Making Sacrifices for the Gnostic Work to Yield Results
Sacrifices are an important aspect of our human life and the whole of existence. On a macro cosmic level, forces are being transformed (sacrificed) so that they become available in a suitable form to the beings of the micro-cosmos. On the micro level, every living creature is sacrificing something of themselves in various parts of their lives, in order to give to others or that themselves achieve a goal that they have set for themselves. Parents make sacrifices in order for their children to thrive, students sacrifice their time and energy in order to graduate from their schools, couples make sacrifices for their relationship to succeed, athletes give of their strength to reach good results, etc. It is clear that if we want to succeed in anything we do, there is always something that needs to be sacrificed.
The greater is the goal, the greater are sacrifices that need to be made. Throughout history, all great scientists, writers, philosophers, athletes, musicians, artists, discovers, etc., had to apply a lot of time and effort to arrive to the point of greatness. They had to sacrifice a lot of things in order to get there. It is the same thing with the Gnostic work, the one that leads to complete inner transformation, freedom from the Samsara, permanent awakening of consciousness – the self-realization of the inner Being. To reach such high states, to the replacement of the animalistic with the divine, we have to make many changes in life, sacrifice many things.
For many people the word “sacrifice” brings about resistance, or repugnance even, because they are not willing to change their lives in the way that it is required if one is to achieve real inner change. Even in many spiritual circles people are not willing to let go of things that are clearly harmful for their inner progress, of habits and activities that go contrary to spiritual advancement. Instead, many are looking for spiritual teachings that could be integrated as an addition to what one already has established in life. There are also times when some of these people are seeing the damage that such life choices have for their physical and spiritual well-being, which then motivates them to start applying the technique for spiritual awakening. But something deep within, a spiritual part of the person, needs to stir up so that finally they start feeling more profound emanations which makes them realize that an ordinary life is not taking them to the point of real spiritual change, despite their seeming interest in spirituality. It is then that one begins to understand the necessity of making sacrifices.
When we commence the spiritual work properly, we understand that this entire work is the work on our essence and the egos, the spiritual and the animal parts within us. We work on increasing our essence by eliminating the egos, on giving the breath of life to the feeble essence as much as we can, so that it begins to live properly, so that it starts to be increasingly awake in daily life, from moment to moment.
We work on our egos, observing them in daily life so to gain the comprehension needed to dissolve them. We study the egos because they are entrapping our essence, making us prisoners of the mind and of the lower parts of human psyche, and because we have felt the emanation of the essence or of the Being, and have heard their call for freedom, which pushes us to reach higher stages on the path to awakening. In the beginning we only feel the pleasant emanations of the essence as our efforts are continuous and steady, which gives us strength and inspiration to carry onwards, to finally reach the path proper and see what is like to “walk with the Being”, to have the Christ within, to have the Spirit within, as well as other parts of the Being.
In order to reach the above mentioned heights, we need to make sacrifices. The more we advance, the more we need to be prepared to sacrifice. We see more clearly what feeds the essence and what feeds the ego, which help us understand that we need to sacrifice the things and activities that feed the ego, and replace them with activities that feed the essence. The animal ego is sacrificed so that the essence can breathe and be awake, so that it can live. The more determined we are to succeed with the work, the more willing will we be to let go of all the things that feed the ego. This transition is done through a direct observation and/or remembering of how low activities make the essence asleep and the ego active. As the consciousness increases and as we develop the ability to comprehend more profoundly, we start making those necessary sacrifices naturally. Though painful as it might be, we understand fully why we are changing our life in such a way, and we also see that this pain is the pain of the unfulfilled egos; it is the pain of the egos protesting because we are changing patterns in a way which could ultimately result in their complete dissolution.
Another important aspect of sacrifice in the Gnostic-esoteric work is the sacrifice for humanity, which is one of the three main factors (also known as the Three Keys) for the revolution of consciousness – the death, the birth, and the sacrifice (the death of the egos, the birth of the higher spiritual bodies and incarnation of various parts of the Being within them, and sacrifice for humanity). All these three keys involve sacrifice. The first two keys are related to the inner and outer sacrifice that we do so that the essence and the Being could be present and active, guiding us in life towards the spiritual awakening. But it would be selfish of us if we would keep that inner change just for ourselves, if we wouldn’t help others in their own path to awakening and alleviate the suffering of those who are still evolving towards the path. When we help others we advance spiritually in the deepest of ways, and as the result of that our nature changes, and we become more and more selfless, as our gravitational pull is increasingly towards giving of ourselves to others.
And so in the beginning, sacrifices involve letting go of things that clearly go contrary to our spiritual progress, and embracing activities that ensure that the progress takes place. As time passes by and as we sharpen our inner work, as we progress along the Path, we see more and more things in our life that we need to change, things that before we have taken for granted, that we have assumed to be normal aspects of our behavior. Though, as the path is a continuous refinement of our inner nature, we realize that even small indulgences are an obstacle to the next initiation, and that we need to take that seriously if we want to progress. It becomes clear that what we have thus far considered a non-gossip behavior, is actually gossiping; that what we considered tolerable annoyance, is maintaining the ego of anger; we see that what we considered a normal part of conversations in certain instances, is actually flirting and giving way to small allowances to lust, etc. All these things are part of the old way, of the mechanical way of living through egos; it is an obstacle to the next level. If we don’t observe that in our daily life, if we ignore it or postpone working on it, we will remain stuck on the Initiation in which we are. And remaining stuck is not a good idea; it is not good to fall on the tests of Initiations.
There is a good reason why the path is often referred to as the stream. The force of it is carrying us towards divinity, but we need to do our part in order to stay in that stream and to progress in it. That requires being able to sacrifice, to let go of things, both internal and external.