Phat Podcasts

289 – Layering

Esoteric teachings tell us we are not the body. This can make sense to us intellectually and even emotionally to some degree. It’s hard to rise above body consciousness however. Here are some practical ways to assist you in this vital realization.

You can make a Difference - Please use the Sharing Options above


  1. This podcast was really helpful for reminding me how much I can become identified with the body and mistake myself as a single ‘I’. Thanks for giving so many useful, practical tips and stories for remembering one’s self. Now if I can just keep remembering to remember myself! How quick we fall back into old patterns and habits. To say “That is not I” is so simple yet so powerful.

  2. Intriguing imagery!. Are the intellect and emotions part of this layering analogy where the body is the outermost layer? Using the pebble-ripple analogy are thought and emotion ripples formed before the sensation ripple? Therefore we are not our thoughts and (negative?) emotions either? If we say this is not I – which is a thought – we are choosing to go with a thought and are accepting it as I or at least a part of I. I guess I find it hard to delineate in myself what is I and what is not using functions (intellect/emotions) that speak as I.

    • Yes, the intellect and emotions are layers as well, according to this analogy. Depending on the degree of one’s state of sleep, sensations will generate thoughts and feelings based on old associations with those sensations. However, if one begins to awaken and demonstrate some choice it is possible to remain equanimous toward the sensations and get beyond reactive thoughts and feelings triggered by them. If one is consistent in this practice, new neuronic pathways will be laid down in the brain and the sensations will then trigger different, consciously chosen thoughts and feelings. Beyond that our knowledge is theoretical so we can’t speak of it with authority.

      We are not our thoughts or emotions if we are not identified with them. Since we are almost always identified with everything, saying “That is not I” is a step in the direction we wish to go. Its purpose is to help give us a degree of separation from the more mechanical, automatic in us. We are choosing to go with a better, higher, more understanding “I” based on a sound esoteric idea.

      The fact that you are aware enough to find it hard to delineate in yourself what is “I” and what is not is good. As P.D. Ouspensky said, “Everything is False Personality, now find what isn’t.” The only way to work on Being is through the Personality. What we’re attempting to do is make lower, more mechanical parts of the False Personality passive, by starving them as it were. Then we attempt to go with better “I’s” that are more conscious and understand higher ideas better, by feeding them the fuels they need. At some point our level of Being is raised enough to get us in a position to receive transforming influences from above directly, so that we may be gradually transformed from the lower to the higher.

      Due to the limitations of language and Time we must list the steps in a general order that makes sense to the intellect. When the Emotional Center has been purified enough, much of what is listed is experienced directly without the limitations imposed by language and Time.

      We hope we’ve been able to either answer your questions or point you in the right direction. Thank you for your interest.

      • Thanks for the in depth response. Just to finish this line of thought…

        When the emotional center has been purified enough you stated that we can experience directly. I’m presuming this is from higher centers or Real I. Is this experience/communication made manifest in the form of thoughts and feelings, or is it much like the ‘Voice’ described by Brian in the House on the Rock? In other words, are our functions (thoughts and feelings) used as ‘mediums’ for communication from above? Our job then is to learn how to be sufficiently passive/quiet to hear and distinguish them from those thoughts and feelings triggered by old associations via external sensations?

        • You’re welcome.

          Higher Centers, Real I. The words we use are not always of great value. It’s a better idea to try to grasp the meaning behind the words without focusing too much on the words. This may seem like a strange thing to say since we’re using so many words, but this is what we mean when we say, “When the Emotional Center has been purified enough” we may experience directly. Notice that you have a sense of the truth of this. It’s like hearing something without seeing it. Because, for sighted people, over eighty-five percent of the data we take in via the five senses comes through the eyes, we don’t fully trust what we heard. We’ll use the eyes to verify what we heard and recognized. This is what happens with the Intellectual Center. Because we have come to rely so heavily upon it, because the Emotional Center has become so clogged and infested with negative emotions that we are unable to use it properly, we tend to lean on words even when we have grasped the meaning emotionally. We can be sure the influences come from a more conscious source. What we label that source is more important to the Intellectual Center than to the Emotional Center.

          The influences we receive may be expressed in the form of thoughts and feelings. Even the “Voice” of which Brian Cleeves speaks is interpreted by Brian’s Personality. It would be fair to say that when we have been sufficiently purified of self-emotions we become better or worse conduits for influences from a more conscious source. The idea is to be possessed by Good. This must be a conscious act of will on our part. Our job is twofold in that we must quiet our internal world enough to be able to hear and at the same time be informed enough to be able to discern from whence comes what we hear, sense, see or experience. Then we are left with the somewhat more difficult task of making it part of our Being through practical application.

Leave a Reply to Esoteric Talks

About Esoteric Talks

"No good deed goes unpunished."

The person most frequently credited as the originator of the phrase is playwright Clare Boothe Luce. Also credited have been playwright Noel Coward, writer Oscar Wilde, journalist Walter Winchell and the late Washington Post writer Bill Gold. The original idea is probably an ancient proverb.

Appearing cynical on the surface, a closer examination of human nature reveals the False Personality to be incredibly vengeful and petty due to its hubris.

Plato has Socrates say, "An unexamined life is not worth living." The reason no good deed goes unpunished is because most people are living lives not worth living. If you feel a sting, that probably means you are spending more time and energy examining the lives of others than you are examining your own.