The devotional aspect has stopped many aspirants from reaching valuable goals on the initiatory way. Many books published are not the work of Masters but a result of devotion. A Master doesn’t consider devotion as a virtue; on the contrary he values a strong sense of discipline (from which the word ‘disciple’ comes from), courage (in the continuous change), determination (in applying the method) and intelligence (‘intelligere’ is to look for the sense of every word, concept and teaching, without stopping at the literal sense).|
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Dangers of devotion
by Athos A. Altomonte
The world of mental clairvoyance – Discipline and strength of the soul –Essentiality and impersonal mind – Essentiality and ‘great synthesis' – The ‘great synthesis': integrating the mind with the conscience of the soul – Initiation – Hearing and seeing in an initiatory sense
The devotional aspect has stopped many aspirants from reaching valuable goals on the initiatory way. Many books published are not the work of Masters but a result of devotion. A Master doesn't consider devotion as a virtue; on the contrary he values a strong sense of discipline (from which the word ‘disciple' comes from), courage (in the continuous change), determination (in applying the method) and intelligence (‘intelligere' is to look for the sense of every word, concept and teaching, without stopping at the literal sense).
We know that devotion and excess of zeal have caused much harm. Just think of Judas, who pointed his Master to the priests in the Sanhedrim, not to betray him but because he loved him foolishly and he thought that he would react to the abuse of power of a theocratic hierarchy accomplice of the Roman imperialism. The disciple Judas, zealot, warrior and rebel, wanted the Son of God to act as a revolutionary; we all know how his exaltation ended.
The world of mental clairvoyance
The act of faith doesn't replace mental clairvoyance , even less the spiritual one. Mental and spiritual clairvoyance are stages of an evolutionary process based on inner discipline.
Initiatory culture puts at the first place the metaphor of the ‘inner fire', which in the planes of ordinary conscience is the mental will , whilst for the subtle conscience is the spiritual will . Mental and spiritual discipline is the unique igneous aspect that the human soul can mature. Whilst to remain simple ‘followers' is the measure of an inert soul.
By true knowledge we mean that the theoretical knowledge (to know how to do) is joined by practical knowledge (to be able to do). By knowing and becoming able to do, the ordinary conscience can give an order to ideas, originating a mental hierarchy that is manifested in the form of bright knowledge . Although mental lucidity is a lesser aspect of illumination, it is already a consistent form of mental discipline, able to improve the status of ‘consciousness' that means expansion of conscience and therefore inner growth.
These are the elements that build the ‘plan' that leads to ‘inner light'. By resuming them we can visualize a formula that is philosophical as well as practical: development of will and true knowledge + expansion of consciousness = mental clairvoyance.
Discipline and strength of the soul
There can't be order in disorder; likewise there can't be hierarchy without discipline. In the hierarchy the differences are ‘lost' and cancelled, since hierarchy is the fundament of order (see symbolism of the Hall of the Lost Steps).
In the profane world the natural extension of theoretical knowledge and practical knowledge is the order called scientific discipline . When mental order is transformed in a hierarchy of subtle ideas, spiritual discipline appears.
Spiritual discipline is not based on acts of faith (I don't understand it but I believe in it), neither on the adoration of what is not understood, but on the rigorous search for subtle comprehension. We can't forget mental discipline; without it the mind is not able to develop in the discovery of inner realities. Not even ‘unshakeable faith' is a pure act of faith. Its strength is proportional to the consciousness of something divine living in us. This is how subtle consciousness turns into absolute strength. Furthermore, only ‘consciousness' can subject imagination, freeing the mind of the ‘followers of superstitions'. The conclusion is that inner discipline is the track towards clairvoyance.
We also have to consider that mental and then spiritual clairvoyance doesn't depend on man's mind, but on the influence of the soul when it is in the condition to reach the physical conscience (ordinary conscience). The so-called ‘initiatory work' means to have the prerogatives for the soul to ‘extend' its influence (in the common sense: to descend, to appear) in the sphere of the physical conscience.
