forest

The Relationship between Consciousness, Energy and Substance in Pythagorean Philosophy - Part 2

Início pdf share

(Part 1)

Pythagoras and the Monad

What does the Pythagorean school of thought say about this pyramid of the gross and the subtle? Firstly, it reaffirms the existence of the monad itself. It identifies the monad as the original and immortal core within us. Its influence, its impact on our subtler vehicles is not static, but fluent between the different levels of the pyramid. Depending on the attributes of the monad, so different manifestations of the ‘I’ arise. When focused on the body, it forms the physical ‘I’; when identifying with the emotions it forms the emotional ‘I’, and when associated with the thoughts, it creates the mental ‘I’, the quality of conscious thought.

But the monad in essence, is none of these things. It is a spiritual primordial ‘atom’, and stands above and beyond all of the different physical aspects. Pythagoras identifies not only the worlds associated with the subtler vehicles, but seven times seven, or forty-nine spiritual manifestations. And the monad, the very core of our being, is the primordial building block of the supreme field, the link to the divine.  

Its core essence is to develop the original divine consciousness, which is achieved through conscious and unified life experiences shared with other monads. This also involves a path of involution that includes life experiences that can only be obtained in matter. At a specific point, the monad has to experience the nadir of materiality, the lowest vibrational point of the forty-nine spiritual manifestations where conscious life is still possible.

On the lowest physical plane, the monads have a mineral consciousness. When they begin to move upwards they attain a plant consciousness which is connected with some feeling. Plants align themselves with energy, they have a relationship with the sun, a “desire” for what gives life. They belong to the higher part of the 49th plane.

Then comes that level of consciousness experienced by the animal kingdom, which includes elements such as sympathy and antipathy. Animals as we know, have an awarenesss that is dominated by instinct – safety, survival, comfort etc. A cat for instance will move towards what feels best, and away from discomfort. Lastly, we have that level of consciousness associated with the human being – self-awareness. Still the human consciousness is active and limited to an awareness only on the four lowest levels of existence. To some who have held a hope to possibly enter ‘Nirvana’ at the end of their life, this may be a difficult fact to digest.

But what does the idea of attaining Nirvana actually convey? In simple terms, it is leaving behind the lower fields of consciousness discussed and entering into a higher level, a consciousness at level 46. The monad always remains, only the consciousness changes. The true idea of entering Nirvana implies having completed the great cycle, the evolutionary cycle, an to have achieved cosmic consciousness. At the end, the monad has had all the experiences that can be had in this cosmos and is then able to build up a cosmos itself in turn so that other monads can go through their evolution. This is the fundamental teachings of both Pythagoras and Leibniz.

Thinking and feeling, knowing and being

Let us now briefly look at how the emotions and the mental planes interact. If we use the analogy of walking on two legs, we know that little progress would be made if we tried to walk on only one leg. The same applies to the activities of the mind and the heart; true progress can only come when both are employed equally. If we focus only on the emotional for instance, the danger exists that we fall into mysticism, allowing ourselves to ‘float away,’ not having the mind to ground us, and believing our newly found ‘weightless state’ to be that of a spiritual attainment.

There are of course, higher vibrational states of emotion, and it is easy to believe these are higher states of spirituality. For instance, mystically inclined meditators who fall into the bliss of these emotions, can choose to neglect the role of the mind because they fear to loose these experiences.  

There are also differing levels of mentality. Firstly, there is logical thinking, the ability to rationalize our thoughts, secondly what might be called ‘principle’ thinking, which is the ability to conceptualize from principles. There is also perspective thinking, and after this comes systemic thought, where the mind can bring together differing traditions and systems, and intuitively translate their inner values. When we have reached these four levels comes what might be termed as causal thinking, or the ability to understand the causality of what is appearing in our world.  

From the perspective of what we have discussed above, it is important that we possess the mental ability to apply ‘principle’ thinking as a foundation point. The mind gains insight into the principles and proceeds to perspective thinking. And this is where the spiritual path has its beginning; the ability is achieved to still the emotional turmoil that is part of man’s makeup. Such ‘overcoming’, is always connected with an inner path, where the mind and the heart act in total unison; where knowledge and being meet.

The monad exists! Let us try to give it the space within ourselves to once again allow it to guide our system. This will require honesty; an absolute honesty and sincerity that form part of the twelve virtues that we must possess in order to transition into the spiritual. These twelve virtues are also alluded to as the twelve exploits of Heracles.

Let us start by acknowledging that we are all in the same situation, that we share the same longing that has brought us to stand together on this one path. We need courage, for often we can feel we are standing alone. Be warriors, and let us overcome together what is no longer fit for purpose on this path. Let the ‘real’ shine forth!


This talk was given at a symposium of the Rosicrucian Foundation (Stiftung Rosenkreuz) entitled "What wants to become?" (Was will werden?). It took place on 28 and 29 September 2019 at the Van Rijckenborgh Conference Centre in Bad Münder (Germany). The lecture has been shortened and edited for publication.

Início pdf share