|The Philosophy of the New Gnosis||Key to The Kingdom||
New Gnostic Gospels
Gnosis and Basic
|Gallery of New Gnostic Wisdom||The Sethian Gnosis, Old and New||
Gnosis and the Occult
|New Gnostic Links|
Basic questions have to do with the deeper nature of our being and of all that we experience as human beings. They have to do with what and who we essentially are and with the essential nature of the world we experience and the experiences that constitute our world or ‘personal reality’. Such questions are not the preserve of philosophers, for they are felt and lived by all beings. They are questions that go to the very heart of our being, and that touch its very core. For they are that living core. One basic question that goes to the very core of our being is the nature of death, not least because so many identify death with non-being. But ‘non-being’ itself is not nothingness – the mere absence of any actual thing or being - but that realm of unbounded potentiality that has its own reality within awareness. Out of this realm come countless dimensions of actuality of which our own physical reality and universe is but one. After death our awareness enters these non-physical dimensions of actuality, and yet the inevitable fact of our death remains a constant reminder of our own current life potentials – fulfilled and unfulfilled. The nature and reality of divinity is another basic question, for the divine too, whilst ‘no-thing’, is not nothing. It is not only the ‘darkness’ of non-being or potentiality that is the source of all actualities - all worlds and all beings. It is also the divine light of awareness within which all potential beings - and all their individual potentialities of being - are constantly being actualised. The unbounded multiplicity of these potentials means that they cannot possibly be brought into the light and actualised within the confines of any one life, any one ‘universe’ or system of reality, physical or non-physical. The nature of depression too, constitutes a basic question, one not unrelated to the nature of death and divinity. For what we call ‘depression’ is also the felt pressure and weight of own own unborn or unactualised life potentials. These are precisely those potentials that the fact of our own physical mortality and death brings home to us - if we are prepared to face it. Yet our life itself is no ‘last chance saloon’, and death - far from being the ultimate horizon of our awareness and of our being - is merely a transition to dimensions of awareness that allow even richer scope for the actualisation of our own boundless potentialities of being.
The gnostics of old saw the world and not the individual’s genes or brain chemistry as the cause of what today we label ‘depression’. They understood depression as a dis-ease of the spirit in its relation to the world, not a disorder of the body or brain. The words ‘depress’ or ‘be depressed’ are verbs, like ‘to press’ or ‘be pressed’, ‘oppress’ or ‘be oppressed’. Psychiatrists speak of ‘depression’ as a noun - a thing - and claim to know what that thing is i.e. a chemical imbalance in the brain. Patients on the other hand, complain of ‘being’ or ‘feeling’ depressed. Someone facing the loss of a loved one, forced to work and support a family on less than a living wage, like someone who has been told they have a terminal illness, or been the victim of a mugging or bombing may also be ‘depressed’. Is their ‘depression’ a thing - a clinical condition caused by a chemical imbalance in their brain? Is it merely an individual ‘problem’ or ‘disorder’ to be technically solved or medically cured? Or is it a worldly event or experience that weighs and presses on them to the point of oppressing them? Not everyone who feels depressed can point to such an event or situation. But then the event or situation is not the reason why they feel depressed but rather the oppressive questions that it burdens them with. Why? Why now? Why me? We live in a world in which every second and minute of the day, people all over the world have to endure terrible events and life conditions. You can be sure that plenty of anti-depressants are prescribed in Palestine. The only difference is that there the prescribing physicians know full well that their patients are depressed for good reasons and they have a right to be depressed. They know that the ‘cause’ of their depression is not a chemical imbalance in the brain but an oppressive problem - one that presses down on them heavily and therefore ‘depresses’ them. This is not just true for Palestine, but for cases of so-called ‘depression’ in all countries of the world. None of us find it comfortable to feel the oppressive weight of unpalatable truths or of a problem that