Techniques for Gaining Self-Knowledge
Genius is nothing more or less than childhood recovered by will, a childhood now equipped for self-expression with an adult’s capacities.
— Charles Baudelaire
Your career can be compared to a voyage in space and time, the space and the time of your life. Both inspired writers such as Joseph Campbell and brilliant psychiatrists such as Carl-Gustav Jung compared our professional career with following an inner call, bringing about a state of bliss, or fulfilling our higher destiny. Career consultants such as Laurence G. Boldt call our professional voyage our life’s work, thus expressing the uniqueness and importance of realizing the best of our talents and capacities in our work.
We could also say that giving birth to, and incarnate, our life’s mission is an opportunity put in our cradle that we surely should not miss. And yet this is something we do not generally learn in school and if not parents are mature enough to be mirrors to their children, the latter are at pains to recognize and nurture their unique talents and gifts.
There are methods and techniques that help us find out about who we are and what we are to do in this world. These methods range from simply asking ourselves, a technique Laurence G. Boldt promotes, to much more complex strategies, group interactions and self-finding therapies. You can also use esoteric techniques such as astrology, numerology, consulting a medium or using divination such as the Tarot, the Runes or the I Ching.
This article, then, presents some of those techniques that may appeal to those of you who, like myself when I was young, are so sadly alienated from their true being that they would not be able to tap into their true potential by just asking a question to themselves. For me, it was potential astrology that brought the solution and showed the way to go.
Excited about the perspectives of a career as spiritual teacher and counselor that was traced out in my birth chart, I was honest enough to admit that I was suffering from a certain amount of neurotic symptoms that made it extremely difficult to do the necessary changes without competent help.
Thus, I engaged in a hypnotherapy that helped me integrate all I was forced to split off, during my childhood and youth, from my true personality, my soul and my feelings. With this therapy that I completed with private work on my inner selves, I became painfully aware of the fact that I had been living an extremely residual existence, a life of utter self-denial while on the outside level I had been well adjusted and succeeded to become an international lawyer, doctor of law and legal advisor.
In this chapter I will thus mention some useful strategies that may help you open this space that you may still ignore and that you cannot simply access using your wake consciousness because during the years and years of mere survival, as a child, you had to repress certain intuitions about yourself and your life, and certain feelings, because you were not accepted as you were, but as the person you faked you were. This fake existence as it were was not your choice, but a necessity for you to survive in an environment, be it family, be it school, or both, that you felt was hostile to your true existence and what you most wanted to be. Thus, what you did was to repress your true self and create an artificial mask, a fake-me, that you put in place as a protective shield and that helped you survive this hostile childhood.
I intently say survive because that’s what it is. You were not living this childhood, but you lived through it to get it behind your back as soon as possible; for living it, truly you would have needed to be accepted for what you were because life requires a certain amount of autonomy. If autonomy is denied to us as children, our courage to realize our innermost desires is thwarted and our will is bent. Without courage and will, without knowing who we are, how can we ever achieve to find and realize the career of our heart?
In my experience this fate is even more often experienced with boys than with girls, especially when the constellation is single female parent left alone by her husband raises a single male child. In that constellation which was the one I myself experienced as a child, the amount of alienation a boy may be facing to go through can be extreme. Females, in my experience, have an easier connection to the ground, the earth, the roots of their being than males. This is perhaps not biologically so but it is certainly culturally so, because it has been so since the beginning of patriarchy and thus since about five thousand years. Thus, a single girl being raised by a single father does in no way face the same psychic constellation as a single boy raised by a single mother.
I have laid out the deeper intricacies of such personal fates and destinies in other publications, and will therefore restrict myself here to a general overview over methods that can help us in our quest for self.
There are three different kinds of methodologies: therapeutic methods, shamanic methods and divinatory methods. Regarding therapeutic methods, I am going to give you an overview over classical Freudian psychotherapy, Transactional Analysis (TA), Hypnotherapy and Bioenergetics; regarding divinatory methods, I will shortly present you Potential Astrology, the Tarot and the I Ching. In addition, there are teachings that have not developed precise methods for finding your life’s work, but that help you finding out who you are, and thus help you to gain more self-knowledge.
Please be aware that without self-knowledge, without knowing who you are and why you have come into this existence, you cannot really find out what your life’s mission is. Both quests are interconnected and I would say that the spiritual quest, the quest for self-knowledge, is the more basic one. These teachings, that I will be mentioning shortly, are shamanic teachings or generally religious teachings with an emphasis on the individual soul and destiny. Please note that these teachings are not at all moralistic but scientific in a sense that they try to look at life with what in Zen is called a beginner’s mind.
Everywhere I go I find a poet has been there before me.
— Sigmund Freud
There is a strong impact on artistic self-expression in classical psychoanalysis as it was created by Sigmund Freud.
