The next entry in his diary is dated July 25th, 1910. It is a general confession of the previous six months. Half of his year of Probation had passed away, and he has not reported to, or received any communication from, the Order. He laments his negligence in this respect, but writes: "Yet know I well that I alone have suffered and shall suffer from this negligence, and I must humbly take any results that may arise out of my failure. Still, even though I may have neglected the advice given me when I first became a Probationer, I feel that I have progressed, be it never so slightly, along the Path which from the first I set out to tread. May it not be, 0 Adonai, that even now the second six months may be made to balance the first six, and that what is passed may yet be for the best?"
At that time he had not found out that things always turn out for the best; it took him a long while to realize this, but it is evident that soon afterwards his efforts produced some result; for we find an entry on Sunday, August 7th, 1910. "I have found (for a few moments) the Peace which passeth all understanding. Amen." This was evidently the foreshadowing of his first really notable result, the first Dawning of L.V.X. which he experienced on August 29th. There is an entry on September 2nd, full of joy and gladness and wonder at his first Illumination; and then, three days later, he had evidently recognised that this alone was not enough, and this was evidently the reason for the next somewhat curious entry of September 5th,7 :53 P.M., which I shall quote practically in full:
I am calm now, as I commence to write what may be the last entry in this diary. All that I can remember of my life on this planet has, as I look back upon it, been guided by an unseen hand. For so short a life (24 years and six months) it has been filled with an unusual number of incidents, some painful, some joyful and some of a purely spiritual nature. I regret nothing. Again three days have passed since I made entry in this book. I cannot talk of what has happened during those three days, it seems useless to try and do so, in fact it seems useless to make this entry at all except that I know not what is before me, and I feel that had I (or if I) lived longer upon this planet it would have been my life work, indeed it must have been, to help others to the Path. Therefore to those who follow after are these lines written in the hope that they may be saved one drop of the anguish I now suffer. Whatever may have happened in this last three days, the results of my thoughts amount to this. I who have found the heart of the shining triangle, who have indeed become one with the Great White Brotherhood, who have heard the Voice of God in all Its sweetness, who have made that message a part (nay all) of my being, who have held my Beloved in my arms, who have Become my Beloved and lost myself therein, who have for ever given up my lower self, who have conquered Death, who have felt the Pain of the whole World, who have found Wisdom, Love and Power, who have given up All to become Nothing, I who have seen the need of the World, have found that books (hitherto my dearest companions) have no longer any word to say to me — have found that knowledge (relative) or what I thought was knowledge, is of no avail to supply the need of all that other part of my Being that my great God-love would give it. I who have conquered Fear and Death, am now confronted with the fact that without Absolute Knowledge all is vain. I am going to ask the One Last Question. WHY? I have written it. An awful stillness falls. I am alone in my lodgings, I have no money, and I cannot use my Will to demand it from others if I can give nothing in return to help them to find what they really seek. I have cried with Christ "Eli, Eli, Lama Sabacthani." I have suffered the Bloody Sweat with Him on the Cross, and now I say with Him "It is finished" Amen. One last note occurs to me before I wrap up this book and seal it and address it to F… in whose hands it will be safe. I looked into the eyes of a little child this evening. Does the answer lie there?
Sep. 5th, 12:26 P.M. It is over. I have unsealed the package and once more opened the book. This time it will be but a short entry. Very quietly I knelt; I did not robe or burn incense. I just took with me the memory of the little child who had looked into my eyes as I kissed its forehead. Very quietly I asked my question. I rose and lay upon the bed, and soon the answer came. It came quite silently, and at first I thought I must be mistaken, I had (it seemed) heard it so many times before. No other answer came, so I went out into the streets and along my way. Gradually the fuller meaning has dawned on me, and I have returned to make this entry. I need not add much more. I do not put the answer down. It was given in silence and must remain in Silence. Still there seemed to be just one little ripple of joy in the Great Silent Sea as another sould gently sank to its rest, and the silent voices whispered "Welcome brother." Then all was calm and Peace as before. The little ripple flowed on to let the whole world know, then, having delivered its message, all was still. Amen.
