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The essence of Toltec aphorisms


The Toltec aphorisms serve to guide us to a deeper insight in how to master our awareness. Thus every aphorism has been designed to be both a springboard into the unknown, as well as a beacon light within the unknown.


The publication of the Toltec Aphorisms (The Toltec Teachings – Volume VI, by Théun Mares) marked a milestone in Toltec history, and this was also an especially poignant moment in the history of humanity; because, even though the aphorisms began to be compiled aeons ago, this is the first time that they have ever been recorded in written form in their entirety.


Why this is so, is explained in more detail in the Introduction to the Book of Aphorisms. But the best way of conveying this here, is to refer to one of the fundamental Toltec aphorisms about life itself, which is;


“Life is a mystery, and thus we can never verbalise it. We can at best talk around life, and thereby gain a feeling for this most marvellous of mysteries.”


However, to begin at the beginning: ever since the very dawn of humanity on this planet, (as we have come to know humanity today), there have existed men and women charged with safeguarding and transmitting the fundamental truths of the One Life. These people were called Men and Women of Knowledge or Toltecs, in the Old Tongue. In addition to their role as teachers and leaders, the Toltecs also used their abilities as seers to expand their knowledge and their awareness throughout the progression of evolution.

It is in connection with awareness that a fundamental principle in relation to the process of learning through the use of aphorisms becomes revealed, namely;


“The Toltec aphorisms serve to guide us to a deeper insight in how to master our awareness. Thus every aphorism has been designed to be both a springboard into the unknown, as well as a beacon light within the unknown.”


In our very earliest days, even before the development of the spoken word, the teachings were conveyed in their essence through ideograms. Later, when humans had developed a verbal language, these fundamental truths were encapsulated in the form of aphorisms; skilfully designed to reveal layer upon layer of truth, depending upon the level of awareness of the recipient.


Over time, as the knowledge of Toltec seers has grown, so has the database of aphorisms. However, at no stage have the aphorisms ever been transmitted in anything other than their purely oral form.


In order to become a Man or Woman of Knowledge, everyone has to walk the Path of Knowledge. This has always been so, and the fact that the Toltec Aphorisms have been committed to writing does not alter the Path of Knowledge. It simply means that this pathway is now truly open to all – and not just to those whose fate has drawn them to work with a Toltec nagal. The nature of the pathway, however, remains the same.


What then, from a Toltec perspective, does it mean to seek real knowledge – and not just the type of learning that can be found in books? One of the first aphorisms gives this indication;


“Approaching knowledge is to enter into a battle for one’s life. Hence one should only approach knowledge with full alertness, with fear, with respect and with absolute assurance. Any man foolish enough not to approach knowledge in this way will regret his error bitterly. But if he is wise enough to acknowledge that his search for knowledge is a matter of life and death he will have no cause for regrets, for such an approach cancels out the careless actions of the fool. Should such a man fail in any particular pursuit of knowledge he is not defeated, because in walking the Path of Knowledge we fight many battles – some we win, some we lose. Success lies not in how many battles we have won, but in how well we have fought.”


And yet, in addition to this indication that knowledge for Toltecs is experiential, as the seeker progresses on this path, the question that begins to arise - and with increasing stridency, is; - “What really is the true nature and meaning of learning?” or, more precisely; “How do we corroborate the subjective reality, when the only reality we can measure it against is our perception of the objective reality to which we bear witness by virtue of being alive, for is it not this very perception we are questioning when we set out to learn?”


As Théun Mares explains; “This difficulty in learning is a conundrum for which there is no logical solution, other than to start the process of learning from the premise that whatever we experience within life; that is, whatever we perceive to be factual, is not necessarily the objective reality to which we bear witness, but merely the subjective reality which causes us to look upon our experience as being the factual reality we are dealing with. This, however, does not presuppose that the subjective reality which arises from experience is any less true than the objective reality we are witnessing. Instead it serves to confirm that the subjective reality, being dependent as it is upon our perception, is what we are experiencing, whereas the objective reality, which exists independently of our perception of it, must at best be witnessed without judgement, until such time as we have gained the necessary knowledge with which to bridge the gap that exists between our subjective experience and an objective reality that transcends the limitations of perception. It is this gap between our perception and the objective reality being witnessed that instils in us, the Observers, the desire to gain the needed skill with which to fill the gap between the subjective and the objective.”


“If we, as the Observers, are to fill the gap existing between the subjective and the objective, then it is vital that we bear in mind that the subjective, by definition, implies the purely personal, whereas the objective, also by definition, implies that which is transpersonal, and therefore existing independently of the purely personal nature of our perception. It follows that the Observer is not only the point at which perception is being assembled in relation to the experience of the Observer, but that for there to be any experience at all, the Observer must of necessity also be the catalyst that brings into existence the experience he is having of the objective reality to which he bears witness. Consequently, although the Observer starts off by being an impartial witness to life around him, the moment he starts to interact with the world he has the choice of either seeing himself as being the victim of circumstance, or else seeing himself as being the catalyst that causes objective reality to start imposing itself upon the subjective reality he has created according to his perception. The first option is clearly antithetical to learning anything of real value, which means that the true Scholar has no option other than to see himself as being the creator of his reality.”


“Once we are clear on this much, it becomes perfectly possible to acquire skill in the technique of learning, for all that is required in order to gain this skill, is to remember that the Observer is both the Witness of objective reality, as well as the Experimenter directing the process entailed in learning how to relate perception of that objective reality to the reality underlying his subjective experience of it. This is the theory, and if one adheres to the theory it appears that this should be a relatively simple exercise to accomplish, given the required time and the due diligence. However, in practice it is not quite as simple as the theory would have us believe, for although gaining the skill to learn is undoubtedly within the grasp of any man or woman, achieving this skill is nonetheless the task of a lifetime. The reason for this, as Toltecs have discovered in mapping out the process of learning, is that acquiring skill in learning entails conquering seven distinct areas of expertise.”


The Aphorisms have been compiled by Théun in such a manner that reflects these seven areas of expertise or stages of learning, thus enabling seekers of learning to answer their own questions as they progress through the different stages of the pathway to acquiring true knowledge.


Toltecs also call the Path of Knowledge the Path with a Heart. Perhaps this aphorism will impart a feeling for why: 


“The warrior, knowing that any battle is a battle for survival, always chooses to follow the Path with a Heart in everything he does, even the mundane. It is in consistently choosing to follow his heart where lies the difference between the warrior and the average man. In following his heart the warrior is always at-one with his life; no matter what his challenges may be. As a result, he finds peace and a deep sense of pleasure in every action, while he carefully chooses from out his experiences upon the Path with a Heart all that he needs in order to make himself a shield against the onslaughts of power.”


Whatever our circumstances and challenges, we are all given everything we need to make our lives joyful, purposeful and successful - but most of us have simply lost touch with what it means to follow our heart. By finding this ability, and through discovering what it really means to learn, the true warrior can claim truthfully, and without any embarrassment:


“The warrior is a happy being because he chooses to be happy, rather than talking to himself about what will make him happy. Because he chooses to be happy he looks at things in a way that makes him happy, and by looking at the world in this way he sees the funny side of things, which makes him laugh. One must always choose the Path with a Heart, so that one can bring forth the best in oneself, even if this is only to be able to laugh.”


While the aphorism above may at face value seem overly simplistic, it is also very simply the inevitable result of having learned, through one’s own experience and knowledge, to follow one’s heart.






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