ON THE TRAIN
difference between Nefesh and Neshamah is that Nefesh is the immediate
the instantaneous response to the impulses that we have. This is
propped by the
fact that the same word in Arabic is Nafs, which means desire, and the Astral
body of the Theosophists is also known as the Animal
body. Nefesh is thus the seat of our desires, in a more
primitive or crude
sense, perhaps with some, but not a great, involvement of our
as it is with the higher animals, such as the monkeys, dogs, cats,
dolphins, etc., who will learn certain tricks, particularly if it helps
satisfy their desires, or even learn to understand and respond to up to
we advance through the journey of life, we can elevate ourselves to the
of Neshamah, but with many of us this never happens. In our train
be in a possession of Neshamah would be the same as not only having
ticket for the complete journey, but also staying awake throughout the
trip, being a silent witness to all the happy reunions, tearful
other happenings even at the smallest of railway stations, conversing
train conductors or vendors at the stations where the train has stopped
their own language, buying things, committing to memory the names of
towns and townships we have passed on our journey … simply being far
the average bored and boring tourist with a camera. The possessor of
would constantly display activity, initiative and motivation. With most
it is not so. As soon as they make themselves comfortable in their seat
become drowsy, in between taking a few snap shots periodically falling
and thus missing most of the excitement of the journey. Some people
fast asleep throughout the entire trip, and their Neshamah never fully
perhaps until the end of the trip is near.
we talk about differences between the various components of the human
must be aware that they are part and parcel of the same thing, of the
that is in our body. This soul has levels of development, of
one cannot be dissociated from another. A large number of people,
many as 99%, are “sleepers on the train,” which means they do not move
point of Nefesh.
follows part of a dialogue between G. I. Gurdjieff (left) and P. D.
radio play Struggle of the Magicians, where the two protagonists
state of the human mind, which Gurdjieff compares to a “machine”:
to do? Always that same stupid
question. Do nothing! Nothing can be done. This is the first thing you
Ouspensky: But, I want to...
Piotr Demianovich, man always has
thousands of false ideas and images, particularly regarding his own
and what he would like to do. These ideas must be thrown away, before
can take their place. Otherwise he would be building on the wrong
and with disastrous results.
Ouspensky: To lose such false ideas,
what does one have
do, and do again! The greatest mistake
is to think that something can be done. People never stop thinking of
are going to do, and always ask what they should do. In reality no one
does anything and no one can do anything, please get this once and for
Ouspensky: It sounds so hopeless...
because it is hopeless. While man
remains a machine, things only happen to him. Everything that goes on
around him, happens. All that he supposedly does, happens. Even when he
that he has originated something, it simply happened while he wasn't
Ouspensky: But how does it happen?
there is a change of temperature in
the upper atmosphere, it happens to rain. When the temperature drops
snows. Snow begins to thaw when the sun shines on it. That's how things
Ouspensky: Don't we have any
influence at all on what we
are doing? What about our creative work, what about art?
hold any false illusions about man's
creativity. The mechanical man is born, he lives, he procreates, he
books, but not because he would want it that way, only because it
him. Everything happens, his love, his desire, his anger, his hate.
Ouspensky: I refuse to believe that!
see? When told the truth, he won't
believe it. It is the most disagreeable and offensive thing you can
anybody, because it is the truth and no one wants to know the truth!
Ouspensky: All right, let's say that
you'd made that
point. What comes next? Are we now able to change things, can we do
fail to understand that once
something was done in a certain way, it cannot be undone or overdone.
instance, everybody talks about this war we are having, they all have
theories, they all think that only they know how it should be resolved,
the politicians and the generals got it all wrong...
Ouspensky: ... while they couldn't do
because things just happened to them?
right, everything happened in the
one and the only possible way. If one tiny incident was left out,
would be different. Maybe the war would not have happened, who knows?
everything depends on everything else, all is joined into a network,
can exist outside of it, everything happens the only way it can happen.
