The title of this lecture is “Self Knowledge: The Door to Liberation from Suffering.” Now in the Gnostic tradition, we address many religions and faiths in order to arrive at a synthetic teaching. The core knowledge at the heart of every religion provides us understanding of our innate and divine potential, as well as how to overcome the afflictions of our mind, the negative emotions of our heart, and many illnesses of our body. In these studies we are concerned with our personal connection with divinity, and it is our goal to unite with our internal divine Intelligence, which different religions have given different names (whether Allah in Islam, Christ in Christianity, Buddha in Buddhism, Ahura-Mazda amongst the Zoroastrians, etc). We seek to cultivate this knowledge of our Internal Divinity, our Inner Self day to day, moment by moment.
Today, in the spirit of synthetically teaching different religions and traditions, we are going to explain this path of self-knowledge in relation to the Gnostic doctrine, as well as in relation to the Sufi initiates, the mystics or Gnostics of Islam. Even the Muslim doctrine, in its heart, contains a profound esotericism which is valuable to study. We study Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, etc., in synthesis to arrive at the core knowledge that is going to change us. So we are going to explain many teachings that were given by the Middle-Eastern initiates, the Masters of Islam.
The word Islam is Arabic for “submission to God’s will.” This is precisely what we seek to cultivate in this tradition, to submit ourselves to the will of our Inner Divinity, our Inner Being known as Spirit, Innermost, Atman, our flame of Oreb that Moses saw on the mountain. The Sufis denominate our Inner Being or Spirit as Ruh, or simply the word Hu within the sacred name of God: Allahu. Hu reminds us of the Sanksrit Hum, which precisely means spirit.
We have to understand what is this Self that we seek to understand in ourselves and in our psychology, because many people affirm that they know themselves, that they know who they really are in their depth. If we generally examine this concept of self-knowledge, we will arrive at an understanding that it is a very elevated statement to make that one knows one self. We each have our own Inner Divinity who is our True Self. Therefore when someone says, “I know myself—I know who I am” and we ask them, “Well… do you know Christ, your Inner Flame, your Inner Logos? Have you awakened to your inner Buddha-nature, the light of Amitabha? Have you seen Allah and spoken to your Inner God just as we are here receiving a lecture, face to face with the Lord, like Moses on Mount Sinai?”—what will typically happen is that the person will respond, “No. I don’t know anything like that. But I do know myself. This is my language. This is my name. This is the culture to which I was raised; this is my family,” etc.
We genuinely assume that these aspects and qualities of our culture, heritage, name, and language, are who we are, ignoring that God is not isolated to one particular person or place, but is internal in each one of us. God is not our language. God is not our culture, our religion, our beliefs. Our Internal Divinity is beyond terrestrial customs, beliefs, and social mores. What happens is that God has expressed Himself through many prophets from different races, cultures, and languages, in order to give a universal teaching. Bearing this in mind, when someone says, “I know myself,” really that is saying, “I know who God is. I know my Inner God within me. I have gone beyond the public teachings of religion and have experienced my Being, my inner divinity.” Also, it would be saying “I have fully manifested my divinity within my psyche.” Such a statement has been given by many elevated initiates—not by common individuals who know nothing about genuine esoteric, spiritual discipline.
There was a Sufi Master by the name of Mansur Al Hallaj who was put in prison, tortured, and mutilated because he said amongst the orthodox Muslims of his time, “An al-Haqq!” or “I am the Truth!” Haqiqah, the most elevated doctrine within Sufi thought, refers to the Truth and the Truth is one of the names of Allah, a name given to divinity. Now, of course God was expressing through Hallaj who said, “I am the Truth.” It was not Mansur al-Hallaj, the terrestrial personality, who said it. It was his Inner Divinity that spoke it. For before his execution, the Master Al-Hallaj was interrogated:
Abu Bakr asked, “What is mysticism?”
Al Hallaj answered, “Behold, his minor degree before thee.”
Abu Bakr asked again, “And where is his supreme degree?”
Al Hallaj answered, “Thou cannot have access unto it; nonetheless, tomorrow thou shall see what shall come. I testify it in the Divine Mystery within which it exists, albeit it is hidden for thee.” -Samael Aun Weor, The Narrow Way: "The Passion of Al-Hallaj"
The minor degree or expression of divinity is the terrestrial person or human soul. The supreme degree is God Himself, Allah, the true self that can express within any person who has prepared him or herself to express God.
However, many fanatics of public-level religion and tradition did not understand these things—so they killed Al-Hallaj; they tortured him and mutilated his body because they considered his words blasphemy, even though all the great masters before him have also been tortured, crucified, or poisoned for delivering wisdom…
So this is what we seek to be able to express in ourselves—the Truth—our Inner God. We have to understand that our Being is really the most pure and divine treasure that we possess within our interior that must be actively sought, and not just believed in. As it is stated in the Muslim oral tradition, the Hadith Qudsi:
Allah said, “I was a hidden treasure, and I was wished to be known, so I created creation (mankind), and made myself known to them, and they recognized me.”
There is a very famous Sufi proverb that states, “He who knows himself, knows his Lord.” If we are familiar with the Greek teachings of oracle of Delphi, we find the familiar maxim written on its immortal walls: “Man know thyself, and you shall know the universe and its gods.”
Therefore, if we really know ourselves, it means that we know God, but if we do not know God, it means that we do not know ourselves in depth, because we are just an emanation or spark that emerged from divinity. For the most part, we do not genuinely, in our constitution, know who we are. Who is our Being? There are few who can say that they know their Being, their Spirit, their Inner God. So we have to acknowledge this fact that we generally do not know divinity, if we truly wish to unite with divinity. If we think we know it all already, then what effort will we make to strive to know God?
In this image we have the Prophet Muhammad with his disciples. These are initiates crowned with fire on their heads. There are so many saints in different paintings of sacred and religious art depicted with halos of flames, whether in Buddhism, Judaism, Islam or Christianity, that it is impossible to ignore or deny their ubiquitous nature and meaning. Such halos are in every tradition and signify the energy known as Christ, that fire or intelligence within our body that has been raised up the spinal column to the brain. We call that force kundalini; we call that force the Divine Mother Goddess who is within us. So the path that Jesus took as carrying the cross, by working in a matrimony (since the cross is a symbol of matrimony) he took that energy up the spinal medulla, up the Via Crucis, the path of suffering, to the brain—or you could say Golgotha which means “the place of the skulls.” And so we have in every tradition this teaching: the elevation of our inner flame, our inner fire, our sacred intelligence known as our Divine Mother Kundalini, elevating up the spinal medulla very slowly and laboriously to Golgotha.
This path of initiation, this path of crucifixion, is precisely the path taught by Jesus and many other Masters. Here we see the Sufi initiates illuminated by fire, meaning that they're working with the cross, which is not only a Christian symbol, but Muslim as well. The symbol of Islam is the crescent moon and the star of Venus, which have the same meaning as the cross that we’re explaining here. The crescent moon is the power of Yesod in Kabbalah, the sexual forces that must be dominated by the Divine Mother Kundalini, Venus or Aphrodite. A cross is the sexual communion of man and woman, just as a married couple must together work with the crescent moon under the guidance of the Divine Mother, Venus.
Those Muslims who consider Allah to be merely masculine are wrong, since the Divine Mother is an integral part of divinity and is represented in Hinduism as the sacred cow, Al-Baqara within the second Surah of the Holy Qur'an.
It is also interesting to note is that three of those initiates in this image have the fire, the halo, but one of them does not. It is indicating that there are levels and hierarchies amongst the disciples, or how much self-knowledge these individuals possess. What’s most important is in this image of the Prophet Muhammad, for he’s wearing the veil. In many sacred images of Islam we find that the Prophet is never depicted with a face. We always see a veil because God cannot be seen face to face, and since Prophet Muhammad, was the minor degree of his innermost Being, he become a full expression of his supreme degree, Allah.
If we wish to know divinity, we have to be humble like these initiates that we see in this image. This refers to the veil of Isis in the Egyptian Mysteries and freemasonry. So the veil, the hijab or burka that the Muslim women would wear, was traditionally only worn amongst the wives of the Prophet Muhammad, those that were close to his family. Now that veil really represents, for us, our own ignorance. We do not see God because we are asleep as a soul, as a consciousness, as Psyche in the Greek Myth. We do not know God, because we do not have consciousness of our divinity, meaning we are not in communication with our inner being. We lack genuine self-knowledge. This veil also is a symbol of sexual modesty, that the wives of the Prophet, who represented in their physical life different parts of the Being, must be pure of all lust and defilement within the mind.
We are going to explain how we communicate with our God in synthesis. We have this veil, burka or hijab before our spiritual eyes. When perceiving God directly there is only force and fire. To look at God directly, at that Intelligence, upon one’s Inner God, is to die completely—not just physically—but psychologically—dying to one’s impurities in the mind. So the path that Jesus taught with the cross, the illumination of the fire up the spinal medulla to the brain, represents for us the crucifixion of the mind, the death of one’s psychological impurities and the full purification of the soul in order to return to God. Remember that when Prophet Moses asked the Lord to show Himself in His fully majesty, Jehovah (or Allah), said, "If you look upon Me directly you will die." This was demonstrated with the last words of Jesus, “It is finished” and “God unto thy hands I commend my Spirit.” In order to fully unite with divinity, we must die to all evilness of a psychological type. This relates deeply with the teachings of the Kabbalah, the mystical science of Judaism.
So these initiates are bowing before this Intelligence, the flame that Muhammad is expressing in his body, in his mind and heart. We need to have this type of reverence and respect which is the hallmark of genuine communication and communion with our Inner God. The only way to accomplish this is to purify one’s mind of all defilement. To strive against one’s own impurities is a spiritual war, the path of jihad, followed by any prophet or master who sought to fully comprehend and extirpate their defects.
Sadly the exoteric religion of Islam has degenerated. Just as Christianity and Buddhism has degenerated. Here we’re speaking about the esoteric truths of the Muslim tradition, specifically regarding the teachings of jihad or “striving.” Genuine jihad is about killing one’s own infidels in the mind. To kill an infidel is to kill one’s anger pride, vanity, lust, laziness, etc., for as the Prophet taught, “The strongest among you is he who controls his anger.” He never said to take out one’s anger on another person! Lastly, a group of his Companions were returning from a battle with the Prophet who were defending themselves against a group of Arabs that sought to kill them and destroy their group. Prophet Muhammad explained, “We leave the lesser holy war to go to the greater holy war.” “And what, O Prophet,” is the lesser and greater holy wars?” asked his Companions. He replied, “The lesser holy war is war against others. The great holy war is war against your desires.”
So here were not teaching the public doctrine given to many Muslims, about physically defending one’s faith from oppression. We study the esoteric teachings of Islam, which are very sacred. We have to understand that the all religions are sacred and that Islam has its place within humanity, but sadly as an exotic tradition or faith, it has terribly degenerated, because people don’t study and they only read things literally. Here we are explaining, really the heart, the core, the blood of the teachings of Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), which is very sacred.
Mindfulness, Awareness, and Sufi Psychology
So he states in the oral tradition, within the Hadith Qudsi, verse 19:
“Be mindful of Allah and you will find Him in front of you.”
Or we could say, be mindful of Buddha and he will be with you. Be mindful of Jehovah and he will be with you. Be mindful of Durga, the Divine Goddess, Devi Kundalini, and She will be with you.
“Recognize and acknowledge Allah, in times of ease and prosperity, and He will remember you in times of adversity.”
So what does it mean to be mindful? It is to pay attention. In Arabic we call mindfulness or awareness as muhadarah. Muhadarah comes from the root word Hudur, which means Presence. This refers to being aware of the inner presence of our divinity, inside our psyche, in all moments. In that practice that we performed in the beginning of our meeting, we were examining our mind, understanding that we are not our thoughts, that we are not the emotions that constantly surge within our psyche as pain and pleasure, like and dislike, states which constantly fluctuate in our consciousness. Neither are we sensations in our body, mind, or instincts.
These transient thoughts, feelings and sensations are known as nafs in Sufism, egos, selves, "I's" or defects. These have nothing to do with God. The elements of pride, anger, vanity, lust, greed, laziness, gluttony, etc., are aberrations or conditionings of our psyche. While these elements tend to constitute our daily experience (since we genuinely do not question these thoughts, feelings, and sensations at all in the moment), the truth is that deep down we are something much more distinct. We are the soul, the consciousness, known as Essence in Gnostic psychology, that has the capacity to perceive and separate from the nafs, the conditioned elements of our psyche. Part of our soul, which is not conditioned by nafs, still has the capacity to transcend the suffering of these conditioned elements of mind or soul in order to know divinity, since only the consciousness or soul can know God directly.
A conditioned mind cannot know divinity. Only a liberated, conscious perception free of nafs, egos, can know the Truth. But for this, the consciousness that is not yet conditioned by the mind, egos, or nafs, needs to be exercised through learning to pay attention, to become aware of the presence (hudur) of God, to not identify with the nafs, our ego.
It takes tremendous work to be able to cultivate this state moment to moment, here and now. So to be mindful of God means to remember your Inner Divinity, here and now. Observe yourself. Be present and pay attention. The truth is we do not know how to be mindful. If we knew how to be mindful we would be aware of God within us here and now. But the sad reality is that whenever any thought, feeling, or sensation appears in our experience, we identify and think, "This is who I am!" Yet this sense of self is transitory and depends on external causes and conditions that are not stable, permanent, or eternal. Only God, Allah, the Innermost Being, is eternal. Instead, what we commonly identify with are impermanent, subjective, conditioned elements in our psyche that distort our perception of reality, the nafs or elements of desire denominated as Satan, "the adversary of God," within the traditions of Abraham.
So what does it mean to recognize and acknowledge Allah in times of ease and prosperity and He will remember you in times of adversity? It means that when things are easy, we take our free time and we use it to cultivate the path of self-knowledge. But what self-knowledge are we talking about? We really mean knowledge of our divine self, Atman, the Buddha within, our Spirit or Ruh. We come to know God within by knowing our defects, nafs or egos that obstruct us from connecting with divinity.
Yet to really cultivate genuine self-knowledge, we must use our freedom and our luxury to practice meditation, since meditation is the foundational practice of this tradition and is the only way for us to know our Being.
So if we have free time and we don’t meditate, God will not remember us when we need Him. On the other hand, if we take our free time and we use it for spiritual development, spiritual practices, then even in the most challenging circumstances God will always be with you; Allah (may He be praised and exalted) will always be with you. Your Being will always be with you to provide help, but it requires sacrifice on our part not to indulge in fruitless activities like playing video games, or drinking alcohol to excess. Therefore, it is by knowing ourselves and by developing self-knowledge in meditation that we are going to connect with God.
Knowledge and Comprehension
In this next graphic, we have an image of a mosque, a house of prayer, and we have a quote from the Venerable Master Samael Aun Weor, who is the founder of the modern Gnostic tradition. He states,
“Knowledge and Comprehension are different. Knowledge is of the mind. Comprehension is of the heart.”
When talk about self-knowledge, knowing ourselves, it doesn't mean reading books. It doesn't mean reading scripture. Knowing ourselves does not entail picking up any books, teachings or listening to a lecture. Genuine spiritual knowledge is cognizance of one’s own divine nature of one’s own intelligence, knowing our internal psychological states as distinct entities in ourselves. It is discovering states such as pride, anger, vanity, laziness, etc. These are what we call defects, egos, nafs—it is being able to differentiate here and now between our mind and our consciousness, from desire (nafs) and soul (Essence or consciousness). The mind is the den of desire. Desire is ego, hatred, vanity, craving, etc.
The knowledge we seek is that of our internal states, but according to this teaching, using strict esoteric language, knowledge alone remains within the domain of the intellect, book knowledge, sacred writing, scriptures, etc. However, comprehension is something completely different. Comprehension is something that we seek to develop in this science. We need to comprehend ourselves. The truth is we do not truly comprehend ourselves. For when anger arises, the ego or naf of hatred, we speak hurtful words and do not comprehend the damage that those words will cause. Instead, we usually receive the after effects such as when we have a conflict with a family member or with a friend or a spouse. Problems subsequently emerge—overwhelming frustration, great enmity, poisonous resentment. This shows that we do not comprehend ourselves, for if we comprehended how damaging anger is, how cruel pride is, how sarcastic pride can be, then we would never act in harmful ways—ever. We don’t really comprehend how damaging the effects can be on the mind, on other human beings.
I’ll reiterate a point made by the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). He said, “The strongest man is the one who can control his anger.” It’s true. We all have that defect of anger within and even justify its existence by saying “It’s normal. I know I have anger, but in some situations it is OK.” We have knowledge in our mind that we are a certain way, but no comprehension. Comprehension of a defect will aid one not to let it take over our mind and heart, our body, but mere intellectual knowledge doesn’t modify psychological states.
The different between knowledge and comprehension are demonstrated in drug addicts or alcoholics. These persons know that drugs or alcohol are destructive, but many of them continue to indulge in intoxicants, simply because they have not psychologically comprehended the damage of these substances. Comprehension is definitive, whereby when we really comprehend the destructive nature of drugs, alcohol, intoxicants, and anger, we will never allow ourselves to partake in such behaviors.
There are many elements in our psychology that influence us that we are not even remotely aware of. And if we examine ourselves, we do not really comprehend who we are, although we think we know. We have a lot of knowledge about who we are. It’s true. We know our name, our age, our birthplace, our culture, and our family. This is all intellectual, of the mind. Comprehension is what we seek to cultivate in the heart, the soul, the consciousness, the Essence. Comprehension of our True Self, of our Inner Divine Flame, is happiness, insight clarity and direct perception. Prophet Muhammad said in the Hadith, in the oral tradition, “An hour of contemplation is better than a year of prayer.”
We are going to explain what contemplation is, what meditation is, which in Arabic is mushahadah, in the course of this lecture.
Even better than standing and performing salaat (ritual prayer) five times a day, it’s better if we sit down and close our eyes to meditate, to really reflect on our inner psyche. What really causes us suffering? What are the causes of our problems, psychologically speaking? What in us creates such havoc or conflict with other human beings? What in us creates confusion and pain? So we look at Buddhism we find the Four Noble Truths:
1. That in life there is suffering.
2. Suffering has causes
3. The cessation of suffering
4. There is path to the cessation of suffering
This is the path which we are explaining. To comprehend ourselves is to work on our defects, egos or nafs so that we do not create suffering for ourselves and for others. The way that we cultivate this path is by developing being and knowledge.
When we talk about self-knowledge, of cultivating comprehension of our Inner Divinity (who is peace, joy, genuine love, compassion for others, spiritual strength, faith and the elimination of doubt), somehow we think that by annihilating our pride and anger we are going to be soulless people, for sadly, we believe that without egotistical elements we will be nothing. On the contrary, by eliminating our defects in meditation (muraqabah in Arabic, vigilant introspection) we develop soul; we develop consciousness and therefore we develop the genuine qualities of God, which are virtues. This pertains to being, to be here and now, to be present, and to not think about other things, to not compare what we are hearing to other things or to be debating in our mind any phenomena that we come across. It means that we have an open, spontaneous and intuitive perception of life as it is without artifice, without thinking about things, without feeling about other things, without being distracted. This is what it means to be and it is the state of being which unites us to our Divine Being, Allah because our Being is with us here and now in this state, in this room, in our hearts. Allah is a treasure that wishes to be known, to be perceived by our Essence, but the problem is we don’t know Him. We don’t remember Him. We don’t concentrate on Him in our hearts and we typically don’t fight against the distractions in our minds.
Question: How does one self-observe? I try it for some time and get very confused; things are very difficult to see within myself and to understand. How do I know that I am doing this right?
Speaker: That’s a good concern. In the beginning it’s like that, because self-observation, vigilant introspection (muraqabah) or self-awareness (muhadarah) is an entirely new way of perceiving things, to self-observe oneself like we did in the practice. We were observing our heart, our mind, our body as if they were a separate entity. We’re looking at our mind and thoughts as something different from us. We are perceiving the mind, but we are not the mind. We are perceiving the heart, but we are not the heart.
Consciousness, soul or Essence is the ability to perceive things as they are in our psyche, in our internal states. Now in the beginning, it is exceptionally challenging to be able to discern between what is mind, what is heart, what is the body, what are sensations, what are instincts, movements, what are thoughts. The way that we develop the capacity to perceive and to discriminate the internal phenomenon in our psyche is self-observation, to persist in that practice, not to forget or stop what we’re doing because it’s a continuous path, here and now. We must only be aware of this moment (waqt amongst the Sufis). We are constantly initiating the practice of remembering ourselves in our psyche.
We need to be aware of our internal psychology on a moment to moment basis, to always be present and never forget. This is very difficult and constitutes the meaning of jihad. It doesn't fighting against someone who doesn't follow Islam. It means fighting against your anger, pride, and all these defects, all these things that keep us distracted from God.
Thoughts, Intuition, Knowledge and Being
Question: When I try to self-observe I have difficulty know what I am seeing or who is observing. I see thoughts but can't tell where they come from. I find that I am not able to do anything!
Speaker: The thing is self-observation does not mean you’re not able to do things. In the beginning it’s hard because it’s disorienting—it’s an entirely new skill we need to develop here and now. It’s very challenging to learn, but when you ride your bicycle, you learn to balance. In the same way, you learn to fulfill your obligations without forgetting your Being (wujud in Arabic).
We say a thought comes from an ego and an ego manifests in the mind, the heart, and the body. Now there’s thoughts that come from our ego, our own desires, nafs, but there is also thoughts that come from God, like an intuition or concept that emerges from our mind like a spark. We immediately comprehend something because were paying attention; we’re not thinking about other things. The Sufis call that khatir haqq: true thoughts or intuition from God.
Thoughts (khawatir) are declarations that arrive in one’s awareness. This may result from the dictation of an angel or from the dictation of a devil, or from the operations of the ego or may come from the Truth, glory to Him. If thoughts come from an angel, they are called inspired suggestions, ilham. If they are from one’s ego, they are called notions, hawajis. If they are from satan, they are called imaginations and anxieties, waswas. If they are from the Truth, glory to Him, and His dictation to the heart, they are called true thought, khatir haqq. And all of these are a kind of talking. –Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah
So there are thoughts that can come from divinity, but typically ninety-seven percent of the thoughts that we have are subjective and clouding our perception of our Inner Being. We have to remember that we are 97% conditioned perception or nafs. Only 3% of our consciousness is not conditioned or trapped within defects.
Now in terms of knowledge, we always balance being (wujud) and knowing (intellectual concepts). It’s not enough just to be. We have to do our job, pay our bills, do our work, take care of our family, etc., and if its hard in the beginning to be aware while living daily life, it gets easier as we practice. Don’t feel discouraged that this something that you can’t do, because anyone can do this. It just takes a certain disciple and faith in your Inner Being.
We say that being and knowledge need to be balanced. Knowledge, language, culture, customs, job skills, etc., constitute things we need to do to survive. We constantly need to balance that with our internal states, our being, remembering our Innermost Spirit (Ruh) as a presence through an alert state and novel perception of our internal psychology.
Samael Aun Weor states in The Great Rebellion the following:
Being and knowledge must be balanced to establish a sudden blaze of comprehension within our psyche. When knowledge is greater than being it creates all kind of intellectual confusion. If being is greater than knowing it can create cases as serious as that of the stupid saint.
Now if we simply read about spiritually, about astral projection, about jinn states, jinn travel, about alchemy, reading about the ten Sephiroth of the tree of life, the different states of consciousness of the Being, etc., but don’t actually experience these things, then they just remain as knowledge in our mind, in our intellect. However, if we develop our being, but we don’t know how to pay our bills, take care of our rent, study certain skills for our profession, to live in this physical world, one can develop a case as serious as that of the stupid saint.
There’s a Russian initiate by the name of Fyodor Dostoyevsky who wrote many famous novels which people don’t suspect being esoteric. He wrote a book called The Idiot, which talks about precisely this kind of case, the stupid saint, someone who has a lot of being (wujud) and a lot of virtue but doesn't have the skills necessary to navigate the Russian nineteenth century social world in which he lives. He gets in trouble. I recommend, if you’re interested, to look into that. We’re not going to go so much in depth into that book right now, however.
When we begin to self-observe ourselves, to observe our internal states, naturally we are confused; we struggle. It’s not easy to constantly observe ourselves and remember how our mind, how our heart function. It’s like riding a bike. In the internal planes, in the superior worlds, if you ask a master, (such as in the dream state if you awaken in that realm) to show you “Am I remembering myself well?” they may come to you riding a bicycle. They’re symbolically showing you that you're learning to ride your bike. If you see them falling off then it means you still need to learn how to maintain what we denominate psychological equilibrium.
What is psychological equilibrium? It means to have consistency in one's mindfulness, awareness, throughout every day, having consistency in not identifying with thoughts, feelings, or impulses from the ego, from our nafs.
The way that we develop access to that state is by precisely learning in this physical plane self-observation, remembering divinity here and now. In this graphic, we teach this diagram often and its something that we need to analyze. Its the cross. We talk about the cross in these teachings as the representation of the work in a matrimony and we have that teaching available in The Perfect Matrimony and The Mystery of the Golden Blossom by Samael Aun Weor.
In this diagram we have two lines: the horizontal path of life and the vertical path of the being. So knowledge precisely pertains to life; we need certain skills and knowledge to be able to subsist in this jungle of concrete and iron. We need to study, go to college, or go to school to learn certain skills so that we know how to live in this world. It’s essential. Many people, most of humanity, simply develop on the horizontal line. They think that they are going to perfect themselves by going to a university, by getting a masters degree, by studying extensively and developing a profound profession, but they ignore that in this instant, here and now (waqt), we have the vertical path of the being (wujud), which is perception of God. Life and being intersects in this instant.
It is here and now in which we have our Being. It is not in future; it is not in the past. This is something that seems very simple and even like kindergarten, but the truth is, this is something very profound that we typically ignore. To be ignorant does not mean to lack intellectual knowledge, but to lack gnosis or cognizance of our psychology as it is. This is essential to grasp whether for beginning students and for advanced students. We always have to remember where we are. What is going on in our mind? What is going on in our heart? What is going on in our body? These things teach us precisely what is our level of knowledge of ourselves, what is our self-knowledge of God, what is our level of Being.
On the left of the line of life, we have our birth; to the right, through the progression of time, we have family, school, marriage, friends, old age, and death. None of that has anything to do with God because God is here on the vertical path. God does not look to the future or does not concern Himself so much with things that have not yet happened. Although there are such things such as prophecy: to foretell future events, what God is most concerned with is how we connect with Him in this moment.
Who are we in this instant? We need to observe ourselves, not by projecting thoughts into the future or thinking about the past. We have to be aware of who we are here and now. This is the work of self-observation, observing ourselves. Remembering (muhadarah) the presence (hudur) of our Inner Being is precisely the path of striving, the path of war, jihad, against our mind.
So fighting desire is really what jihad is about. However, in the times of the Prophet, life was very different, where the Companions and followers of Islam were in danger. The spreading of esotericism in the middle east was in peril, so they needed to defend themselves from attackers, physically speaking. In these times, especially in the West, we do not need to defend ourselves against oppressors in a life or death situation. Therefore we don't condone the bloodshed waged supposedly in the name of "holy wars." It’s unacceptable, since the real path of jihad is striving against ones desires.
Fighting against our own anger and defects is how we benefit ourselves and humanity. We don't teach violence against others. The lesser holy war is really the expression of teaching the truth by defending against wrongdoing, not killing other individuals in the name of Islam or Christianity or any other holy war. To wage war against others is to teach by being a good example, being a good citizen, a good person. This is the lesser holy war for us, but the greater holy war is precisely the striving that we make moment to moment, here and now, to remember Allah.
As Al-Wasati states in what is probably the greatest Sufi treatise, Al-Risalah:
The best act of worship is watchfulness of the moments. That is, the Sufi does not look beyond his limits, nor contemplate anything other than his Lord and not associate anything other than the present moment.
It means that whatever were doing: don’t fantasize, don’t analyze, don’t daydream, don't think other thing than what you're doing. If you're driving a car, drive. If your receiving a lecture, listen. Don’t think. Just observe and listen. When you're cooking food, just cook—don’t think about other things. If we really look at ourselves, we see that this is what we do all day. We drive our car and think about our family. We’re listening to the radio doing all these things at once and not doing anything with attention.
The way that we develop attention is by not thinking about other things. Attention is developed by doing what we're doing, here and now, without concern for the future or the past. Just being mindful of our state here and now. This is what it means not to contemplate anything other than our Lord. The way to remember the presence of the Being is to remember ourselves and cultivate this sense of humility and love to our Inner Divinity.
Self-remembering and Serene Reflection
So many people ask us, “What is self remembering?” We talk about self-observing, to observe ourselves. but many people don't understand what self-remembering is. We talk about the need of understanding ourselves, analyzing our thoughts, our emotions, our instincts in our body, without deliberating with the intellect. But to remember God is to feel the presence of our Inner Divinity within us. To feel that we are children of our Inner Being, that our Being is with us here and now, to be aware (muhadarah) of the Presence (hudur). No one can teach us that. That is something we have to develop on our own. The way that we develop this remembrance is through working throughout the day, analyzing our internal states without the intellect, observing ourselves and by learning to meditate. We should remember that if we have a lot of ease and prosperity in our life, we should use it to develop the practice of meditation to develop our spirit (ruh) within us.
The Sufi Master Dhu'l-Nun al-Misri stated the following:
The key to the success in worship lies in meditative reflection (fikrat) whoever persists in such reflection in the heart will behold an invisible realm in the spirit.
So many people want to have out of body experiences, astral travels, jinn experiences. Any individual who wants to experience the truth of life, the higher dimensions, to speak with a master, to be awake in the dream state, in the internal realms, must learn how to meditate and develop meditative reflection.
Now it’s stated in Buddhist terms that we need to develop stability of mind and special insight: Shamata and Vipassana. Shamata, stability of mind, is a state of being which is concentrated, in which we do not get easily distracted by our thoughts, emotions or impulse. There are levels of concentration that we can access by paying attention, moment by moment, throughout the day.
When we develop that concentration and attention we are able to perceive things in a new way. We That’s where Vipassana comes in—special insight, perception of the truth. When the mind is serene and stable, we can receive new insight, such as internal images in meditation or dream experiences. This is what meditative reflection (fikrat) means.
The Sufis synthesized the Buddhist teachings of stability of mind and perception of the truth thorough fikrat. If the waters of your mind are unstable, if they are constantly chaotic, you cannot reflect any image on the surface. But if the lake of the mind is peaceful and calm, then the stars of Urania, the Divine Mother, can reflect within you. That’s what meditative reflection means.
The way that we get there is this:
Whoever contemplates God by keeping watch over the thoughts that pass through the heart will be exalted by God and all of His outward deeds. -Dhu'l-Nun al-Misri, Attar Tadhkirat 154-155
If we practice inner-accounting (muhasabah of our psychological inventory: our defects or virtues, taking account of our habits, our customs, things we do constantly, and then analyze this in conjunction with the remembrance of the presence of God, we will become exalted by God in our actions. When we are connected with God then he can bless us, but if we are distracted in our mind, if we choose not to follow the impetus of our Being, then we in turn suffer.
Question: You speak a lot about self-observation. What does it mean to meditate?
Speaker: Meditation is vigilant introspection (muraqabah), when you analyze what happened in the day; we call that retrospection practice. In the moment we simply observe, but when we meditate later we go back through our memory what happened in our day. We have to observe the facts.
Internal Silence and Spiritual Insight
Being forthcoming and honest with ourselves involves a variety of factors. In one sense we need to have stability of concentration in which the mind is settled and serene, so we can observe clearly. If we find that we are not able to perceive clearly what's going on in our psyche, we need to develop the faculty of self-observation deeper, to not identify with the chaos of the intellect, the disturbances of the heart, or the impulses of our body and instincts. We call the faculty of perception or reflection, in these studies, by the term imagination. This is the ability to perceive images, especially of a psychic nature. We’re going to explain this further. The way that we develop our insight, imagination, perception is precisely by developing our serenity of mind, silence of mind.
We have in this image a Sufi initiate praying and meditating.
It is said silence for the common people is with their tongues, silence for the gnostics is with their hearts, and silence for lovers is with restraining the stray thoughts that come to their innermost beings. -Al-Risalah: Treatise of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
So in the beginning we learn not to speak unnecessarily, not to engage in conversations which are just fruitless gossip. We need to learn to restrain our tongue from engaging in speech that is frivolous and frivolous speech, as a defect or vice in our mind, is one of the ten sins of Buddhism. To speak without thinking about what were saying and what were doing greatly disturbs our mind and prevents us from seeing with our Essence, with clarity, with serenity of mind. Swami Sivananda stated that many disciples suffer the disease of the diarrhea of the tongue in which they constantly speak without understanding what they're saying or what they're doing. They just speak because they want to talk. Khalil Gibran, the Sufi Christian Mystic, author of The Prophet gave a very beautiful teaching on that.
And then a scholar said, "Speak of Talking."
And he answered, saying:
You talk when you cease to be at peace with your thoughts;
And when you can no longer dwell in the solitude of your heart (samt) you live in your lips, and sound is a diversion and a pastime.
And in much of your talking, thinking (true thought, Khatir al-Haqq) is half murdered.
For thought (Khatir al-Haqq, true consciousness) is a bird of space (the Divine Mother Space or Absolute Nature, Allah), that in a cage of words many indeed unfold its wings but cannot fly.
There are those among you who seek the talkative through fear of being alone.
The silence of aloneness reveals to their (inner) eyes their naked selves (nafs, defects, errors) and they would escape.
And there are those who talk, and without knowledge or forethought reveal a truth which they themselves do not understand.
And there are those who have the truth within them, but they tell it not in words (for the Master speaks in silence of the heart).
In the bosom of such as these the spirit dwells in rhythmic silence (serene reflection, fikrat).
When you meet your friend on the roadside or in the market place, let the spirit in you move your lips and direct your tongue.
Let the voice within your voice speak to the ear of his ear;
For his soul will keep the truth of your heart as the taste of the wine is remembered
When the colour is forgotten and the vessel is no more. -Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet: On Talking
For as Prophet Muhammad taught about the Being in the Hadith Qudsi:
...so with Me he hears and with Me he sees.
The silence of the gnostics with their hearts indicates a person who is developing serenity of heart, who is not even engaged in negative emotions of the heart. Most of us are not at that degree, but we can experience states here and now if we're working in self-observation from moment to moment.
Silence for the lovers is by restraining the thoughts that come to our mind, our innermost being. Someone who really loves God will not even allow a single thought to enter the mind and let it control them, but that takes tremendous skill. This is the level of a Master, a prophet. The way that we get there is by cultivating serenity and reflection: self-observation.
Self-observation is taught in many different ways within Islam. In this next image we have a Muslim in a minaret making a call to prayer (adhan). Muslims are known to pray five times a day, which can be a profound discipline if it is done correctly. If we really know how to pray five times a day, consciously, with remembrance, then we can receive tremendous benefit. However, Muslims now a days just pray mechanically: “God please give a good car, family, spouse” and they think that’s it. They do it in a mechanical manner, but to be conscious in one's heart while praying to God is something very distinct. The initiates of the Middle East were instructed by Muhammad to pray constantly, to develop the heart.
Basically in terms of self observation, praying five times a day, was means of cultivating self-remembrance, and we know that Muslims pray in the morning, the afternoon, mid-afternoon, early evening, and evening. Five represents the pentagram, the human being made into the image of God. Praying in this manner was in order to cultivate self-remembrance. It wasn’t just to go to a Mosque and pray mechanically without knowledge of what one is saying.
Shakespeare stated through his murderous character Claudius, who tried to repent after killing his brother, the former King of Denmark:
My words fly up to heaven, my thoughts remain below.
Words without thoughts never to heaven go. (Hamlet, 3.3.100-103)
If you're not concentrated in your prayers, you can say as many words as you want: they will not be answered by God. But if you're humble, sincere, and concentrated, that is how you connect with your Being.
The Shahadah: Declaration of Faith and Contemplation in Meditation
Vigilance, to be awake as a consciousness through remembrance of God, is the best form of prayer, as stated in Al-Risalah, one of the most important treatises of Sufism. The following is one of the most important quotes, in my opinion, of this text:
Al-Juyayri said that, “Whosoever does not establish awe of duty (consistency of spiritual practice and discipline) and vigilance (muraqabah) in his relations to God will not arrive at the disclosure of unseen (mukashafah) or contemplation of the divine (mushahidah).
