Let me tell you about Chief Bemidji Syndrome. . . .
The Chief looks pretty much the same as he did some decades ago when I was an undergraduate in the state university up there. Indeed, the locally revered Native American leader from the 1800’s continues to shade his eyes and searches the lake with an unbroken perseverance that any yogi might admire. Seeing Chief Bemidji might still make many English majors, such as I was, call to mind Robert Frost’s poem “Neither Out Far Nor In Deep.” The gist: people are always going down to the sea to intently gaze in the direction of the water, even though they cannot see very far out over it or very deeply into it. In the Chief’s case, though, he definitely appears to be looking for something.
Occasionally, I reflect on the possibility that Chief Bemidji may have influenced my college life far more than most of my professors did. This might not merely have been because I skipped so many classes (using the same hairbreadth, credit-saving precision which is also probably required for self-strangulation sex), but also because I could see the Chief night after night as I looked out the window from the Lakeview Hotel where I worked as the midnight-to-8 A.M. desk clerk. Especially in December, January, and February, I would sit hour after hour in a lobby chair and look across the bleak, blizzardly street at the frigid Chippewa who at that time of year strained to see even shallowly through a foot or two of ice.
The fact that so much of my college time was spent staring at the back of Chief Bemidji staring at the lake probably made it inevitable that I would sooner or later jump to the conclusion that I too should spend my life searching for something.
And “Truth” sounded like the perfect thing to search for. Therefore, I spent many years not only scavenging the alpha-to-omega of everything called and miscalled “Theosophy,” but also pursuing the conventional alphabet of other Truth possibilities—from astrology to ziggurats. At some point, however, I began to think that perhaps the Endless Quest could become, at least in one respect, an Endless Theosophical Mistake. I now call this mistake the “Chief Bemidji Syndrome.”
Chief Bemidji Syndrome is simply the more hurly-burly, outward-oriented form of “Searching for Truth.” Calling it a possible screw-up undoubtedly won’t sit well with some of those who are fond of thinking of themselves as “aspirants.” It might be especially annoying to individuals who are perhaps assuming that they can just Google and cyber-chat their way to Spiritual Enlightenment. No harshness is intended, but to be on the safe side, as Bette Davis in ALL ABOUT EVE once said, “Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be [may be] a bumpy ride.”. . .
The major bump is a possible Theosophical exception to the classical logical fallacy known as argumentum ad hominem—“argument against the person.” This Latin expression conventionally means that it is regarded improper to attack an individual’s ideas by bringing up his or her personal failings or circumstances. For example, it is not thought that the fact that the philosopher Martin Heidegger was a Nazi should be used to denigrate what he says about ontological being. In most intellectual matters this seems reasonable. However, when it comes to “general” (rather than back-to-Blavatsky “legionnaire”) Theosophy—”Intuitive knowledge or wisdom resulting from direct experience of one’s Transcendent (‘Divine’) Nature”—an exception to the ad hominem prohibition might sometimes be necessary. Perhaps the validity of many Theosophical teachings which have practical applications, especially psychological, need to be judged in terms of the results they produce in the lives of those who articulate or subscribe to the teachings. To some degree at least, it could be exactly as Jesus said, “By their fruits ye shall know them.”
Trying to judge the fruits of others is tricky, however. Obviously, it is not possible to know the full array of congenital, circumstantial, and karmic conditions that other people have to deal with. There is every chance that some of those who are doing the best with their particular incarnations are actually those who appear to be barely coping under their heavy physical, emotional, or mental burdens—and not necessarily those who are life’s obvious lottery winners, riding easy and high in wealth, position, politics, celebrity, . . . or their own minds.
