dog-like mind

Dog-Like Mind Needs to Become Angelic

“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.

Elevate Yourself

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.

Awaken Now

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.


Illusion of Matter and the Hidden Reality

“The Buddhists talk about samsara, the world of illusion. It is the place that most of us live. Mistaking illusion for reality is said to be the root cause of our suffering. Yet in some immensely elegant way suffering itself can release us from illusion. Often in times of crisis when we reach for what we have considered our strength we stumble on our wholeness and our real power. …

“Integrity usually comes to people slowly and takes them unawares, as part of a natural process of maturing or through the need to be there for someone else who is counting on them. But it can appear full-blown in times of crisis or loss. …

“With certain people we may get to try on a greater wholeness for a time, to actually experience being more. These experiences are a sort of grace. They help us know not only the direction of our personal wholeness but how it feels and even tastes.” ~Rachel Naomi Remen

World of Illusion

The world of illusion isn’t limited to what you see on stage during the performances of a magician. Virtually everything that we think we know of the physical world of matter is an illusion.

We need first to clear up one thing about the idea of the physical universe being an illusion. Many people jump to the conclusion that if you say something is an illusion, that it doesn’t exist. Therefore, they think when they read that the physical realm is an illusion that is doesn’t exist. It’s a dream, nothing real. That is not what illusion means at all.

When you say that the tricks of a stage magician are illusions, that doesn’t mean nothing is happening on stage. It means that what is really happening is not the same as what appears to be happening. For example, the assistant that appears to disappear in a puff of smoke really descended through a hidden door in the floor of the stage. The same applies to the Great Illusion of the physical universe. It isn’t what it appears to be, but it is something real.

One thing that has become very popular in recent years is “Manifesting”. By this is meant manipulating the physical world according to our desires. Besides the fact that this results in attaching us more firmly to the illusion, what is the point of manipulating fantasy?

Reality Behind the Illusion

So what is the reality behind all that Illusion? That is something that most say must be experienced for yourself. But I think I can give you some hints, although I don’t claim to entirely know the answer myself.

We all know that, according to the basic laws of science, matter and energy cannot be destroyed, only changed. There are simple changes and more complex ones. Carving a rock into a statue of David is a simple change. Only the shape was changed, the substance is still marble. That is, within the illusion, it is still marble. Turning milk into cheese is a slightly more complex change. Burning wood to make heat is a complex or complete change. Changing matter into energy or energy into matter is the most complex type of change. At least if we limit ourselves to the physical world for now. But the fact that energy can become matter, and matter can become energy should teach us something. It should teach us that there is no fundamental difference between matter and energy. To put it in simple terms, matter is slow energy, energy is fast matter.

While that is a concept that has been taught in spiritual schools and mystery schools for ages, it is only recently being accepted and taught by empirical science. Specifically, the quantum physicists are now telling us that the apparently solid universe is actually a hologram of light. Not matter with light shining on it, just light. So matter is being recognized by science as an illusion. A wonderful discovery of theirs that has been taught in mystery schools for several thousand years.

Going Deeper

But even the discoveries of quantum physicists are limited to the physical universe. We need to dive deeper to get beyond illusion altogether. We need to enter spiritual realms. When we do, we will discover, among other things, two fundamental truths. The first truth is that spirit is real and permanent. And it existed long before matter. Therefore, the soul cannot be an offshoot of matter. And consciousness is a spiritual thing as well. Therefore, it is not a creation of the brain. Second, things happen first in the spiritual world before they descend to the physical realm. Not everything because such things as disease and death don’t exist at all in spiritual worlds. But for most things, they must form first in spirit, then become matter. What this means, if you think about it, is that those who access spiritual realms get a look into the future because they are seeing things that have not yet materialized. While that should not be your primary reason to start spiritual development, it is certainly a good second one.

