Monthly Archives: October 2016

Corbin on Ibn ‘Arabī’s Theophanic Imagination

[The following is an excerpt from Henry Corbin’s amazing book Alone with the Alone: Creative Imagination in the Sūfism of Ibn ‘Arabī, Princeton: Princeton UP, 1969.]

1 . The Creative Imagination as Theophany or the “God from Whom All Being Is Created”

aloneIt will first be necessary to recall the acts of the eternal cosmogony as conceived by the genius of Ibn ‘Arabī. To begin with: a Divine Being alone in His unconditioned essence, of which we know only one thing: precisely the sadness of the primordial solitude that makes Him yea to be revealed in beings who manifest Him to Himself insofar as He manifests Himself to them. That is the Revelation we apprehend. We must meditate upon it in order to know who we are. The leitmotiv is not the bursting into being of an autarchic Omnipotence, but a fundamental sadness: “I was a hidden Treasure, I yearned to be known. That is why I produced creatures, in order to be known in them.” This phase is represented as the sadness of the divine Names suffering anguish in nonknowledge because no one names them, and it is this sadness that descended in the divine Breath (tanaffus) which is Compassion (Raḥma) and existentiation (ījād), and which in the world of the Mystery is the Compassion of the Divine Being with and for Himself, that is, for His own Names. Or, in other terms, the origin, the beginning is determined by love, which implies a movement of ardent desire (ḥarakat shawqīya) on the part of him who is in love. This ardent desire is appeased by the divine Sigh.

By an analysis in which he discovers the mystery of being in [184] the experience of his own being, the theosophist avoids from the outset the theological opposition between Ens increatum and an ens creatum drawn from nothingness, an opposition which makes it doubtful whether the relationship between the Summum Ens and the nothingness from which He causes creatures to arise has ever been truly defined. Sadness is not the “privilege” of the creature; it is in the Creator Himself, it is indeed the motif which, anticipating all our deductions, makes the primordial Being a creative Being; it is the secret of His creativity. And His creation springs, not from nothingness, from something other than Himself, from a not-Him, but from His fundamental being, from the potencies and virtualities latent in His own unrevealed being. Accordingly, the word tan u s also connotes “to shine,” “to appear” after the manner of the dawn. The Creation is essentially the revelation of the Divine Being, first to himself, a luminescence occurring within Him; it is a theophany (tajallī ilāhī). Here there is no notion of a creatio ex nihilo opening up a gulf which no rational thought will ever be able to bridge because it is this profoundly divisive idea itself which creates opposition and distance; here there is not so much as a fissure capable of growing into an area of uncertainty that no arguments or proofs can ever traverse. The Divine Breathing exhales what our shaikh designates as Nafas al-Raḥmān or Nafas Raḥmanī, the Sigh of existentiating Compassion; this Sigh gives rise to the entire “subtile” mass of a primordial existentiation termed Cloud (‘amā). Which explains the following ḥadīth: “Someone asked the Prophet: Where was your Lord before creating His (visible) Creation?—He was in a Cloud; there was no space either above or below.”

angelThis Cloud, which the Divine Being exhaled and in which He originally was, receives all forms and at the same time gives beings their forms; it is active and passive, receptive and existentiating (muḥaqqiq); through it is effected the differentiation within the primordial reality of the being (ḥaqīqat al-wujūd) that is the Divine Being as such (Ḥaqq fī dhātihi). As such, it [186] is the absolute unconditioned Imagination (kayāl muṭlaq) . The initial theophanic operation by which the Divine Being reveals Himself, “shows Himself” to Himself, by differentiating Himself in his hidden being, that is, by manifesting to Himself the virtualities of His Names with their correlata, the eternal hexeities of beings, their prototypes latent in His essence (a ‘yān thābita) this operation is conceived as being the creative Active Imagination, the theophanic Imagination. Primordial Cloud, absolute or theophanic Imagination, existentiating Compassion are equivalent notions, expressing the same original reality: the Divine Being from whom all things are created (al-Ḥaqq al-makhlūq bihi kull shay’)—which amounts to saying the “Creator-Creature.” For the Cloud is the Creator, since it is the Sigh He exhales and since it is hidden in Him; as such the Cloud is the invisible, the “esoteric” (bāṭin). And it is the manifested creature (āhir). Creator-Creature (khāliq-makh­lūq): this means that the Divine Being is the Hidden and the Revealed, or also that He is the First (al-Awwal) and the Last (al- Akhir).

