We are going to talk about the transformation of life. This transformation is only possible if one has the resolution to profoundly do it unto oneself.
Transformation signifies that one thing changes into something else. It is logical that everything is susceptible to change.
Well-known transformations within matter exist; this no one can deny. For example, sugar is transformed into alcohol and the latter is then converted into vinegar through the action of fermentation. This is the transformation of a molecular substance. One knows about the chemical life of elements, for example, when radium is slowly transformed into lead.
The alchemists of the Middle Ages spoke about the transmutation of lead into gold; nevertheless they were not always concerned with only the mere metallic physical matter. More specifically, what they wanted to indicate with such a statement was how the transmutation of the lead of the personality can be transformed into the gold of the spirit. Therefore, it is convenient for us to reflect upon all of these things.
In the Gospels, the idea of the earthly man (who is comparable to a seed that is capable of development) has the same meaning as the idea of the renaissance of the human being, or the man who has to be born again. Obviously, if the seed does not die, the plant cannot be born. Death and birth coexist in every transformation.
In Gnosis, we consider the human being to be like a factory with three floors that normally absorbs three types of nourishment.
Common nourishment, which is a matter related to the stomach, is the first type, which corresponds to the inferior floor of the factory. Naturally, air is related with the second floor and this second type of nourishment corresponds to the lungs. Indubitably, impressions are associated with the third floor or the third type of nourishment and this corresponds to the brain.
Unquestionably, the food that we eat suffers successive transformations. The process of life, in and of itself, is transformation. Each creature in the universe subsists by means of the transformation of one substance into another. For example, a plant transforms water, air, and the salts of the earth into new vital vegetable substances such as nuts, fruits, potatoes, lemons, etc., elements that are useful to us. Therefore, everything is about transformation.
The fermentations of nature vary because of the action of the solar light. Unquestionably, the sensitive film of life (which normally extends over the face of the Earth) conducts every universal force towards the very interior of the planetary world. Therefore, each plant, each insect, each creature, and the intellectual animal himself (who is mistakenly called human) unconsciously absorb, assimilate, specific cosmic energies, which are then transformed and transmitted towards the interior layers of the planetary organism. Such transformed energies are intimately related with the whole economy of the planetary organism in which we live. Indubitably, every creature (according to its species) transforms specific energies that are then transmitted into the interior of the Earth for the economy of the world. Therefore, each creature that is in existence fulfills the same function.
When we eat a food necessary for our existence, then it is indeed transformed from one phase into another, into all of those elements that are so indispensable for our existence. Which center carries out those processes of the transformation of substances within us? Obviously, it is the Instinctual Center. The wisdom of this center is very astonishing.
Digestion in itself is transformation. In other words, the food within our stomach, in the inferior part of this three story factory of our human organism, suffers a transformation. If something were to enter without going through the stomach, then the organism would not be able to assimilate its vitamin principles or its proteins. Thus, this would simply be indigestion.
As we reflect upon this subject, we comprehend the necessity of undergoing a transformation.
It is evident that physical food is transformed. However, there is something that invites us to reflect: does an educated center for the transformation of impressions exist within us?
No! Indeed, for the purpose of nature itself, it is not necessary whatsoever for the intellectual animal (mistakenly called human) to transform impressions. But a human being can transform his impressions by himself. Naturally, he has to comprehend the reason for that necessity. We state that this is performed when one possesses an in-depth knowledge.
To transform our impressions would be magnificent. However, the majority of people, as they are seen in the field of practical life, believe that this physical world will give them what they yearn for and seek. Indeed, this is a tremendous error, because life in itself enters within us, into our organism, in the form of mere impressions. Therefore, the first thing that we must comprehend is the significance of the esoteric work that is intimately related with the world of impressions.
Do we really need to transform our impressions? Truthfully, we do! This is true because one cannot really transform ones own life unless one transforms the impressions that reach the mind.