Essentiality and impersonal mind
Aspirants often discuss about poverty, love, renunciation and sacrifice without fully knowing their subtle meanings. The esoteric sense of ‘poverty and sacrifice' for example, is not the abandonment of interests, possessions and material loves, but rather the detachment from them. In other words, it is the ability to escape conditionings and forced choices. Therefore to ‘renounce' means to break the dependence from all that affects the free expression of the subtler feelings. ‘Poverty' doesn't mean ‘misery', but the ability to turn emotional prolixity and mental contortionisms of the lower nature into essential elements (see synthesis). Breaking the dependence on ephemeralness is a mental rather than moral matter. It means to dis-integrate (to break) the emotional collusion with profane aspects in order to advance in the process that hermeticism calls ‘metallic transmutation' . Here by transformation of metals we mean to modify the low level ideas (the aspects originated by the physical-animal nature) following the criteria of ‘subtle feelings'; it means to give way to an impersonal mind that doesn't put up with lower impulses (see detachment).
Essentiality and ‘great synthesis'
The independence from low nature elements is the fundamental step towards freedom. But virtue is in the middle; therefore we must not take the concept to the extreme. In other words, not being involved in the pos-session of material goods and in hedonistic and profane cultural models, doesn't mean to renounce to a sober, useful and essential use of what is necessary or nice or that makes life easier. Essentiality is nor punishment neither technologic masochism. It is not necessary to hide in a cave or to deprive oneself of warmth and food in order to reach essentiality.
Essentiality is the ‘great synthesis' of the initiate, but the ignorance of rules has often mistaken it with material poverty. Yet essentiality, synthesis and poverty are concepts that obviously belong to different levels. Essentiality in the sense of ‘great intellectual synthesis' is a quality close to the spiritual plane. On the contrary, poverty as synonymous of indigence and suffering is a materialistic concept that doesn't have anything to do with spiritual enrichment. In conclusion, to mistake sacrifice with the privation of useful or perhaps necessary things and emotions is certainly a ‘poor' interpretation, but poor in intelligence.
The ‘great synthesis': integrating the mind with the conscience of the soul
At first sight it seems that ‘sacrificing oneself' means the loss of one's identity. Looking closely, though, we see that it brings considerable advantages. Indeed, it is like ‘losing imperfection'; if imperfection is the antithesis of excellence, ‘to lose oneself' as a profane essence means to lose the primitive imperfection to the advantage of an initiatory or spiritual excellence. Therefore there's no reason to complain about this ‘sacrifice' or that ‘loss'. On the contrary, it is likely that the idea of sacrifice, renunciation and loss comes from a view from this side. In other words, in the view of the profane part that disappears in the transformation occurring with the contact with the ‘intelligence of the soul'.
In this case the sacrifice consists of the ‘loss of darkness' that follows illumination. At this point, though, we wonder who would complain about being ‘illuminated'. Certainly not an initiate.
The esoteric sense of the word ‘initiation' is not to be introduced to new languages or elitist thoughts, forms and traditions. ‘Symbolic initiations' are not initiations.
Initiation is the conclusion of a long process of mental elaboration called metamorphosis , where the thought changes because it has developed an exceptional form of sensitivity, which transforms the initial forma mentis. The most reliable parameter to measure development is diversity and the distance from what ‘we used to be' before the transformation. The result of initiation is the integration with the conscience of the soul, which usually happens through the part of conscience called superior Ego or towards Oneself.
An essential part to reach the goal is the ability to interiorize one's own sensitivity, up to the point of touching what mystics call ‘the deepest depth': the heart (cardiac center) where the link with the soul originates (is animated).
‘…in the deep silence of your conscience you will hear the ‘voice of the soul'', the Great Hierophants taught.
Hearing and seeing in an initiatory sense
By looking for his ‘hidden identity' (the occult Master) the initiate learns to use the inner ‘senses'. He starts from the ‘ears' of the conscience and the ‘eyes' of the mind (see visualization). Nothing is more distant from cults where devotion deifies a personality, an image or a literal teaching, all aspects of the same form of narcissism and love for oneself, which are projected in a divine form but are not divine at all. Indeed, an Archetypical IDEA is immaterial substance, impossible to ‘drag down' to keep it ‘within reach'.
The Initiate knows all this. Therefore he knows that it's up to him to transform himself in order to touch the principle, not the other way round. He also knows that counter-initiation starts with transforming an immaterial principle in a concept in the likeness of Man.
Athos A. Altomonte