What does it mean to establish “awe of duty?" It is to really respect the fact that we need to self-observe constantly, to feel the awe of God in every moment. We can't forget our Being in any instant. We have to remember our Being in this moment, always. To have awe of duty is to really comprehend the necessity of daily spiritual discipline, to not neglect one's practices of meditation. Also, if we don’t know how to control our mind in critical moments, we can end up in great suffering. We can get into a conversation with a friend but end in tremendous conflict, or a fight with our co-workers or spouse. We need to establish awe of duty, to really respect the fact and understand that if we don't observe ourselves, we could fall off the cliff into the abyss of suffering. Even physically, people who don't pay attention driving their car can get killed.
This is even more so in a spiritual sense, a reality that we profoundly ignore. If we don't remember our God but identify with our mind, then we create problems. Samael Aun Weor explained that the one who identifies with the mind falls into the abyss, into the infradimensions, submerged states of conditioned consciousness known as hell in different religions.
Now we to always be aware of that Presence (hudur) so as to arrive at disclosure (mukashafah), meaning the entrance into spiritual experience, to open the doors of our imagination (reflection). This can occur through internal imagery in meditation or a profound insight in the moment of a specific defect, ego, or naf. Disclosure can also be termed "unveiling," since if you remember our reference to the hijab or burka, we are beginning to remove the veils of our illusory perception in order to enter into genuine spiritual insight (firasa), conscious imagination.
Contemplation of the divine (mushahdah) is the ultimate step. The word contemplation relates to the shahadah, the Muslim declaration of faith, which is one of the five pillars of Islam, which textually states the following:
lā ʾilāha ʾillā-llāh, muḥammadun rasūlu-llāh
There is no god but God, Muhammad is the messenger of God.
Millions of Muslims recite this, yet the question is whether they have really experienced Allah in meditation. The sad reality is that most Muslims don't contemplate God in practice. They just say this confession mechanically and believe they are true Muslims, initiates, Masters. A real Muslim, like Prophet Muhammad or Jesus submitted to the Being through conquering animal desires.
Yet do many Muslims today really submit to God? How can we submit to God when our mind stream is polluted with anger, lust, greed and violence? Look at the middle east today. The Muslim community does not uphold submission to God.
Those of us who are studying these things have to comprehend that in order to really give testimony of Allah, we need to meditate. In order to say the shahadah, we need to practice mushahadah, contemplation or meditation. It is only in meditation that we can bear witness of God, to perceive the Being in all His majesty and glory. If we don't know God for ourselves, if we lack spiritual experience of our inner divinity, then we can’t say that God is God and Muhammad is the Messenger of God.
In Kabbalah, Allah is known as Ain Soph, our supra-atomic star within the depths of the Absolute Abstract Space. Our real synthesis or Being is an atom from the cosmic space, a pure eternal light mentioned in Surat Al-Nur:
Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The parable of His Light is a niche wherein is a lamp —the lamp is in a glass, the glass as it were a glittering star— lit from a blessed olive tree, neither eastern nor western, whose oil almost lights up, though fire should not touch it. Light upon light. Allah guides to His Light whomever He wishes. Allah draws parables for mankind, and Allah has knowledge of all things. -Qur'an 24:35
God, Ain Soph (the Limitless Joy) is light, beyond good and evil, that has always existed and always will exist. God is infinite happiness, pure being (wujud), and yet most of these stars lack cognizance of their own happiness. This is why the Ain Soph emanates Its light into the world, so as to be known.
Allah (Ain Soph) said, “I was a hidden treasure, and I was wished to be known, so I created creation (mankind), and made myself known to them, and they recognized me.”
Therefore, a true Muslim is a consciousness that submits to the will of the Ain Soph and has witnessed the Ain Soph within. God can only comprehend Himself through His soul, if that soul cooperates, so that the soul unites with its supra-atomic star. The soul is a mirror, as explained by Ibn al-Arabi, the great Sufi master, that can reflect divinity, so that divinity (Ain Soph) can know Itself. This is mushahadah (witnessing, contemplation). Only a person who has experienced and united with the Ain Soph can be called someone who has truly witnessed God.
The Four States of Consciousness
We have here in the next graphic an explanation of the different states of consciousness. We’re speaking in synthesis about being objectively perceptive or being hypnotized and identified with our mind. In this teaching we talk about four states of consciousness. Self-remembrance and self-observation relates with the third state of consciousness known as Dianoia.
We use Greek terms to refer to these states of our perception. Eikasia is the first state of consciousness and it pertains to a profound state of psychological sleep. It pertains to being identified with our mind, with anger, with pride, with vanity, with ego, with our defects—having no inclination towards or awareness of God at all.
What’s interesting about the Greek word Eikasia is that it comes from the Greek word eikonon, which means images. Eikasia means imagination. Now we just mentioned that the faculty of self-observation is imagination, but we have to understand that perception is dual. It can be objective, in harmony with God, or it can be subjective, filtered by our own mind, our defects.
Now it's true that we here in this physical body see images, eikonon. On the most basic level, we have a type of imagination as to perceive physically. We have a certain level of perception, but this doesn't mean that we are cognizant, aware, or clear about what we are perceiving. Many times we see things but don't comprehend what we see. This is our fundamental problem. We receive the impressions of life, which enter our mind, and our mind filters impressions and labels them with concepts. For example, we say we know what we are doing in a given day, but if we sit to reflect and remember our internal states within a given moment of our morning, afternoon, or evening, we often will find that there are tremendous gaps in our memory. What did we do? What were we thinking? What did we say to a certain person at a job interview this morning? If we lack cognizance of the details, it means that our consciousness is in a profound state of sleep, even though one can be physically very active. The state of Eikasia is complete unconsciousness. We may see imagery and impressions, but if we do not comprehend what these impressions are in the external world in relation to our inner world, then we lack genuine awareness of ourselves.
The next state of consciousness we call Pistis, which means belief. It translates also as faith, but we state that the latter is an erroneous translation. Beliefs are of the mind, whereas faith is direct cognizance of the truth, to really know something directly. So many people who talk about faith don’t understand that what they really have are a lot of beliefs, ideas or concepts in the mind or heart that do not coincide with reality. They have never verified what those scriptures taught. They never traveled out of the body, experienced a supra-conscious state of samadhi in meditation, or had a mystical or ecstatic experience whereby they witnessed or contemplated God (mushahadah).
Pistis comes from pistieo: "to trust, to have confidence, faithfulness, to be reliable to be sure." Pistis is the second state of consciousness and pertains to beliefs, concepts, or ideas in the intellect. It is anything we have read that we have not verified through experience. Therefore, all of the thousands of philosophical schools, all the people who follow a religion or teaching but have never verified from experience the teachings of that given school or religion possess the second state of consciousness: Pistis.
Humanity constantly fluctuates between Eikasia and Pistis. Eikasia is barbarism, war, bloodshed, violence, anger, sarcasm, and all the degeneration of subconsciousness, infraconsciousness, and unconsciousness within humanity. Pistis refers to all the beliefs and schools that pertain to the different concepts that people have about God, religion, and ourselves.
What concerns us most is the transcendent, third state of consciousness known as Dianoia. Dianoia, we say is the revision of belief. It also directly means "imagination." So notice that we have Eikasia, which means imagination, but then we also have Dianoia that means the same thing. There’s a dual way of perceiving life; we can perceive it with our mind, our ego, our nafs, or we can perceive it objectively with our Being (wujud). Dianoia also means "thought, mind, perception." The word "dia" means "thoroughly from side to side, which intensifies noia, meaning mind or nous." So Dianoia means to change your mind, to revise your mind in its common and current state.
Dianoia is revision of beliefs, cultural spiritual and intellectual synthesis, profound study of scripture with direct experience of what the scriptures entail. It refers to profound meditative analysis, cognizance of the truth, and direct perception of one’s internal states. Notice we've been talking about awareness (muhadarah), self-observation or inner accounting (muhasabah) and vigilant introspection (muraqaba). All of this is perception unfiltered by ego, nafs, defects, and constitutes the revision of our ordinary mind or psyche.
All of us, without exception, possess Pistis: we have certain concepts about who we are, and when we begin to self-observe ourselves we find that we are not who we thought we were. We change our concepts about ourselves; we change our beliefs. We revise them and we develop a new type of concept and understanding, which is awakened perception, Dianioa, cognizance of the truth. However, Dianioa is not the end. We have Nous, which means "mind, intellect, intelligence." Now these Greek terms were used by Plato and you can study The Republic, specifically "The Allegory of the Cave,” which explains in synthesis these four states of consciousness. We have explained in different lectures the meaning of this, but Nous pertains to consciousness that is united with Christ, with Allah, our Inner Divinity. It means that we've escaped the bottle of the mind in mediation and as a consciousness we’ve united with our Being, so as to bear witness of Him (mushahadah).
In this type of perception there is no possibility for delusion, because one has the consciousness of divinity through divinity, for as the Sufis teach: "I know my Lord by my Lord." God then contemplates Himself through the mirror of the soul. There is no misperception within our internal psyche. Nous pertains to having fully united with our Being. This is known as samadhi in the east or ecstasy or exstatuo in Latin. Ecstasy means to stand outside one’s self. Ex means to be outside; statu means to stand. It means that we escape the subjective imprisonment of our mind in order to subsist as God, or to unite with God. Of course this is very elevated. To fully develop this is to walk the path completely, but in meditation we can activate those states in a temporary fashion if we are persistent.
In this next graphic, we show the image of the Tree of Life, the Hebraic Kabbalah, which is the mystical science of Judaism. As a graphic, we use it to demonstrate the different states of consciousness, matter, energy, and being. The highest levels are the most elevated states of consciousness, while the lower levels are the most dense. We use this diagram to study any religion: whether Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, or Christianity, because it teaches us the structure of the human being, the soul, as well as the Universe.
There is a saying by the Sufi initiate Abu Sa'id in Ibn Manuwwar: Asrar At-tawid:
Wherever the delusion of your selfhood appears there’s hell. Wherever you aren’t, that’s heaven.
This is very clear. If we are here, if we are identified with our mind, we can not experience the Tree of Life, the complete expression and majesty, the unity of God, because heaven is the Tree of Life, this diagram. If we do not remember God, we cannot escape or stand outside ourselves, our egotistical mentality. Now wherever the ego isn’t, that's heaven: meaning we’re revising our mind through Dianoia, standing outside of ourselves, analyzing who we are and escaping form the limitations of our mind. This is how we can in turn can unite with our Internal Divinity. So that’s heaven. Heaven is where we aren’t. If we say we know ourselves, but we don't know God, it means that we don't really know ourselves, that we ignore a lot. In order to be able to ascend the Tree of Life, we need to know this science of meditation and what we call the “three factors of the revolution of the consciousness."
Here we have an image of Muhammad riding a mystical creature. This is known as the al-Miraj, the ascension of the Prophet Muhammad up the seven heavens. In Islam, they talk about the seven heavens or seven dimensions, synthesized by the Tree of Life, which can also be organized or described as nine heavens in Kabbalah. So they may seem different, but they're really expressing the same thing.
In the Muslim myth (and I use the term myth not in the sense of a made up story, but as an allegorical and scientific teaching), we see that Muhammad was meditating on the mosque of Mecca. Some traditions even state that his head was on the stone of Mecca, like in Jacob's ladder. Now the Ka'aba is the cubic stone of the Freemasons and the Ka'aba is a black stone pertaining to the vital energies of our bodies. It’s where the serpent, the Divine Mother Kundalini sleeps, for as Pre-Muslim Arabian mythology taught, a serpant was said to be guarding a treasure inside the Ka'aba, reminding us that the treasure is Allah that we must conquer through the serpent. We call this serpent the sexual energy, and so this stone that the Master was sleeping by is where he had a profound experience.
He was taken by al-Buraq, which in Arabic translates as "lightning." This creature is said to be the size of a mule with the face of a women, the tale of a peacock, and wings like Pegasus. Al-Buraq, "the lightning," refers to the creative power of the Divine Mother Kundalini, because lightening in Nordic is the Rune Sig and the sacred mantra of the Divine Mother, in the Nordic tradition, is “Sulu Sigi Sig." She is that power of lightning in our body, the serpent sleeping in our stone or sexual energy, which can awaken if we know how to harness and work with Her through alchemy (Allah-Khemia, to fuse oneself with God in sexual magic) and meditation (mushahadah). We can ascend up the seven heavens like Muhammad.
He was taken on this creature from the mosque of Mecca (Masjid al-Haram) to the temple of Jerusalem (Masjid-al-Aqsa) and it was there in which he ascended up the seven heavens and received many sacred teachings pertinent to Islam, but also to Gnosticism. This energy, this creative power of God, is portrayed here; we can see he’s surrounded by flames, the fire of the Divine Mother, the sexual creative power of God. And that has illuminated his psyche. So in conjunction with meditation and self-observation, we cultivate a serene state and work with the energies of our body.
Now in order to ascend up these heavens we have to be completely absent from our common egotistical sense of self. We're saying this in a very Zen way. It doesn't mean that we forget ourselves and do not pay attention. It means that we abandon our common and current psychology by learning to pay attention, to observe the mind. Do not identify with any impressions outside you or inside your mind, in your heart.
In general it is to the measure of one’s alienation from one’s own ego that one attains direct knowledge of one’s own Lord. -Al-Risalah
Knowledge again in Greek is Gnosis, and in Arabic is Marifah. The Kabbalists call this Da’ath. I didn’t mention this in the beginning, but these are just different words for the same teachings.
I heard Abu Ali al-Daqqaq say, "One of the tokens of the Gnosis of God is the achievement of deep awe and reverence for God. If someone’s realization increases, his awe increases." -Al-Risalah
So the more that we remember God, the more respect, terror and love we have for the Being, for that overwhelming, overpowering force, if we know how to obey the will of our God.
And I heard him say, "Gnosis requires stillness of heart just as learning requires outward quiet. If someone’s gnosis increases, his tranquility increases." -Al-Risalah
The deeper we understand our Being, the deeper we go into our meditation, the more gnosis we develop in ourselves, the more peace we have, the more serenity we have in our consciousness and in our Being.
This path is the path of peace. So we talked about jihad, striving. The way that we attain to peace is by fighting against our desires and practicing mushahadah, which is contemplation in meditation. There's a saying by Ibn Karbala'i in his Rawdat al-janan:
When the seeker realizes the station of contemplation (mushahadah), which is witnessing God’s essence comprehending and encompassing all phenomenon…
This means we are understanding that God is within everything, all impressions, internal and external within this moment, and we’re actually perceiving this fact. We’re not projecting with our mind; we're not distracted by other things, but aware of how God is present with us.
"Does not your Lord suffice, since He is witness over all things" (Surah 41:53)--he continually witnesses lights through the mundis invisibilis, the invisible world. -Ibn Karbala'i
What are these lights? In meditation it can be imagery; it can be symbols. It can be spiritual experiences. More directly we could say it pertains to insight about our psyche and our intelligence, who we are in this instant. To continuously witness lights is to perceive insight from your Being, which you can only perceive in this moment by learning to pay attention.
From such a mystic perspective, this world and the hereafter are one and the same. This can only be realized by a vision that is all heart and spirit, not of view bound by mere mud and mire. -Ibn Karbala'i
So again we’re talking about two types of vision—Dianoia and Nous, which is objective imagination and perception of the truth, cognizance of God. This is in contrast with the subjective nature of Eikasia and Pistis, meaning of the mud and mire of our mind, the filtrations to our perception via our ego. So again, we emphasize that the testimony of faith amongst the Muslims, the shahadah, is only validated through contemplation of divinity (mushahadah). So in order to really give testimony of God, we have to have that experience in our own psyche, in our own consciousness.
We have here the image of the Tree of Life and the human being. So the human being is the Tree of Life. In the previous slide, we have this statement: “From this mystic perspective this world and the hereafter are one in the same." This means that this Tree of Life is not just some abstract concept to argue or debate about. It’s something entirely practical and directly relatable to us here and now. This world is our physical body, which is the image on the right and the hereafter is the Tree of Life. So they are really one in the same.
The Tree of Life is the map of the human psyche, the different levels of the consciousness and Being, or our humanity and our divinity in other words. On the right we have the image of the human being with what we call the five centers of our psychology. On the right we see this image of five centers of five cylinders of the human machine. We say that the body is a machine that transforms matter and energy. Likewise, our psyche is a machine that is typically not controlled and governed by God, simply because we don't remember our Being; we have the make an effort with what free will we have in order to work with God. Usually what controls these different centers in our organism are our defects. The five centers are where our nafs, desires, egos manifest.
In the head we have the intellectual center. We can call it the intellectual brain. A brain we say in Gnosticism pertains to a center of action in which energy and matter can be processed either physically, such as through bio-chemistry, or psychologically through mental energies. We have the emotional center or emotional brain related to the processes of emotion like, dislike; pleasure, pain; love hate; etc. At the top of the spine we have the motor center which is how we process movement. If we're really paying attention, we can see that a lot of our impetus to move comes from the top of the spine. This explains why individuals who are injured in the spine are paralyzed because the motor center cannot function.
There’s a vertebrae that connects the bottom of the medulla oblongata with the rest of the spine near the nape of the neck. It’s a critical juncture, a critical spot. It’s where we have our motor center. It’s a very sensitive spot. We also have our center of instinct which is at the base of the spine, the sacral bone or sacral center. Individuals who are engaged in activities such as boxing overuse this center, where they constantly react. The instinctive center relates with animal reactions, such as when we burn our hand on a stove and immediately retract our hand before we even think of how it hurts or being emotionally upset, because the instinctive center operates faster than the intellect or the heart.
We also have the sexual center related with our sexual organs, which is the fastest operating component of our psyche. Sexual energy is the basis of all physical life as well as all spiritual life, as we explained in other lectures and about the power of divinity, al-Buraq, the lightening of Christ, the Divine Mother Kundalini. This sacred fire is precisely in the sexual center, within the base of our spine too. When we know how to work with that force through mantra, through pranayama, through alchemy, we learn to develop that force within us.
So we observe ourselves precisely through these centers. Every defect, every ego, every naf has its own ways of thinking, its own ways of feelings, its own ways of acting. They all have different types of movement. They may be very instinctual egos, maybe spontaneous and abrupt, such as if you put your hand on a stove and you react. There's an ego involved, but also if we learn to become conscious we won’t put our hand in the fire in the first place. The thing is, the ego uses the different centers all at once. Some egos may have a predominance towards the intellect. Some may be more emotional. Some may be more instinctual; some may be sexual. However, every ego uses each of the three brains in any instant. Yet there tends to be a predominance in the different centers.
We could say that typically we react with ego, but if we become conscious, we can learn to respond to situations. Some people ask, "What will happen if I don't have instinct? Won't I be unable to react to a dangerous situation such as burning my hand?" If we comprehend and destroy our instincts, then we will become conscious citizens of the universe, whereby we won't even allow ourselves to get involved in situations where we might burn our hand! Therefore, we don't need instincts: these are subjective and mechanical, having nothing to do with Allah (may He be praised and exalted). So don’t think that by eliminating instinct that one doesn't have the ability to react; we develop the capacity to respond to any situation without any subjective interference from our mind. So different egos, nafs manifest in different centers with greater predominance of one towards a particular center over the other.
At the top of the Tree of Life we have the three spheres known as Kether, Chokmah, and Binah; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. So in Islam, this is Allah, because the Trinity is a single light. Now many Muslims of the orthodox tradition emphasize that there is no Trinity and that Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) never taught the Trinity. He did not teach in accordance with the degeneration of the Christian Church or the degeneration of the Christian scriptures. Many people in that time (and even today) think that the Trinity was actually a physical Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—physical individuals, not spiritual principles.
We have to understand that diversity is unity. God expresses in many ways, yet is one light. There is no contradiction between religions, as demonstrated by Kabbalah. When Muslims reject the Trinity, they do so from the perspective that God is a not three anthropormorphic persons. Instead, the initiates knew that God is One, and that Unity has many levels of expression, represented by the Kabbalistic Tree of a Life. Now Allah is Father, Son, Holy Spirit; Kether, Chokmah, and Binah. These are three forces in one. Beneath the supernal triangle on the lower right, we have Chesed, which is our Spirit (ruh), which is God, our own individual Father. Our Spirit is also apart of Allah, the Christ. You see Allah is also Chesed as well. This is why when Sufis pronounce the mantra "Allahu," they are referring to Father, Son and Holy Spirit, as well as Hu, or Hum, the spirit. So Allah can be seen as Father, Son, Holy Spirit, and the Spirit, Chesed, the Innermost, the Inner Buddha. Divinity is one, but expresses as many.
The Being even has His Being too, which is the Ain Soph above the Tree of Life, our supra-atomic star, as we explained previously, the light of Surat al-Nur. In Gnostic terms we say the Inner Child is our Essence, our Soul. We call it the soul that is in development, a baby that can become a true human being as shown in the Tree of Life. Christ (Chokmah) also is a child when manifesting in the initiate for the first time. That child grows and develops in accordance with initiation (see The Perfect Matrimony by Samael Aun Weor). The Inner Child we say pertaining to Gnostic psychology is the Essence but it also refers to the Christ child.
Chesed is the Spirit, which is in Hebrew, El similar to Allah. The same Semitic roots are there. We represent the complete expression of divinity and our humanity as ten spheres, which seem to be distinct, but when fully developed in the human being, become integrated. Jalaluddin Muhammad Rumi, the great Sufi master and poet, stated:
If ten lamps are present in one place,
each differs in form from another;
yet you can’t distinguish whose radiance is whose
when you focus on the light.
This is the case with the fully illuminated Masters who have developed the light of Christ within, the light of Buddha within, the light of Allah. This is the esoteric meaning of the Christmas tree: a fully illuminated Tree of Life, a perfected Being that knows Itself completely.
Now to the left we have Geburah, which is the consciousness, the Divine Soul. In the middle we have Tiphereth, which is the Human Soul or willpower, and then beneath that we have what we call the “lower quaternary,” which is a representation of Netzach our mind, Hod our emotions, Yesod our sexuality or vital energy, and Malkuth, our physical body.
In comparison to the human being, the intellectual center relates with Netzach, the mind. We say Hod the astral body relates with heart, the emotional center, our emotion brain. We have Yesod relating to our vital body, our vital energies. We also have the sphere that pertains to our physical body, Malkuth.
In synthesis, the Tree of Life explains to us who we are as a human being, as a consciousness, as a psyche. We also study ourselves in terms of our three brains and analyzing our makeup, how we function. The work now comes into play when we observe the intellectual, emotional, motor, instructive and sexual centers all at once. By understanding these centers and how the ego, nafs operate is how we know ourselves. Then in meditation (mushahadah), we beg our Divine Mother and Inner Father to help us comprehend ourselves in depth. It begins by learning to observe ourselves in this moment, in this instant.
The path of self knowledge is one in which we develop God within. We do that precisely by working on our defects through retrospective meditation and how we comprehend our defects all depends on how we pay attention, here and now, in this instant.
Questions and Answers
Audience: Is Rudolph Steiner’s “Much wiser man inside” the same reference as the Inner Being of Samael Aun Weor?
Speaker: Yes, Paul of Tarsus in the Gospel refers to the two inner men: the heavenly man and the terrestrial man. The terrestrial man is precisely Tiphereth, willpower; Netzach, the mind; Hod, the astral body; Yesod, vital energy and our physicality. The heavenly man is God above, which is our consciousness our Spirit, (Ruh) and Christ.
Nous is a type of mind that is united with God, the Christ force. Nous has levels according to the Tree of Life. Dianoia can refer to Malkuth up to Tiphereth. It’s a type of consciousness in which we are beginning to awaken. Fully illuminated spiritual perception relates to the five higher Sephiroth or spheres of the Tree of Life, whereby divinity manifests. Nous pertains to the Divine Soul (Geburah the divine consciousness) which is part of God the Spirit to the right (Chesed), and Kether, Chokmah, Binah: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Now, we have to remember that God does not enter into impurity. God is not impure—only the human soul our willpower can either obey God or fall down and obey our ego. Our ego is what is impure, so we as a consciousness or soul are really apart of Tiphereth within different bodies. You could say these are different spheres of being and of consciousness. Now our will can follow our own self-will, our nafs or we can follow the will of God, which is our Innermost, our Divine Soul and the Lord above. Nous pertains to illuminated perception which is either Geburah or states in Chesed, Christ above or even beyond the Tree of Life, which is the Absolute. Ain Soph pertains to Nous as well. For more information about this topic, study Tarot and Kabbalah by Samael Aun Weor.
Audience: Samael Aun Weor and Sivananda talks about mantralizing through out the day. Is this not doing something else besides doing what we are supposed to be doing in the moment?
Speaker: Yes, that's a good question. Performing a mantra in your mind while doing activities is to help us concentrate and perform our activities better. Now typically when we work with mantra (the word mantra in Sanskrit means mind protection) it’s a way to control our mind. If it’s being out of control or if we have a certain event in our life that was catastrophic, we can use a certain mantra in order to calm down, concentrate and remember our Being. So we use mantras to help us stay focused. Now a mantra should help, when done consciously, to stay extremely focused. Typically our problem is that when we work with a mantra, we do it mechanically. You’ll find this to be the case if you genuinely observe yourself. Your ego may be saying the mantra incorrectly. For example: the mantra “Klim Krishnaya Govindaya Gopijana Vallabaya Swaha." If your mind is doing it incorrectly, you need to correct your mind and do it properly, consciously. So there are many mantras that we use in this tradition and we don’t want to use them mechanically, on autopilot. If you do it with concentration and remembrance of God, it will help you focus on states in the present. For as the Sufis teach:
Remembrance is a powerful support on the path to God (Glorious and Majestic). Indeed, it is the very foundation of this Sufi path. No one reaches God save by continual remembrance of Him. There are two kinds of remembrance: that of the tongue and that of the heart. The servant attains perpetual remembrance of the heart by making vocal remembrance. It is remembrance of the heart, however, that yields true effect. When a person makes remembrance with his tongue and his heart simultaneously, he attains perfection in his wayfaring. –Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah
Audience: Does Gnosis teach that we should have one mantra for our entire lives?
Speaker: I like Swami Sivananda's thought about this because when you do a mantra for life, it means that your going to be completely dedicated to the practice. I agree with that and I believe what he is saying is you should stick with a mantra to the point that you are fully emerged and concentrated in it without being distracted by other things. Instead of just doing one mantra one day and another the next day, we should practice for extended periods of time, consistently, with one mantra.
The thing is we have hundreds of mantras in this tradition. We should use the mantra until we receive the benefits, but if you feel that you have another need that is emerging, its good to switch if you need to. Now Sivananda is a Resurrected Master, a fully illuminated Being. He was teaching more in accordance with the Piscean teachings, which is the astrological sign associated with the time of Jesus up to the early 1960’s. Now the Age of Aquarius is very different; we have different needs. This is a different astrological sign that pertains to a different kind of spiritual revolution. I recommend that if you work with a mantra, stick with it to the point where you are getting a lot benefit and a lot of results. But if you feel you have different needs emerge, switch it up if you like. Don't feel like you have to stay with one, but Sivananda is correct that when we do a mantra, we should dedicate everything to it and not get distracted with other things.
Audience: In a lot of Samael’s books he mentions that we should vocalize an hour a day. Does this mean we have to use mantras to activate all the chakras?
Speaker: You can. You can work with all of the chakras or you can work with a few. Now different mantras have different benefits and different effects. For example, if you want to develop your clairvoyance you can work with the mantra “INRI," since the vowel “I” (pronounced "Ee") is related to Christ. Its in the book The Perfect Matrimony. "ENRE" (Eh-n-reh) works for the throat. You have the heart chakra with the mantra ONRO. You have the solar plexus chakra relating to UNRU, and for the lungs, ANRA.
You can also work with many chakras or just one, depending on your needs. For example, if you want to work on the heart, we have OM MASI PADME HUM. Remember that Hum or Hu is Arabic it the Spirit of God. The mantras are all throughout the literature of Samael Aun Weor .
The thing is if you vocalize for an hour, you can do it with all the chakras or you can do it with just a few. It depends on your needs. You need to intuitively discern what it is your Being wants you to work on at that time.
Audience: Should I get into a meditative state and then vocalize?
Speaker: Yes. I would say relax until you are semi-drowsy. You get to the point where you feel like you're going to fall asleep—so when you feel that you're at that point, work with a mantra and that will stimulate a lot of psychic energy in your body and your mind.
Audience: I worked with FA RA ON and my body started shaking and it felt like I had a blockage that was stopping me from astral projecting and I could feel my astral body was above and my body was stuck on my bed. And it felt like there was some kind of blockage.
Speaker: I’ve experienced that many times. Usually its a teaching from your Being to tell you that you’re identified with something. You're identified with your body. Personally I've had myself come out of my body, but my head was stuck to my physical body. In my case divinity was telling me that I’m being too intellectual. So I've had to learn to cultivate my heart so I could get out more in the astral plane, the world of Hod or emotions.
Your experience might not necessarily be a blockage. Divinity could just be teaching you that you have attachments that you need to overcome. The greatest obstacle is your own ego, your own nafs, your own mind, so when you overcome your mind by developing meditative reflection (fikrat), as we mentioned, then you will be able to behold the invisible realm of the spirit, as the Sufi masters taught. So control you're mind throughout the day and then astral projection becomes easy.
A mantra helps you to control your mind. It also activates psychic energy, which helps you to defend yourself or help you have spiritual experience. There are many functions for mantras. Typically we say it helps to control your mind. Many mantras are also for protection, such as Fons Alpha. There's many in this tradition. You can conjure by the name of Iod He Vau He, Jehovah, Christ, or Allah.
Audience: Why are there so many different versions of the mantras?
Speaker: In the books Samael Aun Weor explains what the different consonants do within the mantras. the different ways of mantralizing, whether CHIS CHAS CHOS or INRI ENRE ONRO, etc. These are different ways of working with sound, vibration and energy so as to fuel our conscious perception. Now you may have an affinity with one mantra or the other.
I would say study the books and they will explain to you the purposes for what the mantras are for. He gave many varieties because humanity has many needs. One person may work well with OM MASI PADME HUM. Another person may work well with I.A.O. Another person may work well with RAM IO. There are different mantras for different purposes and different needs. However, all mantras help supply energies and forces in our to awaken our awareness (muhadarah) and to become aware of the Presence of divinity (hudur).
Audience: How does the Tree of Life correspond to the image of the five centers of the human machine in the last graphic?
Speaker: I’ll give you a very simply explanation, but you can relate the spheres in different ways. So Netzach is the mind. It relates to the intellectual center. We have the emotional body, Hod, relating to the emotional center, and then we have Yesod relating to we could say is our motor-instinctual-sexual centers. The latter we could say is one brain or one center with three different aspects. Malkuth is our body, which condenses how we manifest our mind, our emotions, and sexuality.
If you feel overwhelmed by this knowledge, I would suggest that you study the books and take your time. The thing is when we study we have to balance being and knowledge. Read a little, but meditate a lot. So take a book and study it profoundly. I would recommend, in relation to this lecture onf Self-knowledge, to study Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology. It explains these three centers and the path of self-observation in depth.
Now when you read a book, you should study it line by line or even chapter by chapter, meditating and reflecting upon what you read so that you can go deeper into this. I would say take your time with the books. Don't rush, because if you eat too fast, you can get indigestion. As I said in the beginning, too much knowledge creates intellectual confusion. The way we balance our reading is comprehension through meditation. We can read many books and not have any experiences. But if we read the books in moderation, in balance with our practice, then we will begin to have experiences of the things that we are discussing. We will begin to bear witness of the mysteries of divinity (shahadah). It is the unification of knowledge and being that establishes comprehension. Comprehension is genuine faith, when you really know something from your heart. It ceases to be something abstract or vague. It becomes something really concrete and practical.
(Detail of Christ, during the Last Judgment, showing the two paths of awakening, indicated by the flowers of spirituality for the virtuous, and the sword of condemnation and justice for sinners; artist: Memling)
Gnosticism pertains to a very special form of self-knowledge or self-analysis, popularized through the famous Greek maxim on the Temple of Delphi: Homo Nosce Te Ipsum, otherwise translated as: “Man, know thyself, and you will know the universe and the Gods!” The Greek word Gnosis is knowledge, but not intellectual knowledge. It is knowledge that which we acquire from our experience, that which we gain from our perception. It is not based on supposition, theory, belief, skepticism, or argumentation. It is something that we know for a fact, and there is no convincing otherwise. Gnosis is the defined result of our actions and is verified through experimentation in a scientific manner. We look at scientific facts, spiritual facts.
For as the founder of the modern Gnostic tradition, Samael Aun Weor, stated in The Revolution of the Dialectic:
“Gnosis is lived upon facts, withers away in abstractions, and is difficult to find even in the noblest of thoughts.”
Therefore when we approach spirituality, when we seek to understand religion, we must be precise. We must be specific and technical with our terminology, with our approach, our analysis, practice and methodology. We cannot indulge in vain, ambiguous and incipient beliefs, conceptualizing that we are a certain way, that we are “spiritual” because we think a certain way or belong to a specific group, that we are somehow special beings deserving praise. Because the truth is, when we examine the facts, when we look at humanity, when we look at ourselves, when we examine our daily sufferings, we find that this planet is in chaos. Many people amongst so-called “spiritual” circles talk about a new Golden Age, and that we are in it. Yet if we soberly examine the evidence, we find that humanity is not in a Golden Age, but has precipitated itself on the path of destruction.
Everybody suffers. No one on this planet, no sentient being, no person that is met on the streets of the cities, can be said to be happy, specifically since such people suffer incredibly. But why? Why do we suffer? What causes our pain? We can easily blame the government, the political establishment, the Democrats, the Republicans, or our friends, our job, co-workers, our spouse. These things belong to the external world, and sadly this is all people think about. But what are the secret, internal triggers that produce the calamities we are now all too familiar with? What in us truly makes us suffer and why?
All of humanity’s destructive habits, addictions, desires, and wishes run contrary to divine law. Just as the physical universe is governed by laws, so too is spiritual life. There are laws that govern the establishment, development, and perfection of the soul, laws delivered unto humanity through all the world’s great prophets, religions and scriptures. The reason why people live in such disharmony and agony is due to their internal, psychological imbalances, their inability to conform their psyche, consciousness, or mind, towards the commandments, laws and instructions given by the messengers of the divine.
Therefore when beginning these studies, we ask ourselves the following fundamental questions:
“Who are we? Where do we come from? Where are we going? What are we living for? Why are we living?” —Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology
Everyone believes that they know themselves, that they are conscious beings, that they know what they do, and yet the facts speak contrary to this. We firmly believe in our customs, our language, and our creed—our job, country, flag, party, name, culture, race, and habits, are qualities born in time and that die in time. And yet the consciousness, the soul, does not belong to these things. Therefore, who are we?
People believe they are awake. People believe that they know themselves. Likewise, in spiritual studies, many people have different conceptions of the term “awakening,” which is the focus of this lecture. Countless so-called “spiritual” groups entertain ideas regarding awakening which are contradictory, inconclusive, vague, ambiguous, obscure, or simply confusing, definitions that are in conflict with the scriptures given by the great masters of spirituality, whether Buddha, Krishna, Jesus, Moses, and the prophets. Awakening is a popular term, but how is it practical? What does it mean to awaken?
Some people use the term awakening to relate to an inspiration, a sudden inclination to study religion or spirituality. This is basic. This is, however, a fundamental first step. Also, the awakening we seek to understand is not physical. It is not only the awakening of our physical senses when arriving from sleep: our sight, taste, touch, hearing, and smell. Neither is awakening related to thought, thinking, concepts, sentimentalizing, believing, theorizing, holding on to ideas about ourselves or conjecturing about a philosophy with the intellect, believing something fully with our heart, yet not really knowing anything.
As I mentioned, awakening has nothing to do with our name, our job, our language, customs, culture, habits, beliefs, and family. These things came with birth and they end with death. But the consciousness, that which we call soul, is beyond these things. The consciousness belongs to the divine, to God. When I refer to God, I am not referring to an anthropomorphic old man sitting on a cloud of tyranny dispensing thunderbolts and lightning upon this poor ant-hill of a humanity. That is not the God we speak of, but God as an intelligence, as Being, as presence, light, cognizance, which we must learn to access within ourselves when we know how.
