The Harry Potter books tell the story of a young orphan boy who was born to magical parents, but raised by non-magical relatives that kept the child's true heritage a secret.
On the surface, the story falls in line with other fantasy tales where the hero enters a quest or personal journey and must confront, fight, and destroy strange-looking creatures, monsters, and evil villains. Each trial takes the lad closer and closer to the ultimate fight of good versus evil, where good eventually wins out and love conquers all.
Below the surface of the familiar structure, and hidden within much of the dialog, is a parallel universe of discovery where the line between fantasy and reality blurs. Things are not what they appear to be.
Fairy tales rarely are.
In fact, a lot of the ancient stories and fables that have been passed down to us share vital secrets of how to open the doors to higher levels of consciousness for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear.
For those who desire to escape their personal mechanical existence, the tools for doing so are hidden behind symbols and personifications. Likewise, within the thoughts, reactions, and feelings of the Harry Potter characters, its surreal world of fantasy and imagination reaches out to those who desire to become conscious.
Promising liberation to those who want to break free of their mechanical chains of thought and emotion, the story reveals the secrets of the ancients that can enable those who embark on the same journey of transformation to become more conscious and alive.
But what benefit is there to becoming conscious?
In our modern-day world filled with physical luxuries, electronic gadgets, medical advances, and scientific discoveries, what can we possibly hope to gain by returning to the aims and quests of our ancestors?
What Did Harry Potter Lose by Moving in With the Dursleys?
Before we can explore the value of using the higher aspects of the mind, we have to first be able to see ourselves and our current situation more clearly.
The Harry Potter story is designed to do exactly that, but it's delivered to us in bits and pieces. Chronologically, it's a mess. It doesn't travel in a straight line. Professor McGonagall stitting on 4 Privet Drive waiting for Dumbledore to arrive wasn't the beginning of the tale.
Much had already happened before the story "opened" to our view, but those prior events are withheld from us until Harry makes those personal discoveries for himself. However, Harry's memory of what he is and the truth of what happened the night his parents died are not the only things he lost when he moved in with the Dursleys.
He also lost all contact with the Wizarding World.
While Dumbledore felt it best for Harry to grow up away from the fame and glory he would have been clothed with if he had been raised by a wizarding family instead of a pair of muggles, the Dursleys fought hard to keep Harry ignorant of his true potential.
The possibility of Harry being able to break free from the ordinariness of the Dursleys was quite small. It would be difficult and require a lot of effort on his part, a different way of thinking, feeling, and responding to life's events, but freedom was quite possible with the right combination of circumstances.
Hiding Harry in the cupboard beneath the stairs, depriving him of food and clothing much of the time, treating him like a servant instead of a son, and insisting that he conform to their ideal of normal worked to keep Harry living in a world where he felt:
and longing for some distant relative to come and rescue him from the situation.
In other words, the way Harry was raised left him paralyzed to act for himself. Things happened to him, but they happened by accident, cause and effect, or fate -- and not due to any real will of his own. Harry had no control over his inner selves, let alone the power to control what was going on around him.
As if that wasn't bad enough, Harry also had no friends. Thanks to his cousin Dudley's influence at school and in the neighborhood, the kids were terrified of Dudley, and since Dudley didn't like Harry . . .
In the Ordinary World Things Happen by Accident
Harry spent a lot of his time wandering the streets alone.
Life was easier and produced less stress when he kept himself hidden and out of the way as much as possible. This tendency to withdraw from his environment enabled the Dursleys to pretend that Harry didn't exist, but it also cut down on the number of times that Harry was punished for all of the odd things that were always happening.
The Dursley's were quick to blame Harry for the world's accidents.
While the Dursleys clearly understood what Harry was, in their perspective, Harry knew the difference between right and wrong, but he went ahead and did wrong anyway. Due to that misconception, a basic misconception that many of us have too, they accused Harry of making the unexplainable accidents happen deliberately.
They didn't understand the way life worked: for ordinary man living in the ordinary world, things just happen by accident.
With no consciousness, no will, and therefore, no power to do, events in our sleepy lives just happen. Plans or no plans, like a flowing river current, events push us in the direction the stream wants us to go. When those events coincide with the plans we've made, we believe we made those things happen ourselves, but that's an illusion.
We can't choose the stream of events we're swimming in because everything is mechanical. It's mathematical. What happens to us is the mathematical result of all previous efforts. The current simply carries us along with it.
For the Dursleys, the water has become a bit choppy due to the number of accidents that have become more noticeable to them. Their fear of Harry and his hidden potential has resulted in Vernon accusing Harry of being the wind, rather than the debris the wind batters as it pushes it along its preordained path.
Regardless of what happens, life goes on.
What Did Harry Receive by Waking Up?
|Waking Up is Only the First Step|
Waking up gives us the opportunity to break free from all of the mechanical ways of being that we've been using to get along in the world up to that point, but waking up isn't consciousness.
We still don't have true will because our self-discipline is small, weak, and underdeveloped. Waking up also doesn't get rid of the discomforts and ugly situation we find ourselves in. In fact, Harry had to return to life with the Dursleys each and every summer, until he reached the age of 17.
He had to grow from being an immature child into a responsible adult.
