Lost Christianity - Jacob Needleman

StrangeCaptain

Jedi Council Member
Absolutely amazing book so far... Yeah... Needleman sure knew how to ask a question. I don't have anything particularly profound to say except to echo everyone else. Clear writing, provocative and refreshing perspectives and lines of questions...

We have discussed here often the dangers of chasing experiences such as many new-agers seem to be doing, and Laura has written about it a lot. I found that he summarized the futility of this approach well (that is, if one is seeking knowledge and not distraction):

Only, it is clear to me that if something essential in the Christian tradition has become invisible, it does not help to direct our attention to other traditions, whose core meaning is equally unknown to us.
 

Breton

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I have read this book too, thanks very much Laura for recommending it!

For now I will just mention that this came at a good time for me.

I am glad to have read In Search Of The Miraculous first, as well having some of the background reading provided by Laura on this site and in the Wave. This book would not have meant nearly so much to me without this background.

Further, since I come from a conservative Christian belief system that once dominated my life, it was quite astounding to read about these individuals, these clergy, who had some kind of clue that beneath the "control" system of the Christian doctrine lay the real principles of the Work.
 

JonnyRadar

The Living Force
Something to add... this is from page 40:

Our point here, however, concerns the wrong dichotomy between belief and reason that has gradually established itself in the Western approach to both the meaning of religion and, indeed, the meaning of life itself. The message of Tradition, in this respect, is that there is in man a force that draws him toward Truth. This force is neither the thinking function nor the emotional function as they are commonly understood. The word "faith" may be introduced here. But this word simply cannot be equated with "belief," in the sense of a conviction that is emotionally charged but opposed to intellectual explanations.

This internal force or impulse is "opposed" to the whole of the ordinary mind, including both reason and belief as they are conventionally defined. A far-reaching error thus seems to have crept into the understanding of Christianity when one part of the ordinary, or "fallen," mind, the thinking function, was distinguished from another part of the ordinary mind, the emotional function, and when this distinction was presented as exhaustive and central to the human condition. Man was asked to choose between belief and reason. But, from the present point of view, the enemy of faith is neither belief nor reason as such. The real enemy is man's tendency to give his trust to what is only a part of the mind or self, to take the part for the whole, to take a subsidiary element of human nature as the bringer of unity or wholeness of being.

This struck a chord with me, as I've been going through something recently - seeing the distinction between what I understand intellectually and what sinks in emotionally. I've observed many times a recurring pattern where I "understand" something, and can repeat it to myself and say "yes, that makes sense." Only to have it hit me like a wall about a week later when the emotional impact of that understanding finally sinks in, or at least begins to sink in.

In short, I could say my intellect understands things, but my heart doesn't yet. It seems, and I don't know if this is just because I'm a 3D human, or a man (gender) with all the programming of a man, but emotional understanding seems to follow intellectual understanding - at which point a seemingly new type of understanding emerges, where I feel and know something at the same time. to be clear, this has only happened a couple times, this dual sense of understanding...

It's a strange sensation, something I've never seen clearly before or been able to articulate. There's a lot of sorrow involved, perhaps melancholy, but not dark and depressing... just a sense of emptiness, perhaps the feeling of missing illusions that before this time made their home in me. I don't think all my illusions are gone, but something is definitely changing... it reminds me of something else from Lost Christianity, page 24:

He gently waved aside what I was saying, and I stopped in mid-sentence. There was a pause, then he said: "No. Emotion must be destroyed."

He stopped, reflected, and started again, speaking in his husky Russian accent: "We have to get rid of emotions . . . in order to reach . . . feeling."

I'm wondering if the sorrow/somberness/emptiness I'm feeling is the sense of becoming separated from the old illusions. Part of me wants to intellectualize it, give it a formula or say "this is what this is." And another part craves silence and patience, no labels or associations to occupy my thoughts. Sometimes when I fight to keep a clear mind and not get caught up in looping internal dialogue, this place of peace emerges where there's just no need to label things, and I'm able to sit and watch calmly. As I said it doesn't happen too often, but it's happening with more frequency these days...

Just some thoughts from reading Needleman... fwiw...
 
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StrangeCaptain

Jedi Council Member
Yeah JonnyRadar,

Both of the passages you quoted stood out for me among others. I don't want to say too much right now because it does not seem a full-fledged discussion has begun yet and also because I kind of just want to sit with the how this book is affecting me and not talk about it.

