The Pneumatic Initiation
W whilst the psychic initiation teaches us how to live as an apparent part of the One, the pneumatic initiation reveals to us that essentially we are the One. This is done through transformative philosophy. But in the same way the Gnostic ethics is about love, not laws, Gnostic philosophy is about revelation, not theories. Gnostic philosophers use ideas to propel us beyond ideas to their source in the Mystery.They use words to ‘wake people from their thinking to the vision’, as Plotinus puts it.
Pythagoras defines the goal of philosophy as ‘knowledge of being’. Clement teaches that the objective of philosphical contemplation is the ‘knowledge of being itself’. Plotinus explains: ‘The highest vconcenrn of philosophy is being’. Philosophy helps us cultivate an awareness of something so obvious we usually ignore it and yet so wonderful it is infinately mysterious: that we exist. It teaches us to be conscious that we are conscious and so not missing out on the greatest miracle of all – that we are a witness to the whole incredible show.
Philosophy undermines the conceptual mindset that we have unconsciously inherited from our culture and mistaken for reality. It reasons us back to basics, taking us from the complexity of the world to simple underlying principles.
Eventually we arrive at the idea of the primal syzygy – the Mystery manifesting as Consciousness and psyche. As Paul teaches, this understanding acts like ‘a two edged sword’ which ‘cuts so deeply it divides consciousness from psyche’. It enables us to distinguish ourselves as the experiencer from what we are experiencing and so ‘disengage’ from the psyche-body, entering a state the ancients called theoria, meaning ‘contemplation’, or hesychia, meaning ‘ stillness’ in which we identify with the ineffible witness of our unfolding psycho-physical experiences.
To deepen this awareness of being consciousness we must ignore all our thoughts, feelings and sensations and focus on the empty presence within which they rise and fall, enthering what Dionysius calls the ‘mysterious darkness of unknowing’ in which we ‘transcend Consciousness by knowing nothing’. In this state Consciousness turns back on itself to commune with the dazzling darkness – the mysterious Oneness from which the primal duality of Consciousnes and psyche arises. Plotinus explains that ‘the transcending of Consciousnes in the individual is identical with the first moment of creation’. He teaches: ‘The vision is not something that must be entered into but something present before all else, before Consciousness made any movements at all.
Taken from Jesus and the Lost Goddess (sophia) by Timothy Freke & Peter Gandy
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