The Transformation of Impressions
Conscious attention excludes all of that which is called identification. Fascination comes when we identify with people, things, and ideas. Fascination produces the sleep of the consciousness. - Samael Aun Weor
This subject deals with the transformation of oneself. In past talks we dealt with the importance of life. We also said that a man is what his life is, and life is like a film. Upon disincarnation, we carry this film up with us to live it in a retrospective manner in the astral world and, when we return, we bring it back to reproject in the screen of the physical body.
It is clear that the Law of Recurrence exists and that all events repeat themselves, that all events reoccur such as they really were, summing their good and bad circumstances. It is clear that a transformation of life is possible if one is profoundly resolved to do it.
Transformation: it means that one thing changes into another, different one. It is logical that all things are susceptible to change.
The Alchemists of the Middle Ages spoke about the transformation of lead into gold. However, they did not always allude to the merely physical metallic matter. With that word they normally wanted to indicate the transformation of the lead of personality into the gold of spirit. Thus, it is convenient that we reflect over all this.
In the Gospels, the idea of comparing the earthly man with a seed that is capable of growing has the same meaning. As it also has the idea of rebirth: a man that is born again. It is obvious that, if the seed does not die, the plant will not be born.
In all transformation there is birth and death.
In Gnosticism, we consider man a three story factory that normally intakes three foods.
- Common food: it normally corresponds to the lower floor of the factory, the stomach.
- Air: it is in the second floor, and is related to the lungs.
- Impressions: undoubtedly, they are closely related with the brain or the third floor.
- impressions related to the brain,
- air related to the lungs,
- and food related to the stomach.
The food we eat suffers a series of successive transformations; this is unquestionable. The process of life, in itself and by itself, is transformation. Each living thing of the Universe lives by means of the transformation of one substance into another. Vegetables, for example, transform the air, water, and salts of the soil into new vital substances, into vital elements for us. Thus, everything is transformation.
By the action of sunlight, the ferments of nature vary. It is unquestionable that the sensible film of life that normally extends over the earth's surface conducts all the universal force inside towards the planetary world itself. But each plant, each insect, each creature, the "intellectual animal" mistakenly called man himself, absorbs and assimilates determined cosmic forces and then transforms and unconsciously transmits them to the inner layers of the planetary organism. Such transformed forces are intimately related to all the economy of the planetary organism we live in. Undoubtedly, each living thing, according to its species, transforms determined forces it afterwards retransmits to the Earth's interior for the economy of the world. Thus, each living thing that has its existence accomplishes the same function.
In everything there exists transformation. Thus, the epidermis of the Earth is an organ of transformation. When we eat the food which is so necessary to our existence, it is transformed, it is clear, stage by stage. Who inside us performs this process of the transformation of substances? The wisdom of this center is really astonishing. Digestion itself is a transformation. The food in the stomach, that is, in the lower part of the three story factory of this human organism, suffers transformations. If something enters without passing through the stomach, the organism can not assimilate it, neither its vitaminic principles nor its proteins. That would simply be indigestion. So, as we reflect on this matter, we comprehend the necessity to go through a transformation.
It is clear that physical foods are transformed. But there is something that invites us to reflect: the adequate transformation of impressions. For the purposes of nature, properly said, there is no necessity for the "intellectual animal" to transform impressions by himself. There would be magnificent results if we could transform impressions by ourselves. Most people, as they see the field of practical life, believe that this physical world will give them what they are longing for, what they are looking for. This is really a tremendous mistake.
Life enters us, into our organism, in the form of mere impressions. One can not really transform one's own life if one does not transform the impressions that reach one's mind.
There does not exist anything such as external life. We are speaking of something really revolutionary since all people believe that what is physical is what is real. But if we go a little deeper, what we are really receiving each moment, each instant, are impressions. If we see a person that pleases us or displeases us, the first things we obtain are impressions of that nature. Life is a succession of impressions. It is not like many illustrated ignoramous's believe: a physical thing of exclusively material nature.
