Thus, the plane of Creation is figuratively called the Pattern. I fully suspect that the word “pattern” had certain other meanings in the tradition of Naqshbandi, however, due to changes in the conditions of Work, many of them are no longer relevant. Although the poetic dispositions of fantasists can always come up with something and give an old word new meanings that have nothing to do with the reality. But I am going to talk about the meaning that originally existed and has never lost its relevance.

Given that Creation is the multilayered and highly complex work of God, this plane cannot be simple, and there are not merely one or two Patterns in existence. Every Level of Being has its own Patterns, and their interweaving is so subtle that it is beyond the understanding of our limited minds. On the other hand, it is not beyond our possible vision at the level of the fourth body, though we rarely see the Pattern itself in all its complexity. More often, we are able to perceive two or three of its lines, which appear to us in the form of possible variations in which an event in our or someone else’s life may develop. Figuratively speaking, these are lines of fate, or more precisely, its possible variations, which are manifested in reality as a person starts to take decisions and implement choices. Or the opposite, to deviate from any choice, giving himself over to the will of “fate” and, as a rule, greatly worsening his own actual fate as a result. Anyone who declines to choose when a choice is needed becomes a so-called victim of circumstance, when a decision is taken for him by others, or otherwise he moves to a new segment of his personal Pattern, which deprives him of all possibilities, putting the current situation on hold for a substantial length of time. So, for example, a person has lost his job and not put in any effort to find a new one. The possibility of transition that emerges in the Pattern exists for a fixed time, and by throwing it away the person is doomed to remain in that position for a certain segment of time with no hope for any sort of improvement. This is what happens when you have both freedom of will and predetermination—inertia of the will causes you to end up in a circle where nothing at all can be changed, at least not for some time. It is individual for everyone, though no one has seriously studied this matter. However if you look back at the important segments in your life, or look at the lives of the people you know, then you may recall at least one instance where delaying on a decision led to totally forfeiting all other opportunities on a particular course. “Opportunity is precious, and time is a sword,” as the ancient Sufi wisdom goes. And although it refers to Work, it is entirely applicable to ordinary situations as well.

The above-mentioned inertia of the will is of course connected to fear, an unwillingness to exert oneself, or resistance to change, and in general to the necessity of living and doing anything at all. This is all very banal and obvious. As usual, opportunities of every order are missed. But there is a flip side to this. Often, people moved by strong desire try to change their lives, but all of their efforts are ultimately fruitless. They put in some kind of effort, they try, seek some opportunity but do not find it, and all their efforts disappear like water into sand. This is where predeterminism comes in, which cannot be altered, because the person is trying to influence a segment of the Pattern where changes are not allowed for.

There is a further Sufi law: the greatest effect has the right impact at the right time. Knowing when it will be possible to affect one’s personal Pattern or, in other words, knowing when the opportunity will arise, is a great blessing for a person seeking change. It is therefore of no little importance that this knowledge is necessary to the seeker. The seeker has the chance to receive concentrated knowledge on this thanks to his work on awareness and the Heart. Many seekers receive impulses of knowledge about what direction they ought to move in and what to do right now, and if they do not demonstrate inertia of the will, they may move to a new line of their personal Pattern. It is somewhat easier for those working under instruction, because they are more likely to recognize an emerging opportunity from their instructor, and after that they have only to follow his recommendations.

As we know, the universe is expanding, but Creation continues here and now, in that humanity is constantly creating, and on other Planes of Being different kinds of motion and change are taking place. Therefore Patterns change, they are plastic. And therefore a person may alter his fate, if he manages to apply the right effort into doing so. In any case, it is possible within the realms of spiritual or mystical work. A person working on themselves—meditating, being aware of their own suppressed energies and getting rid of them, on the one hand changes the frequency of their own vibrations and gradually shifts through the forces of the Upward Stream. On the other hand, he is constantly implementing external choices, enabling him to achieve his aims—that is, to change the form of his life, find work that will not get in the way of his exercises, and so on. In other words, he is always implementing a choice that increases his opportunity to move further towards his cherished aims. By continuing to move, the seeker changes the frequency of his vibrations more and more, and soon becomes connected to the egregor that will enable his opportunities to vibrate energy to become greater still. At some point, with highly intensive inner work, a person may transition to a new line of the Pattern; even to that segment of it where the point of choice does not exist. This happens, for example, at the moment of enlightenment and generally at all moments of serious transformation.

