Mask of Sennedjem SM

An Inconvenient Idea

It always amazes me that more people are not interested in the idea of conscious evolution…


Rodney CollinSM

That We Can Practice for the Moment of Our Death

When I was just beginning to explore the difficulties and possibilities of self-remembering…


HigBust-of-Thutmosis-III-18th-Dynasty SMher Mind, Knowledge, and Being

In general people don’t like being told that there are experiences or perceptions that they are not privy to. The idea that men are different…


Shakespeare-SMWords, Words, Words

According to the Kabbalists the twenty-two letters of the ancient Hebrew alphabet are the building blocks of the universe…


Queen-Hatshepsut SMRecurrence, Higher Dimensions, and Time Travel

In esoteric work we don’t imagine traveling back to the past or into the future; instead we extend our vision from the present to include the past and the future.


Rembrandt-Portrait-of-Old-Man-in-Red-Hermitage-Saint-Petersburg SMThoughts, Attitudes, and the Emotional Center

In spiritual circles today there is a certain amount of contention about the role that thoughts play in the process of mastering higher consciousness.


Andrei-Rublev-icon SMPrayer as a Method of Inner Work 

P. D. Ouspensky was interested and spoke about using prayer as a method of creating a continuous reminder to remember himself.


Walt-Whitman-Thomas-Eakins 1891 SMI Contain Multitudes

People don’t like being told that they are not one person; it sounds crazy. But really it’s reversed. The truly crazy people, the scary people, are the ones who are always the same.


Madonna-Fra-Filippo-Lippi SMMyth, Higher Centers, Lower Centers, and Madness

When I was a young man, I worked at a psychiatric clinic, and one morning I was asked to go to our front offices to admit a new patient…


P-D-Ouspensky SMPhilosophy, Theory, and Practice

When I say ‘this is theoretical’ or ‘this is philosophy’ in answer to a question, it means that the language is wrong. ~ P. D. Ouspensky



Rembrandt-Portrait-of-Agatha-Bas-Bambeeck SM

Being Present and Self-Remembering

In the last weeks I have been asked three times whether or not being present and self remembering are the same effort, so perhaps…


Tutankhamun-Second-Coffin-Egyptian-Museum-Cairo SMAttention

Attention holds a specific energy in a fixed field around something that we want to observe or examine…


Van-Gogh-Self-Potrait SMIdentification

When you are present, attention is divided between yourself and the object of your attention, with identification attention is drawn by the object of one’s attention.


Ephebe-de-Marathon SMThe Body, Health, and Being Present

The body is the only focus we have for consciousness. It can be seen as a kind of rallying point for being present, something for consciousness to form around.

Vermeer-The-Milkmaid SMA Center of Gravity in the Present

People generally believe that they can be present in the enjoyable moments of their lives, and that other moments…


Rembrandt-Self-Portrait SMA Few Observations on Divided Attention

The ability to keep your attention on the world and, at the same time, on your reactions is a key element in being present and self-remembering…


Rembrandt-Workshop-Young-Woman-at-an-Open-Half-Door-Chicago-Art-Institute SMWill, Self-Remembering, and the Desire to Be Present

Anybody who tries to be present for any length of time will eventually come to this thought: ‘If I could only increase my desire to be present, I could be present more often.’


Renoir-Luncheon-of-the-Boating-Party SMBeing Present and Other People (External Consideration)

If you can manage to use this tool, external consideration, for one evening, I guarantee that you’ll find out something interesting about yourself and others.


Adam-and-Eve-Albert-Durer SMEsotericism and Morality

If esoteric practice is about creating higher consciousness, doesn’t that give students of esotericism the licence to be selfish and to take advantage of others?


Meher-Baba-Bombay-1929 SMThe Student/Teacher Relationship

The teacher is not a substitute for the students own inner efforts. The teacher can invigorate the student’s consciousness, but he cannot motivate it.


Donatello-Saint-Louis-of-Toulouse-SMThe Nature of Suffering

The principle here is that when you suffer you strengthen whatever you are feeling in your inner world.