The reality of life is its impressions. It is clear that the ideas we are emitting are very difficult to understand, to comprehend. The person we see sitting in the chair, for example, with such or such other color suit, the one who greets us, the one who smiles at us, etc. is a real thing to us, right? But if we meditate profoundly on all this, we arrive at the conclusion that what is real are impressions. These naturally reach the mind through the windows of the sense organs. If we did not have sense organs, for example, eyes for seeing, ears for hearing, or a mouth to taste food, would that which we call the physical body exist for us? Of course not, absolutely not. Life reaches us in the form of impressions and that is where the possibility of work on ourselves exists.
First Conscious Shock
Above all, what shall we do? We must comprehend the work we must do. How could we accomplish a psychological transformation in ourselves? By effectuating a work over the impressions we are receiving each moment, each instant. This first work is called the "first conscious shock." It is related to the impressions, which are all we know about the exterior world. What size do real things or real people have? We need to transform ourselves internally each day. As we want to transform our psychological aspect, we need to work on the impressions that enter us.
Why do we call the work of transformation of impressions "first conscious shock"? Because a shock is something we cannot observe in a merely mechanical way. This can never be done mechanically; a self-conscious effort is needed.
It is clear that when this work is beginning to be comprehended, we begin to end being a mechanical man serving the purposes of nature. And this goes against our inner self-fulfillment. Now you are beginning to comprehend the meaning of everything I say. If you think now about the meaning of all that is taught here through your own efforts, beginning with the observation of oneself, you will see that, on the practical esoteric side, everything is intimately related with the transformation of energies and what naturally results from them.
In the work, for example, on negative reactions over angry moods, about "identification", about self-considering, about successive "I"s, about lying, about self-justification, about excuses, about the unconscious states we are in, they all are related with the transformation of impressions.
You will agree that, in certain ways, the work in itself is compared with decision in the sense that it is a transformation. So, it is necessary to reflect on this, let us comprehend what the first conscious shock is. It is necessary to form an element of change at the entrance of impressions. Do not forget it!
Through comprehension of the Work, you can really accept life as a work. Then you will be in a constant state of self-remembering. This state of Consciousness in itself would take you to the terrible reality of the transformation of impressions.
The same impressions normally, or better said, super-normally, would get you to a better life. Life would not ever operate on you as it did before. You will begin to think and comprehend in a new way. And this is, naturally, the beginning of your own transformation. But, while you continue thinking the same way, it is clear there will be no inner change. To transform the impressions of life is to transform ourselves. This completely new way of thinking can be achieved.
You will naturally comprehend: we react continuously. All these reactions form our personal life. To change our lives is not really to change our own reactions. But exterior life comes to us as mere impressions that obligate us to react.
Life consists mostly of a successive series of negative reactions that act as an incessant response to impressions that get into the mind. Then, our task consists of transforming the impressions of life in such a way that they do not provoke that kind of response. But, to achieve it, it is necessary to be self-observing ourselves from instant to instant, from moment to moment. It is urgent then, to be studying our own impressions.
We cannot let impressions arrive in a subjective, mechanical way. If we change this, it is equivalent to beginning life anew, to begin living more consciously. An individual may enjoy the luxury of letting impressions arrive mechanically, but if be does not commit this mistake, if he transforms those impressions, then he begins to live consciously; because of this we say this is the "first conscious shock." This first conscious shock consists of transforming the impressions that reach the mind in the moment of their entrance; you can always work on their results later. It is clear that they caducate without mechanical effect, that they are always disastrous in the interior of our psyche.
A defined vibration of the work, a valuation of the teaching, means that the esoteric Gnostic work must be taken to the point where impressions enter and are distributed mechanically by the personality to wrong places, evoking old reactions.
I will try to simplify this. For example, if we throw a stone into a crystal clear lake, impressions are produced in it and responses to those impressions given by the stone are shown in the waves that go from the center to the periphery, right? Well, now this example. Let us imagine the mind is as a lake. Suddenly, the image of a person appears. That image is like the stone of our example that arrives to the lake of the mind; the mind then reacts in the form of impressions, right? I mean, in the form of reactions.