Last night I could not put it down and read until 5 in the morning. That is not to say that I read a lot of pages. For me, this book is asking for a slow, steady reading style because if I go too fast I miss a lot.
 

thevenusian

Dagobah Resident
Reading this book, along with listening to a couple of Needleman's talks (thanks Johnny Radar, for linking them here & on Facebook!) has been a turning point for me as well. One of the most potent ideas for me is his remark that it is not so much that we should seek answers, but rather we should seek to deepen the questions. As JR describes above, there is also in me a deeply ingrained tendency to find an answer, which is a function of just one part of my mind, clearly an intellectual part. It could be about anything. The problem, at least as it happens in me, is that when that intellectual part thinks it has found an answer, it stops all the rest of my mind from remaining involved. The process of growth shuts down. I think this is due to any number of things, including a patterned avoidance of the emotional consequences of some of the 'answers' the intellect finds. Since coming into contact with this idea I have been starting to become more aware of this response in myself, which is very mechanical, and have realized that this 'deepening of the question' is really a simple description of how to start the process of engaging all of me in response to everything going on inside and outside myself. It is a process, not an end. The feeling part of me has definitely been held back by a predominately intellectual response to things, even though I have always thought I did allow myself to feel. What I am discovering is that an honest approach to things in this way of 'deepening the question' is showing me that in fact I have many layers of patterned intellectual responses which prevent me from feeling, and that many of these feelings are not at all comfortable or pleasant.
 

Nicholas

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
One passage (of many) that really struck me was the following on page 98:

Purity of intention is to seek and struggle for one's own self. This is a science, the sacred science of all ages. Call out to a higher God, an external God, if you must. But at the same time ask yourself in a quiet place: who is calling out? And study until you are shaken by the answer that it is the ego calling out. When you are so shaken, completely, in a way that through a quiet body you can receive the energy of this truth about yourself, then and only then is it possible for the law of resonance to be activated.

I keep the bolded thought in mind while I am citing the Prayer of the Soul.
 

Mike

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
anart said:
It is my sincere understanding that this battle in which we are engaged is a battle of the soul; of the mind, spirit and heart. It is waged energetically. We, each of us, very likely entered it with some understanding (be it vague or precise) of what we were in for in this incarnation. It is a unique opportunity and/or a daunting one, depending on ones perspective.

My point is that while leaving the U.S. might, in fact, be a wise thing to do for certain reasons if one is so disposed and can actually do it, for those who cannot, for any number of reasons, the battle still continues within and through us. The point - the entire matter - is the battle. [...]

So - we are doing something right - despite our current struggles, pain and hopelessness. The battle is through us and we are capable of much, much more than we can currently understand. Otherwise, why the desperate push for total control?
Thanks anart for writing this in another thread and all the other posts that you make.

Lost Christianity pg 92 and 93 said:
Without religion, however, magic by itself draws man fatally under the thrall of influences which pervade the earth and for which human emotional forces are nothing more than fuel. These influences are called demons. The word no longer has anything but a childish meaning, however. The general idea can be roughly stated in modern, scientific language, always remember that our language is not based on actual experiences of such forces. [...]

The control and manipulation of emotional energy is the secret of all magic, for good or evil. The evil magician agitates the mind until a certain intensity of emotional force is evoked in people. From that point, he can make them do or see whatever he wishes; for, in the state of mental agitation, the controlling power of attention - the specific quality of attention that distinguishes man from the animal - is absorbed by each passing thought-association and the passion to act which accompanies it. In such a state man is even more than usual the prey of suggestion. An external manipulator, concentrating on a specific aim, can control the mind and the perceptions of another person. However, in the prevalent conditions of modern life, external suggestions do not often follow one straight line. There is only a crisscross of suggestions coming from countless sources.

The first part "influences are called demons" is a description of 4D STS and reminds me of Laura pointing out that she came to the same conclusion and that John Keel did as well. http://www.cassiopaea.org/forum/index.php?topic=12736.msg91267#msg91267

The second part mentioning the evil magician http://glossary.cassiopaea.com/glossary.php?id=455 (and many, many other examples) in such a way gives a big nod that Father Sylvan had connected into the teaching of Gurdjieff (wonder where he found it - he mentions at one point finding a teacher, but gives no other information), but either I don't remember or missed Gurdjieff relating the issue of energy in such a way. I need to reread ISOTM.

