Esoteric Study of the Habits & Actions; Influences; Energy; and the Wrong Working of the Centers

We have studied the Mind, as well as the Emotions and now we are going to look at the Action Brain (specifically the Motor-Instinctive centers in this class) as well as Habits in general.

We will also begin to look at the Wrong Working of the Centers of our Human Machine.

The next object of self-observation will be our habits in general, but first, let’s review how to study our Organic Machine.


Proper Self Observation and Recording (Review)

A person will never understand the connection between the various functions of their machine, and they will never understand how and why on each separate occasion everything in them ‘happens’, without properly applied self-observation…

In observing the functions of the human machine it is necessary to understand the correct divisions of the functions observed and to be able to define them and this definition must be an inner definition (by ‘taste’ or ‘flavor’).

There are two important methods of self-study:

1. registering or recording, which is simply ‘recording’ in one’s mind what is observed at the moment
2. and analysis, or attempts at analysis, that is, attempts to find the answers to the questions: upon what does a certain thing depend, and why does it happen; where does it come from; and why do I associate it in my particular way.

Self-observation, especially in the beginning, must not become analysis or attempts at analysis.

If we analyze or attempt to analyze, then we forget all about observations and we completely lose the thread of self-observation (we forget about it entirely). And observation stops.

Before it is possible to analyze even the most elementary phenomena, a person must accumulate a sufficient quantity of material by means of ‘recording’.

Recording is the result of a direct observation of what is taking place at a given moment, and is the most important material in the work of self-study.

When a certain number of ‘records’ have been accumulated and when, at the same time, laws to a certain extent have been studied and understood, then analysis becomes possible.

From the very beginning, observation, or ‘recording’, must be based upon the understanding of the fundamental principles of the activity of the human machine.

Self-observation cannot be properly applied without knowing these principles, without constantly bearing them in mind.

-Paraphrase from Ch 6.2 of In Search of the Miraculous


Self-Observation and Habits

Every grown-up person consists wholly of habits, although they are often unaware of it and may even deny having any habits at all.

But, this can never be the case.

All three Brains are filled with habits and a person can never know themselves until they have studied all their habits.

The observation and the study of habits is particularly difficult because, in order to see and ‘record’ them, one must escape from them, free oneself from them, even if it is just for a moment.

So long as a person is governed by a particular habit, they are not observing it, but at the very first attempt to struggle against it, they feel it and notice it.

Therefore in order to observe and study habits one must try to struggle against them.

This opens up a practical method of self-observation.

The purpose of the struggle against habits is to show or expose what is there in the particular center.

It is very difficult for a person to observe and ‘record’ anything if they do not try to struggle with themselves, that is, with their habits.

-Paraphrase from Ch 6.2 of In Search of the Miraculous


The Struggle and the Work on the Moving Center

Without a struggle a person cannot see what they consist of.

The struggle with small habits is very difficult and boring, but without it self-observation is impossible.

Even at the first attempt to study the elementary activity of the moving center a person comes up against habits.

For instance, a person may want to study their movements, or to observe how they walk.

But they will never succeed in doing so for more than a moment if they continue to walk in the usual way.

But if they understand that their usual way of walking consists of a number of habits (for instance, of taking steps of a certain length, walking at a certain speed, and so on), and they try to alter them (that is, to walk faster or slower, to take bigger or smaller steps), then they will be able to observe themselves and to study their movements as they walk.

If a person wants to observe themselves when they are writing, then they must take note of how they hold their pen and try to hold it in a different way from usual; observation will then become possible.

In order to observe themselves a person must try to not walk in their habitual way, they must sit in unaccustomed position, they must stand when they are accustomed to sitting, they must sit when they are accustomed to standing, and they must make with their left hand the movements they are accustomed to make with their right hand and vice versa.

All this will enable them to observe themselves and to study the habits and associations of the moving center.

-Paraphrase from Ch 6.2 of In Search of the Miraculous


The Struggle and the Work on the Emotional Center

In the sphere of the emotions it is very useful to try to struggle with the habit of giving immediate expression to all one’s unpleasant emotions.

Many people find it very difficult to refrain from expressing their feelings about bad weather.

It is still more difficult for people not to express unpleasant emotions when they feel that something or someone is violating what they may conceive to be order or justice.

Besides being a very good method for self-observation, the struggle against expressing unpleasant emotions has another important significance.

