By Cyrus Ryan
When your Soul is Awakening
Esoteric philosophy and psychology are not easy to understand as there are many blinds that prevent an individual from seeing some truth until one is ready to see it. Many aspirants to the path get upset with the thought that they are not yet ready to receive Esoteric knowledge. The reason the Masters of Wisdom or advanced Initiates create veils or blinds is because they know the true workings of human psychology, and see the dangers of giving out too great a knowledge. In the West, psychology is limited as it is focused only on circumstance in our present life. Psychologists study the family, the household situation, and the community environment, such as education, and peer group influences to help get a grasp of the personality development of any individual. But an Initiate or true Master of Wisdom’s vision penetrates beyond our temporal life, and sees the quality of substance that has been built up in the “mind stuff” (chitta – Sanskrit) over many rebirths of the same Soul. They can see what is latent in the deeper recesses of one’s being that may awaken and cause great difficulties, and even dangers if too much Esoteric knowledge is given. Added to this equation is the assumption that the words that express an esoteric concept are the same, just the words, like you find written in any school or university textbook. There is a big difference, and that’s what makes it a mystery. It is this difference that enables the mysterious quality of an esoteric blind to function. Esoteric knowledge is of a different substance, quality, and voltage than regular scholastic knowledge. You have to be sensitive to feel this difference, and even if you can’t feel it, it can in time have an effect. An example of this would be the teaching on the ‘duality of the Soul’. So many spiritual people claim they know their soul, but yet when asked to describe it, they say it can’t be put into words, or they describe the virtuous aspect of their personality. This is because they don’t really know or understand, not only their own soul, but what the Soul is.
The knowledge of “Essential Nature” (svarupa – Sanskrit) as one aspect of the duality of the Soul is a major Esoteric concept, that even those few who are taught about it rarely grasp its magnitude. There is very little in writing about this fact. One brief description is expressed in a couple of chapters in the book Treatise on White Magic given out by the Master DK through the writings of AAB. The Master D.K. calls it the soul in-incarnation, the reflection of the Soul in manifestation. In Discipleship in the New Age, Vol.2 we find,” The true spiritual man….”to live consciously in the center…I am not here talking symbolically but literally (Pg. 116) …the withdrawal to the center of inspiration…it is to this retreating within that I summon you” (pg.115). Here, the ‘true spiritual man’ is the Essential Nature, the ‘soul in-incarnation’. Once you can center in your Essential Nature, then you are in ‘alignment’ with the Soul. In the Yoga Sutras, this is called ‘pratyahara’. This is the ‘real’ work to obtain alignment.
Reading about the Essential Nature and discovering one’s own Essential Nature are two different things. Many aspirants read it and pass it by because they already assume, they’ve attained that level, and do not dig deeper to find out about its true meaning. It is a key piece of the Esoteric puzzle of human psychology that unlocks many secrets and opens the door to the Path of Initiation. But the realization of our own Essential Nature is not something that happens right away. If your Essential Nature is awakened because of efforts in some past life, and consciously linked to the personality, then this idea of the duality of the Soul will hit home instantly. But the majority of us searching on the Path have to struggle in this life through meditation and self-observation to get even a fleeting feeling of the Essential Nature. Searching for a spiritual path is an indication that the Essential Nature is stirring. This stirring causes a discontent within the personality, restlessness or dissatisfaction with the repetitive day-to-day mechanical life we live.
Questions begin to arise as to the purpose of life, karma, and whether reincarnation is valid. Then one begins to search. Though the search for knowledge seems new and fresh, in fact it is based on unconscious memories from past lives (samskaras). This stirring comes from the Essential Nature, but it transfers the feeling to the personality, unless the Essential Nature is advanced and close to awakening. It is the personality that initially begins the search for the path spurred on by unseen Soul guidance. The personality, at first, follows the path of least resistance based on unconscious attraction from efforts made in the distant past. But then if hindrances make themselves felt and the focus is not strong enough the personality will start to look for other more enjoyable paths. Thus, many searchers end up trying many different spiritual options, trying to find the one that suit them, the one they feel more comfortable with. The problem here is that a personality decision is made because the feelings from the Essential Nature are not yet recognized. It is the Essential Nature that will give the true guidance because it is the reflection of the Soul in the body. The Soul already knows and has determined the best path for your Spiritual development to succeed successfully. But how do you learn to listen to your Essential Nature?
It is the ‘Soul in-incarnation’ that awakens and links our conscious mind to the ‘Soul on its own plane’ of existence. The work of awakening is learning to discriminate between the feeling of our personality and the feeling of our Essential Nature, the ‘Soul in-incarnation’. The first step is ‘Centering’ in the flame of the heart which focuses one’s attention to help awaken the Essential Nature. The next step is Self-Observation where we learn to see the different manifestations of our lesser self, our personality, more clearly. The purpose of Self-Observation is to increase our awareness of the following;
the type of thoughts we have,
the constant movement of thoughts,
how these thoughts affect us, how we react to them,
what effect our emotions have on our behavior,
what control our body has on what we do,
likes and dislikes.
Centering and Self-Observation are the two most important tools that help us learn about our Souls. Self-Observation teaches us about our personality. We think we know our personalities but generally we look and see what we want to see. The discipline of Self-observation requires us look honestly into our behavior, looking to see both the positive and negative aspects that make up our personalities. In other words, one has to be non-judgmental and be detached and observe what is and not what one wants to see. But talking about self-observation and doing it are two different things.
Spiritual discrimination (vivaka) is the practical day-to-day work and to record your observations keeping a daily journal is very helpful. The first thing that has to be accomplished is learning detachment. Detachment is necessary because in order to see correctly you have to be able to separate from it. If you are not detached, then your ego or ‘I’ is stilled glued to the thought or feeling. The best way to start is to divide up your personality characteristics into 3 categories such as listed below;
those that help my spiritual development,
those that hinder,
those that are neutral and don’t affect my spiritual development.
Now let’s look at some examples to help you get started. Let’s begin with the tendencies that help our spiritual development.
meditating daily, maintaining a regular discipline
studying spiritual literature, not just reading, but studying
keeping a positive learning attitude
being helpful to others
enjoy nature, art, and diverse cultures.
refraining from negative emotions, such as anger, envy, jealousy.
The above is just a general outline that many aspirants to the Path follow. The next step takes you deeper. For instance; my meditation, is it correct? Am I observant of my wondering mind, do I get caught in dreams, even fall asleep? You have to be honest here. Do I recognize these tendencies, and do I do anything to overcome them? These are just some of the questions you have to ask yourself and truthfully assess the situation. Otherwise, although you meditate, it might be stagnant. It is important to question, and be critical of your own efforts, don’t always think that what you are doing is good.
Meditation and Self-observation work hand-in-hand to help you to separate from the constant activity of the personality, finding the peace and inner sanctity of the Essential Nature. When you touch and feel the quality of your Essential Nature, then you are ‘aligned’ with the Soul on its own plane. Then you are centered and fulfilling your first Dharma or Spiritual purpose which is to ‘serve your Soul’ or in another words, “know thyself”. The Soul expresses itself through the personality as the ‘quality of life’. If you have an unwavering thirst for the knowledge of the Ageless Wisdom, the mysteries of the universe, and at the same time you are willing to follow a discipline of meditation and study, then know that your Essential Nature is awakening and the ‘Soul-life influence’ is getting stronger and stronger. Eventually, the grip of the personality will loosen and alignment with the Soul will be stabilized, resulting in a Soul in-fused personality. Then you enter into the Divine Mysteries and your knowledge and experience will soar as the voltage of your inner light increases and in time becomes a blazing radiance.