Reality is the only word in the English language that should always be used in quotes.
I can still recall my first encounters with Self-Remembering. By that I mean those initial attempts to practice it, as study alone yields precious little. Trying to be aware of myself as I spoke to people threw me off, as if my train of thought was derailed by even greater thoughts intruding upon my organic threshold. I would be looking at me, as well as, all my various ‘I’s from outside. That impression by itself was life altering! A feeling came over me like the world had suddenly been turned upside down. I remember thinking, ‘This can’t be right’. I should be able to focus better while remembering myself – not worse! Going a step further, I felt as though I should be more comfortable in my own skin rather than alienated by it.
However, my focus and sense of self were disrupted by those moments of Self-Remembering; good thing, too, because I was focusing on the wrong things, my attention was held captive by illusion more often than not. You see, I took this world as real and based my interpretation upon a foundation of errors – the greatest of which was that I had any degree of control over my own thoughts, feelings, and actions.
As time passed, Self-Remembering not only created a much needed disruption… it also extended my attention, which meant that I was able to go deeper. My strange new consciousness explored depths which ordinary people never dreamt nor dared to go. This allowed me the opportunity to see things from a perspective which was beyond my usual way of thinking and feeling. From then on, I sometimes held a cyclopean view or one that seemed like mirrors within a carnival funhouse. Such a distortion of reality was akin to an infernal acid trip kind of transformative shock.
Perhaps the Work was practicing its psychological sorcery on me. Was this the fragmentary lore given to us by the Great Old Ones or another near-forgotten, extraterrestrial race? The world, as I knew it, shriveled into nothingness before me. I realized that my entire life, save for a few rare moments of gnosis, had been made of shadow… mere shadows dancing upon a cave wall.
In these last days before the Emerald Apocalypse, my conception of the universe and what lurks outside is so far from what ordinary people believe that I have difficulty relating to generally accepted reality and its proponents. Be that as it may, I’d rather immerse myself in weird truths than a convenient, spoon-fed prison of easy answers.
Positive emotions are something rarely talked about within the Cult of Cthulhu. Not because we enjoy reveling in man’s failures, but to ensure that man doesn’t fool himself into believing that he is already well on his way toward an Awakened state of being.
While negative emotions are easily expressed, positive emotions, from a Work standpoint, are difficult to come by. They are usually eclipsed by our overwhelming self-love. This love of self stains almost every thought, feeling, and action we have. When a man loves himself above all things, his ego replaces the Work. Positive emotions emanate from a higher place, above the morass of self-loving ‘I’s. Just as there are elevated states of consciousness, there are also elevated states of conscience. Together, they allow for a wider, deeper, richer awareness. From such a lofty place we have the capacity for transcendent love. Love as acceptance of the world as it is, the people who inhabit it, ourselves… love as a form of unspeakable bliss which stems from glimpses of absolute freedom!
Positive emotions cannot be felt without Self-Remembering. In the beginning of our struggles, when we are just becoming Men #4, Self-Remembering is a potent technique used to access a profound and hidden understanding. At this stage of development, this technique is mostly available during specific moments. Not whenever we wish, but as random, awful events in life shock us into a fresh perspective… or through the guidance of a conscious teacher.
Eventually, assuming the Ancient Ones are willing, we evolve into Man #5. The accumulation of these scattered moments hopefully create a residue which allows Man #5 to hear what Higher Intellectual Center and Higher Emotional Center are saying. These two higher centers vibrate at the same frequency as the Great Old Ones. We want to communicate with superior entities so that we may learn to become better individuals, no longer machines but New Men.
Those who achieve Man #5 status have an inkling of what it’s like to communicate with the Ancient Ones. I did not initiate the Cthulhu Cult’s birth until after reaching that luminous grade. All esoteric knowledge comes to us from the stars – it is not fabricated from personality. Human beings did not invent the Work, they received it.
A Surge of Progress
We have discussed the idea of incremental progression many times in the Cult of Cthulhu; making progress a little at a time. However, there is another avenue of progress, its opposite or shadow side, if you will. Instead of consistently making beneficial changes in multiple areas by increments, there are times when circumstances are ripe for a progressional surge.
This is a concentrated effort so laser focused that it eclipses almost every other area of one’s life. The demands of a progress surge necessitate monomania! This is very much like the super-efforts we occasionally talk about and which are required to Awaken. But where super-efforts are moments of willed change, the surge puts the pressure on and leaves it there for weeks at a time (months, in rare cases) with the intent of improving a singular aspect of oneself. Usually, this is either an area that is sorely lacking or a strong suit. A surge should either provide balance or, if one already has equilibrium, play to one’s strength!