Impressions produce the images that reach the mind, reactions are the response to such impressions. If you throw a ball against a wall, the wall receives the impression, then comes the reaction that consists of returning the ball to the one who threw it. Well, it may be that the ball does not return directly to him but, anyway, the ball bounces back and that is a reaction.
So, the world is formed by impressions. For example, an image of a table reaches our mind through the sense organs. We cannot say that the table has reached us or that the table has come inside our brain, that would be absurd. But the image of the table is inside. Then our mind reacts immediately, saying: this is a table, it is made of wood or metal etc. Well now, there are impressions that are not pleasant, for example, the words of an insulter. Could we transform the words of an insulter? The words are as they are. Then, what can we do? We can transform the impressions that those words produce in us. Yes, that is possible.
The Gnostic teaching tells us to crystallize the second force (the Christ) in ourselves by means of a postulate that says:
We must receive the unpleasant manifestations of our fellowmen with gladness.
This is the way to transform the impressions produced in us by the words of an insulter. This postulate will naturally get us to the crystallization of the second force (the Christ) in ourselves, to get the Christ to come and take form in us. This is a sublime postulate, one-hundred-percent esoteric.
If we do not know anything of the physical world but its impressions, then the physical world is not as external as people believe. With just reason did Emmanuel Kant say: "the exterior is as the interior." Then, if the interior is what counts, we must transform the interior. Impressions are internal. Thus, all objects, things and all we see exists in our interior in the form of mere impressions that incessantly vibrate inside our psyche. The mechanical result of such impressions have been all those inhuman elements we carry inside and which we have normally called "I"s, and which, all together, constitute the "myself."
Let us suppose, for example, that an individual sees a provocative woman and he does not transform the impressions. The result will be that these impressions, of a lustful type, naturally, produce the desire to possess her. Such desire comes to be the mechanical result of the impressions received, and it crystallizes, it takes form in our psyche. It is converted into one more aggregate, that is, into an inhuman element which constitutes the ego in its totality.
We will continue, thus, reflecting. There exists anger, greed, lust, envy, pride, laziness, and gluttony in ourselves.
Anger. Why? Because many impressions got into our interior and we never transformed them. The mechanical result of such impressions of anger form the "I"s that exist and live in our psyche and constantly make us feel anger.
Greed. Undoubtedly, many things in ourselves have awakened greed: money, jewels, all kinds of material things, etc. Those things, those objects got into us in the form of impressions, in a different thing, an attraction towards beauty or joy, etc. Such impressions that are not transformed are naturally converted into "I"s of greed.
Lust. I already said that different forms of lust have reached us in the form of impressions, that is, they arose in the interior of our mind as images of an erotic type whose reaction was lust. Since we did not transform those lustful waves, those impressions, that lustful feeling, that unhealthy eroticism, naturally, the result does not make us wait very long for it arrive. The result was completely mechanical: new "I"s were born in the interior of our psyche, morbid "I"s.
Nobody could say he is seeing a tree in itself, he is seeing the image of the tree but not the tree. As Emmanuel Kant said, nobody sees the "thing in itself," you see the images of things; that is, the impression of a tree arises in us, about a thing, and these are internal. The mechanical result does not make you wait long. It is the birth of new "I"s that come to enslave our Consciousness further, that come to intensify the dream in which we live.
When you really comprehend that everything that exists inside us in relation to the physical world is nothing more than impressions, you also comprehend the necessity to transform those impressions. And in doing this, you produce the transformation of yourself. There is nothing more painful than the slander or words of an insulter. If you are capable of transforming the impressions produced inside you by such words, then these will lose value; that is, they are like a check without funds to cover it. Certainly, the words of an insulter have no more value than that which is given to them by the insulted one. So if the insulted one does not give them any value, I repeat, they remain like a check without funds to cover it. When you comprehend this, then you transform the impressions of such words into something different; into love, into comprehension of the insulter. Naturally, this means transformation. So, we need to transform impressions incessantly, not only present ones but past ones also.