In strict esoteric or secret Buddhism, only a buddha, a master, knows himself completely and is free from suffering. An awakened one is a buddha, which is a term originating from the Sanskrit root word budh, signifying “awakening,” “consciousness,” “cognizance,” which also relates to the word Bodhi, meaning “wisdom,” or “enlightenment.” This is cognizance of one’s inner divinity, the root of life and our most genuine happiness, which begins as a spark, and transforms into a flame when we know how to cultivate this light.
This profound state of awakening pertains to knowing divinity directly, the pure, pristine, and clear consciousness of nature’s laws and the soul’s conformity to them, devoid of personhood, a universal state of being. This is a result of cause and effect, and produces joy, freedom from defect or flaws. This psychological state transcends all pain, self, and conception, as demonstrated in the story of Gautama Buddha Shakyamuni questioned by a brahman.
A Hindu priest was met by the Buddha. Being astounded by Gautama’s happiness, peace, and presence, he successively asked him, “Are you a deva (a god)?” “Are you a gandhabba (heavenly being)? Are you a yakkha (a nature spirit)?” To which the Buddha replied:
"The fermentations by which I would go
to a deva-state,
or become a gandhabba in the sky,
or go to a yakkha-state and human-state:
Those have been destroyed by me,
ruined, their stems removed.
Like a blue lotus, rising up,
unsmeared by water,
unsmeared am I by the world,
and so, brahman,
I'm awake." —Dona Sutta
People believe that they are awake. Having energy in the morning, getting up from the sleep of the physical body, constitutes a minimal level of perception and consciousness. The type of awakening we speak of in our Gnostic studies relates to spiritual perception, the development of divine faculties, which some refer to as out-of-body experiences, astral travel, lucid dreaming, awakening one’s awareness within the dream state or dream world, to speak face to face with divinity, with angelic beings, directly. This is something very clear and sharp. These are not hypothetical situations. They are not vague, cloudy, obscure, disorganized, nonsensical, chaotic, like the dreams most people relate when they seek interpretations.
The awakening we refer to is the direct result of putting specific scientific procedures into place, a new form of discipline we engage with. Awakening has one purpose: to gain knowledge of divinity by understanding the causes of suffering in ourselves, thereby removing such causes through cognizance, comprehension, and superlative analysis resulting from experience. We seek to change how we perceive life by removing that which filters our perception, in order that we possess pure, objective and divine cognizance. This is why Friedrich Nietzsche wrote in Thus Spoke Zarathustra: “You must be ready to burn yourself in your own flame; how could you rise anew if you have not first become ashes!”
As you see in this opening image, we have Sufi disciple, a master of the mystical or esoteric teachings of Islam, in prayer. Islam in Arabic means “submission to God’s will.” We must submit to the divine will and divine laws if what we want is to become a new being, an awakened one, a phoenix bird that rises from out of its own ashes.
We are going to examine the nature of awakening in relation to the Sufi tradition, the mystics of Islam and of the Middle East, due to such the simplicity, profundity, and accessibility of such teachings for beginners, as well as to show the universal nature of this wisdom.
He Who Knows Himself Knows His Lord
The Sufis corroborate the teachings of the Greek Temple of Delphi through the following proverb: “He who knows himself knows his Lord.” Likewise, they also explain how to arrive at knowledge of divinity within oneself through the application and understanding of spiritual practice.
Spiritual law, practice or discipline pertains to Sharia in Arabic, which in Sufism does not literally pertain to the exoteric, punitive laws of Muslim countries, but to how we obey divinity in our consciousness so as to know divinity. It is by following good conduct in our daily life that we will come to know divinity, the path, the way of experience, the truth, known as Haqiqah in Sufism. Here is what the Sufi master Al-Qushayri had to say about this topic in his Risalah: Principles of Sufism:
The divine Law commands one to the duty of servanthood. The Way, the inner reality, is the contemplation of divine lordship. Outward religious practice not confirmed by inner reality is not acceptable. Inner reality not anchored by outward religious practice is not acceptable. Divine Law brings obligation upon the creation, while the Way is founded upon the free action [or experience] of the Real. The divine Law is that you serve Him. The Way is that you see Him.
The divine Law is doing what you have been ordered to do. Haqiqah is bearing witness to what He has determined and ordained, hidden and revealed. I heard Abu Ali al-Daqqaq say that God's saying [in the Opening Chapter, Al-Fatihah of Al-Qur'an] iyyaka nabudu—"You we worship"—preserves the outward practice, the divine Law. Iyyaka nastain—"to You we turn for help"—establishes the inner reality, the Way.
Know that religious obligation is a spiritual reality in that it was made necessary by His command. And spiritual reality, as well, is a religious obligation, in that the realizations of Him were also made necessary by His command. —Al Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
This is the law of cause and effect. If you want to awaken your conscious, spiritual perception, unfiltered, unobstructed by limited notions of self, you must fulfill the requisites of religion: be a good person; do not lie; do not steal; do not fornicate; do not adulterate; do not commit sexual misconduct; do not steal; etc. Different religions have different ways of explaining good behavior, of how to cultivate virtue. In the Gnostic tradition we have a vast array of practices and teachings about how to discipline ourselves so that we can experience the way, the truth, and the divine life.
Therefore, this scriptural affirmation goes against millions of books being written for a modern, “New Age” public, which affirm that anyone can experience the divine by doing whatever they want, by creating their own mantras (sacred sounds), by creating their own reality. This is all one hundred percent subjective and harmful, because it demonstrates a profound ignorance of cause and effect, a fundamental law of nature.
If you want to know yourself and therefore know divinity, you must enact the causes for that result. You cannot change the law. Ignorance of the law does not procure exclusion from its results. Therefore, ignorance is the worst of sins, according to Socrates.
Knowledge and Comprehension
Which brings us to our next point. If you wish to know divinity, you must deeply understand the laws that lead to its fruition based on your experience. Intellectual knowledge or memorizing information is not enough. There must be profound comprehension.
Knowledge and comprehension are different. Knowledge is of the mind. Comprehension is of the heart. —Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology
There are hundreds of thousands of spiritual teachers in the world today, many who have memorized the Bible, the Qur’an, the Bhagavad-Gita by heart, and yet they do not demonstrate the ethics and virtues propounded by their religion, as illustrated by numerous cases of sodomy, molestation of children by priests, and other horrible crimes committed in the name of “spiritual brotherhood” and “religion.” People may have a lot of knowledge in the mind about religion, and yet fail to fulfill even one precept given by their tradition. This is why Christ taught his disciples to be vigilant, stating: “By their fruits you will know them.”
People know many things about God, astral travel, awakening consciousness in dreams in order to converse with the angels, etc. Yet have they experienced these truths themselves? Likewise, we may have many cherished beliefs and knowledge regarding our terrestrial identity, and yet we fail to comprehend who we are in a deep manner. This ignorance is illustrated in the case of some alcoholics who, knowing their addiction is harmful, continue to engage in bad behaviors, in drinking to excess. This example shows us that while we may have a lot of knowledge of right and wrong, we still may lack comprehension of the consequences.
If we place our hand on a hot stove, we will retract our hand in pain. Therefore, we have gained a superficial form of comprehension, of gnosis, that to put our hand on a hot stove is to get burned. Sadly, with many of our engrained habits and customs, we continue to indulge in behaviors contrary to divine laws and fail to see the results. We may know it is wrong to be angry and yell at another person, yet we may do it anyways. We may know it is wrong to be sarcastic to someone in a given instant, and yet fail to restrain our negative comments.
If we want to awaken, we must learn to comprehend what behaviors are detrimental to ourselves and others, and not act on them, to see these psychological tendencies for what they are and not allow them to persist and subsist in our minds. This is comprehension; we know in our hearts that something is essentially wrong, and therefore we behave accordingly. This is very different from having a concept in our heads. Instead, this is the voice of conscience, of ethics, of spirituality, speaking to us.
Our minds are tarnished and imperfect as a result of too much negativity, conditioning, and false knowledge, and not enough comprehension. The remedy is to deepen our awareness of divinity, to purify ourselves and to follow the ethical conduct of the great religions. For as Prophet Muhammad taught:
"There is a polish for everything that takes away rust; and the polish for the heart is the remembrance of God.” —Hadith: Sahih Al-Bukhari
Likewise, awakening and comprehension are synonymous. True spirituality or understanding is developed through following the heart, as the Sufi master Ibn ‘Arabi explains:
May God open the eyes of your heart, shedding His divine light. The angelic realm, which contains the potential of future creation, incorporeal existences, the meaning of all and everything to come, and divine power, is the element from which the visible world is created and, therefore the material world is under the influence and domination of the angelic realm. The movement, the sound, the voice, the ability to speak, to eat and to drink is not from the existences themselves in the visible, material world. They all pass through the invisible world of the angelic realm. We think that we see with our eyes. The information, the influences of perception, are due to our senses—while the real influence, the meaning of things, the power behind what sees and what is seen, can be reached neither by the senses, nor by deduction and analysis, comparison, contrasts, and associations made through intellectual theories. The invisible world can only be penetrated by the eye and the mind of the heart. Indeed, the reality of this visible world also can only be seen by the mind and eye of the heart. What we think we see is but veils which hide the reality of things; things whose truth, whose meaning may not be revealed until these veils are lifted. It is only when the dark veils of imagination and preconception are raised that the divine light will penetrate the heart, enabling the inner eye to see. Then either the sunlight or the light of a candle will become a metaphor for the divine light. —Ibn ‘Arabi: Divine Governance of the Human Kingdom
As you see in this graphic, knowledge belongs to the horizontal line of life: knowledge we gain from birth, life, to death. On the left of this horizontal path is our genesis, followed by childhood, adolescence, adulthood, marriage, children, old age, decrepitude, and death towards the right. This is the path of terrestrial knowledge, which is necessary and fundamental for living in the world in which we are. But comprehension is the vertical path, an ascension to higher levels of being, ways of being, in conjunction with the present moment, found at the precise point where these two beams intersect, in the middle.
We cannot avoid the horizontal line of life, but we can learn to transform it by ascending to a higher way of being, a superior level of consciousness. We must learn to respond to life with a sense of ethical discipline, rectitude, and love, which constitutes the path of the heart above. Learning to behave in a conscious manner helps us to ascend to higher ways of being, levels of being, along the vertical path. Ascending up this vertical line, we come to experience heaven or heavenly states as defined by some religions.
Yet if we continue as we are, identifying with psychological states of hatred, anger, pride, fear, sarcasm, lust, desire, etc., these negative qualities will take us down this vertical path towards submerged states of consciousness. The vertical path below signifies states of suffering, chaos, affliction, and pain. This is known as hell or diabolical psychological states within religion. If we do not change our ways of being, we will eventually descending on that path where we will awaken into more suffering and pain than we currently experience.
The Paths of Life and Death
The Judeo-Christian-Muslim traditions, as well as the Eastern mystical doctrines, emphasize that there are two fundamental paths of awakening: one of a higher way of life, and another towards deepening states of suffering.
And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. —Daniel 12:2
We can awaken and liberate consciousness from its conditions: pride, hate, greed, avarice, and the infernal qualities known in some traditions as sins or defects. Or we can strengthen our cage: our animalistic qualities of gluttony, aggression, and destruction. The choice is ours based on our behavior.
Look at humanity! What path has it chosen? Have you ever reflected on this? With world-wide acts of prostitution, adultery, degeneration; wars emerging here, there, and everyone, are the signs not clear for us? Human beings are worse off than they have ever been, which is why many artists have depicted this spiritual dilemma of “To be or not to be” by painting the Last Judgment.
As you see in this image, Christ above represents the highest aspect of consciousness or divinity that we can aspire to within ourselves. To his right are those souls who know how to obey divine laws, thereby developing peace, happiness, compassion, conscious love, charity, and faith. They ascend up the steps into the temples of the sacred mysteries.
Those beings who never sought to change, who indulged in desire, who fed and saturated their diabolic conditions of mind, enter into regions of flames, symbolic of states of suffering and a deepening awareness of their psychological limitations and imprisonment.
While heaven and hell are referenced as places in the cosmos and in nature, these more importantly refer to levels of being within us, ways of behaving.
Does our consciousness resonate with compassion, virtue, philanthropy, altruism, and happiness for others? Or do our states of consciousness vibrate with wrath, avarice, doubt, envy, and dissatisfaction with the happiness of others? Examine yourself to see where your consciousness gravitates towards, and be sincere. Sincerity is the doorway leading to awakening in an unconditioned, positive light.
In the bottom center of this image is the archangel Michael, who is weighing the deeds of souls in accordance with their actions. Just as there is a record in a physical court of law for transgression, likewise do the heavenly masters or heavenly beings, the buddhas or angels, evaluate our actions based on facts, evidence, and full consciousness of our state, in which the Qur’an represents as two books, one for the virtuous and one for the vicious, wherein are inscribed all the deeds we perform.
The record of the vicious is indeed in Sijjīn.
And what will show you what is Sijjīn?
It is a written record.
Woe to the deniers on that day,
who deny the Day of Retribution;
and none denies it except every sinful transgressor. —Qur’an 83:7-12
The record of the pious is indeed in Illīyūn.
And what will show you what is Illīyūn?
It is a written record,
witnessed by those brought near [to God.]
Indeed the pious shall be amid bliss,
observing, [as they recline] on couches. —Qur’an 83:18-23
The Qur’an, the mystical book of the Muslims, refers to gardens of paradise and the flames of infernal passion, desire, of thirst insatiable, as representations of mind. We repeat: these are not just places, but ways of being. We gravitate to places in this great nature based on the qualities of our mind. We vibrate with dimensions in the cosmos based on our level of being.
Likewise with our daily life.
Nobody can deny the fact that there are different social levels. There are churchgoing people, people in brothels, farmers, businessmen, etc.
In a like manner, there are different Levels of Being. Whatever we are internally, munificent or mean, generous or miserly, violent or peaceful, chaste or lustful, attracts the various circumstances of life.
The lustful person will always attract scenes, dramas and even lascivious tragedies in which he will become involved.
A drunkard will always attract drunkards and will always be seen in bars or taverns; this is obvious…
What will the usurer attract? The selfish one? How many problems? Jail? Misfortunes? —Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology
Sadly, humanity is addicted to negativity, and is averse towards the divine life, for as John Milton stated in Paradise Lost:
“The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.”
Simply examine what people worship today. Turn on the television and you will find entertainment and shows on killing, on cruelty, on deception, criminality. People have made a heaven of hell, being addicted to negative behavior. Likewise when someone teaches the masses about the heavenly path, people scorn such a prophet or messenger, and may eventually try to kill him, as we saw with the crucifixion of Jesus, the poisoning of Buddha and Socrates, the persecution of Muhammad, etc.
The Publican and the Pharisee
So we must be profoundly analytical and honest with ourselves. We have to take a self-inventory, known by the Sufis as muhasabah, and observe what qualities we have in abundance and what we lack. We must learn to consider ourselves as strangers by observing our own minds in action, perceiving ourselves from the perspective of the free consciousness, which must in turn awaken and comprehend the other conditioned parts of the psyche.
This work on oneself goes beyond our concepts of good and bad. We must be sincere and comprehend how none of us are completely innocent in life. If we consider that we are “spiritual” people, filled with such-and-such good qualities, virtues, we must be willing to consider how we may be mistaken.
A thing is good when it suits us and bad when it does not. Within the rhythms of poetry, crime is also concealed. There is much virtue in the villain and much evil in the virtuous…
…Even though it may appear incredible, crime also hides in the very perfume of prayer.
Crime disguises itself as a saint. It uses the best virtues; it presents itself as a martyr and even officiates in the sacred temples. —Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
Simply look at some priests today who are molesting children, and yet who consider themselves to be holy people. Jesus warned about such hypocrites in his parable of the Publican and the Pharisee, whereby a rich priest went to pray in the temple, congratulating himself and boasting of his good qualities, and denigrating a poor man in the corner who was beating his chest in repentance, feeling too guilty to be forgiven for his deeds. Christ said that the poor man’s prayer was granted, since it was sincere, whereas the Pharisee, the so-called spiritual person over-confident with himself, was not. A Pharisee is a person from any religion who thinks and believes they are holy and justified, when in truth they only believe, having no development.
Therefore, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” –Matthew 19:24
So what are we? Are we rich, psychologically, feeling that we possess virtues that we do not? Or are we poor, recognizing that we have nothing, and from this honest foundation ascend up towards the Being, acquiring genuine knowledge?
The Sufis state that the greatest quality or foundation for the disciple to have is poverty, to feel oneself as poor, spirituality, since humility opens the pathway for elevation. Or as Samael Aun Weor wrote in The Aquarian Message: “God seeks the nothingness in order to fill it.”
To be rich is to feel oneself self-sufficient, even from divinity. The Qur’an as posits a similar parable in Surah 18: The Cave, Verses 32 to 43:
Draw for them the parable of two men for each of whom We had made two gardens of vines, and We had surrounded them with date palms, and placed crops between them.
Both gardens yielded their produce without stinting anything of it. And We had set a stream gushing through them.
He had abundant fruits, so he said to his companion, as he conversed with him: ‘I have more wealth than you, and am stronger with respect to numbers.’
He entered his garden while he wronged himself. He said, ‘I do not think that this will ever perish,
and I do not think that the Hour will ever set in. And even if I am returned to my Lord I will surely find a resort better than this.’
His companion said to him, as he conversed with him: ‘Do you disbelieve in Him who created you from dust, then from a drop of [seminal] fluid, then fashioned you as a man?
But I [say], “He is Allah, my Lord,” and I do not ascribe any partner to my Lord.
Why did you not say, when you entered your garden, “[This is] as Allah has wished! There is no power except by Allah!” If you see that I have lesser wealth than you and children,
maybe my Lord will give me [something] better than your garden, and He will unleash upon it bolts from the sky, so that it becomes a bare plain.
Or its water will sink down, so that you cannot obtain it.’
And ruin closed in on his produce, and he began to wring his hands for what he had spent on it, as it lay fallen on its trellises. He was saying, ‘I wish I had not ascribed any partner to my Lord.’
He had no party to help him, besides Allah, nor could he help himself.
So what are we? Are we rich, psychologically, feeling that we possess virtues that we do not, thinking we are better than others who do not possess our “spirituality”? Or are we poor, recognizing that we have nothing, and from this honest foundation ascend up towards the Being, relying solely on divinity, acquiring genuine knowledge?
The Sufis state that the greatest quality or foundation for the disciple to have is poverty, to feel oneself as poor, spirituality, since humility opens the pathway for elevation. Or as Samael Aun Weor wrote in The Aquarian Message: “God seeks the nothingness in order to fill it.”
Genuine Awakening and the Tree of Life
Wherever the delusion of your selfhood appears – there’s hell. Wherever “you” aren’t – that’s heaven. –Abū Sa’īd in Ibn Munawwar: Asrār at-tawḥīd, ed. Shafī‘ī-Kadkanī, 299
Our egotistical sense of self obscures us from accessing the heavenly realms of levels of being, represented by this graphic. This is known as the Tree of Life in the Book of Genesis, and is a map of awakening: from the lowest states of matter, energy and consciousness, to the most refined, synthetic, essential, and spiritual at the top. This is known as the Kabbalah, which comes from the Hebrew word: קבל Kabbel / qabal: to receive. This is the spiritual wisdom we gain by awakening and liberating consciousness in these ten spheres of modes of being.
The Tree of Life signifies the multi-dimensionality of nature, which penetrates, co-penetrates, and subsists together and integrally without confusion. These ten spheres or modes of being are with us here and now, but we are typically not aware of them.
We are at Malkuth, which in Hebrew means: Kingdom, the physical body. Above this physicality we have vitality, emotionality, mentality, will, consciousness, spirit, and the highest divinity, known as logos, Kristos, or Christ, the primordial root energy at the basis of every fundamental cosmic unit. These are distinct gradations of consciousness, energy, matter and perception that we will examine with more detail in subsequent lectures.
However, we will state that this map is essential for understanding our inner spiritual experiences, such as through meditation or the study of dreams. This graphic illustrates for us where we are in a given moment, at what level of consciousness we gravitate towards. The spheres above Malkuth are the heavens, whereas the shadow of the Tree constitute the Klipoth or inferior dimensions, negative states of being, the submerged, conditioned and infraconscious aspects of the soul, known in religions as hell.
Remember that these spheres are with us here and now, but we are not awakened to them yet. We may feel that we are active in our physical bodies, but yet may not be aware of our thoughts, feelings, and sensations, or impulses. This lack of awareness of what we are thinking, feeling, and doing in a given moment of the day signifies that we do not know the Tree of Life within us. Simply try to review everything you did in a given day, down to the smallest detail, and see if there are not spaces or gaps in your memory! Awakening means to change all that, to not be unconscious or unaware of any aspect of our daily life.
The important thing to remember is that if we want to ascend up the vertical path of being, of awakening, we must do so by conquering ourselves and dominating our lower passions, so that we no longer remain in “hell,” the inferior qualities of being, but instead rise to a higher way of being, the Tree of Life.
The Present Moment
So how do we awaken? We have presented and explained the need to awaken, but now we are going to elaborate on the methods for doing so.
Many teachings in this day and age speak of mindfulness, awareness, attention, consciousness, and perception. There are also many doctrines about intuition or insight into the present moment in which we find ourselves. These are all basic introductions or kindergarten steps for accessing complete awakening of our divine potential.
Awakening unconditioned perception begins in this present instance in which we find ourselves, at the intersection of the horizontal and vertical beams, the conjunction of the line of life or knowledge and the line of being.
I heard Abu Ali al-Daqqaq say that the “now”—waqt—is that in which you are. If you are in the world, your “now” is this world. If you are in the next world [the higher dimensions of the Tree of Life], your “now” is the next world. If you are in joy, your “now” is joy. If you are in sorrow, your “now” is sorrow. He means by this that the present moment is that which has dominance over a person. —Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
Every genuine spiritual endeavor begins by learning to pay attention and to not be distracted by memories, thoughts, daydreams, sentimentality, fears, problems, etc. It means to expand and heighten one’s consciousness of the present moment.
The Sufis elaborate on the importance of solely paying exclusive attention to the present moment, without looking forward or backwards in time:
Waqt [the present moment] may refer specifically to the time in which one is. Some people say that the present moment is between the two times, that is, the past and the future. And they say that the Sufi is the “son of his moment.” This means that he occupies himself immediately with whatever sort of devotion should come first in a given moment. He bases himself upon what is required of him at the time. It is said, “The dervish cares for neither the past nor the future of his moment: he cares for the moment in which he is.” And regarding this, “To be preoccupied with what escaped you in a moment that has passed is to waste a second moment.” –Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
Therefore, how do we interact with certain people? Why? What motivates us to speak a certain way? To gossip? To lie? To criticize? Have we ever considered the secret motives of our speech? For why we might feel disdain towards someone we deem less important to us? To those we think are inferior? What qualities surge in our mind around people who provoke us? Whom we dislike? Our sense of pride? Are we sure that we do not possess the same qualities of the person we ostracize and condemn? Have we ever questioned ourselves when interacting with others?
Interactions with people is a full length mirror by which we can comprehend our own faults, because if we are attentive only of the present moment, we find that our psychological tendencies, desires, and conditioning emerge within the screen of our awareness, of our attention, when we know how to direct it inward. This is known as muhasabah, inner-accounting, or muhadarah, awareness, remembrance of the Divine Self, self-observation. We learn to gain comprehension of hudur, the presence of God, through muhadarah, awareness, attention. In order to know divinity we first have to look inside to see what is obstructing the light of divinity within our consciousness. By perceiving our faults and comprehending them, we in turn can liberate ourselves from those conditions. Self-observation is how we acquire new information about who we are and why we behave, so that we can work to remove negative elements in the psyche and thereby produce greater cognizance, peace, happiness, and compassion.
Our spiritual life is not exclusive to attending meetings. It is constituted of every interaction we engage with in daily, practical life. Spirituality is not limited to the church or the mosque, but in our homes, with our children, with our co-workers, and especially with people who give us difficulties. Do we respond with kindness towards someone who insults our dignity, our pride? How do we react towards the condemnation or criticism of others at work? Remember that our daily life is our spiritual path, and how we behave in every instance determines whether we will initiate a more spiritual way of being or strengthen a more demonic way of being.
The Moment is a Sword
We define our spiritual life depends on what we do from moment-to-moment. As Buddha taught in the Dhammapada:
Preceded by mind are phenomena, led by mind, formed by mind. If with mind polluted one speaks or acts, then pain follows, as a wheel follows the draft ox’s foot.
Preceded by mind are phenomena, led by mind, formed by mind. If with mind pure one speaks or acts, then ease follows, as an ever-present shadow.
What thoughts, feelings, or impulses emerge when we get up in the morning? When we go to work? When we speak with a friend, co-worker, or relative? Do our actions and words produce harmony and friendship, or do our actions create resistance, conflict, and struggle?
If we act virtuously, then we will inspire virtue in others; we will produce happiness for others. This is a fundamental law of nature: cause and effect, known in the East as karma.
Therefore, in accordance with the law of action and consequence:
One of the sayings of the Sufis is, “The moment is a sword.” That is, in just the way that a sword severs, the present moment shows forth the influence of God’s action, ending things and bringing them to be. It is said, “The touch of the flat of a sword is temperate, but its blade cuts”—the one who treats it gently is safe and the one who treats it rudely is destroyed. Thus with the “now”: Whoever submits himself to its authority is saved and whoever resists it deteriorates and declines. –Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
If you are negative towards another person, you will inspire negativity within that person. Therefore, the moment as a blade will cut you. But if you are temperate, peaceful, and kind towards your critics, your actions will produce comfort and ease.
When confronted with terrible circumstances, a virtuous, cultivated, and trained mind will serve as our greatest protector and aid. If we continue in unconscious, destructive, and resentful behavior, never learning to see another person’s point of view, we will in turn deepen our suffering and the suffering of others.
It comes to my mind a story of a Tibetan Buddhist monk who was imprisoned by the Chinese after the expulsion of Tibetans and the desecration of Tibetan Buddhist monasteries by the Chinese army. The 14th Dalai Lama asked him, “What is the greatest danger you faced?” This monk replied, “Losing my compassion for the Chinese.” This is a powerful statement!
Eventually this man was freed, and he continued as a monk, never losing sight of the goal: to generate superior states of being and not to give in to conditioned, negative psychological reactions. Whether or not we are in prison, we still suffer. If we react negatively, we will continue to suffer and exacerbate our problems. But if our mind is peaceful, we can easily and patiently withstand wrongs, maintaining serenity, and never losing touch with our inner divinity and the divinity of others.
Likewise, when confronted with difficult people, the greatest advantage we can have is always responding with consciousness, with remembrance of divinity:
“The best weapon that a human being can use in life is a correct psychological state.
“One can disarm beasts and unmask traitors by means of appropriate internal states.
“Wrong internal states convert us into defenseless victims of human perversity.
“You must learn to face the most unpleasant events of practical life with an appropriate internal uprightness...
“You must not become identified with any event. Remember that everything passes away. You must learn to look at life like a movie; thus, you shall receive the benefits...
“You must not forget that if you do not eliminate mistaken internal states from your psyche, then events of no value could bring you disgrace.
“Unquestionably, each external event needs its appropriate fare, that is, its precise psychological state.” —Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology: Personal Events
The Sufis also teach this same point:
“Remembering God with the heart is called the sword of seekers. With it the seeker slays his enemies and drives off troubles that are headed for him. Even if difficulty should overshadow the servant, his fleeing to God Most High in his heart immediately turns away from him the thing he hates.” --Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
Examine this image of St. Michael slaying the devil, the dragon. מיכאל Michael in Hebrew comes from מיכ Mica, “Who is like” אֵל El, or “God?” This is a rhetorical question, telling us that no one is like God, the resplendence, light, or consciousness of divinity. Michael is an angelic being outside of us, but here represents how the soul must wage bloody battles against the afflictions of the mind, the dragon, the monster, our diabolic qualities or egotistical desires. He does so with a sword, representing wisdom, remembrance, and insight. This is how he conquers the creator of illusion and suffering.
The same meaning is represented in the next graphic of Manjushri. Here is a buddha, an awakened one, conquering the illusions and hypnotisms of desire through the sword of prajna, wisdom, insight, gnosis, or consciousness. By awakening our consciousness, and by destroying the shackles of our understanding, we can arrive at self-knowledge, represented by the book he also carries in his other hand.
The book represents knowledge, whereas the sword represents being, insight, consciousness. Therefore, knowledge and being must be harmoniously balanced within us in order to establish the flaming powers of comprehension in our psyche.
With superior knowledge, we can learn to redirect the course of our life, and with practical wisdom and insight, cut through to the sources of our greatest problems, thereby liberating our soul, awakening it definitely.
The Sufis state:
They have recited about this:
Like a sword, if you polish it, its touch is soothing
But its edge, if you are harsh to it, is harsh.
If the moment makes someone happy, it is a just moment to him.
If it makes him miserable, it becomes something hateful.
–Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
Behavior, Gnosis, and Meditation
In synthesis, we seek to change our behaviors and states of mind in a fundamental way. Awakening results from knowing how to transform the psyche into something positive and conscious, free of limitations. It means that we know how to act in every instance of life in an appropriate and defined way.
Abu Hafs Haddad of Nishapur says, “Sufism [or gnosticism] consists entirely of behavior; every time, place, and circumstance have their own property; he that observes the properties of each occasion attains to the rank of holy men; and he that neglects the properties is far removed from the thought of nearness (to God) and is excluded from imagining that he is acceptable to God.” –Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery
What aids us in this endeavor are spiritual practices, the fulfillment of the divine law, so as to experience the truth, the way or the path. Samael Aun Weor wrote that meditation is the daily bread of the Gnostic. Meditation is the science of acquiring self-knowledge, of understanding the causes of conflict within us in order to remediate them. Meditation is how we overcome our personal and conditioned sense of self, the ego. As the Sufis teach:
In general, it is to the measure of one’s alienation from one’s own ego [conditioned or negative psychological elements] that one attains direct knowledge of one’s Lord… I heard Abu Ali al-Daqqaq say, “One of the tokens of the gnosis of God is the achievement of deep awe and reverence for God. If someone’s realization increases, his awe increases.” And I heard him say, “Gnosis requires stillness of heart, just as learning requires outward quiet. If someone’s gnosis increases, his tranquility increases.” —Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah
It is in a state of tranquility where we can remove the conditionality of the mind in order to free and awaken the soul, the consciousness, from bondage. By increasing our knowledge of divinity through removing the causes of suffering, we in turn develop true peace of mind.
To aid us in this endeavor, we will be providing a series of exercises in order to aid you in accessing and realizing the principles we have covered in this lecture and in this course. We recommend you study and fulfill these practices each week in a diligent way, so that you procure definite and consistent results. Consistency is key, since without steadfastness in one’s spiritual discipline, one can attain nothing. However, as you continue to practice and see the benefits of such exercises, you will naturally be inspired to continue and deepen your work.
For this week, you can refer to the following exercise:
Mantras or sacred sounds will help elevate the consciousness, providing it with energy so as to awaken it, thereby helping us to vibrate with superior levels of nature. This is a preliminary exercise in order to eventually develop meditation in its genuine sense, but that is something we will cover in the following weeks.
The following is a transcription of a lecture from the Chicagoland Gnostic Academy given on October 23rd, 2010.
Whether we've studied a spiritual teaching for some number of years, or if it's something new, regardless of the tradition, we always go back towards the very root, which is the direct experience of the truths contained within religion. This is why we say that Gnosis is a heart doctrine; it is a doctrine of the heart. It is not exclusively intellectual, for while we study and accumulate knowledge, a robust spiritual culture, of different scriptures and different writings, really what we look for is the practice. What we seek is the experience. And this is why we say that Gnosis is a Dharma of the heart.
When we say that it relates with the heart, it has to do with certainty, the fact that we know from experience, for its one thing to read about spirituality, about the different realms of the universe called the Sephiroth in Kabbalah, different modalities of consciousness, out of body experiences, experiences in which one may find oneself conversing with the Gods. It's one thing to read about it; it's a completely different thing to experience it. And this is why we say Gnosis relates with the heart; it is what we live palpably within ourselves.
So whether we've be studying for a long time, or if we are new to this teaching, this is what we always come back to—the fundamentals, to question what it is we truly know from experience, that which we have lived within our flesh and our bones, within the very atoms of our consciousness. And it is this type of experience which really shows us that all religions are unanimous, that there really is no distinction or conflict between them. This knowledge is about activating the very latent potential to become something superior, to become a being that is a living incarnation of God, and we do this through practical efforts, practical work.
This knowledge has been given many names, and in this lecture, in speaking about the Heart Doctrine or the secret path of the heart, we're going to delve into the many different schools, the foundations and structure of religion, how the heart develops in accordance with initiation and stages of the path, and really that it is a practical science; it is very practical.
Regardless of the profundity, the vastness, and the complexity of this type of teaching, really it is actually quite simple: it relates with how we use consciousness. As we were talking in the last lecture, we were talking about Pinocchio, which means, "pine seed." In Buddhist terms we refer to this as the Buddhadhatu, which means, "the seed of the Buddha." It is the potential to become a being that is fully awakened. The root word budh means "cognizance," and the Buddha is one who has fully awakened that.
This really our goal; this is what we want to become, and this doesn't come about by theories. It comes about by work through spiritual discipline, through practice. And this is why you see, particularly in this tradition, we have so many tools, to activate that, from different prayers, conjurations and invocations, practices of magic in which we invoke the superior forces of the Tree of Life, known as Father, Son and Holy Spirit in Christian terms; the First Logos, Second Logos and Third Logos in Gnostic Greek terms, and many names. These tools and exercises are meant to develop the pine seed, so that this pine seed may become a Christmas tree, completely illuminated and developed.
This all is based upon our actions. It's based upon what we work upon in our heart; how we develop the heart, because Gnosis, if we examine the term (in Greek it's a silent "g") relates to the Sanskrit word Jnana, meaning "knowledge," and Prajna, which is the wisdom of the heart, such as with the Heart Sutra or Prajna-paramita Sutra. So we find that cognate, "Jna," "Gno-sis," "Jna-na," "Pra-nja." We find this even in Hebrew names such as Eliana, which is commonly translated as "God has answered me," but can literally mean "my Goddess of Knowledge," and if you know Kabbalah, that's one of the sacred names of God, "My Goddess of Knowledge: Iod-Chavah" or אלוה ודעת יהוה Eloah va Da'ath Iod-Hei-Vau-Hei in Tiphereth (the world of the heart) which is equivalent to the aforementioned name. Eliana relates with that: Pranja, Jnana, Gnosis, knowledge within the human being, since when we know the divine through the conscious awareness, Tiphereth, it has to do with the certainty of the truth experienced in one's heart.
What we emphasize always is practice, not theories. If we want God to answer us, indicated through the name Eliana, we have to develop self-knowledge. We study the theory in the beginning, so that when we have the practical experience, we can orient ourselves appropriately. This is why we have so many different books; we have over seventy books from astrology to Tarot to Kabbalah, Alchemy, Tantra, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, many writings. But all of that is useless if we do not know how to work the consciousness, if we do not know how to develop the seed, so that it may sprout into a Buddha, an awakened being.
The person who initiates this type of effort, who works in a practical way, in Greek is known as μυστικός mystikos, which means "initiate." It comes from the Greek root myein, which means "to close the eyes." This is also the root word of "mystery," and in a very famous scripture known as The Voice of the Silence, transcribed by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, it says this:
"Before the soul can see, the Harmony within must be attained, and fleshly eyes be rendered blind to all illusion."
So it means to close the eyes to the misconceptions or the theories, the beliefs of many traditions and religions, and to really seek to experience what is internal, because this knowledge is completely internal. We have to really become blind to a lot of the concepts and misconceptions made about religion and spiritual practice, because generally humanity is focused on the external and ignores the treasures that we carry within our interior, that pine seed that can really blossom into something rare and beautiful.