presses down on and depresses us. But as Martin Heidegger pointed out, what oppresses the human being even more than the oppressive weight of any particular personal or political situation is precisely the absence of any felt oppressiveness – a refusal to feel weighed down or to let things ‘get us down’. What this refusal leaves us with is that profoundly oppressive emptiness – felt for no apparent reason – which psychiatrists then designate and treat as ‘clinical depression’. But such ‘depression’ too, is no clinical condition but an existential one. For if, instead of not feeling the weight of an oppression, we would let it weigh down on and ‘de-press’ us - then it would both press us ever deeper down into ourselves and help us feel our own deeper selves. It would also help us to not only feel but see more clearly what it is that oppresses us. What psychiatrists designate as a clinical condition - a state of depression - arises when we do not let ourselves follow this de-pressive process - refusing to be depressed in this way by the world in which we find ourselves. Today ‘depression’ is regarded as a ‘world health problem’ of epidemic proportions - an absurdity given the evident and oppressive weight of the world problems that find expression in it. For the medical world it is the patient that is the ‘problem’. For the patient it is the world that is the problem. If there is any ‘cause’ for the depression ‘epidemic’, it is the very refusal to see and feel the de-pressing weight of world problems. For were we to do so, they would confront us with the full weight of all those deeper questions which humanity - both politicians and ordinary people – fear to confront. Could we withstand a confrontation with the weight of those questions? We could only do so by finding a deeper, firmer ground within ourselves. How to find this ground? Precisely by actively letting things ‘get us down’– letting them de-press us to the point where we reach the deeper inner ground of our being. As it is written in the gnostic Gospel of Thomas "Those who seek should not stop seeking until they find. When they find, they will be disturbed. When they are disturbed, they will marvel, and will reign over all. And after they have reigned they will rest." To ‘reign’ here means achieving the sovereignty of our own authentic being. To ‘rest’ means coming to rest in our own inner being. De-pression in this sense is a cure, helping us find the firmer ground necessary to withstand and confront the deeper questions we all face in the world. The real illness is to treat these basic questions simply as a personal health problem – ‘depression’ – and to seek their ‘solution’ through psychiatric medication.
By following the gnostic maxim of being ‘in the world but not of it’. This means refusing the draft. A glamorous TV commercial about life in the army is one thing. Actually enlisting in the military – or being involuntarily drafted - is quite another, for it demands total identification with the military world and world outlook. Visiting a doctor, psychiatrist or even a therapist to seek solutions to your problems beware: be-aware. For here too, your awareness is in danger of being involuntarily ‘drafted’ – enlisted into identifying with worlds and world outlooks that transform all the questions you feel in your life into diagnosed medical illnesses or emotional ‘problems’. Just as TV commercials seek to draw us into identification with the world of brand images, so is ‘the draft’ the source of a tangible draught that feels as if it is drawing our awareness out of ourselves and sucking us into identification with some element of our experiential world. Anything can be the source of such an in-sucking draught - from a news headline or major world event, to a minor conversation topic or train of thought. Being ‘in’ the world – any world - means being susceptible to the draught of the draft. Not being ‘of’ the world means refusing the draft - not letting our awareness be drawn out and into identifications with any element of our experience, inner or outer. To not be ‘drawn out’ does not mean closing ourselves off from events or other people in order not to get sucked or drawn in by them. Nor does it mean ‘withdrawing’ from the world and engagement with others. The opposite of feeling our awareness passively drawn out and sucked in is not to close off but to open ourselves more fully to the world and to actively draw in our awareness of all that we experience – or actively intend our awareness to flow into it. That way we can be ‘in’ the world - and experience it even more intensely than before - without being ‘of’ it, without surrendering awareness to its suctional draught and succumbing to The Draft.