There are many impressions inside of us. We have committed the error of not transforming in the past. Many of their mechanical results are the "I"s that must be disintegrated in order to make the Consciousness free and awake. If you transform the things and the persons inside of you, inside your mind, those impressions, you transform your life. When there is a person in you who is proud of his social status, of his money, but begins to think, for example, that his social status is a merely mental matter, that it is a series of impressions that have reached his mind, impressions about social status, when he thinks that such status is nothing more than a mental matter, when he analyzes the subjectivity of its value, he comes to realize that such status exists in his mind in the form of impressions. The impression produced by money and social status is nothing more than an internal impression of the mind. Only through the fact of comprehending that they are only impressions of the mind, and transforming them, will pride then decay and slump, and humility will be born in us.
Continuing thus with these processes of the transformation of impressions we will continue with something else. For example, the image of a lustful woman gets into our mind; this image is obviously an impression. We could transform that lustful impression through comprehension; it would suffice to think, in that instant, that the woman has to die and her body will disintegrate in the grave; this would be more than enough to transform that lustful impression into chastity. If it is not transformed it will turn into more "I"s of lust.
Then, it is convenient that we transform the impressions that arise in our mind through comprehension. I believe you are understanding that the exterior world is not so exterior as is normally believed. Everything that arrives to us from the world is really interior. They are nothing more than internal impressions. Nobody could put a tree, a chair, a house, a palace, or a stone in his mind. Everything comes to our mind in the form of impressions, that is all.
Impressions are from a world that we call exterior and is not as exterior as we believed. It is convenient then, that we transform these impressions through comprehension. If somebody greets us, praises us, how could we transform the vanity that such praiser provokes in us? Obviously, praises and flatteries are nothing but impressions that arrive to the mind and react in the form of vanity. But if these impressions are transformed, vanity is made impossible. Then, how could we transform the words of a flatterer? Through comprehension.
When one really comprehends that one is nothing but an infinitesimal creature in a corner of the universe, indeed one transforms such impressions of praise, of flattery, into something different. He converts those impressions into what they are: dust, cosmic dust, because he comprehends his own position. We know that our planet Earth is a grain of sand in space. Let us think of the galaxy we live in, composed of millions of worlds. What is the Earth? It is a particle of dust in the infinite, and we, let us say, are microorganisms inside that particle. Then what? If we comprehend this when we are being flattered, we could make a transformation of the impressions related to flattery and praise, and, as a result, we would not react in the form of pride, right? As we reflect more on this, more and more we see the necessity of a complete transformation of impressions.
All we see externally is internal. If we do not work with the interior, we are on the way to error, because then we do not modify our habits. If we want to be distinct, we need to transform ourselves completely. If we want to transform ourselves, we must begin transforming the animal, bestial impressions into elements of devotion. Then, the sexual transformation, the transmutation, arises in us.
Unquestionably, this thing of impressions deserves to be analyzed in a precise and clear way. The personality we have received or acquired receives the impressions of life but does not transform them because it is something dead. If impressions were dropped directly over the Essence it is obvious that they would be transformed because, indeed, the Essence would deposit them in the corresponding center of the human machine.
Personality is the term applied to all we acquire. It is clear that it translates all impressions from all sides of life in a limited and practically stereotyped mode with arrangement to its quality and association. In this respect, in the Work the personality is sometimes compared to a very bad secretary who is in the front room and who is in charge of all the ideas, conceptions, preconceptions, opinions, and prejudices. She has many dictionaries, all kinds of encyclopedias, reference books, etc., and is badly communicated with the three centers; that is, with the mental, emotional, and physical centers. And, as a consequence or corollary, she almost always communicates with the wrong centers. This means that the impressions that arrive are sent to wrong places, that is, to centers to which they do not correspond. Naturally, this produces wrong results.