It's necessary to learn how to close the eyes in a figurative sense. It doesn't mean we become naive or stupid; it just means we know how to live in this world with wisdom, to take advantage of it for our spiritual work, to use that so that we can really be of benefit, not only to ourselves, but to others in a genuine way. The mistake of many traditions, or the misconceptions about traditions, is that it is solely related with the external. This is what we call the Eye Doctrine in the scripture that I've quoted from, the doctrine of the physical eye, meaning we always look towards the physical world for answers and explanations, of phenomena or, better said, noumena, which is completely mystical and is not based on physical experience. It's something internal, more profound. And unfortunately, many schools of philosophy, many religions, they interpret the scriptures in a very literal way in accordance with theories, in accordance with the eye, with what is most easily seen, but it is very rare for a person to develop that internal sight in order to see within the scripture itself from living experience.
And the Master Jesus explained this very beautifully in the book of Matthew, Chapter 13:
And the disciples came and said to Him, "Why do you speak to them in parables?"
He answered and said to them, "Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven (myein, "to close the eyes," to see within"), but to them it has not been given (meaning that they have not awakened the consciousness to experience these things, which is our divine nature within).
For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance. But whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.
Therefore I speak to them in parables because seeing, they do not see, and hearing, they do not hear, nor do they understand.
And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says, 'Hearing, you will hear, and shall not understand, and seeing, you will see, and not perceive.'
For the hearts of this people have grown dull (relating with the Heart Doctrine). Their ears are hard of hearing, and their (spiritual) eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts, and turn, so that I should heal them.
But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear (since you have accomplished this through myein, closing your eyes to the illusions of the world), for assuredly I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desire to see what you see and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it. -Matthew 13:10-17
So he makes a very strong distinction between the exoteric and the esoteric, that which is readily perceived on the outside by external perception, meaning what we term in Gnosticism as the Sensual Mind, and then there one's inward perception through mystical exaltation of the consciousness. In Gnostic Psychology we refer to three types of mind:
But the Intermediate Mind is much different; it has to do with beliefs and theories. It has to do with concepts, things that, while we have not experienced them, we still think they are true; we do not know if they're true, but we may have a faith in a religion, and say, "Well, we should believe in Jesus and I feel like I'm saved because I have accepted Christ as my savior, and I'm done." And that's the Intermediate Mind, it relates with a type of mysticism which is not based in direct experience in the consciousness. It is a belief in the heart or a concept in the mind that is not backed by experiential evidence within the awakening of the psyche.
But then we have the Inner Mind, the Inner Mind which is the faculty of the consciousness. It is what can directly perceive in complete mystical experience the truths contained in religion, sometimes known as, perhaps, awakening in dreams, such as is described in the Book of Daniel, which relates with dreams; or the ladder of Jacob, in which he perceived the angels ascending and descending, from the superior to the inferior worlds.
It's the Inner Mind we seek to awaken and to develop. We say that when the Buddhata, the seed of the Buddha, is fully developed, then the Inner Mind is one hundred percent awakened. This is what we call faith. Belief is to think something is true, but we don't practically know. Real faith, a term that is so abused in this day, really means what we know. When Jesus said, "With faith the size of a mustard seed (like a pine seed), you can move mountains," he's not talking about belief. He's talking about experience, because when you know something is true, your conviction is very determined and solid. It's unshakeable, and even if many people think you're crazy for studying a type of teaching like this, a type of mysticism of wanting to experience the divine in a personal way, you know its true, and really, that won't bother you because when you "know the trutth, the truth shall set you free" (John 8:32).
It really has nothing to do with concepts, theories, beliefs, but we have to open the heart as Jesus says, to close the eyes to the physical world, close the eyes to the Sensual Mind, in order to perceive with the vision of the heart. Many masters are unanimous on this point. I'll quote for you probably the greatest Sufi Master that's lived. His name is Ibn 'Arabi, and this is from his book called Divine Governance of the Human Kingdom.
May God open the eyes of your heart, shedding His divine light. The angelic realm, which contains the potential of future creation, incorporeal existences, the meaning of all and everything to come, and divine power, is the element from which the visible world is created and, therefore the material world is under the influence and domination of the angelic realm. The movement, the sound, the voice, the ability to speak, to eat and to drink is not from the existences themselves in the visible, material world. They all pass through the invisible world of the angelic realm. We think that we see with our eyes. The information, the influences of perception, are due to our senses—while the real influence, the meaning of things, the power behind what sees and what is seen, can be reached neither by the senses, nor by deduction and analysis, comparison, contrasts, and associations made through intellectual theories. The invisible world can only be penetrated by the eye and the mind of the heart. Indeed, the reality of this visible also can only be seen by the mind and eye of the heart.
He's really talking about a superior type of perception, in which the divine nature that we have can see with clarity the very essence and nature of this phenomenal world, and it is through mystical experience that we see, particularly in meditation, or out of the body, that we see that this physical world is really quite crude and is not accurate. It doesn't convey the actual essence of what occurs on a psychological level, on an energetic level. This is why in Hinduism this world is Maya, is illusion; in order to delve past the illusions of the world (really, it's internal), we have to develop the heart through the experience and perception of the divine. Ibn 'Arabi continues:
What we think we see is but veils which hide the reality of things; things whose truth, whose meaning may not be revealed until these veils are lifted.
(If you're familiar with Freemasonry or Egyptian mysticism, we know about the veil of Isis. It's that covering or the illusions of the senses which prevents us from perceiving Divine Mother Nature, or the divinity that we carry within).
It is only when the dark veils of imagination and preconception are raised that the divine light will penetrate the heart, enabling the inner eye to see. Then either the sunlight or the light of a candle will become a metaphor for the divine light.
Gnosis is direct experience, and the very obstacle that prevents us from accessing those superior states, not just when we physically go to sleep and enter into those dream states, but on a moment to moment basis. It is only by learning to direct our attention from second to second, from instant to instant, that we can really lift the veil of Isis, to penetrate with our comprehension into the very nature of the divine, which subsists on a moment to moment basis.
As Samael Aun Weor wrote, "The truth is the unknowable from moment to moment." When we think we know, that's usually a sure indicator that we probably are very asleep, because the state of awakened perception, or Self-remembering or Self-observation, to be in the now, everything is new, and we recognize, "I don't know anything!" Like a child who is fascinated with the experience of life, and everything is fresh a new. This is really the psychological attitude that we need in every second, and we always have to go back and cultivate that. It is the foundation. It is the foundation of mystical experience. It is the means by which, through the practice of meditation, we cultivate, facilitate and activate those experiences.
Really, it comes to my mind, the story of a Tibetan Buddhist master, who was asked by a student of his, "So when do you meditate?" And he replied, "But I am always meditating!" In every second. It's by using that clarity of perception, which we call consciousness, Buddhata, Tathagarthagarba, the psyche, the soul.
The Body, Soul and Spirit of the Heart Doctrine
This is the very key that opens the door to religion, to true reunion with the divine. It is a moment to moment awareness, a moment to moment effort, and it is this key that is so lacking in many traditions today, which have really died and lost the Heart Doctrine contained within them, or we could say that their esoteric heart stopped beating. And this is why we see many scriptures interpreted so literally. And the great masters, the Rabbis of The Zohar warned about this many centuries ago, even in their own time. The Zohar is probably the most advanced scripture given by the Kabbalists of Israel. The ספר הזהר Sepher ha Zohar means "The Book of Splendors." Splendor is a reference to the Sephirah Tiphereth on the Tree of Life, for as we say in the Invocation of Solomon, "Mercy (Chesed חסד) and Justice (Geburah גבורה), be ye the equilibrium and splendor (Tiphereth תפארת) of my life!"
It is from Judaism where we derive a certain structure or dynamic in religion, which we actually find in all traditions and we're going to talk about this in relation with the Heart Doctrine. The Kabbalists say that there is a body, a soul, and a spirit to every doctrine. In Judaism, the Torah, the Books of Moses, along with the complete writings in the Tanakh, is known as the body of the doctrine. The Talmud, by the Kabbalists, is known as the soul of the doctrine. And then you have the spirit of the doctrine, which is The Zohar. You can see that these are varying levels of instruction.
Audience: The Talmud, that's a different writing from the Torah?
Speaker: Moses wrote the Torah, the body of law and instruction, but the Talmud is more of the philosophical discourse regarding Jewish mysticism and way of life. It's really more of the soul of the doctrine. Whereas the body of a doctrine is just the narrative, and you'll see from this quotation of this illustrates this fact. This is about "The Real Torah" from the Sepher ha Zohar:
Rabbi Simeon says: "Woe to the man who says that the Torah came to relate stories, simply and plainly, and simpleton tales about Esau and Laban and the like. If it was so, even at the present day we could produce a Torah from simplistic matters, and perhaps even nicer ones than those. If the Torah came to exemplify worldly matters, even the rulers of the world have among them things that are superior. If so, let us follow them and produce from them a Torah in the same manner. It must be that all items in the Torah are of a superior nature and are uppermost secrets.
Come and behold: the world above and the world below are measured with one scale. The children of Yisrael below correspond to the lofty angels above (which, going back to Ibn 'Arabi's quote, he's talking about the angelic realm, the physical realm, and their connection). It is written about the lofty angels: "who makes the winds his messengers" (Psalms 104:4). When they descend downwards, they are donned with the vestments of this world. If they had not acquired the dress for this world, they would not be able to exist in this world, and the world would not be able to stand them. And if this is so for the angels, how much more so is it for the Torah that created these messengers and all the worlds, that exist due to her. Once it was brought down to this world, if it had not donned all these covering garments of this world, which are the stories and simplistic tales, the world would not have been able to tolerate it.
It's because this type of teaching is too direct, and why all the great scriptures are really symbolic. So we see that from the angelic realm, the superior regions, the messengers and prophets, from which we get from the word angeloi or angels, come down in order to express this type of teaching, which is very abstract. So to explain it in completely abstract terms, people would not understand it, since those indoctrinated by the Sensual Mind and the five senses are less capable of grasping it. The fact that it's written in stories and parables is in order to convey a message, but if we interpret literally, in accordance with the Eye Doctrine, and not the heart, we fall into many absurdities, many mistakes.
So we say that the Torah, which interestingly enough means "instruction," "law," etc., is the same meaning as Dharma. The Torah and the Dharma are really the law, the instruction, the foundation of spiritual practice. The problem is that, due to the hypnosis of the senses, people are not capable of experiencing the truths that are contained in the scriptures in a symbolic form, because if we read just the literal meaning, it's really quite useless. It might feed a person's pride to read about the history of Israel; it is very literal to them. They think that there is no symbolism, and meanwhile the whole scripture is symbolic. It is a vestment, a dress:
Therefore, this story of the Torah is the mantle of the Torah. He who thinks that this mantle is the actual essence of the Torah and that nothing else is in there, let his spirit deflate and let him have no part in the world to come. Therefore, David said, "open my (spiritual) eyes (through myein, meditation), that I may behold wondrous things out of your Torah (your law and instruction)" (Psalms 119:18); that is, look what lies under that garment of the Torah.
Come and behold: there is a dress that is visible to everyone. The simple people, when they see a person dressed beautifully, who appears to them distinguished by his clothing, do not observe any further. They make their judgments about him according to his distinguished apparel and they consider the dress as the body of man, and the body of the person like his soul.
It's like what Polonius says in Hamlet, "For the apparel oft proclaims the man" (Act III.iii. 72). This is now taken in a more spiritual sense. We can even draw an interestingly parallel to Friedrich Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra, wherein his fictional prophet discusses the torpidity of the common man in relation with the things of the divine, as well as those "famous wise men" who say they follow the Heart Doctrine, but are in turn hypocrites and literal interpreters of the Torah, individuals we may otherwise denominate "tarantulas," to use the author's terminology:
But even in your virtues you remain for me part of the people, the dumb-eyed people—the people, who do not know what spirit is. -On the Famous Wise Men, Book II
We continue now with The Zohar:
Similar to this is the Torah. It has a body, which is composed of the commandments of the Torah that are called the 'body of the Torah'. This body is clothed with garments, which are stories of this world. The ignorant of the world look only at that dress, which is the story in the Torah, and are not aware of anything more. They do not look at what lies beneath that dress. Those who know more do not look at the dress, but rather at the body beneath that dress. The wise, the sages, the servants of the loftiest king (which is Christ, that divine intelligence known by many different names in religion), those that stood at mount Sinai, look only at the soul of the Torah, which is the essence of everything, the real Torah. In the destiny to come, they are destined to look at the soul, the soul of the Torah.
We find this structure and dynamic in all religions, and I'm going to draw this parallel amongst all religions, or some of the major ones that we know of that express this type of dynamic: a body, a soul and a spirit of a doctrine.
In the Buddhist sense, we have the following schools:
Yana means vehicle, and indicates a vehicle of instruction, a vehicle of giving forth the Torah, the law, the Dharma, whatever name or label you want to give it. Shravaka means "someone who listens," so in the beginning of any spiritual instruction, we have to listen first. The beginner always listens to receive that type of teaching, and therefore its the vehicle by which we take in that instruction for the first time.
Mahayana means "Greater Vehicle" and it relates more to how we work practically to help other people. You may be familiar with the term Bodhichitta, which we're going to talk about in relation with the soul of the doctrine. And then you have the spirit which is Tantrayana, the very essence, root or core of a doctrine, which is very advanced. Vajra means "lightning" or "diamond." So this indicates the most pure teaching we know of.
We find this even in Sufism.
Shari'ah is the written law or code of Islam, Al-Qur'an and Al-Hadith. This is the code of conduct any spiritual aspirant must fulfill. Such ethical discipline is the foundation of all religious practice and spiritual achievement.
Tariqah is the soul of the teachings, the practical techniques for achieving spiritual change. These practices have never been given openly by the Muslim initiates, but were transmitted by mouth to ear. However, we now have such techniques available in the writings of Samael Aun Weor. Tariqah also represents the philosophical teachings that explain Al-Qur'an and Al-Hadith, which we find in the Sufi writings of Rumi, Ibn 'Arabi, Al-Qushayri, and others.
Haqiqah is the truth, the realization of divine spiritual truths within the many explications of the great Sufi Masters. One example is the poetry of Mansur al-Hallaj, the Muslim Christ, who was tortured and killed for pronouncing أنا الحق Anā l-Ḥaqq (I am the Truth!). Truly, this master completely embodied the Heart Doctrine, since he had no psychological impurities in his mind; he had completely awakened his Inner Mind and embodied the truth.
With this explanation about the body, soul and spirit of any doctrine, we can now understand the following words from the Prophet Muhammad:
The outer law (shari'ah) is my word,
the spiritual path (tariqah) my actions,
and the inner reality (haqiqah) my inner states.—Muhammad
In relation with the Heart Doctrine, the very heart of a teaching is Tantrayana; it is the secret teachings, in relation with alchemy, Tantra, the very highest yoga practices, which were not given to any student unless they proved themselves worthy.
Right now we live in a very different age of accessibility and information, and the fact that people need this teaching, that we need the tools and techniques, such knowledge is given openly. It's given more readily so people can practice. But in the past this was conserved. If you're familiar with astrology, the age of Pisces, during the times of Jesus, things were very conservative in relation with the dissemination of the esoteric knowledge. The Kabbalists of Israel were very selective and they did not want to give the teachings openly, but you see that Jesus went forth and started publicly these sorts of things, and they reacted very violently, because they were very conservative.
Tantra and alchemy was not given so openly. It was given to those who proved their worth, first of all, by fulfilling the very foundations of spiritual practice, by demonstrating that they could enter into the Heart Doctrine through practical experience. Truly, the Shravakayana, the Dharma, the Torah, in the very foundations of practice, is given very beautifully and simplistically in the Four Noble Truths of the Buddha, because a Shravakayana practitioner, someone who is working the very foundations of ethics and practice so that they can experience these types of things, has to understand the nature of Karma.
Ethics, Renunciation and Karma
Karma is simply a law of cause and effect, but it is not so simple, because we have many internal processes that occur even without us knowing about it, physical, emotional and psychological. Karma is a topic of its own, but we'll introduce this in relation with the body of the doctrine.
So the First Noble Truth states that, "In life, there is suffering." The person has to acknowledge that there is suffering in this life in order to want to change. If we're attached to our way of life we will not seek to improve it. It's the recognition that suffering exists where we inquire into their causes, the Second Noble Truth, and when we see that there are specific causes to suffering, that certain actions are being produced which inevitably bring negative results to us, we realize that there is an antidote called "cessation." Cessation refers to the end of the causes of suffering, the Third Noble Truth. By the very fact that we discover cessation, we discover that there is a path, the Fourth Noble Truth towards the cessation of suffering.
Really we are delivering this knowledge of the Heart Doctrine in the Kabbalistic and Buddhist way, particularly in relation with the mantra Om Masi Padme Hum that we performed prior to this discussion, because it tends to be more readily familiar than, say, the Sufi tradition. However, we felt it important to explain this aspect of the Heart Doctrine since many are not familiar with it. We also emphasize Buddhism by the fact that the Buddha synthesized the Heart Doctrine very beautifully. However, we find the Four Noble Truths in all religions.
There is suffering. Obviously suffering has causes which we produce. There exists the cessation of the causes of suffering, and there is a path, just as Jesus taught, "Straight is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it" (Matthew 7:14).
As I was saying that the foundation of the body of a doctrine is understanding the nature of cause and effect, the nature of Karma, how Karma actually functions, how we actually produce results. That's an enigma in itself, since often times we will try to present something and perform a certain action, only to not produce the result that we want. Such as in interrelations. We may think that we said something funny or something good, and it produces a bad result.
But we all do this, we all have certain ways of being ignorant, of causing suffering, and it is this type of ignorance which prevents us from accessing the more deeper levels of spiritual practice, the Heart Doctrine, of going further into the experience of the divine.
We find certain foundations or descriptions within each stage. Shravakayana is in relation with ethics and renunciation. It means that the very foundation to know what is right and know what is wrong; do what is right and don't do what is wrong. We find this in the ten commandments of Judaism. We find this in the ten virtuous and non-virtuous actions of Tibetan Buddhism, which we synthesize into body, speech and mind. It's a very interesting parallel in relation with the levels of instruction of these teachings: the body, soul and spirit of a doctrine.
We categorize it in this way because there are sins of the body, sins of speech, relating with the heart, with emotions, and sins of the mind. So these are the three brains of Gnostic psychology: intellect, emotions, and movement or the motor brain.
We have a presentation of certain literal vows that we need physically; however, the real work is to fulfill them psychologically. That's really where the Heart Doctrine starts to enter in relation with the Shravakayana path, the very foundation, because it's one thing not to physically kill a person, steal from them; it's one thing not to hurt someone physically through violence, but if we observe ourselves psychologically, we can be doing all those things and worse in our mind, since we feel that no one can perceive what exactly is going on. We feel, "Well I am isolated. I can think all the negative things I want; I can feel all the negative things I want." Meanwhile that brings consequences, because thoughts and feelings relate with matter and energy. It's not physical. It relates with the subtle dimensions, such as with the Astral Plane, Hod, in Kabbalah; Netzach, the mind, on the Tree of Life.
Even if we may not express anger with words, we can kill with a bad glance, a bad look. Energy travels great distances, even if we are not perceptive of this fact. This is why we can sense if a person is upset even if they make no outward indications of such; this is known as the science of telepathy or transience: the transference of psychological and mental energies within interpersonal relations. Without unjust reason, then, Samael Aun Weor stated within The Major Mysteries:
"It is as bad to talk when one must be silent as to be silent when one must talk. There exist criminal silences as well as indignant words."
Stealing does not only include material things, but taking credit for another person's ideas, concepts, or spiritual teachings. The latter type of theft is the worst and is most common. Many fanatics of spirituality steal the teachings of the great prophets and adulterate them, claiming them for their own. We find this all throughout spiritual movements, whether of Theosophy, Rosicrucianism, Hermetic philosophy, eastern yoga, and even Gnosis. Those who steal the teachings of others and claim them for their own, without paying due respect to the Guru, are those who indefinitely follow the Eye Doctrine. For as H. P. Blavatsky transcribed in the aforementioned scripture, The Voice of the Silence:
"The Doctrine of the Eye is for the crowd, the Doctrine of the Heart, for the elect. The first repeat in pride: 'Behold, I know,' the last, they who in humbleness have garnered, low confess, "thus have I heard.'"
Sexual misconduct is any negative action that abuses the sexual energy, principally through fornication, the loss of seminal energy through the orgasm, and adultery, which is not only physical, but psychological. There is adultery in the mind whenever someone feels lust in his mind and heart towards another person. This was indicated by Jesus in the Gospels, but also the Lord Buddha two thousand five hundred years ago.
Lying, divisive speech, hurtful speech, and senseless speech are abuses of the Verb, the Word, which is Christ. Whenever a person utilizes the verb in these manners, the mind and soul suffer the consequences, which is again the adulteration of forces within the psyche. God is the Truth, and to lie is to sin against the Father. We have to remember that Christ is not a person, but a cosmic energy. Therefore, to sin is not some moral burden upon our shoulders, but a misappropriation of energies. Hurtful speech, divisive words, or senseless speech as with many who claim to "speak in tongues," abuse the Verb and disturb their minds tremendously, making them greater candidates for suffering, simply because they take the harmonious energies of Christ and use them in negative ways.
Covetousness does not only involve desire towards material objects, but even psychic powers. Many students enter esotericism wanting spiritual powers, to accomplish mind control, which is one hundred percent negative. Christ respects free will, and to dominate another person in this way is very bad. To covet powers is also useless and eventually converts one into a magician of darkness, since the only true power belongs to the Lord. The great initiates always renounce power, fame and glory and surrender everything to God. This is hidden within the Arabic word Islam, which means "submission to the will of God."
Oftentimes such sentiments are fueled by malice, wanting to gain power in order to harm. It is not my purpose in this lecture to go so much into the consequences, but to help us reflect on how we commit these types of errors within ourselves on a daily basis. This is in order to awaken the comprehension of the heart, to enter into the Heart Doctrine.
Wrong views entails ignorance of Karma, a lack of perception of reality which makes us act in wrong ways. This is the root of our suffering: our lack of comprehension of the causes of suffering within our psyche.
So our thoughts produce consequences. In the very exoteric level, we must stop; we should not do those things physically, because it's going to create bad energy, and if we try to meditate with a mind that's so disturbed, we will not be able to comprehend anything; it will be too chaotic.
What we want is to go into how it applies to our mind, how it applies to our hearts, because that is really where the work is. There's also many types of behaviors are generally so condoned in this society that we accept them, such as idle chatter; just talking, something we think is really innocent. The great master Swami Sivananda said that "Idle chatter is the diarrhea of the tongue." Truly it is, because people are something like volcanoes, just belching out words without comprehending where it's coming from or the effect they have.
This type of behavior disturbs the mind. If we try to sit and meditate after a very chaotic day, where we don't have enough restraint on our mind or actions, meditation becomes very difficult; Self-observation becomes very difficult. Trying to see the roots of our problems becomes very difficult. This is why renunciation alongside ethics is the foundation. We have to renounce these types of habits on a moment to moment basis, not just saying "Well, I'm not going to do that again," and we get into the same situation and repeat the same thing. The real effort is finding yourself running towards the cliff and finding yourself at the ledge, refraining and saying, "I'm not going to do that," and then stopping before the fall. It could be a moment of restraint. The Buddha said this is a wonderful moment; that really shows we are working to change and are changing, if we can stop ourselves from acting in habitually negative ways.
If we find ourselves beginning to act a certain way that is contrary to the teachings, or thinking negative thoughts, but stopping ourselves through comprehension, renouncing them and letting ourselves relax, not identifying, that is a strong indication that we are developing our ethics.
Ethics is really the foundation of concentration. It is impossible to concentrate in meditation if our mind is disturbed, if we do not have enough restraint. This is what the Buddha said in the Dhammapada, the very first lines: "Mind precedes phenomena. We become what we think." So if our thoughts are garbage, if our thoughts are very negative, then that is what our life is going to be externally. It's how we are going to react and relate to others, or how we're going to affect other people.
Sivananda gave some beautiful quotes in relation with this: "Students fail in meditation because they lack ethics" and "Concentration without purity is useless." Pretty strong coming from a man who is generally considered to be laid back and happy, but he had a very strong Martian side to him, very disciplined nature, and we really have to be like that. We need to be focused; to be disciplined, but not militant; to be strong and firm, but flexible; because it's one thing to adopt this type of conduct, "I can't do harmful things; I can't think harmful thoughts," but to do it in a repressive way is wrong; it will get us nowhere. And I have seen that happen with many people, who have been so effected trying to adopt a spiritual practice when doing so in a very cloistered way, helping them become very negative and morbid people. They perceived how much negativity they have within and they don't know how to deal with it.
The thing is just to relax. If we catch ourselves doing negative things, thinking negative thoughts, then just relax. Be firm. Observe, be concentrated, but don't be paranoid, because the truth is we carry a lot of degeneration, a lot of negative habits, negative qualities, but it's by renouncing those habits, in a calm way, that we grow spiritually. You know that in an argument you can be forceful without being offensive. "You know, I agree with you, but this is my space." You can assert yourself without being overbearing. The same with spiritual discipline, except the one we are up against is our own mind.
This is the type of gentle and affirming attitude that we need in relation with ethics, how to control the mind, without storming and thundering like Zeus, "This is not how I want things to be!" But really, true strength and force is relaxed, firm but gentle.
Bodhichitta and the Heart Doctrine
This is just the foundation of the Heart Doctrine. The Heart Doctrine is founded upon these principles of ethics and spirituality, but we find through investigation and practice that this is just the groundwork for the path itself, the Heart Doctrine itself:
The Dharma of the "Eye" is the embodiment of the external, and the non-existing.The Dharma of the "Heart" is the embodiment of Bodhi, the Permanent and Everlasting. -H. P. Blavatsky, The Voice of the Silence
Bodhi means wisdom. As I mentioned to you before, the term Bodhichitta, which is essential to Mahayana Buddhism and is essential in Gnosis, since these traditions are unanimous. Bodhichitta literally means "wisdom-mind," "wisdom-heart," or "wisdom-consciousness," and we know from Kabbalah that wisdom in Hebrew is חכמה Chokmah, which is Christ, so really we can say that this is "Christ-mind."
As I said, Christ is not anthropomorphic. Christ is an intelligence, is a force, which we find in all of nature and can become personalized in any individuals that have developed themselves to incarnate that, and Jesus is probably the most beautiful example of this fact, because he is a very elevated master. For example, we look at light bulbs, which are just the vehicles for the expression of light, and the light itself is that energy, Christ. Any terrestrial person is just the vehicle through which the light of the Lord can express Himself.
This brings us to another important term, if you're familiar with the Mahayana term in Buddhism: Bodhisattva. As I said, bodhi is light or wisdom, sattva means incarnation. So an incarnation of wisdom is somebody that has developed him or herself to the point where they actually have that intelligence within themselves, that they are working in a very superior way; symbolized by the birth of Jesus in the stable, and how he grows up into a complete and full human being, fulfilling the life, passion, crucifixion, death, resurrection and ascension of Christ.
We use the term Bodhisattva in relation with individuals who have achieved what we call mastery. This is a very high level of development, but it is, we can say, the beginning of a much greater spiritual evolution, or better said: revolution. Upon achieving mastery, these initiates may incarnate that intelligence if, on the sole condition, they worked to help others. So it's one thing to reach that type of height in spiritual development, it's another thing to incarnate Christ, because in Mahayana Buddhism we understand that alongside the Bodhisattvas are what we call the Pratyeka Buddhas or Shravakas.
Bodhisattvas and Pratyeka Buddhas are initiates, meaning that they worked in teachings of alchemy, teachings of spiritual development, working with the force we call Kundalini, the fire of the Holy Spirit, raising that fire from the coccyx to the pineal gland and into the heart within successive dimensions, which relate with the lower five spheres of the Tree of Life. And when reaching the sphere of Tiphereth, one attains mastery, as a beginner. It is highly significant that when you imagine a person transposed upon this Hebraic glyph, Tiphereth aligns and relates with the heart. It's the human soul, the human consciousness developed into a master. Yet remember that even upon reaching those heights known as Nirvana, very blissful states, not all of them become Bodhisattvas. There are really two paths that open up when you reach those heights of what's called mastery.
The Pratyeka Buddhas follow the spiral path.But the Bodhisattvas follow something very different and very radical, called the direct path. Both paths eventually lead to the original source of the divine, what we call the Absolute. Some know It as Parabrahma, Allah; we use the term Christ as a type of impersonal force and intelligence within creation. But really is that uncreated source, which both the spiral and direct paths lead to, but in very different ways, with very different results.
This is really the very Heart Doctrine, because Tiphereth, the human soul, relates with the heart, and if we are fortunate enough to reach those stages of development some day, it's a very major decisions: to choose between the spiral path of the Pratyeka Buddhas and the direct path of the Bodhisattvas who incarnate Christ, is something very significant. You can read about it in The Three Mountains by Samael Aun Weor. But really, the spiral path is a very long trajectory which takes many cosmic days, known as Mahamanvantaras, periods of activity in which entire universes are born, and pass away with cosmic nights or Mahapralayas.
It takes many cosmic days on the spiral path, very slow, because those individuals choose not to renounce the happiness of Nirvana, and if you experience Nirvana, you can see why, because it is blissful.
Audience: If a person took the spiral path, do they return?
Speaker: It depends upon their karma, because we know that Nirvana is governed by laws. The Tree of Life, whether in the very heights or the bottom of this physical world, is governed by karmic laws. Nirvana is governed by periods of activity and repose. When Nirvana enters into activity, the Nirvanis or initiates of that realm will have to physically incarnate because of cause and effect, because of past karma that they owe. We know, given through the writings of Samael Aun Weor, that Nirvana is in a period of activity, and many Pratyeka Buddhas have physical bodies.
The problem in general is that it's very easy to fall again. You reach those heights, and then you come back to the physical world and are tempted to make mistakes again. So they lose the doctrine of the heart in their level, right? But a Bodhisattva is someone who renounces everything, is a being that is very revolutionary, which is considered very scandalous.
It comes into my mind the Prophet Muhammad. Very radical. Jesus. Very radical. Buddha. Very radical. They created many enemies cause they go against everything that is wrong and unfortunately, pretty much everything about this planet is wrong.
With the direct path, it's very straight; it's short, but its very difficult, because the initiate pays his karma entirely in one life. That is really the essence of the Heart Doctrine. For one thing we have ethics and renunciation; this is the foundation in the beginning. But with Bodhichitta, with Christ-mind, with altruism and inspiration to help others, we take on everything: all the suffering of this planet on our shoulders, the cross of Jesus, in order to help humanity, to transform it.
That is really the beauty of the great initiates. When I think that I have problems and difficulties, I look at the life of Jesus, and see how much he was despised and hated by everybody, but he just returned that type of negativity with love, sincere gratitude or those people. Bodhichitta is really that. Bodhichitta is composed to two principles:
Emptiness, Prajna, in Buddhism, is the very primordial root of nature and existence. It's a type of emptiness or space, which if you recall from the Book of Genesis, "And the world was formless and void, and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the deep." It's what we call the Abstract Absolute Space. It is the Nothingness or space, which does not indicate nihilism like many people think when they study Buddhism and react with horror.
It is emptiness, but the genuine type of existence beyond our concepts. That is the Heart Doctrine, the realization of That, even if it's just in a minor Samadhi, which in truth is not that minor. If you find yourself entering the Illuminating Void, that is really where we can say that Bodhichitta is strengthened. Let us remember that Bodhichitta is comprehension of Karma, cause and effect, inter-causal relations, in relation with ethics. It is the understanding of the impermanence of phenomena, coupled with conscious love. Many schools of Buddhism, and I've even heard many Gnostic instructors saying "Well, it's either one or the other." But it's not—it's both.
If you really have love for a person, conscious love, it's because you understand that they are suffering from Karma, that they are afflicted by causes and conditions. When you see that this is impermanent, that nothing is really stable in life, that everything is inherently empty of intrinsic existence and depends upon specific causes—we do not fall into nihilism, which is due to the fact that we understand we have existence and comprehend the nature of cause and effect.
When we see how impermanent psychological states are, we can truly forgive a person very easily, such as if he or she is angry at us for one moment, and nice to us in the next. There's really nothing to get angry about. Usually, we think, "Oh, he's angry at me!" Or "She's angry at me!" Or "Oh, he's being nice to me!" "She's being nice to me!" However, none of that is permanent. None of that is. It's really on this basis of the impermanence of nature that we can develop real understanding and compassion, the Heart Doctrine, to develop Tiphereth and Bodhichitta.
In the beginning of our spiritual practice we always try to develop ethics and change ourselves in certain ways through renunciation. But what we want also is to develop Bodhichitta, that altruistic love for other beings through comprehension of emptiness, Karma and impermanence, which is the essence of the heart, the Heart Doctrine; it's real wisdom. Understanding that there is karma, that things are interdependent, that nothing is separated or isolated, and that we affect others, we develop genuine concern for others to the point that we don't even exist in an egotistical sense, but are always giving out as much as we can to the best of our ability. That is really what Bodhichitta is.
Tantrayana / Vajrayana: The Diamond Vehicle
However, this is really not the end. There is the Vajrayana or Tantrayana path, which is the most revolutionary and difficult to understand. As I said, vajra can mean "diamond" or "lightning," and a vajra is a symbol of power utilized within ceremonies of Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism, the meaning of which will be clarified shortly. The real essence or the spirit of a doctrine, the heights of spirituality, is the understanding of Prajna or emptiness, and it is precisely through the vajra that we can come to know the truth. First we need to develop ourselves in our practice through ethics, renunciation and comprehension of Karma, followed with the generation and strengthening of Bodhichitta, wherein we work to make changes within ourselves and ascend higher.
Despite the beauty of this level of teaching, the real heights of the Vajrayana path is really the experience of the Absolute in meditation, where we fall asleep, and our soul goes to the Void, the space, which is so amazingly symbolized in the beginning of one of Wagner's operas, Das Rheingold from Der Ring Des Nibelungen or The Ring of the Nibelungen, which is literally about one hundred and thirty eight bars of music in the same key, which is symbolizing that ocean, the space that keeps on going, and going, and going. It is very overwhelming; that is really the nature of the emptiness, the Void.
Understand that this is not something we will immediately come to understand, since first we learn through the intellect through concepts. To experience it as a Heart Doctrine is another thing. But that's why we study first, so that when we find ourselves in a samadhi having that experience, we will have more courage because we will understand what's going on. So it won't be as terrifying, although to the ego it is very terrifying, because every sense of self, security that we have in the egotistical self, really becomes annihilated before That, to become one and merge with that universal soul, universal compassion, without shackles or limitations, truly beyond this universe of relativity and Karma, cause and effect.
The wisdom of Prajna or emptiness has been known by different names, and so while I am teaching this in the Buddhist flavor, you can see how this applies to all religions irregardless. In the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism, this philosophy of emptiness is known as Dzogchen, founded by Padmasambhava, who was an Indian Master of the eighth century, considered the second Buddha in comparison to Gautama Sakyamuni due to his knowledge and level of attainment. We also have Mahamudra, which is practiced by the other three schools of Tibetan Buddhism: Gelug, Sakya and Kagyu. Really these two philosophies are synonymous, they really have the same meaning.
Dzogchen translates into "Great Perfection" and Mahamudra means "Truth Seal." This is going to be very significant in relation with other traditions besides Buddhism. I will read for you what Samael Aun Weor wrote in Zodiacal Course:
"The Doctrine of the Heart is called the seal of the truth, or the Truth Seal."
In Islam, we know that the Prophet Muhammad is known as "the Seal of the Prophets." And what does a prophet teach? He teaches the truth. He is the seal of the truth. That is Mahamudra, even given as the identity of a great initiate. For example, if you're familiar with Al-Miraj, which is the ascent of the Prophet into the superior worlds or seven heavens, he rides on a mystical animal called Al-Buraq. The word "b-r-q" means "lightning." Lightning is a vajra. Vajra relates with Dzogchen, Mahamudra, the Truth Seal, the Seal of the Prophets.
So we see that Muhammad is a master of tantra, or Vajrayana. That's how he ascended to the superior worlds. Padmasambhava said this about Dzogchen:
"It is the secret, unexcelled cycle of the supreme vehicle of Tantra, the true essence of the definitive meaning; the short path for attaining Buddhahood in one life."
This is the straight path, the direct path of the Bodhisattva, and as it says in the very opening of Al-Qur'an, Al-Fatihah:
In the name of Allah , the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful.
All praise is due to Allah , Lord of the worlds -
The Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful,
Sovereign of the Day of Recompense.
It is You we worship and You we ask for help.