Still, particularly in regard to prominent teachers, some ad hominem analysis may be possible and occasionally quite helpful. For example, in the 1930’s and beyond there was a Theosophical off-shoot known as the I AM Movement. Guy W. Ballard, its principal figure, claimed to be receiving preternatural guidance from the “Master Count Saint Germain.” By employing “I AM decrees” while bathing in imaginary violet light, a follower of Ballard/Germain might achieve “invincible youth, avoidance of ill health, and reversal of the effects of old age.” Apart from lengthy personal experimentation with I AM decrees, there is perhaps no better way to assess the teachings than to look at the results they may have produced for the teacher himself: alas-alack, Guy W. Ballard died of arterial sclerosis at age 61 and was cremated rather than “physically ascending while still alive” as he, his wife Edna, thousands of followers, and perhaps Count Saint Germain (who could not be reached for comment) expected.
Therefore, an ad hominem consideration might persuade an aspirant not to spend overly much time studying and experimenting with I AM teachings. However, a complication is that many of the Theosophical/spiritual/religious/soteriological/self-help/etc. “outcroppings” which are able to gain any degree of popularity seem to be based upon at least a few valid insights or practices. The “Quest,” therefore, may often be less like a precise search for completely filled treasure chests and more like an exploration of potential gold mines needing to be “worked”—i.e., by keeping random precious nuggets and throwing out the worthless dirt as one goes along. It could be possible that the I AM decrees really do involve taping into some sort of violet “Power/Potential”; however, it might not be so easy to determine whether this Power/Potential is able to produce major life enhancements or merely full-blown, natural and preternatural violet disappointments. . . .
And perhaps it should also be mentioned that the same type of difficulty can sometimes arise when trying to use a more “positive variation” of ad hominem assessment in the Theosophical arena as well. For example, the apparent value of a teacher’s work may or may not be able to lend weight to his or her claims that he or she has been guided by God, angels, Masters, Elder Brothers, or other exalted beings. Do Ballard’s teachings seem original and valuable enough to add support to his contention that there actually was a Count Saint Germain who helped him? Many do not think so. On the other hand, far more people probably think that H.P. Blavatsky’s writings are so ground-breaking and awe-inspiring that it is not nearly so hard to believe that her “Guides”—Koot Hoomi, Master Morya etc.—were real and not merely her promotional inventions. Paul Johnson’s book THE MASTERS REVEALED, however, provides some powerful background scholarship to consider in this regard, and many readers undoubtedly end-up agreeing with his ultimate conclusion: “H.P.B.’s adept sponsors were a succession of human mentors rather than a cosmic hierarchy of supermen. In one sense, these hidden sponsors were indeed her Masters. But in another sense, she may have been greater than any of them [p.244].” This, at the least, illustrates that trying to use “reverse ad hominem” can also be tricky.
Fortunately, to determine whether or not one is suffering from Chief Bemidji Syndrome it is not necessary to worry about the psycho-spiritual worth or advancement of other people, including famous teachers and writers. An argumentum ad hominem assessment of oneself is all that is required. There might already be too much moral indignation about the private lives, particularly sex lives, of famous figures, anyway; there is even a good chance that much of this distant underwear-examining may simply be “jealousy with a halo,” as H.G. Wells put it. Does the possibility that Krishnamurti had a long, secret affair with a woman really detract from the more important things he said? This, for example: “I maintain that truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect. That is my point of view, and I adhere to that absolutely and unconditionally. Truth, being limitless, unconditioned, unapproachable by any path whatsoever, cannot be organized; nor should any organization be formed to lead or coerce people along a particular path."
No, it is unlikely that anything Krisnamurti might have done to amuse (or experiment with) himself in private could tarnish what he said about the “Pathless Land” for those who have a Theosophical intimation of It for themselves. Perhaps “semi-perfect” spiritual teachers (and perhaps even “practicing” Theosophists, rather than just neo-scribes and neo-Pharisees) need to be regarded as somewhat of a special “existentially experimental” class, anyway. Indeed, even in cases where they do not completely cross into Nietzschian “beyond-good-and-evil” territory, the moral behavior of a significant number of the “psycho-spiritually notable” often does seem closer to the neopagan version of the Wiccan Rede—“Do what you will, so long as it harms none”—than it does to “conventionally codified” patterns of morality.