Thus in this Cloud are manifested all the forms of being from the highest Archangels, the “Spirits ecstatic with love” (al­muhayyamūn), to the minerals of inorganic nature; everything that is differentiated from the pure essence of the Divine Being as such (dhāt al-Ḥaqq), genera, species and individuals, all this is created in the Cloud. “Created,” but not produced ex nihilo, since the only conceivable nonbeing is the latent state of beings, and since even in their state of pure potentiality, hidden within the unrevealed essence, beings have had a positive status (thubūt) from pre-eternity. And indeed, “creation” has a negative aspect, since it puts an end to the privation of being which holds things in their occultation; this double negativity, the nonbeing of a nonbeing, constitutes the positive act. In this sense it is permissible to say that the universe originates at once in being and in nonbeing.1

Thus Creation is Epiphany (tajallī), that is, a passage from [187] the state of occultation or potency to the luminous, manifest, revealed state; as such, it is an act of the divine, primordial Imagination. Correlatively, if there were not within us that same power of Imagination, which is not imagination in the profane sense of “fantasy, “ but the Active Imagination (quwwat al-khayāl) or Imaginatrix, none of what we show ourselves would be manifest. Here we encounter the link between a recurrent creation, renewed from instant to instant, and an unceasing theophanic Imagination, in other words, the idea of a succession of theophanies (tajalliyāt) which brings about the continuous succession of beings. This Imagination is subject to two possibilities, since it can reveal the Hidden only by continuing to veil it. It is a veil; this veil can become so opaque as to imprison us and catch us in the trap of idolatry. But it can also become increasingly transparent, for its sole purpose is to enable the mystic to gain knowledge of being as it is, that is to say, the knowledge that delivers, because it is the gnosis of salvation. This occurs when the gnostic understands that the plemulti successive forms, their movements and their actions, appear to be separate from the One only when they are veiled by a veil without transparency. Once transparency is achieved, he knows what they are and why they are; why there is union and discrimination between the Hidden and the Manifest; why there is the Lord and his vassal, the Worshiper and the Worshiped, the Beloved and the Lover; why any unilateral affirmation of a unity that confounds them, or of a discrimination that opposes their two existences as though they were not of the same essence, is a betrayal of the divine intention and hence of the Sadness which in each being yearns for appeasement in the manifestation of His secret.
The Creature-Creator, the Creator who does not produce His creation outside Him, but in a manner of speaking clothes Himself in it as the Appearance (and transparency) beneath which He manifests and reveals Himself first of all to Himself, is referred to by several other names, such as the “imagined [188] God,” that is, the God “manifested” by the theophanic Imagination (al-Ḥaqq al-mutakhayyal), the “God created in the faiths” (al-Ḥaqq al-makhluq fi’l-i‘tiqādāt). To the initial act of the Creator imagining the world corresponds the creature imagining his world, imagining the worlds, his God, his symbols. Or rather, these are the phases, the recurrences of one and the same eternal process: Imagination effected in an Imagination (takhayyul fī takhayyul), an Imagination which is recurrent just as—and because—the Creation itself is recurrent. The same theophanic Imagination of the Creator who has revealed the worlds, renews the Creation from moment to moment in the human being whom He has revealed as His perfect image and who, in the mirror that this Image is, shows himself Him whose image he is. That is why man’s Active Imagination cannot be a vain fiction, since it is this same theophanic Imagination which, in and by the human being, continues to reveal what it showed itself by first imagining it.

