Now I am going to give you a few of the basic rules of the spiritual science regarding clearing the consciousness [mind]. Here they are: do not wish to have what you do not need, never think of tomorrow, do not look upon the past as the ideal of your life, do not think that the future includes everything. If you keep these rules, they will become the directions that lead you up and ahead – they must be the true directions of the mind.
Imagine thinking now what you are going to have for lunch or supper tomorrow. It is important for you to know what you will have today, and tomorrow should be left aside. You should not think of tomorrow if you have not eaten today. Besides, you should consider one more thing: anything that is against the laws of Nature is a sin. Therefore, any thoughts, feelings or desires that are against the laws of Nature are sinful, unnatural or abnormal. For example, if, in the hottest summer, someone has the urge to put on a fur coat, this is an unnatural desire, not in accordance with the laws of Nature; or if in winter, when it is -35 degrees C, someone decides to put on a silk hat, this is also unnatural. Such desires we consider to be unreasonable. Can it be considered a reasonable desire when someone always wants to be the centre of attention? Such a wish is impossible, unnatural – even if people were willing to do it; they would not be able to watch someone all the time. How, for instance, would they be able to watch someone in their sleep, or how could they possibly watch him or her at night when it is so dark – the very conditions make it impossible. Hence, constantly watching someone requires full awareness of the mind, and such alertness can only be possible on three conditions: when the soul is under the influence of the law of Love, under the influence of the law of Wisdom, and under the influence of the law of Truth.
So, if one is unable to raise one’s awareness to God, believe in Him and aspire for the lofty, great Creatures, one cannot know oneself. If people cannot draw conclusions from the results they see, they cannot know themselves, either. Such people cannot have an alert and active consciousness. They will be very much like the Bulgarian who went to the public bath, tied a piece of thread around his ankle and said to himself:” Let this thread stay on my leg, so that I will not get lost among so many naked strangers. I will easily recognise myself by this thread.”
However, human consciousness has one feature, a quality by which we can always recognise ourselves, otherwise we would get lost forever in the world. There is a quality by which we can always recognise ourselves as individuals. Does one know oneself when asleep? No, one does not. It is not possible to know yourselves in your sleep. When you wake up, you already know yourselves, you are aware of your self; this awareness refers only to the physical world – when one falls asleep, one forgets again. This shows that there is no relationship between the physical world and the law of Love. If there is no relationship between Life and Love, then there cannot be a relationship between Life and Wisdom, between Life and Truth.
I say - when there is no connection between Life and the laws of Love, Wisdom and Truth, people cannot establish any connection between Joy and suffering. For instance, when Joy comes in life, they say that this is only natural, but when suffering comes they find it unnatural. I would like to ask why only the advent of Joy is considered natural and the advent of sorrow unnatural. People do not understand that Joy and sorrow are two states inextricably bound up together. Suffering and Joy are brother and sister – Joy, the sister would come at a point, next would come suffering, the brother. When Joy enters someone’s home, she opens the window, looks down the road and when she sees the suffering, she calls it in right away – she ignores the fact that people in this home are not glad to see the suffering. Why should a person be displeased with suffering, and pleased with Joy? I am going to explain this through the following example. Imagine that you are in a positive state and Joy pays you a visit - you are glad because it is negative in condition. It appears in front of you as a pretty lassie, whom you are glad to see – you represent the mind, and she represents the heart, which you immediately fall for. This lassie has a brother, who is positive, like you are, and she summons him to come to her; the moment he comes, you are displeased. The brother stands for suffering, which causes your discontent, therefore your discontent comes as a result of the fact that the brother takes his sister and is off with her. Then you say, ”Where did this good-for-nothing come from? How could he rob me of my Joy?” These are images or figures that serve to explain what effects the advent of Joy and sorrow have on people.
So, if people have desires they dearly cherish, they are already disinclined to any other desire that comes to oust or take the place of the first one. They have doubts and suspicion that once robbed of their desire, which they have cherished like the apple of the eye, they will no longer be happy. Joy sometimes comes as a negative state in the shape of a woman and sometimes in a positive state in the shape of a man. If your state is negative in the form of a woman, your Joy will be positive, in the shape of a man, and he will call in from the road the sorrow and the suffering, which will come in the shape of a woman. This shows that there is female sorrow and male sorrow. Female sorrows differ from male sorrows: female sorrows are male, while male sorrows are female. The same applies to joys: female joys are male, and male joys are female. This means that the person who can give a woman Joy can only be a man and vice versa – a woman can receive sorrow only from a person of the same gender - a woman. The same refers to men: a man can afflict sorrow only to a person of the same gender - a man; and a woman can give joy to a man. When someone of the same gender comes to a person, he or she becomes anxious and displeased that the Joy will be taken away. In scientific terms, this means the following: when the idea comes to mind that one can be deprived of something they need, they become dissatisfied. For instance, you are hungry and you have a chunk of bread that you keep as the apple of your eye. Just at this moment someone comes towards you, the man is also hungry and you feel disgruntled because you do not want to give him any of your bread – you think that there will not be enough bread for you. So, that kind of person always wants to take something away from their own gender.