I will give you an example so you can understand me better. Suppose that a woman attends a gentleman with great consideration and regard. Clearly, the impressions that the gentleman is receiving in his mind are taken by the personality which sends them to the wrong centers. Normally, they are sent to the sexual center. Then the gentleman comes to firmly believe that the lady is in love with him and, as is logical, he would not delay too long before he began making insinuations of a romantic type. Indubitably, if that lady has never had that type of feelings about the gentleman, she would be surprised. This is the result of a bad transformation of impressions.
You see how bad a secretary the personality is. Indubitably, man's life depends on this secretary that mechanically looks for transformation in her reference books, without even comprehending what it really means, and consequently, transmits it without worrying about what could happen, feeling only that she is doing her duty. This is our inner situation.
What is important to comprehend in this allegory is that the human personality that we acquired and must acquire, begins to take charge of our life. This is something too important, unquestionable; it is useless to imagine that this happens to certain and determined people, it happens to all people, whoever they are.
It is obvious that these reactions to the impacts of the exterior world constitute our own life. Humanity in this sense, we can say in an emphatic way, is completely mechanical. Any man, in his life, has formed a set of reactions that come to be the practical experiences of his existence. It is clear that, as any action produces a reaction, actions of a certain type would produce reactions of a certain type and such reactions are called experiences.
What would be important, for example, would be to know our actions and reactions better, to be able to let the mind relax. This question of mental relaxation is magnificent. Lie down on your bed or on a comfortable chair, relax all your muscles patiently, and then empty the mind of all kind of thoughts, desires, emotions, and remembrances. When the mind is in silence we can know ourselves better. Such moments of stillness and mental silence are when we really come to verify, in a direct form, the crude reality of all the actions of our practical life.
When the mind is in absolute rest, we will see a crowd of elements and sub-elements, actions and reactions, desires and passions, etc., like something alien to ourselves. But they wait for the precise instant they can take control of us, over our personality. This is the value of the silence and the stillness of the mind. Obviously, the relaxation of understanding, in the most complete sense of the word, conducts us to individual self-knowledge.
So it is that of all life, that is, exterior life, what we see, hear, and live, is, for each person, the reaction to the impressions that get to him from the physical world. It is a great mistake to think that what is called life is a fixed, solid thing: the same for any person. Certainly, there is not a single person that has the same impressions that, with respect to life existent in mankind, are infinite.
Life, certainly, is our impressions about it, and it is clear that we can transform such impressions if we proposed ourselves to do it. But this is a difficult idea to comprehend, because the hypnotism of the sense organs is so powerful. Although it will seem incredible, all human beings are in a state of collective hypnotism.
Such hypnosis is produced by the residual state of the abominable Kundabuffer organ. When it was eliminated from the human being, there remained the diverse psychic aggregates or inhuman elements that altogether constitute the "myself", the "himself." These elements and sub-elements, in turn, condition the Consciousness and keep it in this state of hypnosis. So then there exists hypnosis of a collective type. EVERYBODY IS HYPNOTIZED.
The mind is bottled in such a way within the world of the five senses that it does not manage to comprehend how it can be free. It firmly believes it is a god. So, our inner life, the true life of thoughts and feelings, remains confused for our merely intellective and reasoning conceptions. Even though, at the same time, we know very well where we really live: our world of feelings and thoughts. This is something that nobody can deny. Life is our impressions and these can be transformed.
So then, we need to learn to transform impressions better. However, it is not possible to transform anything in ourselves if we continue fixed to the world of the five senses.
As I said in past lectures, the Work teaches that if the Work is negative, it is our own fault. From a sensorial point of view it is this or that person of the exterior world, the one you see and hear through these eyes and ears, that is to blame. This person, in turn, will say that we are to blame. But really, the blame is on the impressions that we have of people.
Many times we think that a person is perverse when inside this person is as tame as a lamb. It is very convenient to learn to transform all the impressions we have in our life. To learn to receive, so to say, with gladness, the unpleasant manifestations of our fellow men. Speaking scientifically about the impressions that come to us and about the way to transform them, we will say the following: the impressions that come to us correspond to Hydrogen 48.
For more on this topic, read The Revolution of the Dialectic by Samael Aun Weor.