One of the declared goals of psychoanalysis is to help sublimate the instinctual drives in man that have an antisocial impact or that bring us in conflict with societal rules and moral attitudes of the community. Freud has dealt with this aspect of his theory in the essay Totem and Taboo in which he unveils the cultural process as a system of repression of the so-called instinctual life.
— See: Totem and Taboo: Resemblances Between the Mental Lives of Savages and Neurotics was a book written by Sigmund Freud published in German as Totem und Tabu: Einige Übereinstimmungen im Seelenleben der Wilden und der Neurotiker in 1913. It was a collection of four essays which had been published in the journal Imago from 1912–1913 as an application of psychoanalysis to the fields of archeology, anthropology, and the study of religion. Here are the titles of the four essays ‘The Horror of Incest,’ ‘Taboo and Emotional Ambivalence,’ ‘Animism, Magic and the Omnipotence of Thoughts,’ and ‘The Return of Totemism in Childhood.’
As a result, Freud saw the emotional survival of the creative human in a midway between total adaptation to the demands of civilized society, on one hand, and total revolt against it, on the other.
This midway is however only available for those who recognize and acknowledge their instincts and thereby achieve to sublimate them. Sublimation, in the Freudian sense, does not equal repression of the instincts, since the latter would equal total adaptation of the individual to the needs of society, a form of behavior that Freud considered as similarly destructive for the individual as the total revolt against the demands of the collective.
Freud understood sublimation as a kind of channeling of instinctual drives into a constructive mission or life’s work, thus preserving the energy of the drive and not repressing it. The drives or instincts, or sexual energy as such is, in Freud’s opinion, a powerful motor of creation in general, and of art creation in particular. Therefore he called it libido.
Freud’s libido concept is controversial, today more than ever before, because early writings of Freud that were only evaluated recently suggest that Freud originally meant libido to be a specific bioplasmatic energy in the organism that could be compared to what Wilhelm Reich later discovered as the orgone, but in later writings, Freud seemed to distance himself from this concept and consider libido in a somewhat mechanistic way as a synonymous with sexual drive or pleasure function.
But not only social disapproval might prevent us from living our desires to its fullest. Some desires may for ourselves have detrimental effects, such as negative effects on our health or our relationships, be it only through some kind of perpetual fear or guilt that shall keep us from feeling well during longer periods of time. After all, there may be a need for every one of us to become an artist of life because not all our instinctual energies can be sublimated.
But apart from its conflict-resolving effect, art is certainly primarily a way to express our individual creativity. Art is a way to achieve human perfection!
Among psychoanalysts we find many artists, having discovered or freed their artistic potential during their own analysis. Otto Rank was among psychoanalysts the one most outspoken about the function of art and the relationship between art and psychoanalysis. In his famous book Art and Artist (1932/1989), he wrote:
I myself approached the problem of art from the individualist side of the artist’s personality a good quarter of a century ago, after my first introduction to psycho-analysis. In 1905, when Freud’s investigations stood at the zenith of pre-war materialism, I wrote a short study on The Artist, in which I tried to produce a psychology of the creative personality; simultaneously, however, I developed a new theory of art up to a point which made it possible, quite recently, for the German art-historian E. von Sydow to say that I was ‘the only one who had produced a system of aesthetic within the framework of a / general cultural philosophy with psycho-analytic material.
Freud himself was a medical doctor, a neurologist, but in his writings he stated that the ideal psychoanalyst does not need to be a doctor of medicine.
Wilhelm Reich, Françoise Dolto, Alexander Lowen and many other famous analysts equally graduated from the medical faculty. The late Swiss psychoanalyst and well-known book author Alice Miller is an example standing for the other group. Her spontaneous paintings exhibit scenes and emotions of her traumatic childhood are known outside psychoanalytic circles and were subject to important exhibitions not only in Germany and Switzerland.
Miller became a psychotherapist because of her passion for healing people who went through similar trauma as she herself when she was a child. It is perhaps less known by the great public that also the famous author Anaïs Nin was psychoanalyst of profession and a close collaborator of Otto Rank, who practiced in New York City. In Nin’s abundant autobiography, which represents the overwhelming part of her writings, she considers her love relation with the writer Henry Miller as a therapeutic one, and Miller as her lover-patient!
Many Gestalt therapists and hypnotherapists consider classical psychoanalysis as a luxurious art career, when you think of the number of years a classical therapy takes and the financial investment required for it.
Many who followed those marathons on the couch said in hindsight that they were not healed of their problems, but had found creative ways to live satisfactorily with them! In one word, they have become artists!
Our source relationships were bathed in poor modeling and abandonment. This created our shame-based identity. Because we had no authentic self, we clung to our caregivers in a fantasy bond or built walls around us where no one could hurt us. These earliest imprints colored all our subsequent relationships.
