An edited extract from the course ‘Developing Spiritual Thinking’

THE ESOTERIC VIEW is that there are four stages of cognition. There is the ordinary cognition, which occurs in the world of the senses. This includes the sciences and can be called Material Thinking (thinking that is bound by the senses and the world of matter). The other stages are called Imagination, Inspiration and Intuition. These three are aspects of spiritual thinking.

Real Imaginative cognition requires us to remove our physical sensing of an object. This is how Mario described his clairvoyant vision. He said that it is ‘easy’ to see auras, all you have to do is just not see the physical person you are looking at, just blank them out of your perception.

Removing our physical senses however, for most of us is like removing the ground from under our feet. This is how this first level of spiritual perception is described in the Christian scriptures, specifically the gospel of Matthew. This gospel tells how Christ taught his disciples and how he moved them through the various stages of spiritual initiation.

The story of the disciples in the boat, at night, seeing Jesus walk on water and how Peter tried to do the same thing, is a portrayal of the disciples entering the imaginative level of perception.

Walking on water is like having the ground taken from under your feet. Walking on water then can be a metaphor for entering the world of imagination. The words of Christ spoken to Peter also describe a quality required to do this, ‘take heart have no fear’. The quality required is courage, a characteristic of the thinking heart.

This period of time in the evolution of consciousness requires us to relinquish our dependence on abstract thought and develop imaginative thinking, ie thinking in pictures and images. Abstract thinking is removed from the object or the person in front of us. Abstract thinking is purely conceptual, theoretical and lifeless. Imaginative thinking is not abstract but is a perception of real images, which are the life of the person or object before us.

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