Diogenes’ account of the life of the philosopher Aristippus could provide a possible explanation. The contemporary of Socrates was once asked what advantage philosophers had over ordinary men. Aristippus answered, "If all the laws were repealed, we would live exactly as we do now." Interestingly, Paul [I Corinthians 10:23] says somewhat the same thing but wisely emphasizes some needful discretion: "All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not."
But again, it is not necessary to concern oneself with others in order to diagnose Chief Bemidji Syndrome in oneself. Actually, all that might be required is to imagine, side-by-side, a meditating figure and the searching figure of Chief Bemidji . . . and then to honestly ask oneself which exploratory orientation best represents a possible “overbalance” of one’s own general “psychological direction”: the meditator’s pacific inward, inward; or the Chief’s ceaseless outward, outward.
Incidentally, the Chief sometimes does seem so intensely outward-searching that I have occasionally thought that that whoever carved the replacement version of the original 1927 statue might have profited from a contrasting Native American perspective as recounted by Carl Jung in his essay “The Spiritual Problem of Modern Humanity” : “I [Jung] have an Indian friend who is a Pueblo chieftain. We spoke once confidentially about the white man, and he said, ‘We do not understand the white men. They always want something; they are always restless; they are always searching for something. What are they searching for? We don't know. We cannot understand them. They have such sharp noses, such gruesome lips, such lines in their faces. We believe they are all crazy.’”
From a Theosophical point of view, perhaps both the meditator and Chief Bemidji could be considered a little crazy if they were to advocate only one approach for obtaining wisdom, knowledge, and experience. Balance is important. In modern times, however, the danger for most is almost certainly not the overdoing of a “transcendental lifestyle” (which might be illustrated by the life of the great Ramana Maharshi whose apparent [from extant video] debilitated physical condition at even a relatively early age may not be such a good advertisement for the “unadulterated” pursuit of the Undifferentiated when it is conducted at the expense of proper nutrition, hygiene, exercise, medical care, etc.). Indeed, the big danger now is undoubtedly the opposite type of overbalancing: avid and endless “attention surfing” on one information-laden, externally appearing wave after another. . . .
It is possible that both the worthy and worthless crap carried on these waves, especially electronic, may now be just too abundant, too interesting, and too easily accessible to naturally produce many actual Theosophists from those who are hectically “staying up with the times.” Of course, the information explosion may be increasing the number of people who are drawn to study the transcendentally flavored type of flotsam and jetsam; however, without the ongoing “inner work” necessary to Theosophically evaluate what they study, this “intellectual questing” may be just be a more lofty-looking escapist flare-up of Chief Bemidji Syndrome.
Indeed, many seem unaware that the whole idea of Theosophy’s epistemological definition is that it allows the possibility of knowledge and wisdom which is not necessarily derived from external observation and/or backed up by some sort of “empirical proof.” Theosophy is not only a done-deal from the nineteenth century and before; it can still be produced and re-produced. If many of the doctrines and other information in H.P. Blavatsky’s THE SECRET DOCTRINE are anywhere close to being as old as they are presented, it is almost certain that they were not the products of ancients conducting material science experiments in well-equipped home laboratories or doing scholarly work in handy branch libraries in their neighborhoods. Neither angels nor “meta-mortal Masters,” the originating “saints, sages, and yogis” were most likely just common human beings with an uncommon talent for sitting, closely observing the sequence and quality of their inner states of consciousness, and then using the principle of analogy to articulate material, cosmological, and ontological possibilities. “As within, so without . . . and Without,” these analogical, proto-psychologists might have originally said.
