Maurice Nicoll


British Psychologist, Psychiatrist, Author and Fourth Way Teacher

Author Quotes

It has been said that to remember oneself one must have a sense of something superior to oneself. Self-Remembering is a lifting up of oneself to another set of influences.

I will also tell you a secret. We have to will one another: this is the beginning of conscious love.

The Emotional Centre is not born with a negative part — it should not be there, but it is acquired by the influence of people who are negative. By contact with adults a child learns to pity itself, to feel grievances, to speak crossly, to dwell on its misfortunes, to be melancholy, moody, irritable, suspicious, jealous, to hurt others, etc. This dreadful infection of a child is something against which nothing can be done because it is not clearly recognized. This infection forms the negative part in Emotional Centre. And this infection is handed on from generation to generation.

A man must get to know himself before he can change… Our mental habits are to us not habits, but truths. They seem quite right to us. We cannot see them as habits and this is the tragedy.

When we begin to observe ourselves sincerely our whole fate begins to change. But this means noticing, over a long period, the way we talk, the way we think, the criticisms we make, the resentment of what is said to us, the way we react to others, the opinions from which we argue, the way we are flattered, how we judge others, our vanity, cruelty, moods, emotions. Unless we detach ourselves from these things, we remain mechanical. We have to have an observing part and an observed part. When the observing I is established in us, it is from this I that everything else follows. Small to begin with, it is like a window to let in the light.

No effort = no work : no work = no awakening : no awakening = death.

The personal work of self-observation is for all one’s life.

Negative emotions keeps us where we are. If you are negative it is always your fault

Identifying is the enemy of Self-Remembering.

The central conception of Man in the Gospels is that he is an unfinished creation capable of reaching a higher level by a definite evolutio which must begin by his own efforts.

If we start with the visible, then in order to explain it we must pass into its parts. If we seek to explain man by his organs, his organs by the cells composing them, the atoms by electrons, we lose sight of the man as a whole. Under the microscope the man himself completely disappears... The idea behind organised matter is overlooked. That which is manifest in time and space engages its attention, and so it cannot help looking for causal origin in the smaller constituent parts of any organism - and also in preceding time, i.e. in the past.

Ordinarily man is nothing but states and has no proper separate existence. The states are permanent. Man passes temporarily into one or another; and when in any one state, it is quite real and all other states are shadowy.

The universe is infinite response. Mentally understood, it is all possibilities. Every point of view is possible, and because it ‘exists’ it is right... The universe gives more than we give... Unless one sees the world differently, unless new ideas touch our consciousness we cannot rise to any apprehension of the second system. To all that we know naturally we must add something, and in this volume this addition is taken in terms of adding first the dimension of Time to our own lives and considering what this means for oneself.

Time is change - on all sorts of different scales; and the phenomenal world is made up of this continual changing, at different rates, of everything, like an enormous clock full of wheels. Outside, there is this stream of becoming; and within, a stream of ever-changing thoughts and feelings, a succession of different I’s, of fragmentary bits of ourselves - an inner world of becoming in which nothing is, in which we possess nothing and do not possess ourselves. We think of all this changing in time as progress; and not only do we have this extraordinary and absurd illusion, but we imagine that the stability that we all secretly crave can be sought for in all this machinery of change, in the turning wheels of this enormous clock. But we know that what is stable was always beyond time... The real distinction, therefore, between time and eternity is qualitative and so must lie in the realm of psychological experience.

To live unto eternity is to live unto aeon, unto unity, unto wholeness, completeness, unto the integration of all the life. And this is now. The enemy to now is the illusion of passing-time... When we reach the now the world is turned the other way round. We are at the centre of things. The responsibility is ours. Had we now in our lives we would cease to blame.... Universe evolves out of one’s own mind... because the WORLD is a series of possible mental transformations

Under the illusion of passing-time we can have no unity. To be is to have the permanent sense of something else... For integration, ideas that halt time are necessary, and these ideas must feed us continually... The mystery of time is in ourselves... The mystic ocean of existence is not to be crossed as something outside ourselves. It is in oneself... Every further stage of ourselves is within us, above us... Outside us is outer truth; within us, inner truth, and both make up All - the WORLD.

Visible creation in time, or nature... does not exist of itself. It is not the cause of itself, but is an ever-changing copy of something which lies behind appearances. The recipient, or mother, is three-dimensional space, which must be empty of all properties in order to receive the impress of the model. The copy is in time. The model (idea) is outside our space and time.

We find the attribute of unchangingness always associated with the highest level of conscious experience. The experiences of truth are always similar. There is the changing mind, following time and change; and the unchanging mind behind it. There is the order of natural reasoning that goes with changing phenomena, and another above... The source of all truth lies in ‘unchangeable truth’ which is above the level of reason, and it is the internal perception of this unchangeable truth that endows man with the highest grade of being.

We must form the picture of the life as a growth, transverse to time, and capable of growing not merely in one part but in many parts, i.e. we must get rid of the idea that he life only grows from the present. This gives a wrong relation to the moment. The life may grow in all parts of itself ad we may be affected by these growing directions (in other parts of our personal Time) even in the ‘present’.

We need to get rid of some false meanings that we give to the words eternal and eternity. The psychological idea connected with eternal life cannot be limited to the view that man is changed into another state at death, merely by the act of dying. It would be far more correct to say that it refers, first of all, to some change that man is capable of undergoing now, in this life, and one that is connected with the attainment of unity. The modern term psychology means literally the science of the soul. But in former times there actually existed a science of the soul based upon the idea that man is an imperfect state but capable of reaching a further state... No totality-act is possible; the will is separate from knowledge, the feeling from intellect.

What is the standpoint of materialism?... We look outwards (via the senses) for the explanation and cause of everything. We start from phenomena as absolute truth... Materialism gives sense and physical matter priority over mind or idea... The customary standpoint of scientific materialism is that primary matter is dead - and the universe is dead and nature is dead - and a dead nature can, of course, aim at nothing. It cannot be teleological.

What, then, is the nature of the reality that we believe in evidentially? Transiency is the main reality. We appear to live in an ever-perishing world. It seems that our life is confined to a single instant at a time. We see everything passing away - for ever, as we say, without having the slightest idea of what we mean by this expression. Where does everything go - for ever? Where do our lives go? Certainly they are not contained in a space of three dimensions. We witness, apparently, events, people, and things disappearing into total extinction, into an absolute nothingness, as the result of passing-time. This is the reality of appearances as registered by our senses. There goes with it a particular understanding of life.

According to the number of dimensions ‘reality’ must alter.

All ideas require preparation for their meaning to engage the soul... There is no question whether they are true or not. One buys for oneself. There is no absolute truth. All truth is relative - relative to one’s needs, relative to one’s position in psychological space.

Consciousness is sometimes compared with light. An increase of consciousness is likened to an increase of light. But we shall see eventually than an increase of consciousness does not mean only that we see with greater clearness what was formally obscure. The quality is changed. For the moment, the man who experiences it himself is changed. It is not merely the quantity of consciousness that is altered, but its very nature.

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British Psychologist, Psychiatrist, Author and Fourth Way Teacher