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Masterful Instruction – Dr. Aziz on The Times of India, Speaking Tree

The experiential transmission of knowledge has long been held by the consciousness and enlightenment traditions to be the highest level of instruction and as such the most difficult to master. Indeed as soon as we step beyond the provision of knowledge for the purposes of what I would term “retentional education” and take as our task the advancement of others psychologically and spiritually, in a manner, moreover, that is attuned to their unique developmental needs, we find ourselves in altogether different territory. The transmission of knowledge for the purposes of retentional education does not require of its students a willingness to descend experientially into a process of personal challenge and transformation. In fact, it often eschews such initiatives. But when the intended outcome of the transmission of knowledge is enlightenment, a sacred circle is drawn in which the requisite descent is hastened by way of the direct, experiential transmission of knowledge within the actual instructional process.

Pulling consciousness out of unconsciousness is no easy task. The teacher and student will face unique and unpredictable tests. Outcomes will entirely depend on the level of consciousness the teacher brings to bear on the unfolding process, moment by moment. Indeed only by directly engaging and addressing in the actual unfolding process that which is obstructing the student, only by bringing consciousness to bear on the presenting moment and its developmental opportunity that would otherwise remain concealed by the unproductive looping of the neurotic mind and what I technically term ego control, will the teacher be positioned to deliver the required transformational shock to the student and realise the experiential transmission of knowledge.

The critical steps of the direct, experiential transmission of knowledge within the actual instructional process are thus twofold: 1) The teacher knows exactly how the student’s consciousness is obstructed 2) The teacher engages the student’s developmental obstruction directly and experientially with transformational effect after having circumvented the resistances presented by ego control and the unproductive looping of the neurotic mind.

Invariably it is at moments of developmental opportunity that under the auspices of ego control, powerful and cunning, sub-conscious resistances to personal challenge and growth strike with a vengeance. To the extent, moreover, these regressive and largely unconscious-driven energies are not neutralised and eventually get the upper hand, to the extent the teacher and the process ends up being assimilated by the problem, rather than assimilating it, not only would the efficacy of the transformational process be compromised, but the teacher would also be at risk.

Unconscious energies untouched by the light of consciousness invariably assume their most toxic form. It is, therefore, incumbent on the teacher for both instructional and personal reasons to recognise exactly what these energies are up to and keep the intended transformational process on track. With reference to the teacher’s need to hold firm under these exact circumstances, we thus read in Richard Wilhelm’s translation of the ancient Chinese text, the I Ching: “A teacher’s answer to the question of a pupil ought to be clear and definite like that expected from an oracle; thereupon it ought to be accepted as a key for resolution of doubts and a basis for decision. If mistrustful or unintelligent questioning is kept up...(the teacher) does well to ignore it in silence, just as the oracle gives one answer only and refuses to be tempted by questions implying doubt.”

Ignoring in silence “questions implying doubt” would be to ‘not contend with’ or ‘not chase’ the student’s regressive resistances or decoys. Ignoring in silence “questions implying doubt” would be to deliver a shock that would at once disrupt the neurotic chatter and resistances of ego control while redirecting the student’s focus to the developmental challenge of the transformational process at hand.

The Gospel of Thomas, which was only discovered in 1945, is regarded by some as perhaps the purist expression of Jesus’ level of attainment as a spiritual master. Indeed the directives and exchanges in the Gospel are far more in keeping with the consciousness and enlightenment traditions than the biblical canon, which is to say, more esoteric (only accessible to the initiated) than exoteric (accessible to everyone).

In the Marvin Meyer translation of The Gospel of Thomas, the text reads: “Jesus said, ‘If you bring forth what is within you, what you have will save you. If you do not have that within you, what you do not have within you (will) kill you.’

The shadow is a term coined by Jung to refer to those unknown and often inferior aspects of the personality, which most individuals are reluctant to acknowledge, even though they ultimately would be greatly benefitted by so doing. Jesus thus states in the Gospel of Thomas, arguably with reference to the equivalent of the important consciousness work of shadow integration, “If you bring forth what is within you, what you have will save you.” Now, at this point during an actual exchange of this nature, if someone were fully in the grip of ego control that individual would almost certainly answer: “I hear you, but there is nothing whatsoever in me that is in anyway inferior.” To which Jesus, as we have seen, would respond expediently. And he would do so by ‘not chasing’ the student’s regressive resistances or decoys, by “not contending with” the obviously untenable position taken by the student, but rather, by making it impossible for the student not to own the problem, by keeping the tension and ethical burden of the student’s developmental obstacle exactly where it needs to be kept — with the student in the immediacy of the unfolding process. Thus spoke Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas: “If you do not have that within you, what you do not have within you (will) kill you.”

Click here to read this article on the Times of India, Speaking Tree.

under "Publications" on Mon, Jun 18

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