“As below, so Above; as Above, so below,” as this fundamentally Theosophical, then “Hermetic,” methodology might have become worded in later centuries. Unfortunately, individuals who seldom if ever meditate may have a hard time making much sense of this. Those who are unfamiliar with the unfolding sequence of “modified” consciousnesses (which can also be noticed while falling asleep) might not even be able to guess what inner conditions have been analogized in order to produce so much impressive-sounding verbiage. “The Breath becomes a stone; the stone, a plant; the plant, an animal; the animal, a man; the man, a spirit; and the spirit, a god [sic, God]”: what a mysterious origin this Kabalistic axiom [H.P.B.’s special version] must appear to have to those who are uninitiated by their own meditative introspections! With long-term, full-blown, overbalanced Chief Bemidji Syndrome, it must really seem like such teachings could have only been brought to earth by Messengers not entirely from earth!
Nonetheless, Manvantara/Pralaya, Purusa/Prakriti, karma, reincarnation, Rounds, Root-Races, Translifetime Hierarchy, Seven-Year Cycles—all these and more have analogical correspondences with a person’s own “contaminated” conditions of consciousness and psychological “maturations.” Regular meditation can produce a familiarity which in turn can result in either an intuitive growing acceptance or an intuitive growing rejection of many of those things which have been lumped together as “Theosophy” over the years. Perhaps even when they are suspected of being wrong in detail or description (possibly like her “Seven Principles of Man”), the writings of H.P. Blavatsky may stand up very well when scrutinized from the standpoint of "inner analogical correspondence." On the other hand, something like Bishop Leadbeater’s “clairvoyant” investigations of Mars where he asserts that the inhabitants “[Martians] dress mostly in brilliant colours, and both sexes wear an almost shapeless garment of some very soft material which falls straight down from the shoulders down to the feet” may, over time and lacking any “inner resonance,” become Theosophically less and less compelling.
If secularism eventually defeats conventional religion, particularly Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, it will probably be because of a principle like the one put forward by Christopher Hitchens: “What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.” Not bothering to make a big issue out of the fact that Hitchens’ assertion has itself been “asserted without evidence,” it should be understood that practicing Theosophists neither easily dismiss nor easily believe what might be inscribed on “ancient shards.” For many, Theosophy’s most significant “fruits” may simply be their increasingly persuasive intimations about the validity of certain transcendental doctrines and a progressive [Pauline] inner “peace which [sur]passeth understanding.” Since this does not involve anything which can be asserted about God in the cock-sure religious manner of the last two or three thousand years, it is possible that if and when the day of atheistic/agnostic victory comes, epistemological Theosophy as a “Movement” might be perfectly positioned for a major global expansion.
This expansion, of course, is provided that Theosophy’s own definition has not by then become crystallized to mean only the writings of H.P. Blavatsky . . . and these only because of crotchety, superannuated, Desire-Mental (Fourth-Level consciousness) insistences that the information was conveyed or inspired by supernal “Masters” who were as indefectible as they were later undetectable. . . .
A wise person may sometimes doubt the existence of God, but only a fool ever loses faith in the utility of God. From an anthropological perspective, some modern writers, for example Matthew Alper, THE GOD PART OF THE BRAIN, are already suggesting that the human species is neuro-physiologically hardwired to believe religious- or transcendental-type assertions without empirical evidence—and that this “useful credulity” provides a selective advantage for individuals who have it. (It is speculated that those without very much of this hardwiring are less likely to reproduce because they may spend too much time unattractively moping around, perhaps with frigidity or erectile dysfunction, worrying about the meaninglessness of life rather than trying to have sex.) From a psychological perspective, the personal utility of God is evidenced every time a person is prompted to pray—and this is entirely irrespective of any results or non-results which follow. “All that can be done has been done,” is the minimum, but always available, psycho-religious comfort.