Therefore, suffering comes as a result of deficiency, emptiness or failure to understand Life. When people do not understand themselves, they suffer; when they want to be rich and they cannot, they suffer; when they want to get knowledge and they cannot, they suffer again. Why can't people understand themselves, and be rich, strong, or learned?
There are a number of reasons why one cannot achieve what one wants; sometimes one suffers for others, because they cannot understand Life or because they cannot achieve their desires – so one suffers for oneself, but one also suffers for people.
Now you have come to Rila Mountain1 for a walk to relax, but how many of you have come to see God, I do not know. You would say,” How come you don’t know? Don’t you know us? ” I say: There are things which even I don’t know. For instance, when I am asked to give my opinion of a person whether he or she is good or bad, and I am not willing to express it, I say that I do not know – only the person can tell you. If you ask me about myself, then I can tell you. You will say, “If so, tell us where do you come from?” I come from Heaven. “From Heaven? Is that true? Where is Heaven, then?” If you do not know where Heaven is, then there is no point in telling you; then I will tell you that I come from hell. “Where is hell?” If you do not know where hell is, then I will tell you that I come from the Earth. Therefore, one can come from three places – from Heaven, from hell or from the Earth. Put in other words, one can descend from God, from the devil, or from people.
Speaking of the devil, many people imagine it as an animal with horns and hooves. This is not the devil, this is an animal. The word devil means a creature, whose consciousness is preoccupied all day long only with itself. The devil thinks that if its deals are arranged, then everybody’s deals will also be arranged; if things go wrong for the devil, then everything will go wrong – that is the devil’s idea. You can decorate this idea of yours with horns or hooves – that is your business; the horns can be either short or long – that is also your business. What counts is that you should not expect the devil to turn up from a forest. It is always near you, stalking. It takes different shapes to disguise itself. It can transform into an eagle and scoop to grab a hen’s chicken. Today it will carry off one, tomorrow another, and the hen will get interested in the devil. It can transform into a wolf and attack a shepherd’s flock. Today it will take one sheep; tomorrow another and the shepherd will get interested in it and know it. The devil intrigues people because it takes something from them.
What the eagle does to chickens and the wolf to sheep occurs in human consciousness. You have a dozen sheep that you take tender care of, and one morning, when you get up you see that one is missing - the wolf has carried it off. You have a dozen or two chickens but one morning you see that one is missing – an eagle has grabbed it. The sheep keep disappearing one after the other, the chickens become fewer and fewer and in the end you say to yourself, “What a miserable person I am.” Why are you unhappy? – “Because I have nothing to enjoy.”
Somewhere in the region of Varna2, in a village, an eagle had the habit of hunting through the hencoops, carrying off a chicken or two every day. A village woman told her husband,” How about putting a net over the hen and the chickens. Let’s wait and see what this bird of prey will do.” The eagle, after its old habit, scooped down to the chickens and without noticing the net, thrust its beak through one of the net holes to grab a chicken. The eagle pulled and pulled, trying to get the chicken out. It stayed there for quite a long time wondering and it never occurred to it to let the chicken go and get away without it. Then the village woman, whose chickens often fell prey to the eagle, caught it and said. “Now I will give you a piece of my mind!”
So I say - if you do not want your consciousness to be robbed of your sheep and chickens, then you should put a net, just like the one the village woman used, over it. In this way, you will keep them intact. It is a law: the devil never gets into a hole with its two legs together. First it steps in with one leg, and as a result it meets some obstacles. Once the devil has come upon some hindrance, it starts fighting it, trying to tear up its knots, and this is how it gets caught. The same happens to human consciousness every day. When suffering appears, people start moaning, walking to and fro, trying to get rid of it, but they cannot. What has happened? They have put a foot into one of the holes of consciousness and are now unable to get rid of it. This foot represents one of the desires. How will they get free? I say - let go of your desire. You have seized your desire with the foot and you can't release the foot or the desire. This desire is not yours. If you have an unnatural desire, you will not achieve anything good. You will fail because unnatural desires are not in accordance with the laws of Reasonable Nature. Such desires inflict suffering and sorrow. In addition, any desire has to come on time. Just as joy and sorrow come on time. There are times of Joy and times of sorrow.