— John Bradshaw
Transactional Analysis (TA), established in the 1950s by Eric Berne, proved to be a very effective form of therapy, showing results already after short-term treatment and was especially beneficial for liberating personal creativity. The transactional method starts from the insight that life is primarily communication, not only between others and us, but also, and primarily, inside of us.
Communicative messages are called transactions, from which the term transactional therapy is derived. The human personality is taught as consisting of a range of inner selves, the most basic of which are the Inner Parent, Inner Adult and Inner Child. Psychic health is defined as a flexible balance between the three entities in us, psychic problems seen as the stiff predominance of one or two of the entities, to the detriment of the others.
In this form of therapy, psychic disorders are simply seen as communication errors, first of all errors in our inner communication system, between the different entities of our personality, and, as a result, also in our outer communication system, the dialogue with others. The analytic aspect of this theory is very strong and reaches, far from being limited on analyzing dialogues between different persons, to the research in societal or inter-societal communication problems.
There is some deep truth in this approach since it is true that every war is an ultimate failure of communication between two or more states, peoples or political entities. By the same token, civil war reflects communication problems inside of nation states, between different entities or social groups.
The strong point of the theory is that it is sufficiently pragmatic and can be verified easily in experimental groups. As a matter of fact, we all suffer from communication problems, inside ourselves, in our families, and our work places, and most of the conflictual situations that produce negative feelings such as anger or hate have their root in simple communication errors, or total lack of communication in the form of the disruption of dialogue.
Where dialogue has stopped, the projection mechanisms become predominant and irrational images about the other arise easily. Once they have risen, it is difficult to erase them again. If there is new dialogue, however, and a mutual effort for communication, projections can be overcome.
My voice will go with you.
— Milton H. Erickson
Hypnotherapy can be said to represent the most popular of therapeutic methods in our days, especially in the United States. The most famous representative of medical hypnosis is Milton H. Erickson.
The most famous representative of medical hypnosis is Milton H. Erickson.
— See, for example, Sidney Rosen, My Voice Will Go With You (1991) and Milton Erickson, Complete Works (2001).
Hypnotherapy has the advantage of achieving significant results after extremely short periods of treatment, but it bears also the danger of alluring the patient.
It works with medical hypnosis or auto-hypnosis, situated between relaxation and deep hypnosis, also called light hypnosis or light trance. In hypnotic trance it is safe and easy to let surface deeply repressed past emotions and feelings, traumatic experiences, frustrations, humiliations and extreme pain, and let them pass through the mind; it is this meditative attitude, this passive experiencing of the original wounding in light trance that triggers the healing.
Hypnotherapy is often associated with meditation; both can be said to be auto-therapeutic. And in both we encounter the phenomenon that the person lets pass, like a film, parts of their life, situations, relationships, traumas in front of the imaginative eye, being again confronted with the repressed feelings that once accompanied those situations and encounters.
By confronting those feelings, the psychic energy that was blocked in them is freed and can be used for creative goals and purposes, or just for reactivating one’s life and getting new motivations to progress and to succeed.
Hypnotherapy has the advantage of achieving significant results after extremely short periods of treatment, but it bears also the danger of alluring the patient. It works with medical hypnosis or auto-hypnosis, situated between relaxation and deep hypnosis, also called light hypnosis or light trance.
In hypnotic trance it is safe and easy to let surface deeply repressed past emotions and feelings, traumatic experiences, frustrations, humiliations and extreme pain, and let them pass through the mind; it is this meditative attitude, this passive experiencing of the original wounding in light trance that triggers the healing.
Hypnotherapy is often associated with meditation; both can be said to be auto-therapeutic. And in both we encounter the phenomenon that the person lets pass, like a film, parts of their life, situations, relationships, traumas in front of the imaginative eye, being again confronted with the repressed feelings that once accompanied those situations and encounters. By confronting those feelings, the psychic energy that was blocked in them is freed and can be used for creative goals and purposes, or just for reactivating one’s life and getting new motivations to progress and to succeed.
When natural instinctual energies such as the need for survival, sexuality, and aggression are disowned over time, they cycle back into the unconscious and go through a significant change. Energy cannot be destroyed; thus, these disowned energies begin to operate unconsciously and attract additional energy to themselves. They soon lose their natural qualities and become malevolent.
— Stone & Stone, The Voice Dialogue Manual (1989).
It is no other than Wilhelm Reich who is to be credited with conceptualizing the original bioenergetic approach to healing. As Reich was largely discredited over the major part of his scientific career, the method was later developed in the United States by one of Reich’s patients and most committed disciples, Alexander Lowen.
This approach, if one hears about it for the first time, seems to suggest that bioenergy is transmitted onto the patient, such as, for example, in Reiki.
