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Ed Rabel: Basic Self Knowledge Lecture One

Notes for this talk

00:00:45 The book “Basic Self Knowledge” is not “The Work”, but rather a guide to The Work. The only source for The Work is best studied using the five volume commentaries by Maurice Nicoll. Nicoll was a student of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky. He was also a student of Carl Jung. Nicoll was religious and he taught “esoteric Christianity”. Esoteric is equivalent of what Unity calls “metaphysical”.

00:07:00 Maurice Nicoll founded his own institute in France. He lectured. The Psychological Commentaries are transcriptions of his lectures, given during the World War II years. Because they were lectures, reading the transcriptions can be difficult to comprehend. The enneagram, the ray of creation, the law of the octaves.

00:11:24 Harry Benjamin in Basic Self Knowledge leaves out almost all of the commentaries which are difficult to comprehend, instead focusing on material that is easier to understand. He also organizes the material. Like Charles Fillmore, Maurice Nicoll lectured without any organization. To this, Ed will bring into the discussion what Unity has to say as well.

00:14:10 “All energy expressions have to be polarized in order to be creative.” “You must have polarized energy expressions for creativity to continue.” Knowledge is energy. Story of Auntie Mame ... “Mr. Babcock, knowledge is power.” We must have knowledge of both its negative and positive side in order to be creative with it. The same is true about metaphysics, psychology, esotericism. Religious knowledge that is one-sided is dogmatism, cultism, fanaticism. This is important because some people will be resistant to what The Work teaches. Tactful negativity is better than tactless positivity.

00:21:06 Ed will dictate the glossary of the main terminology in the last class. The glossary was composed by a group of students in Toronto, some of who came to the Unity church there. Ed and Jim were interested.

00:22:35 Introduction. The Work starts off with the assumption that anyone who is interested feels they are in a dilemma. Unity has the same basic assumption, anyone who comes is following guidance to solve a dilemma. The Work dilemmas: You don’t really know yourselves, You think you are awake, but you are asleep, You believe negative emotions are okay, Something is lacking in your life, but you don’t know what. Unity dilemmas: You are either sick, broke or unhappy, Your religion does not really help you, You are disillusioned with life, You know there is help for you, but you aren’t sure where or how. Ed knocks “I’m Okay, You’re Okay” because they allow self-approved negative emotions. Unity ministers would benefit from identifying what dilemma people have when they request counseling.

00:29:45 All these dilemmas arise because people linger too long where they no longer belong. They are “procrastinators” and they need to be awakened. The Work tells us “how” from a psychological approach. Unity tells us “how” from a spiritual approach. Both are methods of Christianity, “esoteric” (The Work), metaphysical (Unity). Both teach the same truth, the rising of being through higher levels of consciousness, but utilize their own terminology.

00:32:15 There is a contrast between “personal consciousness, selfish self, me and mine” (the danger zone) and “spiritual awareness, divine self, I AM”. Personal consciousness is the negative polarity of spiritual awareness, selfish self is the negative polarity of divine self and me and mine is the negative polarity of I AM. The negative polarity make real happiness impossible, but the positive polarity open the doors to all possible good. Ed reads from pp. 27, 28. “Man seeks for happiness through the wrong medium.” Creativity is the only way a person can experience real happiness.

00:38:50 Chapter III The Imaginary “I”, alludes to “self image”. Ed reads the opening paragraph on p 29 about individuality and personality. Knowing the difference between individuality and personality is so important that an entire chapter is devoted to it in Lessons in Truth. Not knowing the difference keeps a person on the lowest three levels of human existence. Personalities are never real, never permanent, never dependable. They are roles. Individuality is the reality of every person. There is always an element of insanity in all personality. Only the individuality in us is completely sane. Personality is always “I think, I want, I don’t like, I must have, I agree, Me and Mine.” Individuality deals only with the eternal I AM. This is not wickedness, but irrationality, an element of insanity.

00:46:05 The results of The Work are cumulative, not immediate. Unity is a little different in that one often gets quick results.