Everybody has personal problems, so what are yours? The biggest problem of all is that seeking solutions to troubling personal or world problems, however complex, can be a way of avoiding the simplest, most basic life questions. Biological medicine and psychiatry are examples of how a vast and complex and commercially profitable edifice of scientific and of technological solutions can be applied to solving problems – in this case the ‘problem’ of mental and physical illness - without ever asking the simplest and most basic questions. What is ‘health’? What is ‘illness’? The difference between a personal problem and a basic life question is that basic questions are not reducible to personal problems – for they are questions felt and lived by all human beings in one way of other, questions of what it means to be human and to live and relate in a humane way. So next time you feel yourself beset, however intensely, by what you think of as a personal problem – a problem with you – do not ask yourself ‘What’s my problem’, and do not let others draw you into thinking of it as ‘your’ problem. Instead of asking yourself ‘What’s my problem here?’ - or 'his' or 'her' problem, 'our' or 'their' problem, or the world’s problem - ask yourself ‘What’s the real question here?’ The question may be a problem with a simple practical solution. On the other hand, it may be a basic question of the sort that every other human being faces in one way or another. When you see and feel the problem in this way you have understood your ‘personal’ problem in a quite different way. But remember that there are no ultimate solutions to basic life questions. Solutions suppress questions. Answers always raise further questions. What is the meaning of life? Questions are what give meaning to life. Living without questioning is death. The search for ultimate ‘final solutions’ to life questions always ends up by killing life.
By not treating it as a problem to be solved through one or the other medication or method of treatment. By treating it instead as your personal experience and expression of a meaningful life question. A question that is not yours alone but experienced and expressed in different ways by every human being on the planet. A question without which there would be less meaning to your life and to that of every other human being on the planet. To suffer can mean to feel the true weight and depth of a question - or it can mean to superficialise this question – treating it as a problem to be lightly ‘solved’. All methods and medications are an attempt to overcome suffering by lightening the question rather then accepting its weight in a way that sheds a deeper light on it. The first step in overcoming suffering is to stop seeking a solution or healing ‘cure’ for it and affirm it as the expression of a meaningful and shared life question. The second step is simply to undergo your suffering. That does not mean stoically enduring it without question. To undergo suffering means to attend to your awareness of what you are experiencing without being drawn into identifying with that experience. Under all that we experience, whether pleasurable or painful, is our awareness of experiencing it. Your awareness of a thought, emotion or sensation – pleasurable or painful – is not that thought, emotion or sensation. Your awareness of suffering lies under that suffering – but it is not suffering. Undergoing suffering means to ‘under-go’ it - to go under your surface experience of suffering – however painful or intense - to your awareness of it, and in this way become aware of the life questions that experience expresses.
By recognising that ‘oneness’ is a relation – and that without duality there can be no relation and therefore no true ‘oneness’ with yourself - or with any other being, including God. Duality does not necessarily mean conflict or opposition, just as multiplicity or diversity does not necessarily mean lack of unity or oneness. It is the attempt to deny the essential duality and multiplicity of our being that leads us to feeling conflicted or fragmented. The outer and the inner human being are like the outer and inner surfaces of a container – distinct but inseparable. Like any other human being you are essentially a dual being. No human being can completely ‘actualise themselves’, for the inner human being – the inner you – embraces a boundless multiplicity of inner potentials that you can never fully ‘actualise’ as your ‘self’. Those same potentials however, are something you can nevertheless feel and know as an inexhaustible potency or power within you – the power of your inner being and the source of all you are and can become. But to ‘be somebody’ does not mean to realise some ideal mental self-image but to ‘be some-body’ - to fully be the body that you are and in that way fully body your inner being. The less you are able to stay aware - moment by moment, minute by minute - of your body as a whole, the less whole you will feel. Whenever, even for a moment, you cease to feel your body as a whole, you will not feel your self as a whole. ‘Not feeling oneself’ is not a symptom but the cause of illness and suffering. Conversely, healing means ‘wholing’, once again feeling your body and your self as a whole - your inner being, your soul.