Guide us to the straight path -
The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favor, not of those who have evoked Your anger or of those who are astray.
So we really find the essence of alchemy in the Vajrayana path, the very heights in all religions. It's very interesting that Dzogchen is the "Great Perfection" or that Mahamudra is the "Truth Seal." Muhammad was the seal of the truth, seal of the prophets, and if you know Kabbalah, the sphere of תפארת Tiphereth, relating with the heart, begins and ends with the Hebrew letter ת Tav. The letter ת Tav is literally the "seal." It means "covenant," and really this is the seal of covenant of the heart, about developing Bodhichitta.
Now Bodhichitta in Tantra has more connotations. It is synonymous with sexual energy, which is the very power of the Holy Spirit in the body, the psyche. Bodhichitta can be represented by the masons as the Cubic Stone, the stone has to be chiseled. This relates with the stone that the builders rejected and is really the foundation stone of the temple. In relation with Muhammad, he was meditating in the Mosque of Mecca (Al-Masjid-al-Haram), near the cubic stone, and its from that stone of Bodhichitta, the vajra, the lightning bolt, the fire of Kundalini, which rises from the spinal column to the heavens, took him all the way to the very heights.
And it's described in Al-Hadith, which is the Muslim oral tradition, that he was before Allah and it's impossible to give attributes to that. Really the scriptures are saying Allah is emptiness, the space, the primordial root nature of our consciousness, which is pure happiness and divine nature, without form.
Although we have not mentioned this earlier, there is a powerful scripture by the name of the Heart Sutra, or Prajna-paramita Sutra, which elaborates on the nature of the emptiness and ultimate wisdom of the awakened consciousness. To discuss the implications of this work would take many lectures, but here we are referencing it for further study.
Really, the emptiness or void is the spirit of a doctrine. That is really the Heart Doctrine. This is why we say in the Shravakayana level we don't fully grasp this, because it really takes a lot of heart in order to renounce our egotism, to develop spiritually, to really develop ethics. The problem is that many exoteric traditions do not have the Heart Doctrine. There really is no Heart Doctrine there, it's just theories; many discussions and polemics, arguments over terms. All of that has to do with the loss of the heart in many people, where there isn't even that genuine longing to change. That genuinely longing for that seed, Pinocchio, to develop into a true human being.
The Master Jesus explains it in this way in Matthew 13:19-23:
Therefore hear the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside.
But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy.
Yet he who has no root in himself, but endures only for awhile, for when tribulation or persecution arises because of the Word, immediately he stumbles.
Now he who receives seed among the thorns is he who hears the Word and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the Word, and it becomes unfruitful.
But he who receives seed on the good ground, is he who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and produces, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
The Christian Gospels relates with a much more ancient scripture, The Voice of the Silence as we have been discussing.
The seeds of Wisdom cannot sprout and grow in airless space. To live and reap experience the mind needs breadth and depth and points to draw it towards the Diamond Soul.
Diamond soul refers to vajra, or Vajrasattva, or Vajrayana. So really the seed can become that if we develop it progressively through the different stages of practice.
"Great Sifter" is the name of the "Heart Doctrine," O disciple.
The wheel of the good Law moves swiftly on. It grinds by night and day. The worthless husks it drives from out the golden grain, the refuse from the flour. The hand of Karma guides the wheel; the revolutions mark the beatings of the Karmic heart.
True knowledge is the flour, false learning is the husk. If thou would'st eat the bread of Wisdom (Prajna, emptiness), thy flour thou hast to knead with Amrita's clear waters (relating with alchemy, the science of transmutation). But if thou kneadest husks with Maya's dew, thou canst create but food for the black doves of death, the birds of birth, decay and sorrow.
While this is just an explanation of the structures of religious practice, these are the degrees and stages by which the heart develops. These are levels of development, levels of practice. Generally when we work in meditation, the foundation is concentration. We learn to control the mind, so we can concentrate in order to really meditate. In relation with practice, we see that these three schools are synthesized again. Samael Aun Weor categorized this very simply and beautifully in one of his books of astrology, specifically the chapter on Leo:
This is a much more simplified didactic of some of the more Hindu or Raja Yoga models.
So we learn to concentrate. When we learn how to concentrate our mind on one thing, really the heart will open up to the experience of the divine. Meditation is really a state in which you receive new information, where as a lake on a mountain top, you reflect the starry heavens of the Being. And when you have enough stillness and concentration of mind, where you mind is focused, your heart opens up spontaneously. Then Prajna, the spirit, wisdom, will enter into you in a moment of comprehension. It doesn't necessarily mean you're going to find yourself flying out of your body. That can happen, and if you practice diligently, it will happen. Those types of experiences will unfold, cause naturally if you're setting forth the causes and conditions for Dharma, fruit will naturally grow as a result of that.
So the Heart Doctrine is hidden within the body, the soul and the spirit, but more so in the spirit. We say that the body is exoteric, the soul is mesoteric, and the spirit is esoteric, coming from the Greek esoterikos, mesoterikos and esoterikos. And really, an intiate, a mystikos, who closes the eyes to the exterior senses, awakens the heart and experiences those things for him or herself.
Questions and Answers
Audience: You touched more in the beginning on the nature of belief and how we should have preference toward experience rather than theories. If I remember right, from what I've read, I guess belief, such as when the Bible tells you to believe, it's not just telling you to accept theory. It's, when traced back to the Latin root, it has a context that people are not even aware of in the present day, and it's been ruined and gutted out by the Catholic Church.
Speaker: The word belief comes from "be" and lieve, or "love," which is where we get the word libido. As I mentioned in Tantric practice, Bodhichitta is synonymous with sexual energy, how we use that force. The first commandment of Moses, as was given by Jesus of Nazareth, explains this. Someone asked him, "What is the highest commandment that exists?"
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. --Matthew 22:37
This relates with the three brains of Gnostic esoteric psychology, the heart, the mind, and the soul, or waters of sex. This is what it means to be a "believer," one who knows how to "be" through the power of love, the science of alchemy. Alchemy, as we have studied in the last lecture, is Allah Khemia, "to fuse with God," to reunite with that. A real believer is someone who knows this type of alchemical science and you find this in the Qur'an too. This really was the original intention in the word "belief." Many people, however, would think that the way we're expressing it is in the literal sense, to just think that a concept is true with one's mind. But it's much more deeper than that.
Audience: That would only be using one of the three brains? But then the real meaning of belief is to have action, or performing religion within all three brains.
Speaker: Yes. It is not just an intellectual concept. It's not just a feeling in the heart. Or sensations. It has to do with our actions.
Like when someone says they believe in the cross. What does that really mean? Well the cross is alchemical, because the vertical beam is the phallus and the horizontal beam is the uterus. Together they form the symbol of the Holy Spirit, which is Father, masculine, יה Jah, and Mother, feminine, Eve, חוה Chavah.
Even the symbol of Islam is alchemical too, because you have the crescent moon and the star of Venus. The moon relates with Yesod, the sexual energy or Bodhichitta. The star of Venus is the Divine Mother. So this indicates how you work with that energy through the power or love, to be a believer. That is what a believer is in the true sense of the word. But when I'm talking about what people term belief, it's in the completely exoteric sense.
Audience: You made a very interesting point about the symbol of Islam with the star and the moon. I tended to think that that's a lot like the cross too because you said that there are masculine and feminine components. Isn't that what you're seeing with the moon? The star and the moon would be like the sun, masculine and the moon would be feminine?
Speaker: The Divine Mother, the Virgin Mary dressed in a blue mantle in the Assumption, standing over the moon, has to convert it into a sun, a star. And that is really what the symbol of Islam signifies.
It gets even more alchemical in relation with yoga, because generally you find crosses on the tops of churches, and the symbol of the crescent moon and the star on the top of a mosque. Really the body is a temple, and the very top is the chakra Sahasrara, which is the very highest chakra in relation with omniscience, Samadhi, Mahasamadhi, experiences with the most elevated aspects of the Tree of Life.
So we see that the cross has to be carried from the bottom of the spinal column and raise it to the very heights. When we see the cross at the very height, it's referring to alchemy, how we raise that energy to the very top of the pineal gland. In the mosque too we find the same thing. The moon is related with the angel Gabriel, and Gabriel, or Jibril in the Qur'an, is often referred to by Muslims as the Holy Spirit. So it's the same thing. The Holy Spirit is really found by raising the moon in our sexual glands to the brain, transforming it into a sun, from a feminine lunar force to a solar masculine force, to the very heights of realization. This is what a church or a mosque indicates in their architecture.
Audience: The church is the body itself?
Speaker: It also relates with the Tree of Life, because the cross has four points, related with Father, Son, Holy Spirit, and the very root of existence, God, Ain Soph, otherwise known as the Star of Bethlehem, the root of our Being. The Holy Spirit, in relation with Gabriel, is the same thing, the very heights of realization that we find in the pineal gland, and the cross relates with the four elements: earth (the physical body), water (sexuality), fire (heart), and air (mind). And this also relates with the Hebrew letters:
א Aleph - Air
ש Shin - Fire
מ Mem - Water
These constitute the three mother letters of Kabbalah. With ה Hei, the Earth, we can spell השם Hashem, literally translating as "The Name," and is used as a term of respect in the place of יהוה Iod-Chavah, the sacred name of God. Such as in the saying, אדני ברוך השם Baruch Hashem Adonai, "Blessed be the name of the Lord."
We see that just as our inner Being is a Tetragrammaton: Father, Son, Holy Spirit and Ain Soph, even our physical body is a Tetragram, in relation with alchemy and the cross. In synthesis, a believer uses the cross of their body in order to practice transmutation or alchemy, to fuse oneself with God.
Audience: Am I remembering this right? The I, the A, and the O represent the superior elements?
This is the Latin version of the same thing. IAO among the Gnostics is considered one of the most powerful mantras of the Lord.
I - Ignis, Fire, ש
A - Aqua, Water מ
O - Origo, Air א
We demonstrate that we are true believers by how we use our sexual force for God, our Bodhichitta, which is the root of all creation as symbolized in the Book of Genesis, the Garden of Eden, because we have a physical body, the earth, and the three other elements, which relate with God. So really we are a miniature cosmos, a human being that needs to be standing upright before God. That is what a believer is, to use all three letters, the fire (heart), the air (mind) and the water (sex). Usually most people are just using their air, thinking "Well, I think God is real," when they don't really know. They do not follow the Heart Doctrine at all, because they really have no experience.
Spiritual creation is a combination of the three; the four elements.
Audience: You're talking in relation with the cross those three, if I remember correctly in relation with those three top points of the cross itself, and then the one element that is not talked about, which is the bottom point. So that there is earth, air, fire and water.
Speaker: Yes, the earth can relate with the bottom point, since that is where one is grounded. That is if the cross is stable. However, we also talk about the cross in motion, the swastika, which is a very sacred symbol amongst many religions, but was unfortunately abused and misappropriated by a mistaken group of people who exclusively considered themselves "Aryan." We have to remember that the zodiacal sign of Aries relates with fire and that all of humanity is governed by that force, sign the God of Aries, Samael, is working intensely through our current zodiac, Aquarius.
When we see the swastika in motion, like in Tibetan Buddhism or Hinduism, it's really all the elements in motion; they're mixing. All the forces of the swastika mingle together, such as with the chakras. When all of the chakras are activated, it's not like one activates over the other: they work harmoniously, in unison. So if you have experiences of clairvoyance or clairaudience, usually it's in combination with many things. These psychic phenomena don't tend to remain so isolated. Just like any normal experience: you have thought, feeling and sensation. They usually happen all mixed together. This makes it hard to isolate specific phenomena, whether in the external or our internal worlds, our psychology. This is what makes access to the Heart Doctrine so difficult, because we tend to be very confused in our three brains and how they function.
Audience: I've read some articles on the swastika where they say it's not even supposed to be pointed in a particular direction, since one represents the wheel of life and the other the wheel of death.
Speaker: There is that connotation. One of the directions represents the actualization of the Mahamanvantara, which means the creation of the Tree of Life, the expansion of existence out of the Absolute, that primordial root nature of consciousness, into manifestation, into this creation that we have.
Then we have the other direction, the Mahapralaya, the cosmic night, where the universe gets absorbed back into the Absolute, symbolized by the days and nights of Brahma. When Brahma exhales, we have creation. When he inhales, all of that returns to the source. So we always have periods of activity and repose, intimately related with t he breath of God, and it is the wind, the spirit, אAleph, that rotates the swastika in motion.
As I mentioned, Nirvana has periods of activity and repose. What we're talking about now is a much grander cosmic scale, represented in the swastika or Gnostic Cross.
Originally, the counter-clockwise swastika used to represented how manifested creation, the Tree of Life, unfolded from the Absolute, the emptiness, the Prajna. However, since we have entered into Malkuth, the physical world, that swastika needs to return back to the divine origin, the emptiness. This is symbolized by the clockwise swastika which we find depicted in Buddhist art. The swastika should rotate now to the right, clockwise, towards the Absolute, for the left, counter-clockwise, indicates a fall into even more dense states of matter and energy. We are in Malkuth, as I said, and we do not need to descend further into the infernal worlds, which is signified by the counter-clockwise Nazi Swastika, a symbol of degeneration and black magic.
The essence of a true believer, a follower of the Heart Doctrine, Bodhichitta, is the work with the cross: they use everything they have, but most importantly the heart, following the superior emotional center. The path of the heart, as Samael Aun Weor indicated, is Mahamudra, the realization of emptiness, Tantrayana, Vajrayana. "To love thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, with all thy strength." Everything. Those are really the four elements relating with the psyche, the Hebrew letters, relating with the Cross or Vajrayana, the Heart Doctrine.
Audience: Is there a succession of the chakras, such as a list to work on?
Speaker: It is particular to you. This is why Samael Aun Weor gave so many different practices, because our needs are different. I might need to work more with my heart. Maybe you need to develop more clairvoyance. It depends on you. You need to meditate and really analyze, "What do I want to know and what do I really need to know?" And sometimes, just meditating and not even intending it, you can have certain experiences in which the heart opens up, whereby clairaudience, psychic sounds appear in your psyche; you hear sounds in the astral plane; or clairvoyance emerges where you start seeing images. So while you're physically meditating you gain access to the internal worlds.
This can spark your interest, such as "Since I experienced that I need to develop that more." So there's no determined checklist, such as starting first with the Muladhara chakra and moving up to Svadhisthana, Manipura, Anahata, etc., although that can be effective.
Audience: I've heard in particular with Glorian Publishing that they tend to emphasize the heart, because that is probably the most default and the most needed.
Speaker: That also relates with the emotional brain and the Heart Doctrine, to really develop Bodhichitta, real love for other human beings, genuine compassion originating from comprehension of emptiness of phenomena. We see that human beings are predominantly intellectual, especially in the West. Really, our heads are libraries. You go to university and see many different instructors and that their hearts are dead. If you look more intimately through clairvoyance you see they are just intellectual. Really, they just regurgitate information. I like what one German philosopher said, Friedrich Nietzsche, that university professors are like clocks; just make sure you wind them correctly so that they'll tell you the time. They'll repeat facts like this and that, being that they are just intellectual.
People tend to be way too intellectual. That is why we teach the Heart Doctrine, to experience, because it entails a superior emotional quality. While we refer to the three brains: intellect, emotions and motor-instinct-sexual impulses, we also relate to superior centers relating with the psyche, which are our direct connection with the divine. We have a superior intellectual center, which receives concepts and abstract principles from God. This is the divine Nous of Plato in The Republic, the objective spiritual reasoning of the philosopher kings, real human beings in the true sense of the word.
Then you have the superior emotional center, which becomes activated by listening to the great classical compositions of the masters of music, such as Beethoven. Profound and Kabbalistic works given through music and art. That's really food for the heart, since in works such as the Ninth Symphony of Beethoven, we experience the Heart Doctrine, the emptiness of Prajna, the Logos or Word of Christ within the magnanimous choral movement, along with the Vajrayana path that leads out of suffering. It's very explicit, but to understand it you need to experience it internally in order to recognize the message physically, since Beethoven was an initiate who wrote for other initiates of the Heart Doctrine. The Chorus teaches about Bodhichitta, the mysteries of the heart, and represent the Elohim, the Gods singing in unison. Many voices, but one universal harmony, Prajna, ever flowing, the swastika in motion, the power of God in movement, the emptiness, the real wisdom or happiness of the Lord. Beethoven's greatness is unveiled to the spiritual sight when we see that he wrote from having experienced many Mahasamadhis. It's really unbelievable how anyone could convey such experiences through music, which is a living scripture.
In relation with the heart, yes, listening to music like that develops our emotional center through conscious superior sentiment, not to be confused with sentimentality, like Hallmark cards.
Therefore, we always emphasize the heart, since it is the heart that is always going to lead us to liberation, represented by Jiminy Cricket, giving us, represented by Pinocchio, inquietudes: pushing us to study, pushing us to practice, pushing us to want to change. He's really in the heart, the consciousness or Buddhata, the cricket who is like a little Verb, a little IAO we can say. IAO is Christ, for in the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He is a small voice, a little representation of that principle that guides us in our actions and tells us what to do. We must always follow him within the heart.
If we struggle with that, there are many practices we can use. Many prayers, such as the Pater Noster, which is very powerful and beautiful. The Bodhisattva, Francis of Assisi, gave another tremendous prayer to develop the heart, the Heart Doctrine within:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
This is the Bodhisattva path. Even Mother Teresa had some beautiful teachings too. I do not know of her development, but she really embodied in a profound way the principle of sacrifice without self-consideration.
The heart comes first. It is really the instrument that will take you to the very heights. As Muhammad said in Al-Hadith:
There is an organ in the body that, if it is righteous, ensures that the whole system will be righteous; and if it is corrupt, the whole body will become corrupt. This organ is the heart.
"There is a polish for everything that takes away rust; and the polish for the heart is remembrance (of Allah)."
This is Self-remembrance, remembrance of our Inner God. When the heart is polished like a mirror, it can reflect God within, in every action. Then we will become a better instrument for the Lord to act in our life, guiding us.
Audience: You were talking about purity with concentration, where your concentration practice can be put askew if we are not keeping purity of mind and heart. This was profound for me because I've been studying for a long time, but have never heard this or overlooked it, or had it said like that. You can be sitting there meditating, concentrating, and can be less distracted if you actually kept more purity in your thoughts, speech, and all that. So really, ethics is the catalyst for your concentration, whereby concentration is the root catalyst for what becomes meditation, where you can actually concentrate very well? Then meditation is a potential catalyst for Samadhi, and things of that sort?
Speaker: The foundation is concentration, ethics, renunciation. Without concentration we can't meditate. And this is the failure of many practitioners and schools: they try to meditate for twenty years but have no experiences, because they do not maintain purity in their mind, heart and actions; the sins of body, speech and mind.
Audience: They're meditating but haven't established concentration practice, whereby they could focus completely?
Speaker: Basically what we want in meditation is to sit for however long and to not forget that we're meditating. This is described in the diagram of the Nine Stages of Meditative Concentration in Tibetan Buddhism. We find this diagram throughout the Tibetan Buddhist monasteries. It has been used and taught by all the great Tibetan Buddhist masters. Therefore this really emphasizes its importance.
Here we see a monk chasing after a wild elephant. The elephant is the mind. In the beginning it is chaotic, running all over the place, without control, but eventually through his tools, a rope and a hook, representing mindfulness, restraint, concentration, he is able to calm it down, until reaching the stage where the elephant is becoming more white instead of gray, indicating he is becoming more pure and docile. The monk finally reaches the point where the mind is subdued, and then Samadhi or mystical experience occurs, he is flying.
These stages are not like plateaus, or a checklist to fulfill one by one. These are principles, and one can fluctuate greatly within the diagram. It depends on our effort. But generally when we meditate, we at least want to develop the degree of concentration where we don't forget that we're meditating, which are the middle stages of concentration, the fourth or fifth stages. This is a very profound diagram for comprehending and developing concentration. It is a guide or map for our practice in developing the Heart Doctrine within.
In this lecture we are going to be discussing the nature of the three minds. In this type of knowledge, it's important to reflect and understand that this teaching or practical science has methods and practices that can change us and transform us radically. In studying the nature of the mind, and studying the nature of what we call consciousness or soul, we make an emphasis that we possess three types of mind.
Specifically we like to relate psychology, which we've been covering in the past few weeks, with the ancient scriptures, founded within the most upheld, venerated, respected and practiced traditions. This is very different from the psychology of today that has divorced itself from religion, and which is no longer very practical for developing one's spirituality. And while we find that Gnosis has a practical application, we do refer to a scholastic component, including the study of the Torah, or the Bhagavad-Gita, the Qur'an, the New Testament. Therefore in discussing these types of psychological teachings, we emphasize the explication and utilization of many languages. We like to refer to things in the original language of the scriptures, since they hold much more meaning than the adulterated and translated English, or "plain English" that really does not get to the point of what we spiritually seek.
So as we discuss these types of principles, we will refer to many traditions and many different languages, but with the purpose of clarifying practical aspects of how to change oneself into something better, to unite with our divine source, that intelligence which religions have given many names: the inner Buddha, the inner Christ, Allah, Vishnu, or amongst the Nordics, Baldur, the Christ within that warrior culture, which at one time was not a culture of violence but the warrior ethics of the spirit, being strong within one's spirituality in order to conquer the internal factors that cause pain and ignorance.
With these principles, we seek to study ourselves. This is about the science or knowledge of understanding our inner nature, our inner divinity. When we approach this we study specifically what we call the three minds, which we are going to elaborate upon in depth.
It's important to recognize that the term 'mind,' especially as it has been translated from eastern doctrine, has been misappropriated, and extremely abused, in relation with the term's practical application towards ones spiritual development. In this type of teaching we refer to the soul as consciousness, and we refer to the mind, which is something completely different, as the intellect, a tool in itself, which is not our authentic identity.
It's important for us, in order to have a strong foundation in this teaching, and when approaching the science of the mind, to reflect by studying the various world scriptures, and to comprehend that there are really two types of science, relating to the original Latin word scientia, which means "knowledge" or gnosis.
There are two types of science. The first is nothing more than a compost heap of subjective theories that abound out there; the second is the pure science of the great illuminati: the objective science of the Being. -Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
This demarcation between "official" and esoteric science is fundamental to the study of mind. For while there have been many great marvels in materialistic science, we know that science without genuine spiritual principles has produced atomic bombs, wars, chemical weapons, and more complex ways to harm each other. I believe Albert Einstein said that science without religion is lame, or better said, dangerous, and that religion without science is blind. Without these types of principles to guide one's ethics, one's spirituality, science in turn becomes something detrimental.
It is very obvious if we examine the times we live in. We find that despite technologies such as the iPhone, communication, attempts to traverse space, we have in turn become more cruel, humanity has become more violent, abusive in relation with drugs and alcohol. To quote the founder of this tradition, Samael Aun Weor, there is a bankruptcy of morals, which is very painful to behold, especially when we are honest, when we recognize that, because we are a part of this humanity, we in turn contribute to the global problem, which is the suffering of sentient beings, to use Buddhist ideology or principles.
If we really want to change the world we need to change ourselves first, to rectify our own mistakes and to have the courage not to blame others. This in turn is perhaps one of the most difficult conflicts to overcome: the tendency to blame others for our suffering. "He offended me!" "She said this!" "Can you believe what my family member did?" "He betrayed me!" "He hurt me!" We undergo a constant slew of negative emotions and violent thoughts, a insurgence of profound suffering: anger, pride, vanity, etc., which in turn creates conflict and chaos within our internal universe.
So if we really want to seek to know the divine, the Lord within, we need to know how to change our own internal world through a very particular mystical science, an esoteric or hidden teaching about the nature of mind. There is a saying in the Gnostic teachings that "God searches the nothingness in order to fill it." It's important to have a mind that is silent and serene, so that like a lake it can reflect the starry heavens of Urania, the Cosmic Christ, the Solar Logos, to use Greek terms in reference of divinity.
In attempting to unite with this reality through the science of Gnosis and to change our way of thinking and the world for the better, we study the nature of two principles, to use terms employed in Immanuel Kant's philosophy, the famous philosopher from Königsberg. He stated that there are really two types of experience, which we emphasize in relation with the study of mind:
We make this distinction, that phenomena relates with occurrence, circumstance, or facts that are perceptible by the senses. We know from religion and scriptures that the senses in themselves are merely a vehicle through which we experience life, but do not take us to the reality of things. Unfortunately it is due to the sleep of the consciousness, the sleep of the soul, the sleep of psyche to use Greek myth, that we fail to perceive the true and inherent reality of life, the truth of things-in-themselves, or noumena, as they are without contradiction, without illusion.
Some people say this world is maya, and that it is from this world of illusion that we must escape in order to harmonize and unite with God. This is partially true. In these types of studies we seek to bring down and to experience our own pneuma, the spirit, or Khrestos, Christ, by invoking that divine intelligence within ourselves so that we know how to live fuller lives, without the wandering mind lost in distractions, hypnotized with the phenomena or "appearances" of the world.
This is the essence of the esoteric study of the mind, which was never given to the public until recently. Materialistic science looks towards phenomena to explain the universe, and even has the audacity to reject, through blind atheistic beliefs, that there are no guiding spiritual principles that direct the course of life. Phenomena is appearance, what we think something is like, but in truth we do not really perceive the inherent thing-in-itself. Such a principle was the basic tenet of Immanuel Kant's philosophy, for which he was greatly criticized, because for thousands of years humanity has tried to approach divinity through the intellect, which, according to Kant, cannot know the truth. A very radical postulation to admit and realize within oneself!
Most of humanity still does not have access to the divine spiritual truths contained within religion or real philosophy, which is philos, love, and sophia, wisdom. Wisdom in Hebrew is חכמה Chokmah, which is Christ. So genuine philosophy is one's love and connection with that divine source.
The Three Minds
In relation with the study of the mind, we talk about three types. If humanity were aware that we possess three distinct types of mentality, or ways or processing information, many things would be different on this planet, in the sense that there would be no war, violence, ignorance, hatred and bigotry in many regards. Instead, there would be brotherhood, fraternity, and a unified world effort to alleviate the suffering of all beings. The reasons will become clear as we discuss the particularities of each type of cognition:
The Sensual Mind processes knowledge gained from physical senses or phenomena. The Intermediate or Mystical Mind is the storehouse of theories, beliefs, mysticism, and religions as commonly taught in the exoteric or public traditions of today. The Inner Mind relates with information garnered from direct mystical experience of the truth, and has constituted the esoteric traditions of the world, the hidden knowledge that was only given by mouth to ear, the science which we are explaining here.
The Limitations and Dualism of the Sensual Mind
The divine inner nature we call Christ, or Christ-mind, is a spiritual type of mentality and forms the basis of esoteric philosophy and genuine spiritual science, as opposed to the intellect or type of Sensual Mind we commonly experience. In order to address Christ-mind, or a consciousness in harmony with the divine, the pneuma, it's necessary to address to what we commonly term as intellect, but in reality and experience constitutes the Sensual Mind.
Audience: That's one of the minds, intellect?
Speaker: The intellect is part of the inferior two types of mind. Here we are referring to the Sensual Mind, in which the intellect processes itself. We also find that intellect relates to the Intermediate Mind, which we are also going to explain in depth.
The Sensual Mind is what we typically call mind. "I think, therefore I am." Or, "I experience thought, therefore I exist." Or "I have a physical body, therefore I am." In these types of studies, we must politely contradict these statements. If we study the spiritual scriptures, the mind in itself is not the spirit, the pneuma, and if you're familiar with the Christian gospel, when Christ said, "I Am," or the Hebrew word אהיה Eheieh, this does not refer to the kind of thought we commonly experience. The latter state refers to the awakened and heightened perception of God, which brings peace, joy and harmony.
The Sensual Mind only knows how to categorize and formulate concepts and information in relation with physical senses. It is a type of mind or experience that only knows physicality. It only knows how to look at physical senses, and to establish or formulate information about it. We can see, then, that this is really the greatest source of our suffering, since the majority of our life is spent occupied with physical matters. The intellect, processing through the Sensual Mind, fills our life with worry, anxiety over bills, fear and uncertainty about living conditions today, fear about our health, how long we will live, our evaluations of our failures in this life and what we need to accomplish physically.
These types of sensual thoughts about physical life constitute the churning of the mind, which is the intellect, not connected with divinity. Someone who has a mind that is in harmony with the divine within has no fear, has no anxiety or worry. The problem lies in the Sensual Mind as we know it, intellect, which when it is subservient to God, is a useful vehicle of the spirit.
But as I mentioned to you, if it is divorced from spiritual principles, it becomes the greatest enemy that any person can have. This is the essential tenet or teaching of Islam. Islam in Arabic means "submission." So Muslims who truly submit themselves to Allah, bowing to the east towards Mecca, in which they place their head completely to the earth, signify that the intellect or Sensual Mind must be a servant to God, and it must not be a tool for our own internal misery, anger, negative elements, which create friction in our life.
In discussing the nature of mind, we must address the misconceptions about it, and how the Sensual Mind is only a machine. It can present a thesis; it can present an antithesis, but only in relation with physical experience. It can present a theory; it can present a criticism of that theory based upon physical analysis. It has one concept, followed by another that can be in complete contradiction to it. This is how we find the common movement of philosophy, at least in the West specifically, such as with empiricism, but also in Eastern traditions as well, between good and bad; thesis, antithesis; a constant conflict of principles and disagreements amongst thinkers, because the intellect or Sensual Mind only knows how to sway between positive and negative, good and bad, in relation with physical information, physical phenomena It is caught between what we call the duality of the mind.
Audience: And there again, people justify that with "reason." They champion reason, but then again, as you pointed out in the past, there's two sides to it. For as much as you could say for this point of view, you could give certain reasons, it has the corollary of the opposite, that so much could be the other way, or the duality that you've been talking about. It applies to reason too.
Speaker: This is a very famous principle in eastern traditions, the duality of forces within nature, the body, the soul, and when we discuss the nature of reasoning in itself, there is duality, just as there is a duality within scientific investigation: one which can be cultured by the spirit, or another at the service of anger, pride, or negative internal psychological elements.
The Sensual Mind in itself is caught within dualistic tendencies: thesis, antithesis; good, bad; without capacity to perceive the nature of the synthesis, being able to see different perspectives at once, and to comprehend both, and to even understand that both may be true, even if they are conflicting. This is a type of reasoning which goes beyond the common intellect that we experience, since it is a type of mind relating with the nature of Christ.
Never can the formulating power of logical concepts imply the authentic experience of what is real. -Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
This statement really gets to the heart of what this entire lecture is about, because many people think that because they experienced a thought or concept about the nature of a physical phenomenon, they feel that they have understood the real intrinsic nature of this type of phenomenon. But the experience is something else. The thought or concept is a projection of the Sensual Mind. Typically when science observes any phenomena in this physical universe, they project their theories onto the screen of nature, and believe that their theories are the truth, even when they cannot verify the noumena of such an experience. They are trying to explain noumena through phenomena, ascertained through the senses and processed through the Sensual Mind.
For example, scientists have observed the process of rain and classify it as the accumulation of moisture through heat and evaporation from the earth. Little do they know that there are conscious intelligent principles behind physical phenomena, which the ancient traditions such as folklore or fairy tales that we grew up with talk about sylphs and sylphids, nereids and mermaids, elementals of the air and of the water which help nature to function and flow.
Deep down, in these simple processes of life and nature, we find divine intelligent principles functioning throughout nature, which is a fact we can verify through direct conscious experience, by learning to awaken our soul or clairvoyant vision, to awaken within dreams in order to converse with those forces or intelligences that work under the auspices of the divine architect, the Elohim in Hebrew, the angels of life and death.
To present this type of postulation to materialistic scientists is to incur their ridicule and criticism, because due to the conditioning of their mind, they only see physical phenomena. They do not perceive the pneuma within things; they do not see the conscious and divine principles that animate nature, the noumena of life, because their consciousness is asleep. They rely completely on the physical senses, therefore many of them are extremely atheist. Atheism falls into the category of the Sensual Mind, because most people do not have the capacity to experience God, and therefore feel that there is no God, ignoring that their degenerated state of mind inhibits them from knowing the truth. Due to their spiritual emptiness, they concoct absurd and ignorant theories in order to justify their ignorance.
The Intermediate or Mystical Mind
So we find that the intellect as we know it only knows how to categorize and to theorize. While this pertains to the Sensual Mind and its processes of physical information, we also find it in relation with spiritual traditions, philosophy and mystical belief. As we mentioned, the Intermediate or Mystical Mind is the storehouse for beliefs of all types, whether in religion or metaphysical phenomena, but without being grounded in actual experience of divine truths or noumena.
Continuing with Kant's philosophy, who is a very interesting and eminent figure in Western thought, a significant point was made that has been completely ignored by many other philosophers, scientists, theologians, and other persons of knowledge and education. They ignore what he called the antinomy of reason.
Basically an antinomy is a paradox whereby two completely contradictory arguments about the same principle can both be valid. For example, Kant gave what are called his four antinomies:
We find different conflicting arguments, specifically and most importantly in relation with God. One antinomy: "There is a God." The mind debates, provides evidence, apparent facts to support that there is a divine intelligence. This is the reasoning of the Intermediate or Mystical Mind: it rationalizes based upon truths it has not experienced. And then there is the side of atheism, that says, "There is no God, and here are the facts." This is the counterclaim or reasoning of the Sensual Mind, establishing its thesis on inferences based upon physical evidence. Both arguments, founded upon their respective evidence, can both be right according to intellectual analysis, if we do not know how to activate what we call the pneuma within.
The intellect, or the Sensual Mind, only knows how to create theories, concepts and store information from the physical senses. The Intermediate Mind, on the other hand, knows how to create theories and concepts, as well as store information about metaphysical phenomena that one has not experienced. We know at least from education or the educational psychologists of modern school systems, that memory is the least reliable form of learning, which tends to be the main emphasis of secondary, middle school and elementary education, even in the primary grades.
Memory, or the ability to recite or quote information, to compare ideas, to present concepts or counterarguments, is the domain of the intellect. It can only theorize but it cannot know the truth. The Mystical Mind, as well as the Sensual Mind, cannot perceive divine reality. This is why Kant was so ridiculed and opposed, because he said that in our present condition the mind in itself cannot know God, it cannot know noumena, it cannot know the truth. Meanwhile for thousands of years people have been trying to prove God through the intellectual processes of the Intermediate Mind, the domain of beliefs, and his statement bothered many philosophers, theologians and metaphysicians, incurring their criticism, especially while his teaching is a very valuable contribution to both exoteric and esoteric thought.
Samael Aun Weor wrote something very interesting about this in Igneous Rose:
The Age of Reason was initiated by Aristotle. It reached its culmination with Emmanuel Kant and ends now with the birth of the new Era of Aquarius.
Interesting statement when taking into consideration that Kant's major contribution to philosophy is the realization that the mind cannot know the truth. Definitely a good end to the age of intellectualism or subjective reasoning!
We're not saying by this that Kant was an initiate and that he developed his own pneuma within, but he came to some potent realizations that the intellect, the Sensual and Intermediate Minds, cannot know God. It cannot know the divine within.
The Inner Mind and Direct Experience
It's important that we have a mind that is open to receive and to investigate impartially this type of science or teaching. For as the Buddha taught, do not accept anything at face value. One must test his words like gold: burn it, scratch it, to see if it really is gold and of value. If not, disregard it. But if through investigation and scientific inquiry, by developing the legitimate science of the Being within, we can verify for ourselves these truths, intrinsically within ourselves and within nature.
This is the purpose of the Inner Mind. The Inner Mind is a type of comprehension or mentation that only processes data derived from direct mystical experience within the consciousness of the Being. The consciousness which has freed itself from the dualism of the mind experiences the reality, which is far beyond the body, the affections and the mind. It is a type of experience that goes very far beyond the theories and debates that have plagued this planet for so long, in which people have argued over reality but have not experienced it for themselves.
"Any psychological process that is correctly structured using precise logic is opposed by a different one, strongly developed with similar or superior logic. Then what?” -Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
The mind can present an intricate philosophical system, which is in conflict with another, and both of them may appear to be right, even though they disagree. The ability to form concepts in that way does not equate with genuine spiritual experience. This type of knowledge or spiritual experience in the consciousness has to do with transcending the Sensual and Intermediate Minds, so that we can verify in a didactic, clear, unbiased and vigorous way the essential teachings given in all the religions and scriptures.