Jesus said,” When a woman is in labour, this forebodes sorrow, but after she has given birth, her sorrow turns into joy because a child has come to life.” So a woman is unhappy while she is in the pangs of childbirth, but when she gives birth to a child she forgets her sorrow because a person has come to exist. You say, ”Why did God make us suffer? Can we not live in a world without suffering?” God created a world of harmony, and suffering is a human deed. The human desire to eat is Divine, but if one eats more than necessary, this is already human; any human desire brings sorrow. When Jesus said that every woman in labour is sorrowful, He meant that this sorrow is caused by the uncertainty of the woman’s situation. She says, ”This child will either be born or not. No one knows what might happen to me or the child.” After such sorrow, Joy will come by all means.
Here is another situation: imagine eating some unnatural food, which brings about sorrow; the reason for this sorrow is that you do not understand the food you have eaten. At first, you will be glad that you are going to eat. You are hungry, you have not eaten for two or three days, but when you are offered some food, you immediately start eating. You do not care that the food has gone off and that the bread is mouldy. You are eager to have something and do not care about the food. However, once you have eaten, the bitterness comes. The bitterness causes suffering. After that you have to empty your stomach from that food and get rid of it. In this way you will feel relieved and your suffering will turn into Joy. The law of clearing the consciousness is the following: there is always sorrow hidden between two joys – first comes Joy, sorrow, the suffering is in the centre and after it Joy comes again; such a situation is the most natural. Someone wants to be joyous always – this is possible only on condition that the person keeps to God’s laws and fulfils His will. Modern people cannot always be joyous the way they live.
I say - the physical world is a world of changes. It fluctuates from joy to sorrow, from pleasant to unpleasant moments. Imagine that your child has the weight of a few kilograms and you are carrying him or her in your arms. You enjoy this but the child is growing heavier and heavier and when the weight reaches 35 or 40 kilograms, you can no longer carry your child because it is too heavy. If you have been carrying it for ten kilometres you get tired and you want to get rid of your burden, which has become unpleasant. By the same token, no matter how good a desire is, if you keep it too long in your consciousness, it starts burdening the mind, and the mind wants to get rid of it. If you want your desires not to burden you, then you should harness them to do some good3. By working this way, you will get to the new philosophy of Life. Then you will say, ”What is new is good, but we cannot do without what is old.”
This reminds me of a case with a Bulgarian. This man went to the nearest town to buy some new clothes and the merchant wrapped them in some paper. On the way back to his home village, he felt like having a nap, so he lay down for a while in the shade of a tree, left the bundle aside and fell asleep. Some time later a thief passed by, saw the bundle with the new clothes and took it. The man woke up and saw that the bundle was gone – not a trace of his new clothes.
I would like to ask you now what do you do when your sorrow turns into Joy. You immediately take off your sorrow, i.e. your old clothes and dress in Joy, i.e. your new clothes. True Joy is the Joy in which you forget about your sorrow. This is why Jesus said,” When a woman is in labour, this forebodes sorrow, but after she has given birth, her sorrow turns into joy because a person has come to life.” Therefore, if the joy you experience cannot erase your sorrow, then it has not given you anything valuable. If you want to develop, you always have to consider the law of clearing the consciousness.
Someone says, ”Have I made progress, have I chosen the right direction?” This is something only you know. It is the same as when you ask yourselves whether you have had enough food. You are your own authority. If an outsider comes, he or she can only guess whether you have had enough or not. The only person who has the answer is you. Someone else asks, ”Do I believe or not? Am I happy or sad?” Only you know. There are things that only you know best of all. Which are these things? - What refers to you. With equal reason I know best only what refers to me. We should use the things that we know about ourselves. These are the tools that we can always use in our lives.
Now every person must clear his/her consciousness in order to clear it from anything useless. If you want to know how to do it, go to some greengrocer and look at what he does. Everyday, he sorts his fruit. He takes out the rotten ones and throws them away. He puts those that are good in baskets and crates. If he does not sort them out, the good fruit will also go bad. Apply the same method to clearing your consciousness. Every morning, when you get up, search through your consciousness for some rotten fruit. If you find some bad fruit, throw it away. Sell as many useless desires as you have, at least you can get some money. Can you imagine having ten baskets full of desires? What are you going to do with so many? It is enough to have one basket of desires. You can sell the rest. A basket of desires is worth 10,000 leva. If you sell nine baskets, you can become rich.