The religion of the future may have to improve upon both types of utility. To give individuals within a species a selective advantage, it could be that a sort of “volitionally entertained mythology” will have to replace many faith-based old beliefs regarding cosmogenesis and anthropogenesis. “Let us pity those who will be unable to fictionalize themselves back into Mystery and Larger Meaning,” as “General Theosophy” once said. Perhaps something like this is already happening with Asatru, the re-emergence of Nordic mythological religion. At least the idea of improving one’s understandings by restoring balance between outer and inner reality seems very important for its principal figure, the god Odin [see “Odin, the Wanderer” (1886) by Georg von Rosen]. In order to drink from Mirmir’s Well of Wisdom, Odin had to sacrifice one eye. In other words, he had to give up some of his ability to see and search in the external in order to add to and improve his perceptions by means of a partial re-orientation toward the internal.
Do the followers of Asatru actually “believe” in the existence of Odin in the old, familiar, literal way of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam? It is hard to say. Are they able to utilize Odin in some way? Doubtless. Furthermore, this usefulness may be the result of something far more mysterious than the handy explanation that repeated contemplation of god-like, demi-god-like, or even Master-like figures will eventually produce some of the same qualities in devotees—or perhaps even make them look somewhat like these figures [see side-by-side of St. Germain and me]. Interestingly, the cultivation of a practical, robust Adeptship seems to be implied by both Asatru and “organized” Theosophy. The former proclaims, “We are free to shape our lives to the extent allowed by our skill, courage, and might”; the latter, “[The Third Object of the Theosophical Society is] to investigate the unexplained laws of Nature and the powers latent in man.”
Will the future see many Theosophists deciding to dump some content wholesale—for example, “Lunar Pitris,” “Lemurians,” “Akashic Records,” etc.—because they have psychologically “Overridden” their old Piscean, “take-the-bate,” hard-wired inclination to swallow unsupported claims of “Supernatural or semi-Supernatural Dispensation,” or will they just move this “quasi-information” into the mythological realm in order to preserve its underlying analogical possibilities and anthropological/psychological utility? This is also hard to say.
In any case, all practicing Theosophists, now and in future times, might well be referred to as “Adepts” (of higher or lower “Rank”) in a “Psycho-Spiritual Hierarchy.” The word Adept is capitalized because it can imply that at least to some degree the individual has learned to assist himself or herself, not only by external science and experimentation, but also by improved internal Awareness of his or her “Divine” (Atma-Buddhic, “Self-Spirit”) Nature. Furthermore, enthusiasm should perhaps become associated with these psychologically adept Adepts: enthusiasm not only for the common life, but enthusiasm also for the uncommon life which comes from growing certitude regarding Theosophically derived, and Theosophically screened, knowledge—and, of course, the personal rousing of more and more latent powers. . . . Enthusiasm [Gk: en theos], after all, does mean “God within.”. . .
Happily, God-Within-Without can do many powerful things with little assistance or “psychotech” prompting whatever. For example, increased Realization may result in increased moment-to-moment Mindfulness which may provide a major “upgrade” for the general conduct of life. Furthermore, like Socrates’ “daimon,” one’s “divine voice” may not specifically tell one what to do; however, it may start to reliably tell one what not to do. Over time, the cultivation of just these two “latent powers” might vastly improve the results of an argumentum ad hominem assessment of oneself.
Incidentally, a statement like “God-Within-Without is powerful in and of Itself” is not meant to ascribe some sort of omnipotent “personality” to the Divine; it simply underscores the idea that by definition “Undifferentiated” Consciousness can be considered all-prevailing compared to any transitory, “Substance- (Prakriti-) contaminated” differentiation of Itself. It may be like a lake which temporarily shows splashes from rocks being thrown into it or choppiness from strong winds assailing it but sooner or later effortlessly returns to its own natural, untroubled smoothness. The most important of all Theosophical doctrines boldly asserts without evidence something similar: whether it takes a day, a year, a lifetime, or myriads of lifetimes, the psychological egoic delusions which arise from interactions/contaminations with the animating, physical, emotional, and mental “products” of (a completely Darwinian-compatible) human evolution must inevitably succumb and “dissolve” back into the untroubled Perfection of the “Original Matrix.” It may take considerable time to learn every “lesson” of what is NOT God-Within-Without; however, God-Within-Without waits, works inexorably, and always prevails.