However, this would be a misunderstanding of bioenergetics. Reich himself stated that bioenergetic therapy only consisted in liberating and strengthening the patient’s endocrine energy resources through the dissolution of deep muscular fixations and the destruction of mental as well as emotional shields that keep the patient from experiencing the natural streaming of the bioenergy.
Alexander Lowen has from the start combined bioenergy and group therapy, as well as role play between the participants, and this approach became very successful and popular. Others have developed only this aspect of the therapy, especially in combination with techniques from Gestalt therapy, and have given personal interactions in form of spontaneous role play a predominant importance.
The shaman is a manipulator of the sacred, whose main function is to induce ecstasy in a society where ecstasy is the prime religious experience. Thus, the shaman is a master of ecstasy, and the art of shamanizing is a technique of ecstasy.
— Mircea Eliade
Shamanism is an old tradition that teaches ways of inducing a voyage into the spiritual world, typically by entering a deep trance through the ingestion of plant hallucinogens. In my book Shamanic Wisdom Meets the Western Mind: An Inquiry into the Nature of Shamanism, (2014), I in addition claim and demonstrate that shamanism is something like a primordial science that comes with a precise scientific methodology just as any other science.
Shamanism is rooted in the traditions of many tribal societies, in Siberia, Africa, Asia, Australia and on the American continent, as well as in the folklore of Scandinavia and the Caucasus. It is within these traditions considered as a religious way of realizing a broader form of existence.
The two main purposes of shamanic interference are healing psychic and physical disorders and guiding people into the afterlife. The local shaman is a very respected person in all these cultures and societies while he lives at the borderline of the group.
Nowadays, Westerners are developing a growing interest in shamanism and shamanic rites and their effect on us. There are many reports, after voyages induced by shamanic practices, about clearer self-vision and an enhancement of people’s creative capacities and possibilities.
What is shamanism? Let me state first that mainstream society’s notion of reality and that of most native populations is worlds apart. Michael Harner, in his leading study on shamanism, defines it:
Shamanism represents a great mental and emotional adventure that implies both the patient and the healer. Through his voyage and his heroic efforts, the shaman helps his patients to transcend their normal, ordinary, definition of reality as well as their self-definition as being sick.
Interestingly, this same statement could be made about hypnotherapy, in particular medical hypnosis as applied by Milton H. Erickson; you only have to replace the terms healer and shaman by hypnotherapist. In fact, Erickson certainly learned many of his secrets by studying shamanic theory and practice. In some way our modern psychotherapists are something like Western shamans.
They are borderline figures in a worldview that normally excludes soul values. Or, to remind the saying of Carl Jung, psychotherapy begins with the study of our dreams, and thus our individual unconscious, as well as our myths and cultural sagas, which are representing our collective unconscious.
A native would qualify somebody with a narcissistic hangup as a person who lost a part or the whole of their soul. A psychotic patient who, in his delirium, says that he’s Jesus Christ would be qualified by a native shaman as somebody whose soul is possessed by a spirit who, for whatever reason, speaks through him.
According to Mircea Eliade, one of the most respected researchers on the matter, shamanism is to be defined as ‘deliberate use of archaic techniques of ecstasy’ that were developed apart from religious dogma or philosophy.
Ecstasy is the contemplation of wholeness. That’s why when you experience ecstasy — when you contemplate wholeness — you come down remade in terms of the political and social arena because you have seen the larger picture.
Ecstatic is a word unnecessary to define except operationally: an ecstatic experience is one that one wishes to have over and over again.
Terence McKenna is wistful in not complicating something I called in one of my books ‘feeling good for no reason’. When you think back of your childhood you may remember that at times you felt like flying right to heaven, so happy and excited you were, and most of the time without any apparent reason.
You can trigger ecstasy in your adult life as I was able to awaken this basic innocence in myself; then, you are able to live those moments of full and unhampered happiness when they come; they come spontaneously, without being asked for and without being triggered by any drug. But I know that not many have been innocent as children. I was not. That’s why you may want to build original innocence through techniques of ecstasy that are available within the array of shamanic magic.
The books of Carlos Castaneda are in the meantime well known in educated circles all over the world. Their success was phenomenal! Carlos Castaneda, an American anthropologist, went to Mexico in order to follow a seven-year apprenticeship with a local sorcerer, Don Juan.
The initiation he went through was initially induced by the intake of mushroom tinctures that were producing hallucinating effects, and that temporarily altered the researcher’s state of consciousness. Going through all kinds of experiments, partly dangerous for his health and psychic integrity, Castaneda followed meticulously a notebook in which he tried, with great difficulty, to capture more or less profound insights about the experiences. Subsequently he profited from these notes in writing his books.
