Once upon a time, there was a medieval practice called Alchemy. In fact, Isaac Newton, the rational scientist as we know him, was an alchemist and was obsessed with refining a process of transmuting lead into Gold. It seems strange that a great scientist as he should be interested in such a mystical subject.
But in those days, learned men did not confine themselves to one body of knowledge, instead, they had a ‘Renaissance mind’. Scholars of the day where not specialised like we are today but used their intellect to comprehend and practice the Arts as well as the Sciences. Leonardo Da Vinci is considered the archetypal ‘Renaissance man’. Not only was he a great painter but also an adept scientist and engineer.
In the ancient heresy of Gnosticism, another definition of alchemy is understood. It is the spiritual practice of transmuting the leaden ego personality into the golden spiritual higher self. I personally believe that this is what Alchemy was always supposed to mean.
This is a deep subject and rather than go into it here, it will serve to set the scene for powerful work on the ego. Training the ego is more about alchemy than it is about beating, dissolving or disintegrating the ego.
There are many spiritual tools available that begin the process of transmuting the lead of ego into the gold of Soul. Think of them as the building blocks of spiritual growth. They are:
To start on the right foot, it’s a good idea to cultivate your ability to observe your thoughts – rather than getting lost in them. This is as straight-forward as making a conscious decision to do so, and, remembering all day that you are committed to this practice. Over time, it becomes a habit and you can pull yourself out of a daydream much sooner and choose which of your thoughts to follow.
Your best platform for observing your ego in action is when you are dealing with others in family, work or social settings. It’s at these times that we wear our ego masks and become the roles we play. We can discover, or be reminded of, our weaknesses – those aspects of personality that create dissatisfaction and unhappiness.
To find out why alchemy has a spiritual side, read The Double Meaning of Alchemy.