The people who read these lines must reflect on what is being stated here. We are talking about something very revolutionary, since the whole world believes that what is physical is what is real. However, if we go a little deeper, we see that what we really perceive at each instant, at each moment, are mere impressions.
If we see a person who pleases or displeases us, the first thing that we obtain from that person’s character are his pleasant or unpleasant impressions, isn’t that true? This we cannot deny. Therefore, life is a succession of impressions, and not a physical thing of an exclusively materialistic type, as is believed by the learned ignoramuses. Thus, the reality of life is its impressions!
Indeed, the ideas that we are enunciating here are not easy to grasp, to apprehend. Possibly there are readers who are certain that life exists just as it is and not according to their impressions. Obviously, they are so influenced by this physical world, that this is how they think.
For example: the person that we see there, seated on a chair with this or that colored suit or the person who greets us, or who smiles at us, etc., are for us, truly real. However, if we meditate profoundly on all of them, then we will arrive at the conclusion that what is real for us are the impressions. Indeed, it is because these impressions arrive at the mind through the windows of our senses.
If we did not have senses, for instance, eyes to see, ears to hear, a mouth to taste the foods (which our organism assimilates), would then that which is called the physical world exist for us? Of course not, absolutely not.
Therefore, life reaches us in the form of impressions. Precisely, it is in these impressions where the possibility of working upon ourselves exists. Before all else, what must we do? We have to comprehend the work that we must perform. How could we achieve a psychological transformation on ourselves? We do it by performing a psychological work upon the impressions that we are receiving at each instant, at each moment.
This first work receives the name of First Conscious Shock. This is related with those impressions that are everything we know of as the exterior world. What size then do true things, real people, have?
We need to transform ourselves internally each day. When we want to transform our psychological aspect, we need to work upon the impressions that enter into us.
Why do we call the work of the transformation of impressions the First Conscious Shock? It is because the “shock” is something that we cannot observe in a merely mechanical manner. This could never be done in a mechanical manner; one needs a self-conscious effort. It is clear that when one begins to comprehend this work, one begins to cease being the mechanical human being who only serves nature’s purposes.
Now think about the meaning of everything that you are being taught here. If then, by means of your own efforts, you begin with the observation of yourself, you will then see that on the practical side of this esoteric work, everything is intimately related with the transformation of impressions and what is naturally the outcome of them.
The work, for instance, on negative emotions, on angry states, on identification, on self-consideration, on the successive “I’s,” on lying, on self-justification, on excuses, on the unconscious states in which we are in, is all related with the transformation of impressions and what results from it all. Regarding the significance of transformation, it is advantageous to compare the work upon oneself, in a certain manner, to a dissection. Do not forget that it is necessary to form an element of change at the place of entry of the impressions.
By means of the comprehension of this work, you can accept life as work. You will then really enter into a constant state of self-remembrance. Then, the tremendous reality of the transformation of impressions will naturally reach you. Normally, or better said supra-normally, the transformed impressions themselves would lead you to a better life, depending naturally on how concerned you are with this work. Thus, the impressions would no longer act upon you as they did at the beginning of your own transformation.
But as long as you continue thinking in the same way, that is, receiving life in the same manner, it is clear that there will be no change in yourself.
To transform the impressions of life is to transform oneself. This totally new manner of thinking helps us to carry out such a transformation. This entire dissertation is exclusively based on the radical manner of transforming oneself. Thus, if one does not transform oneself, nothing is achieved.
You will comprehend, indeed, that life demands from us a continuous reaction towards it. Thus, all of these reactions form our personal life. Therefore, to change one’s life is to really change one’s own reactions towards it. Exterior life reaches us as mere impressions that incessantly force us to react, we would say, in a stereotypical way. If the reactions that form our personal life are all of a negative type, then our own life will be negative as well.
Life consists of a successive series of negative reactions that happen as incessant responses towards the impressions that reach the mind. Therefore, our task consists of transforming the impressions of life in such a manner that they do not provoke this type of negative response. However in order to achieve this, it is necessary to observe oneself from instant to instant, from moment to moment. Therefore, it is urgent to study one’s own impressions.