Strangely enough, in a worldwide press scandal, his writings about this apprenticeship with Don Juan have been said to be invented. However, behold, either this man was a literary genius equal to or greater than Shakespeare, or the scandal has been made up by jealous colleagues of him. As a matter of fact, everyone who reads these books knows that the details Castaneda reports about sorcery practices are so exact, so specific and so much in accordance with what we know about shamanic and sorcery practices that it appears more probable than not that the author went authentically through these experiences.
The degradation of the sense of symbol in modern society is one of its many signs of spiritual decay.
Astrology, with its long tradition, has been revived during the 20th century and made accessible to a larger circle of people than a few sages and initiates who knew it back in Antiquity. In the United States, astrology is taught in the meantime at several reputed universities.
Moreover, astrological advice is more and more sought after by leading officials, stars and business people all over the world. Many different astrology schools and techniques have diversified the astrological landscape. One of the strongest and perhaps most important aspects of astrology is its capacity to tell us more about our true destiny.
This so-called psychological or humanistic school of modern astrology, mainly developed by Dane Rudhyar and his followers is, from an empirical point of view, more precise than the prognostic part of astrology, which is the branch of astrology only portrayed by the mass media and thus known to the general public.
This is so because we change and have free will to direct our lives. The stars only set certain potentialities, which means they incline us to follow certain paths, but they do not determine us. It is our own thought, our own desire, our own intention that direct us, and not any fixated notion of destiny. Astrology is often erroneously taken as the mirror of predestination we are fatally submitted to. In the contrary, astrology is taught since Antiquity as the science that provides us with self-knowledge and helps us realize our true potential in a creative, happy and constructive way.
Popular thought sees always more astrology’s forecasting aspects, with all the Nostradamus and Wallenstein stories and their more recent vintages. Forecasting bears, to repeat it, always a certain risk since we can change our intention and our desires from today, thereby changing our future accordingly.
The astrological forecast is rather stiff and mechanical, compared to the ever-changing nature of life and the unpredictable nature of the human being. On the other hand, the psychological, characterological advice of potential astrology is in most cases surprisingly accurate. The birth chart is an open book for one who is able to interpret it; it reveals with truly scientific exactitude our talents, capacities, creative possibilities, but also our weaknesses and challenges for self-development.
In my personal coaching approach, I use pure potential astrology as a diagnostic tool. This means that I don’t do any kind of forecasting, but use the astrological projection system as a tool for finding the client’s, or their child’s, life mission and innate talents and capacities by a karmic analysis of the birth chart, mainly by examining the Moon Nodes axis.
Numerology is another method to detect astrological data. It can be held that astrology is but a specific form of numerology and vice versa. To say, both techniques lead to the same insights.
The I Ching, the five thousand years old Chinese wisdom and oracle book, is of primary importance in any serious discussion about divinatory practice. Famous writers, psychologists, musicians and writers such as Hermann Hesse, Carl Jung, Joseph Murphy, John Lennon or Terence McKenna have used or analyzed it, not to talk about the Chinese sage Confucius who literally slept with the I Ching under his night pillow. They and many others profited from the advice the book can give on virtually all life situations.
The Tarot is not as old as the I Ching and astrology. It has been conceived by medieval alchemists who took their knowledge from old traditions and distilled it into a set of game cards, composed of twelve large arcanes and a number of small arcanes, to be interpreted as to their importance in the divination process.
The advice-givers, traditionally people who went through initiation in esoteric knowledge, are bound to a set of ethical rules and obligations. For the application of the most famous of Tarot decks, the Tarot de Marseille, the advice-givers were for example bound to not ask for pecuniary remuneration. They were generally paid with food. However, if the advice-seeker put some money in a place designed for voluntary contribution, the advice-giver could take it.
Nowadays, we can observe that the Tarot again takes an important place alongside various other methods for building self-knowledge, for exploring our greater life cycle and for self-transformation.
The abundance of literature, in re-edition and new editions shows that many now are searching for their roots and the significance of life. Among all divinatory practices, the Tarot seems to attract the most of attention from the greater public and from young people, perhaps because it is more propagated within popular culture. The very fact that the Tarot has been created shows that there is still space and need for integrated approaches, even after thousands of years of tradition and the most erudite writings already existing.
Every tradition has to be adapted to the period of time where it is to be considered. There are in fact many new Tarot decks, and new divinatory games based on the Tarot system, but more adapted to the psychological insights of our era. Actually, the young generation today got an acute interest in all they judge as magic in a larger sense, or that is considered as a tool for exploring invisible realms of reality. It is perhaps that the Tarot looks like a game which makes it more attractive for the young than other divinatory practices.
As a result and on the line of the i-game cult that is now fashionable, new magic games are booming within that niche market. The power of creativity behind this vague of new productions is considerable! Despite the fact that there is hardly something really new, the way the old traditions, especially as divinatory card games, have been inspired with new life proves that there are creative impulses in our young generations that are going to foster a revival of perennial science and philosophy during the Aquarius Age.