The meaning of something has do with what it most essentially is. To ask about the ‘meaning’ of pain requires that we first of all ask a more fundamental question - what is ‘pain’? Is it something physical such as a painful bodily sensation or something ‘psychical’ such as a painful emotion? Does physical pain ‘cause’ psychical and emotional pain or vice versa? Can we even distinguish these two types of pain, given that even so-called ‘physical’ pain is something we feel only because we feel it, because it becomes a focus of our psychical self-awareness? It seems that looking at pain in terms of its physical or psychical nature does not help us to understand the meaning of pain as such – what it essentially is. And yet we know what pain does to us. It contracts our awareness – perhaps to a very sharp point in our body or an acute emotion. To pleasure belongs a sense of fullness and expansion. To pain belongs a sense of contraction and emptiness. As a result, pain makes it difficult to focus on anything but itself, and therefore isolates us from other aspects of our being and other human beings. And is there any worse aspect of pain than precisely the sense of separation from others, even from those we love, care for and respect, that it brings with it? For even those we love cannot experience our pain.
We think of pain as that which produces this imprisoning sense of isolation, separation or apartness. The gnostic understanding of pain is precisely that – nothing psychical or somatic but an acute sense of apartness from our own being and other beings. Its opposite is the essence of pleasure as a sense of belonging – not feeling apart from but instead feeling a part of our own inner being, and a part too, of all other beings. A sense of apartness leaves us with a sense of emptiness or absence. But by its very nature emptiness or absence is not something we can feel in the same way as something present. In order to feel a void or absence as something present it must presence itself in a tangible way – transforming an otherwise diffuse and unlocalisable void into a localised sensation or intense emotion of such acuteness that it forces its presence on us, entirely absorbs our awareness, and in this way entirely fills the void of absence left in us – not through a pleasurable expansion of our awareness into the vast expanse of that void but through its own self-contraction into pain. If pain is essentially an apartness from our own being and other beings, then that is also a clue to its spiritual meaning. Gnosis is an inner knowing ‘in the world but not of the world’. Not being ‘of’ the world means also that in some way we stand apart from it. But if the essence of pain is apartness, is that not painful? Or is it precisely the ability of the gnostic to bear this essential pain - rather than personalising and privatising it, psychologising or somatising it – that sets them apart from others? But is that apartness too, not something intrinsically painful? For others maybe, but not for the gnostic. For the ‘world’ we are all ‘in’ is precisely a world of essential pain – one in which society is atomised, people feel inwardly disconnected from their own being and other beings. Yet all this pain is privatised – seen as the purely personal distress of the individual. For the gnostic however, being apart from and not ‘of’ this world is no pure negative. For the essence of gnosis lies also in knowing our own worldly self to be but a part of a larger self and larger world – part of our innermost spiritual being and of the larger spiritual world of beings to which it belongs. This is a world in which every being knows itself as part of every other. What marks out and separates our material world from this spiritual world is precisely the lack of knowing or a-gnosis that sets each person within it so painfully apart from their inner being. Along with this lack of knowing goes a mode of being in the world characterised by an inability to feel, let alone bear the essential pain of separation from the spiritual world of beings which is its womb. Anaesthetised to essential pain we have a world full of pain of the more evident sort. This evident pain has easily identifiable ‘causes’ – war, violence, abuse, torture, persecution, exploitation, poverty, illness, natural catastrophes, accidents etc. But simply addressing these causes and seeking ‘cures’ for them misses the point. For the evident pain of this world is a result of the sheer violence of its suppression of the essential pain that characterises it, the apartness that people feel from their own innermost being and the spiritual world to which they belong. The suppression is itself essential to a world that has to constantly deny the reality of this spiritual world, or at least set itself clearly apart from it. Why? Because acknowledging that we are all ‘of’ this spiritual world would expose the hollow materialistic