If one eats, drinks, and breathes a particular interest, whatever that may be, then development can take a quantum leap. Be warned that evolutionary jumps cannot be made over and over again; they must come at specific intervals… usually in close proximity to a crisis. No matter how quickly we might be approaching Godhood, men are still bound by certain laws of nature, even if such New Men are capable of transcending many of them.
The downside of the progress surge should be obvious – every other aspect is neglected. After a surge, one might look up to see that virtually no progress has been made in other areas. Fortunately, that’s not as disastrous as one might think. Certain skills and abilities require extended rest from time to time. Personally, I’ve had ideas and skill-sets which needed to quietly jostle and revolve in the background of my consciousness before they formed into something useful and applicable to my life. Nevertheless, some things (like familial responsibilities) should not be cast aside. A progress surge can be dangerous if one isn’t mindful of over-reaching. That is why I recommend Cultists focus the majority of their time and energy on incremental progress, with only occasional energy devoted to progress surging.
Progress, even by the glacial crawl of increments, cannot be charted infinitely. Let me give you an example: a man starts a weight training program where he can bench press 100 lbs. Each week, he adds another repetition or two or, better still, more resistance. The man makes good progress, yet he will never be able to bench press 1,000 lbs, no matter how many years he progressively trains. Cultists must be aware of their own limitations while still daring to believe in the impossible.
Three Examples from My Life
The Work does not activate by itself, just as man does not evolve accidentally or by the whims of nature. Nothing is acquired unless it is applied to our own situation, our own lives. I encourage those who are serious about the Fourth Way to find real world examples. Don’t just nod your head in agreement when reading that expressing negative emotions is a bad thing. Recall a point in time when you were negative and what happened. Then wait for a time when you are about to be negative once more, and stop yourself by remembering yourself.
The following are some examples from my own life. This is the kind of thing every Cultist or Fourth Way student should be able to construct.
1. A couple of men came into the office. They walked over to my desk, offered their hand. Seated, I raised my hand to shake theirs. After they left, my Father told me I should have stood up before shaking their hand, as that was more respectful. Instantly, an ‘I’ began to deny the fact that I had done anything remotely disrespectful. This ‘I’ was all set to become indignant with how he was being lectured. However, Master ‘I’ appeared a moment later. He objectively saw what was going on and agreed that yes, if a man whom I truly admired had walked into the office to shake my hand, I would have stood up from my chair before shaking his.
Upon reflection, I did not deem the men worthy of rising because I did not know them. Instead of creating an unnecessary argument, I simply agreed that next time I would stand before any handshaking commenced. Later that day, a few of my ‘I’s admitted that all men unknown to me should be given due respect before I get to know them.
2. I was holding our ten month old baby in my left arm while she sat upon my left leg. With my right hand, I navigated the mouse. My eyes went from the computer screen to her bright blue eyes and back again. For a few seconds, she was content to sit still and murmur something incoherent. Then came the squirming and the fussing.
Some time later, while the three of us were playing on the floor of her bedroom, my wife spoke her mind. She told me that I spent too much time doing other things while I was supposed to be watching the baby. She further explained how I was almost always inattentive, that my attention was divided. One eye on Briella, and the other usually wandering to a computer screen, book, meal, or something on TV. When I was spending time with the baby, sometimes I should place the entirety of my focus upon her and her alone. At first, a few minor ‘I’s were up in arms. How dare she! A gross exaggeration! My wife has said herself that I am an excellent father. Ha! Condemned by her own words!
But then, of course, I quickly realized that she was right. I was multi-tasking too much, frequently trying to serve several masters at once. The baby is my priority, and sometimes I allow myself to become preoccupied with other interests. At that point, I could only agree with her. Telling her that I would make a concerted effort to focus on Briella when I was with her.
Master ‘I’ saved the day again. He was also careful not to let any lesser ‘I’s ride the pendulum swing which was going in the opposite direction. Although, I did hear something internally whispered about my being the elephant man of fathers. I paid it no heed. It would not do any of us good to throw ourselves into one extreme or the other.
3. There are some things I know. Most of the time, when it comes to those things, I’m right. Others disagree from time to time. Upon being proved correct, I usually don’t belabor the point. I don’t say, “I told you so.” I don’t go off to tell a dozen other people that someone else was wrong while I was right. No matter how tempting, I steal myself before any sort of ridiculing or other petty behavior occurs – although, self-defense and clarification of my views are other matters. I’m a good gracious winner. Letting go of “wins” is just as important as releasing “losses”.
Don’t make accounts against others. ‘I’s that wish to partake in such practices are not here to help you Work.