There are many other systems of divination. The more well known among them are geomancy, and the Runes, which is originally a Celtic divination method, and nowadays again sought after in initiated circles.
It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. — Krishnamurti
The teaching of Ramana Maharshi was astounding. For some people it was rather disturbing. When you have searched the world for a guru, and then one day you meet one who is known worldwide and whom the local people venerate like a god, and this man tells you that you did not need to search a guru because your higher self is that guru and thus have already got what you are searching for, then you are beginning to shiver or even make serious depression! Ramana Maharshi told us the same with regard to our creative potential.
— See, for example, Matthew Greenblatt (Ed.), The Essential Teachings of Ramana Maharshi (2002).
He would say that we have already and from the start got it, that it is in us, more precisely even, that we are this potential. In fact, it is the very energy that created us, which gave us all our potential, and we dispose fully of this energy, if we are conscious of it or not.
Krishnamurti, in many of his talks, held that most of us are utterly uncreative and that the last residue of creativity we possess is sex. For this reason, many of us, he said, were so obsessed about sex. Sex was for us a kind of second-hand creativity, an ersatz for what we lacked. What is for Krishnamurti this original creativity?
This seems to be the decisive question about the whole of his teaching. K said often that this question could not be answered since we could not put in words what cannot be an element of thought, because it is beyond thought. This x, he said, which was not definable, and can only be invited to join us once we were ready to receive it. This x is the strongest creative force that exists; it is pure creativeness. We cannot search for it or run after it, since more we put efforts into this search, less chances are that the unexpected is going to happen.
Second, K insisted, we have to decondition ourselves, not by chastity or masochistic self-denial, but by the strict denial to assimilate what we identify to be untrue for us, and by the intelligent understanding of ourselves as moving, changing beings, which implies intelligent understanding of our desires, wishes, habits, emotions, and reactions.
Krishnamurti repeated saying that we should passively observe our inner and outer life and our relationships, without judging or labeling them in any way.
There is something in K’s teaching that has no parallel in all existing teachings, something entirely new. It is the refusal of discipline, of effort and any form of chastity. In fact, almost all religious teachings favor one or the other form of sex repression. K’s teaching is more subtle; he says that love is not pleasure. He doesn’t say sex is bad, but he does say that when we endlessly strive for pleasure, in an exclusive sense, we may miss to hit the goal of our life. But the question is, what is pleasure and what did K understand of this word? Is a shallow life focused upon repetition and enjoyment a life of pleasure? Or is pleasure something much greater, something related to creative realization? Is pleasure only sensual and sexual pleasure or is pleasure also intellectual pleasure. To put it even more aggressively, is the striving for ‘spirituality’ not just another form of senseless, endless and tasteless pleasure-seeking?
K analyzed our striving for pleasure; he said that pleasure is a necessity for the brain as a storing device of many thousands of years of human and pre-human history. In fact, if we understand our deep concern about pleasure and all we do to satisfy our desires, we have done the first step on an evolutionary ladder leading to greater inner and outer freedom and happiness. As a matter of fact, if we are serious about this, we have no choice since repression simply does not work as it reinforces all desires because it makes us more dependent on them. The only way to achieve greater independence and interdependence with others is to understand desire and accept desire as the single most important vital force! The change, then, will come not by the suppression of awareness, as it is the case with repression, but in the contrary, by a higher level of awareness.
There is something in K’s teaching that is really unlike any guruism. K never tried to convince us of his teaching since he was not concerned of having followers. What he does in his talks is to attract our attention to certain facts which are inherent in human nature, certain mechanisms in our thought process, certain functions of our brain, or more generally, our human structure. As he did not search for followers, K cannot be said to have created a system of thought; and he has not founded a philosophical school in the sense this is understood by religions and their dogmas.
Everything in life that has deep meaning seems to arise spontaneously. This is so in love, with the conception of a child or the birth of any major creative idea that arises in us despite our lack of knowledge where our intuitions precisely originate from. K wanted to show us that we do not need to put endless efforts in whatever we do, and certainly not in matters of religion and spiritual evolution.
He basically said that the more effort we put in what we do, the more we cut ourselves off from true creative resources that are available to everyone of us. It is not important how we call it, faith, god, higher self, inspiration or relax-and-let-things-happen or stop searching!
If we have understood that our rational thought can only progress in a linear way but not in a spiraled manner, and that every true evolution comes about by a spiraled movement, we have got it! The empty circle in midst of the spiral is faith, is let go, is creative reception without effort!
The Austrian Rudolf Steiner was deeply influenced by the theosophical movement. Yet Steiner founded an original method that is strongly motivated by an ideal of ‘right education.’