As I say that desires can be sold, most of you would find this funny and ask, ”Can desires be sold?” What does the word desire mean? Sell and pass mean one and the same thing. Sell only those desires that do not love you and do not sell the desires that do love you. The same refers to thinking. There are thoughts that love you. Do not sell these thoughts. There are thoughts that do not love you. You can sell these thoughts; drive them away as far as the woods. Why is it important to sell the desires and thoughts that do not love you? Because anything that does not love will do you harm by all means. Any desire, any thought that does not love you has instincts and inclinations similar to the ones a mouse has. Just as the mouse makes its way through here and there to eat into some item of clothing, so the desires and thoughts that do not love you will always find a small inlet into your consciousness to worm their way into it and do some harm. They do not do it deliberately, yet they do it because they are rodents and such is their nature.
So, both good and harmful desires occur in human consciousness. For instance, there is hardly a human being that does not want to be beautiful. Everyone wants to be beautiful and such a desire is quite natural. However, being beautiful without Truth is impossible. Beauty without Truth is able to cause the greatest possible evil to people. Just as Beauty cannot exist without Truth, so there are a number of desires that are impossible without Love. If you ever have such a desire, it can inflict upon you the greatest harm.
If there is Love in this desire, then it comes from God. If there is Love, there is Beauty, there is Truth. If there is not Love in this desire, then God is not present, and if God is not there, it means that Beauty is not there, either. If Beauty is not present, then Truth is also absent; therefore such a desire is out of place. If there is Love in a desire, then there will also be Beauty and Truth, and it will undoubtedly be good. Whoever has the Truth is a beautiful person. Truth is basic to everything in Life.
People find someone honest and someone else dishonest. On what does it depend for a person to come across as honest or dishonest? If two extremely poor people meet, can they steal anything from each other? Neither has a rag to his name. There is nothing to steal. So, they will look at each other, they might laugh and say, “Here we stand two paupers.” When do people steal from one another? If a rich man and a poor man come to a place together, under the circumstances (cold and hunger), the poor man will be compelled to rob the rich man. It is only natural that the poor man should have the urge to steal at least a suit from the rich man as he has a few. The poor man will say,” Why should this rich man have several suits while I do not have a single one and I am wearing rags in this bitter cold?” The rich man, in turn might think that the poor man’s deed is not fair.
So, every desire comes as a result of Love. If you say that you have some desire, it suggests that you should love people. The law of Love is the law of the change of consciousness. Loving people, means that if they are naked and bare, you should give them clothes. If you meet such a person, you should approach him/her and say, ”Come with me to a clothes shop and I’ll buy you some clothes.” He will be glad, and you will be glad. If you meet some other man who is sad and dejected, you should call him aside and say something kind to him. Do not ask him why he is sad. He might be sad because he is in rags, or because he is poor, or because he is hungry. Generally, people can be from all walks of life.
I say - people can find themselves in funny situations and expect others to make them glad or happy. To expect others to make you happy is the same as to expect your relatives to dress you when you get up in the morning. Is it not ridiculous when a grown up girl or boy wait for their mother to dress them in the morning and undress them in the evening? Someone is sad. Why? It is because he or she expects someone to come and dress them and put the rucksack on their back. I say - fling the straps of your rucksack on your back. It’s no use waiting for anyone’s help.
An acquaintance of mine told me the following story:
“There is a man who doesn’t like me at all. Whenever he meets me, I feel that he thinks ill of me.” “Really? You are wrong. I met the same man a few days ago. He was on his way to the bank. He was going to invest 25,000 leva in your account” “I can’t believe it! It’s true I received a cheque for 25,000 leva but I had no idea who could have sent it. So the man I thought didn’t like me turns out to be my benefactor! Who would ever think that this man is so kind-hearted!”
So, you do not know who likes you and who does not. There should always be a friend to tell you who likes or loves you. There should always be a friend to tell you that God has lodged Good in you and all you have to do is show it. When you know this, whenever you have some desire, you have to reveal it either through the law of Love, the law of Wisdom, or the law of Truth. If you want to exist, do not give up your desires. You only have to examine them carefully to see which category they fall into. If a certain desire refers to Love, take it to its mother. If the desire refers to Wisdom, take it to its father. If it refers to Truth, take it to its brother or sister. Everybody must know where to take their desires – to its mother, father, brother, or sister. To put it differently, everybody must know whether the desire refers to the law of Love, Wisdom or Truth. Any wish that refers to these laws is natural and if it does not refer to any of these laws, then it is unnatural.