No Fourth Way instructor should say, “Think for yourself”. Instead, he should say something to the effect of, “Think in a new way” – a distinction with all the difference in the world. So, what do we mean by a new way? How do we normally think? How do we usually conceptualize the world? Whatever is observed… reverse the polarity. That is, do it differently. If you interpret life as a series of numbers, then start interpreting it as a kaleidoscope of colors. If you interpret life as precise actions and reactions, cause and effect, then start interpreting life as a wave of probability. If you see yourself as a smart, important, and together person, then begin seeing yourself as ignorant, meaningless, and in disarray – that happens to be nearer the truth for 99% of us!
It is easy for a sleeping man to strut his wakefulness like a peacock to all who would see and hear him. “People should be more aware than they are.” A misaligned student teacher might say. “They should think for themselves. I know what’s really going on, why things aren’t as they should be. I’m a rebel, an outcast. I’ll show you by criticizing that guy over there. Those who are asleep should become more like me. I am always Awake!” Cue the Gods laughing and then shaking their heads. If it comes too easily, then it is not the Work; and if you’ve been struggling against yourself for more than a year, then progress should be apparent.
However, the sleeping preacher proclaiming that everyone has the ability to “do”, to stand up and start making things happen is a fool. He is trying to be more like himself while encouraging others to also be more like him. Did he unlearn everything before taking in new learning? Did he put his former impressions away before receiving impressions from a different kind of teaching? Probably not. More likely, the misaligned student teacher tried to add new knowledge atop of old knowledge. A recipe for disaster if ever there was one.
Awareness is a wonderful thing, but what is the would-be teacher trying to be more aware of? If he is full of self-love, then it’s over before it even begins. If he is not willing to change, then he is too comfortable being a machine. Sleepers always want to think in the same way they have always thought – except more, bigger, and louder! The Work does not add to ordinary understanding, but destroys it. You’d be surprised how many student teachers forget that.
A man on the verge of Awakening tries to think in an entirely new way – and keeps at it until he succeeds! He wishes to become a New Man. This sort of man realizes that life’s conventional path has led him to a dead end. Only grasping the Work by one of its many tentacles shall lead him out of his prison self.
New Men, those who have Awakened, are not like their former selves. Student teachers, as well as, experienced students should ask themselves: do I really want to change… to become a different person? If the answer is no, then leave the Work. Pursue something else; something that will help you in life – not something that is opposed to life.
Man himself is the problem. That is what most sleepers don’t understand, especially those who sleep walk through the Work – throwing Fourth Way ideas like identification into a casserole of other philosophical and self-help tidbits until the distinct taste of the Work is entirely undetectable. Sure, recognize similarities but do not compare and contrast a non-Euclidean system like the Fourth Way with teachings equivalent to 2 + 2 = 4. They do not mix well.
This flawed, primitive self is the very reason why we cannot Awake. It’s how our programming responds to nature. Our being is so weak that even when we accidentally come upon higher knowledge, we cannot incorporate it into our prison self. Quite a few Fourth Way students believe that action is the key. They would have sleepers be more “active”. This is the opposite of how things actually progress. Those who consciously struggle do so against everything they are, for the false self is thoroughly intertwined with the true. How can a student of the Work overcome himself without first becoming passive? There are false aspects of each man which must submit before Master ‘I’ will appear. As we have talked about in Cult of Cthulhu discussions, the Left Hand Path practitioner must learn self-submission before having any hope of domination and conquest.
Only the Fourth Way student who loves this viridescent teaching more than he loves himself can make the necessary changes. He knows that he must wait for the right moment to strike. Trying to do anything without willpower is ultimately a useless endeavor, and Man #4 has not acquired will. Prepare yourself so that when favorable circumstances prevail – when the stars are right – Higher Forces are capable of energizing individuals with right Crystallization. Be patient, then make the super-efforts required to overcome your obstacles. As I mentioned, there are people who always want to be doing, always trying to be active. Such hyper-activity runs counter to making progress. Evolution needs certain doors to be unlocked by particular keys in the proper order. It is not a mad dash every which way. In fact, I believe that conscious evolution has to be engineered by Higher Forces in concert with True Will – the will of a New Man.
If there are hidden forces propelling man forward, then it stands to reason that there exist forces which hold him back. Mankind, therefore, is in the middle… unable to comprehend his Higher Centers while perpetually seduced by the candy colored baubles handed out by instruments of control. In that case, we are the third side – the deciding factor.
What do 4th Way practitioners desire? Why do they put in the effort? If it’s to serve oneself and oneself alone (that selfish nature which is completely comfortable with life) then the right effort will never find its way to the right place. Material riches and worldly power may result as a byproduct of doing the Work, but it must not be one’s sole reason for pursuit. Those who merely wish to become more effective machines will not graduate beyond Man #4. They will live their same old pedestrian lives year in and year out, never changing, never growing, refusing to become New Men because they are too busy being “themselves”, “aware”, and “active”.
Venger As’Nas Satanis
Cult of Cthulhu