The Green Face
by Gustav Meyrink

The key that will make us masters of our inner nature has been rusty ever since the Flood. The secret is to be awake.To be awake is everything. Man is firmly convinced that he is awake; in reality he is caught in a net of sleep and dreams which he has unconsciously woven himself. The tighter the net, the heavier he sleeps. Those who are trapped in its meshes are the sleepers who walk through life like cattle being led to the slaughterhouse, indifferent and without a thought in their heads. Seen through the meshes, the world appears to the dreamers like a piece of lattice-work: they only see misleading apertures, act accordingly, and are unaware that what they see are simply the debris of an enormous whole. These dreamers are not, as you may perhaps think, dwellers in a world of fantasy and poets. They are the everyday men, the workers, the restless ones, consumed by a mad desire for restelssness. They are like those beetles which laboriously climb all the way up along a pipe, only to plunge down into it again as soon as they have reached the top. They say they are awake, but what they think life is, is really only a dream, every detail of which is fixed in advance and independent of their free will.

There have been, and still are, a few men who have known that they were dreaming.

To be awake is everything.

The first step towards this state is so simple that any child could take it. Only those who have been misled have forgotten how to walk, and stay paralyzed on their two feet because they do not want to throw away the crutches they have inherited from their predecessors.

To be awake is everything.

Keep awake whatever you are doing! Do not imagine that you are already awake. No - you are asleep and dreaming.

Gather all your strength together and fill your body for a moment with the feeling (but not the thought !!): Now I am awake !

If you can do this successfully, then you will at once perceive that the state in which you were before was merely one of somnolence. This is the first step on the long, long journey that leads from servitude to freedom.

Go on, then, advancing from one awakening to another. There are no tormenting thoughts that you cannot in this way get rid of. They will be left behind and will not be able to trouble you any more. You will be as high above them as the crown of a tree is above the withered branches below.

Your pains will fall away from you like dead leaves from a tree when you feel your whole body, mind and soul is awake.

The Brahmansí icy baths, the sleepless nights of the disciples of Buddha and the Christian ascetics, the self-inflicted tortures of the Hindu fakirs are nothing other that the ossified rites which indicate that it was here that the temple of those who strove to stay awake originally stood.

Read the sacred writings of all the peoples on Earth. Through all of them runs, like a red thread, the hidden Science of attaining and maintaining wakefulness. It is the ladder of Jacob who fought all through the "night" (sleep) with the angel of the Lord until the "day" (wakefulness) broke and he was victorious.

You must climb from one rung to another if you want to conquer death.

The lowest rung is called: genius.

What are we to call the higher ones ? They are hidden from the mass of mankind and looked upon as legends.

The story of Troy was thought to be a legend until one day a man had the courage to start excavating by himself.

The first enemy you will meet with on this road to wakefulness will be your own body. It will fight you until the first cock-crow. But if you can glimpse the dawn of eternal wakefulness which will put a gulf between you and those somnambulists who think that they are men and who are unaware that they are gods asleep, then sleep will leave your body too, and the Universe will be at your feet.

Then you will be able to work miracles, if you wish so, and you will no longer be compelled, like a humble slave, to wait until some god or goddess is kind enough to shower gifts upon you, or to cut off your head.

This goal can and must be attained in this life. But even if this does not happen, remember that he who has found the way once, always returns to this world with an internal maturity that enables him to continue his work.

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