It is one of the few directions in which a person can change themselves or their habits without creating other undesirable habits.

Therefore self-observation and self-study must, from the beginning, be accompanied by the struggle against the expression of unpleasant emotions.

-Paraphrase from Ch 6.2 of In Search of the Miraculous


The Results of Recording the Struggle

If a person carries out … these rules while they observe themselves, they will record a whole series of very important aspects of their being.

To begin with they will record with unmistakable clearness the fact that their actions, thoughts, feelings, and words are the result of reacting to external influences and that nothing comes from themselves.

They will understand and see that they are in fact an automaton acting under the influences of external stimuli.

They will feel their complete mechanicalness.

That everything ‘happens’ to them, and that they cannot ‘do’ anything on their own.

They will feel that they are a machine controlled by accidental shocks from outside.

Each shock calls to the surface one of their “I’s”.

A new shock and that “I” disappears and a different one takes its place.

Another small change in the environment and, again, there is a new “I”.

Thus, a person will begin to understand that they have no control of themselves whatsoever, that they do not know what they may say or do in the next moment, and they will begin to understand that they cannot answer for themselves even for the shortest length of time.

When a person has realized this through observation and practical experience, then they will have the necessary internal shock to begin to dedicate themselves to this work.

-Paraphrase from Ch 6.2 of In Search of the Miraculous


Clarification of some Points and Terms

There are several points in Gnostic Psychology that are of particular interest to clarify.

[1] The first point is the possibility of self-change, that is, the fact that in beginning to observe themselves in the right way: a human being immediately begins to change themselves, and that they can never find themselves to be right.

[2] The second point is the demand “not to express unpleasant emotions”. The future will show that the study of emotions and the work on emotions is the basis of the subsequent development of the whole system.

[3] The third point is the idea of the moving center. Notice the difference between the moving functions and the instinctive functions. How are they different?

…The difference between instinctive and moving functions is as follows:

• the moving functions of a human being (as well as those of animals, of a bird, of a dog) must be learned;
• but instinctive functions are inborn.

A human being has very few inborn external movements; an animal has more, though they vary, some have more, others have less; but that which is usually explained as “instinct” is very often a series of complex moving functions which young animals learn from older ones.

One of the chief properties of the moving center is its ability to imitate.

The moving center imitates what it sees without reasoning.

This is the origin of the legends that exist about the wonderful “intelligence” of animals or the “instinct” that takes the place of intelligence and makes them perform a whole series of very complex actions.

Consider the idea of an independent moving center, which, on the one hand, does not depend upon the mind, does not require the mind, and which is a mind in itself, but which, on the other hand, does not depend upon instinct and has first of all to learn.

-Paraphrase from Ch 6.3 of In Search of the Miraculous


Habits and the Influence of External Stimuli

The existence of a moving center working by means of imitation explains the preservation of the “existing order” in beehives, termites, and ant-hills, etc.

Directed by imitation, one generation has had to shape itself absolutely upon the model of another.

There could be no changes, no departure whatsoever from the model.

Each center was not only a motive force but also a “receiving apparatus,” working as receiver for different and sometimes very distant influences.

Consider how masses of humanity could move under the control of planetary influences, and you will begin to understand our fundamental mistake in determining the actions of an individual.

We regard the actions of an individual as originating in themselves.

We do not imagine that the “masses” may consist of automatons obeying external stimuli and may move, not under the influence of the will, nor of the consciousness, nor of the inclination of individuals, but under the influence of external stimuli coming possibly from very far away.

-Paraphrase from Ch 6.3 of In Search of the Miraculous


[Part 2 – Influences III] Planetary Influences

There are a variety of external influences which come to us from many different sources.

External influences can come from other people’s words or actions, from technology (television, radio, cell phones, computers, etc.), from minerals, plants or animals (which can include the place we live or work, the food we eat, etc.), and from the cosmos.

Some of these influences may be stronger than others, but all of them can have an effect on our Internal State, especially when we are not in self-remembering or self-observing ourselves.

Upon humanity as a whole, the most influential of these external stimuli are those of the cosmos.

There are very subtle influences that come from planets and stars which affect us in ways most people are completely unaware of.

There are periods in the life of humanity, which generally coincide with the beginning of the fall of cultures and civilizations, when the masses irretrievably lose their reason and begin to destroy everything that has been created by centuries and millenniums of culture.