Only the awakening of the Inner Mind grants us access to comprehending the world's scriptures. The Inner Mind stores all the information and spiritual experiences of the awakened consciousness. It is the only type of mind that can know God and properly comprehend Him, since it is a mind that has gained direct access to the nature of divinity, pneuma or noumena, the truth.
It's important to have this as our basis, to be sincere and to earnestly seek for that experience ourselves, in order to unite ourselves with the divine through awakening our Inner Mind.
Audience: There again, trying to incorporate this together on a mundane and spiritual level, Rudolf Steiner said that once you develop yourself, your pneuma, there again, as you said through experience, to see truth, the forces behind nature, as a start, then it gets higher and higher through other forces, he says you will see, once you develop, the etheric, or the force field behind the physical, and that's got to be very convincing to see that. He talked about like flowers, even animals, but even starting at a lower level like plants, that he said you would detect each flower has a different force field. When you experience that, you feel "Wow!" There's really a lot to this world beyond the physical.
Speaker: To quote Shakespeare in Hamlet, "There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." (Act. I, scene v. ll. 166-7). There is even physical evidence now through technology that is able to capture this type of phenomena. It's called the Kirlion camera, developed by Russian scientists, in which they captured images of the auric energy or etheric depth of stones, plants, leaves, and water, which is the life behind physical matter, known as Yesod in Hebraic Kabbalistic terms, the mysticism of Judaism.
The camera in itself has the capacity to show us what is beyond the physical, but through this type of mystical science, we are able to experience that type of perception without the use of other technology. We can say that the greatest technology we possess is our own spirit, for it has the capacity to perceive the very roots of nature, of all things, if we know how to awaken our Inner Mind in order to be in harmony with Christ.
In order to recognize the states of the Inner Mind, we have to introspect and be honest, to evaluate our mind, and to take an inventory of our experience: what is it that we project and what are moments where we truly comprehend the nature of life in its flow? This takes tremendous practice and esoteric discipline.
So when we talk about the intellect and the antinomies of reason, it's important to remember, especially if we're new to this type of knowledge or even if we have a lot of experience in this or other traditions, to approach this science with the spirit, or pneuma, of investigation, of inquiry, and not to take things at face value, to practice and employ the techniques within this type of spiritual methodology, so as to awaken our Inner Mind and transcend the theories, beliefs and limitations of the Sensual and Intermediate Minds.
To reiterate, the Sensual Mind processes data from physical experience, the Intermediate Mind in relation with beliefs, theories from religion or mysticism, and the Inner Mind through knowledge of one's experience of God.
The Sensual Mind bases its theories on the physical senses, which are not reliable, since they are born in time and die in time. They have no direct correlation with the spirit and cannot get to the root of the pneuma or noumena of life. Within the Intermediate Mind are all the beliefs within traditions we find today, but which are not grounded in actual experience. There's a quote that comes to my mind which I find is very potent; it comes from Deepak Chopra:
"Religion is belief in someone else's experience. Spirituality is having your own experience."
This is the heart of this type of teaching. It is the essence of Gnosis, the essence of the Inner Mind, or Christ-mind, a mind which stores its information of direct experience with God within.
The Three Minds in Scripture
In relation with the scriptures there is a very famous story in relation with the teachings of Jesus that elaborates the nature of the three minds, particularly in relation with the Sadducees and the Pharisees, who condemned Christ to death in the gospels.
The Sadducees, the materialists, are persons who belong to the Sensual Mind, who debate, argue and theorize about things of the physical senses, which if we go back to Greek philosophy we find the school of Epicureanism and Empiricism, or the nihilistic belief about acquiring as much sensation and pleasure in life as possible before dying. They say one should indulge in senses or "enjoy one's life fully." This, however, ignores the fundamental law that we call Karma, cause and effect, in that the soul, with all of its attachments, craving and ignorance, continues after the death of the body. This is a fact we can verify by awakening our Inner Mind.
The Intermediate Mind is represented by the Pharisees. The Pharisees are all of those who are very religious, have a lot of knowledge of scripture, and have studied religion very deeply, but who have no experience of what the scriptures and religions teach. This is the essential reason why they were always in conflict with Christ, or Jesus, who was the living representation of the Christ-principle in the times of the middle east two thousand years ago.
Christ was always in conflict with the Sadducees and the Pharisees, because he sought to teach them what he knew of the pneuma of God, and because they were incapable of experiencing God, all throughout the New Testament, in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John; they constantly sought to test the Lord, and confront the Lord, using the intellect in the attempt to trick and sabotage Christ, into identifying with their negativity.
They asked questions such as, "Can you show us God?" This is beautifully represented by Pilate asking Jesus, "What is Truth?" Yet Christ remained silent. This is a beautiful answer, because the truth is the unknown, and to seek to explain it in words misses the point, although through lectures we seek to help students develop their spiritual practice so you can experience the truth on your own.
This raises a very important point, that Pilate represents the mind. The Sensual Mind cannot know the truth, and that is why Jesus in the gospels, who represents our own Intimate Christ, is always in conflict with these inferior types of mind, whether within ourselves or in other people.
This has been the great battle of all the prophets who have awakened their Inner Mind and experienced God, affirming knowledge from the scriptures that explain this science, coming to teach those of the Sensual and Intermediate Minds, and always being rejected, because the teachings of Christ are very radical and require the complete renunciation of one's egotistical sense of self, or one's inner negativity, symbolized as the seven deadly sins: anger, pride, lust, vanity, greed, gluttony, laziness.
This was symbolized in the story of Lazarus, or the man who was possessed by many demons. Christ asked him, "Who are you?" And the man said, "We are legion, for we are many." (Mark 5:9). This typifies a type of psychology that we commonly have and commonly find on this planet, a mind that is fractured, fragmented into a multiplicity of discursive psychological elements. This is what we call ego in Gnostic Psychology.
It is this inner negativity we seek to eliminate in order to awaken what we call the Inner Mind, because what we call soul or consciousness is trapped within all those elements that we call ego, or negative self; not the Higher Self or Innermost, but the part of our soul or רוח Ruach, to use a Hebrew word, that is trapped like the genie in Aladdin's lamp, which is exactly a middle eastern symbol of this teaching. The lamp represents the ego which is the foundation of the Sensual and Intermediate Minds.
So when one knows how to awaken or to extract the genie from the lamp, one can perform miracles, and this is specifically in relation with the awakening of the Inner Mind.
The Inner Mind is the mind which stores and comprehends the information experienced with the spirit. It is a type of knowledge that relates with the soul. It is "inner" because it pertains to the very root of our being. All the mystical experience that the disciple has such as through samadhi or ecstasy, whether out of the physical body or in meditation, those are experiences of the Inner Mind. To go to the Latin root of ecstasy, we find ex-statuo: "to stand outside oneself." It is when the consciousness or the genie is pulled from the lamp in order to unite with the divine reality.
So when one has that type of knowledge, this indicates the synthesis of the Inner Mind, a mind which knows God; a Christ-mind that experiences the divine source. Therefore, we find a stark differentiation between this type of mind with the previous two: the Sensual Mind, which is only occupied with the five senses, which is transitory and phenomenal (not in the sense that it is "stellar," but that it relates with the world of phenomena or appearances). We have the Intermediate Mind that only has beliefs and no experience, which is commonly what we find in many religions and spiritual groups. But the awakening of the Inner Mind is very different and relates with the practical experience of God, the scientific experience or perception of the divine within.
Understanding this differentiation is important because Christ warned his disciples and warned us:
Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.
And they reasoned among themselves, saying, [It is] because we have taken no bread.[Which] when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread?...
...How is it that ye do not understand that I spake [it] not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees?
Then understood they how that he bade [them] not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.-Matthew 16:6-8, 11-12
When we talk about "leaven," we are speaking about yeast, which is placed in bread in order to inflate it. Now this has no other practical purpose but to make the bread more appealing and enjoyable to the senses. It does not add to the bread itself. Jesus often said that "I am the living bread" (John 6:51) which is לחם Lechem in Hebrew. We also find ceremonial Jewish bread named חלה Chalah, which has the same letters, but in different sequence. This refers to the bread of knowledge or wisdom, symbolizing the science of the Inner Mind. ח Chet reminds us of חיה Chaiah, "life." ל Lamed is the letter of the hanged Apostle who sacrifices himself for humanity in the twelfth arcanum of the Tarot. And ה Hei is the "womb" through which the initiate is born. Together, the bread of Christ is the life force through which any apostle is born. Interesting that Christ was supposedly born in Bethlehem, which means "House of God" or "House of Bread," which hides this meaning here.
Now it's important to remember in the scriptures that the unleavened bread is the pure science of the divine, which is why in the Old Testament the Jews ate unleavened bread or מַצָּה Matzah, without the yeast of theories and beliefs, the yeast of the Sadducees and Pharisees, the theories which seemingly inflate and make the doctrine better than it is, which is an adulteration. מַצָּה Matzah is the pure manna from God, which means genuine faith or direct experience, and was eaten as a symbol of divine remembrance within one's psyche upon achieving states of liberation from suffering:
You are not to eat any hametz with it; for seven days you are to eat with it matzah, the bread of affliction; for you came out of the land of Egypt in haste. Thus you will remember the day you left the land of Egypt as long as you live. -Deuteronomy 16:3
Matzah also has etymological similarity to מִצְוָה Mitzvah, which means "commandment." So this tradition is not about literally eating bread as a symbol of Christ's sacrifice, like the ignoramuses suppose, but of fulfilling the ten commandments within ourselves, which we receive through the strength of the bread, the holy Gnostic Unction as dictated by our Lord Melchizedeck to Abraham in Genesis 14.
When we truly examine the religions of today, we find they are all adulterated and watered down. We find this degradation within all the great traditions of the world. It has happened to Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism—all religions have experienced this problem, where the great prophets would teach the science of the Inner Mind, the direct experience of God, and the followers who studied but didn't practice would only theorize, believe and condemn their teacher. This has happened with Jesus and many great masters, constituting a great problem.
Christ said, "I have come not to break the law, but to fulfill." Therefore we find his teachings are completely founded on the Old Testament, since he was a Rabbi of Kabbalah. Christ referred to himself as "the bread of wisdom." He was born in Bethlehem, "House of Bread," the pure science of direct experience: a very Kabbalistic statement. However, most Christians know nothing of Kabbalah, let own the Gnostic Kabbalah, and thereby teach a dead corpse without a heart.
Also, such imbeciles eat "inflated" bread; they take the Matzah, or better said, the מִצְוָה Mitzvah, the commandments and instructions given in the Old and New Testaments, or even the Qur'an, the Bhagavad-Gita, the Buddhist scriptures, etc., and give it a personal, whimsical interpretation without basis in the direct knowledge of God or the authentic scriptures. Pharisees not only exist in Judaism and Christianity, but all over the world in every religion.
Christ taught to beware of the yeast or leaven of the Sadducees and Pharisees, meaning that whenever a person who is very strongly rooted in the Sensual or Mystical Minds, takes the teachings of Christ and projects, as I mentioned to you before, all the theories and beliefs into that teaching, like yeast in bread in order to inflate it, seemingly to make it "better" or more appealing. Meanwhile it only adulterates the original teaching, and this was Christ's warning: that his teachings would degenerate after his death and resurrection, because if we look in these times with Christianity, we understand that it died many centuries ago, precisely since it divorced itself from its Kabbalistic roots. It produced many initiates in the past, but every religion is born, has life, and dies in time. So Christ warned about this by saying there would be a time in which the Pharisees and Sadducees would take his teaching and adulterate it, which you find in exoteric Christianity, amongst people who raise their hand and say, "I believe in Christ and I am saved!" Meanwhile they ignore the Apostle James that "Faith without works is dead." (James 2:26).
Christ, or the Inner Mind, is always crucified amongst criminals, because the Sensual and Intermediate Minds have no direct knowledge of God, therefore they do not recognize Him and thereby reject Him. It's interesting to note, however, that the word Pharisee in Arabic or Farsi can indicate, esoterically: "Worshipper of fire," someone who worships the flame, Christ. But, how do they worship Christ? That's the question, because the Pharisees who condemn and crucify Christ supposedly worship the Lord. This is the great treason, irony and damnation of these individuals, since they crucify the Lord even using His own words against Him.
So the teachings of the Master are given, and the disciples, who only remain within the Mystical Mind, take that knowledge in order to condemn their teacher. This problem happened with Christ and many other initiates.
Jesus warned very heavily against this fact.
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within are full of extortion and excess. [Thou] blind Pharisee, cleanse first that [which is] within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead [men's] bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. -Matthew 23:25-28
A Pharisee or Farsi studies this type of knowledge, studies this type of science, but only remains within beliefs. To quote Samael Aun Weor, the damnation of the Pharisees is that they use the very same words of the Christ in order to condemn Christ. They therefore have a grave karma to pay in relation with that, because they take the words of the Lord and reject the Lord, with the same teaching, but adulterated.
What many Pharisees don't understand is that Christ did not come to teach the angels; he came to teach the sinners.
And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners?
When Jesus heard [it], he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. -Mark 2:16-17
What great humility! That is the nature of the Inner Mind. Jesus, who incarnated the Christ, is the greatest initiate our humanity has ever known. For him to come and serve us is mind-boggling, because the greatest in heaven are those who serve best. These initiates were once in our position, therefore they feel tremendous compassion. The Pharisees, however, feel they are better than the sinners, and thereby are filled with sanctimoniousness and false piety, ignoring that the "goats" (individuals ignorant of the science of transmutation) may often be closer to the truth than the "sheep" (who know about alchemy, tantra, sexual transmutation, but who do not seriously practice). Their Mystical Mind is very inflated like the adulterated bread of knowledge.
Pharisees and Spiritual Communities
It comes into my mind an experience I had in the internal planes many years ago, before I physically met any other students or teachers of Gnosis. An initiate came to my house in the astral plane and was instructing me in relation with spiritual groups. She warned me to beware of the Gnostics, the spiritualists and other groups, individuals who say they practice, but don't practice. She warned that many of these people came from the times of Jesus, the return and recurrence of the individuals who condemned Christ and who are now studying this type of knowledge.
It's an interesting experience and understanding to have and demonstrates that just because a person studies this type of knowledge that one is done. It in truth implies a lot of work and a lot of practice—mostly the practice. Many students, whether in Buddhism, Christianity, or Islam, Theosophy, Rosicrucianism, Tarot, Kabbalah, Anthroposophy, Gnosis, etc., many study the books, but they don't practice. They are Pharisees, Farsis; worshipping the fire in their beliefs, but crucifying the Lord in their actions, such as when authentic initiates come to teach them and are rejected by these students, even with the very same words they taught their students. It's a very grave problem.
Audience: But ignorance is involved too. I'm sure a lot of these students don't realize that they should go further as far as acquiring spiritual experience. They don't know.
Speaker: That's the problem. "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do!" They're ignorant that they cause harm, and if they knew that what they're doing is harmful, they would not do it. Such as with the case of Paul of Tarsus, the great Gnostic Master, whose inner divine name is Hilarion IX, was said to have been killing Christians before he had an illuminating experience that shattered his beliefs, completing converting him. He was a Pharisee, Farsi, studying the tradition of Kabbalah.
Audience: He was killing too?
Speaker: There were many initiates in the past who, before entering into initiation, physically killed, but afterward repented, understanding that their actions were wrong. We find this in the Buddhist story of Milarepa, who became the greatest saint of Tibet when he used to be a murderer. He also practiced black magic and many other negative arts. But he had an experience, like Paul of Tarsus, and realized that what he was doing was wrong: that he was a Pharisee with many beliefs, and through humility he awoke his Inner Mind, transforming himself completely. He's a great master, a great initiate.
Usually, the greatest sinners become the greatest saints, because the lower one falls, the higher one can ascend. We find this such as with alcoholics, to use a mundane example. We find that since they have suffered so much, they repent and say, "I will never do that again." That is gnosis, real comprehension that those actions create suffering. When they fully comprehend that alcohol is destructive, they cease to indulge in those habits.
However, the problem is that many spiritualists do not comprehend they are merely intellectual and fanatic, and therefore do not repent like Paul of Tarsus or Milarepa. So regarding spiritual groups, and having participated in many, we can attest that this is a great problem in relation with members who are very indoctrinated with the intellect but who have no spiritual experience. Spiritual schools often become grounds of contention, conflict and argument without basis in love, fraternity, understanding and compassion, or a genuine sense of brotherhood. Anyone who has been with Theosophists, Rosicrucians or other spiritual groups for a long enough time is able to witness the collective ego of such groups. The greatest crimes are usually within spiritual groups.
Audience: The one who was supposed to have founded the esoteric traditions of the west, the Order of the Golden Dawn, around the turn of the century, they were very intelligent. Crowley was in there (I'm just dropping names) and there were others. They were supposed to be, ostensibly, spiritual, and they were very heavy into ritual, Kabbalah and everything else. Yet there was some of the most vicious type of psychic attacks. Dion Fortune wrote about it, having been a member of that group. Wow! So there again its the ego, and these people are supposed to be spiritual, evolutionary, a secret society in order to become more altruistic, and it degenerated to the point to where there were psychic and occult attacks. It's very interesting, just to corroborate with you, about people who were supposed to be the greatest occult minds and intellectuals in Scotland, England, etc.
Speaker: This is why it is important to remember what Christ taught, "Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:3). Not those with a big intellect that cannot even fit throughout a doorway, which is דעת Da'ath, Gnosis, since the mind is so stuck in books, intellectual theories and knowledge. Such people who are typically filled with this bookish culture are filled with pride, feeling they are better than other persons because they have read, meanwhile they have no experience. They simply don't know anything.
I will quote for you Samael Aun Weor in relation with this subject in his book The Major Mysteries, specifically in the section entitled Initiatic Preparation.
All spiritual schools, orders, and lodges are delectable gardens within which are nests of dangerous vipers and poisonous flowers filled with perfume. Ineffable enchantments that lead us to the abyss as well as sublime theories that can lead us to the precipice, and sweet smiles that carry us to disgrace exist within those schools where the devotees are filled with hypocrisy and fanaticism. Indeed, the opium of theories is more dangerous than death. Spiritualist devotees hug with one hand and with the other they stab the back with the sharp dagger of treason.
Audience: That's quite an indictment.
Speaker: It's important to be aware of this fact, that people who say they are very spiritual commit the worst crimes. For example: Hitler. At one point, he knew this science, but he deviated. He let himself be hypnotized by a Tibetan known as "the man in the green gloves," who entered his occult order and convinced him to practice very negative arts, or black magic. So he horribly destroyed himself, but also many millions of people. He had very good intentions. He was an initiate at one point, but who let his mind be pulled by a Pharisee. He was very convinced that what he was doing was right, feeling very holy.
People even commit adultery in the name of spirituality. There are innumerable examples of devotees who had sexual intercourse with their guru and not with their spouse because they were told that in order to advance spirituality they must practice tantra with their teacher. Such individuals appear very holy with big beards and very elaborate names, manipulating the naive and stupid. This is why Jesus taught, "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves." (Matthew 7:15). They come to devour souls and steal power. This is the nature of the Pharisee.
Fear is a great motivator amongst spiritual groups: fear of hell, fear of death. People who only know the Sensual and Intermediate Minds have no experience of God and therefore become associated and rely on groups out of fear of punishment. Now a spiritual group is important, simply for the benefit of transmitting the esoteric doctrine, the sciences, the methods by which we can change individually. It's important to learn what one can, but really it is an individual effort. Groups provide energy, enthusiasm, strength, and instruction, but the real instruction comes from within when we awaken our Inner Mind and to know how to unite with the divine within.
Samael Aun Weor and many initiates warned about fanaticism in groups where people feel that because of their attendance they are somehow saved. You find this in every tradition of spirituality, where fear is the motivating factor for maintaining spiritual communities.
In order not to be hypnotized by these distractions, one must be like Odysseus in the scene with the sirens, as depicted in the Greek myth by Homer, where he was returning home to Ithaca from the Trojan War. Here you see an image of Odysseus tied to a mast of his ship, and the sirens are attempting to pull Odysseus and his crew to shipwreck. This is the essence of the Greek myth, where sirens would tempt sailors to crash into the reefs. This represents how negative elements of the mind such as fear, lust and fanaticism seek to pull the disciple out of the path. Notice how the mast is by Odysseus' spine, which means he is rooted in willpower through tantra, working with the forces of the Divine Mother Kundalini, which is the source of real faith, up the spinal column to the brain.
We also find that this image corresponds to what Nietzsche denominated the "tarantulas" in Thus Spoke Zarathustra, which is a term for people who try to teach spiritual doctrines but who are really highly vengeful and spiteful, such as with the Christian priests who teach hellfire and damnation. However, this applies more to people in esotericism who know about gnosis, but are horrible hypocrites and do not have compassion. As it says in the aforementioned text:
Alas, then the tarantula, my old enemy, but me. With godlike assurance and beauty it bit my finger. "Punishment there must be and justice," it thinks; "and here he shall not sing songs in honor of enmity in vain."
Indeed, it has avenged itself. And alas, now it will make my soul, too, whirl with revenge. But to keep me from whirling, my friends, tie me tight to this column. Rather would I be a stylite even, than a whirl of revenge.
Verily, Zarathustra is no cyclone or whirlwind; and if he is a dancer, he will never dance the tarantella.
Thus spoke Zarathustra.
When fanatics preach in this way, they bite the soul and seek to fulfill their mistaken sense of power and justice, trying to incite their victims to react. One must be like Odysseus amongst such people in order not to return evil with evil, to tie ones mind to the mast of willpower, to be humble in spirit and not respond with anger or hatred.
One must control ones senses in order not to be pulled away from the teaching, just as the crew of Odysseus had wax in their ears in order to ignore the sirens, while Odysseus was tied to the mast in order to not abandon the ship and drown himself in the sea of theories.
While we address the nature of spiritual groups, what's most important is not to point our finger at others, but to address our own inner Pharisee, which believes and thinks it knows, but has no cognizance of the truth. Therefore, it's important to have genuine faith, but this term is poorly understood.
Audience: Carl Jung said that "Faith is no substitute for experience." He also said that faith that comes by miraculously could disappear equally miraculously!
Belief and Faith / Phenomena and Noumena
Speaker: We are going to talk about the specific difference between belief and faith. In relation with Carl Jung's quote, he's speaking about belief. But in the Gnostic teachings we make a differentiation between authentic faith and the belief of the mind. That is precisely the problem we find in people, that they lack genuine faith, which is the direct experience of God, the pneuma or noumena behind all things.
Faith is one's cognitive experience, one's cognitive knowledge based upon the direct perception of God. Belief is the domain of the mind. The Mystical or Intermediate and Sensual Minds only believe or theorizes about the nature of God, but does not know. This is why Christ was crucified, and who pronounced with great pain, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." (Luke 23:34). The Pharisees or the great spiritualists of the time could not accept him as the prophet of that era. But also as this represents something in our history, it more importantly represents something in our psychology, because the scriptures in themselves have an allegorical application to our life and that the mere history is dead. It is the past.
Audience: Many Pharisees or persons of the Mystical Mind will say, "No, it is impossible. You cannot know God." That's what they will throw that on you. I've seen this a number of times, in writings or pamphlets, of some of these religious groups, that God is unknown. They say you cannot know God.
Speaker: This is sad, because Christ said, "Know the Truth, and Truth shall make you free" referring to the original Greek root word, gnosis: the experience of God. This type of interpretation you mentioned is a result of the Mystical Mind, which only takes information and theorizes about what it doesn't know. It judges based on appearances, phenomena, without perception of the Noetic principles, relating with Christ-mind, Nous or noumena, spiritual archetypes that vivify matter. It's sad but, when people say they are agnostic, or that one cannot experience or know God, is like saying one is mentally ill, or retarded, to be very blunt, since it means one is not capable of experiencing the divine. This is not the case however, for if it were, we would never have been provided with the many scriptures of different religions, which all taught the science to experience God and to unite with the divine.
I would like to quote for you a passage from the Qur'an which beautifully explains the differentiation between the three minds and the true meaning of solar conscious faith.
And they say, "None but Jews or Christians (who follow the dogmas of the Intermediate Mind) shall enter Paradise.' This is their wish. SAY: Give your proofs (from the consciousness) if ye speak the truth.
But they who set their face with resignation Godward (meaning, to perform Islam, to submit one's Sensual and Intermediate Minds towards the east, towards one's pneuma), and do what is right (by awakening the Inner Mind),— their reward is with their Lord; no fear shall come on them, neither shall they be grieved.
Moreover, the Jews say, "The Christians lean on nought:" "On nought lean the Jews," say the Christians: Yet both are readers of the Book. So with like words say they who have no knowledge (Gnosis: direct experience). But on the resurrection day, Allah shall judge between them as to that in which they differ.
So we find in the Qur'an that only men of knowledge, men of understanding, can interpret the scriptures through awakening the Inner Mind. The fanatics always kill and debate in the name of religion; if not physically, then with words, by seeking to indoctrinate members of other groups against their will, or by forcing their ways of thinking upon others. This is a form of black magic: to impose one's will upon another person in order to get what one wants. This is the problem with mistaken beliefs in degenerated religions.
As I said, the greatest sinners can become the greatest saints, and in the Bible we have the story of the Prodigal Son, who left his home, his father and his brothers, in order to enter the world of prostitution, drugs, sensualism, forgetting his pneuma, his inner Father or אבא Abba in Hebrew. Yet because he renounced, repented and came back, his Father had great celebrations in his honor, honoring him more because since he left, he returned. For "I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance." (Luke 15:7).
In order to truly repent, it's important that we are honest and seriously evaluate where we are spiritually, to really examine what it is we know and what it is we don't know. It's this honesty or humility that opens the gateway to genuine experience. So in these studies we often refer to the Heart Doctrine, the experience of God, and the Eye Doctrine, teachings that are merely theoretical, beliefs, speculation.
When we know how to awaken our Inner Mind, through our heart, when we actually experience God, here and now, the heart becomes inflamed, and we live life more intensely, with greater joy, humility, because we have experienced God and know that He is always with us. It is this direct knowledge that we call faith.
Faith is a force. It's not a belief. It is not a concept in the mind. It is knowledge from experience. Faith is the direct experience of the divine. This might sound redundant, but this is necessary to emphasize. Faith has nothing to do with speculations, scholasticism, or religious debates. When we know something from experience, our conviction is unbreakable. No outer force, no matter how strong, could break that faith.
This type of knowledge is within the heart, when we know with absolute certainty and conviction, that we have an Inner Being, that He guides and illuminates our actions in life and seeks to direct us to be in harmony and union with Him and Her. It is an unbreakable conviction that blossoms in the temple of the heart, which is why we refer to the awakening of the Inner Mind as the Doctrine of the Heart. It is a genuine type of joy and beauty when we come to know God for ourselves, to verify what the great authors have written about and that they taught a basic introduction into a limitless science, the science of one's personal knowledge of the divine, of Christ.
This experience gives us hope, for oftentimes we are overwhelmed by anxiety, fear, anger, resentment, depression, longing, or negative emotions. Faith transforms us radically and has the potential to completely illuminate our soul.
It's important to remember that this knowledge is always born within the heart and relates to this psychological center in the human machine. There's many experiences we can have in relation with superior emotion. We discussed in previous weeks how our psychological is composed of intellect, emotions, sexuality, instinct and movement, which are physical components to our body but more importantly relate with psychological processes.
We have superior centers that don't belong to negativity or ego: superior intellect and superior emotions. It is in the superior emotional center where we experience genuine faith: that blossoming, joy and peace which is produced when we practice effectively and don't crave results, but simply let them come on their own.
The Heart Doctrine is one's knowledge of Christ. Therefore we teach that gnosis is a heart doctrine. It has nothing to do with theory, even though we study books and seek to possess a strong intellectual-spiritual culture so as to guide our heart. Book culture and knowledge by itself without the pneuma is dangerous and creates a lot of suffering, since individuals may read a lot, but have no experience of God. When we know how to experience God through practical science, discipline and methodology, then the literature becomes accessible and vivified, meaning that the knowledge in print becomes living and impregnates our heart. Even if all the demons of the ten directions, to quote Buddhist cosmology, want to pull that from you, they can't. They faith is so ingrained, is so potent, that it has the capacity to remove all obstacles.
In relation to solar conscious faith within the Heart Doctrine, we have the following passage from The Voice of the Silence, an ancient scripture transcribed by Blavatsky:
Learn above all to separate Head-learning from Soul-Wisdom, the “Eye” from the “Heart” doctrine… False learning is rejected by the Wise, and scattered to the repeat in pride: “Behold, I know,” the last, they who in humbleness Winds by the good Law. Its wheel revolves for all, the humble and the proud. The “Doctrine of the Eye” is for the crowd, the “Doctrine of the Heart,” for the elect. The first have garnered, low confess, “thus have I heard.” “Great Sifter” is the name of the “Heart Doctrine,” O disciple.
The Heart Doctrine is called the "Great Sifter," just like a person would go to a river during the Gold Rush in the Yukon, sifting for gold through the riverbed soil, sifting through the coarse sand to find the purities. This is a perfect analogy for this knowledge, evidenced by the fact that only a few people are interested in these studies. We have don't have a huge auditorium with thousands of people who genuinely want to sift through the mind in order to procure the gold of the spirit, the pneuma or noumena of life, because most people are fascinated with the theories of this world. They don't have willpower to really check within themselves and comprehend their inner illusions or phenomena, to see past the teachings of the Pharisees, and lack the courage to truly investigate the science of the living bread, the מַצָּה Maztah born from interior affliction in recognizing the horrendous state we are in, and through following the Lord's commandments, the מצוות Miztot of God. We accomplish this through practice.
It's a sifter because, as all the initiates have taught, not many individuals want to change. Not many want to get at the heart of life, the noumena, the heart of God, and are lost in the labyrinth of phenomena. This truth was beautifully illustrated in the Greek myth of the Minotaur, whereby a maze was constructed to house this mythological beast, half man and half bull, representing our dual nature composed of both spirit, the man or pneuma and our animalistic psychology, the lunar ego. Many would go into the maze and get lost, slain by their own internal beast. However, the great solar hero Theseus conquered entered the maze and killed the Minotaur, the animal ego.
That maze is the mind. Many go into it, few return. As Christ taught, "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide [is] the gate, and broad [is] the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat. Because strait [is] the gate, and narrow [is] the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." (Matthew 7:13-14).
We need courage. It is the reason why we are here in this class, because we want to know for ourselves. It takes tremendous willpower and courage to be able to come to the realization that one is ignorant, lost within the mind, and wants to know the truth.
Belief is the Eye Doctrine. Faith is the Heart Doctrine. Faith is what we know. When we know something is true, we can't deny it, even if we would lose our life, and Joan of Arc lost her life for that very reason:
“I would rather die than do something which I know to be a sin, or to be against God's will."
Knowledge or noumena of God is permanent; it cannot be forgotten. Martyrs of the past who were killed for their faith had loved God so much, their compassion for humanity was so great, that they gave their life willingly (see "The Passion of Al-Hallaj" in The Doomed Aryan Race by Samael Aun Weor). This might be inconceivable for us, swamped by our own negativity and problems, but we all have this potential for divine love within, Noetic thought or noumenal consciousness. As a foundation of this tradition we seek to develop such compassion for self and others, borne from comprehension of the causes of suffering and the transformation of mistaken perceptions, or phenomena within.
The compassion of the Inner Mind or Christ Mind is so powerful within the initiate that he can give his life for others, such as with the crucifixion of the Master Jesus. This Master physically gave of himself completely in order to demonstrate, with his birth, life, passion, death and resurrection, this science, because his faith and love was so profound. The real initiates are always the embodiment of pure love, born from the direct knowledge and experience of the divine.
To quote Samael Aun Weor from, perhaps, the most important writings within Universal Gnosticism ever produced, an exegesis from a scripture called The Gnostic Bible: The Pistis Sophia Unveiled:
Faith is pure knowledge, direct experiential wisdom. Faith has always been confused with vain beliefs; Gnostics must never make such a serious mistake. Faith is direct experience of the real, the magnificent vivification of the Inner Human Being, authentic divine cognition... Faith is the direct perception of what is real, it is fundamental wisdom; it is the experience of that which is beyond the body, the affections and the mind.
Audience: What are the manifestations of this inner spiritual experience?
Speaker: It manifests through our perception through forces. It is the perception of the pneuma within all things. Instead of seeing phenomena, such as leaves, plants, or people, we see auras, we see thoughts, we see feelings; we experience things in a more integral way. People who want to see miracles, such as the animation of statues, which is a well-documented phenomena, or individuals walking on water, can experience a much greater miracle: the transformation of one's negative states. That is really genuine change and spiritual experience.
Audience: What's the explanation in India, such as by controlling the etheric body, of people walking on coals? We've heard about this, that they get into a certain state, these so called holy men, where their actions truly defy logic.
Speaker: We call that Fakirism, where they develop enough willpower to withstand pain. However, Fakirism does not develop the will of the spirit. It is merely the conquering of physical sensation for that purpose alone. Willpower, increased to an infinite degree, still cannot awaken the consciousness or develop the spirit within. That is because willpower must be guided by conscious efforts, not the mechanicity of the mind.
The type of faith we speak about is about spiritual perception, whereby we see the vital elements of life, our own internal worlds, our thoughts, feelings, in a new way—typically, a good sign of deepening spiritual perception is when we see a familiar thing in a completely new way, in a way we never saw before. This is how our state should be from moment to moment. That is the direct perception of what is real: seeing things in a new way—constantly, and not to be stuck within one's mental processes, the intellect: thesis, antithesis, etc., the duality of the mind.
We find this image of Doubting Thomas serves as a representation of what the Inner Mind is. When Christ was crucified, died and resurrected on the third day, he returned to teach his disciples. Many of them approached Thomas and said, "The Lord is arisen!" He replied, "I don't believe you! I need to see and experience for myself." Even when before the presence of the Master, he doubted. This demonstrates the level of investigation, inquiry and criticism he had to really verify what is true. After placing his finger in the Lord's side wound, he said, "Yes. This is the Christ!" This is the type of conviction we speak of. This demonstrates to us that even if Christ is before us, we must always seek to clarify our understanding, intimately, profoundly, so that we genuinely know, and so no one can divert or mislead us, because there exist many wolves in sheep's clothing, as we mentioned.
Audience: This relates with intuitive knowledge, right? From the three stages of knowledge?
Speaker: Yes. This is pure intuition. Imagination, inspiration, intuition are the three obligatory steps to initiation. Imagination is the perception of images or phenomena. Inspiration is the realization that there is a symbol involved, whether we see one in meditation or we perceive life in a new way—we feel inspired with cognizance, we feel that there is some meaning in this event or situation, in one's internal states or conscious sentiment, known as superior emotion. Intuition is comprehension, when we know something in our heart completely, and nothing can divert us.
This is the type of faith that Thomas had in relation with Christ. He only accepted what came from God, and we should do the same, meaning that as much as we have books, or as much as we have lectures and classes, what's important is to really receive that knowledge from God, to understand it in meditation. Our Inner Buddha, our Inner Christ—He is the teacher, the prophet, the messenger. We each have our own, therefore we must seek to investigate this so that we can verify these teachings for ourselves in more depth.
I'd like to quote for you the great Master Morya from The Dayspring of Youth, who talks about faith very beautifully. He describes faith as a manifestation of force, as the utilization of force. As we mentioned earlier, when we awaken our perception, we perceive forces in a new way—we perceive the energy behind phenomena. This perception is fueled precisely by that force, relating to Eros, the sexual energy. Eros awakens psyche.
Throughout The Dayspring of Youth, Master Morya describes how it is by this Determinative Energy that the yogi receives his or her strength and capacity for meditation or spiritual practice. It is this energy that fuels one's faith, one's internal experience, for as we find in the first commandment of Moshe, "You shall love thy God with all thy heart (emotional brain), with all thy mind (intellectual brain), with all thy soul (conscious will), and with all thy strength (bodily energies, especially the forces we carry within sex)." This energy, known as Kundalini in the east, has the power to transform us radically and elevate us to real faith.