We must not allow the impressions to reach us subjectively and mechanically. If we start having such control, we will begin a new life; we will begin to live more consciously. An individual cannot give himself the luxury of allowing the impressions to reach him mechanically. Thus, when one acts in this way, one transforms the impressions and then begins to live consciously.
The First Conscious Shock consists in transforming the impressions that reach us. If one manages to transform the impressions that reach one’s mind at the moment of entry, then one obtains marvelous results that benefit one’s existence.
One can always work on the outcome of impressions. Thus, indeed these impressions will conclude without mechanical effect, for this mechanicity is usually disastrous in the interior of our psyche.
This Gnostic esoteric work must be brought about to the point where the impressions enter. Otherwise, they are distributed to wrong places by the personality in order to evoke old reactions.
I am going to simplify this; as an example, let us use the following: If we throw a stone into a crystalline lake, impressions will then be produced in the lake and the response of those impressions produced by the stone manifest themselves in the form of waves that go from the center to the periphery.
Now, imagine the mind as a lake. Suddenly, an image of a person appears. That image, like the stone in our example above, reaches the mind. Then, the mind reacts in the form of impressions. The impressions are the outcome of the image that reaches the mind and the reactions are the responses to such impressions.
If a ball is thrown against a wall, the wall receives the impressions. Afterwards a reaction will follow, which consists of returning the ball to the one who threw it. Perhaps the ball will not be returned directly to the person, but the ball will bounce back, and that is precisely the reaction.
The world is formed by impressions; for example: the image of a table reaches our mind through the senses. We cannot say that the table has arrived or that the table has entered our cerebrum, that is absurd. However, the image of the table is indeed inside of us. Thus, our mind reacts immediately saying: this is a wooden or metal table, etc.!
Impressions that are not so pleasant also exist. For example: the words of an offender, isn’t that true? Could we transform the words of an offender? No! Because words are as they are, therefore what could we do? We must transform the impressions that such words produce within us. This is possible.
The Gnostic teachings show us how to crystallize the Second Force that is Christ within us, by means of a postulate which states: one has to receive with gladness the unpleasant manifestations of our fellow men.
Found in the previous postulate is the way to transform the impressions that the words of an offender produce within us. Receive with gladness the unpleasant manifestations of our fellow men. This postulate will naturally lead us to the crystallization of the Second Force, Christ, within us. The practice of this postulate will cause the Christ to come and take shape within us.
If from this physical world we only know its impressions, then indeed the physical world is not as external as people believe. With just reason Immanuel Kant said, “The exterior is the interior.” If the interior is what matters, we should therefore transform the interior. The impressions are interior, therefore all objects and things, everything we perceive, exists in our interior in the form of impressions.
If we do not transform impressions, nothing will change within us. Lust, covetousness, pride, hatred, etc., exist in the form of impressions within our psyche that vibrate incessantly.
The mechanical outcome of such impressions have been all of those inhuman elements that we carry within and that we have normally called “I’s” which, in their conjunction, constitutes the myself, the oneself.
Let us suppose, for example, that a man sees a provocative woman and that he does not transform those impressions; the result will be that the same impressions, of a lustful type, produce in him the desire of possessing her. Such a desire is the result of the impression received, and it crystallizes, it takes shape in our psyche, and becomes one more aggregate, in other words, an inhuman element, a new type of lustful “I” that comes to add itself to the sum of inhuman elements that in their totality constitute the ego.
Anger, covetousness, lust, envy, pride, laziness, and gluttony exist within us. Why does anger exist within us? Because many impressions reached our interior and we never transformed them. The mechanical outcomes of such never-before-transformed-impressions of anger form the “I’s” which exist and vibrate in our psyche and which constantly make us feel angry.