This imagination can be termed “illusory” only when it becomes opaque and loses its transparency. But when it is true to the divine reality it reveals, it liberates, provided that we recognize the function with which Ibn ‘Arabī  endowed it and which it alone can perform; namely, the function of effecting a coincidentia oppositorum (jam‘ bayna’ l-naqīḍayn) . This term is an allusion to the words of Abū Sa‘īd al-Kharrāz, a celebrated Ṣūfī master. “Whereby do you know God?” he was asked. And he replied: “By the fact that He is the coincidentia oppositorum.” For the entire universe of worlds is at once He and not-He (huwa lā huwa). The God manifested in forms is at once Himself and other than Himself, for since He is manifested, He is the limited which has no limit, the visible which cannot be seen. This manifestation is neither perceptible nor verifiable by the sensory faculties; discursive reason rejects it. It is perceptible only by the Active Imagination (Ḥaḍrat al-Khayāl, the imaginative “Presence” or “Dignity,” the Imaginatrix) at times when it dominates man’s sense perceptions, in dreams or better still [189] in the waking state (in the state characteristic of the gnostic when he departs from the consciousness of sensuous things). In short, a mystic perception (dhawq) is required. To perceive all forms as epiphanic forms (maẓāhir), that is, to perceive through the figures which they manifest and which are the eternal hexeities, that they are other than the Creator and never­ theless that they are He, is precisely to effect the encounter, the coincidence, between God’s descent toward the creature and the creature’s ascent toward the Creator. The “place” of this encounter is not outside the Creator-Creature totality, but is the area within it which corresponds specifically to the Active Imagination, in the manner of a bridge joining the two banks of a river. The crossing itself is essentially a hermeneutics of symbols (ta’wīl, ta‘bīr), a method of understanding which transmutes sensory data and rational concepts into symbols (maẓāhir) by making them effect this crossing.

An intermediary, a mediatrix: such is the essential function of the Active Imagination. We shall have more to say of it further on. The intellect (‘aql) cannot replace it. The First Intelligence (‘Aql awwal) is the first determination (ta‘ayyun awwal) that opens within the Cloud, which is itself the absolute theophanic Imagination. The intermedia between the world of Mystery (ālam al-ghayb) and the world of visibility (ālam al­shahādat) can only be the Imagination, since the plane of being and the plane of consciousness which it designates is that in which the Incorporeal Beings of the world of Mystery “take body” (which does not yet signify a material, physical body), and in which, reciprocally, natural, sensuous things are spiritualized or “immaterialized.” We shall cite examples to illustrate this doctrine. The Imagination is the “place of apparition” of spiritual beings, Angels and Spirits, who in it assume the figures and forms of their “apparitional forms” ; and because in it the pure concepts (ma‘ānī) and sensory data (maḥsūsāt) meet and flower into personal figures prepared for the events of spiritual dramas, it is also the place where all “divine history” is accomplished, the stories of the prophets, for example, which have meaning because they are theophanies; whereas on the plane of sensory evidence on which is enacted what we call History, the meaning, that is, the true nature of those stories, which are essentially “symbolic stories,” cannot be apprehended.

Seth on World Views—Cézanne

[The following is an excerpt from The World View of Paul Cézanne by Jane Roberts. — Gabriel Hartley]

(This Introduction was dictated along with other material by Seth in sessions 780, 781, 784, and 790, for June 22 and 28, July 19, 1976, and January 3, 1977.)

Roberts-CézanneAnyone will tell you that Cézanne is dead, that his paintings were executed on canvas, and so his art escaped the dissolution of his flesh. Almost anyone will tell you that Paul Cézanne’s thoughts died with his body, that his brilliant mind was dependent upon the mechanics of his brain, and that with the brain’s crumbling, Paul Cézanne’s thoughts and dreams disintegrated. Almost anyone will tell you that nothing remains of Paul Cézanne except those paintings, flung from the great creative genius of a once-living man.

An artist does paint himself into his paintings, yet he is the source out of which those paintings emerge, even as Paul Cézanne himself, the living man, was a creation formed by an inner, say, multidimensional artist. The artist can never express all of himself in a painting, and a psychological entity can never express its full reality in one life.

Almost anyone will tell you that you can see Paul Cézanne’s ideas about the world by viewing those paintings that are still realities in the physical universe, though Paul Cézanne himself is not.


The thoughts of each person, however, are impressed upon a medium far more permanent than canvas—indestructible, a medium that will not age or warp, more dependable than the finest linen. In that greater gallery of psychic attainment each person is given a place to exhibit his or her “picture of the world.” There are no entry fees or judges. Symbolically, however, in that infinite gallery there exists a unique, individual view of the world as seen through the eyes of each person ever graced to follow the paths of physical experience.