Whatever the nature of this Illumination, probably a state of Dhyana, it left a very marked result on the consciousness of Frater V.I.O., and gave him the necessary energy to continue his Work through many a dark and dismal period. He himself could not gauge its value at all at the time. He was alone in Vancouver and out of touch with the Order, having received no further word from his Neophyte since he left England. In fact he heard nothing till January of the following year. He however sent a post-card to say that he had obtained some result.
About this same time I find an entry called "The Philosophy of V.I.O." which seems of interest on account of some similarities to the Law of Thelema, of which he had heard nothing at that time. It reads as follows:
Man is bound by but One Law.
If he breaks a part of it, he hurts no one but himself.
While he lives in unity with It, he is God.
While he does not live in unity with It he is Man.
While he lives in unity with it he becomes the Law.
To realise the Law and live it is the Great Work.
To break the Law after he has realized it is Sin.
To endeavour to bring all to the knowledge of the Law, is to keep the Law.
Seek ye the Law that ye may be Free.
Wisdom, Love and Power, these three are One. That these should be One is the Law.
By finding the Point from which these three become equal, and there remaining, by this means only, can the Law be Known.
If ye know this, ye know All.
If ye know not this, ye know less than All.
Seek ever for the Absolute, and be content with Nothing less.
By the end of September the immediate results of this first Illumination seem to have worn off, and we find Frater V.I.O. striving desperately to estimate the value of what had happened to him. He was certainly in a mental muddle, as the following entry shows, yet at the same time his one thought seems to have been to find a means of helping others to find that Light which had so transformed his whole being.
Sept. 24th, 1910. Driad Hotel. Victoria, B. C.
I sit here with the idea of attempting to classify the results lately obtained. (Since L.V.X. entry.)
I may mention that during the interval I have carefully read and studied Crowley's Tannhäuser, The Sword of Song, Excluded Middle, Time, Berashith, Science and Buddhism, Three Characteristics, etc. In the Light of Understanding, all these works have taken on a very different aspect to when I read them previously. Also the Purpose of Liber LXV is clear. The result of all this gives me a feeling that I have arrived at the End and also at the Beginning at the same time.
This (by the way) seems the usual experience of the beginner; no sooner does he get a result, any result, than he immediately thinks he is at the end. But V.I.O. is evidently not to be deceived in that way, for he goes on:
Now, had I really arrived at the End, it seems reasonable to suppose I should not be here writing this. My body and mind are at any rate still in existence as a body and mind. But, as these are admittedly impermanent, does it matter much that they continue to exist in this form or no? What has that to do with the Consciousness of the Existence of That which transcends both? Now, had not some part of my present State of Existence realized the possibility of another and higher state of Consciousness, should I not still be in that state of uncertainly in which I lived before this realization came? This realization having come about has at any rate remained as a glimpse of Being, different from the previous not-being.
The result of his mental analysis appears to amount to this, that he had experienced within himself a state of consciousness full of Peace and Joy, yet which more nearly approximated to Zero than any other term. He can find nothing with which to compare this state, but he recognizes its immense superiority over normal consciousness, and feels an intense desire to make it possible for others to share his experience. Since however he finds it impossible to explain it in words, he recognises that he must obtain the knowledge of some definite System of producing the state scientifically, but since be is not even a Neophyte of the A∴A∴…, he wonders if They will recognise him as qualified to demand the right to know and spread Their teachings. He determines in any case to reduce the wants of the Ego as a separate being as far as possible, by forgetting self in his efforts to do all he can for others according to the Light he had obtained.
He found however that the destruction of the Ego was not thus easily accomplished at the first assault. Nevertheless he learned, not from books but from experience, that the Goal was to be found within himself, and that the nearer he could approach to the Consciousness of Nothingness the nearer he got to the Realization of Pure Existence. This reduction of consciousness to Zero then became the fixed aim of his Meditations; and any other experiments he entered upon, were, from that time onward, looked upon as necessary in order that he might fit himself to help others, rather than for his personal development.
On January 7th, 1911, he received No. 4 of The Equinox, and on seeing the Frontispiece to Liber Jvgorvm
he experienced a feeling of decided aversion to cutting his arm in the prescribed manner. But, said he, "Fear is failure and the forerunner of failure"; and it will no doubt be best to undertake a week of this work so as to get used to it, after which I shall probably have no more trouble in this respect. He decided therefore to omit the word AND from his conversation for that period. His record of this experiment is kept in detail
and may prove interesting to other Students; so I shall transcribe it in full.
