What are we to make, then, of Gnostic beliefs about the Archons? It might be said that Gnostics believed that only by confronting what is insane and inhumane in ourselves, can we truly define what is human. In essence, to define humanity is to defend it against distortion. Gnostics asserted that the capacity for distortion of humanitas, or dehumanization, is inherent in our minds, but this capacity alone is not potentially deviant. Since we are endowed with nous, a dose of divine intelligence, we are able to detect and correct distorted thinking. We can master what Tibetan Buddhists call krol'pa, “thoughts that lead astray,” mental fixations that turn us away from humanitas, our true identity. However, Gnostics also warned of an alien spin that can add a truly deviant element to our thinking. The effect of the Archons is not to make us err, but to make us, largely through dullness and distraction, disregard our errors, so that they extrapolate beyond the scale of correction.
When I was in India living close to Tibetan monks and lamas, I was often surprised at the apparently easy-going, laid-back way in which many of them seemed to live their practice. They often responded to my intensity and fervor with the expression kale kalepe TOnang (literally “please go slowly”). Essentially, what they were saying was take it easy, go slowly, and you get there. They seemed highly amused by the attitude I had towards my practice, as though they could not understand why I was so driven. They did not have the underlying emotional disposition in their psyches that said they were not good enough. This does not mean they did not practice and work hard. It meant that they let things be and did not have the neurotic intensity of striving many of us suffer from in the West.
When a bird is alive, it eats ants. When the bird is dead, ants eat the bird. One tree makes a million match sticks. Only one match stick needed to burn a million trees. Time and Circumstance can change at any moment. Do not devalue or hurt anyone in life. You may be powerful this time, but remember: Time is more powerful than you. So be good and do good.
In meditation practice, you might experience a muddy, semiconscious, drifting state, like having a hood over your head: a dreamy dullness. This is really nothing more than a kind of blurred and mindless stagnation. How do you get out of this state? Alert yourself, straighten your back, breathe the stale air out of your lungs, and direct your awareness into clear space to freshen your mind. If you remain in this stagnant state you will not evolve, so whenever this setback arises, clear it again and again. It is important to be as watchful as possible, and to stay as vigilant as you can.
Words do not express thoughts very well. they always become a little different immediately they are expressed, a little distorted, a little foolish. And yet it also pleases me and seems right that what is of value and wisdom to one man seems nonsense to another.