science and hollow materialistic values on which the world we are ‘in’ is based. This hollowness takes the illusory form of a vast wealth of commodities, offering unbounded pleasures that are supposedly available to all. This materialistic ‘fullness’, of course, we all know to be a sham even in its own terms - for it is accumulated at the expense of vast toiling masses who have no part of it and are ever more ruthlessly set apart from the oligarchical elites who are the owners of capital and wealth. But the ‘wealth’ is also sham in spiritual terms - for it is but a hollow material symbol of ‘the fullness’ or pleroma that is God. This fullness or pleroma is the private wealth or property of none. No one can appropriate it for themselves, either as whole or in part, or set a part of it apart for themselves. For all that we feel as our ‘self’ is but a part of it. Our inner being or ‘self’ is not a part of our worldly self, let alone a possession of it, its private property. It is the other way round – our worldly self is a part of it. In setting ourselves apart from it we fall into the trap of an a-gnostic world that knows nothing of the inner human being. This apartness is essential pain and the essence of pain. Whether and in what manner we experience that essential pain ultimately depends on what we ourselves do with it. The gnostic recognises it as the hidden essence of this world. Others reduce it a private spiritual cross that each person must bear alone, or allow themselves to express and experience it only through those more evident forms of pain that the world is prepared to recognise – however excruciating. The crucifixion myth was an attempt to symbolise essential pain, not reduce it to a form of evident pain with evident causes and scapegoats. To reduce essential pain to evident pain is to deny the essential nature of this world we are in. That is a world of essential pain, a world that has constantly to disguise itself as a world of limitless opportunities for the purchase of private pleasure. Those who martyr themselves in the name of religious fundamentalism, whether Christian or Islamic are seeking an escape from essential pain through evident pain and a suicidal return to the spiritual world. Peter and Judas knew better, recognising that he who actually died on the cross was not Jeshua but one of many deluded and self-proclaimed ‘messiahs’ - in search of martyrdom as a way out of this world. And like Jeshua himself, all the disciples knew themselves as fleshly personifications of a larger spiritual being, the Christ entity or ‘logos’. This knowing set them apart from an a-gnostic world. But it also allowed them to remain in this world, whatever evident pains they might suffer. For the gnosis of Jeshua had taught them that they not ‘of’ this world but belonged to a spiritual world or Kingdom in which no being ever ceases to dwell, whether dead or alive - and whether they know it or not.
What sort of knowing allows a fertilised egg to grow itself into your body? What sort of knowing is it through which you come to know yourself through that body? What sort of knowing allows you to ‘know’ your own body as the embodiment of who you are – the embodiment of your being? What sort of knowing allows you to move without any knowledge ‘of’ or ‘about’ your body and its anatomy? What sort of knowing allows you to know another person’s body as the embodiment of an aware human being, and not just a material object? What sort of knowing allows you to spontaneously form dreams that perfectly express your state of being or to spontaneously utter words that express a wordlessly felt meaning? What sort of knowing gives you the sense of ‘knowing exactly what you are doing’ even without thinking about it? What sort of knowing allows you to begin a sentence without knowing where it will end and in what way the words come together in your mind? What sort of knowing allows you to read these words - to enter an invisible world of meaning by just looking at material ink marks on a page or pixels on a screen? What sort of knowing allows you to ‘read’ the look in someone’s eyes even without studying them and scanning them for ‘signals’? What sort of knowing could allow you to know yourself, know others, and know God - without any need of science or holy scripture, religious rites and symbol?
The answer to all these questions is gnosis. ‘Gnosis’ is a Greek word that referred to a special type of knowing – knowing through familiarity or direct acquaintance. This is the type of knowing we mean when we speak of ‘knowing someone’ rather than knowing something ‘about’ – knowing them by direct acquaintance of familiarity. Gnosis is not ‘objective’ knowledge as science understands it – knowledge ‘of’ or ‘about’ someone or some ‘thing’. Gnosis is not ‘objective’ knowing at all but subjective knowing. It is not knowledge of things or objects but of subjects – of beings.