Waking up did allow him to receive what was needed to move into a higher state of consciousness, but he received the following things a piece at a time. He didn't get them all at once:
- contact with the wizarding world
- knowledge of who his parents were
- knowledge of himself, what he was
- opportunity to receive a general spiritual education
- private tutoring by Dumbledore, headmaster
- opportunity to play on the school's Quidditch team as a Seeker
- choose and enjoy associating with a variety of friends
- opportunity to grow and develop through experience
- lots of tests of courage, purpose, and will
- information on his multiplicity
- choose which master he wanted to serve: Dumbledore or mammon
- learned what he needed to be to defeat Voldemort
And finally -- a real, permanent will, which resulted in total liberation from the mechanical state.
At the beginning of Harry's journey, regaining contact with the wizarding world and everything that went along with that renewed connection is what gave him the tools he needed to achieve self-knowledge, consciousness, and a real will. Everything that Harry managed to accomplish throughout his 7-year quest was a direct result of coming back into contact with the wizarding world.
Without that connection being restored, Harry could do nothing but endure whatever life saw fit to inflict upon him. He was unable to rise up out of the sea of affliction, the vicious circle of life, because he had no understanding of himself or others and no power to change what he was.
When asleep and unconscious, we are literally slaves to our thoughts, emotions, and habits. Self-will, the belief that we are always right and have a god-given right to do what we want to do at any time, despite the consequences and harm to self and others, literally rules over us.
We are at the mercy of chance. Fate is the best we can hope for.
It was only after Harry filled himself with Professor Snape's consciousness and exercised the self-displine he needed to do what had to be done that he was able to overcome death and make a real choice that affected not only himself but all of humanity.
The Value of Becoming Conscious
A conditioned, sleepy mind reacts out of fear or seeks a reward before putting any effort or energy into doing something. That's the struggle with inertia that we all have at the beginning of the path. In the stream of life's events, inertia generally wins unless we are afraid of punishment for not doing something or we expect to receive a reward in this life, or the next.
For the Dursleys, Vernon's fear of what Harry might do to them were he to know his heritage controlled his attitude, but much of the drive to keep Harry down in the depths of apathy actually came from the envy and resentment that Petunia had for the Wizarding World. The Dursleys are governed by emotions, distorted thought, and immaturity. They have no self-discipline.
Coupled with Vernon's desire to remain normal and ordinary, to not experience the disapproval of the neighbors, Harry's childhood was indoctrinated by Vernon's insistence that he simply go along with the flow. In other words, Vernon wanted Harry to conform to being a Dursley: a mechanical being.
Ordinary man is mechanical due to his wealth of very small wills, each fueled by different desires that push and pull him in a multitude of directions until one finally overcomes and rises up as the victor over the rest. The result of this inner struggle is often called will, but since it's directly attached to desire, and often the product of fear or reward, self-will isn't very stable. Nor is it the discipline that we think it is.
As our desires change from day to day, and sometimes moment to moment, the victorious result of any particular I is never permanent. Instead of a single force directing the house, we are tossed around by conflicting winds of desire, false beliefs, expectations, and ideals.
Running here and there, attempting to accomplish all of them, we never really get anywhere. All we succeed in doing is spinning in circles. The cycle of life is like a mechanical chain of events that pushes us from birth to death in a haphazzard pattern of causes, effects, fates, and accidents.
For those who desire to remain a product of their environment, being ordinary can feel familiar and comfortable, but unlike the Dursleys, Harry didn't want to be ordinary. He longed for something more.
Only those worthy of the Holy Grail can find the Holy Grail . . .
Consciousness isn't mandatory.
In fact, for some, it's not even possible. Like Harry, we have to already have a certain amount of gold in our inner vault before awareness, consciousness, and will can be developed into something meaningful. In Fourth Way termionology, this center of gravity is spoken of as being a magnetic center from which we can begin to direct our lives.
There must be a small group of I's that are willing to put forth the effort required to become conscious, and we have to have enough courage to see ourselves exactly as we are. If not, we are only fooling ourselves into believing that we are awakened, enlightened beings -- when we are not.
Becoming conscious isn't "getting" something.
There is no reward for doing this.
Reversal of circumstances doesn't come with fame and glory and claps of thunder.
Each new wave of insight, each new vision of ourselves, comes at a high cost, but the cleansing waves leave behind increased understanding and new discoveries about Life that shine like flecks of gold beneath our muddy exterior.
The secrets of consciousness are secrets for good reason.
They are not intended for ordinary man.
Not because the few extraordinary men who break free from mechanical existence are better than those who prefer to remain ordinary, but because the purpose of consciousness differs dramatically from the purposes of mechanicalness.
One cannot survive while the other still lives.
Why Drink the Elixir of Life?
To drink the Elixir of Life, to put a stopper in death, is to slow physical degeneration down to a manageable level, thereby, giving you more time to achieve the aim of consciousness and will. It doesn't get rid of all the pain and suffering life brings. It doesn't eliminate life's challenges. You can't escape the Dursleys just because you decide to wake up.
Instead, drinking the Elixir of Life offers you the opportunity to break free of the vicious circle of mechanical life and accidental happenings you've been swimming in for so long. However, breaking free comes with a price. For those who have found the power to give up mechanical living, Life grants the opportunity to experience freely whatever comes your way . . . today.