Such periods of mass madness, often coincide with geological cataclysms, climatic changes, and similar phenomena of a planetary character. And are the result of planetary influences.

Somewhere up there two or three planets have approached too near to each other; and tension results.

Have you noticed how, if someone passes quite close to you on a narrow sidewalk or street, you become all tense?

The same tension takes place between planets.

For them it lasts, perhaps, a second or two.

But here, on the earth, because of the human being’s inability to manage this energy, the tension results in a war.

People begin to slaughter one another, and they go on slaughtering maybe for several years.

It seems to them at the time

• that they hate one another;
• or perhaps that they have to slaughter each other for some exalted purpose;
• or that they must defend somebody or something and that it is a very noble thing to do;
• or something else of the same kind.

They fail to realize to what an extent they are mere pawns in the game.

They think they signify something; they think they can move about as they like; they think they can decide to do this or that.

But in reality all their movements, all their actions, are the result of planetary influences.

And they themselves signify literally nothing.

Then the moon plays a big part in this.

The influence of the moon upon everything living manifests itself in all that happens on the earth.

The moon is the chief, or rather, the nearest, the immediate, motive force of all that takes place in organic life on the earth.

All movements, actions, and manifestations of people, animals, and plants depend upon the moon and are controlled by the moon.

The sensitive film of organic life which covers the earthly globe is entirely dependent
upon the influence of the moon.

People, like every other living being, cannot, in the ordinary conditions of life, tear themselves free from the moon.

All one’s movements and consequently all one’s actions are controlled by the moon.

Everything that happens on a big scale is governed from outside, and governed either by accidental combinations of influences or by general cosmic laws.

-Paraphrase from Ch 1, 2 & 5 of In Search of the Miraculous


Einstein’s View of the Human Being

In 1932 Einstein told the Spinoza society:

Human beings in their thinking, feeling and acting are not free but are as causally bound as the stars in their motions.

In a 1932 speech entitled ‘My Credo’, Einstein briefly explained his deterministic ideology:

I do not believe in freedom of the will.

Schopenhauer’s words: “Man can do what he wants, but he cannot will what he wills” accompany me in all situations throughout my life and reconcile me with the actions of others even if they are rather painful to me.

This awareness of the lack of freedom of will preserves me from taking too seriously myself and my fellow men as acting and deciding individuals and from losing my temper.

So even Einstein recognizes some of the concepts we are presenting to you…

-paraphrase from “Einstein’s Mystical Views & Quotations on Free Will or Determinism” a web article


The Moon, Mechanicity and Materialism

The Moon tends towards materialism and this is a serious problem for us, all terrestrial mechanicity is controlled by the Moon.

All life on Earth, the whole terrestrial mechanism is controlled by the Moon, all of that mechanical life in which we live is of a Lunar type.

The Moon, like the pendular weight of a huge clock, makes the terrestrial mechanism move: the growth of plants, and animals, ovulation in women, the ebb and flow of the seas, the high and low tides etc., depend upon the Moon.

The influence of the Moon is one of the reasons life is so mechanical for us.

Therefore if we really want to be successful, then there are 2 things we can do to counteract the mechanicity of the moon:

1. take advantage of the Waxing and Full Moon in planning activities.
2. and use the perfumes of the Rose and Violet plants in order to control Lunar materialism.

These perfumes must be used in order to control materialism because the Moon exercises a materialistic influence upon the human Mind.

It is to our misfortune that the Subjective Elements which we have within are controlled by the Moon…

However, if we eliminate our Subjective Elements (our Egos), then we eliminate the cause of our problem.

As an exercise, observe yourself during the different phases of the Moon and see if you notice any differences in how you react to similar events.

-paraphrase from Ch 31 (Arcanum 9) of Tarot & Kabbalah


[Part 3 – Energy and the Human Machine] Energy, Tension and Momentum

You have probably heard … that in the course of every 24 hours our organism produces a definite amount of energy for its existence.

… Yet there is much more of this energy than should be needed for normal expenditure.

But since our life is so wrong, we spend the greater part of this energy and sometimes the whole of it, and we spend it unproductively.

One of the chief factors consuming energy are our unnecessary movements in everyday life.

The greater part of this energy is spent precisely when we make less active movements.

For instance, how much energy will a person use up in a day wholly spent in physical labor? A great deal.

Yet he will spend even more if he sits still doing nothing.

Our large muscles consume less energy because they have become more adapted to momentum, whereas the small muscles consume more because they are less adapted to momentum: they can be set in motion only by force.