Steiner was especially concerned about the child’s natural creativity, and harshly criticized in his writings how our culture systematically destroys it. As a result of his great knowledge about Eastern cultures and traditions, he created a new and for his contemporaries revolutionary approach to education. In all his writings he criticizes, just as Krishnamurti, the utter brutality of the traditional school system and how it approaches the individual child by applying a standard concept. According to Steiner, right education should take care of the child’s soul and help the child develop his or her spiritual receptivity and expression.
Steiner created special methods of working with colors and music. Through his research on how music affects the human psyche, he found that the occidental tuning and scale, with its half tones, is rather irritating the natural vibrations of the soul. He therefore began to focus upon the Eastern whole-tone scale that was in Antiquity also used in Europe, for example in the tuning of the ancient Lyre of the Greeks, which was tuned in whole tones; based on these insights, Steiner created an entire curriculum for musical education.
Steiner school children, especially handicapped and emotionally disturbed children are enveloped by sound-carpets of whole-tone lyre music and are seen to be considerably improving their behavioral patterns.
Spiritism and Channeling
All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. — Arthur Schopenhauer
Spiritism was widespread in Europe at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. It was a sort of fashionable pastime in the distinguished classes.
However, dealing with the energies of other dimensions or parallel universes must be learned and should not be taken as a distraction or society game. It is possible to call spirits of other dimensions when there is in a group a strong common will to achieve this goal, and specific setup of the experience is provided. Yet there are inherent dangers that most of the people engaging childishly in those experiences are not aware of.
For those who profit positively and competently from the experience, spiritism can provide tools for enhancing individual creativity. Many of the spirit entities called upon in spiritistic séances are reported to have spoken about the realization of creativity or listed even a number of reasons why most people today have become so utterly devoid of creativity.
It seems there is with guides from other dimensions a particular concern to communicate to us the ways to enhance new potentials of creativity and personal realization within the whole of humanity.
Channeling is a more recent vintage of spiritism.
It is true that many people who, like me, received a traditional academic education and, moreover, have been trained in a quite Cartesian profession such as law, are brushing this kind of knowledge off as charlatanism.
However, I can say with conviction that channeling has provided me with extremely valuable teachings for my life, for change management and for finding the career I really love. Channeling is for me one of the most important sources of knowledge gathering today. Whatever the precise techniques that are at the origin of channeling, and whatever we already know about them or not, I can say that for me this teaching was more important than all and everything I learnt in school and university.
Let me mention here particular books that provided me with a slice of that immense cake of knowledge. When I opened myself to channeling, about fifteen years ago, it was first of all the books of Jane Roberts, the so-called Seth Books that began to open my eyes. I carefully studied two of them, The Nature of Personal Reality (1994) and The Nature of the Psyche (1996).
In both books, Seth repeatedly teaches about personal creativity and the deployment of our unique talents and gifts through our life’s mission and our work. After that, I read one of Sanaya Roman’s Orin books entitled Opening to Channel (1987), and did not regret reading it. Finally, another channeling book really captivated my attention, so much the more as it came to me in a quite unusual way. I found it at a children summer party’s kiosk among all kinds of plunder and used children toys, where it obviously made a strange appearance. This book was Barbara Marciniak’s bestseller Bringers of the Dawn: Teachings from the Pleiadians (1992).
These channeled messages converge in stating that our human potential is unlimited, thus confirming the oldest teachings of the sages.
Let me close this article with the advice that you should accept as truth for yourself only what you, in your heart, hold is true. All the rest, while it may be truth for others, is just not true for you. And as you are the master of your life and have in yourself the guide, you should always stay true to your truth. It sounds commonplace, but is not. It was actually over millennia a secret teaching but now is largely corroborated by new consciousness research. Let me give an example. In the Quantum Edition of the famous movie What the Bleep Do We Know!?, on the B side of the 3rd DVD, quantum physicist Fred Alan Wolf asserts that even cosmic laws are not static and eternal but a function of consciousness. He says:
We seem to need a new idea here. If you are going to ask me what this new idea is, I am going to say this much because I am not sure myself what we need to do. I will say this that Quantum Physics at least is pointing us in a direction which says that we need to understand that there is a creative power that we all have in the universe and that there is a God presence in the universe, but it ain’t a God on High sitting on a throne, you know, whipping us into shape and even the laws that come into being, we think those laws are out there in the universe; no, even that’s not sure. The laws that come into being come into being because we put into the world in some way our understanding. Alan Watts calls it casting a net. We cast a net of a certain size and what comes out are all the fish that can be caught in that net. And now those fish represent the laws which govern that particular net size. Cast another net we get another size of fish and we get a different set of laws, which applies when we use this kind of network; in a way that implies that what we do is even what creates the laws in the universe.
Succinctly speaking, Wolf says that when we create our own reality, we implicitly also create the cosmic laws that this new reality obeys to.