A difficulty, of course, is that as an entertained mythology, the foregoing provides limited comfort or excitement compared with a fixed belief (Desire-Mental consciousness) in an after-life Heaven featuring streets paved with gold and/or beds paved with virgins. What perhaps makes it even more unfair at the popularity-contest level is that the latter generally gets advertised as a sure thing while the former can only be honestly presented as a “growing intuitive probability.” However, because conventional religion now appears to be spending more and more energy protecting its fixed beliefs and dogma from new discoveries of modern science and “uncongenial” historical scholarship, many people may decide that even an ineffable religion supported by growing probability is at least more comforting than a fully articulated one supported by growing improbability.
The truly esoteric secret handshake is given without shaking hands. Whereas the “faithful” in conventional religions unite by outward signs and assurances of shared belief, the new adherents of Microcosmic Theosophy may simply recognize one another not only by their “intensely interested silences” on certain transcendental subjects, but also by their willingness to “apply intuitive knowledge or wisdom at the human level, especially psychological insights and tools for the transformation of ordinary life into extraordinary life.” Therefore, it might be easy for Theosophical brothers and sisters to spot each another: they would be the ones who could . . . but choose not to . . . live only scientifically and rationally. . . .
Thus, let us forgive Guy W. Ballard for any ad hominem disparities or his possible H.P.B.-piggybacking when it comes to the existence of Masters. Whatever his flaws, he was a Microcosmic Theosophist. Indeed, if Guy and his also dead wife Edna are still able to get some followers sitting in their own internal violet light, it might be doing these contemporary inner adventurers more good, balance-wise, than if were they now e-booking, emailing, message-boarding, “texting,” listening to iPods, watching television, playing video games, or surfing the internet. Furthermore, there is good reason to suspect that the original I AM Movement might have been based on some very valid psychotechniques. At least initially, many of the “I Am Decrees” did seem worded as actual decrees (something “shall be”) or requests . . . rather than the self-help or pseudo-therapeutic lies that more modern piggy-backers may have changed these verbalizations into in later years.
Simple Psychotech #5
Anyway, Simple Psychotech #5 is pretty much the exact opposite of the self-assertions/fabrications commonly known as “positive affirmations” that I AM decrees may or may not have evolved into. Accordingly, here (unless the following statements are true) are probably some examples of what NOT to say to oneself: “I am confident.” “I am powerful.” “I am popular.” “I am productive.” “I am in perfect physical and mental condition.” “I am energetic.” “I am a money magnet.” “Every cell in my body vibrates with vitality and good health.” “I attract romance in the most magical and unexpected ways.” A virtual psycho-cash industry has grown up based upon using similar affirmations, and there is no shortage of individuals ready to give revival-tent testimonies that such I-am-lies have produced miracles for them. Simple Psychotech #5 does not deny that such false affirmations may sometimes produce positive results; it only suggests that they may be short-lived while the frequent and possibly more profound bad results can go on and on.
Furthermore, positive affirmations could be a good example of just how pretentious and “Godless”—in terms of psychological usefulness—modern society has become. Apparently, it is not now enough to merely try to impress our neighbors by living in houses and driving cars that we only pretend we can afford; now we must also sow lies in our own psyches so that we can temporarily try to impress ourselves as little Houdinis. The old saying let go, let God may no longer apply; it may have been replaced by let go of God, let ME.
Take for example a person who is depressed and suffering. What actually happens when he or she tries to assume control and lie this condition away by saying “I am cheerful and feeling great in every way” over and over again?
