May all beings be in peace
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Your Journey into Gnosis
A Nondual Essay by Thomas Razzeto
© Copyright 2008 by Thomas Razzeto
In ancient Greece, there was a group called the Gnostics. They believed that you could validate truth by direct, personal experience. Imagine you met a gnostic today. If you presented them with a crazy idea, they might try to confirm it with a personal experience.
For example, if they have never seen a unicycle and you tell them about one, they might be curious. Without handle bars, it would be very hard to balance and steer and with only one wheel, it would fall over in every direction: forwards, backwards and to both sides! Sounds pretty crazy, to be sure!
But a gnostic would simply give it a try and in the process, something that seemed impossible would be demonstrated to be feasible, once you get the knack.
The pinnacle of the gnostic teaching is that God and creation are the same reality in different forms, mysticism! Without a doubt, this idea seems way more crazy than the unicycle!
Yet the Gnostics explored the full mystery of reality with their simple, direct approach. Just give it a try and see for yourself what the full nature of reality truly is! While, of course, no one can do this for you, people who have traveled along the path before can inspire you and help you by reporting what they have learned.
The Gnostics saw the process of awakening to the mystic's view as unfolding in four stages, which are represented by what they called “the four elements: earth, water, air and fire.”
The first stage is when people believe that the world is only physical and they totally identify themselves as their body. They do not believe in a God, a spirit world or a soul. You can see that solid earth is an excellent symbol for this belief system. Their consciousness, personality and mind are seen as aspects of their body, things that arise out of the chemistry of the body and brain. When the body dies, they are absolutely gone forever.
When people start to study subjects such as out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences and past lives, they move into the non-physical world, a world that is less solid, less dense. This is represented by water and people moving into this stage are sometimes symbolically baptized with water.
The next step is when they start to study their own mysterious awareness itself. This stage is represented by air. Although we cannot directly see air, we know that it exists because we see it blow the leaves in the trees. Similarly, we cannot see our awareness directly yet we know it exists because we experience absolutely everything through it. As the Gnostics contemplate this mysterious awareness, they move further down the path of self-discovery.
The final stage is a dramatic awakening, a transformation that produces what they called “the fire of gnosis.” Here, there is a direct personal experience of God, which is only possible because you are God! This experience reveals that everything is the eternal divine essence in various forms. Now the false idea that the personal-self is the combination of the body, mind and soul is consumed (destroyed and transformed) by the fire of gnosis and the gnostic no longer identifies himself or herself as the personal-self and they awaken to the transcendent-self.
Both the personal-self and the transcendent-self have validity. In a way, one is a drop in the ocean of God and the other is the ocean itself. While the personal-self still exists, a gnostic is no longer tricked by the illusion that suggests that they are their personal-self.
So we see that self-discovery leads to God-discovery. Or, as the Gnostics put it, “Know yourself and you shall know God.”
Now, you don't need to be at any particular stage to have a full, happy and meaningful life. As you share your kindness, respect and appreciation with others, that fullness comes forth automatically. So take good care of both yourself and others as you move along the path. There's no rush and in a funny way, being fully present right where you are at this very moment can be said to be the goal.
If you are inspired, start meditating and study the works of mystics and non-dual teachers. I focus on helping people create for themselves a deep and lasting personal peace because I believe that only this can lead towards world peace. This personal peace comes about when we awaken to our innate power of conscious creation.
So go forth on your journey into gnosis. Be excited to be alive and exploring this fabulous mystery we call life! Create personal peace now and help create world peace! Together we can bring world peace to us all!
Thank you for your help! In truth, I honor your divine nature.Tweet
If you enjoyed this essay, then you might like some of my other work:
• All my mystical essays are here: Infinitely Mystical Essays
• Infinitely Mystical, my main website, is here: infinitelymystical.com