It is also a really good description of the energetic side of A influences (or energetic feeding of the General Law/Matrix/4D STS) as described by Mouravieff in 'Gnosis I' and seems that he was aware of Mouravieff's work or source from which Mouravieff formulated his ideas and Father Sylvan added new thought or synthesis of thoughts.

Gnosis I pg 51 said:
Let us now examine from the practical point of view how man can reach
esotericism; by what means he can work towards the aim of establishing permanent connections which will make it possible for him to evolve. The problem is treated in the Tradition by the help of the diagram below. In esoteric teaching this figure could be said to be the most important. It
incorporates a multitude of ideas; far more than the comments we are about to give. That is why we must return to it often and meditate upon it.



The black arrows represent influences created within life by life itself, this is the first variety of influence by which man is surrounded. These are called 'A' influences. We will notice that they are distributed almost equally over all the surface of the circle of life. As in the case of all radiant energy in nature, their effect is inversely proportional to the square of the distance; thus man is subject most of all to arrows influencing him from those immediately around him. He is pulled every instant by the way they act at that moment.

The influence of the 'A' arrows on exterior man is imperative; driven, he wanders in the circle of his life from birth to death, following a broken line which is sometimes subject to dangerous changes of direction.

The ensemble of 'A' influences forms the Law of Chance or Law of Accident. Man is subject to its rule, yet if we examine the figure more closely we will perceive that each black arrow is counterbalanced, neutralized in some other part by another arrow equal in force and diametrically opposed, so that if we had left them to effectively neutralize each other the resultant force would have been equal to zero. This means that in their ensemble the 'A' influences are illusory in their nature, although the effect of each one of them is real, so that exterior man takes them for reality. The white circle represents the esoteric Centre, located outside the general laws of life.

The white arrows represent influences called 'B'. These influences are thrown into the turmoil of life and originate from the esoteric Centre, treated outside life, these arrows are all oriented in the same direction. In their ensemble they form a sort of magnetic field.

Since 'A' influences neutralize each other, 'B' influences actually constitute the only reality.

The small circle with the shaded lines represents man, who in this figure is taken in isolation. The oblique shaded lines signify that the nature of exterior man is not homogeneous: it is mixed.

If man spends his life without distinguishing between 'A' and 'B' influences, he will end it as he started, one could say mechanically, driven by the Law of Accident. However, according to the nature and the intensity of the resultant forces to which he is subjected, it can happen to him to make a brilliant career, in the meaning the world gives to this expression.

Yet he will come to the end of his days without having either learned or understood anything of Reality. And earth returns to Earth. In life, every being is subjected to a sort of competitive test. If he discerns the existence of the 'B' influences; if he acquires a taste for gathering and
absorbing them; if he continually aspires to assimilate them better; his mixed inner nature will slowly undergo a certain kind of evolution. And if the efforts which he makes to absorb the 'B' influences are constant and sufficient in force, a magnetic centre can be formed within him. This magnetic centre is represented in the diagram by the small white space.

If this centre once born in him is carefully developed, it takes form, and in its turn will exercise an influence over the results of the 'A' arrows which are always active, deflecting them. Such a deflection may be violent. In general it transgresses the laws of exterior life and provokes many conflicts in and around man. If he loses the battle, he emerges with the conviction that the 'B' influences are nothing but illusion: that the only reality is represented by the 'A' influences. Slowly the magnetic centre which had been formed within him is reabsorbed and vanishes. Then, from the esoteric point of view, his situation is worse than the one he had started with, when he was just beginning to discern the 'B' influences.

But if he emerges a winner in this first struggle, his magnetic centre, consolidated and reinforced, will draw him to a man having a 'C influence stronger than his own, and possessing a stronger magnetic centre. And so on in succession, the last man being in connection with another having an influence 'D', who will be his link with the Esoteric Centre 'E'.

Henceforth in life, that man will no longer be isolated. He will certainly continue to live as before under the action of the 'A' influences, which for along time will continue to exercise their power over him; yet little by little, thanks to the effect of the influence of the chain 'B'-'C'-'D'-'E', his magnetic centre will develop. To the measure of its growth, the man will escape the dominion of the Law of Chance and enter the domain of Consciousness.