Interestingly, it seems that many things, perhaps almost anything, repetitively verbalized for an extended period of time will have some “positive” result; this may or may not be associated with changes in Beta, Alpha, Theta, and Delta brain waves and/or the release of serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins. Tibetan Buddhists advise repeating Om Mani Padme Hum; many Hindus just like the syllable Om; Ramana Maharshi and perhaps Shankara recommend Aham; Dr. Herbert Benson (THE RELAXATION RESPONSE) of Harvard Medical School prefers the word One. Gandhi, however, perhaps tops them all with his enthusiasm for Ram or Rama: “The recitation of Rama's name for spiritual ailments is as old as the hills. My claim is that the recitation of Rama's name is a sovereign remedy for our physical ailments also. To take Rama's name from the heart means deriving help from an incomparable power. The atom-bomb is as nothing compared with it.”
There is at least a possibility that many of the perceived benefits of positive-affirming may simply be the result of its similarity to mantra repetition. Naturally, it is also tempting to think that there may be some “purposeful tricking” of the “subconscious” involved, and perhaps there is. From the perspective of the important Theosophical doctrine mentioned previously, however, this might not be such a good thing. If the overarching purpose of incarnation is to gradually eliminate all differentiated egoic delusions generated by “psychological maturation,” what sense does it make to add even more Self-deceptions to the ontological mess one already has to deal with? This is just theoretical carping, of course; the biggest pragmatic complaint is that affirmative benefits often quickly disappear once a person stops affirming—in other words, if you want to keep walking, you better keep talking. . . .
But if a person does manage to keep walking and talking, perhaps he or she might also want to consider the possibility that some self-lies may be producing the opposite of what they intend—and that if such psycho-gremlins happen to show up only in the longer term, no cause-and-effect connection might ever be made.
Curiously, the mental realm does seem to have a “natural contrarian component.” For example, it is a common observation of Psychology 101 that if you tell a person “don’t think of pink elephants,” that is precisely what a person will start to do. An informal experiment with positive affirmations may reveal something similar: wait for a time when you are very, very tired and then say out loud, “I am completely refreshed and lively.” Re-focus your attention inward, and it is quite likely you will immediately hear your own private contrarian “voice” whisper silently, subtly, but emphatically, something like “NO YOU’RE NOT!”
“I am confident.” (“NO YOU’RE NOT!”)
“I am powerful.” (“NO YOU’RE NOT!”)
“I attract romance in the most magical and unexpected ways.” (“NO GODAMN WAY!”)
Even using self-hypnotic strategies, these immediate nay-sayings may sometimes be powerful enough to undermine affirmations; however, even more powerful may be the “little evidences” the world can later give you that it is not being fooled by your psycho-lies. When surprises happen in daily life which are not in concert with what you have been repeating over and over, your misery may be further perfected by the frustrating realization that you are nowhere near being a Houdini-grade magician, after all. Although truth should be what one strives for when making affirmations, it is probably far better to be surprised that things in daily life are not as bad as you have been over-kill-affirming rather than the reverse.
And at least one historical category of powerful magic involved truth and humility rather than the reverse. Old-time religion. Here credit must be given where credit is due. The great influence, achievements, and expansion of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam may have resulted, at least in part, from a type of prayer-life which seemed to produce amazing energy, motivation, and sharply focused purpose in many who practiced it. Traditionally in all three religions, it was not a puffed-up “I-am [great in some way]” pretense; rather, it often included some sign of subordination to the Deity and a humble, honest admission of unworthiness, general powerlessness, and/or open admission of the specific help which was needed. There could be intense emotion. For example, the human dynamo Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, was said to weep so profusely for his shortcomings and undeserving character during masses and prayer sessions that his doctor told him he would have to stop or otherwise go blind.
Regarding the use of truth, humility, and God as a resource, mention should probably also be made of the 12-Step Program. It is still at or near the top as the most admired and effective approach to a wide variety of human problems. In 1999, Time Magazine selected Bill Wilson, founder of Alcoholics Anonymous (along with Dr. Bob Smith) to be in the top 20 of its Heroes and Icons of the Century. After introducing oneself in the manner of “I’m Michael. I’m a/an [alcoholic, overeater, sex addict],” a person verbalizes something relating to one of the Steps, Number Three of which reads “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God's will for us and the power to carry that out.”