Each picture is on display and available to anyone who understands how to enter this inner gallery of the mind. If there were a sign outside it would read, “The Gallery of the World’s Mind.” It contains therein the private opinions of the world as it was, or is, or will be encountered by each one of the human beings who experience its reality.

Here there are inner galleries upon galleries—soldier, priest, seamstress, butler, poet, harlot, kings, queens—all of these are given equal berth, and each individual view of the world is presented as the actual living account of one person’s encounter with physical reality.

Each thought in the mind of a man or a woman is like a living brushstroke, made on a multidimensional canvas.

In usual terms, a life consists of conscious events which ride upon numberless unconscious thoughts and activities. If it were possible for a gifted artist to paint a life portrait of any given individual, then in usual terms, this would consist of some gigantic painting depicting all. of the physical events in which that person was involved. There would be scenes of birthdays, weddings, Saturday afternoons, Tuesday mornings, innumerable still lifes with breakfast tables long forgotten. The subject would be shown surrounded by friends in youth and old age, and by numerous anonymous faces of persons perceived but unknown.


If this rather bizarre and certainly considerable endeavor was accomplished, however, the life portrait would hardly be complete, for the artist—however gifted in usual terms—would not be able to see the subject’s thoughts. Nor would he be familiar with the exact shape of the dreams, aspirations, plans, and unexecuted accomplishments with which the subject would also have been intimately involved.

For that matter, the subject might have forgotten many dreams or plans that were once important, and certainly he or she could not keep track of the unconscious activity that goes on in the mind all of the time.

In our “Gallery” of world views, however, we have the entire picture, so to speak. Following our analogy, comparing each thought to a living brushstroke, then each person is in the process of forming a vibrant creation, giving shape and form to the unique impression of the world as he or she experiences it. Each thought, or each brushstroke, however, is also endowed with creativity. It interacts with all the other elements of this multidimensional structure.

Cézanne PaintingsThe painting itself is indestructible. It is not static, however, as an ordinary painting is. Now obviously in objective terms there is no place, in space or out of it, in which such an unofficial living art gallery can be found. In the most important of ways, however, our analogy is true, for each person creates an indelible, individual, and masterful multidimensional picture of the world, seen from one viewpoint and no other.

Also, thoughts are volatile, indestructible. They do interact with other thoughts, form patterns. In a way, they are like electromagnetic species, only alive at other ranges of activity. As each person lives his or her own life, aware, say, of only the painting’s foreground, each thought and feeling is projected out and onto this greater multidimensional canvas of the psyche. This painting or world view, again, is itself alive, though its terms of reality are different than yours.

Each world view is so extensive that no one can see [XIV] its entirety at a glance, and no one can perceive it with out being changed also. In this case, the painting knows it is being viewed and it reacts, as physical paintings in your terms generally do not. Going back to our analogy, this gallery is open all of the time. You could conceivably stroll through it, however, surrounded by masterpieces but seeing nothing. These paintings, then, or world views, spring “into visibility” only under certain conditions. They are perceptive, these “paintings,” alert. They recognize in our passersby those who are of like mind or intent. They are aware of dreams or thoughts that complement their own existence.

Again, anyone will tell you that Paul Cézanne is dead, and that his thoughts about his art and about the world vanished with him, except for those he physically executed. Paul Cézanne’s world view, composed of his thoughts and feelings, still exists, however. He saw the world through his art. In a manner of speaking, that world view has been impressed upon Jane Roberts’ mind. This does not involve a passive reception, but a lively interaction at levels most difficult to describe.

graveCertain elements of Cézanne’s world view were attracted to the “canvas” of the Roberts mind because of elements it found there. In the same way, certain purposes, abilities, and intents of the Roberts mind searched out particular kinds of information from the Cézanne world view and ignored other data. The Cézanne world view, then, could quite legitimately be put together in millions of ways; according to the different kinds of classifications and organizations sought or requested.

You live surrounded by a physical environment. The past seems built into it, so that you read your planet’s history through the ages of its rock layers, say. You also live, however, in an inner psychological environment that you do not perceive so readily.