Illustrating Image by Ashutosh Goyal from Pixabay


Philosophers: Intellectual and Spiritual

“Buddhist philosophy is based on the experience Buddha had about twenty-five centuries ago. … We generally think that philosophy is a matter of pure intellect, and, therefore, that the best philosophy comes out of a mind most richly endowed with intellectual acumen and dialectical subtleties. But this is not the case. It is true that those who are poorly equipped with intellectual powers cannot be good philosophers. Intellect, however, is not the whole thing. There must be a deep power of imagination, there must be a strong, inflexible will-power, there must be a keen insight into the nature of man, and finally, there must be an actual seeing of the truth as synthesized in the whole being of the man himself.

“I wish to emphasize the idea of ‘seeing.’ It is not enough to ‘know’ as the term is ordinarily understood. Knowledge, unless it is accompanied by a personal experience is superficial and no kind of philosophy can be built upon such a shaky foundation.” ~Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki

Buddhist Philosophy

It is obvious that Buddhist philosophy is based on the experiences and teaching of the Buddha. The rest of the quote goes more into a discussion of what real philosophy is rather than what is in Buddhist philosophy. I think it is the idea of the author to tell us there is legitimate philosophy and superficial philosophy, and what Buddha taught was the real thing. Among other things, Wikipedia says that when it comes to Buddhist philosophy, “Particular points of Buddhist philosophy have often been the subject of disputes between different schools of Buddhism. These elaborations and disputes gave rise to various schools in early Buddhism of Abhidharma, and to the Mahayana traditions such as Prajñāpāramitā, Madhyamaka, Buddha-nature and Yogācāra.” So saying exactly what Buddhist philosophy is can get complicated. The important point is that it didn’t come from the Buddha intellectualizing on matters. Not entirely, anyway.

Real Philosophy

Anyone can call themselves a philosopher and give opinions on any subject they want. That doesn’t make them a true philosopher. Even if they get a degree in philosophy from a reputable university, they are not necessarily a real philosopher.

Philosophers can, for the most part, be divided into two groups. There are the intellectual philosophers who base their philosophies on knowledge of the material world and their intellectual analysis of it. While this can be useful for some things, it is limited. Then there are the spiritual philosophers. They rely upon spiritual wisdom and intuition to develop their philosophy. They are the real philosophers.


The intellectual philosophers may have some good ideas, but they are limited. They may solve an immediate problem, but they don’t have the insights to solve long-term problems or long-ranging issues. They see the tree, but not the forest. These include the futurists of the sort who predicted a few decades ago that we would all be in flying cars by the year 2000, among other things. Their predictions seemed reasonable. They failed, however, because they had no spiritual insights, no intuition to help them understand the subtle things that can affect how time flows.

The spiritual philosophers do better because they are looking at the whole universe and the whole realm of knowledge, not just the small part of it that is the realm of matter. As Mr. Suzuki says, however, this type of philosopher needs his intellect to be well developed as well. While some spiritual people can do quite well with a poorly developed intellect, a real philosopher needs it. You might picture is as intellect being the left leg, and an awakened and developed spirit and soul being the right leg. With two legs equally developed, you can walk straight and quick. If one leg is shorter or weaker, you go in circles and move slowly.

Social Acceptance

While the well-developed spiritual philosopher is superior to the intellectual kind, they will probably be listened to less than the intellectuals. That is because we have a mostly materialistic and intellectual society. The good news is that this is changing. Slowly, but surely, people are awakening once again to the need for spiritual growth and development. As part of that, they are beginning to listen more to those spiritual philosophers instead of the intellects. That is a good thing. Sadly, many are also listening to the phony, self-declared spiritual gurus who promote a limited spiritual philosophy that leaves them floundering like fish in shallow water. Every coin has its heads and tails, its good side and bad side. That too will change as the whole world changes from materialism to spirituality.

spiritual rebirth

Spiritual Rebirth and the Sun of Righteousness

“Some are reborn through water and the spirit (cf. John 3:5); others receive baptism in the Holy Spirit and in fire(cf. Matt. 3:11). I take these four things – water, spirit, fire, and Holy Spirit – to mean one and the same spirit of God. To some the Holy Spirit is water because He cleanses the external stains of their bodies. To others He is simply spirit because He makes them active in the practice of virtue. To others He is fire because he cleanses the interior defilement which lies deep within their souls. To others, according to Daniel, He is Holy Spirit because he bestows on them wisdom and spiritual knowledge (cf. Dan. 1:17; 5:11-120. for the single identical Spirit takes His different names from the different ways in which he acts on each person.