Here we think a note upon faith should be of interest. Initiates say that its meaning has been misunderstood. Faith, as the world uses it, possesses no spiritual nature; though in the secondary system it means power and energy applied to action. All success in Yoga comes from this application; for the true quality of faith is a Solar force that illumines the mind and attracts to it atoms of power and energy. More human wrecks have resulted from the misconception of this quality than man realises. --M. The Dayspring of Youth
So it's a force, the solar energy we have in our breath, in our body, within our sexual energy, within our psyche. Eros has the capacity to awaken us completely, which is discussed in literature such as The Perfect Matrimony, how a married couple can fully awaken that sexual force in order to awaken the Kundalini completely, the solar force, which can arise up the spinal column to illuminate the mind and then the heart. This is the path of initiation.
Single individuals can also practice with the solar force, but with less power, developing what can be called genuine faith. As Morya indicates, faith is not belief. It is intention and will, with force, applied to action. This is why James the Apostle stated:
But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. —James 2:20-26
You can believe in something, but if you don't practice, if you don't have the energy or force to fulfill practices of concentration, meditation, and samadhi, then one's faith is meaningless. It is then not genuine faith, the solar force applied to action. The solar force grants us the entire capacity to develop real faith and change within. To believe without working in transmutation is to be dead. The corpse of exoteric Christian religion is a testament to this fact.
If we possess even a grain of faith, it has the potential and capacity to remove any obstacle. When we have true conviction and knowledge, when we really experience God and apply his teachings to our life, we can overcome any difficulty. This is why Christ said:
If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. —Matthew 17:20
Even if we have one small experience, a moment of comprehension, which is something we all have, since we are interested in these studies, we are propelled to want to work on ourselves, to change, to be inspired, to want to practice, to want to learn real religion. It is this grain or seed that can blossom into a Tree of Life. It is the solar sexual force, the Determinative Energy of God, that grants us the ability to transform us radically.
Relating to this, we say that the Egyptian Tarot is the Hebraic Torah, meaning "law." These are different laws that govern our universe and psychological experience, mapped out by the Initiatic Kabbalah. We study in Gnostic Kabbalah the twenty-two major arcana of the Tarot, as the minor arcana. The first card is the Magician, who initiates every genuine spiritual work. The Hebrew letter associated with this card is א Aleph, the wind or breath associated with the sacred name of God, "Eheieh Asher Eheieh"—"I Am that I Am," which is what God, or better said, Kether on the Tree of Life, the Burning Bush, said to Moses in Exodus 3:14.
א Aleph is the wind, the breath of pranayama or alchemy that transmutes the sexual matter into solar force of Christ. Aleph is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet—it is what initiates within us. The breath is in itself the solar force that we harness through pranayama and alchemy. It is the energy that grants us the capacity to change.
The blood in our body is the medium or means of transmission of that force. Blood in Hebrew is דם "Dam." When we breathe, we assimilate oxygen into our body, which mixes with our blood. א Aleph enters our blood, or דם Dam. א Aleph with ד Daleth, ם Mem is אדם Adam, the man made into the image of God. Therefore it is through the science of the breath where we accumulate solar force, and as the Master Morya explained, it is the solar force applied to action that constitutes real faith. Therefore if we do not transmute, we have no real faith.
I'm now going to describe a practice for you that can be performed in the morning hours. This is known as the runic exercises. What I want you to focus on is the Rune Man (see the figure on the right within the image). We have a man standing with his arms raised to heaven, this is the position of the rune. Simply put, this is the man made into the image of God, the symbol of Christ crucified with his hands and feet nailed to the cross, supplicating to God to be redeemed of his suffering.
Now when we say this represents the man, we are not excluding women, because the word "man" comes from the Sanskrit Manas, which means mind. Or better said, intuitive mind—Inner Mind. And when we say "human being," we are referring Hum, the Spirit, the Pneuma or Noumena within a person, that works as breath upon the mind. Therefore a real man or human being is the Spirit-Man, the Spirit-Mind, the Inner Mind. So as a posture, the Rune Man helps us awaken our Manas, or Inner Mind, through transmutation—the breath It is a yogic position than can be practiced in the early hours of the morning or at night. Those are good times to practice due to the energies present.
Again, with the assimilation of the breath, the Prana, the Christic force of the morning hours, which vibrates very intensely, this energy has the capacity to stimulate and awaken our consciousness, to develop what we call genuine faith. In this runic position, we pronounce a prayer, known as the prayer to the Solar Logos, as explained in Esoteric Medicine and Practical Magic by Samael Aun Weor, in which we say:
Oh Thou, Solar Logos, Igneous Emanation, substance and consciousness of Christ, powerful life whereby everything advances, come unto me and penetrate me, enlighten me, bathe me, go through me and awaken within my Being all of those ineffable substances that are as much a part of Thee as a part of me.
Universal and cosmic force, mysterious energy, I conjure Thee, come unto me, remedy my affliction, cure me from this illness and take apart from me this suffering so I can have harmony, peace and health.
I ask Thee in thy sacred name, which the Mysteries and the Gnostic Church have taught me, so Thou can make vibrate with me all of the mysteries of this plane and superior planes, and that all of those forces together may achieve the miracle of my healing. So be it.
Audience: That's the Magician?
Speaker: Yes. That is the Magician who assimilates the א Aleph, the Prana, the Christ force, which as Morya stated is the potency of real faith. Next, in this position, we repeatedly pronounce a sacred mantra:
OM TAT SAT
This mantra was mentioned in The Voice of the Silence, a holy scripture transcribed by the Master Blavatsky. OM generates and transmutes sexual power to the heart, awakens our superior emotional center. OM is prolonged. TAT, SAT, pronounced TAHT, SAHT, is short. These latter two mantras open the spiritual and psychic atmosphere around us, so as to bring down the forces of the Ain Soph Aur, the Limitless Light of Christ, and כתר Kether, since TAT reminds us of the Hebrew letter ת Teth, which is the central letter in the word Kether, signifying "seal," "covenant," "perfection," "completion." SAT is the Seity beyond Kether, the Solar Absolute. These mantras are exceptionally powerful, helping us to vibrate with the solar Christ forces of faith through the transmutation of our sexual energies.
Pneuma, or spirit, relates with the word pneumonia, which is a problem with breathing, indicating that the spirit is associated with the breath, which when we talk about the science of energy, is highly important. Pneuma relates with pranayama, the science of breathing, in that the spirit has the capacity to generate and open a type of mind which is in harmony with Christ, the divine source, the divine intelligence. Let us recall that the runic exercises are a combination of meditation, prayer, and pranayama, which works with the erotic force. The psyche, as described in the Greek myth, is very asleep, and only Eros, the divine power of God harnessed through the science of breath and divine sexual energy, has the potential to awaken us spiritually. This is known in the traditions of alchemy and Tantra in the east.
We can do this mantra, OM TAT SAT, as long as we like within the position of the Rune Man. In the beginning we can practice for fifteen minutes, resting our arms down when we need to, then continuing with the prayer with the position of this rune, since it can be hard in the beginning to hold up our arms for a long period of time. We need to accustom the body through practice, as with any Yogic discipline. When we pray, or rest our arms, we should place our hands over our heart, with the right hand over the left, as in the style of the Egyptian initiates, since the right hand is solar and the left, lunar. The solar forces must conquer the lunar forces of our Sensual and Intermediate Minds, represented by how we place our hands on our heart (Tiphereth, our will).
This exercise, as part of the Nordic Runes, comes from the Nordic alphabet, which have an intimate relationship with the Hebrew alphabet. This is well discussed in the Runes Course on our website.
Morya taught the Nordic runes to his disciples, and these exercises are alluded to in his book The Dayspring of Youth, specifically in how we invoke Christic, Transformation and Aspiration Atoms in order to develop solar faith. Through this invocation to Christ, with our eyes closed in prayer, focusing on our breath, we also imagine the solar light is entering our palms and breath in order to strengthen our soul. These practices charge our body, soul, and Spirit with Christ, and in turn constitute the martial arts or Judo of the Spirit.
Particularly in relation with faith, the Rune Man helps us in the generation of spiritual force, which grants us the capacity to awaken our consciousness and the Inner Mind. This grants us more peace and the ability to concentrate, helping us as a precursor to meditation.
So this relates with faith because it is energy applied to action. To clarify this further, Morya elaborates in The Dayspring of Youth:
When Jesus used this word in the sentence, “If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed,” He meant that one could work miracles if one possessed the atomic energy contained within a mustard seed. But in this world of illusion this is reversed, and the weak man sits still and believes that all will be applied to him if he has faith. It is not a force that should only be applied to religious belief. It is the power of the Innermost working through the densities of our bodies, and the more we respond to it the greater will be our powers.
The physical body is very dense, polluted with negative elements from the psyche. The runic exercises bring in the solar force, elevates our vibration, literally Christifying the body, little by little. Faith, therefore, is the power of the solar logos in the body applied to action through our consciousness. With this, the real Man, the real Human Being, is developed, particularly through the rites of Sexual Magic within the Perfect Matrimony.
We always need to feel inspired in our hearts when we practice. That sincerity is what gives us strength and the capacity to effectively apply these techniques.
The Inner Mind and Mystical Death
It's difficult in the beginning to learn how to activate and generate that force. Later it is a matter of controlling it. With time, we learn how to apply that force in our daily life and in meditation, and this is where the teachings of mystical death come into play.
It's difficult in the beginning to learn how to activate and generate that force. Later it is a matter of controlling it. With time, we learn how to apply that force in our daily life and in meditation, and this is where the teachings of mystical death come into play.
Once we activate the solar force we become sensitive, and our psychological elements of anger, pride, and lust will attempt to use that energy in the wrong way. This is why self-restraint is essential within all teachings of genuine yoga, and how this energy is the foundation for helping us dominate the mind.
Whether or not we were practicing such things like Milarepa in the past, we all have some level of iniquity within, with pride, anger, vanity, etc., which we need to know how to renounce and to eliminate through practical meditation, because if we do not remove those elements then we will not grow spiritually and will not change. But when someone has comprehension that anger, pride, and vanity cause suffering for oneself and for others, we say, "I will not act on anger." This restraint is the beginning of mystical death, the restraint on the mind in order to stop feeding the ego. The less we feed the ego, the more we kill it. It starts to wither and die, but as a consequence, it fights to keep its life. The more we know how to restrain our mind and to kill the ego, the more we awaken the Inner Mind.
This is why the initiates of the past gave different commandments for their disciples to follow, so as to assist in the mystical death of the ego, such as, “Do not lie. Do not kill.” While this has physical applications, this really refers to not speak words of anger, to not indulge in pride, to not indulge in lust, psychologically speaking. It has to do with how we control our mind.
We need this force, so when this force is activated we can initiate a new way of seeing, a new way of living. It’s necessary to learn how to control the mind.
The runes are a form of pranayama as have mentioned. Prana is Christ. Yama in Buddhism is death. It means “to yoke” or “to control,” but it also means “death.” Prana also means life. Therefore we have life and death within this practice, since it is the power of life and death, Shiva-Shakti, creator and destroyer. We find Prana in the air we breathe, but also in our semen, which is condensed and materialized Prana. We therefore seek to awaken the forces of life, but also death, in order to control the mind and eliminate its defects in meditation.
Samael Aun Weor wrote in The Great Rebellion:
The Angel of Death has the key to nature’s laboratory in his right hand. We can learn very little from the phenomenon of birth, but from death we can learn everything. The unprofaned temple of pure science is found in the depths of the dark sepulcher. If the seed does not die, the plant is not born. Only with death comes forth what is new. When the ego dies, the consciousness awakens to see the reality of all of Nature’s phenomena in and of themselves.
So again, noumena, real faith. The transmutation of our energies is birth. But then we also have to learn how to control the mind, so this can produce mystical death. Therefore this is self-observation, self-restraint of our desires. Control them mind. Do not act or speak in harmful ways. Do not indulge in intoxicants or drugs. These are basic tenets of religion that have a foundation in this practice, because with the accumulation of solar force, we have greater potential not only to do good, but to do harm. This is why individuals such as Hitler were so dangerous, because he had so much force, but channeled it through his anger, thus destroying millions of people. That's how powerful this energy is, that if we know how to control, we can become like Jesus, leading millions of people. This relates to the science of good and evil, the tree of knowledge.
Another simple practice when we sit to meditate after transmuting through the Rune Man is to observe the mind. Don’t think or occupy yourself with a certain image. Simply observe the mind as it is, be aware of the energies present. See what emerges. You will find that with this energy you will see a lot more. This is a simple exercise, but also very difficult, because the mind always wants to think about something. This is how the mind distracts us, wanting to abuse this energy in order to think, to think, to think. Or the emotional brain or center wants to indulge in anger, pride, or resentment. So after this practice, just sit and observe, so we can become more familiar with our internal worlds. It will give us more solidarity in our practice.
That is the beginning of mystical death, having restraint of the mind. Then when we learn to perceive in the moment, we develop genuine faith, because we see what in us in negative and what in us is positive. It is the awakening of the Inner Mind that provides us with the perception of the ego, so we can separate ourselves from it, comprehend it, and eradicate those defects.
It is through death that the Inner Mind awakens. The more ego we eliminate, the more consciousness and aspects of the Inner Mind develop. So it begins with saving our energies and transmuting, to not justify or repress defects in self-observation, but to comprehend them. We must not constantly swing between these extremes, which is known by the law of the pendulum, but to be equilibrated.
To conclude, we say that humility is the gateway to genuine faith. When we humble ourselves, such as through the Rune Man, we invite the solar logos into our home, meaning our body, in order to elevate our level of being. When we make this our foundation, we initiate a new way of being as exemplified by the Magician of the Tarot.
Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain. -Isaiah 40:4
Be humble, if thou would’st attain to Wisdom. Be humbler still, when Wisdom thou hast mastered. –The Voice of the Silence, H. P. Blavatsky
Questions and Answers
Audience: You brought up a good point there about humility and about temptation. Pride can be insidious, but by developing humility that can off-set that. It’s easy, the temptation to almost be an elitist. It’s latent, I think, and its dangerous, and you brought that out when saying humility is important. As you discover these things, you might feel, “I’m one of the elect.” Or it could sneak in like a serpent, but to be aware of it is good.
Speaker: I will tell you a story that happened to me many years ago when I first started this type of teaching. I awoke in the astral plane and I asked my Being to take me to Egypt. So I found myself, through His power, going through the earth, and, whish, came out flying over the city of Cairo. It was very dark and obscure, nearly impossible to see anything. I flew over to the pyramids of Giza, where exists a great temple of the White Lodge, a very ancient place that has a lot of power, since the angels and Masters of Egypt are working there very intensely to help humanity. Mozart, the great composer, received an initiation in that temple.
So I wanted to gain access to the grounds there. When I approached the gate, the entrance, a guardian stopped me. I couldn’t see him, but I felt that he had a dagger pointed at my throat, and I was stunned when he said, with great severity, “Many are called… FEW are chosen!” I then returned to my body (snaps fingers) like that.
This experience haunts me still today, because the dagger symbolizes treason, and the fact that it was pointed at the throat is highly significant. If we transpose the Tree of Life upon the human body, the throat represents דעת Da’ath, which in Hebrew means “knowledge” or gnosis. It refers to the sexual teaching, the knowledge of using the creative energies in the right way. This was a humbling experience, because even if one has a lot of experiences, or is a missionary and instructor, practicing for many years, there is no guarantee that one is saved. One is only saved after the complete annihilation of the ego.
This Egyptian initiate did me a great service by humbling me, because I felt proud to be able to travel out of my body and visit temples of the White Lodge. He really put me in my place, for “Be humble to attain enlightenment, but after attaining it,” through having numerous Samadhi’s and mystical exaltations, “be humbler still.” This initiate told me this fact, that “Many are called… few are chosen.” Just because I am called here to teach this science, does not guarantee I will succeed. What matters is mystical death.
The Egyptian guardian sent me back to my body because I was not worthy to enter this temple. The experience he gave me indicates that by remaining faithful to the science of sexual energy and meditation, we do not betray the Lord. When we use our energies through vocalizations, we produce transmutation. Therefore, we must never cease in transmutation, and to never fornicate. Otherwise we will not be one of the few.
To have a dagger at one’s throat, as in my experience, tells us, “Be careful with how you use this energy!” If we use it in the wrong way, it will slay us. But if we know how to use it well, it becomes our sword for battle. If we know how to restrain our minds, we can enter the temples. But if we are like donkeys, kicking, flailing, and not obeying the Good Law, when we do not know how to submit to God, we will not be admitted.
Even if this might be a disturbing story, it was tremendously helpful, an honor to be instructed in such a way. It continues to push me to practice very hard.
So work with the Rune Man. It is very powerful. More questions or comments?
Audience: When you say conjure, what does that mean? Does it mean to evoke, to call on some entity?
Speaker: We have available the gnostic prayer book, which contains prayers from most of the major traditions. It says here, "To conjure, comes from the Latin cum-jurare," meaning "to swear together." It means to invoke a superior force in order to be in communion with it. This indicates that we are asking a being to resonate with the Christ-force. So in the prayer to the solar logos, we say, "I conjure Thee!" we invoke the Lord so we are in harmony with Him. When we conjure, we bring down, we invoke the Christ.
Audience: And when you're trying to distance yourself from a negative force, you can use conjurations for that purpose?
Speaker: Yes, the conjurations have that purpose. When we conjure a being, we are commanding, "Swear with me that you are with Christ!" If they are not with Christ, they will show us through their actions that they do not swear on it. Then you will know you are with a demon. This relates with internal experiences, to awaken within dream yoga. Prayers to invoke Christ have the power to protect us.
When we assimilate Christ-force, we have the struggle with the mind, but also with outside negative forces that seek to deter us. However, this is nothing to be afraid of. It is very common for the one who matures and has experience, so they learn how to deal with those types of forces. The way that we learn to manage the negative energies of other beings is by controlling our own mind.
Audience: We're having access to this knowledge now. It certainly gives us pause for thought, really. Not only to reflect on, but to get into certain practices. You pass cemeteries, and there's millions of people there. Some of them went along with conventional religion. We students are a minority here, I believe. We're trying to open our minds up. Where do these souls end up if they didn't even know about this path? They were incarnated on this planet, and all you see are their headstones. This is the reality. They were human beings once, and all there is left are their decaying, organic remains in the ground. Where is this reservoir of souls? What's their destiny? They didn't even have access to thinking like this! They maybe went once a week to church on Sundays, and the most edifying thing they were thinking about was, "What are we going to have for supper tonight?" You know what I am saying? These are very profound subjects!
Speaker: The truth is, many decades ago, or better said, many centuries ago, people did not have access to this knowledge, yet they have returned in order to be given the chance to change. Right now, this knowledge is being given openly.
Those who are given the chance, but don't take it, they descend, they go towards what is called the Second Death.
Audience: Do those souls who never knew about this knowledge get punished? It would seem the vast majority of mankind was never exposed to this science!
Speaker: The truth is now this knowledge is being given openly. Anybody can get it. But people have to want it. They have to search. Those who have no longings, who don't search, are what we call "empty houses." They're dead already, which is why Christ said, "Let the dead bury their dead."
Audience: But there were a lot of people who would have. They just had no knowledge; they didn't have negative intent. They were incarnated...
Speaker: Those people who are sincere and want to change, and who have the capacity to change, they are given the opportunity. But they have to work to get it. It's learning to swim against the tide, and those who show that they want to change, even if they have no books or no knowledge, they WILL find the teachings. They will find them. All of us have been like that.
Christ said, "Out of a thousand who seek me, one finds me. Out of a thousand who find me, one follows me. Out of a thousand who follow me, one is mine. And out of a thousand who are mine, one knows me perfectly." Those who search, many times they get lost, because they're not strong enough. Those who are strong, who reject the orthodox teachings, they find the secret path, eventually, because God is pushing SO hard, even if the person breaks. Personally that is what I experienced, the breaking point, where real humility and acceptance is born, so as to find this knowledge.
Many run away from death, ignoring that death is the path to life. Those who are really searching for the knowledge really want to die in their defects, and when a person really wants to change fundamentally in that way, the angels look down and say, "Look! Help him or her!" They give you everything you need, and in accordance with Karma, sometimes those people have to suffer a lot in order to receive this wisdom. Since after that suffering and by finding this teaching, one experiences great joy and can finally appreciate the value of it. There are many who come and find this teaching, out of curiosity, and thereafter leave, developing nothing spiritually. Those who suffer the most comprehend this knowledge in depth, and thereafter they develop more faith. "For in much knowledge is much grief, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow." (Ecclesiastes 1:18).
It's not that people were never given the chance. Everyone is given the opportunity, but there's work involved. In the past it was way more difficult to find this knowledge, because the great colleges of initiation were kept private. But times have changed. What was very difficult to find decades ago is now openly available. People are searching and able to find this science easily. The search was hard in the past for disciples like Gurdjieff, who eventually entered into an initiatic order and attained Mastery. This shows that those who really wanted the knowledge, found it. But they had to weep tears of blood to really get to it.
The truth is that now this knowledge is given openly, most people don't take it. Those who want Gnosis will find it. God ensures that the sincere devotee will find it. Whether the soul takes it is up to individual will. But those who genuinely want it, have suffered a lot, and develop very strong faith like Milarepa, since he realized how much harm he caused and feels true repentance. This is generally what it takes to really enter the path.
In the past, there was the excuse that one couldn't find the knowledge. It was extremely hard to find schools of initiation. In these times, there's no excuse. Everything is given openly and for almost for free. The books are not for profit, and the proceeds go towards future publications, and to maintain our website. There's no monetary gain here. It's solely for the dissemination of the teachings of Samael Aun Weor.
Whoever does not want gnosis, it's their choice. But there is no excuse now. This is why it was stated in Jeremiah 21:8, "Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I set before you the way of life and the way of death." How we use our sexual energy determines whether we walk the way of life or the way of death, again relating to Prana (life) and yama (death).
Those who found the knowledge, now it's just a matter of study and practice, applying and experimenting with the different exercises. It is hard to learn how to practice effectively, but we learn little by little, generating true faith, joy, and happiness, inspiring us to continue working. Since with "Faith the size of a mustard seed, we can move mountains." We can take this a step further through Nietzsche's postulation:
"And the lover of knowledge (gnosis) shall learn to build with mountains. It means little that the spirit moves mountains. Did you know that?" --Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: On the Famous Wise Men
This means to build with spirit through initiation.
Audience: Master Samael mentioned that each soul revolves through the Wheel of Samsara three thousand times in one of his books. This is in relation to your comment about individual souls that are searching but simply, because of their own will, do not find the path. They're drawn away by their own egotism or outside influences. As souls suffer tremendously through this Wheel of Samsara, do they build Dharma even if they do not enter the Direct Path?
Speaker: There's knowledge gained, but it is minor in comparison to the Direct Path. There are different paths in the development of the soul. Many simply incarnate, suffer in life and die, going to the abyss to be disintegrated, and returning once again to through progressive incarnations through mineral, plant, and animal consciousness, until becoming humanoid once again. That is one rotation of the Wheel of Samsara. Those souls that definitively do not want realization proceed on such a path, until finally, after the 3000th turn, are reabsorbed back into the Absolute. There is knowledge gained, but nothing in comparison to an initiate of the Straight Path, who consciously works towards realization. You can read more about this in The Mystery of the Golden Blossom by Samael Aun Weor.
Audience: What is the role of Purgatory in esotericism?
Speaker: Purgatory is a place of suffering like hell, but for the conscious purification of sins. It refers to processes of initiation, and is not simply a place of condemnation as misrepresented in many religions. It refers to a process of paying penance, purifying the mind while ascending to God. In hell, it's the opposite. One distances from God and suffers terribly, without gaining spiritual development. Purgatory is an ascension towards God, where the initiate works to unite with God by paying the Karma of their past actions through mystical death. This is the Second Mountain mentioned by Samael Aun Weor in The Three Mountains, entitled the Mountain of Resurrection (or mystical death).
To conclude, what we need most is practice, to develop real faith. Without practice, all of this is just conjecture. What's the point? It applies once we know how to awaken our pneuma, our noumena within through spiritual experience. These are interesting things to know, but don't let it just sit in your intellect. For with faith the size of a mustard seed, we can move, or climb, mountains. This has to do with how we use our seminal seed in order to change psychologically.
(Manjushri cutting through illusion with
the sword of Prajna: wisdom or insight)
The following is a transcription of a live unscripted lecture given at the Chicago Gnostic Academy on November 6th, 2010.
So when we meditate, what we always seek is information. This type of information always carries with itself a psychological flavor of the new. So every time we sit to practice, we should really have the sensation, or the experience, that we are seeing things in a new way. If when we sit to practice and observe the contents of our mind, we perceive everything in a dull way, then we are not awakening the consciousness, the Buddhata, or the Essence. This clear observation of oneself is what Samael Aun Weor referred to as Mo Chao. Mo signifies "serenity," Chao indicates "reflection."
We find Mo Chao expressed in the writings of Samael Aun Weor multiple times when he refers to it as concentration and imagination. Concentration in itself is a serene state. It is a state of awareness or equanimity in which the mind is in silence. This can only be achieved by learning to pay attention, to direct attention. We do this through a moment to moment effort—to be aware of ourselves in whatever circumstance. We have to examine whatever impressions of life enter our mind and psyche in order to stimulate reactions within ourselves.
We can say, in synthesis, that the master work of esotericism, of meditation and these types of esoteric studies, is learning how to control and understand the mind and its relationships with impressions. It is a moment to moment effort. It is a moment to moment work. When we truly understand the nature of the mind itself and its hypnotism, the many ways in which thoughts, desires, and impulses really control us, we begin to take life as type of work. Concentration is really the key to understanding the vast breadth and depth of the science of meditation.
So while we study kabbalah, alchemy, tantra, astrology, tarot, the tree of life, the tree of knowledge, chakras, and many others subjects, when we don't know how to meditate, all of this esoteric knowledge is really quite useless. If we don't know how to pay attention from moment to moment, they are useless. If we have a psychology that's complacent with sloth, inaction, and lack of attention, if our consciousness is asleep by indiscriminately taking in impressions, when the mind constantly reacts without our comprehension, knowing kabbalah and alchemy will not help us. In fact, what we will have is a lot of indigestion. To really benefit from the science of the tree of life, in general, we need meditation.
It is learning how to discipline the mind itself that will allow us to make it an instrument in which our Inner Divinity can act through us. It's by learning how to concentrate, to achieve a serene mind, like a lake which can reflect the Being itself, that opens to door to self-knowledge. This spark of intuition and comprehension doesn't just have to be just when we sit to meditate, when we close our eyes to the world and enter into our own internal worlds. In every moment we can and must learn to let the Being act within our three brains, here and now.
So when we talk about concentration and learning to pay attention, we're talking about the psyche, the soul itself. This is very distinct and different from what we term personality and what we term ego. If we're honest with ourselves and observe our actions and habits and thoughts, really we can see that the mind is in control of us, and not the other way around. The personality, which takes in the impressions of life, misinterprets everything—it receives impressions and sends them to the wrong centers. Therefore, the personality does not comprehend the nature of those impressions. When we talk about impressions we're talking about the very experience of life itself. As I was saying, the work is learning how to transform impressions.
This is the basis of Gnosis. Gnosis is about transformation. We refer to this work as a revolution. It is really a spiritual war, but not against anyone outside of us. As much as we like to point and blame other people for our problems, this is a war against ourselves. This is what the prophet Muhammad called jihad—or better said jihad al-akbar, meaning, the Greater Striving or Holy War. When he was asked by his disciples, as documented in the Hadith or Muslim oral tradition, the Companions of the Prophet asked him what is greater: war against the infidels outside of us, or against ourselves. Muhammad said that war against yourself is by far most important. The Greater Holy War or Striving really takes precedence and priority.
In relation to concentration, the transformation of impressions is about learning how to transform what we perceive. The senses and the mind are like a great battlefield because we are constantly receiving the many impressions of life, whether tactile, sensory, auditory, visual, olfactory, etc., yet we do not comprehend the nature of what it is we perceive. It is enough to try to sit in meditation for an hour and remember everything you did in the day. If you do not remember certain events, if there are tremendous gaps in your memory, it's because you were asleep as a psyche, as a consciousness or soul.
This is especially true if we live in the cities where we are constantly bombarded by information. This is especially difficult. We rarely comprehend the intrinsic nature of what we perceive, since what we know how to do is react towards life, without comprehending and responding with cognizance, peace, and love. We don't really see the depth of the phenomenon that reach us. In synthesis, it's a misinterpretation of impressions that creates problems for ourselves, such as in our interrelationships with people.
Generally, what we disagree with in another person is our impressions of that person, not their soul. We can't really say that in this state of mind that we have, we perceive the inherent nature of a person. In the level in which we currently exist on the tree of life (Malkuth, the physical plane), what we exclusively perceive are images and phenomena, impressions or semblances of things. This is well documented in Plato's Allegory of the Cave in The Republic. Now, it's completely different thing to see the noumena of a person (noumena relates with Nous, Spirit, the very essence of a human being, the divinity within a person). Generally, what we see is body, hair, personality, habits, customs, attitudes, etc., and we characterize that as a person that we know.
However, we make a very clear distinction: it's a very different thing to know a person and to observe a person. We think we know people, but we don't, because we have never made the attempt to observe another human being with clairvoyance.
To say that I know a person is to say something along these lines: "Oh, I can see every atom that so-and-so has in his body." Such a Noetic type of perception is related with very elevated aspects of consciousness, related with the tree of life—superior states of consciousness where you can perceive the atoms and molecules of a person. It's conventionalism, but funny when we say "I know a person," because the truth is we really don't comprehend others in the objective sense, let alone our own selves! It's another thing to observe the fact that our friend or neighbor has a lot of anger, that such an ego is strong in him or her, to really see this person for who or what they are, and not by our mistranslation of their impressions. This is really where we get into a lot of conflict—every person sees life in a completely different way from everybody else. In the true sense of the word, every person is a world in himself, with his own concepts, beliefs, theories, prejudices, enemies, hatreds, defects, and what not. The mind is always projecting these self-delusions, this self-hypnosis onto the screen of our experience.
In general, we have not developed concentration in order to have a mind that receives the impressions of life without becoming disturbed, projecting reactions outwards. This is where a lot of conflicts arise. Our interrelations with other people falls in the sphere of what Muhammad called jihad al-asgar, the lesser holy war. This refers to how you try to help others by teaching the truth, by being a good example, by transforming your mind in order to be of benefit to humanity. We do not wage war through violence, but with compassion. We do not conquer injustice with evil, but by performing good. However, these ideas are meaningless if we don't understand ourselves in practice.
It's enough to sit in meditation and to really observe the contents of our mind to see that we really don't have any control. This is a really necessary step to realize in ourselves, that we don't have control. This lack of organization, coherence, and order in our psyche is what Gurdjieff referred to as the tower of Babel, relating with three lower types of individuals in psychological hierarchy. In gnosis when referring to a brain, we are not referring to physical matter alone, but a psychological aspect of ourselves, a machine that processes psychological, spiritual, and bodily energies. A brain transforms energies, interprets information, and allows us to function in life. So when speaking about the three brains of Gnostic esoteric psychology, we have people who are very instinctive, relating with the motor-instinctive-sexual brain. Then we have an emotional type of individual who is always reacting, who is always sentimental, responding with emotions and gravitating to the heart. Then we have the intellectual type individual who interprets the impressions of life in a very intellectual way and always rationalizes.
We say that the consciousness is not prohibited or limited to any of these three aspects of ourselves. We can consider the three brains as three floors of a factory. The intellect is where we have thesis and antithesis, the heart is where we have like and dislike, and the motor brain is related with action: to do or not to do. This is really the basic machinery of our psyche and physiology. We find that by learning concentration through meditative practice, we see that our impulses, whether predominately intellectual, emotional or instinctual, are constantly arising in ourselves moment by moment. We don't have much control over that. This is really the source of our problems, for as Socrates taught us, "Ignorance is the greatest sin."
Every problem that we face in life is a result of our own minds. It is not the result of what other people say, do, think, feel, or act. Really, the reason we suffer is because of ourselves. We can't blame anyone for the diverse unpleasant circumstances of life, but generally our tendency is to absolve our own culpability and mark others as responsible for our sufferings. The more we learn to meditate to develop serenity of mind, the more we begin to perceive all of this. If we're really honest with ourselves, we will see that this is not pleasant. To see that we are responsible for all the problems that we face takes tremendous courage. We really can't judge other people. This is why Jesus said, "Judge not that you be not judged," because when you take in the impressions of a person and you interpret and make judgments about those impressions, you create suffering for yourself and your neighbor. We are always filled with justifications, "Well I know this person," and therefore we criticize and cause problems. Our critics and enemies going to do the same to us as we do to them. It's the law of the Talion, reciprocal violence. This doesn't mean physical violence—it could be of an emotional nature. It could be a battle and argument of ideas, polemics, philosophies, etc., in the mind. We are always misusing our three brains, here and now.
Generally, when there's a conflict of this type between people it's because they’re not aware of their own psychology. Like Muhammad said, people want to fight other people without wanting to take responsibility for their own crimes. Few people ever fight against themselves and their own defects. This is what a Master or a Buddha is: someone who has conquered their very inferior nature—a warrior like Arjuna in the Mahabharata who fought against the multitude of his family members, a conglomerate representing his own egos, defects, vices and errors. As the prophet Muhammad said, "Happy is he who finds fault with himself rather than faults with others." Really we shouldn't be looking at the mote in the other person's eye. We have to develop awareness of ourselves. This awareness is the beginning and the ending. It is our goal and our purpose. Everything else comes second.
The practice of meditation is what facilitates this understanding. It is learning how to pay attention, and as I said, this doesn't just come about when we sit to practice. It is a moment to moment effort to be vigilant. Many traditions have used different terms like vigilance, mindfulness, awareness, self-observation and self-remembering, or dhikr (remembrance), muhasabah (self-accounting) and muhadarah (awareness) within Sufism. Many traditions refer to this. The important thing is that we do it. And this always comes about through struggle. I'm not referring to the exertion of the mind, when the mind struggles with itself and when we seek to repress our defects, because that does not produce harmony. It is the Buddha-nature, the divine principle that we have within, that has to discipline the mind. So the efforts that were talking about are conscious efforts, not forced exertion of the intellect upon the different centers of our human machine.
In relations with the field of impressions and understanding the very experience of life itself, we refer to the observation of mind itself. Generally if we've been in these studies for a while, we will be very familiar with these terms: repression, justification and comprehension. So in the field of observation and the field of concentration, when we face the impressions of life and try to understand them in a very integral way, we will come across a common problem (which is really an inevitable problem). It relates with repression and justification, and both of these constitute an identification with phenomenon.
It's one thing when we receive a pleasant impression and we like to justify our craving for something. It might be of a lustful nature. We see someone of the opposite sex and that lustful defect emerges within our perception and tries to justify taking in that impression of the opposite sex in order to feed itself, so that it grows stronger. While this is a big difficulty for the disciple of genuine religion, we have another problem—the complete opposite, called repression. This is where we begin to see the many defects of our psychology that arise within us from moment to moment and we, as the mind, don't like to see that. Therefore we push it away from our mind and understanding without comprehending the defect in question. This is called repression. Neither of these constitute what is called real concentration, real awareness.
What we seek is third force, a third factor. In other terms we can refer to the three forces as affirmation, negation, and reconciliation. Gurdjieff, who was the founder of the fourth way school, taught that humanity is third force blind. Generally in relation to the three brains of our anatomy, our psychology, we are always acting "either/or," and generally, we don't learn to see from a comprehensive, synthetic perspective. For instance, you see this in a lot of political debate, in which things are very two sided: "either you are with our part or you are against us." There generally isn't a middle ground—there isn’t comprehension of another path between the two. There is no synthesis in which there would exist a type of unanimity between two contrasting parties.
In philosophy, one movement emerges from another one in order to negate the former, and then another branch of thought comes to negate what was negated in the previous one. This, really, is important in relation to our psychology, because we are doing this on a moment to moment basis with the very contents of our mind. We might have a thought and we might justify it in a given instant. We're affirming something very adamantly about a certain issue, concern, or problem. We feel that "this is an essential part of myself," like "my pride." If someone congratulates me, we say to ourselves, "I like to justify that because it makes me feel good." And then there may be another moment, maybe within five minutes, when someone says something really critical or negative. Shame emerges and we say, "Oh, I'm such a terrible person." Therefore, we constantly swing between justification and repression.