Saturday, Jan. 7th, 1911. Vancouver, B. C.
4 P.M. Have just received The Equinox and am going to experiment with the Control of Speech by not using the word "AND" for one week. May My Lord Adonai assist me. Amen.
Sat. 7th., 12 Midnight.
Although continually watchful, have had to chastise myself I times since 4 o'c. Will try and make a better record to-morrow. (I am certain that I have not missed cutting arm immediately after using the word.)
Sun. 8th, 11 :30 P.M.
Said prohibited word
2 before rising in morning.
1 during conversation.
3 during singing practice.
1 at tea.
1 in evening.
This is certainly better. The three times during singing practice occurred while trying over new music with the choir of which I am a member, and it is very hard to leave out a word when singing. I find this practice makes one speak much less. The word chosen being a conjunction often results in the second part of a sentence remaining unspoken. I never before noticed how unnecessary some of our speech is; in fact I have now no doubt that a great many things are better left unsaid.
Monday, Jan. 9th. Bedtime.
Said word to-day for the first time at Lunch.
1 at 1:20 P.M. Lunch.
1 at 2:25 P.M. at Office.
Was careless enough to repeat a sentence containing it. Give extra sharp cut.
2 at 4 P.M.
1 at 5:10 P.M.
1 at 5:30 P.M.
I am glad this shows further improvement. I was working and talking at the Office all the evening up to 10 o'c. and then had some conversation at home.
Tuesday, Jan. 10th. 12:35 P.M.
I am annoyed with myself, have been very careless. Had a talk with a man this morning for about 7 minutes, and forgot all about concentration. However, I have more or less formed a habit of speaking in short sentences; so I don't think I said the word more than twice. However am just going to give an extra cut in case, for being careless.
1 before leaving home in morning.
2 during conversation (as above) 12:10 A.M.
1 during Lunch. (This only half sounded, but have recorded it.)
1 at 7:45 P.M. (arm begins to feel sore)
1 at 10:30 P.M. (speaking too quickly to M.)
— Went to bed at 11:10P.M.
Wednesday, Jan. 11. 6:45 P.M.
1 at 9:50 A.M. at Office.
Lunch 1 while talking to my brother C.
Hour 1 while talking to my wife.
12—1 o'c. 1 while talking to my barber.
I consider the above very bad; but the explanation is that this particular hour was a great "rush" as I had to call at my brother's Office, go home for lunch, do some shopping for lunch, and back again to eat same, also get shaved, in one hour. I evidently got flurried and lost control a bit. (Note the time when talking to my brother is doubtful, but have included it.) I think I should here note that on Saturday evening, Sunday and Monday I was quite aware of my task practically all the time; even when I made mistakes, they were in almost every case caused through trying too hard. Probably, having got over a difficult bit of conversation successfully, I was seduced into the error. Tuesday and to-day have been rather different. I have lapsed a little in vigilance, but attained a certain subconscious wariness. This makes conversation easier, but is not established enough to make me free from errors. In fact I am not sure if I am not getting more careless.
1 at 5:20 P.M. office.
1 at 8:30 P.M. to wife.
1 at 10:00 P.M. Singing.
1 10:50 talking to wife.
Total for day, 9
Note. I felt terribly restless all the evening, and had an intense desire to talk freely. Went to a Smoking Concert at 8:45, but left again at 10:5, as I could not stand it any longer. I wanted to sing very much, and in fact did join in one song and made slip noted above. I find it very difficult to leave out a word throughout a song, even if singing with others.
Thursday, Jan. 12, 7:35 P.M.
Have felt much better to-day and had much more control so far. At 8:58 A.M. I recorded one failure, but this time not spoken audibly; the meaning however was in mind, so I count it. I was repeating the time after being told it by a friend, viz., one and a half minutes to nine. Again at 6:35 P.M. once, but also inaudible.
I completed the day successfully with a total of 2 (inaudible).
Friday, Jan. 13, 6:20 P.M.
