Extract from Awakening from Sleep by Maurice Nicolls

We are studying a system of ideas sometimes called esoteric Christianity and which amongst ourselves we called the work. this system of ideas shews us quite definite lines upon which we have to work on ourselves and all of this depends on observing ourselves far more consciously than we ever do in life and observing ourselves in certain definite directions laid down by the work.

This work is base on the idea that we are not properly conscious as we are now, but that a quite definite increase of consciousness is possible through which we begin to evolve. Mankind at present, this work teaches, is not properly conscious and only by an evolution of consciousness can it reach any desirable state. it also teaches that because man is not properly conscious everything that happen in this world, all disasters, wars, and other evils, necessary take place, simply because man is not properly conscious and does not know what he is doing or saying.

We are taught in this Work that consciousness can not develop unconsciously but by effort. Mankind at present is used by nature and so everything happens in the only way it can happen, but if man became more conscious things would happen differently. In this Work we are told that a certain number of people can always became more conscious at certain periods if they are willing to work on themselves and study how they are not conscious yet and how they can increase consciousness in themselves, and for this reason the work begins with self-observation.

A man must observe himself, he must notice himself, and gradually he must distinguish himself from this mechanical figure that he has hitherto been. by personal work he can a higher level of consciousness, called in this system the level of self-Consciousness, Self-Remembering or Self-Awareness.

Levels of consciousness: 1- state physical sleep with dreams. 2-So-called Waking State. 3-State of Self-Remembering, Self-Consciousness or Self-Awakening. 4-Objective Consciousness. As Man is, he lives in this second so-called waking state in which everything happens in the only way it can happen by innumerable chains of Cause and Effects.

The State of Consciousness we seek to reach is the 3rd State - the State of Self-Remembering. So it is said so often in this Work that we must remember ourselves and that if sincerely begin to try to remember ourselves we will gradually be shewn how to practice Self-Remembering at different moments and the different efforts needed.

The first step however is to realize through the effort of long, uncritical self-observation that we do not remember ourselves and that, in fact, all the time we are in a state of sleep. In this state we carry on our lives, we speak thousands of words a day, we make love, we write books, we kill another. All this is done in sleep.

This is the first thing we are told - the first mystery, so to speak, that the Work teaches, the truth of which we have to realize for ourselves. Mankind is asleep. Yes-but year are asleep too. That is the point that you have to see through your own uncritical self-observation. It is only when we begin to realize that we are asleep and that we are mechanical and not conscious beings, that we begin to awaken. Very much is said in the New Testament about Man being asleep and about the necessity of awakening. The word "awakening is unfortunately translated as "watch". It should be "awaken". Many words are wrongly translated the Gospels.

In order to remember himself more and more deeply, a man must believe in the existence of a Greater Mind and he must begin to think psychologically, apart from thinking literally. He must feel another reality of himself than that derived from life or patterns. The Lord's Prayer begin with the raising of the whole meaning of oneself to another level of consciousness, "Our Father which art in Heaven"...