Speaking now in terms of time, your planet’s psychological history can also be “read,” but through [XV] techniques that are mental or psychic rather than physical. Thoughts are far more vital and active than, say, fossils, for while fossils change with time, thoughts do not. The physical landscape, in the terms in which we are speaking for your convenience, exists by merit of the many layers of “past” physical activity beneath. When you try to examine fossils that may be embedded in rock, however, you can examine them only in your own physical time—hence organisms once alive have turned into the dead fossils of your perception.

The planet’s psychic or psychological environment is not layered in that same fashion. Time does not affect it. Thoughts do not tum into psychological fossils, then, for “uncovered” from what seems to be the past, they are as alive as ever.

They retain their responsiveness as well. Thoughts, then, in your terms, are electromagnetic properties. While you think thoughts, you do not own them. They do not stay like tamed animals within the cage of your skull, for example. They are automatically released, and have their own vitality. This forms the planetary psychological environment, which is open to all and provides a bank of psychic nutriment from which each may draw, even as each of you benefits from the physical environment.

You have learned how to mine the earth. You have learned how to farm it, wedding your conscious knowledge to nature’s design, but you have not learned how to harvest thoughts, nor even begun to understand the nature of the psychological environment in which you also have your being.

In certain terms it is true to say that the universe not only thrives upon information, but is composed of self informing entities of whatever nature. Your sense equipment and your methods of using it are responsible for the kinds and amount of information that you perceive. You cannot possibly hold all the information flowing through the universe. For one thing, there are infi[XVI]nite ways to organize such information, and each way forms about it a universal reality of its own. You are equipped, however, to receive and understand far more information than you do.

The woman through whom I speak is learning to harvest thoughts in a kind of agriculture of the mind. To do this, you must learn to change to some extent, and only momentarily, the organizational stance that is your own characteristic one. To this extent you reach out, searching for and attracting other information than that which you would normally, yourself, perceive.

Usually you organize your perceptions in what can be said to be a highly limited fashion, searching from experience only that information with which you are yourself primarily concerned. Your thoughts attract others like themselves, and you gradually have a picture of reality that mirrors your own interests and purposes quite faithfully. As you become more interested in others, perhaps you broaden your experience, and have a more comprehensive picture of reality. You might travel, for example, but you broaden your personal scope.

To broaden your psychological scope, however, is something else, and this involves a kind of psychic or psychological travel, so that you can move from your own picture of reality at least to some degree, and visit a psychological picture of the world that is not your own.

The World View of Paul Cézanne is the result of such a psychic and psychological mobility. Cézanne’s thoughts are as alive as ever, in your terms; his psychological picture of the world as brilliant and vivid as ever. It exists as surely in the psychological environment as his pictures do in physical reality.

If you wanted to view an original painting or sketch by Cézanne, you might have to travel to another state or country to see one. You would accept this as quite natural. You would look at such paintings with your own eyes, whether you had good vision or poor, and [XVII] interpret them with your own mind. The person standing next to you, viewing the same painting, might quite as legitimately have different opinions of it than yours, even though the same picture was involved.

In the case of this manuscript, The World View of Paul Cézanne, the Roberts mind momentarily and purposefully gave up its own characteristic view of reality and traveled psychologically into the realm of Paul Cézanne’s.

There is no time barrier at such levels. In your terms, it is as if the Roberts mind simply switched to an elevated superhighway that is not visible usually from a lower one. Such a venture can in certain terms be called psychological archaeology, but only if you understand that present, past and future exist at once in these other areas of psychic and psychological activity.

Now it is not possible to completely divest yourself of your own world view, and to do so would not serve any purposes. When an archaeologist picks up a fossil in his hand it does not wiggle. When Roberts uses her mind like a net there is, however, an interaction for the Cézanne thoughts, still active, “wiggle,” and fall into the top of our figurative net, slipping and sliding, some falling down to mingle with Roberts’ own thoughts, which have momentarily been put to sleep at the bottom of the net.

I simply want to emphasize the fact that thoughts are living, not passive. They are not collected, like rocks. They are more like butterflies. Roberts momentarily then left the framework of her own psychological reality, and used Cézanne rather than Roberts as the organizing impetus, so that the contents of the mind were rearranged and Cézanne’s picture of the world was transposed over Roberts’ own.