To sit in a chair and not move, does not mean energy isn’t being spent.

Every movement, every tension, whether big or small, is possible for a person only by spending this energy.

It is a very interesting thing, and you must try to understand momentum.

When we make a sudden movement, then energy flows in, but when we repeat the movement then the momentum no longer takes energy.

At the moment when energy has given the initial push, the flow of energy stops and momentum takes over.

Tension needs energy. If tension is absent, then less energy is spent.

If a person suffers from chronic tension, then (even if they do nothing, even if they are lying down) they use more energy than a person who spends the whole day in physical labor.

But a person who does not have these small chronic tensions certainly wastes no energy when they do not work or move.

Now we must ask ourselves, are there many among us who are free from this terrible disease?

-paraphrase from “PRIEURÉ, JANUARY 30, 1923 ‘Energy – sleep” in Views from the Real World


The Economy of Energy: Saving Energy for the Work

We must bear in mind that this energy about which we now speak so simply and easily, which we waste so unnecessarily and involuntarily, this same energy is needed for the work we intend to do and without which we can achieve nothing.

We cannot get more energy, the inflow of energy will not increase: the machine will remain such as it is created.

If the machine is made to produce ten amperes it will go on producing ten amperes.

The current can be increased only if all the wires and coils are changed.

For instance, one coil represents the nose, another a leg, a third a person’s complexion or the size of their stomach.

So the machine cannot be changed —its structure will remain as it is.

The amount of energy produced is constant: even if the machine is put right, this amount will increase very little.

What we intend to do requires a great deal of energy and much effort. And effort requires much energy.

With the kind of efforts we make now, with such lavish expenditure of energy, it is impossible to do what we are now planning to do in our minds.

As we have seen, on the one hand we require a great deal of energy, and on the other hand our machine is constructed in such a way that it cannot produce more energy.

Where is a way out of this situation? The only way out and the only method and possibility is to economize the energy we have.

Therefore if we wish to have a lot of energy when we need it, then we must learn to practice economy wherever we can.

One thing is definitely known: one of the chief leakages of energy is due to our involuntary tension.

We have many other leakages, but they are all more difficult to repair than the first.

It is necessary to learn (at all costs) not to be tense when tension is not needed.

When you sit doing nothing, let the body rest.

-paraphrase from “PRIEURÉ, JANUARY 30, 1923 ‘Energy – sleep” in Views from the Real World

Now let’s consider this idea of ‘tension’ in relation, not just with the Motor Center, but with all the centers of the human machine…


[Part 4 – Energy & the Wrong Working of the Centers] Understanding the Wrong Working of the Centers

Our ordinary centers, in transmitting the impressions of the higher or superior centers, may be compared to a blind man speaking of colors, or to a deaf man speaking of music.

In order to obtain a correct and permanent connection between the lower and the higher centers, it is necessary to regulate … the work of the lower centers.

Moreover, as has been already said, lower centers work in a wrong way, for very often, instead of their own proper functions, one or another of them takes upon itself the work of other centers.

This considerably reduces the speed of the general work of the machine and makes acceleration of the work of the centers very difficult.

Thus in order to regulate … the work of the lower centers, the primary object must consist in freeing each center from work foreign and unnatural to it, and in bringing it back to its own work which it can do better than any other center.

A great deal of energy is also spent on work which is completely unnecessary and harmful in every respect, such as on the activity of unpleasant emotions, on the expression of unpleasant sensations, on worry, on restlessness, on haste, and on a whole series of automatic actions which are completely useless.

As many examples as you like can be found of such unnecessary activity.

First of all there is the constantly moving flow of thoughts in our mind, which we can neither stop nor control, and which takes up an enormous amount of our energy.

Secondly there is the quite unnecessary constant tension of the muscles of our organism. The muscles are tense even when we are doing nothing.

As soon as we start to do even a small and insignificant piece of work, a whole system of muscles necessary for the hardest and most strenuous work is immediately set in motion.

We pick up a needle from the floor and we spend (on this action) as much energy as is needed to lift up a man of our own weight.

We write a short letter and use as much muscular energy upon it as would suffice to write a bulky volume.

But the chief point is that we spend muscular energy continually and at all times, even when we are doing nothing.

When we walk the muscles of our shoulders and arms are tensed unnecessarily; when we sit the muscles of our legs, neck, back, and stomach are tensed in an unnecessary way.