This insight is revolutionary in that it boils down to the idea that we are actually not living in the same universe, but that every single human, according to their own individual reality is governed not only by those natural laws valid for all of us, but also by a certain number of laws valid only for them, and not for others.
Consider this! Many conflicts among humans could be avoided if people cared about their own truth instead of picking at the truth of others.
This being said, as an author, you always walk on eggs because you never know if your truth really comes over to the universe of your readers. Authoring a book and authoring a life, as a life coaching method, are actually two very similar things because in both, you are walking on eggs.
Points to Ponder
- In this article, we have seen that there are several unique methods for finding out what your life’s work or mission is all about, what your intrinsic talents and gifts are, as well as what your purpose is for this lifetime. They range from simply asking yourself to esoteric techniques as Astrology, Numerology, or divining with the Tarot or the I Ching.
- There are three different kinds of methodologies for finding your true self and mission, therapeutic methods, shamanic methods and divinatory methods. Among therapeutic methods, psychoanalysis stands out as perhaps the most culturally demanding, but also the least effective theory, while Transactional Analysis (TA) is less culturally normative, but more effective in actually healing the source trauma because it focuses not on behavior or norms, but upon communication; that is why it most often helps to access and integrate our inner selves.
- The most effective of therapeutic methods is hypnotherapy or medical hypnosis, especially the Ericksonian vintage of it. It is effective, while respectful and safe, because it uses a particular language capacity of our organism, which is hypnotic language, the language of the body.
- Hypnosis allows a safe journey into the times and feeling universe of the actual trauma or imprint, thereby greatly facilitating the healing process through building awareness, consciousness being a most powerful healing agent in our organism. Once we remember what caused the wound, we are beyond it, and it is heals instantly. This is the power of hypnosis, which is thus a pure application of consciousness to healing.
- Shamanism is a technique that uses religious ecstasy, a state of meditative contemplation, for getting access to invisible helpers and guides who enable the shaman, after formal initiation, to heal himself and others. Shamanic healing is powerful and effective but it requires dedication; this means it cannot be achieved with a light-hearted intention or for indulging in a fashion, as when serious interest and commitment is lacking, or one’s intention is not pure of self-interest, things may go in ways not expected, and not desired. In the regular case, the seeker of health or transformation doesn’t himself go the rather burdensome way of becoming a shaman, but will be guided, by his inner voice, to a competent shaman, who then acts as an intermediary or catalyzing agent.
- Astrology is one of the oldest methods for gaining self-knowledge, and in this respect, it is not divinatory, but characterological, and psychological. The psychological school of astrology, which is part of perennial science, was revived by Dane Rudyar and Alexander Ruperti during the 20th century and is today an established method of assessing human potential for adults and children, which I have introduced in coaching, as a diagnostic tool. Instead of astrology, numerology may be used, which is essentially the same method that only uses another vocabulary, but comes to the same results.
- Compared to the I Ching, the five thousand year old Chinese wisdom and oracle book that is used for divination and advice by many scholars, the Tarot has gained more of popular interest during the last decades, especially among young people. The Tarot is more psychological than the I Ching in the sense that it works with archetypal images that are open for interpretation and that can be meditated upon.
- The pictorial and game-like aspect of the Tarot may be one of the reasons why Tarot games have become so popular within the new age business world. However, their use is beneficial only when there is a serious commitment to deriving meaning and advice from consulting the cards, not when the activity is a mere leisure and done for curiosity only.
- When we evaluate the teaching of sages, for showing us the way to personal growth and realization, we find two who are exceptional in the sense that they do not teach a doctrine, nor recommend any form of self-discipline to realize awakening. They are Ramana Maharshi and J. Krishnamurti. They were teaching all through their long lives that most of our cultural achievements do not really assist us in finding our true path of life, but that they often do the very contrary.
- Hence, they emphasize the need to have faith in the highest possible outcome while putting our focus upon what we really love and wish to do. They emphasize freedom, and creativeness, not ‘hard work’ for the sake of joining both ends. They basically say that we are living in an illusion when we think we are lacking anything in life as we are the creator force ourselves and thus, all apparent lack is a lack of conscious awareness of what-is, and of our own conditioning which stands in the way of freedom, self-realization, power and abundance.
- Another pathway of finding our life’s work and a creative approach to living is spiritism. While today less popular it was one of the favorite pastime activities of the distinguished classes during the first decades of the 20th century. Today, what gains more and more importance is channeling, which is perhaps just a new word for an old hat. Channeling is a technique that provides us with often uncanny information that comes from sources other than the rational learned mind of the medium, the person who does the channeling. It is information that is often surprisingly accurate and that bears a note of freshness to it. I have myself received many valuable insights about life and my own path of life through channeling and feel very grateful for it.