Again, thoughts are electromagnetic. The Roberts’ view of reality and the Cézanne view to some extent merged through thoughts’ attracting properties. The Cézanne view was momentarily imprinted, or stamped, [XVIII] or stained, or cast upon the Roberts mind, but in an active interplay, so that, for example, the Cézanne world view was also altered.

The world view of Paul Cézanne was altered only, however, in the same way that you might say a painting is changed by a perceiver’s interpretation of it. In this case the Roberts mind was not relying upon physical visualization, but upon a larger range of inner sense, upon which the Cézanne world view was allowed to play. At no point in his lifetime did Paul Cézanne become aware of his own world view, see it clearly and concisely, for it did not exist in its entirety in ways that he could consciously comprehend.

It was composed of his thoughts and emotions, but it also existed by virtue of the larger overall attitudes and conceptions upon which his conscious life rested. It is not that the conscious mind is unaware of such unconscious activity out of some native blindness. It is simply that any individual uses precise consciousness to “paint in” events in the foreground of reality, concentrating upon detail, while the background is taken for granted.

Paul Cézanne’s reality continues. In a manner of speaking, you can say that he outgrew the canvas of his own earthly experience. Portions of his world view exist in his paintings, physically manifest, expressed in terms of the art to which he devoted his life. The living of a life is in itself, however, an art form of far greater proportion. This manuscript should enhance that multidimensional but uniquely earthly existence, the art of earth living, in which each of the readers of this book is involved.


Seth’s Session 775: Strings of Consciousness

Introduction: Seth on William James and the Affiliations of Consciousness

Session 775

From The Afterdeath Journal of an American Philosopher: The World View of William James by Jane Roberts


[Note by Gabriel Hartley: As I was reading The Nature of the Psyche: Its Human Expression: A Seth Book by Jane Roberts, I came across the following note opening Session 776: “Our last session, the 775th, was not book dictation. Instead, Seth devoted it to ‘strings of consciousness’—explaining why Jane ‘picked up’ the ‘William James’ material, which is discussed in her book, Psychic Politics” (p. 94). As it turns out, I had already been on the lookout for any discussion of “strings of consciousness” and so was quite disappointed to find this very passage omitted from The Nature of the Psyche as well as from Psychic Politics and the Personal Sessions collection. Related material is presented in both volumes of The “Unknown” Reality, but no Session 775.

Throughout the time I was searching, however, Seth kept telling me to take a look at the William James book, which presents different material than that recorded in Psychic Politics. Each time I looked at the James book, though, I saw that it was not organized into sessions as the Seth books are, so I dismissed this clue out of hand. But two days ago, nudged again by Seth to take a look in the James book, I looked at Seth’s Introduction to the book. I should not have been surprised when I saw that this was the transcript of Session 775 that I had been searching for and that I would have found a few weeks earlier had I taken Seth’s advice seriously the first time. So in any case, here it is for you as well as for me! — October 19, 2016]


May 10, 1976

9:36 P.M. Monday


(”I feel Seth around,” Jane said at 9:33. She laughed. ”On William James, unfortunately. I just got a glimpse of what Seth’s going to say and I thought: ‘Now how are you going to make sense of that?”’

(Jane’s reaction came about because earlier this evening she’d caught herself thinking that she might be reincarnationally related to James an idea that she’d rejected at once. Yet, there was her world-view material on James. Whereupon I suggested that she just forget about it and see what Seth had to say. Not that we hoped she would turn out to be connected to James that idea was just too coincidental for our tastes but it would be interesting to know why she’d found herself thinking along those lines to begin with.

(Seth always refers to Jane as Ruburt and to me as Joseph our entity names.)

Good evening.

(Good evening, Seth.)

Ruburt can attest to his own identity. In ordinary terms, he counts his identity as beginning at the time of his birth in 1929, and he sees it as reaching through to the present. In those terms he has a time history, with letters, mementos, snapshots, and so forth to prove it.

He met you at a certain point in space and time. You both agree upon this and upon the continuity of your two identities; so Ruburt can attest that he is himself.