Why covetousness? Indubitably, many things have awakened covetousness within us: money, jewels, all types of material things, etc. Those things, those objects, reached us in the form of impressions. We committed the error of not having transformed those impressions into different things, such as into an attraction for beauty, or into happiness, etc. Such non-transformed impressions naturally became “I’s” of covetousness which we now carry within our interior.
Why do we have lust? I have already stated that different forms of lust have reached us in the form of impressions. In other words, images of an erotic type emerged from within the interior of our mind and the reaction was lust. Naturally, there was no hesitation in the outcome of that momentum. Afterwards, new morbid “I’s” were born in our psyche because we did not transform those lustful waves, that unhealthy eroticism.
That is why today we have to work on those impressions and their mechanical results which we have within our interior. Thus, within ourselves we have impressions of anger, covetousness, gluttony, pride, laziness, and lust. Within we also have the mechanical results of such impressions: a bunch of quarrelsome and wailing “I’s” which we now need to comprehend and eliminate.
The master-work of our life consists in knowing how to transform the impressions and in also knowing how to eliminate the mechanical results of those impressions that were not transformed in the past.
Properly, the exterior world does not exist within us. What exist within us are impressions. Impressions are internal, and the reactions of such impressions are completely internal.
No one could say that he is seeing a tree in itself. He may be seeing the image of a tree but not the tree. As Immanuel Kant stated, the thing in itself is not seen by anyone. One sees the image of things, in other words, the impression of a tree, of something, surges forth within us, and those impressions are internal, they are of the mind.
If one does perform one’s own internal modifications, there is no hesitation in the outcome of that momentum. Such outcome is the birth of new “I’s” which enslave our Essence, our consciousness, intensifying even more the sleepy state in which we live.
When one truthfully comprehends that everything that exists within oneself is nothing but impressions which are related to the physical world, one also comprehends the necessity of transforming those impressions. Thus, the transformation of oneself is attained by performing such a transformation.
There is nothing that hurts more than slander or the words of an offender. If one is capable of transforming the impressions which such words produce within, those impressions have no value. In other words, they remain like a check drawn against insufficient funds. Certainly, the words of an insulter do not have any more value than that which the insulted person gives to them. Therefore, if the insulted person does not give any importance to them, I repeat, they remain like a check drawn against insufficient funds. By comprehending this, one transforms the impressions of those words. For instance, they are transformed into something different, into love, into compassion for the insulter. Naturally, this means transformation. Therefore, we need to be transforming impressions incessantly, not only the ones in the present, but also the ones of the past and of the future.
Within us there exist many impressions. We committed the error of not having transformed those impressions in the past. Many mechanical results of the same impressions exist within us; they are called “I’s.” Now we have to disintegrate, to annihilate them, in order for our consciousness to remain free and awake.
It is indispensable to reflect on what I am stating here. Things, people, are nothing more than impressions within ourselves, within our minds. Therefore, if we transform those impressions, we transform our life radically.
For instance: when a person feels proud because of his social position, or his money, such pride, which exists within him, has as its basis ignorance. If, however, this person realizes that his social status is made up of mere mental matter (a series of impressions which have reached his mind) and he then analyzes the value of this mental matter, he comes to realize that such a position exists only in his mind in the form of impressions. Those impressions, which money and social status produce, are nothing but the external impressions of the mind. Thus, by simply comprehending that they are only impressions of the mind, a transformation of the same impressions occurs. Then, pride, by itself, declines, collapses, and humility is born within us in a natural way.
Continuing with this study of the processes of the transformation of impressions, I will proceed with something very important. For instance, the lustful image of a person reaches our mind or surges forth within our mind. It is obvious that such an image is an impression. We could transform that lustful impression by means of comprehension. It would be enough, in that instant, for us to think that that woman will one day die and that her body will become dust in the cemetery. If within our imagination we saw her body in the process of disintegration in the grave, this would be more than enough to transform that lustful impression into chastity. Because if it is not transformed, it will be added to the legion of our “I’s” of lust. Therefore, it is convenient to transform the impressions that emerge in our mind by means of comprehension.