In the mystical practices—for example, in intensive prayer—almost the same thing happens, only to begin with the increase in possibilities comes as a consequence of the believer interacting with the Divine Presence, and then later through an egregor. In mystical work that is carried out in groups—again, with sufficient intensity—opportunities arise that mean even the relatively low spiritual potential of some of its members extends to infinity. At least, while this work is being conducted. Incidentally, this is what people are trying to do who practice positive thinking and different kinds of Transurfing. They are attempting through intention and visualization to achieve some alteration in their fate and learn to “direct reality”. But here, again, without intensive, constant work, nothing meaningful can come of it. And intensive internal work is like spiritual work, though the intention—or the will of the magician—is a rather different thing.

Reality is permeated with connections from all different levels. And there are plenty of Patterns at each level. Changing the plane of Creation or any of the processes that take place on the Higher levels, can have a direct influence on the Pattern of all humanity, leading to an instantaneous change in everyone’s Pattern. This is what happens, for example, when great and minor wars begin. At these times, as Vladimir Visotsky sang, “there is no one, individual fate, all fates flow as one.”

Changing the Patterns is, of course, related to living nature. The plane of Creation of the Physical Universe and the whole program of its development was put in place at the moment of the Big Bang, and then went on developing according to laws set down right from the beginning. If anything is changed then it is only within the system of laws by which the physical world exists. However, people, who are a part of the physical world but also have far more subtle bodies, are able to influence physical reality, both through the energy of concentration and affecting the mental plane of Reality. Furthermore, people have learned to destroy the physical world directly and immediately, without calling on the subtle energies, using only crude ones. In addition, in certain states people can influence the whole Pattern that affects the conditions of existence for the whole of humanity.

We have the plane of Creation that relates to the whole of humanity, in which the Patterns of each individual country are distinct. They are more lasting than personal Patterns, but the fate of each individual person is associated, in one way or another, with the Pattern of his country.

And elections—as means of changing governments—can certainly influence this Pattern, although serious change rarely comes through elections. Just as in the case of personal Patterns, a change in direction requires an intensity of energy that is all but absent from our elections. And yet intensity is one of the primary conditions for alteration and creating new opportunities within the Pattern.

In Journeys with a Sufi Master, the author talks about how Sufis have to intervene in a situation when the plane of Creation begins to distort. The book talks about the oblique influences that are produced on people’s minds by means of certain ideas, which is to say the effect at the level of the mind. Inspired by these ideas, people begin to act in a different way (read: vibrate energy of a different quality), the situation corrects itself as a result, and the Pattern reaches the “correct” state. Idries Shah reminds us on numerous occasions about this kind of work, but it all comes down to social activity and introducing new ideas into people’s minds. In Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson, Gurdjieff also writes about this work in the example of missionaries sent from Above to train people and bring their state to a “norm” which, by virtue of various different circumstances, they have ceased to meet. So almost the same thing—an effect on the state of people which should have forced a change in their thinking, behavior, and partly their perception of the world, with the aim of bringing it into line with what is happening on the plane of Creation.

The reasons as to why this support for the Pattern is almost always necessary, and why it may generally be violated, are explained in different ways, or not explained at all. From my point of view, violating the Pattern is driven by an exertion of force, without which Creation could not be carried out at all. With no plus or minus, no different forms of polarity, like male and female, yin and yang, the movement of energy simply becomes impossible, and means that Creation will cease developing or existing. There is therefore a dynamic balance between the Upward and Downward Streams, between Darkness and Light. Distortion in the Pattern means a disproportionate increase or decrease in awareness among people. Unconsciousness leads to one kind of distortion on the plane, and a high level of awareness to another; this is something I have already discussed above. People are conductors of energy and in this way direct participants in Creation, albeit in most cases unconsciously. So what they conduct can seriously influence the development of subsequent events, leading to a completely different outcome on many levels of Reality—everything is interconnected, after all, and does not only affect us, and in fits of unconsciousness, we may influence certain Levels of Being connected to us. This is what is happening when the Pattern gets distorted.