The true story of consciousness has not been written, for it will always in essence escape such description. In our early sessions I spoke as simply as possible, and yet those sessions also contain in their own way the kernels of much that [7] appeared later, and that has not yet appeared. Early, I used the term ”fragment personality” simply to give you this idea that identity was not a unit that could be easily defined.

Our later material led even further away from the concept of an easily defined self. All consciousness is interrelated. It flows together in currents, rises and falls, eddies and breaks, mixes and merges. In this great interplay, however, each identity, however brief in usual terms, is neverannihilated. It is indeed inviolate. On the other hand, it can also form affiliations with other identities, for there are psychic formations as there are physical ones. The world has a physical structure that forms its contents. There is a bank of physical elements.

In greater terms, each person’s experience—while privately his or hers—also becomes part of the psychic bank, belonging to the species as a whole, containing within it abilities, attitudes, purposes, and plans. These form a heritage from which each person can draw. This drawing takes place not only before birth, but also at any point during life. You can change in life far more than you suspect, while still retaining the identity that is your own.

(9:54) In some cases you change so much that people knowing you at different times would seem to know and describe entirely different people. The theory of reincarnation is an attempt to see the basic, inviolate, yet many-faceted self in terms that can be understood, and that are in keeping with popular concepts of time. As you yourself, Joseph, have realized on occasion, you are actually “reincarnated” many times in one lifetime.

You leap over your own identities, scarcely noticing, again and again. There are no boundaries or limitations to the self, except those you accept. The miracle of your transformations escapes your crude definitions. (Louder and with amusement:) I am not speaking of your crude definitions, but use the word generally.

(”I understand. Thank you.”)

There are often great challenges to which you respond. You pick these for your own reasons. In doing so, you often change affiliations. In conventional terms, Ruburt was not William James but through Ruburt, certain challenges and purposes left unsatisfied by James have been picked up by [8] Ruburt; and to that extent a portion of William James’s

consciousness is merged with Ruburt’s.

Again: Ruburt’s identity is his own; but few have dared to look into the true components of identity. Those unanswered questions of James’s happened· to coincide with Ruburt’s own questions at a certain time in Ruburt’s current life—who at that time became attracted to that heritage bank—looking, so to speak, for someone with like interests, backed up by a lifetime of experience.

(To me:) You early recognized the possibilities of such a connection, being drawn to James far before Ruburt’s interests.

Your drives, desires, plans, and purposes, while uniquely yours, also in their way belong to the species as a whole. They are handed down, so to speak, to those who are attuned to them. You pass them on. James, to some extent, now, sees his unanswered questions sifted through another Unique consciousness, so that they are given a different slant. Consciousness, individual consciousness, is many-faceted, and in that respect a portion of James’s consciousness is reflected through Ruburt’s.

(10:16) Ruburt is then given James’s knowledge concerning those questions, as source material, providing references he himself would not ordinarily possess. Consciousness forms and reforms, always, in new combinations, yet in your terms nothing is lost that has gone before.

(A one-minute pause.) There is indeed an ”archaeology” of the self, in which the consciousness of the past and present merge, but this is a far more democratic arrangement, for in your terms the future is also involved, so that in those terms future consciousness and identities are even now being formed from the heritage of your own purposes and desires.

Because you do not catch important transformations that occur in your own life, as retaining your identity you still leap—you will have to put this in quotes also—”from self to self,” so you do not understand how the inner components of consciousness change their ”shapes and forms,” even as the natural elements of the earth form its everchanging face.


(Long pause.) Give us a moment . . . In a way, and using an analogy, the consciousness of any given nation has a shape and form as definite as the contours of the physical land upon which it resides. In those terms, during your lifetimes, a continent retains its form: though trees upon it rise and fall, rocks and stones· are washed away into the oceans, generations are born and die, governments altered, still a man in his lifetime will find the continent generally familiar and intact. Now in your lifetime, you change in the same way that the continent does, while generally finding yourselves familiar and intact. Your identity, while your own, is still a gestalt of consciousnesses that in your terms have come before, or will come in the future. Those other identities, reflected through you, become unique and inviolate. So, however, is your consciousness and identity reflected in all others.

Take your break.


As usual, I caution you that these matters are most difficult to explain.