1 during morning at office.
1 at 2:35 P.M. all inaudible
1 at 4:30 P.M.
1 at 6:io P.M. Aloud.
I hardly know whether to count the inaudible ones, but would rather make failure appear worse than to try and deceive myself.
1 at 7:10 P.M. to Mrs. R. (loud)
1 at 9:oo P.M. Office.
1 at 10:30 P.M. to wife.
1 at 11:30 P.M. to wife.
8 Total for day
This was a very bad day; and I had so much hoped to get through one clear day without a break! Never mind, better results next experiment.
Saturday, Jan. 14, 6:30 P.M.
Results very poor again.
1 during morning.
1 at 1 :45 P.M. to wife.
1 at 3:00 P.M. to wife.
Saturday evening, Jan. 7 15
Sat. till 4 P.M. 3
Total for week 58
Thus ends first experiment in control of Speech. It has been somewhat disappointing as regards results; but has proved to me how much I needed the exercise. I am very glad I undertook it, and shall try again in the near future.
Note. I have got over the feeling of shrinking at cutting myself. The first cuts were quite short and about half an inch long, afterwards I increased them to as much as 3 inches in length.
From Jan. 21 to 28th, Frater V.I.O. experimented with control of body, by not crossing legs. Same penalty as before. Total breaks for week, 24. On Feb. 25th, he records the fact that he had succeeded in performing this practice for a clear week with one doubtful break only during sleep.
The result of these practices on Frater V.I.O. was a marked one. For one thing, the cutting of his arm during the first practice in the control of speech resulted in a subconscious wariness, for during the second — the details of which I have not recorded — he noticed that although the object of the practice was the control of the body by not crossing the legs, yet the attempt of the legs to drop into their old habits often had the effect of making him suddenly more careful in his speech, thus showing that there was an underlying connection in his subconscious mind resulting from his former work. These practices may then be said to have a cumulative effect, which makes them all the more valuable in helping towards the general control of body and mind.
But what is of still greater importance as far as Frater V.I.O. was concerned, they evidently had the effect — heightened perhaps by a letter from his Neophyte — of causing him to make a fresh and more determined effort to perform the Mystical Exercises for a definite period and with regularity, according to his original A∴A∴ instructions. From January 30th, 1911, to April 3oth of that year, he kept a scientifically tabulated diary and during the prescribed three months he never missed a day in the performance of his appointed task.
His results, during this period, were perhaps not of a very startling nature, but, as any true Student learns, it is the long and continued "grind," the determined effort to carry out the work in hand or task set, in spite of every obstacle that may arise, that really counts when it comes to lasting results. It is the Will that needs training, and the accomplishment of such work, particularly if uninteresting and tedious in itself, goes far towards that end.
Jan. 30th, 1911. Letter from Frater P.A. his Neophyte. From this letter he learned that many changes had transpired since he left England, and among them that Frater P.A. had severed his connection with the Outer Order, but was willing to continue in charge of him.
Feb. 5th. He wondered if Frater P.A. had only told him this as a test. It must be remembered that all this while he had worked on alone, and had had no news to speak of, and this he attributed to his own failure to carry out his task in detail. In this he was no doubt right to a great extent, for unless any Probationer does what he is instructed, he can expect no further help, which would only mean that the Master concurred in his laziness or weakness.
March 6th, 1911 Up to this time, although he had done the exercises regularly no particular result had occurred, and we find this note: "I do not really look for any results now, or expect any, since control of 'self' is the object of these exercises.
Now it is to be noted that when one really gets to a state when having worked one is content to continue to do so, expecting no results, one often obtains them. (Of course it's no use trying to fool oneself on these things, you can't get a result by just saying you don't care a damn.) Something of the sort seems to have happened in this case, as the following shows.
March 12th. During Lecture on "Parsifal," I felt illumination within which permeated my whole being, and I became conscious once moreof the Truth of my previous Illumination which I had lost, as it were.
This entry is interesting. Illumination comes, and at the time there is no doubt about it. IT IS. Then, perhaps, life goes on much as before, except for the ever present remembrance of "Something that happened"; and, having nothing with which to compare it, that Something is difficult to describe or even to formulate. However, immediately one approaches another period one can recognise the symptoms, almost in advance, and the new Illumination is as it were added to the old, and there is fresh wonder and joy in both.