For the biologist, the question of what sort knowing allows a fertilised egg to grow itself into the bodily form of a human being is a scandalous one, implying as it does that the egg and cells its produces have their own subjective awareness and ‘knowing’. The question is a scandal to a type of science arrogantly assumes that the only legitimate type of knowing is objective knowledge - knowledge ‘of’ or ‘about’ such things as biological processes. The modern scientist may marvel at the way in which cells divide, multiply and differentiate, and may even see in this marvel the handywork of God. What modern scientists never ask themselves however, is a simple but basic question. The question is this: if the scientist’s own body has no innate subjective knowing of its own, then where does the scientist’s own subjective knowing come from – the sort of knowing that allows them to spontaneously conceive and articulate sophisticated scientific thoughts ‘about’ the human body?
The modern philosopher of science will admit that the very mainstay of modern science – mathematics - is ultimately founded on subjectively or ‘intuitively’ perceived truth, one ‘subjective knowing’. What is true of mathematics is even more true of all that passes as ‘objective’ knowledge. For the most fundamental scientific ‘fact’, unacknowledged by science itself, is not the objective existence of things and of the universe as a whole, but our subjective awareness of those things and that universe. Subjective awareness or knowing – gnosis - is therefore the true foundation of all objective ‘knowledge’, including so-called scientific knowledge. The fundamental truth of gnosis goes far, far deeper however. For we tend to think of ‘knowledge’ only as knowledge of some actually existing reality – knowledge of some ‘thing’ or ‘things’, being or beings that already exist or ‘are’. What if the very opposite is the case? What if knowledge does not follow from and reflect the actuality or already-existing reality of things but is the very source of all actual realities – of every thing that ‘is’. What if Knowing does not follow Being but is the very source of Being and of all beings – the fount of All That Is?
The question of what type of knowing is ‘gnosis’ goes together with another question: what type of knowing allows us to ‘know’ God. They are the same question with the same answer – gnosis. Gnosis is not some distant or unattainable state of enlightenment. It is something so close to us we ignore it, and through ignoring it end up in spiritual ignorance. It is the type of felt, bodily knowing with which you ‘know’ what you want to say, do or create before you say, do or create it – before your words, deeds and creations become actual realities or actualities? For this is gnosis in the most fundamental sense – a subjective knowing that precedes objective actuality, and also precedes any ‘objective’ knowledge of actual realities. Only once we have done, said or created something from out of our subjective knowing can we and others come to have ‘objective’ knowledge of it as an actual reality.
Subjectivity or awareness however, is more than just ‘consciousness’ of the actual, existing reality. It also embraces the entire realm of potential reality. The ‘official’ church accused others of what was called the ‘gnostic heresy’ – claiming that was possible to achieve direct knowledge of God. They missed the point. Yet the true gnostic does not claim the sort of objective knowledge ‘of’ God we associate with science or with religious dogmas such as the Trinity. The true gnostic understands that we cannot get to ‘know’ God in the same way that we get to know an actual being or objective reality of any sort. But what sort of God can we imagine that is real but at the same time not an actual objective ? The question only arises because we identify reality as such with actuality – with actually existing objects and beings. We forget that potentialities are just as real as actual objects and beings - and that indeed they are the source of all objective actualities. Potentialities however, have reality only in subjective awareness.
God, far from being an actual being, is a knowing awareness of potentiality that is the source of all beings. The realm of potentiality, unlike the realm of actuality is unbounded. God, as a knowing awareness of potentiality, also dwells within all actual beings - as a knowing awareness of their own unbounded potentialities of being. We cannot ‘know’ God as an actual being. For God is a divine foreknowing that precedes and dwells within all beings – a knowing awareness of their own unbounded potentialities of being. Whenever you direct your awareness not to the actualities of your life but to your felt potentialities as a human being you attune yourself to the same knowing awareness of potentiality that is the essence of God. The essential truth of gnostic theology however, is that God is gnosis – a divine foreknowing that precedes being, is the source of all beings, and dwells within each and every being.
