Diversity and Synthesis of initiatory systems
Two different perspectives in experiencing the initiatory reality
by Athos A. Altomonte
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Q : ... therefore can we somehow reach initiation leaving aside the belonging to any esoteric organization, through the achievement of an inner consciousness that transcends doctrines and rituals, or do we need to pursue a method once reached this status?
A : Perhaps unexpectedly I will answer yes. It is possible to achieve any degree (of expansion of conscience) necessary to lead the adept to the threshold of ‘his own' Initiation, beyond any structure ‘thought' of by man. They are abstract structures, which means that they are based on philosophical, ethical, religious or moral ideas, all rigorously divided and sectional, which find their physical expression (the Corpus) in organizations such as initiatory Orders, Ashrams or Churches, all divided by the particularity of ‘their own languages'.
Great spiritual Guides and great Initiates elevated themselves, intellectually and spiritually, without the help of any formal structure. Structures have been ‘imagined' only later by those who reconstructed an ideal path that followed their example. The point is another. Lacking the ‘inner drive' that moves the heart (and physical personality) of men, up to turning them into Guides and Initiates, it is desirable to follow a method, not only to follow their example ‘ideally'. The ‘method' is nothing but the instrument used to accelerate the process of identification with the initiatory model that the adept has chosen for himself.
The method, or system, prevents the candidate from spending part of his existence in a long process of research and selection necessary to identify and recognize the initiatory model suitable to him.
From here a weighty topic arises. The need to operate an accurate choice of the initiatory system and model to use, asking oneself questions such as: which system and which model is suitable for me? Is there one better than others, like some people say?
In order to answer this question we should recognize that despite their apparent diversities, every initiatory system, at the apex of its heaven, ends up converging into an identical synthesis, which is abstract, metaphysical and/or spiritual. These terms are all synonyms used to represent the same inner reality that must be unveiled to the eyes of the physical mind.
There isn't a method better than another; this is not true for the model that it interprets either. Indeed, each lesser model tends to finish into a unique greater model that is the sum of every value.
The consequence is that each style, form or ideal can be a useful representation of a unique reality. The differentiation of terms becomes, within certain limits, viz. only in the stage of apprenticeship and novitiate, a valid instrument for transmitting principles of a reality that appears different only to the limits of a temperament (character) for which it is impossible not to recognize what doesn't have one's own emotional colors or that doesn't correspond to the outline of one's own mental structure.
Therefore each system transmits the same idea but through different character and emotion languages. Each language adapts to a particular attitude and its terminology must adapt to the limits of understanding of a specific personality.
Each individual specification is characterized by the link with a natural attitude only apparently unique and different which, even in its specification, is part of a greater group. Each particular language, system and method refers to one of these ‘specific' groups.
By psycho-emotional language we mean a particular form of communication that diversifies to reach the different evolutionary stages of the mind. The languages are several and they are different from each other. Such as abstract, mystic, devotional, mysteriosophical, philosophical, technical-scientific, social, commercial and politic language; or artistic, heroic, ritual, sacred, profane etc…
Each language represents the several planes of mind and their ability to perceive and communicate in a different way. But the initiate overcomes the boundaries of languages in the mental synthesis. He must continue to perceive them all if he wants to communicate ideas that overcome the different mental planes of the listener. This kind of communication is called: undifferentiated communication. For example, if we need to communicate an idea to a devotional temperament, we will need to use a devotional terminology. The same is true for other temperaments, with which we will use the most suitable terminology, adapting to the cultural habits of the individual. The conclusion is that a particular language and a system offer an initiatory model that is always partial because it is so particular. Nevertheless, universal initiation is a factor of inner synthesis independent from any kind of personal ‘ideological conviction'.
The initiatory synthesis joins the three levels of conscience into ‘one'; they are unconsciousness (represented by the degree of Apprentice), consciousness (represented by the degree of Fellow Craft) and super-consciousness or spirituality (represented by the degree of Master).
Each organization can use different terms, but the three levels are the same. The whole of initiatory praxis is made of seven levels, where each of them ‘reflects' a stage of conscience enclosed into a philosophy. Brahmanism represented the stages of human progress in seven types of Yoga (Yoga means union). The seven kinds of Yoga are the ‘philosophy' of the seven Chakras: energetic points that vivify the conscience of the physical man turning him into a ‘reawaken'. The west recognizes the same representation in the Caduceus of Hermes or in the Sephirothic Tree.
We have divided the seven planes of conscience in multiple interpretations made by lesser religious and initiatory Organizations. From which of these models can we start the search for their synthesis with some advantage? I would answer this question with an allegory. If we had to start a game of billiards, which ball would we hit first? Certainly the closest and most favorable. I don't think that the ball, the method, the system or the organization matter. The main thing is to be able to pot them all.
Therefore it is not convenient to waste too much time on the same language, because specialization often ends up in mental fossilization. Since no specialization can be considered absolute or conclusive, what matters is to reach the vision of the whole. Indeed, the whole gives the synthesis of everything and this leads to an undifferentiated comprehension that can later become empathy; dexterity with intuitive intelligence that can perceive emotions from the remaining kingdoms of nature as well.
Q : The need of the rational mind to report any new idea to the pre-established representative models that have been created by personal experience or induced by the community, refusing in actual fact what cannot be compared is the true and unique obstacle to the perception of absolute reality. Therefore by demolishing this obstacle through purely mental and more or less scientific (self-hypnosis, autogenic training) techniques, there is the possibility to access a ‘preferential channel'; or does it all come from the exclusively sensitive influence of a heart, true seat of the soul that permeates an exclusively rational mind?
A : First of all we must proceed to disintegration (the process opposite to integration) of the undesirable emotional models, because the latter are vacuous and obtuse or they are the result of transference that we have, they have or have impressed themselves in our conscience . Without a self-conscious process (not induced as a Doctrine) of disintegration nothing can be built, because, as an old saying goes: we can build only where it is empty.
The process of disintegration introduces us to the first ‘ liberation '; the first of many others and which is addressed to the physical mind. In the mental silence the physical mind as well recognizes the drive to act that goes towards a precise direction. This is the voice in the silence . It is a devotional term that can be translated into: the voice of conscience . But this too can be converted into the meaning of the tension (the will) that the higher Ego conveys towards its lower part, otherwise called personality or material self.
Q: Therefore, by annulling the personal opinions that the predominance of the ego interposes to the discernment of all things, do we come into contact with a kind of universal container of knowledge shared by all initiates? If this is the case, could its synthesis be represented by the concept of God as universal intelligence?
A : This is the sense of the term and its current use. We have already learnt to recognize that every term is debatable for its mobility, just like any language is fragile for its immobility that doesn't cope with any tension or change. But in a reality that is extremely ductile because it is highly mobile, the only steady point is the concept. The idea is the nucleus that encloses any principle; the principle, in the phenomenal world, is the only element of immutability.