March 15th I feel as if I were a highly strung musical instrument. My Will runs over the strings, causing complete and harmonious vibrations in my being, which seems to give forth at times an unforrnulated and therefore most delightful melody.
March 28th. How can I write it, how put into words the least idea of that which is unformed? Yet I will try while yet a vestige of the thought remains. I have conceived within my womb a child. Or is it that I have for the first time realized that I have a womb? Yet it is so, that "blank" within, into which I have projected my thoughts, and from which they have come forth again "living" is for a greater purpose. Can I not form therein a child that shall be MYSELF made from the highest ideals, the essence of my pains, refined and purified, freed from dross by the living fire? This life of Service must be lived till I am "selfless" in all that I knew as myself; but all the time will not my "child" be growing within me, composed of finer materials? And by complete union therwith.… I cannot formulate any more now.
This entry indicates a recognition of the "formulation of the negative in the ego" which shall eventually destroy it. Is it not written in Liber LXV "As an acid eats into steel, and as a cancer utterly corrupts the body, so am I unto the spirit of Man. I shall not rest until I have destroyed it utterly"?
Sunday, April 2nd. (Fra V.I.O.'s 25th Birthday.) During practice I had a distinct consciousness of the "centre of consciousness" being not "within" as usual, but above head.
April 3rd. I alternate between a state of "enjoying any task or position because it is the first that comes to hand and therefore the simplest and best course of action," and "a feeling of absolute mental torture caused by the necessity of existing at all." The first appears to give the chance of continually "enlarging" until one becomes That which I can "consciously be" for a short period at a time, and the other seems to lead to annihilation. Probably the multiplication of one state by the other is the solution. (Crowley's 0 X ∞.)
Sat., April 8th. During the last three days have gradually been nearing another "climax" which reached, shall I say, its height on Saturday, when I arrived at a state of Illumination which was, as it were "added to my previous state." I seized a scrap of paper and wrote "Amid all the complications and perplexity there remains, back of all, the Will. The Will to Be. The Will to Be Nothing, which is the only state inconceivable to the mind. The old God willed to be something, and the Universe appeared; The New God wills to be Nothing and becomes?" After writing the foregoing, there was a state of bliss the reflection of which was caught by the body. So joyful it became that it whirled round in a mad dance, and was filled with music. It was stifled by the confines of the room; but "I" was Free, so it couldn't matter much. (This is the second experience of rhythm filling the body, and causing it to whirl and dance in order to find expression somehow.)
April 9th. Started to read about 8:30 this morning. Sometime during morning lost idea of "ego" to realize All as Self. (Left notes for a couple of hours.) I find terrible difficulty in expressing the slightest idea of that which occurred during this state, yet it would seem of importance to do the best I can. That there is no soul struck me as a horrible blank. That I do not, and never have existed as "I" comes as a wonderful realization while the consciousness of the unreality of the "I" lasts. With the loss of "the ego" comes the consciousness that the whole universe of things and people is but a part of the State then arrived at. That if this little body dies, existence still remains in all the other part of the Universe and therefore the change called Death, occurring in different atoms, all the time, makes no difference. Is there any reason why one should not look upon every thing and everybody as parts of Oneself, since one is equally willing to allow any other body to consider you as a part of their imagination only? It would seem that one tiny part — self — has been fondly cherished, while in reality that tiny part is but a reflex of the Whole which is really You, but even this state must in the end give way before the Power of Nothing.
April 16th, 8:30 A.M. Finished reading The Life of Buddha, and then, lying down, composed myself for Meditation. Breathed regularly and deeply for a time, afterwards stopping all entries two or three times. (Shanmukhi Mudra.) Presently I passed into a state which was practically desireless. I could feel the Goal, but the wish to help others made it impossible to Become the State I contemplated. After this, I was surprised, on letting all breath out of the body, to feel a sudden lightness, as if I were about to float. This being unexpected, caused me to turn my thoughts to the body, after which, although I tried, I could not get back to the previous state. I estimate that I remained in the condition mentioned for over an hour, as it was 12 o'c. when I looked at the time. In fact, it may have been nearer two hours.