It is highly logical that the exterior world is not as external as is normally believed. Everything that reaches us from the physical world is in our interior because these are nothing but internal impressions.
No one could put a tree, a chair, a palace or a rock into his mind. Everything reaches our mind in the form of impressions. This is it.
Thus, the impressions that come from this world (which we consider to be external) are not as external as we believe. Therefore, it is unpostponable that we transform impressions through comprehension.
If someone greets us, praises us, how could we transform the vanity which this or that flatterer provokes within us? Obviously, the praises, the flattery, are nothing but impressions which reach our mind and the mind then reacts in the form of vanity. However, if those impressions are transformed, vanity then becomes impossible.
How could the words of a flatterer be transformed? It is by means of comprehension, of course. When one really comprehends that one is nothing but an infinitesimal creature in a corner of the universe, one immediately transforms, by oneself, those impressions of praise, flattery, into something different. One converts such impressions into what they are: dust, cosmic dust, because one comprehends one’s own position.
We know that the galaxy in which we live in is made up of millions of worlds. Then, what is the Earth? It is just a particle of dust within infinity. And if we were to state that we are nothing but organic microorganisms on that particle, then what? If we were to comprehend this when were flattered, we would perform a transformation of those impressions related to the praise and flattery or adulation and as a result we would not react in the form of pride.
The more we reflect upon this, the more we will see time and again the necessity of a complete transformation of impressions.
Everything that we see as external is internal. If we do not work within the interior, then we tread upon the path of error because we are not modifying our habits. If we want to be different, we need to transform ourselves integrally. We must begin by transforming impressions. Thus, sexual transformation (transmutation) surges forth within us when we transform the animal and bestial impressions into elements of devotion.
Unquestionably, this matter of impressions deserves to be analyzed clearly and precisely. The personality that we have received or have acquired grants entrance to the impressions of life. However, this personality does not transform these impressions because the personality is something practically dead.
If the impressions would impact directly upon the Essence, then it is obvious that they would be correctly transformed, because the Essence would immediately deposit them exactly in the corresponding centers of the human machine.
Personality is that term that is applied to everything that we acquire. It is clear that the personality translates impressions from all sides of life in a limited and practically stereotypical manner, according to its quality and associations.
Related to this matter, in the Gnostic esoteric work, the personality is sometimes compared to a terrible secretary who is at the front desk of an office, preoccupied with all the ideas, concepts, preconceptions, opinions and prejudices. It has many dictionaries, encyclopedias of all types, reference books, etc. Nevertheless, it is not in communication with the centers, in other words, with the mental, emotional, and the physical centers. It is not in communication with the intellectual, motor, emotional, instinctual, and sexual centers because of its unusual ideas. Consequently or as a corollary, it so happens that the personality almost always puts itself in communication with the wrong centers. This means that the impressions that arrive are sent to the wrong centers. In other words, the personality places the impressions on centers which do not correspond to them. Naturally, this produces erroneous results.
I will make the following example so that I will be better understood. Let us suppose that a woman attends to a gentleman with a lot of consideration and respect. It is clear that the impressions which the gentleman is receiving in his mind are received by the personality and the latter sends them to the wrong centers. Normally, the personality sends them to the sexual center. Therefore, this gentleman firmly believes that the lady is in love with him. Logically, it does not take long before he rushes to make amorous insinuations to her. Indubitably, if that lady has never had that type of feeling for the gentleman, she will justly feel surprised by this. This outcome would be due to a terrible transformation of impressions. Thus, here we can see just how bad a secretary the personality really is.
Unquestionably, the life of a human being depends upon this secretary, she who seeks the transformation of impressions within her reference books without ever comprehending what the event truly means. Consequently, she transmits impressions without ever taking any responsibility for what could happen. Nevertheless, the personality considers that it is accomplishing its duty. This is our internal situation.
Thus, in this allegory what is important to comprehend is how the human personality (which we acquire and which we are compelled to acquire) begins to take charge of our lives.