“The Law instituted the Sabbath, says Scripture, so that your ox and your servant might rest (cf. Exod. 20:10). Both of these are symbols for the body. … The Sabbath signifies the final goal pursued by them throughout the ascetic and the contemplative life, and so it provides for both of them a fitting rest.” ~The Philokalia

Spiritual Rebirth

The most important part of the first line quoted above is that we are reborn. Many modern churches interpret this as something that happens with physical death when we are reborn as spirits. Others say that simply accepting Christ as our Savior makes us reborn. Neither Jesus nor the Apostles ever taught either of those beliefs. The great mystery schools didn’t teach it either. Yet all believed that we must be reborn. It should be obvious to any thinking person that being reborn cannot be such a simple thing as accepting someone’s philosophy and teachings. It doesn’t matter whether the teacher is Jesus, Buddha, or some Indian Guru. Jesus didn’t say, “Listen to what I say and you will be saved.” He said, “Follow me, do as I do, and you will be saved”. That is quite different from what is being practiced in the majority of Christian churches today.

The early Christians, Buddhists, Mystics, and others understood what was meant by rebirth. It means that the spirit and soul, which lie dormant when we enter the world of matter, must be awakened and made conscious. That makes us very different people. It makes us butterflies instead of caterpillars. Sadly, most of those who today claim to be reborn have not actually done this.

Water, Spirit, Fire, and Holy Spirit

I can agree with the Philokalia when it says that this rebirth through four different things all refers to rebirth through the spirit of God. In the specifics of each, I think they are only partly correct.

While water can represent a spiritual cleansing—which is certainly necessary for most of us—it can mean much more. We think of water as flowing. Water has waves. Energy also flows in waves. So another interpretation of water is as flowing waves of energy. Not just any energy. It is the spiritual energy that flows from God, into the spiritual sun (or Sun of Righteousness), and then into us. It is this energy that awakens and “feeds” the spirit and soul. It is, in that way, a means of being reborn. It is a means of spiritual rebirth.

To the ancients, fire and light meant the same thing. Since they got light from a fire, they used the words interchangeably. So yes, fire can burn the impurities out of us, but it does more. Thinking more in terms of light, it again represents that energy, that spiritual light, that comes to us through the Sun of Righteousness (“Sun,” not “Son”). This spiritual sun shines on all, but only those who turn to it and attune themselves to it receive and significant benefit. The Old Testament prophet Malachi did promise, however, that it would burn all the evil out of the world. That doesn’t mean people, animals, etc. will burst into flames. It means that we will all transform into spiritual beings. We must all go through a spiritual rebirth. Those who make the effort to transform early will be the leaders in that coming Golden Age of spirit.

Likewise, spiritual rebirth by spirit or the Holy Spirit means the same thing. That light, fire, flowing Water of Life that comes from the spiritual sun.

Law of the Sabbath

I have to admit that I never thought of the references to animals with regard to the Sabbath was really a reference to the human physical, or animal, body. Yet it makes perfect sense to see it that way. Of course, work animals need to be allowed to rest. But I think that is more of a daily thing rather than a weekly one.

When it comes to man, however, I see it differently. It isn’t so much that the physical body needs a day of rest once a week, although that might be a good thing also. I think what was really meant by those who started the idea of a Sabbath is a day of mental rest. Or more accurately, periods of mental rest. It could be a day or an hour. It might be just a few minutes. So in an allegorical way, the idea of a Sabbath is to remind us that we need to devote time to spiritual matters as well as physical and mental ones. It also is hinting at the need during spiritual practices to clear the mind as much as possible and let the true knowledge found in the spiritual light educate us. As the Zen masters say, you must empty your cup before it can be refilled with something else. The one who successfully empties his cup can experience that spiritual rebirth.