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Re: His own divine Ego Boehme, like so many other untrained mystics, mistook for God

Jan 13, 2003 06:50 PM
by Steve Stubbs " <>


Kudos for bringing up what I suspect is the most deeply insidhtful 
comment Blavatsky ever made. I was thinking of posting this very 
quote and am glad you thought of it. The reason it is so important 
is that it can be used as the basis for an entirely rational 
assessment of the whole matter of spirituality.

It is impossible to say whether there is or there is not a God, but 
we can say with certainty that there is something in us which causes 
a lot of people to want to believe in God. In his essay ON THE 
MYSTERIES the Egyptian Neo Platonist Iamblichus pointed out that this 
sense exists prior to any sort of reasoned demonstration and seems to 
persist in the face of logical argument to the contrary. It is 
therefore possible to say that as a psychological fact there is 
something in us which impels us to believe in a spiritual reality 
whether that reality exists or not. Thus, Jung argued in his 
writings that people who abandon all spirituality, even though they 
may be right scientifically, from a psychological perspective have 
denied or disowned a part of themselves.

The fact tat this something exists within us is the reason mystics 
have always turned inward to find it. Without knowing what they were 
doing, they instinctively realized that it was inside themselves that 
they were to find this part of themselves. If it is a psychological 
reality and not one which exists objectively to ourselves, that were 
entirely right. We can also say that they not only sensed the 
existence of this part of themselves, but they sensed that it was 
more powerful than the mortal part of themselves. and that it was 
possible to bargain with it for favors or protection. In more modern 
times we would say that different parts of our minds (the conscious 
mind, unconscious mind, etc.) operate independently of each other, or 
autonomously. How this is possible is not clear, but that it happens 
can be easily demonstrated. It is also known that of the different 
structures of our minds, the conscious mind is the least powerful, so 
the sense that there are other parts which are more powerful than the 
part we experience immediately is entirely accurate. In simple 
terms, the Self is more powerful than the self. So The problem 
arises when we try to define WHAT the Self is.

It may be identical with the unconscious mind of psychology, but some 
think not. Emerson thought it was some sort of Oversoul, or shared 
consciousness which is accessed only at deep layers. This is what 
Jung's Collective Unconscious eventually evolved into. Some think it 
is an individualized part of us which can be thought of separately 
from the unconscious mind (the Higher Self theory). Others that it 
is an independent entity assigned to us (the Guardian Angel theory) 
and still others that it is completely independent of us (the God 
theory.) It is impossible to prove that any of these are right or 
wrong, but the theories which suggest that it is integral to our 
being are more likely to be correct than the ones which make it 
relatively or completely transcendent. If the Self is completely 
transcendent, then we are back at square one trying to understand why 
people sense it within themselves.

That said, for the self to bargain with the Self for favors or 
protection, there must be communication between them. Max Freedom 
Long, who was a Theosophist, seems to have been the one who made it 
most clear that guilt cuts off this communication. Psychologically, 
this seems to be the origin of "morality" in spirituality. Ancient 
man determined that if he felt guilty about something, he did not 
sense the presence of the Self. Long actually gave modern examples 
of this in one of his books. Man therefore developed all sorts of 
irrational taboos and practices which were supposed to keep his 
conscience clear and the channel open. Long suggested that for the 
mortal self (the conscious mind of psychology) to communicate with 
the Higher Self it had to go through the unconscious mind, which is 
the origin of all feelings, including guilt. For this reason it 
makes sense conceptually to think of the unconscious and the Higher 
Self as two separate psychological structures. Long also suspected 
that the Higher Self was above judgement and that the moralizing took 
place entirely in the unconscious. People may therefore do all sorts 
of nutty things for the practical purpose of communing with their 
Self which have no absolute validity but which are useful in a purely 
pragmatic sense. As an example, Catholics may get some purely 
pragmatic value in sprinkling holy water around the place, but at the 
same time there may not be any divine being who could care less. The 
same thing may be true of other sects with dietary rules, such as 
Muslims and Jews. We see this non judgmental character of the Higher 
Self in the BHAGAVAD GITA, in which Krishna says it is a matter of no 
consequence to him that people were killing and being killed in the 
Mahabharata Wars. From a social point of view, this sort of thing is 
highly undesirable. From a spiritual point of view, the only thing 
that matters is that the mystic is not hindered by a guilty 
conscience. The idea that the HS is non judgmental can be seen also 
in the idea that meditation can absolve one of the most grievous 
sins, and so forth. Unless I am mistaken, from the Theosophical 
point of view, "Krishna" is considered to be just the Higher Self, ad 
not a deity in the sense usually thought.

