The Work upon oneself begins with Observing Ourselves (Self-Observation). But what are we observing? We are observing our Internal State and seeing how it is separate from the External Event. Then we will see how we can modify our Internal State in order to take the best approach to the circumstances of life.
Our Character is our Magnet
“The physical body is one of the marvelous instruments which the human being possesses in order to express himself. Many times we meet people who radiate an attitude of bliss, happiness, health, optimism, sympathy, love, etc. These people win the friendship of everyone: they possess a force of attraction, a “magnet”; they are irresistible.
Others are weak and lack that “magnet” which is so marvelous: they fail when they try to receive the help of other people, and when they are owners of a business their clients gradually leave them. Gnostic Psychology teaches us that a person’s character depends on their internal state. A person’s character does not develop in the physical body, but it expresses itself through it…”
-paraphrase from the Appendix to Introduction to Gnosis
So in order to modify our “magnet”, we must begin with our character and since our character depends on our internal psychological state, this is why we must Observe our Internal State.
Understanding Internal States and External Events
As we know, each event is complemented with this or that internal psychological state.
“Let’s understand that internal states are: good or bad disposition, preoccupation, depression, superstition, fear, suspicion, mercy, self-commiseration, over-estimation of oneself (or others), under-estimation of oneself (or others), states of happiness, states of pleasure, etc.
Unquestionably, internal states can:
• correspond exactly to external events
• they can be originated by external events
• or, they can have no relationship with them at all
To correctly combine internal states with external events is to know how to live life intelligently.
It is unfortunate that people do not know how to live consciously; they cry when they should laugh and laugh when they should cry… To be in control of oneself is different: one can be happy, but never filled with an insane frenzy; sad, but never desperate and discouraged; calm, in the middle of violence; abstemious amidst drunkenness; chaste when facing lust; etc.”
-paraphrase from Ch.6 of Revolutionary Psychology
The Misunderstanding of States and Events
Often, when people review their lives, they think it is only made-up of external events…
“They think that if this or that event had or hadn’t happened to them, then their lives would have been better… “If I had won the lottery…”, “If I had just said something to him/her…”, etc. They think that fortune came to meet them; yet, they lost the opportunity to be happy… They regret what they lost, they cry about what they hate; they moan when remembering their old errors and calamities…
The capacity to consciously exist depends exclusively on the quality of the interior states of the Soul… Certainly, it does not matter how beautiful the external events of life might be: if we are not in the appropriate internal state in those moments, then the best moments can seem boring to us… It is unfortunately rare to find someone who knows how to consciously combine internal states and external events.
Every day we see people that are not only unhappy, but what is even worse is that they make other people’s lives miserable… Such people will not change, even if they were to get everything they think they want, because they carry the psychological disease within them… What they carry within them are damaging internal states… Nevertheless, they often classify themselves as correct, holy, virtuous, noble, accommodating, etc. They are individuals who are always looking for loopholes to evade their own responsibilities…
Persons like this are accustomed to inferior emotions and as a result: it is obvious that they create unhelpful psychological elements on a daily basis. Disgraceful events like the setbacks of fortune, misery, debts, problems, etc., are the exclusive property of those persons who do not know how to live consciously and intelligently…
Those who learn how to consciously combine external events with internal states march on the path of success.“
-paraphrase from Ch.7 of Revolutionary Psychology
Self-Observation and Internal States
“So if we want to observe ourselves, then we must differentiate between the exterior events of practical life
and the interior states of the consciousness. The work upon oneself refers to the diverse psychological states of the consciousness.
No one can deny that we carry many errors and incorrect internal states within ourselves. And if we really want to change then we need to radically modify those erroneous states of our consciousness. The modification of these interior states will cause a transformation of our character and as a result, we will attract new circumstances to our lives. If, however, we do not work on ourselves, then we will always be a victim of circumstances a victim of our reaction to the external events…”
-paraphrase from Ch.8 of Revolutionary Psychology
The key to changing our lives is to change ourselves. We can try to change our circumstances as much as we want, but if we do not change ourselves, then we will continue attracting the same external events to our lives.
“Events change, they combine together and come one after another like waves. There are, obviously, good and bad events; some events are better than others.
To modify some events is possible, but there are others which are beyond our control and must be consciously accepted, even when they become dangerous and painful… But the pain disappears when we do not identify ourselves with the problem that has arisen…
We must consider life as a series of successive interior states… When reviewing the totality of our existence, we can verify for ourselves that many unpleasant situations were possible thanks to wrong interior states…”
-paraphrase from Ch.8 of Revolutionary Psychology
The Development of the Consciousness
The possibility that we have for personal change is directly related to the development of the consciousness.
“Normally people are NOT conscious of themselves, they forget about themselves and are dreaming.
The change in the human being begins with the change in our understanding of the meaning of consciousness and after that by gradually acquiring command over it.
[remember the Four States of Consciousness from the previous lecture]
So what is consciousness? In reality, consciousness is an “awareness” in the human being, a very particular kind of apprehension of interior knowledge which is totally independent of any mental activity.
The faculty of the consciousness permits us to have knowledge of ourselves.
Consciousness gives us integral knowledge:
• of where we ARE,
• of what we are,
• of what in reality we know,
• and of what we certainly ignore
Gnostic Psychology recognizes that the consciousness has degrees which are visible and observable within oneself.
These degrees of consciousness are:
1. Time or Duration: How long have we stayed conscious?
2. Frequency: how many times have we been conscious?
3. Depth: What were we conscious of?
Even if we take only the first two, we can understand the idea of the potential development of the human being’s Consciousness. Gnostic Psychology affirms that one can awaken consciousness and make it continuous and controllable through a special kind of effort. Through a great effort we may become conscious of ourselves for a few minutes.”
-paraphrase from Lecture 1, Section 2 of The Psychology of Man’s Possible Evolution
and Ch.37 of Fundamental Education
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