We are constantly filled with these types of contradictions, and yet the illusion, the hypnotism, of the mind is so terrible that we really feel we are individuals, that we possess an individual will. We believe we are uniform and we are not. When we talk about selfhood or ego, which in Latin means "I," we're talking about a multiplicity. We're talking about the multifarious nature of the mind that is always contradicting itself. There really is no consistency. In one moment, anger emerges. Someone says something to hurt us and then another element comes up, "Oh, I forgive that person," and then another element cries, "Oh, I'm very happy!" or "Oh I want to go ride my bike." We are the riddle of the sphinx, composed of multiple elements, yet without understanding of who we are. We are merely a conglomerate of conflicting animal impulses and desires.
In mental dynamics and the comprehension of the mind itself, these first two principles are known as affirmation and negation. In relation with the field of practical life, we either find agreeable or disagreeable impressions. We tend to either affirm or we reject impressions. Our mind will react in either two ways: favorable or unfavorably. Very rarely do we see that sometimes both answers to a problem in life are correct at the same time. This relates with comprehension, with synthesis, with intuitive understanding of the impressions we receive. The very work of gnosis, self-knowledge, is learning how to comprehend these factors in every moment. It is really not enough to do it once in a while, because that will not produce lasting results. It takes a lot of effort, willpower, and discipline. This self-discipline, the understanding of these factors, occurs by walking the path of the Middle Way, the path of the Buddha. This topic is so important that Master Nagarjuna wrote a book within Tibetan Buddhism called Fundamental Wisdom of The Middle Way.
Neither by affirming nor rejecting the impressions we receive will we know ourselves. Concentration and meditation, serene reflection, is the path of the middle—we learn to receive good or bad impressions. We accept them without bias. We see life for what it is. We don't psychologically seek a way to affirm or negate things at all when we develop in the middle way, because those prior types of attitudes reveal that we are asleep as a consciousness. We rarely see or understand that life is constantly changing. It is a constant flux. Impressions arrive, they sustain themselves, then pass away, and yet the mind, the stubborn donkey that it is, always attaches itself to such impressions as if saying, "In this moment, this is real and my sense of self is real. This 'I,' this 'me' is real. However, we really do not comprehend that it is false!
If we do a simple analysis, we can see that nothing is permanent but the Being. Someone tells you a joke and you find it funny—if that were eternally existing, you would always be laughing. There would never be change whatsoever: things would always be permanent. We know from the Vajrayana teachings of Buddhism, particularly from Tibet, that the impressions of life are empty of intrinsic existence. That phenomena are empty of inherent or independent existence means they are dependent upon other factors beyond themselves, and therefore are not eternal. Therefore, we should not grasp at what is ephemeral, like cloud, smoke, and vapors.
This is what we call Dependent Origination. It means there is no independently existing thing in this whole universe. There is no eternally existing thing that is not reliant on other factors. This goes from the most grand cosmological scale of Kabbalah, the tree of life, to this very existence. It's what we call karma—cause and effect. And the very nature of existence and the very nature of the impressions of what we perceive is dependent on this. Suffering exists because we don't understand karma. We don't understand the nature of impression themselves: what appears, sustains itself, and passes away. So if no phenomena in life is stable or reliable, why do we hold on to them with our mentality? Why do we always crave certain things and run away from other, when, truly, all phenomena are of equal value? Why do we crave something so badly when it will not bring us eternal happiness? Why do we affirm that our life is real and lasting, taking in a sense of enjoyment and identity in that experience when it will only disappear, bringing us pain? Even in repression, the negation of things, we have a sense of self that is dependent on external factors that are completely empty of themselves.
Nothing is going to last except the Being, so why do we always have this attitude that things should always be in one way and permanent when we do not remember the Being? And when we are contradicted by friends, family, society, and our own mind, our whole world falls apart. We like the path of least resistance, whether in social, academic, employment, or personal endeavors, etc. We have the prevailing attitude that we just want things to go well. And when they don't go well, we get very upset. This type of disillusionment is very particular to each us. We have our own idiosyncrasy in relation to the three brains. Some of us will be more intellectual, some more emotional, and some more active—we always want to do things according to our predisposition to one of our three brains, but this is generally in a very dysfunctional way.
It comes into my mind Alice in Wonderland, which explains this type of psychological teaching. You have the Mad Hatter, the intellect that is always taking in impressions and coming up with gibberish. The Queen of Hearts is always angry with people, crying, "Off with her head!" This is our emotional state or center if we observe ourselves. And there's the instinctive type of character, the White Rabbit, who's always late and always worrying about activities and time. This is an instinctive type of person. These three characters represent the three inferior types of humanoids: the tower of Babel.
So generally, we will have one predisposition over another. The fact is that in our relations to the impressions of life, our dysfunction generally gravitates to one of these three brains. We use all three brains, of course, but some of us have strong habits that are intellectual, like using the computer, or more emotional, listening to sentimental music. Some of us are more instinctive, always playing sports, practicing martial arts, or training in boxing.
The very basis of our psychological dysfunction is because we don't understand the nature of impressions. We don't understand karma. I'm explaining this because these principles are essential to meditation. It's essential to really understand what concentration is, because if we think concentration is identification with life, with certain elements within our three brains, or with the repression of certain elements, there will be no genuine insight. Going with the flow of life is not the nature of insight, the latter which is sharp, clear, and pristine, a shock or bolt of lightning that illuminates, if but for a moment, the dark cloud of our mind. The state of concentration is what leads us to the advent of comprehension. It, in itself, is the path of the middle—neither justifying nor pushing away impression from our psychological sight, but just seeing phenomena as they are. Whether the impressions are intellectual, emotional, or instinctive in relation to our psychology, we simply observe and comprehend where all our different wills come from. It is in this way that we can integrate our consciousness and develop the will of a Master, a God, a Buddha.
This is the basis of psychology or mental dynamics, Jnana Yoga. Jnana means "knowledge," relating with how we understand and control the mind. When we talk about impressions and the nature of psychology, I was mentioning some principles given in the Vajrayana school, which is the doctrine of emptiness in relation to karma and impressions—how life is always changing, always fluctuating. If we are astute in our efforts to self-observe, we cannot pinpoint something that is eternal within our psyche except the Being. So we talk about not understanding the nature of emptiness, in relation with affirmation and negation, as the foundation of Gnostic psychology. There are two misconceptions that arise with not understanding the nature of emptiness. This teaching was given by Nagarjuna inFour Hundred Verses of the Middle Way. He discussed two fundamentally mistaken views: eternalism and nihilism. Eternalism is the belief that there is an independently existing self that is never changing. This was first adopted by some of the Hindu schools of philosophy in relation to Atman the Inner Self. The Buddhists came to clarify those teachings when Hinduism degenerated. According to the Hindus, Atman was mistaken for the ego, the personality, our negative self-hood. The Buddhist masters who came after knew that Atman referred to one's internal divinity, but in order to clarify the misconceptions about Atman, Buddha taught the doctrine of Anatman, "No self." When Buddhists schools say that there is no self, they're talking about the ego, the "I," our defects—the three traitors of Christianity: Judas, Pilate, and Caiaphas. Pilate relates with the intellect, who always washes his hands clean, justifying and excusing himself for committing crimes. Caiaphas relates with the heart, because he hates Christ, and Judas represents instincts or desires because he sells the lord for thirty pieces of silver, representing fornication and lunar values.
In relation to affirmation and negation, misconceptions regarding their nature arise by not understanding the nature of impressions, by not understanding the very laws and dynamics of practical experiences and their relationship to the mind. Eternalism says there is an absolutely, dependently existing self. Nihilism says nothing matters, since there is no true existence. Both of these views are false. Emptiness is neither of these mistaken views. Really, such misunderstandings emerge from the inability to comprehend karma in action.
Karma comes from the Sanskrit, karman. It means "to act." What is cause and effect? To act. In life, we constantly find many types of actions involving the three brains. Karma teaches that every cause has an effect. Every effect has a cause. Nothing is separate. Nothing is independent, existing outside of ourselves. Everything is interdependent and related. Our current psychological state, the sleep of our consciousness, hypnotizes us into thinking that, "I exist in my own sphere and everything else is existing outside," as if there is no direct relationship between our mind and phenomena. For instance, you see a married person leering lustfully towards the opposite sex walking by, and says, "Well, I'm not really committing adultery, because I am just looking." They think that there is no relationship between mind and phenomena. However, Master Jesus said,
"Verily you have heard of old, you shall not commit adultery. But I tell you whosoever has looked at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart." --Matthew 5:28
We also find the following textually stated by the Buddha in his Dhammapada:
Preceded by mind are phenomena, led by mind, formed by mind. If with mind polluted one speaks or acts, then pain follows, as a wheel follows the draft ox’s foot. Preceded by mind are phenomena, led by mind, formed by mind. If with mind pure one speaks or acts, then ease follows, as an ever-present shadow.
Karma, cause and effect, occurs in every level of existence, even when there is no physical action. Even if we physically do not committ adultery, we commit adultery with our mind by indulging in lust. We have all of these impulses that arise within us without our control and which keep us hypnotized, identifying with the states of existence. Karma applies not just instinctively to the physicality of the person, but to emotions and to intellect. It applies to every aspect of ourselves, in every level of the universe. Perhaps until you self realize and go into the Absolute, you will always be a slave of Karma. Until then, we are subject of the laws of karma, cause and effect, in this universe. The path of self-knowledge is about understanding the law within ourselves. When we do not know how karma functions, we fall into mistaken views of eternalism or nihilism, either that our ego is objective or that nothing matters, so we can do whatever we want without consequences. This is very dangerous.
I like to enjoy certain things in life. For me, I enjoy a hot cup of coffee. I can see how certain egos of gluttony like to enjoy those things, believing that such impressions are permanent. However, simple analysis shows that this isn't the case. The impressions of the coffee arise, sustain, and pass away. The problem is not the coffee, but my consciousness for not making a correct transformation of that impression, for not seeing the drink for what it is. The mistake is letting the impression enter the psyche and the mind becoming attached to the sensation of enjoying the coffee. This attachment, this crystallization of desire in the mind, is what we call ego. It is by not understanding karma that we create egos. The impression of the coffee is going to enter my psyche, sustain itself, and pass away, but if I am unaware of this fact, something hardens in my mind, like a mold, crystallizing and trapping the consciousness. This is identification, a wrong transformation of impressions, which crystallizes desire by trapping our consciousness. It is the misdirection of consciousness towards sensation—it is misguided attention, fortification of one's psychological attachment to impermanent sensations, for as Samael Aun Weor wrote, "Wherever we direct attention, we expend creative energy." The ego itself is really a prison, a cage, for the divine nature within, that we ourselves created by misdirecting our will and perception.
The root of all of this is ignorance. This is an essential teaching that the Buddha gave in relation to these three factors. The mind is always caught between craving and aversion. We produced our suffering through a lack of cognizance of the third factor—which is synthesis, comprehension, intuition, understanding, the Innermost Being. It is by not understanding the nature of what we perceive that produces suffering, because if we don't understand the very nature of mental dynamics, we continue with wrong perspectives, resulting in the creation of different psychic aggregates or egos.
Aggregate is word for compound, heap, or pile, and we can say that the human being is a conglomerate of multiple aggregates or egos. Really all of that is a result of ignorance, a lack of cognizance or relationship with God. The Buddha taught that there are three doorways into hell, into suffering, and they are: craving, aversion, and ignorance. Anger relates with aversion, because when we feel anger it is frustrated desire, wanting situations or people to be different than what they are. When someone is not giving us what we want, we become angry at that person. Craving, lust, or desire is another door into hell. Feeling compulsively attracted to something, always impelled to seek our those sensations that will satisfy us, is a tremendous form of suffering, since such impressions, like the orgasm, are fleeting and momentary. Meanwhile they have disastrous consequences for the mind, since the mind will only crave a greater orgasm, or more powerful experience, which it will never have. Therefore, lust is the original sin, because by wasting the energies of God, we fall into suffering, into craving, into the insatiable appetite of satyrs. Momentary pleasures emerge and pass away. The mind's habit is to be attached to those impressions, as if such impressions are perament.
While craving and aversion are bad, ignorance is truly the greatest sin. What is sin? I'm not sure if your familiar with that term. It comes from archery. It means when you draw your bow and you fire at the target, you go off to the side, to the left. That term was taken into Judea-Christianity to denote these types of principles. When your concentrated in archery and you draw your bow, you can't fire to the right or the left, neither indulging in craving or aversion, but focusing on the center. This is an analogy for the middle path of comprehension within meditation.
This is why The Odyssey by Homer, who was an initiate, depicts this great Greek hero defeating his enemies, his egos, with a bow and arrow. The story narrates how he battled the Trojans and afterward sought his way home, sailing to many islands, losing his companions, and finally arriving to his own kingdom, Ithaca. He finds out that his wife has maintained her marriage vows to him by not marrying and seeking another husband. However, despite her fidelity to him, there are many suitors who think that he's dead and try to convince her to marry them. These suitors are degenerated, trying to take his wife from him. They represent the egos that we have who are trying to steal our moral purity, our own divinity that we have still free, represented by Penelope, Odysseus' wife, so they're always tempting her. Odysseus is disguised a hermit and goes into his kingdom, drawing them all into a throne room. Meanwhile he is guided by his Divine Mother, Athena, who provides him the bow and arrow so as to mercilessly slay his enemies who are attempting to steal his kingdom, his spirituality. It is a very chilling scene if you read it. The egos are so terrified! They're green with fear and they realize that they're going to die. Truly it is a bloody battle.
Odysseus' power comes from the bow and arrow, knowing how to balance the external world with the internal. This is really the relationship with self-observation. We have to look at what's outside of us in relation to what's inside and that’s what concentration is. This is how you go to battle like Odysseus. This is how you fight the illusions of the mind, and this is really the anecdote to how to comprehend states of suffering, because the mind will generally ignore what's inside and always pay attention to what's outside. The spiritual warrior, the samurai with his bow and arrow, observes both the external and internal and understands the relationship between them. So you see these three factors here: affirmation, which is outside. Then you have the mind that is always negating things. That's really the force of negation, always reacting to the impressions of life. And then you have comprehension, which is the consciousness that reconciles the two.
So we can say that the impressions life are always affirming themselves by entering into our psychology, and we have the mind that is always reacting or negating, either intellectually, emotionally, or instinctively with greater predominance in one of the three brains. That's really the force of negation, when our mind reacts to impressions. In order to reconcile both impressions and our reactions, we need concentration, seeing that the external is dependent upon the internal and the internal dependent on the external. This is known as states and events in Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology, and that to live uprightly, one must know how to combine the appropriate internal state with its corresponding external event. Due to this relationship, how the internal really relates with the external, we realize that many of the perspectives that we carry within our self are unfounded, illusory, and ignorant, without real gnosis or cognizance of the truth. Therefore, real awareness, fully-concentrated consciousness, is like a shock. It only takes a moment to take an impression of life and to immediately, intuitively comprehend the relationship of that impression to our mind. This occurs only with awakening the consciousness, so as to cancel out negative reactions.
For example, someone insults you, or says something very hurtful, and then your pride is starting to react. Fire is bubbling out of you. If you pay attention in that moment and genuinely perceive that this person is suffering too, instantaneous comprehension helps to renounce such a negative emotion and guides you in the work meditation and elimination. It also develops compassion. In that instant, we understand that this person is subjected to karma, cause and effect, and that there are many factors that are provoking a state of suffering for that person. Achieving this understanding and peaceful harmony between ourselves and our neighbors is not easy, precisely due to the fact that we have rarely disciplined our mind in a conscious way. This is why Friedrich Nietzsche wrote in Thus Spoke Zarathustra, "The narrowest cleft is the hardest to bridge." This is in relation to our interactions with our fellow man. To cross the abyss between ourselves and others, we need to establish the bridge of compassion, by comprehending our neighbor and transforming negative impressions, so that love can blossom from our hearts.
This is not an intellectual exercise—it is cognizant, practical mysticism, genuine occult science, and true religion. In the beginning we study this teaching intellectually. The work is to perform religion in every second—cultivating a state ofcomprehension in every instant.
The impression arrives and the mind wants to react. Comprehension helps you look at the two and ask: what is the nature of that impression? What is the nature of my interpretation of those impressions? Cognizance produces a type of canceling. When someone insults us and we comprehend that the insult bears no value, that the individual providing the insult is imprisoned in suffering and needs compassion, and that we ourselves are like dust on the side of the road when compared to the beauty of divinity and the cosmos, we immediately cancel the impression and do not invest any value into those words, which are as intransient as vapor. Samael Aun Weor explained that when we transform the impressions of aggression directed towards us by developing comprehension of such impressions, it is like trying to draw funds with a check from an empty bank account. The check will bounce, and the aggressor will have nothing to retaliate with further. We therefore can irradiate genuine love and peace, which will help our enemies to change and become better persons.
Comprehension is like a lightening bolt; it’s a superior type of information. This is what is going to fuel meditation. Meditation is about discovering new information. We do that through our moment to moment effort to observe ourselves. As I was mentioning in another lecture, Swami Sivanada wrote, “The reason why students fail in meditation is that they lack ethics.” They don't know how to discipline their mind from moment to moment. It’s really a lack of discipline that produces inconsistency and failure within meditative practice. That is the explanation for why, although many practice meditation and adopt the austerities of monastic life, they languish within a dull state of existence, of not BEING, when really self-observation, meditation, and serene reflection should be like a crystal, very sharp and pure.
Meditation is not spacing out or falling asleep. Eventually as you progress, you let yourself fall asleep so you can go out of your body in order to travel throughout the tree of life. But generally when we fall asleep in meditation, maybe a couple of hours pass and we don't realize what happened. That's why in the beginning we emphasize not falling asleep. Maintain your drowsiness, maintain your clarity of mind while keeping your body in very relaxed state, and with consistency you will learn to astral project during your meditations. As we were stating, Mo Chao, serene reflection, is precisely this clarity of reflection, accompanied serenity.
Samael Aun Weor made a point in The Revolution of the Dialectic to explain these terms. How most people define "serenity" and "reflection" are incorrect. Serenity is not a dull state of mind, very lax or lazy, where impressions just emerge in the mind and there is no understanding. This is generally the state that we experience when we go to bed. If we pay attention even for a little bit before we go to sleep, the mind becomes very dull and a lot of images and impressions chaotically emerge. This in itself is not a true state of serenity, because serenity should be very firm, very strong. It’s also very supple, but it isn't just a dull state where we just accept things as they are. Dullness is a lack of conscious observation. Genuine spiritual reflection or insight, in itself, is known as the faculty of imagination.
In many different writings Samael Aun Weor made a point to explain Mo Chao. I've been referring to it in the Chinese way. But you find this also in Kabbalah, the teachings of the Hebrews, and many other forms of mysticism. Mo Chao, serene reflection, serenity of mind, is a result of concentration. Reflection is visualization or imagination. If you are familiar with the Tarot, you find this in the very first two cards of the twenty-two arcana or sacred laws. The first is the magician. He's very active. In one of his hands he's holding a staff and he's pointing in one direction. But he's very active in the card, strong, affirming himself. This represents the Father, or as we say in the Hebraic Kabbalah, Kether, the First Logos amongst the Gnostics. He's really the warrior magician who gave power to Moses. Moses received power from his Inner Divinity, from Kether, for the mantra related with Kether is אהיה אשר אהיה Eheieh Asher Eheieh,which translates as “I Am as I Am” and when Moses was before the burning bush, he asked “Who shall I say sent me?”And Christ said “אהיה אשר אהיה Eheieh Asher Eheieh: I Am the one who I Am.”
That's the Magician. He needs to fight for His Self-realization. This is the source of willpower, concentration. Then we have the second card of the tarot, the Priestess, who is sitting in a temple, with two columns: Jachin and Boaz, which we find in the temples of Freemasonry and Solomon. She is receptive, for She is the Divine Mother. She's really that force that gives us the faculty to perceive; it relates with clairvoyance. When we talk about imagination and clairvoyance, really, these are synonymous terms. Generally people think that clairvoyance is a faculty that only a few have, which is for people who are very elite, but really this term in itself was instituted by French initiates a couple of centuries ago in order for people to not disturb the study of their science, meaning: they intentionally sought to confuse people in order to protect their teaching, making people think that this is a gift for the few.
Clairvoyance and imagination are the same thing—clear perception and imagination is to receive images. But in gnosis we make the distinction that there are different types of clairvoyance. There's the objective perception of the Truth or the subjective perception of the mind, a falsity of ego. It’s a type of imagination that we perceive through wrong perception. This is exemplified when we have really disturbing dreams, or dreams consisting of nonsense, gibberish. That's a type of clairvoyance, but it’s subjective. The type of imagination we seek to cultivate in our practice, through concentrated reflection, Mo Chao, is lucid and objective. Unfortunately, it’s not enough to explain this science in this way because to understand what objective clairvoyance is, true states of comprehension, you have to really experiment with yourself. You have to become like a taste tester to really evaluate what comprehension, concentration and imagination really mean. We must become connoisseurs of spiritual experience. What in me is subjective? What is objective in me? That only comes about through practice, through effort. We need to really sit in meditation, remembering our Innermost Self, concentrated on God. Through persistence and consistency with our discipline, p erhaps in your practice a new image arises—something very foreign, clear, lucid and powerful. Maybe you see people from far away, from a different part of the globe, or cities, activities, etc. It could be many things. Flashes of imagery, scenes, sounds, tastes, and smells are good signs that imagination starting to awaken—it’s sparkling as a result of our work with sexual transmutation.
A new way of life emerges when we dedicate ourselves to meditation, sexual transmutation, and charity, but of course our efforts are always fueled by the science of the Divine Mother: Alchemy for couples, but pranayama for individuals. When we perform exercises of pranayama, we are utilizing the energies of our bodies in relation with the sexual glands and raising it with our breath in the etheric level, in our subtle energetic physiology, and using that energy to fuel the brain. For example, one exercise is Ham-Sah. You perform a prolonged and relaxed inhalation, mentally pronouncing the mantra Ham, bringing that energy to the brain and subsequently to the heart. Then you exhale softly and quickly, Sah and that energy goes to the heart.
Since the divine Mother, מרים Miriam, relates with מ Mem, the waters, it relates with the sexual energy, like in the story Pinocchio. He becomes a real man through his Divine Mother, cited as the Blue Fairy in the story. By using that energy through yogic exercises, pranayama, and moreover, through alchemy, Pinnochio becomes a boy of flesh and blood, an Adam Kadmon, a fully enlightened spiritual being. So while we're talking more about the principles of this practice, it’s generally fueled by how you use your energies through the science of breath. That energy is going to fuel your imagination incredibly, because that energy relating with מ Mem, with the waters of the sexual organs, rises up to the מMem of the brain, because we know from occidental science that the physical brain is surrounded by a fluid—it’s really a type of water, the cerebral spinal fluid, known as the מ Mem of the brain within Kabbalah. The Kabbalists knew this very well. So when they refer to the Divine Mother they call her Mirriam: מ Mem, ר Resh, י Iod and ם Final Mem. מMem is water. ר Resh literally means head. י Iod can also mean head and ם Final Mem again is water.
So the Divine Mother relates with energies from our sexual waters in our brain and sexuality, and it is this power that's going to fuel our imagination, our visualization practice. There's many types of pranayama exercises: Egyptian Christic Pranayama as given in The Yellow Book, Ham-Sah as given in The Perfect Matrimony. Swami Sivananda gave an extensive variety. There are many different types of pranayama. Basically we use this energy to fuel our imagination practice. However, it's not all to develop perception—it is not enough. Imagination by itself is not enough—it has to be balanced with concentration.
This brings us to the third Arcanum of the Tarot. After the Magician and the Priestess, you have the Empress. It’s also a feminine card, relating to the third Sephirah, the third sphere, Binah, which is the Holy Spirit. Binah in Hebrew literally translates as “Understanding,” so as we see in the unfoldment of the arcana (arcana means laws, principles), we see from concentration, the Magician, the Father and imagination, the Priestess, emerges the third force: synthesis, comprehension, or reconciliation.
It’s by learning how to balance our concentration with our perception that we attain insight, meaning: we don't forget we’re meditating, focused on our practice while allowing ourselves to become drowsy enough to perceive new images from the dream world. It’s really the combination of the two that will allow us to perceive something new in our experience of meditation. This not only applies when we sit to meditate, but in every moment, every instant. When we transform impressions, we have to be concentrated. We have to pay attention, such as in this moment. You must be aware of the fact that you are sitting and receiving words and information, to not let your mind wander or daydream during the lecture. You need imagination, the ability to perceive those impressions from the instructor. It’s the balance of those two, being attentive and perceiving images, that comprehension starts to emerge. This is essentially important with interrelations with people. Sometimes we may be very concentrated, but we are not understanding the nature of impressions. In that sense we need to pay attention to the clarity, quality, and nature of our perception.
This a Kabbalistic and alchemical teaching given in the manner and tradition of the Hebrews, but we find this synthesis even in Chan Buddhism: Mo Chao, serene reflection. This is how understanding will emerge in our practice. Understanding the nature of impressions and karma is a direct result of our serenity of mind and how we perceive, because the word reflection reminds us of the reflection of a lake. When you truly reflect on something, what you want is to see the image of something, but in order to reflect an image in your mind, you need to have the waters calm. If the lake is chaotic and the impressions of life are entering the waters like stones, it’s going to create a lot of friction—the waves will expand and the image which should be reflecting God within gets muddled. Establishing and maintaining serene reflection is is a moment to moment effort. This is the work in relation to transformation, understanding the nature of mind itself, and the impressions that we receive.
If our meditation practice is muddled, if there isn't much clarity, we need to work on our imagination, our visualization. If we forget that we are meditating when we sit to meditate, that's when we need more concentration. You will find at different times you need more of one than the other, but generally it’s finding balance which will result in new experiences in meditation and comprehension. We have to understand this on a moment to moment basis, because without serene reflection, meditation itself becomes very dry—we won't have the fuel and the energy needed in order to perform meditation properly. Our meditation will become stagnant. All of that fluctuation of impressions, how they sustain and how they pass away on the screen of our mind, will remain confusing and disordered. Achieving clarity only comes about by awakening the consciousness here and now, in every instant of our lives. There are stories of people who have tried meditating for twenty of thirty years, but they don't understand that in order to meditate you have to meditate in every second.
Every state of awareness that you have, in whatever activity you are doing, is essential for developing true esoteric discipline. Some activities might be more conducive for that. For instance, I take martial arts. That's a very profound form of meditation if you know how to take advantage of it. On the one hand you may think it’s merely a physical calisthenics, exclusively dealing with the physicality of the person. The real purpose of martial arts, the real struggle, is with your own mind. You have an attacker and your mind wants to react—you have reconcile that. You have to work around that. I take Aikido, which is very geared towards this type of philosophy, Chan and Zen Buddhism. If you have the opportunity to take martial arts like that... it could be very helpful to your practice—understanding the nature of impressions through the motor-instinctive brain. It’s a great way to train the mind. Psychological discipline and spiritual training is the origin of all martial arts.
Bodhidharma founded Kung Fu and people just think it was only instituted so that the monks could defend themselves from attackers, but really it was so they can defend themselves against their own minds. This is what the work of transforming impressions is—comprehending life from moment to moment. Really, you have to be like a martial artist—calm, relaxed, and serene, in this moment—meanwhile you could have twelve guys chasing after you with axes. Despite great dangers, you must be composed and in control. It doesn't mean you’re not worried about the situation. Something would be wrong if you weren’t. But what’s important is to be observant, relaxed—then you deal with a given problem, whether it is being attacked or paying your bills in practical life. That's the essence of Zen—that’s the effortless effort. Serenity deals with much more elevated states of concentration, as it's illustrated by the graphic calledNine stages of Meditative Concentration, which we should study and work with. We've definitely talked a little bit about this topic.
Questions and Answers
Audience: You were talking a little bit before about a quote from the Prophet Mohammed in which he states something like the real jihad is against your own self. I was wondering if you could at a later point write down the verse of the quote for me. My second question is regarding the arcana of the tarot. You mentioned that the magician, the priestess, and empress in secession reflect the three primary foundations of meditation (dynamics). My question regarding the rest of the tarot is: Do they continue to reflect the different aspects of the dynamics of meditation?
Speaker: It was mentioned in the Islamic oral tradition that the Prophet taught two forms of striving (mujahadat, which is where we get the word “jihad”): jihad al-akbar (the greater holy war against oneself) and jihad al-asgar (the lesser holy war against oppressors):
Mulla `Ali al-Qari, from al-Mawdu`at al-kubra (al-Asrar al-marfu`a):
Suyuti said: al-Khatib al-Baghdadi relates in his "History" on the authority of Jabir: The Prophet came back from one of his campaigns saying: "You have come forth in the best way of coming forth: you have come from the smaller jihad to the greater jihad." They said: "And what is the greater jihad?" He replied: "The striving (mujahadat) of Allah's servants against their idle desires."
In relation to the mind itself, you have the three principles of affirmation, negation, synthesis. This is what Samael wrote in this book in relation to the transformation of impressions. In understanding the mind itself, those are the most important factors. As to whether the rest of the tree of life correlates, it does, but not strictly in the actual experience of meditation as a dynamic. With affirmation, you have a thought appears, you have negation when you want to react to that, then synthesis is the actual moment of comprehending and understanding the relationship—if you are paying attention and remembering your Being. That's really the most important thing in relation to meditation practice... because the trinity is the force that creates.
Relating the tree of life to meditation and the holy trinity, you have three triangles in the tree of life. You have three trinities, the logoic triangle (Kether, Chokmah, Binah), the triangle of ethics (Chesed, Geburah, Tiphereth), and the triangle of priesthood (Netzach, Hod, Yesod)—and seven levels for the first seven sephiroth. But in relation to the three trinities. You have Kether, the Father, in the head, Chokmah, the Sun, in the heart, and the Holy Spirit in the sex. You can also say that you have Chesed in the mind, a superior type of reasoning, the spiritual Nous. This is what Plato talked about in The Republic, that the king philosopher should have Nous—the illumination of Chesed, the Inner Being within. So you can say that Chesed relates with the head, Geburah with the heart, and Tiphereth in relation to instincts and sexuality. The sixth commandment, Thou shall not fornicate, relates with Tiphereth. The sixth arcana of the tarot is related with the choice between chastity, inner purity, and fornication. So Tiphereth is in relation to sexuality according to the sixth card of the Tarot, Indecision. And then you also have the other trinity at the very bottom.
The first triangle is the logoic triangle, the second is the ethical triangle, and the third is the magical triangle. The magical triangle consists of Netzach, which is the mind, Hod which is the heart, and then you have Yesod which is the etheric body related with sexuality. My emphasis is much more on the first three principles because everything comes from Christ—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but that trinity is reflected in all of the Sephiroth. Generally we say that the mind is affirmation, because it is always affirming thoughts, a constant churning of concepts, memories, and ideas. The heart is negation, going back to Alice in Wonderland—always reacting with negative emotions, such as the Queen of Hearts, “Off with his head!” And you have synthesis related with sexuality, because as you see in the motor-instinctive-sexual brain, it’s really a synthesis of three principles. It encompasses movements, instincts and sexuality, so it’s a synthesis.
Now to go even deeper, this relates with the three mother letters of the Hebrew alphabet— א Aleph, the Magician relates with the head, ש Shin, fire, Christ, relates to the heart, and מ Mem, Maya, Miriam, the Holy Spirit relates to the waters. They all derive their source from the Trinity. So in relation with the dynamics of meditation, it’s always in threes, really, because everything comes from the divine source. The law of three was mentioned by Master Gurdjieff as the Holy Triamatzikamno. All originate with the Divine Source—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. So, you have those correlations definitely.
Audience: I notice for myself, and I make, in as much as I remember, an effort to be awake and aware of myself. I will notice certain points in time that ill be doing a job that requires almost more of my attention just on that… almost more than my own intention just on that and I have to be aware of myself too, but it’s very difficult.
Speaker: That's good that you recognize this fact. It’s very difficult. It’s difficult to spark that comprehension in the first place. It’s difficult to maintain it, that's really what jihad is about. It’s difficult to even realize in the first place, and it’s even more difficult to maintain awareness throughout the entire day. As indicated by the term mindfulness in Buddhism, we make a distinction that it doesn't just relate to self-observation. Self-observation is the first step, to be watchful of this moment, and mindfulness is maintaining self-observation through the entire day. So first you observe and then you maintain that vigilance throughout the entire day. If you recognize that its hard, that's a good sign. It is hard. That's really the battle and struggle of the mind. The mind can't do it. So when your mind says, “I can't do it,” comprehension will show you, “This is the only thing right the mind has stated. However, for making this postulation, the mind is wrong. Mind, you are only a vehicle, a machine! You are not my true identity!" The mind really can’t resolve anything—only the consciousness can. Life is really the psychological gymnasium.
It’s a work in progress. Even if you self-realize you have work to do. Generally there can be two types of comprehension: hindsight and foresight. The hindsight hurts a lot because your mind stabs you in the back with shame for having made a mistake. Generally, you want to develop a type of comprehension that is instantaneous and helps you to act appropriately in the moment. You know it’s wrong in the instant a defect appears in your three brains and you say “Ah-ha! I'm not going to do that,” and there's real control there, real discipline. That's the type of insight that we need. You can only get that if you’re mind is serene and your consciousness is paying attention. You must let your mind reflect and perceive those images for what they are in a given moment. You’re only going to develop that by working very hard. Remember that if you’re practicing these types of teachings, you’re going to make a lot of mistakes. That's in the case of every Buddha—every initiate has to face that.
There's one German initiate, by the name of Friedrich Nietzsche, who wrote in his book Thus Spoke Zarathustra a speech that conveys a very inspiring, comforting, and revelatory message. In the text, we have the Nietzsche's fictional Zarathustra preaching to his disciples within the solitude of a mountain cave, saying:
The higher its type, the more rarely a thing succeeds. You higher men (initiates) here, have you not all failed?
Be of good cheer, what does it matter? How much is still possible! Learn to laugh at yourselves as one must laugh!
Is it any wonder that you have failed and only half succeeded, being half-broken (being weak with ego)? Is not something thronging and pushing in you—man’s future (the promise and birth of the Intimate Christ within)? Man’s greatest distance and depth and what in him is lofty to the stars, his tremendous strength(of the Inner Being)—are not all these frothing against each other in your pot (your mind)? Is it any wonder that many a pot breaks? Learn to laugh at yourselves as one must laugh! You higher men, how much is still possible!
And verily, how much has already succeeded (through psycho-analytical meditation and comprehension of mental dynamics)! How rich is the earth in little good perfect things, in what has turned out well!
Place little good perfect things around you, O higher men! Their golden ripeness heals the heart. What is perfect teaches hope. —The Higher Men, Book IV, Section 15.
Therefore, he was saying, “You higher men (initiates), don't you realize that you’re failures, but is there anything to be upset about that you make mistakes like that? There's still so many rich and beautiful things to accomplish if you fail and realized that you failed. That's good that you recognized your mistakes—now work on them. That's when you realize you'll be making victories.”
When you make a mistake and you say, “Really I made a big mistake,” and you accept it and you work on it diligently, then the gods, Buddhas and Masters look at you and say “He's progressing.” When you have the maturity to realize that “Yeah, I'm really at fault and I'm going to change it,” to have the perseverance to keep working, that's when they really honor you in the internal planes. Ordeals must be experienced again and again until we conquer them. You may read about this subject in The Perfect Matrimony. The disciple will be submitted to ordeals in the astral plane, right? And generally when they do that, they push you to the very edge so that you react in a bad way. If you control yourself through the science of mental dynamics, they will appear to you as children, golden Cherubim, the children of the immortal dawn, very innocent. They were once there, but now they're innocent like little children and they honor you because even though you make mistakes and you fail ordeals, you continue onward through jihad al-akbar. They keep testing you, internally. They'll do that when you develop enough Mo Chao, serene reflection, physically, and then internally. They're happy if you make succeed after having failed many times.
So it’s a work in progress, but don’t think you're some exception, because everyone has their difficulties. The key to unlocking it all is Mo Chao, Self-remembering, in every moment. Then you’ll learn to transform those ordeals into something positive for you. So even after your pot has broken, you may remember all the good and wonderful things you have received from God as a result of mental dynamics. Then afterward, you may say with peace, like Nietzsche did in the quotation, “Learn to laugh at yourselves as one must laugh! What is perfect teaches hope.”