“Now if thou hast had an envious [spiteful] dogged mind, and hast grudged everything to others, as a dog does with a bone which himself cannot eat, then there appears such a doggish mind, and according to that source is the worm of the Soul figured ,and such a will it keeps in the Eternity, in the first principle. …
“For the door of the deep to the Light of God appears to thee no more; for thou art a perfect creature of the first principle. And now though thou dost elevate thyself, and would break open the door of the deep, yet that cannot be done. … Thou fliest out aloft over the Kingdom of God, and cannot enter in; and the higher thou fliest, the deeper thou art in the Abyss, and thou seest not God yet, who is so near to thee.
“Therefore, it can only be done here in this life (while the Soul sticks in the Will of the Mind) so that thou breakest open the gate of the deep, and press in to God through a New Birth.” ~Jacob Boehme
A Dog-Like Mind
What people thought of when you mentioned dogs several hundred years ago is quite different than today. So when Boehme talks about someone having a mind like a dog, he doesn’t mean loving, devoted, and well-behaved. He means one who is full of greed, jealousy, and self-importance. In short, a materialist. Perhaps even a narcissist, although I think that word is being overly used these days. So a dog-like mind is not a good thing. At least not according to the way they thought of dogs back then.
Fate of the Materialist
So what Boehme is trying to get across in the first part of the quote is that the materialist has little, if any, change of achieving significant spiritual growth. Because he put so much thought and effort into collecting material goods and wealth beyond what he actually needs, he has trained his mind to follow that path. That he could suddenly stumble upon a path of spiritual enlightenment is highly unlikely. It happens in rare cases, but relying upon it is not a good idea. It’s like relying upon winning the lottery when you retire so you have money to live on. The dog-like mind is stuck in the dark forest of matter and cannot see the spiritual Light.
Door to Deep Light
I think the choice of words Boehme used here is unfortunate. It will likely be interpreted by most spiritual students today as supporting the idea that all truth is found within and the outside world should be completely ignored. But we know that Boehme’s own awakening was triggered from something outside. Specifically, He was awakened when the sun reflecting off a shiny metal bowl he was holding struck him in the eye. Yes, he had been studying religion and spirituality for some time and we can assume he was on the verge of awakening before that happened. Nonetheless, it was an external event that triggered his awakening. It was also not a coincidence that his awakening closely resembles that of St. Francis who awakened while watching a sunrise from his sickbed.
While there is certainly good reason to turn within and explore our inner self, it is the external spiritual sun that most often triggers a true spiritual awakening. And by a spiritual awakening, I don’t mean simply realizing that materialist is a failed system and there is more to reality than matter. That is just the first tiny step towards an actual awakening. A real spiritual awakening happens when the dormant spirit and soul are awakened. That takes more than just positive thought and desire. It also takes a lot of energy. The best source of that spiritual energy is the spiritual sun. That is the door to Deep Light. So forget your dog-like mind, even the spiritual version of it, and explore sun gazing and other techniques beyond simple meditation.
You could interpret what Boehme is saying here as meaning that we have to overcome the ego to develop our spiritual self. While that is true, we don’t need to destroy the ego. It is a useful tool, especially in the world of matter. But we do need to keep it under control and a reasonable size.
Specifically, what Boehme is talking about here are those who elevate themselves by declaring that they are awakened and enlightened with no justification for doing so except an inflated ego. He says that when such people fly up to Heaven and God, allegorically speaking, they will find themselves unable to enter. God is not fooled by dog-like minds and their pretend enlightenment.
So if you seriously do want to enter heaven and become one with God and the All again, you need to really awaken. And, as Boehme says, you can’t wait until your physical body is dead to do that. It will be too late. You need to awaken and develop your spirit and soul while you still live in a physical body.