Articles By Roberto Assagioli, M.D.
From Transpersonal Development - The dimension Beyond Psychosynthesis
We will now turn to the relationship between the conscious 'I' and what it can receive or pick up from the superconscious. This ability to receive 'from above' may be called vertical telepathy in order to distinguish it from horizontal telepathy, which refers to signals from outside the subject, emanating from the currents of individual or and collective thought, reaching that person horizontally through the atmosphere. We might also call it internal telepathy because it goes on within a single individual. We need to give a warning here, however: it is very difficult to distinguish what comes from the individual superconscious and what comes form even higher spheres or from the levels of the superconscious outside the individual. The higher one ascends, the more the limits of individuality tend to disappear; the higher one ascends, the more the individual becomes united with the whole. Thus any description or terminology can only be relative or indicative. Language is always symbolic and allusive in nature, and this is even more the case in the psychospiritual realm.
The word 'telepathy' means influence at a distance, referring here to a psychological distance, a distance in level between the conscious 'I' and the superconscious. Here again, as with horizontal telepathy, this type of telepathy can be either spontaneous or experimental, that is to say deliberate.
Spontaneous telepathy consists of receiving impressions from afar, without willing them, and then discovering that they tie in with reality, while in experimental telepathy one person projects a thought or image and another person tries to pick up what is being transmitted. The same distinction can be made in vertical telepathy. The type of vertical telepathy which might be called spontaneous covers all inspiration related phenomena: artistic, literary or musical inspiration; intuition; the higher forms of premonition; the urge to perform heroic deed; and mystical enlightenment. Ideas and energies from the superconscious burst through or come down into the conscious mind and are perceived by the conscious 'I'. But here too the process can be encouraged or even deliberately caused by means of psychospiritual exercises which attract or facilitate the transfer of superconscious messages and influences to the level of everyday consciousness.
Vertical telepathy is of great scientific and human significance. It is important from the scientific point of view because it confirms the existence of this higher aspect to our being; and it is important in human terms in that it is the best part of ourselves which is being encouraged, made conscious and therefore used creatively and to good purpose. Its significance is not recognized, however, or we would live very differently!
An analogy may help us to understand this. If it were known that there was a great sage endowed with great spiritual powers, a loving, unselfish sage, we would certainly feel an eager desire to speak to him and ask his help and advice. And if he lived as a hermit up in the mountains, surely we would be prepared to make the climb to find him. Would we not be willing to submit to the discipline of special psychospiritual preparation in order to win his precious teachings and to be made alive by the energy and love he radiated? We would realize that the help he offered could save us from making mistakes and from suffering and pain, as well as having the power to truly change our lives.
Such a sage or Master does actually exist. He is close at hand, indeed he is present in each of us. He is the Higher 'I', the Spiritual Self. To reach him does require a journey, but it is a journey through the world within. To reach the place where this Self resides means a climb, an ascent to the heights of the superconscious. It also requires proper psychospiritual preparation so that we will be able to withstand the impact of the force of the Spiritual Self and to pick up its subtle messages, distinguishing them from all the other voices within, so that we can understand and interpret its symbolism correctly. And lastly we need to be prepared to put into effect, with an unswerving, resolute will, what we have been shown.
This preparation is not easy, of course. The Self considers things, events, beings, ect., in a very different way to the personal 'I'. Its value system and its perspective are very different to the way the ordinary conscious mind looks at things, with its 'short-sighted views', as Dante put it. What the Self reveals is consistent with what is truly good, but it can be contrary to our wishes and personal preferences. The Self does not call for sacrifices in the usual erroneous sense of forced, demanding renunciations; it calls for them in the sense of a consecration which results in the gradual elimination of a number of habits and activities that are harmful and of no use, or of less importance, so as to create a space for us to devote our time to things of greater value.
Furthermore, the Self in its wisdom and understanding love does not require that we do this at a stroke and in a perfect fashion. It is patient, prepared to wait, knowing full well that, however slowly, we will reach the high goal for which we are destined, a goal on which the Self has kept its sights since the start of our evolutionary pilgrimage. In other words, the Self has a sense of what is eternal or, to be more accurate, it lives in eternity. But it is the eternal 'now' that it inhabits, not merely a transcendent eternity, cut off from the evolutionary process of development.
'Eternal now' is a paradoxical expression which must be appreciated intuitively; but it provides us with the key to a fundamental truth, and that has to do with the relation between the transcendent and the immanent, between being and becoming. Both of these should be present, conscious and at work in us.
We need to live our lives with a keen awareness of each moment, but against the backdrop of eternity. Now the synthesis of the moment and of eternity is the cycle. Life process in cycles, and these cycles are moments linked organically by something which transcends them: eternity. A synthetic expression of this is the phrase 'the glorious, eternal now'.
To enter into a conscious relationship with the Self requires that one become attuned to it. The analogy of a radio set may help us to understand this better. Initially an attempt was made to build the most powerful receivers possible by increasing the number of valves, but it was soon realized that power was often to the detriment of selectivity and clarity of reception, along with enough power to pick up the transmission.
The same things applies to us. The problem in not so much 'receiving' (there is a sense in which we receive too much and from all directions), it is a case of developing an ever more refined and sophisticated selectivity. This necessary preparation requires overcoming the unwilling rebelliousness of our selfish attitudes and from of our moral lethargy. (We are all morally lethargic, even if we camouflage it with outward activity which, more often than not, is a form of evasion a passivity masked by activity.) But success is possible if we continually remember that it is worth it. The inner master, the Spiritual 'I' is omniscient, it sees into the future and has remarkable powers on which we cannot set a limit. Its guidance, inspiration and multifaceted help can give us light, peace and security, producing joy and love in us, and making us effective instruments of good for others.
There are various symbols of the Self, and each of them portrays or suggests one aspect of it. Among the most commonly used symbols are a star, a sphere of radiant fire, an angelic figure which the orientals refer to as the 'Solar Angel', the inner Master, the Wise Old Man, the Hero, and the inner Warrior.
But it is we who must invoke the Self, we who must take the first step, open the door or create the channel. Only then can the Self intervene, for it will not force us or impose itself on us. We have the gift of free will, and though we make so little use of it, it is the most precious gift we have, because through our experiences, mistakes and suffering, it brings us to reawakening. The Self will not in any way force our hand, but if we address it, it will respond.
Time and time again one is brought up against the paradoxical duality and unity of the Deity. The personal 'I', in the form of a reflection. This fits one of the interpretations of the parable of the prodigal son. The personal 'I' is the prodigal son who has descended to the level of the material world and forgotten his origin, to the point where of his own free will he resorts to all the foolishness he is capable of, all the errors ('errors' both in the sense of making mistakes and of going astray), and only then feels a longing for his father's house, sets out in search of it and eventually finds it.
It is not enough, however, merely to admit or give intellectual assent to this duality in unity: this needs to happen, but it is only one step. One must then make it a reality by living it out. And before attaining reunification there is a time of dramatic 'inner dialogue' appeals, questions and answers followed by a gradual coming together and by ever more frequent and vivid sparks between the two poles as they approach one another until the point where they meet. They then separate again until that moment of great peace when the two become One.
Keywords: Vertical Telepathy, Transpersonal Development, individual values, Beyond Psychosynthesis, Roberto Assagioli, M.D., Intuition, Intuitive, Articles, UK, South Africa, Cape Town