The Light Itself

The Light Itself

An Essay on Attainment

Be what is lacking in the World. Create a life worth living.


A tree thrives on a healthy ground

The Work on ourselves starts with our life. Our direct surrounding needs to be in order if we want to undertake the demanding task that is the Great Work. We can’t focus if we constantly worry about paying the bills or having a roof over our head. Likewise we need a lifestyle that allows us to dedicate some time to the Work. A tree thrives on a healthy ground.

It is the proper of Nature to grow. Some mysterious force of the Universe sets us on this path of life with one core purpose: to grow. Human beings seek perfection since time immemorial. We have always understood that there was a raw intrinsic value in self-perfection. The Hindu knew it. In the Western world, Greek philosophers of antiquity knew it. Ancient Mysteries, Hermeticism, Gnosticism and modern religions kept the tradition alive. The etymology of perfection is “To bring to an end”. Every single experience perfects us; it is an end that ever lies out of reach. Our aim is not to reach it, but to strive for it. The perfect individual couldn’t improve and that which can’t improve is imperfect. Perfection is a paradoxical ideal. To reach it, all we need is intention, followed by concrete action. With every attempt and at every single sign of success, the body will secrete dopamine, inciting us to push for more. Pacing ourselves, we steadily climb higher and higher towards Attainment.

The chief Attainment is Enlightenment, union with the divine. The person who seeks Enlightenment is called Mystic. Mysticism doesn’t have to be religious and the divine isn’t necessarily God. The divine is what lies beyond the self, yet is also found deep inside. Mystic united with the divine within sees the illusion of the self and of Reality.

All religions, in their own way, teach the chief Attainment of Enlightenment. Buddhahood, the Moksha of Hindu, becoming the Christ, the Khushu of Sufism are some of its appellations. However, what the main religions don’t teach is what to do with that new-found Wisdom. Some modern religions like Thelema do teach it (some parts of the present method are a simplification of it). After Enlightenment, we must return home. From the exhilarating heights of the divine, we must come down to earth and create our life anew. Like the salmon goes upstream to create, it is only at our point of origin that we will find the means of personal accomplishment.

“Know thyself” was written on the ancient Greek temple of Apollo. If that is our aim, then there is no greater master than ourselves. We must develop the ability to learn on our own, connect with the Inner Master. The teachers who came before us, the gurus, the prophets, need not be ignored, but they are only guides. They help us understand the nature of the task at hand. The Work itself is the responsibility of the individual.
A craft is best learned by practice. Spirituality is no different. The Ancient Greeks called GNOSIS the personal experience of the divine. How to attain GNOSIS will be explained in a later chapter. At first the experiences is humble; spiritual experiences are fleeting. They come by surprise, overwhelm us with bliss, then they leave. But they eventually come back. The beautiful moments should be lived fully while they last. They shouldn’t be studied at their first occurrence. Should they only happen once, they are not worth studying and should they happen again, then there will be plenty of opportunities to study them later. Diligent focus on the Work brings bliss again.

Not every personal experience of the divine can be trusted. The process requires prudence. The ego often tricks us into believing lies. There is no greater demon than that of self-delusion. Doubt is the light that guides to the truth. It comes from the depth of the Unconscious Mind as a whisper: ‘are you sure about this?’ It’s an uneasy feeling for the uninitiated, but a stern reminder for the adept. It mustn’t be confused with scepticism which is a tool of reason. The validity of a spiritual experience can’t be assessed by way of reason. Doubt, on another hand, is a trusted tester of faith. It challenges our interpretation of GNOSIS. Coming from the Unconscious, doubt cannot be controlled. This isn’t a voluntary process. The practitioner must keep an open mind for the moment doubt sprouts. Every experience must be relentlessly confronted with doubt until it is indubitable. Confirmation is bound to come to the patient who can resist the urge to seek too soon, in books or elsewhere, an outside explanation. The price of wisdom is the patience to seek the truth for ourselves, through GNOSIS. Without the due diligence, we risk convincing ourselves that an Attainment has been reached, when maybe it is still out of reach, thus locking ourselves out of that Attainment. Personal experience comes before the scriptures. It doesn’t matter that someone whose opinion is respected said the opposite of what we have experienced. This is how self-confidence is built. Each experience is a lesson. Learning alone is having many teachers, including ones that don’t look the part.

Learning happens in two phases: the discovery and the mastery. In the discovery phase, everything is new. The vast sea of knowledge swallows us. We lose ourselves in it all day long. In the discovery phase, learning happens in long sessions, but the phase itself doesn’t last very long. Once we are familiar with the studied topic, comes a phase of mastery. We study every little detail and we hone every sub-skill, one by one. This painstaking phase last a lifetime, but the sessions themselves won’t be very long. The passion isn’t swallowing us whole like it used to. Now the skills grow step by step on the long way to mastery. Between each steps of the mastery phase, we can learn a new skill. That way, we can learn several skills at once by layering them. Our culture pretends we can only do one thing at a time (‘jack of all trades, master of none’), but it couldn’t be further from the truth. The plasticity of the brain is virtually endless. Is only rigid the mind of those who believe they can only master one skill. The wise grows exponentially for the more we learn, the better students we become. At times, progress will dry out, revealing that detached tenacity supports our careful planning. Obstacles are tests.
The road is long and we should pace ourselves. It would be wise to start by learning the things we like, so study comes easy. A base layer of abilities is prepared, a foundation on which mastery can stably grow. The study of less interesting topics will come more naturally. Once we have built the self-confidence to make the right choices, we can even leave some skills aside entirely. We can always come back to them later, should we change our mind. When mastery is closer at hand, the things left aside become easier to incorporate.

The Great Work must be built on a stable ground. Our life must be in order. We must be of sound physical condition, take care of ourselves and love ourselves. If we don’t who will? We need a source of income to provide for our basic human needs. We need enough free time to do the Work. Above all, we must remember that Attainment won’t make us moral. If we don’t work on being good now, the allure of pride will ruin us.