Unquestionably, it is useless to imagine that this happens only to certain and specific people. This happens to everyone, whoever they might be.
Through observation, one finds out that numerous characteristic reactions exist which are produced by the impressions that reach us. Unfortunately, these mechanical reactions govern us. It is clear that every person in life is governed by life itself; it does not matter if he calls himself liberal or conservative, revolutionary or Bolshevik, good or bad in any sense of the word.
It is obvious that in the presence of the impacts of the exterior world there exist reactions. Our own life is constituted by them. Therefore, based on this fact, we can emphatically state that humanity is completely mechanical.
In life, every human being has formed for himself an enormous quantity of reactions which become the practical experiences of his existence. It is clear that every action produces their reactions, which are actions of a certain type. Such reactions are called experiences.
Thus, the ability to relax the mind would be the most essential thing for us to learn in order to get to know our actions and reactions better. This “mental relaxation” (the ability to lie down in one’s bed or in a comfortable arm chair in order to patiently relax all the muscles and then to empty the mind of all thoughts, desires, emotions, and memories) is magnificent. When the mind is quiet, when the mind is in silence, we can know ourselves better. In such moments of peacefulness and mental silence, we come to really experience, in a direct manner, the crude reality of all our actions in our practical life.
When the mind is in absolute repose, we can see the multitude of elements and sub-elements, actions and reactions, desires, passions, etc., as something foreign to us. These elements and sub-elements await the precise moment in which they will be able to exercise their control over us, over our personality. That is the reason why the silence and stillness of the mind is worthwhile. Obviously, the relaxation of the mind is beneficial in the most complete sense of the word, because it leads us to individual self-knowledge.
Thus, all that is life, that is to say, external life (what we see and live), is for each person his reaction to the impressions which arrive from the physical world.
It is a great mistake to think that that which is called life is a fixed, solid thing which in itself is the same for every person. Since the existing impressions related to life in the human species are infinite, we can say, without a doubt, that there does not exist a single person who has the same impressions as that of another.
Indeed, life is our impressions of it. Thus, it is clear that we can transform such impressions if we resolve to do so. But as was stated, this is an idea which is very difficult to understand or to comprehend because the hypnosis of our senses is very powerful.
Although this might appear incredible, the fact is that all human beings are in a state of “collective hypnosis.” Such hypnosis is produced by the residual state of the abominable Kundabuffer organ. When the Kundabuffer organ was eliminated, what remained were the different psychic aggregates or inhuman elements which in their conjunction constitute the myself, the oneself. These elements and sub-elements, in their turn, began to condition our consciousness and keep it in a state of hypnosis. Therefore, hypnosis of a collective type exists. The entire world is hypnotized!
The mind is bottled up within the world of the five senses. The mind does not manage to comprehend how it could become independent of them. The mind believes itself to be a god.
Our internal life (the true life of thoughts and feelings) continues to be confused by our mere reasoning and intellectual concepts. Nonetheless, at the same time, we know very well that the place that we really live in is within our world of thoughts and feelings. This is something that no one can deny.
Life is our impressions and those can be transformed. We need to learn how to transform our impressions. However, it is not possible to transform anything within us if we continue to be attached to the world of the five senses.
As I have stated in my Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology, experience teaches us that if our Gnostic esoteric work is negative, it is due to our own fault.
It is from our sensorial point of view that we say that this or that person of the external world (whom one sees and hears through the eyes and ears) has to be blamed. This person in turn will say that we are the ones to blame. However, the fault, indeed, is in the impressions that we might have about people. Many times we think that a person is perverse when in reality the person is just a humble lamb.
It is very opportune to learn how to transform all the impressions which we may have of life.
We have to learn to receive with gladness the unpleasant manifestations of our fellowmen.
This chapter is from Revolution of the Dialectic (1983) by Samael Aun Weor. The print and ebook editions by Glorian Publishing (a non-profit organization) are illustrated to aid your understanding, and include features like a glossary and index. Buy the book, and you benefit yourself and others.