Leonardo-da-Vinci-Mona-Lisa-detail SMA Continual State of Transformation

The ability to transform our suffering can be seen as a benchmark by which we can judge whether or not we have the capacity to endure the intensity of a conscious life.


Rembrandt-Self-portrait-1639 SM

Life as a Test

What  if someone were to magically appear in the place where you work and say to you, ‘In the next two hours everything that happens to you will be a test…’


Plato_Silanion_Musei_Capitolin SMWhen You Want to Complain About Your Life

Normally people feel that their lives have been, justly or unjustly, given to them, that they had no choice in the matter…


Walt Whitman SMTransforming the Fear of Death

If you live in a place where you feel that you are your body and that everything and everybody outside of your body is separate, then you will certainly fear death.


Apollo-SMType and Other Maps of Human Individuality

In order to understand the dynamics of human relationships it is necessary to understand to some extent the many factors that make up individuality.


Renoir-Detail SMEducating Essence

Essence is our human side, and, like humanity as a whole, essence has great potential for empathy and doing good, but it is also easily corrupted…


Pakal-as-Young-Man-King-Temple-of-Inscriptions-Palenque-SMEssence and Personality

When personality dominates it means that events are deflected, that they are not allowed to enter us in a way that affects us deeply.


Leonardo-da-Vinci-Portrait-of-a-Girl-SMWhen We Talk About Freedom

When we talk about freedom, we’re speaking about the work an individual does to become free of unnecessary laws.


Apollo-with-Lyre-SMThe Law of Seven

If we understood the law of octaves, we could see more clearly how the universe unfolds, or how a tree grows, or how learning requires special efforts…


Rembrandt-St-Matthew-and-the-Angel-SMThe Law of Three

When I worked at a psychiatric clinic as a young man, I was asked this question by a friend: If you could explain one esoteric idea to your colleagues at the clinic…


apollo-pouring-libations-acropolis-museum-SMThe Theory of Celestial Influence

I have observed that the idea that we are influenced by the movement of the moon, the planets, and the stars is one of the esoteric ideas that is most often objected to.


Medusa-Glyptothek-Munich-SMSex Energy

Sex is that it should have no negative side. Either there are pleasurable and joyful sensations, or there are no sensations at all.



On Travel

First we have to admit that traveling doesn’t necessarily make us wise, because if that were the case, then I, and many of my friends



In stoicism happiness can be achieved, but first you must learn to distinguish the truth of what is in your power and what is not.


Buddha-Qing-Dynasty-SMGhosts, Desire, and Happiness

What is usually called happiness is the gratification of desires. If you want something and you get it, you are happy…


Gurdjieff-SMTeaching Conscious Evolution

There is a Mulla Nasrudin story that goes something like this: A woman came to Mulla and asked him to forbid her son to eat sugar…


Rembrandt-Self-Portrait 2 SMOn Finding Oneself

A child first becomes an individual by asserting his separateness:  I want this. I am this, and you are different


Nefertiti BerlinOn Sacrifice

Our lives can be made more deliberate in a way that incorporates inner work into our daily activities, but we have to want to do it…


Rembrandt - Portrait of Hendrickje Stoffels SMEmotions

Once in my role as a counselor at the psychiatric clinic where I worked as a young man, I spent an afternoon talking to a new mother….


Rembrandt-Self-Portrait SM


Before I was five, that is, before I went to school and began to develop personality, I knew quite definitely that I had lived before.


St John the Baptist, Leonardo da Vinci SMOn Good Fortune

The only way we can have a guarantee of good fortune is to find a way of thinking and living that transforms events that we now think of as bad fortune into events…


Grunewald, Resurrection, Unterlinden Museum SM

Gurdjieff, Gnostics, and the Divinity of Christ

At the age of five I was sent to Catholic school and almost immediately got into trouble with the priests and nuns who ran the parish…


P-D-Ouspensky SMP. D. Ouspensky Among the Lunatics

When I worked at a psychiatric clinic in my youth, I convinced the supervising nurse at the hospital to hire a friend of mine…


Coffin of Henut-Wedjebu, Songstress of Amun, Detail of Head)On Grief 

A couple of years ago two of my friends died within a short period of each other…