The following text is not my personal idea, but rather an idea of one who was once my mentor (teacher) and today both mentor and friend or, better said, brother on the path. The purpose of this text is to encourage the members of some groups of people who were under the direction of my mentor who left me a direction.
How all those who started a serious and sincere path of self development knows – the path out of the modern new age tendencies, more based on the ”cult” of appearance rather than ”Being”- the work to discover oneself is full of faults, gaffs and delusions caused by the apparent impossibility of achieving what is at the beginning, the aim of the inner research- a better and concrete higher state of consciousness and self- knowledge. Sometimes those people, deprived of the various excuses which bring them to a state of walking sleep, find themselves alone, discouraged, and often depressed. They realize their limitations, their conviction, their non- existent unity.
This seems that the purpose of this text is to make them understand that these problems are normal, both at the beginning and before. Many of them renounce, but some others remain and try again and again, understanding that you can fall thousands of times, but once they stay and something happens: this is their first win, and when a win happens, it can be repeated more and more often, achieving new, higher and more concrete goals. Some of these people live in Rovinj, the city where I live in Croatia, some others in Pula, a city with a beautiful Roman amphitheatre where I often pass some hours in contemplation of this fabulous construction built in times when human hearts were less conditioned and more opened to self -expression, even under the autocratic politics of the Roman empire.
Please, don’t consider this text as something pretentious, but rather an exchange of experiences, and I encourage you to do the same. Every experience is useful. Let’s leave the egoistic and conservative thoughts that we have to hide our experiences. We live in a society where interactions are fundametal, and it’s my consideration that such texts are a sort of encouragement for those who have started on such a difficult and tortuous path. Just to make a joke, let’s do what Umberto Eco wrote in his novel, “Foucault’s Pendulum”: “Ma gavte la nata!” (Take out the cork!), a piedmontese expression … you say it to one who is full of himself, the idea being that what causes him to swell and strut is the pressure of a cork stuck in his behind. Remove it, and phsssssh, he returns to the human condition. I’ve taken out my cork. 😉
Maybe, the first influence which introduced me to the path of inner knowing comes from my grandmother. She was a follower of Gurdjieff’s teaching and was still more interested in the field of what is ordinarily labelled by ordinary people (let’s call them in this way) as occultism, esotericism and mysticism. As a child. I often lived with her in Trieste, Italy before I came to live in Rovinj, and even if she never spoke to me openly about these topics, (remember that I was a little child), she had shown me the possibility of achieving a different view of the world and the situations which happens in one’s life.
This ”indoctrination” caused me later more problems with making friendships, and even in the educational field. I remember that at the age of eight, I was expelled from the doctrinal teachings because I had some disagreements with the priest about the fact that God can be a savior of only Christians and that Jesus was the unique and only son of God (I remember that I told him that we are all Sons of God, and there are no exceptions between people, independently of how wise they are, and that, probably, Jesus, unlike this priest, knew this). In this period, as a result of intense emotive reactions (I was very emotionally susceptible), I’d experienced the first spontaneous moments of lucidity, the perception of being here and now, with the corresponding surprise: these moments were brief and after a few moments I fell into the field of my childhood fantasies. These moments came more often later, when I entered the teenage period of my life.
At the age of 13, I felt for the first time, the symptoms of what was later diagnosed as anxiety – suffocations, moments of panic, general disorders; now I understand that these symptoms were the results of a sort of struggle between a true wish of expression (determined by the needs of my Essence) and the autocratic education of family and school, full of (often unreasonable) inputs about what I have to do and what not, what was good and bad, even about my ”needs” (how can one determine the needs of another person?). This rejection of the external conditioning which could bring a child to become a member of the society, developed in me many feelings of guilt toward my parents who wanted the best for me – and this sense of guilt was the cause of such states of anxieties which physically became an arrhythmic disorder which remains with me today.
When I began the middle school, I met some older guys, and they accepted me as a friend. The thing I had noticed immediately was that they were intensely interested in the research of all concerning what I considered at that time, mysterious and hidden knowledge or magic.
On the 16th of April 1991, I remember that date, one of these friends proposed to me to have a meeting with an interesting and charismatic person who, as I knew later, was a sort of Guru of this group of friends. The same day I met him was the beginning (at least practical beginning) of my path. I had spoken with him about my problems and the sense of emptiness and uselessness I felt, and from this day he drove me through an extraordinary process of change and development which continues still today. Extraordinary, because I was never before aware of how much I was far from myself and the beauty and fullness of a life that happens just a few inches from my nose. I began to educate my eyes to see, my ears to hear, my hands to touch, unconditioned emotions, senses and thoughts, to be able to create some thoughts that were mine, not only a result of external reactions. I don’t know if I would have the force and courage to do this without external help, to overcome the trap of my main illusions, to escape from the cell where I was imprisoned and I was unable to see the door to escape.