This model can be seen in the Eastern metaphor of a pond, in which 
the surface represents the conscious mind of psychology (the self), 
the bottom of the pond represents the deepest structure, or the 
Higher Self, and the intermediate space between surface and river 
bottom represents the unconscious mind. It can also be seen in 
Blavatsky's sevenfold Manas, in which the lowest sub principle is 
kama manas (the conscious mind), the highest sub principle is Buddhi 
Manas (the Higher Ego) and the intermediate sub principles 
(the "bridge" or "antahkarana") represent the unconscious mind of 
psychology. This same idea can also be seen in the four states of 
consciousness in the Adwaita Vedanta model. What Long made explicit 
is therefore implied in these earlier metaphors.

At this point we have discussed only psychology and facts which can 
be demonstrated to be true. How it is possible is a mystery, but it 
can also be demonstrated that the Higher Self or Higher Ego in 
Theosophical lingo has abilities which eclipse those of the lower 
self. There are therefore practical advantages to forming an 
alliance with this part of your being, although some esotericists 
suspect worshipping it may not be the most appropriate way to 
establish such an alliance. Long suggested that, just as the Higher 
Self can be approached only through the unconscious mind, the Higher 
Selves of others can only be approached through the Higher Self. If 
there is therefore any God out there, it is the Higher Self which has 
the sole prerogative of communicating with him.

I find this general model extremely satisfying. It requires that we 
take almost nothing on faith, it posits ideas which can be 
demonstrated to be true, and it makes sense intellectually. It also 
makes sense out of traditional ideas handed down by our ancestors 
which otherwise appear to be nonsense. It also makes it possible to 
sort out those ideas which really are nonsense or at least not well 
grounded in fact.

--- In, "D. H. Caldwell <info@b...>" 
<info@b...> wrote:
> Madame Blavatsky writes in THE THEOSOPHICAL GLOSSARY:
> ------------------------------------------------
> Boehme (Jacob). A great mystic philosopher, one of the most 
> Theosophists of the medićval ages. He was born about 1575 at Old 
> Seidenburg, some two miles from Görlitz (Silesia), and died in
> 1624, at nearly fifty years of age. In his boyhood he was a common 
> shepherd, and, after learning to read and write in a village 
> became an apprentice to a poor shoemaker at Görlitz. He was a
> natural clairvoyant of most wonderful powers. With no education or 
> acquaintance with science he wrote works which are now proved to be 
> full of scientific truths; but then, as he says himself, what he 
> wrote upon, he "saw it as in a great Deep in the Eternal". He
> had "a thorough view of the universe, as in a chaos", which
> yet "opened itself in him, from time to time, as in a young
> plant". He was a thorough born Mystic, and evidently of a 
> constitution which is most rare one of those fine natures whose 
> material envelope impedes in no way the direct, even if only 
> occasional, intercommunion between the intellectual and the 
> Ego. It is this Ego which Jacob Boehme, like so many other 
> mystics, mistook for God; "Man must acknowledge," he writes,
> "that his knowledge is not his own, but from God, who manifests the 
> Ideas of Wisdom to the Soul of Man, in what measure he pleases." Had
> this great Theosophist mastered Eastern Occultism he might have 
> expressed it otherwise. He would have known then that the "god" who
> spoke through his poor uncultured and untrained brain, was his own 
> divine Ego, the omniscient Deity within himself, and that what that 
> Deity gave out was not in "what measure pleased," but in the
> measure of the capacities of the mortal and temporary dwelling IT 
> informed.
> ----------------------------------------------------
> Quoted from:
> Daniel H. Caldwell

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