Consciousness forms patterns of identities. They move faster than the speed of light. They can be in more than one place at one time. They can operate in a freewheeling fashion, as identities in themselves, or as “psychological particles.”

They can also operate in a wavelike fashion, flowing through other such particles. They can form together into endless, infinite combinations, forming psychological gestalts. Certain portions of these gestalts can then operate as psychological particles in time and space, while other portions operate in a wavelike manner outside of time or space.

These represent the unconscious elements of the psyche, which become “particleized” in physical existence.

(Long pause.) Your own purposes, intents, and desires attract to you, so to speak, those other “fragments” of consciousness that mix and match to form your psychological being as, for example, atoms and molecules mix and merge to form your physical being. Your body-is yours, stamped with your own purposes and intents. You are [10] unaware of the molecular transformations involved as long

as the overall pattern remains familiar and relatively intact.

In a like manner, as long as the contours of your consciousness remain relatively familiar, you do not question their composition. You are not aware of the changes that occur. ln certain terms, then, your identity is a pattern of identification, your stamp set eternally upon the universe—a shape that you recognize, but one that is filled with multitudinous activity, alteration, and change—all of which generally goes on beneath your notice.

In those terms, chunks of your own consciousness have long since fallen away and been used by others, while you still retain your identity, even as rocks are swept away from a continent into the ocean, while still the continent retains its form. In earth’s own time even the continent will change, falling off beneath the waters, or joining with another while still retaining some of its own characteristics, and in those terms carrying with it its previous coloration. So each of you alive changes in like manner, yet you carry the mark of your identity, and that is inviolate.

(11:18) Bits of your consciousnesses, Joseph and Ruburt, go out through these books. I am not speaking symbolically. These portions will mix with the consciousnesses of others. Portions of your intent and purpose become theirs.

My own psychological reality is not particleized. My identity includes the identities of many others. Each of them operates in his own fashion. In those terms, I am a wave formation. More specifically, however, and to a lesser degree, each physical person operates partially as a particleized being and partially in terms of a wave. But identity, being itself inviolate, is on the other hand everchanging—and there is, in the larger system of reality, no contradiction.

The great men and women, historically speaking, serve as psychic models, throwing into the physical realm explosive bursts of desires, purposes, abilities, plans, and intents that cannot be satisfied by any one person in any one lifetime, however heroic their performance.

These, then, serve as impetuses to others, but no-desire and no intent exists by itself alone, only by virtue of the identity that holds it, so an identity explodes outward from itself in all directions, showering portions of itself which are [11] used by others so attracted. Each identity is itself and no other; and yet it is composed of myriad fragments of other identities.

Take your break.

(11:32-11:51) Now: James’s ‘consciousness is to some extent, then, reflected through Ruburt’s, shining with a different cast, and henceforth forming a new combination—one that is original and represents a new creative world view.

In this combination A or gestalt, Ruburt’s identity predominates, so that James provides Rubert with one other focus through which to view reality. At other levels, James as himself predominates in another kind of existence. In your world, your quite conscious desires and intents attract the components of your consciousness. There is never, for example, any kind of invasion or possession in conventional terms. It is in fact, impossible for one consciousness to possess another.

Each identity possesses an integrity that will not allow any affiliation of which it does not approve. Using an analogy, psythological antibodies are far more potent than physical ones. The self or identity quite literally closes its boundaries to any forces that do not follow its own purposes and intents. There are no exceptions.

This integrity allows the identity always to maintain its own pattern or mark, permitting within its peripheries only those affiliations that serve its unique purposes. In those terms, the self or identity cannot be defiled. Here I would like to add a brief side note having to do with cases of apparent “brainwashing,” in times of war, for example.

You form your own reality. Those captured in such encounters, therefore, are captured because they are already operating in a system of beliefs that does suit their greater purposes. This subject, is highly complicated. Perhaps someday we can pursue it. But in any case, the so-called brainwashing suits the purposes of those so treated. This does not mean that no sympathy should be granted them. A really close examination of their conscious beliefs and purposes, however, would show an acquiescence and acceptance of such experience, and a need for it to occur.

End of session. I bid you a fond good evening.

(“Thank you, Seth. The same to you.” 12:10 A.M.)

James Believe