Overall, I think that 'Lost Christianity' is an amazing book and I feel this way because it made me think of so many connections to what Gurdjieff said and what Mouravieff wrote about that the margins of my book are filled with comments that this or that passage reminds me of 'G' or 'M' and other thoughts. It really made me start thinking and connecting a lot of things. Saying something a different way or explaining a concept from a different perspective can really bring concepts together.

Almost forgot, this was my favorite line of the book: "Thus I begin as a self-scientist."

How about 'a network of Christian Self-Scientists' as a description of those involved in FOTCM?
 

StrangeCaptain

Jedi Council Member
As I catch moments to read it, this book continues to kick my butt (a positive butt-kicking, that is). Here is a nice quote. Very accurate in its description of virtually all currently called religion:

Without magic, Christianity abandons the inner physical sensations that support the forces of hope and love. Religious man may know he is nothing under God, but without magic he no longer physically tastes the goodness and the warmth of this hard truth, no longer applies it to himself out of the instincts of his heart. Instead, he applies the Truth to his neighbor's weaknesses, and eventually he may kill his neighbor. Without magic, without inner results that can be sensed, man loses the sense of wonder before the Creation that is within himself, the movement up and down of his own inner energies. Only this self-knowledge can generate real compassion for my neighbor and real knowledge of him and a true sense of justice toward him Those who love justice without long experience of these inner forces will never bring about anything but more violence and hatred.

Man must have results, real results, in his inner and outer life. I do not mean the results which modern people strive after in their attempts at self-development. These are not results, but only rearrangements of psychic material, a process the Buddhists call samsara and which our Holy Bible calls dust.

At the moment, I translate "magic" to mean the process and results of prolonged self-observation.
 

Leo40

Jedi Master
This is definitely a book that attempts to restore the original intent of the Teachings of Jesus.
There is one subject where J. Needleman seems to avoid a clear definition.
On p. 203: he quotes Father Sylvan: "there are two races of men, one with soul, the other without".
Unfortunately, Needleman then proceeds to "interpret" this simple statement.
Is he afraid to face the reality of OP's?
imo this subject is of great importance and would deserve a fuller treatment.
 

ana

The Living Force
Leo40 said:
This is definitely a book that attempts to restore the original intent of the Teachings of Jesus.
There is one subject where J. Needleman seems to avoid a clear definition.
On p. 203: he quotes Father Sylvan: "there are two races of men, one with soul, the other without".
Unfortunately, Needleman then proceeds to "interpret" this simple statement.
Is he afraid to face the reality of OP's?
imo this subject is of great importance and would deserve a fuller treatment.

I do not see it.
Could you please provide the text were Needleman proceeds to do it?
 

go2

Dagobah Resident
Ana said:
Leo said:
This is definitely a book that attempts to restore the original intent of the Teachings of Jesus.
There is one subject where J. Needleman seems to avoid a clear definition.
On p. 203: he quotes Father Sylvan: "there are two races of men, one with soul, the other without".
Unfortunately, Needleman then proceeds to "interpret" this simple statement.
Is he afraid to face the reality of OP's?
imo this subject is of great importance and would deserve a fuller treatment.

I do not see it.
Could you please provide the text were Needleman proceeds to do it?

Jacob Needleman states that the Church Fathers saw the “two races of men” as a heresy when understood literally. The literal minded understand this imagery as referring to mankind as a whole, while the esoteric meaning is that “two races of men” exist within each man or woman. I bold the exact sentences below.

Mr. Needleman has not avoided the Organic Portal reality, he presents two possible perspectives, literal and metaphorical. The Tradition is simple; we each have an organic portal, commonly called a body. The material aspect and the immaterial aspects of our being are the “two races of man” when understood as image and metaphor.

I though Organic Portals was an important issue when I began to study the Work on the Cassiopaea Forum. I did not agree with the literal idea that there are two races of men by birth. After years of study of Fourth Way material and more importantly, years of study of self and discovering how little I understand, today, I don’t know if there are two races of men, but I see "two races of man" within myself and I know that I see many people who seem to lack a soul or even the wish for a soul. Perhaps, someday I will understand why this is so.

