Experiencing the Other as Self

Italian version

The mental exercises of Step Four require an advanced mastery of the techniques of the first three Steps, in particular of those we are going to list:

  • Soul balancing. On the threshold of Step Four, one must be able to bring unconscious drives and character flaws under conscious control. This means not getting caught off guard when our negative traits are trying to take over. Through the joint action of introspection, autosuggestion, meditation and willpower, we have learned to control the critical aspects of our emotions; therefore, it is essential to maintain a constant presence that allows us to recognise negative states when they arise and the way to counterbalance them to cancel their effects. This does not mean all negative traits must be eradicated or transmuted; as already mentioned, the work on aspects of our being progresses throughout life and is not limited to practice sessions. The critical thing is that major individual flaws are no longer a cause for concern.

From a practical point of view, how is soul balance expressed, and how is it recognised? Its manifestation strictly depends on the single individual. Therefore, it is not possible to define a general rule. Let’s say that, faced with any situation, the feeling one gets is that of becoming part of the situation itself, no longer putting aside the resistance and selfishness that normally shield the entire understanding of events. This does not mean becoming passive but instead exercising the strength necessary to resolve the circumstance in the best possible way or to find the condition of minimum resistance – or adaptability – to what the situation requires.

  • Acquisition of the Elements. With the acquisition practices of the Elements of Step Three, we complete the preparation of the Elements used for balancing the soul. The difference, in this case, is that the Elements are no longer just a label under which to group our character strengths and weaknesses; they become something real, capable of stimulating the effects corresponding to their characteristics down to the physical plane. These exercises complete the astral plane preparation requirements for the next Step.
  • Concentration. It is a fundamental aspect. Without an adequate ability to fixate on the elements of the practice (thoughts, ideas, people, objects, etc.), the continuity created between the practitioner and the object of the practice itself is lost.
  • Mind emptiness. The state of mental emptiness is essential not only because it is the basis of many practices but also to express a non-dual state. In other words, distinctive thought ceases, and we reach the precognitive source of phenomena in the inner silence that follows. The Fourth Step jobs require you to enter the mental emptiness as quickly as possible.
  • Creative Imagination. All practices relating to sensory concentration, on one sense or several senses at a time, have the aim of shaping the creative capacity of the imagination, whose purpose, let us remember, is to prepare the mind to form images and to perceive the effects of sensory perception without the stimulus offered by the sense doors. Creating with the mind means empowering nature’s methods through conscious will.
  • Physical Training. Under this designation, we mean both the ability to dominate the posture and body tensions for the time necessary during the practices, without the mental stability being disturbed, and control of the flow of vital energy in the body and the individual organs. This last point is crucial because it requires the ability to move consciousness in places other than the usual one. The Fourth Level of mind training introduces the transference of consciousness again, but this time outwards.

Transferring consciousness means relocating one’s mental body to an external object or being. Thus expressed, there appears to be a spatial transfer from one body to an object or another body, but that is not quite what is meant.

To give an example, let us refer to what is known as “sympathetic magic”, as defined by the anthropologist James Frazer [1], a form of magic based on the law of similarity; it presupposes the action at a distance of forms which are in close analogical bond. The same doctrine of signatures, as expressed by the Greek Galen [2], follows this trend, revealing the remedial work of parts of plants, animals and minerals whose shape or function is similar to that of the human organ to be treated; and so is Hahnemann’s homoeopathy [3], where like cures like (similia similibus curantur).

In all these cases, a link is created which is not the product of the law of causality as understood by classical physics, according to which an effect cannot manifest itself from a cause which is not in the past space of the event and a cause cannot have an effect that is not in the future space of the event: the causal nexus implies a separation that must be bridged across spacetime.

On the contrary, in the transfer of consciousness, as in the sympathetic bond, the relocation, which would be more correct to define “transmutation”, takes place by consciously assuming the form and function of the object or being towards which we direct our attention. Therefore, we are not in the presence of a spatial relationship that requires a “displacement” but of ever deeper stages of similarity until we reach a high degree of integration that allows us to overcome the barrier that separates us from the “other”. This is based on the expression of a consciousness that knows no limits of space and time and which is, in fact, universal and eternal. Everything is permeated with consciousness; everything is an expression of it, even inanimate objects. We experience this universal consciousness through the limits of the human condition, whose senses circumscribe the extent of our experience. However, through conscious transfer techniques, we can “soften” and subsequently shape our mental structure until it coincides with a different conscious expression.

Bardon cites four stages of the transfer of consciousness:

  • The first stage is based exclusively on the thoughts and sensations that the object or being arouses in the experimenter and on the perception of its shape and physical size; there is no connection with feelings, emotions, etc., of the object or being. It is a superficial and preparatory transfer phase, which mainly serves to become familiar with the practice.
  • The second stage creates a slight mental connection; one perceives the sensations of the object or the being but not the emotional or mental result of its perceptions; at most, the experimenter can assume what the subject experiences but has no direct knowledge of it.
  • The third stage completes the previous one, guaranteeing the perception of the physical, soul and mental attributes of the subject being investigated. It is a phase in which one becomes an invisible observer of the other’s inner mental and emotional sensations and reactions; thus, for all intents and purposes, one acquires an understanding of being deep enough to associate this stage with “mind reading”. It does not mean taking control of individuals; however, knowing their intimacy makes it possible to influence them from the outside because one knows their reactions in advance.
  • The fourth stage realises the union between the mental body of the experimenter and that of the subject. It is the most advanced stage, where one becomes one with the other being, thus directly influencing the emotions, thoughts and actions of the being into which the consciousness is transferred.

In mind training for the Fourth Step, practising the first two stages is required, although one should strive to complete the third, even if it is not a prerequisite. The fourth stage is a very advanced level of practice which is not being considered for now.

[1] Sir James George Frazer (1854-1941) was a Scottish anthropologist and folklorist who powerfully influenced modern mythology and comparative religion studies. His major work, The Golden Bough, an analysis of the myths and rituals of antiquity and their parallels in early Christianity, was published in its entirety (twelve volumes) in 1915.

[2] Claudius Galenus (129-c. 216) was a Greek physician and philosopher with Roman citizenship. Considered one of the most eminent medical researchers of classical antiquity, he contributed to developing various disciplines, such as anatomy, physiology, pathology and pharmacology. His philosophical position was close to Plato’s thought; espousing the thesis of the soul’s immortality, Galen maintains that the soul exists before birth and is acquired through the breath, becoming part of the individual nature.

[3] Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann (1775-1843) was a German physician known for formulating the homoeopathic system of medicine. He developed the homoeopathic theory prompted by the failures of the therapy of the time in treating various ailments. Experimenting with himself some botanical extracts and verifying that in a healthy organism, they caused the same symptoms as diseases, he concluded that “like cures like”. He continued to practice and lecture until he died in Paris. Even today, his descendants continue his studies in homoeopathy.