Ivanovich Gurdjieff (1866? –1949, right) was born
in a Greek family
living in Armenia; he traveled a great deal around Middle East, Asia
Russia, eventually moving permanently to France after the Russian
His spiritual teachings are a mixture of the Kabbalah, Theosophy and
with a great deal of individual wisdom added on. His pivotal theory was
man is essentially a machine, and only a shock treatment combined with
sustained conscious mental and physical effort can shake him out of
of machine-like existence. The analogy of the sleepers on the train
been using here would in all probability have appealed to him.
people on the train have their immediate desires (or they happen to
Gurdjieff would have said), and they fulfil them as they go along,
drink or a hot dog here and there, some even flirting with the person
opposite sex present in the same coupé for a while, buying a souvenir
In their real lives they are often the types that acquire various
because they like to have power, but they do not know why they need all
when they reach a certain stage in life they often say to themselves:
why do I
have all this, what have I achieved, what do I believe in? When they
the end of their life many of them might feel that they have wasted it.
majority of us who live in the Western world have most of our needs
but in addition to that we have our other desires, our “wants,” which
also get, however we do get them conditionally. That condition reads:
blood, sweat and tears.
is what life is all about; if we want more then we need we have to work
Those who try to take anything by force at the expense of other people
the system are like somebody who treads on a dog’s excrement on their
the train station (please, forgive me this simile, but it fits). When they enter the train
coupé they bring in
with them the smell, and people turn away from them and maybe go to sit
somewhere else. They may not know why people shun them, but all the
are the remains of that turd on their shoes and the smell is there. I
want to be misunderstood - there is nothing wrong with having desires
one’s needs, provided that one is prepared to work for it. If we are
if we try to steal away from the system and gain more then we deserve,
not ever fully benefit from our ill acquired wealth; either we easily
again, like the bank robbers who end up chasing the flying bank notes,
have to live with an inner sense of guilt that is inbuilt in all of us.
HORN OF PLENTY
In life, we can desire a lot
of things. But
Nature is very rich; there is a superabundance of everything. Let’s
ourselves what the Bible says about it:
And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed,
fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon
earth: and it was so.
And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after
kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and
that it was good.
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let
have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air,
the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that
upon the earth.
made the Earth and put all the flowers, plants, herbs, all the birds of
air, fish of the sea, cattle of the land, and all this, and he then
you can have it! Even when man did the wrong thing, God still told him:
of the Garden of Eden and go on the Earth. He further told him: you are
to have to earn your bread by the sweat of your brow. It might look
punishment, but there is a hidden meaning behind this, which is that
be able to reach to the highest point of his being. In Kabbalistic
brow of Adam Kadmon is the Crown of the Tree of Life, its highest
the lowest point is his feet, which stand on earth, the Kingdom of
be able to get to the fruit of Malkhut, the fruit of the beginning of
spirituality, man has to stand firmly on the ground, while also
reaching up to
the very top; in other words, he has to make the a link between these
picture Nymphs Filling In the Horn of Plenty (right) comes from the
Peter Paul Rubens.
stay on Earth is temporary, we are invited to share in its abundance
wealth, but we must always remain mindful that we are still only the
here. Freemasons are aware of this and this is why they wear an evening
when they meet in the temple. Masonic rituals, and indeed the whole
of this society, are very much built along the lines of the Kabbalah.
their meetings end, there always is a banquet held, even if only a
one, but still introduced in a formal manner. Tradition demands that
are invited to a party, we wear a dinner suit. The dinner suit
reminds to a Freemason that we are guests here, and also that the
has created the world, has also created many other guests beside
When you are aware of being one of many guests, you also behave in a
manner, not trying to push the others away so that you can get to the
“goodies”, but sharing everything with the others.