You should bear in mind that the science dealing with clearing the consciousness is just making its first steps. People have just begun to clear their consciousness and they will keep doing it until there comes the day of full awareness and enlightenment. It is not easy to clear the consciousness. The change of consciousness, i.e. clearing it, is the subject of one of the greatest, most appealing branches of human knowledge. You ask, ”How can we clear our consciousness?” Clearing your consciousness suggests working as a farmhand on somebody else’s vineyard. You should dig, plant, weed and finally gather the grape harvest. You do not have your own vineyard but you find someone who has one, hire yourself out and work there until grape harvest comes. At grape-harvest time you pick the grapes, put it in the basket and you can eat for free as much as you want – the master will not forbid you to do this. Therefore, the law of tilling, weeding and harvesting the vineyard is pretty much the same as the law of clearing consciousness. If you want to clear your consciousness, then you will have to work for some owner of a vineyard. You will work on it, dig it over and over again, and weed it until you finally gather the harvest. You will fill the baskets for your master and put them aside. As for the grapes you have eaten, they are all yours. In the evening, when you call it a day, the master will pay you. What you get paid is experience, while the grapes you have eaten during the day are your real profit. Somebody will say,” I earned some money today.” You have earned nothing. All you accomplished was a wild goose chase. Your true profit is what you have eaten while you worked on the vineyard.
So, while you are in the process of clearing your consciousness, any teacher you turn to, will invite you first to work on his vineyard, to clean it and then at grape-harvest time to taste the grapes. No teacher will fill your basket with grapes, but he will say, ”While you work on my vineyard, you can eat as much as you want.” There are teachers who might fill your basket with grapes but it could happen only if you have made great progress.
Now, you all have to learn how to think correctly. If you happen to have some difficulty or trouble, go to somebody else’s vineyard, dig it, weed it, and at grape-harvest time, eat as much as you want. When you eat from those grapes, you will feel happy. Most people are willing to have a vineyard of their own. They say, ”It is quite a different matter if you have your own vineyard as you can eat whenever you want, as much as you want, whatever sort of grapes you like.” No, it is not true. Above all, you should learn the following law: everything that you understand is yours; what you cannot understand is not yours. The difference between personal affairs and other people’s affairs lies in understanding matters. When you go grape-harvesting, you say,” Let’s fill our baskets to the top, so that we could have some for tomorrow.” No, you shouldn’t do it. Eat as much as you can while you are at the vineyard. Tomorrow you will go there again. If you are in the Spiritual world and want to have some grapes, you should climb the mountain where it is harvest time every day. Do not think of tomorrow. When you work in the Spiritual world, you can have fresh grapes every day. In the evening when you go back home, you will have the experience of being paid. Someone might say," I don’t want to work on a vineyard, and I don’t want to pick grapes.” If you do not want to pick the grapes, then you will not experience any joy. Jesus said,” If you want to work on someone’s vineyard and gather the grape harvest, you should find some very poor man in rags to do him some kindness.” You do not know who this poor man could be. Although in rags and tatters, he could be a saint. If you do him good, then you will learn a lot from him.
There is a story about an American professor in theology. Once he felt bitterly disappointed with both himself and his science and said, ”I have been giving lectures at the university for so many years, and yet I am a failure. I friend of his who saw him in this frame of mind advised him to visit a poor widow who was bed-ridden for twelve years. The professor paid her a visit, had a short talk with her and on leaving her house, he said. ” This poor, sick widow taught me a lesson I never succeeded in giving to my students. I learned really a lot from her. She has been in bed for a dozen years, but what she has learnt, she knows perfectly well. She gave me true encouragement. Now I know what it is like to work on a vineyard with rich vintage.” From then on the professor would visit her every day to work on her vineyard, always taking her a small gift.
I say – all of you should visit people who are outwardly unhappy but inwardly happy. Such people we call saints. Now I wish you to be outwardly unhappy and inwardly happy.
The lecture I gave you this morning remains a bit incomprehensible to you. This is because of the fog, which did not lift today. All this comes to show that you have little understanding.
31st July 1931
1 Rila – the highest mountain in Bulgaria
2 Varna – a big town in Bulgaria, on the Black Sea coast
3 The word should read Job / work