We even sleep with the muscles of our arms, of our legs, of our face, of the whole of our body tensed, and we do not realize that we spend much more energy on this continual readiness for work we shall never do than on all the real, useful work we do during our life.

Still further we can point to the habit of continually talking with anybody and about anything, or if there is no one else, with ourselves; the habit of indulging in fantasies, in daydreaming; the continual change of mood, feelings, and emotions, and an enormous number of quite useless things which a person considers themselves obliged to feel, think, do, or say.

-Paraphrase from Ch 9.5 of In Search of the Miraculous


Correcting the Wrong Working of the Centers I

In order to regulate and balance the work of the … centers whose functions constitute our life, it is necessary to learn to economize the energy produced by our organism, not to waste this energy on unnecessary functions, and to save it for that activity which will gradually connect the lower centers with the higher ones.

All that has been said before about work on oneself, about the formation of inner unity and of the transition from the level of Human Being №1, №2, and №3 to the level of Human Being №4 [as well as further development], pursues one and the same aim.

What is called according to one terminology the ‘[solar] astral body’, is called in another terminology the ‘higher emotional center’, although the difference here does not lie in the terminology alone.

These are, to speak more correctly, different aspects of the next stage of a person’s spiritual development.

It can be said that the ‘[solar] astral body’ is necessary for the complete and proper functioning of the ‘higher emotional center’ in unison with the lower.

Or it can be said that the ‘higher emotional center’ is necessary for the work of the ‘[solar] astral body’.

The ‘[solar] mental body’ corresponds to the ‘higher thinking center’.

It would be wrong to say that they are one and the same thing.

But one requires the other, one cannot exist without the other, one is the expression of certain sides and functions of the other.

The [solar] causal body requires the complete and harmonious working of all centers; and it implies, or is the expression of, complete control over this working.

What is necessary to understand (and what the ‘table of hydrogens’ helps us to grasp) is the idea of the complete materiality of all the psychic, intellectual, emotional, volitional, and other inner processes, including the most exalted poetic inspirations, religious ecstasies, and mystical revelations.

The materiality of processes means their dependence upon the quality of the material or substance used on them.

One process demands the expenditure, … or the burning, of hydrogen 48; another process cannot be obtained with the help of hydrogen 48; it requires a finer, a more combustible substance—hydrogen 24.

For a third process hydrogen 24 is too weak; it requires hydrogen 12.

Thus we see that our organism has the different kinds of fuel necessary for the different centers.

The centers can be compared to machines working with fuels of different qualities.

One machine can be worked with oil residue or crude oil. Another requires kerosene; a third will not work with kerosene but requires gasoline.

The fine substances [or fuels] of our organism can be characterized as substances of different flashpoints, while the organism itself can be compared to a laboratory in which the combustibles of different strengths (required by the different centers) are prepared from various kinds of raw material.

Unfortunately, however, there is something wrong with the laboratory…

-Paraphrase from Ch 9.5 of In Search of the Miraculous


Correcting the Wrong Working of the Centers II

The forces controlling the distribution of combustibles among the different centers often make mistakes and the centers receive fuel that is either too weak or too easily inflammable.

Moreover, a great quantity of all the combustibles produced is spent quite uselessly; it simply runs out or is lost.

Besides, explosions often take place in the laboratory which at one stroke destroy all the fuel prepared for the next day and possibly for even a longer period, and are able to cause irreparable damage to the whole factory.

It must be noted that the organism usually produces in the course of one day (every 24-hours) all the substances necessary for the following day. And it very often happens that all these substances are spent or consumed upon some unnecessary and, as a rule, unpleasant emotion.

Bad moods, worry, the expectation of something unpleasant, doubt, fear, a feeling of injury, irritation, each of these emotions (in reaching a certain degree of intensity) may, in half an hour, or even half a minute, consume all the substances prepared for the next day; while a single flash of anger, or some other violent emotion, can at once explode all the substances prepared in the laboratory and leave a person quite empty inwardly for a long time or even forever.

All psychic processes are material.

There is not a single process that does not require the expenditure of a certain substance corresponding to it. If this substance is present, then the process goes on. When the substance is exhausted, then the process comes to a stop.

-Paraphrase from Ch 9.5 of In Search of the Miraculous

Next class we are going to continue to study the Wrong Working of the Centers and how this relates with the Sexual Center.



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