unfoldment of consciousness through esoteric training. There is no need to work on the development of psychic sensitivity. If it is present it can become over emphasized in consciousness and control must be maintained as well as a sharp eye for the glamour that can accompany it.
This kind of sensitivity can be a blessing or a burden which holds the student within a crystallized thought form. If the mind and the awareness are trained first, it seems the student can handle those sensitivities more ably when they do arise. I believe my intuition is strong and I do not have the need to assign the things that occur in my thinking and feeling natures to some outside source. We are taught to contact and identify ourselves with the soul aspect of our nature because it is in tune with all else we can know. Contact with this aspect of our being opens the door to what is limitless in potential in all of us.
This contact is Psychic Development on a deeper level. It is not the glamorized voices in the head or imagined channeling of the neophyte but the heightened awareness of the trained Disciple. The word Psyche means Soul so anything truly Psychic in nature relates to Soul awareness. This is the central objective of Esoteric Training as I understand it. Of course my understanding is based on limited exposure to the training and will expand as I grow in both my intellectual grasp and direct apprehension over time. Emphasis is bound to change as progress is made but the general direction can be assumed to remain, upward and inward.
In “The Teachings of Don Juan – A Yaqui Way of Knowledge” there is a quote inserted as a precursor to the journey Carlos Castaneda is about to embark upon by a philosopher named George Simmel. “…nothing more can be attempted than to establish the beginning and the direction of an infinitely long road. The pretension of any systematic and definitive completeness would be at least a self illusion. Perfection here is to be obtained by the individual student only in the objective sense that he communicates everything he has been able to see.” It should be noted that he is not talking about Mr. Castaneda because Simmel had long since passed when Castaneda began his training.
The idea is that any attempt to map out the individual steps of an infinitely long journey is at best a waste of time and at its worst, delusional. In either case the effort is futile but in my eyes the failure to recognize that futility and thinking that you can map it out is worse. I found this illustrated in my experience in the labyrinth. If you look at the whole thing it is dizzying, but the next few steps are always obvious and the ultimate goal is always in view. The best one can hope to do is keep the big picture in mind so you don’t lose your general direction, pay attention to the next few steps right in front of you; the business at hand… and then share the experience as Mr. Castaneda did in bringing us with him.
Another interesting phrase I have heard in this regard is that “no battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy.” The world seemingly has its own ideas about what is going to happen and if you want to influence the outcome you are going to have to adjust. That is what consciousness does; sense the environment and alter behavior in response. Observe the results and adjust again. Were we to map out the entire process we would have to change the entire process and any adjustment would mean recalculating the entire route like a GPS does when you make a wrong turn.
That is why living the teaching is a must. If we don’t apply what we learn, we really haven’t learned it yet. This is especially true in the field of conscious exploration. Consciousness serves as both the instrument and field of enquiry. There is nothing else that will do the job and so we must use what we know and sense as the bootstraps we incorporate in lifting ourselves to the next level. Mathematics is built in this way for the same reason. The only thing we can use to explore math is math. We prove a theory through repetition and then correlation to earlier established laws, which it now joins as a part of a larger foundation for further theoretical experimentation. Without this new discovery as a tool, the next theory may not even be postulated and the journey is misdirected slowed or halted completely. In the case of the exploration of consciousness through esoteric training the opened mind and heart will continue opening as long as there is a question to pursue.
If the student is willing and can be directed into certain types of activities, there is a layered effect. One can develop the will, for instance, through any act done with discipline. The act of standing on a chair for 15 minutes every morning will exercise the will. You must do it every day whether you feel like it or not, and anything done this way will strengthen the will. The problem with this approach is that standing on a chair does little else, and it’s not even good for the chair. If we decide to Meditate for 15 minutes each day we develop the will and also get the benefits of Meditation. If we follow a plan developed specifically to an end, like soul contact or the development of specific attitudes of harmlessness and right speech, we add another layer to the same practice.
If we now study harmlessness as we meditate on it, over a period of time we will find a depth to the idea that we could not come to by any other means. We now add another layer, and benefit more from the study through meditation, and more from the meditation through further study and the increased ability to understand what is being studied. We are exploring the world of meaning and Meditation is central to our journey because it is the application of acquired knowledge in the furtherance of this conscious research, but the deeper application of this knowledge is service. To live the teachings is to serve. As Meditation creates a better Meditator, service creates a better server.
I am a servant of humanity and I feel for my fellowmen. I see them sleeping and know that even though I am barely awakening, the world looks very different to me and I want them to experience it. I have an urge to shake them awake but I know it is only possible to plant an occasional seed that will take hold when the person is ready. Many strive to further their spiritual development by serving the Masters. Djwahl Kuhl reminds us that the Masters serve humanity. If you want to serve the Masters help them in their work, don’t worship them.
Nothing can bring a man closer to his fellowman than to help when he is in need. It is mutually beneficial and both parties grow in the process. Nietzsche told us to serve an unfair master better, to “put God in your debt”, knowing that we are in a sense paying into a system that reflects back into our lives the results of our actions. We create beauty or horror, and then live in it. Esoteric Training gives us the ability to recognize the choices and then choose consciously. Given the knowledge that our world is of our making who would not choose to create beauty?
As a group and a social aggregation we have the ability to raise our collective consciousness as well. Bruce Lipton in his book Spontaneous Healing said that a cell only has two states of being, and they are protection and growth. Interestingly the cell cannot grow while it is protecting itself. Human beings and groups are higher reflections of the same spiritual laws and thus we cannot grow while our attention is consumed with survival. Our job as parents is to create a safe and yet challenging environment where our children can thrive. This has gotten us where we are today, but we need to recognize a larger family and widen the circle of influence and cooperation to eventually include all of humanity.
If we all feel safe enough we can all begin to explore the world of meaning. The search for the inner meaning in the events and circumstances of our lives is the road to the discovery of the inner self as well. I feel my role as a teacher is to bring as many people as I can to the point where they are becoming observant. Observation leads to understanding. Many of us spend so much time in a state of near unconsciousness. Esoteric Training is the exploration of and therefore the expansion of conscious awareness. It is the realization of our creative role in our lives. We make that role real through the act of understanding and begin to create consciously instead of the haphazard way the average man creates his life.
Through this training and the attitude of observation which it necessitates, we learn to interact with the universe in a more harmonious way. Our sensitivities become more apparant becasue we are observing not only our surroundings but our selves and our reactions or responses to the events in our lives. This recognition results in what is characterized as Psychic Sensitivity but it is more simply an increase in our overall awareness. We are all psychic. We are not all aware of it.