Our Magnetic Center is a tool for our personal guide to inner wisdom.
The concept of the Magnetic Center comes from Ouspensky. It is a very accurate representation of an emo-mental longing and organization in our mind. Important, as it helps us to solidly initiate inner development.
Our ‘persona’ has a large number of “I-sayers” (ego-selves). Each “I-sayer” is connected to an idea or a identification. And although they seamlessly alternate with one another, these “I-sayers” often don’t know each other. Luckily, you might almost say, because if they acted simultaneously, inner conflict could arise. That’s why we unknowingly created buffers to separate them.
By coming into contact with the work in the field of inner development, a number of wishes arise that are aligned with each other and stimulate each other. They are observed by our Observer and our power of discernment (Buddhi) reinforces them. They cherish wisdom and are focused on inner development from which the will and power arise to take certain steps. They are identifications and wishes from our individualized essence. Examples: the wish to fully flourish in what we do, to want to know the truth, to want to live purely, to read inspiring books, to want to communicate nonviolently, to want to be awake and no longer live mechanically. From a need for naturalness and silence, to want moderation, to no longer settle for life as it has (unwantedly) been shaped, to stop habits and addictions, and so on. We can add many more to the list!
These truth-loving “selves” dedicated to inner development form a kind of pact, stemming from an Essential Desire, an ultimate life wish that originates from our individualized essence. They reinforce each other in intention and action. The cluster of wishes focused on truth and wisdom arising from this essential longing is what we call our Magnetic Center. It’s termed “magnetic” because it exerts an attraction to everything that could strengthen this center. Everything we encounter is, in a manner of speaking, gauged by this center for its relevance and usefulness. Everything aimed at increasing self-knowledge is embraced, and everything that causes mechanical behavior is ignored by this part of our will-driven personality that commits to the pure longing of our essence.
Thus, initially, we might desire greater fulfillment in our life. Then, we progress to reading inspiring texts, studying, taking courses, practicing exercises, and so on. Suddenly, activities we knew little about or even rejected, such as meditation, yoga, practicing art forms, or going on a retreat, might become significant. What was once outside our purview becomes attractive. Our evolving Magnetic Center makes us notice new things, see their value for our development, and engage with them. As a result, the Magnetic Center becomes increasingly significant and influential in us. Nourished by our essence, it immediately perceives evidence when encountering the truth, as intuitively sensing and understanding truth is inherent to our essence. As it grows, it makes our personality more transparent, granting our essence more room and influence.
In the long run, a strong Magnetic Center will purify and balance our three Centers of the mind, eventually forming a powerful Center of Gravity as Gurdjieff and Ouspensky referred to it.
The Magnetic Center will also favorably influence our discernment. Our discernment, in itself, is a pure and super-intelligent instrument, but its influence might have diminished due to identifications: various shadows that shield our inner wisdom in the realm of thinking and feeling. Essentially, our discernment is directly connected to our conscience, but the aforementioned mental blockages can make this conscience less accessible and felt, making us know less. Our discernment can present everything in the dual world of duality to us in a clear manner so we can understand it. It does this on many grounds, but the most important is the distinction between true and untrue, real and unreal.
However, there are other “selves” lurking: identifications that eagerly want to join this Magnetic Center pact. These selves view themselves as quite the philosophical or spiritual authority and tend to project this outwardly. Only when we are awake in self-remembrance are we aware of this, because the Observer in us will let our discernment function. These growth-oriented ego-selves hollow out our Magnetic Center from the inside. It is essential, therefore, to remain vigilant about this.
We also have mechanical identification clusters within us. These are identifications that reinforce each other and also possess magnetism. However, they don’t operate consciously. For instance: smoking can lead to drinking – and vice versa. Exercising can lead to health food but also to steroids and an entire cult surrounding it. Celebrity can lead to pride. Wanting to fit in can lead to collaboration.
These identification clusters, when adopted by many, can trigger lifestyles, trends, and hypes. All of them are temporary, lacking depth, and devoid of any ‘silence’. Religions also emerge from these identification clusters (churches, mosques, and ashrams alike). In the worst-case scenario, this can lead to suppression and terrorism, then extreme dualistic thinking (rejecting everything that’s ‘not ours’) is the driving force. In the best scenario, people find comfort within these clusters, focusing on connection (until different identifications within the group start causing rifts).
In the best-case scenario, these unconsciously constructed ‘magnetic’ clusters lead us to excellently perform our profession while in waking sleep. Here too, our essence is the foundation. The pursuit of the highest possible standard and perfection can indicate this. Striving for perfection is a form of seeking the highest, stemming from the desire to experience unity with the supreme. Alongside this essential drive, ambition is a known motivator and can potentially bring about an undesirable pursuit of perfection due to identification, which gives our actions a completely different energy and strengthens belief in duality and opposition.
The pact of selves that commit themselves to inner liberation and that recognize and wish to abandon the inner division within them is also called the superego. In essence, these are selves that identify with Truth and reality. This internal source of identification with the Higher operates on a different level than the selves that mechanically and selfishly alternate each other in the waking sleep. These numerous selves were not previously overseen, but the superego does oversee them and is also self-reflectively aware of its own existence in our mind. We can call this our inner coach. However, we should not confuse this with selves that present themselves as critics in our mind and comment when we ‘didn’t do well’. This inner policeman is just part of the recurring inner applause and boo-group that is so typical for a mechanically living person. Our inner coach does not judge and only assesses using a single reference point: Truth.
But even these identifications with the Higher, aimed at inner liberation, which collectively form our Magnetic Center, are left behind in a complete presence in Now, in ‘what is’. Completely in Now, with attention on ‘what is’, this superego, this inner coach also fades to the background as something illusory. Because it is the Self that, through our mental instrument of Observer, reflectively observes itself, which is possible because the One takes on a human manifestation in ‘the world of two’ (in the duality of creation).
Thus, the Eye can see itself in the self-created mirror of the (self-reflective) human mind.