Below are some selected quotes from Lost Christianity which may add to the contradictions and confusion of our intellect. The reconciliation of the two interpretations of the intellectual idea of “two races of man” is deep within the subconscious. I do know this reconciliation comes to me slowly when I am not identified with one perspective or the other being right or wrong . Perhaps, the reconciliation of this seeming paradox is that this idea of Organic Portal or organic portal, is not right or wrong, but both is and isn’t.

Lost Christianity-- p. 198 said:
Although I cannot summarize all of Father Sylan’s “commentaries on the heresies,” the theme of “the two races of men”……..

The Gnostic imagery that has survived seems to communicate a radical doctrine of the elect. Some men are of God, others are of the evil cosmos; …….

There are two species of human beings, one at home in this darkened, deceptive and evil world: the other an “alien race” thrown into this world, etc.

This, says Father Sylvan, is certainly the language of gnosis, but in the form of Gnosticism it becomes twisted into a doctrine of literal exclusivism and provokes opposition by the early Fathers of Church, who insist on an equally literal doctrine of Catholicism: “In fact, this distinction applies to every individual.”

Father Sylvan said:
Certainly, there are different levels of being that distinguish one man from another. But how to express this in a way that calls all men? Few will respond, but all must be called. The difference between men lies in their response to the call of the Way. And the difference between men on the Way also lies in their readiness to respond to the call of the next level of being. Catholicism is the call to all men; however, shows us our failure to respond. In between these two truths, I, the soul-in-birth, can appear as I attend to the call of Spirit and see at the same time that I am non-Christian. Seeing that, accepting that, the holy desire arises and the bridge between my two natures forms, immediately to disappear again and again. Only he who has experienced this process in himself a thousand times, a hundred thousand times, and only he who understands this process at its root, has the right to speak of the two races of man. For these two races are in himself. Only he who can call to the multitude in himself can call to the multitude outside himself. And only he can recognize in which man the holy desire lies hidden, and which it is dead.

"........Language must change in response to the changing furniture of the mind of the ego. But always one must speak to the shadow of the holy desire, the mental wish, which is the choice that divides human beings into men and beasts. Whatever assists and confirms this continuous free choice I call Christianity."

Father Sylvan does then assert that “there are men with souls and there are men without souls,” but that this division is not foreordained or fundamental. ……

And later he writes: “The completion or non-completion of the soul is a distant result of wishing or not wishing with the mind.” Only such a man can receive helping powers outside and inside of himself. “……

Hermes: It is not possible, my son, to attach yourself both to things mortal and divine (It is not possible to become both mortal and divine)…(He) who wills to make his choice is left free to choose one or the other……
 

ginebra

Jedi Council Member
I have just finished the reading and only can say it was so compelling that I almost
could not take my eyes of it.

Thanks for recommending it.
 

Thomas Alan

The Living Force
I'm about half-way through it. I keep stopping and rereading paragraphs sometimes several times. Some of the ideas are so subtle yet so important.

Needleman knows he is on to something very deep and profound. Yet he seems to try to make it fit in the Christian box rather accepting it as something far greater than any religion. Something way beyond ideas or words.

Thanks for suggesting the book.

Mac
 

Laura

Administrator
Administrator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
Mac said:
Needleman knows he is on to something very deep and profound. Yet he seems to try to make it fit in the Christian box rather accepting it as something far greater than any religion. Something way beyond ideas or words.

Exactly.
 

Leo40

Jedi Master
Hi, go2:

I appreciate your response and I give you this quote from session 020713:

Q: Mouravieff says that the "pre-Adamic"
humans do not have the higher centers,
nor the possibility of developing them in
this cycle - which we assume to be the
Grand Cycle you have previously
described, the length of which is around
300,000 years. Is this an accurate
representation of "pre-Adamic" beings?
A: Yes, they are "organic" portals
between levels of density.
Q: Based on what Mouravieff has said, it
seems to be so that any efforts to try to
raise the consciousness of such
individuals is doomed to fail.
A: Pretty much. Most of them are very
efficient machines. The ones that you
have identified as psychopaths are
"failures." The best ones cannot be
discerned except by long and careful
observation.

For some reason, only known to Mr. Needleman, he refuses to address this point.
The excerpts from Father Sylvan give me the impression that Father Sylvan may
also not have disclosed all his discoveries or Mr. Needleman was selective in what he
thought his readers could take in.
In this forum we all try to see reality as it is. This is not a pleasant experience.
But without this knowledge we are helpless.
I have no problem with the book other than this point.
 
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