He made me more conscious of my body and the expressions of the various reactions that happened in every situation, the emptiness of my emotions and thoughts. It was not easy because I wouldn’t accept to not be master of myself, to be an empty and non- existing being at the mercy of the law of randomness.
The words I’ve often heard from him in that period were: ”Look! Where you are, now? Your body is here, I see him, but you, where are you? Where is Andrea? At the Bahamas? You don’t exist! You aren’t”. This created many frictions toward him. Who was this arrogant man who can say such things? I was sure to really perceive myself, so how can i not exist? But, the need to find a solution to my situation was greater than the opposition I felt, so I persevered.
The time needed for such kind of work is 24 hours a day, and without the encouragement and comprehension of someone who passed through similar situations and problems, any attempt for changing something would be more complicated or impossible.
Self-observation, meditation, affirmations, role-playing (intentionally using the identifications), pondering, prayers, sensing, attention and concentration exercises, Yoga, Tai chi and other practices, became part of my daily routine. At the same time, I continued the theoretical study with my friends that later became a group.
”Who am I? Where I am right now? What does Andrea feel in that moment? Who observes all this? Who is that ”I”? And where is it located, if it is located somewhere in myself?”… These were the main questions I had to face every day, at every moment I was able to remember to ask.
I was unable to maintain a constant attention, and sometimes, I had to be happy if I was able to maintain it for a few minutes a day. Day by day seemed that instead of evolving, I was involving; related to the practice, everyday seemed worse than the day before, and for every small question resolved, many other higher questions was ready to arise. For some periods I was convinced to renounce, and the frustration for my ”not being” nature was so intense for one period I tried to forget all and starting drinking hard. Fortunately, I realized the futility of renouncement, and I came back to the work on myself.
I remember one situation, when at seventeen, I fell in love with a girl, which I considered the most important thing that happened to me. Of course, the first delusions arose when this ”relation” came to an end. I remember I became crazy, trying to bring her back to me – the girl I felt so much love for. I was everyday at the school door, waiting just to see her, just to hope to see her smile, or an afterthought. The wish to get her back became the focal point of each day. I was so despaired. I remember that my friends and my mentor started to bring me to awareness of the thing that what I was feeling was not Love, that wasn’t really love, but only my egoism and need for possession… what could I really do for her? And what if her beauty disappears one day… would I accept and need her in the same way? They literally demolished my conception of love! I was reacting to the conditioning of what others had taught me during my childhood and trying to find a sort of ephemeral solution for my fears. I was unable to love. Love was totally another thing.
This was so terrifying, confusing and, at the same time an extraordinary discovery for me.
Day by day, I was losing pieces of illusion and finding glimpses of possible truth, impulsive reactions, fantasies… and started to discover the presence of needs and desires that were buried under years and years of ”this is good, and this is wrong… do this, not that,“ etc.The only thing I was unable to reach was a state of at least relative self-recognition, self-remembering. Who was I really? Who was the observer and where did he disappear to every time I was forgetting to observe myself? A real Consciousness was only a possibility – and, the possibilities often remain as they are: unrealizable possibilities.
Desolation. Despair. Discouragement. These were the emotions I often felt in this period: the incapacity of achieving even a little better awareness and attention.
But… one day, something happened. I remember I was talking with my friend, the bass guitarist of the band where I was the singer, about some problems inherent in the music we were composing, and we fell into a debate. And then it happened: I felt angry, very angry, but at the same time, a part of me was calm, detached… I was at the same time Andrea who felt anger and the observer… I was centered in a detached I. Of course, not completely… it was a glimpse of a real I, it was not an unified ”I”, but it was there. I was there! I realized this literally – in a moment: a moment before I wasn’t aware of this state, then… he was there… or better…I was there, and this state was present in me from some mouth, but in this moment I realized his presence- the observer was there… I was the observer! From that day the feeling of presence, changing constantly in degrees, is everyday with me. I feel happy, angry, desolated, euphoric… a storm of emotion and thoughts may arise, but this centre of gravity, this ‘’constant’’, is still here. In some subtle way, I can say I am… not surely, not totally, but I am- I mean, I feel myself, and can look comfortably detached at what happens in and out of me.
Of course, to walk on the path of self -knowledge, a great effort and devotion to the work are needed, especially at the beginning of the path. But, it’s worth it, and he who has realized something on this way, knows this.