POWER OF THOUGHT
we enter a room with our mind correctly tuned, that is being positive
ridden by guilt, we radiate this to all those present. Thoughts travel
radio waves. There is a magnetic band around the world, some may call
it the ether,
others speak about the akashic records, etc. There
are waves of sound,
some of which we are able to listen to through the help of various and
increasingly sophisticated pieces of equipment, while others are still
the reach of even the most advanced modern technology. They can
transmitted and received by our minds. A person who is trying to sell
can broadcast his or her intention to others even before opening the
those prospective buyers may also be unconsciously influenced by the
of that person. If this happens to be a negative one, if the salesman
instance is unsure of himself and his product, if he keeps telling
he is not going to sell it to these people, this is exactly what
regardless of how much they might actually need the product. They might
“no” to the poor salesman and afterwards they might wonder what it was
made them to dismiss him, when they really have had every intention of
Responsible were the negative ideas that the salesman was projecting.
been recognised for quite some time; people have always been at least
unconsciously aware of the pitfalls of having negative thoughts spoil
success, and a whole new industry has been created around this since
beginning of the 20th century, which has been
growing larger year by
year. There are motivational books, videos, films, speakers and
who travel from town to town and from country to country to give public
lectures, etc. They all have built their act around the two magical
There are people who are aware of the
power of the human thought, but who want to misuse it by trying to cast
spells. Dion Fortune, who also wrote The Mystical Qabalah, says this in
of her books, Psychic Self-Defense.
live in the midst of invisible forces whose effects alone we perceive.
among invisible forms whose actions we very often do not perceive at
though we may be profoundly affected by them. In this mind-side of
invisible to our senses, intangible to our instruments of precision,
things can happen that are not without their echo on the physical
are beings that live in this invisible world as fish live in the sea.
men and women with trained minds, or special aptitudes, who can enter
invisible world as a diver descends to the ocean-bed. There are also
as happens to a land when the sea-dykes break, the invisible forces
upon us and swamp our lives. Normally this does not occur. We are
our very incapacity to perceive these invisible forces. There are four
conditions, however, in which the veil may be rent and we may meet the
We may find ourselves in a place where these forces are concentrated.
meet people who are handling these forces. We may ourselves go out to
Unseen, led by our interest in it, and get out of our depth before we
where we are; or we may fall victim to certain pathological conditions,
rend the veil.
Threshold of the Unseen is a treacherous coast on which to bathe. There
potholes and currents and quicksand. The strong swimmer, who knows ±he
may venture in comparative safety. The non-swimmer, who takes counsel
nothing but his own impulses, may pay for his temerity with his life.
must not make the mistake of thinking that these invisible forces are
evil and inimical to humanity. They are no more inimical in themselves
water or fire, but they are potent. If we run counter to them, the
disastrous for us, for we have broken a natural law; but they are not
attack us, any more than we are out to attack them. We must face the
however, that men and women with knowledge of these things, have, both
past and in the present, used that knowledge unscrupulously, and that
find our selves involved in the results of their actions. It may safely
that the Unseen is only evil and inimical to humanity when it has been
corrupted and perverted by the activities of these unscrupulous men and
whom initiates call adepts of the Left-hand Path.
attacks could come from anywhere, and not only from the “evil
might not have been aware of it, but it is quite possible, even
you have experienced some in the past, especially if even accidentally
stepped on some people’s toes, which in life sometimes is hard to
Someone who was annoyed with you might have sent evil thoughts to you,
did you little or no harm, however. A little farther Dion Fortune
form of psychic attack is that which proceeds from the ignorant or
mind of our fellow human beings. We say ignorant as well as malignant,
attacks are not deliberately motivated; the injury may be as accidental
inflicted by a skidding car. This must always be borne in mind, and we
not impute malice or wickedness as a matter of course when we feel we
victimised. Our persecutor may himself be a victim. We should not
accuse a man
of malice if we had linked hands with him and he had stepped on a live
Nevertheless, we should receive at his hands a severe shock. So it may
many an occult attack. The person from whom it emanates may not have
it. Therefore we should never respond to attack by attack, thus
ourselves down to the moral level of our attackers, but rely upon more
methods, which are, in reality, equally effectual and far less
is little doubt that some spells can be potentially quite powerful, the
question is where and how they are going to work. All intending
should be forewarned that by far the most likely recipients of spells
might try to cast on others are going to be themselves. It so happens
virtually all of us are protected in some way or another, and when a
was sent out cannot penetrate its target, it bounces off and then
finds its way back to its “Mummy” or “Daddy”.