For the gnostic, what distinguishes theists and atheists is only their belief or disbelief in God as an actual being. But any god that is simply a being – even a ‘supreme being’ - is merely just one being among others, and therefore not ‘God’ – not the ultimate reality behind and within all beings. What unites both theists and atheists is that they are both a-gnostic in the most literal sense – denying that God is not a being but that divine foreknowing that is the source of all beings. This divine gnosis is also an inner knowing present within us all, for it is also the source of our being – of all that we are and can be. Attunement to that wordless inner knowing or gnosis within us is therefore our very link with God. We can come to ‘know God’ only by affirming the type of knowing that God most essentially is, by recognising the simple but profound truth that God is Gnosis.
To be a student of gnosis means not only to accumulate second-hand knowledge about ‘gnosticism’ or to study ‘gnostic gospels’. To be a student of gnosis means above all to be a student of one’s own being and other beings - to heed their message or gospel. A teacher is simply a most dedicated of students. The true teacher of gnosis therefore, must be the most dedicated student of their own being and of other beings – seeking to know them directly from within and thereby also learning from them. As such a student, I have come to know directly – through gnosis - the essential truth of ‘gnosticism’. This is the truth that (1) the human being is but one human embodiment of their inner being, and that (2) the inner human being is not the personal, human self we know but a ‘trans-personal’ and indeed trans-human being. It is the inner knowing of this being that links us to our own larger soul-being - our ‘oversoul’, ‘aeon’ or ‘entity’ (Seth) - and through it to the divine knowing or gnosis that is God.
The inner human being has been named historically in many different ways:
As the knower or gnomon within us.
As the daemon (Heraclitus / Socrates)
As allogenes (the ‘other’ or ‘stranger’)
As mana or the ‘alien man’ (the Mandaean gnostic tradition)
As ‘a spirit’ or ‘power’ that enters us through Baptism (Christ)
As the unity of the individual soul (jiva) and Shiva (tantric gnosticism)
As the nagual – the power of ‘silent knowing’ within us (Carlos Castaneda)
As the saviour or Christ within us, redeeming us from ignorance.
As the ‘inner ego’ (Seth).
I will call it simply ‘The Being’.
The relation that distinguishes knowing
is always the one
- Martin Heidegger -
Gnosis in the most basic sense is a knowing relation to The Being through which it is sensed and recognised in all its awesomeness - both as a source of inner knowing and as a being quite distinct from the human self and identity we know. The felt character of this relation can be likened to the feeling one might have if a human being towards whom one feels an unbounded awe and respect for had just entered the room. Such a degree of awe and respect that one felt impelled to bow one’s head in humility and reverence…except that for the gnostic the ‘room’ is a space one makes room for in oneself – in the soul-space of the hara. For the gnostic, the Being is not a human being. And for the gnostic the bowing of one’s head is an inner act – the ego turning its gaze inwards, not looking but listening itself into the inner silence of that space and knowing - simply knowing – that there is a being there to listen to. The inner silence and the inner space of the hara are not The Being – but in listening ourselves into this silence and into this space we listen ourselves into The Being. There, in what Castaneda calls ‘The Place of Silent Knowing’, we can resonate with the fathomless depths of its silent voice and heed that ‘deep voice’ - whether or not we hear it speak words. Inward listening of this sort has a distinctly prayerful character, because it has a knowingly relational character. One knows there really is ‘someone there’ – a being that one is listening to. One knows that one is not just listening to ‘oneself’ but to The Being. The essence of ‘gnostic prayer’ is not so much an inward speaking but rather a prayerful listening of this sort - one in which the ego becomes silent and bows its head in silent reverence to a being that it can sense but not see. And yet it is precisely this prayerful inward listening that truly speaks, that silently calls to and addresses The Being, saying to it: ‘I know You are there’, ‘I acknowledge Your reality even though I cannot see You’. A listening that says also: ‘I humbly and respectfully sink myself into Your knowing and Your being, so that I can once again know You as the very ground of my being and my knowing’.