00:48:58 Remember that because we are talking about polarized knowledge, there is a right place for self-image or personality, but it’s right place is not supremacy.

00:50:06 Traditional Christianity is weak in psychological content, but Unity is stronger than any other religion in its psychological content. Because Unity has a strong psychological content, it is a blend of idealism and practicality, religion and psychology. Psychology is “knowledge” about one’s self. Metaphysics or Truth is “understanding” about one’s self. Knowledge without understanding is clutter. Knowledge with Understanding is creativity.

00:52:19 Pages 32-33. Psychology is limited in what it can do because it deals with problems of the false self as if they were permanent. They deal with the false personality as if it were the real self. This can result in relief, but not in true health and growth. Truth and metaphysics, cooperating with psychology, can bring real health. This is why Charles Fillmore insisted that psychology be included in Unity teachings. What The Work calls “Imaginary I” Unity calls “false personality.”

00:58:40 Identifying and Relating. Page 35. Ed reads the opening paragraph of Chapter IV, Self Observation. Self observation should not occur during the Silence, but rather during the daily activities. Just as God the creator is always greater than anything that is created, so is man always greater than anything which is manifesting. But it is only man makes the mistake of “identifying.” It is man who identifies with what is manifesting. There is a difference between I AM and what is happening. If I call what is happening “me” then I become subject to it. Especially our moods. “Identifying” is not the same as “relating”. “I and the Father are one” is relating, but “I am God” is identifying. Identifying is always wrong, but relating can be very good, right.

01:05:42 Observing your inner state is vastly different from feeling your inner state or knowing that state. Example of boredom. If we feel it or know it, we become it. If we observe it, we have risen above it. By observing, we exercise some sort of control. To observe one’s self requires Real Effort. All real effort helps a person to awaken and lets in more light. Also, self observation can cancel out identifying. When we observe something, things change. I gain in mastery.

01:09:26 When we find ourselves in a negative state, there are four steps we can take to free ourselves. The Work steps are: Observe yourself, Remember yourself, Practice non-identifying, Remember The Work. Unity gives similar steps, which are more easily understood by those not knowledgable about the teachings: Become still and turn within, Remember who and what you really are, Denial - withhold your sense of I AM from any negative state, Affirm the Truth. These four steps are identical to those in The Work, but are simpler and easier for the novice.

01:13:10 Ed reads from p 28: “Self observation must always be uncritical.“ To criticize does not mean to reject. It leads to identifying. All self observation must be uncritical, because what we criticize, we affirm. What we affirm we draw closer to ourselves, until we wind up identifying. Denial, as taught by Unity is different from criticizing. I recognize that sickness is occurring, but I refuse to say it is “you”, to identify you with it.

01:17:30 Unity follows the leadership of Jesus Christ as a conscious choice rather than “carrying on the tradition because one was born into it.” Charles and Myrtle chose to follow Jesus because of the validity of his teachings. They found that when they knocked, the door was opened.

01:20:03 Self Remembering, Chapter V. Unity teaches self remembering more than any other Christian religion. Unity constantly tells us to “remember who and what you really are.” “I AM as spiritual being, I AM a child of God, I AM a soul who always has opportunity for choice, I AM a divine idea in the mind of God, I AM the inheritor of all the Father’s Good, I AM an inlet and an outlet for all God’s good.” All these are who and what I really am and I must awaken and remember it. The best time to remember who and what we really are in the midst of a crisis or difficult event instantly creates new energy. If we wait and do it only in quiet prayer times, but it is more potent when it is done in midst of difficult life events.

01:25:15 Ed reads page 43-44, last paragraph about “conscious shock”. Unity does not use the term “first conscious shock” but presents the same ideas with affirmations and inner illumination. All correct affirmations cause a shock to our mechanical thinking and let in new thought. This is the same as the “conscious shock” provided in The Work. Ed’s examples of giving one’s self a shock: Forgiving something that does not seem to deserve forgiveness, Refusing to worry about something the whole world says you should worry about, Not getting upset about giving more than you are receiving in certain situations, Cheerfully (without guilt) admitting to oneself that one has been wrong.