God as we understand God. Thus, even if one is convinced that Jehovah has left the cloud he was supposed to be sitting on, one should probably not hesitate to experiment with the cloud if it is suspected that it was there where the growth-promoting rain actually came from in the first place. And as a Microcosmic Theosophist, one should especially not hesitate to psychologically experiment with Absolute Vacancy should it appear that both Jehovah and the cloud have moved out of heaven and into mythology. . . .
Baudelaire once said, “God is the only being who, in order to reign, doesn’t even need to exist.” Change one word: “God is the only being who, in order to help, doesn’t even need to exist.”
Here might be a general “truth-declaration”: “I am weak, pitiful, and pathetic; help me in every way.” Simple Psychotech #5 recommends that something like this should be repeated for a minute or two at the beginning of every meditation session—basically just because it is “true” within the larger context of human vulnerability and mortality. However, if a person has identified some specific problems, for example being depressed and suffering, he or she should specifically truth-declare, “I am depressed and suffering; help me in every way.” Another example: “I am unproductive; help me in every way.” Another: “I am aging quickly; help me in every way.”
The principle of analogy might be involved here as well. Just as the immune system and/or other natural correctives of the human body are not set in motion until a pathogen or other problem has been recognized by it, so too might it be necessary that a person psychologically accept and affirm the existence of some animating, physical, emotional, or mental difficulty before some “root” psychological mechanism—or perhaps even the restorative “Solvent” of Undifferentiated Consciousness—can automatically begin working on it. Furthermore, the “help me in every way” is undoubtedly crucial. Call this requesting assistance from God if you wish—either old-time-religion Jehovah-God or new-time-Microcosmic-Theosophical YHWH-God which, like the original Hebrew, no one can even pronounce the name of, much less describe or reveal the Divine motives of in any smug televangelist way.
Conversely, it is possible that promiscuous use of positive affirmations may require Undifferentiated Consciousness to first spend additional time dissolving a person’s newly added, self-designed egoic pretenses before It can start solving the actual problems.
In any case, it is important to note that Simple Psychotech #5 is often more of a long-term investment rather than a quick slot machine payout. This cannot be emphasized enough. For example, if a person has, so long ago that he or she has forgotten about it, declared, “I am declining as an athlete; help me in every way,” he or she might someday otherwise inexplicably find himself or herself investigating the virtues of kettlebells as an exercise aid. Like old time religion there is a certain amount of faith required for truth-declarations. Look back after a day, a week, a month, or longer, and only then may one recognize its marks and miracles. These, however, can be substantial, and they can certainly look good on one’s ad hominem self-assessment chart. Most importantly, unlike Socrates’ spirit-helper which only told him what not to do, a person may start experiencing a new increment in psycho-Spiritual development: actual transcendental guidance toward what to do psychologically, socially, educationally, financially , etc.—and perhaps even toward other psychotechnology experiments, some of which do have more immediate, if not quite so deeply rooted, results.
—And all of this, of course, is in addition to a possible growing Theosophical intuition that God, angels, Masters, Elder Brothers, or other exalted beings have finally, at least with mythological reality and utility, started to take an interest in your life. . . .
—And is/are helping you combat Chief Bemidji Syndrome. . . .
The Lakeview Hotel burned down the last year I worked there. Now there is a gas station in its place. Therefore, if Chief Bemidji turned completely around, he might see where he could obtain some C-grade snacks if that is what he has really been searching for all these years. However, if the Chief just turned his head a little to the right, he could see, less than a block away, the city of Bemidji’s famous statue of Paul Bunyan, a giant who accomplished a great deal in the external world.
Comments are closed for this blog post