The above meditation left Frater V.I.O. with a feeling of "Nearly but not Quite." He had, to some extent, gazed at the Goal of Nothingness, but had failed to Become that Goal. The following day there is despondency and dissatisfaction. On April 22nd reason again holds sway, and he tries to use it to discover just where he is, of course without success, since Reason can never explain that which is Beyond Reason. I think at this point he also began to make another grave error; he tried to compare his experiences with those of John St. John, with the result that, later on, when he undertook a Retirement, that of J. St. J. subconsciously influenced him to a great extent, although he would not and could not have admitted it at the time. In these things one must be Oneself, not try to be another. His entry of April 22 is a long one, and I quote it in part.
I wish I could express myself better. On readingJ. St. J. again I find that I can comprehend it ever so much better than when I first read it some three months after its publication. Then, it seemed like a dream of the far distant future; now, many parts seem like records of my own experiences, only expressed infinitely better than I have been able to put them. Now, of what value are the experiences I have gained? Why is the state of Oneness with Adonai not lasting, or rather, is it possible to remain always conscious of that State? How is it when reading an account like J.St. John's that I know what he is talking about, and can feel with him the difficulty of putting these things into words? I could not have realized this a year ago, before I entered into certain states of which I cannot gauge the value at all, while in normal consciousness. There is no Doubt Then. But how may I be Sure always? I will fetch The Equinox, and put down the points as they come to me. Let me quote page 87. "Well, one thing I got (again!) that is that when all is said and done I am that I am, all these thoughts of mine, angels and devils both, are only fleeting moods of me. The one true self of me is Adonai. Simple! Yet I cannot remain in that simplicity." I can realize that state perfectly, but I am not a Magician, I know little or nothing of Ceremonial Magick, except from reading; my results have not been accompanied by visions. What results I have obtained have been in the nature of becoming the thing itself, not seeing it. However, to pass on: Is the idea of coming back to help others (see Sun. Apr. 16) only a form of the Dweller on the Threshold and caused through fear of annihilation or madness? Or is it a concession to my own weakness, a pandering to my "self" because I am really nowhere near ready to hurl myself into the Gulf, instead of which I come back to normal consciousness, and try and make myself believe I have "given up" what I "could not get" for the sake of "others" which do not exist at the time (for me)? This is certainly a difficult one to tackle; I am entering it so as to try and formulate the proposition clearly. Now, the doubt enters my mind, that I have only put it down in order to appear honest to Fra. P.A., or anyone who may read this record. NO The foregoing thought seems to have a parallel in J. St. J. Again on page 96 "I must attain or . . . an end to J. St. J." seems similar to the state arrived at one Sept. 5, 1910, when I determined to ask the last WHY? and afterwards entered into Peace. On page 133 he says "subtly, simply, imperceptibly gliding I passed away into nothing. . . . I felt the interior trembling kindle itself into a kiss.. . also I was given to enjoy the subtle Presence of my Lord interiorly during the whole of the twelfth day. But he withdrew Himself. . . yet leaving a comfort not to be told, a Peace. . . The Peace." Yes, with me also the Peace has remained, but sometimes I cannot connect myself with It, or fail to do so, being led away by Maya. Then comes the entry of the Thirteenth Day: "Being entered into the Silence let me abide in the Silence. Amen." And here I am puzzled. Either J. St. J. attained permanently to a State such that he was never again annoyed by the silly mistake of identifying Himself with the body, or he did not. But after all, what has that to do with V.I.O.? It has certainly nothing to do with C.S.J. But how do I stand? This seems to be the position. While in normal consciousness I know that I (or Not I) am ever in the state of which I sometimes catch the reflection when I realize that I am not I. There, that is the clearest original thought I have expressed this afternoon, and bad at that. Of course, I am really quite content, it is only when I begin to think and reason about things that I begin to become discontented. It's about time I shut up.
And on April 30th the three months prescribed by his Neophyte came to an end. He writes: "I feel they have been well spent, and that I have gained a more certain control of my body and mind, but realize how much is needed before… 0 x ∞. Peace unto all beings. Amen."