There are people who come into the world to enable the plane of Creation to be realized. They give people spiritual teachings, and describe the development of humanity for centuries to come. All the founders of the great religions are just such people. There are people who have the power to change the development of technology, and by virtue of their genius they advance humanity, also enabling the designs of the Creator to become a reality. These and others serve the Will, only they do so consciously, while others do so under the influence of some flash of inspiration, in other words, semi-unconsciously. There are breakthroughs in culture, which also bring about their own geniuses, who change the whole zeitgeist in a society and in this help make the Pattern real within our internal and external reality. And there are also mystical traditions and orders, which perhaps do not make great breakthroughs, but rather their function is in maintaining the balance of forces and maintaining the Pattern in an undistorted state. Distortion of the Pattern leads to the death of all its branches and trends, depriving anyone connected to those branches of many (and sometimes all) possibilities, down to the possibility of continuing existence in the physical body. As a result, entire peoples disappear from the Upward Stream and the whole picture of the world changes. Of course, changes are an integral part of Creation, but when the Pattern is distorted, they can lead to degeneration that later has to be compensated for by concentrated vibrations of energy by everyone still living, through surviving different kinds of catastrophes and taking part in bloody wars.

Maintaining the Pattern has been the job of mystics across all ages, and the Sufis do not have a monopoly on carrying out this work. Have you noticed how in times of crisis the Buddhists gather together and begin a special common prayer for peace, for example, lasting for several days? Some people leave, others arrive, but a vibration of energy of a particular kind continues around the clock—I once witnessed a similar event take place in Moscow. Performing a prayer like this is fully fledged mystical work, directed towards re-establishing balance and maintaining the Pattern, although most of the people involved in it, fittingly, know only an abbreviated version of the truth regarding what it is being done for. And although the process has now become somewhat mechanical, it still adequately performs all its useful functions. In any case, any person involved in using it was a mystic, although Idries Shah would call them a Sufi, as for Idries Shah all true mystics were Sufis. But everyone has a right to their own opinion on this matter.

Work on maintaining the Pattern may be carried out only by a conscious conductor of the Will. Other people may also participate in the work, but their role would then amount to either following instructions or participating in an activity the true meaning of which they have no knowledge of. Without a person who has surrendered to the Will and who perceives distortion in the Pattern, it is impossible to do any useful work on it. There are magicians who can affect the course of events, and therefore the Pattern, via the mental plane, but this effect derives from egoistic purposes and stops extremely quickly. The part of the Pattern that relates to the world of people manifests on the mental plane, and for this reason a person with a developed mental body is capable of interacting with it directly. But it is better not to even approach the Pattern without the sanction of the Higher Will.

It must be said that the Pattern is not traced from one moment to the next in some kind of sequence. It is not a design that has been brought into Reality by some invisible artist working together with us. The Pattern is consecutively stamped. Imagine you put a stamp on a piece of paper. From this one-time instant action, you get an imprint that includes all the elements of the design of the stamp—characters, words, numbers and so on. It is the same with the Pattern—as though someone were putting a stamp on reality, on which all possible variations of the future were traced. Somebody’s personal Pattern may be changed—when a new stamp is applied, but for most, all transitions take place through changes in the Pattern within the design of the stamp, without going outside its limits. For some, one stamp is enough to go on living with that Pattern their whole lives, while for some dozens of changing Patterns will not suffice. It is therefore sometimes said of a person’s spiritual potential that the higher it is, the higher the possibility of its being transferred from one design to another, which connects the seeker to other situations and circumstances of internal and external being. You could say that this is the whole essence of a person’s spiritual potential.

Activity at a societal level is not the only possible way of maintaining the Pattern. Organizations and movements in which people will emit energy of the required quality last longer and in the sense of strategic impacts, perhaps, seem preferable, but there are other methods. There is the possibility of using energy for removing distortions in the Pattern that appear here and now, which might over time lead to highly regrettable consequences. This is not a strategy, but rather a tactic, but it also has a place in the work of maintaining the Pattern. Furthermore, prevention is better than a cure—this is common knowledge.

There are many ways of describing Reality. But they are only as valuable as they are able to help in the practical activity of those who use one particular variation of one of these descriptions. Of course, the situation with Patterns is more complicated than I am describing, but even the picture you have picked up from what you have read here may help you in the Work. Simply knowing that the Pattern exists and that there is the possibility of a change in the direction of its movement within that Pattern, it may help you make the right choice on your own future. Had I not known that this was possible, I would never have begun to write this chapter. Furthermore, the plane of Creation is a part of the Higher Reality, and it would not have been right to have said nothing about it. In recent years I have witnessed more than once how my own personal Pattern has been altered, and I have also seen how it has changed for other people. It is possible and, more than that, it happens. And anyone who wants to change their fate must have patience, and attain the highest intensity of internal energy in their practices. And then anything is possible.