LETTER TO A STUDENT ABOUT HOW
TO PRESENT HYLOZOICS TO BEGINNERS
Thank you for submitting your draft to me. It is entirely correct, as far as I can judge. As you say, probably this will be above most of the audience.
Generally, when teaching or lecturing on hylozoics, it is better not to use the contrastive method, that is, saying something like: “Theosophists used to say that, but Laurency says this. Theosophists talk about the Monad, but Laurency says this is the third triad and not the monad.”, etc. Such information is for intermediate students who have already done some study of Laurency’s books. Even the triads should be left out for elementary study of hylozoics, just as they are left out in The Knowledge of Reality. For elementary study it is perfectly sufficient to know about the monad and its envelopes. And people should be told that they do not “have” a self but that they ARE selves, because they are monads, monads that have envelopes.
The most obvious weakness of theosophy is its confusion about the self. Where is it? As Laurency says, for theosophists, the self is always something else and somewhere else. (I refer you to Laurency’s Knowledge of Life Three, 5.24.1). The early theosophists talked about Atma (45) as the self. What are we to make of it, when we are told that it is a kind of consciousness that is utterly incomprehensible to man? When, later, theosophists added two more worlds (44 and 43, called Anupadaka and Adi, respectively) to their presentation, they put the “Monad” there, in 44, adding one more degree of incomprehensibility. It is impossible to give people a rational, workable explanation of the meaning of life, of how to bring more meaning into their lives, if you tell them that their “real self” is in some distant world “up there”, in some utterly incomprehensible “higher reality”.
I do it very differently when I teach beginners. I give them very little theoretical explanation. I even tell them that they need not read anything at all before coming to me. But I teach them how to experience that they are selves, training them in methods of creating moments of self-consciousness, presence of self. This is difficult and teaching it is possible only in steps. The first step is teaching them what directed attention is. Even animals display directed attention: a cat staring down a mouse hole; a dog being very attentive to its master, expecting some nice reward. This is in each individual case the monad directing its attention. Laurency: “Attention indicates the presence of the self.” (The Knowledge of Reality, 1.15.4)
The next step is teaching them the difference between directed attention without simultaneous self-consciousness (99 per cent of the cases), and with simultaneous self-consciousness (a very rare occurrence). This has to be taught, not so much by theory as by experience. In some people, this experience of self-consciousness, presence of self, comes very powerfully, once they have been taught how to do it, and they succeed in doing it. “If this is what you call self-consciousness, then I want to be there always,” as one of my pupils said some years ago. I told him: “Some time in the future, provided you work at it diligently, you will reach the point where you have permanent self-consciousness. Then you will be there always.”
People should be taught, by experience, that they seldom are self-conscious, but mostly display mechanical patterns, like you do when you go to fetch something from another room, but forgetting it as soon as you enter that room, or losing keys, pens, eye-glasses, etc. Making them see that such occurrences are not rare at all, but our so-called normal condition. In such a manner people begin to see that their attention is mostly asleep, meaning the self, the monad, is asleep. And then you could introduce the idea of envelopes and monad. Automatic envelope activity dominates most of the time. Sometimes, when we use directed attention, the monad is present. And when, in addition to directed attention, you are aware of your presence (“I am here now”), then, and only then, is the monad conscious. No need to bring in the Atma or Anupadaka here!
Then you could connect this practical teaching on self-consciousness to self-help guidance. Ask them: what is it that you dislike most in yourselves? The answer invariably is: Negative emotions, such as worry, fear, anger, irritation, outbursts and other uncontrolled negativism against those you love. Anyone could complete the list with their special manifestations of negative emotions: self-pity, negative imagination (such as fearing your children might die or become ill, or that war will come, or terrorist attacks, or – the latest nonsense – global warming – all of it more or less improbable events). Then tell them that one of the most salient characteristics of moments of self-consciousness, when the monad is awake, is “peace of mind”, the complete absence of negative emotions. Because negative emotions are the most mechanical of mechanical envelope consciousness. However, when the monad really is in charge, it controls this. Tell them: when you are self-conscious, you are not mechanical. When you are mechanical, you are not self-conscious. The two conditions are like oil and water. They do not mix. Or, technically: it is either monad consciousness or envelope consciousness. Monad consciousness, as described here, as possible for man, really is 47:3, lowest kind of causal consciousness. That is why it is so hard to achieve, and seldom lasts more than a few seconds. However, after long training using right methods, it can be made to last longer. But even somewhat long spells of directed attention, the next step below self-consciousness, invalidates most conditions of negative emotionality.
People may appreciate something as real to the extent that it makes a real difference in their lives.
I wish you success in your presentation. Every monad that can be roused from its slumber and sleep is a victory. We cannot enter unity, 46, until we have awakened thousands of monads.
Everything is possible to the extent that we remember why we are here. Whenever we forget we sleep, meaning: the monad sleeps.
Posted on the internet on December 3, 2010.