This is a transcription of an audio lecture from Gnostic Psychology, a course originally given live at the Gnostic Academy of Chicago:
In this course of meditation, we have been exploring what it means to communicate with divinity, with the divine, which as we have been emphasizing is not some anthropomorphic figure of an old man or a dignified lady in the clouds. Those are symbols, and religions teach us something psychological. Something conscious. And we in the science of meditation seek to communicate directly with the presence; the intelligence that has been represented within those traditions, within statues, or forms.
So we began this practice by invoking the energy of what is known as the Divine Mother, the divine feminine, who is the feminine aspect of our inner divinity, our Inner Being. So when we say that God is Being, we don't wish to point towards anthropomorphism, but instead to principles, energies, forces we find in nature and within our own body, which we seek to actualize, to activate, to stimulate.
In our process of giving these lectures we have been talking a lot about working with the divine feminine, being able to communicate directly with that intelligence in a very concrete and specific manner. When the different traditions of Judaism, Buddhism, or Islam speak about communicating face to face with the buddhas, with the angels, with the gods, those are symbols of how we can speak face to face in our meditations with that divine presence—but also in the science of dream yoga, in which our physical body goes to sleep and we as a consciousness enter the superior dimensions of nature, the dreamworld.
By working in meditation, we awaken from dreams, so that as a consciousness we can communicate with the divine and those dimensions, which people typically theorize and believe is just a projection of the brain, but really, when someone awakens consciousness profoundly and ceases to dream in that state, one really gets to understand that there is a whole other world available to us, which meditation teaches us how to access. Because we as a consciousness, as a soul, must learn to receive that guidance, that wisdom from our inner divinity.
Most people who approach religion, meditation, yoga, and when I say yoga, I mean real yoga, not just physical postures, but yug which in Sanskrit means “to unite” as a consciousness with the truth; when people approach religion, they typically want to have some type of experience, to know divinity directly for oneself—not based on any belief or theory, but on practice.
We all have issues and problems that we suffer with, that we struggle with, and we look for some type of guidance in our politicians, our media, our religious figures, our temple, our church, our synagogue, our mosque, and yet we find that people cannot really show us or give us answers to the real profound root of our sufferings in a fundamental way, because we may believe in one doctrine or not, and yet what we think doesn't matter, because how we behave, how we act consciously, determines our mind stream, our life.
So neither by believing in some religion is how one is going to find the solutions to one's deepest sufferings, but though meditation.
So to pray, according to the founder of the Gnostic tradition, Samael Aun Weor, is to speak with divinity. To have that connection. To interact as we are interacting here and now. Prayer for most people tends to be a very blind thing, where we repeat a certain prayer in a mechanical way; some Hail Mary, or Our Father, thinking that by repeating mechanically, repetitiously, that somehow we are going to receive some insight. But the truth is that that type of prayer doesn't work. It is superficial.
If we want to really talk with divinity, we have to be very specific in our methods, in how we concentrate our mind as we've been discussing in this course. To focus on one thing: a mantra, a secret sound, an image, a sculpture; visualizing it's details in our mind. Focusing on that one specific thing without letting the mind wander and get distracted, because if we sit to practice, we typically find that the mind wanders constantly. It thinks about other things.
We daydream about what we are going to do later, where we have been, who we talked with. And yet we may return into our practice thirty minutes later realizing, "I am supposed to be meditating. I'am supposed to be present." So that state of distraction shows us what we are psychologically moment by moment. Not when we just sit to close our eyes for half an hour or so, but in our daily life, we are constantly thinking and being distracted by what we are going to do, where we have been, and where we are going.
That distraction of the consciousness indicates that we are, as a psyche, asleep. We are not present. We are not mindful. We are not aware of what we are doing, what we are saying, what we are thinking, because if we are driving our car and thinking of our friends, our fiancé, our spouse; if we are at a lecture and if we are thinking of other things, we are not really listening to what's going on. We are not really seeing where we are at. It means that we as a consciousness are asleep. The mind wanders.
As we said in our previous lecture on the path of Conscious Judgment, the mind is a labyrinth, a maze, which the great hero Theseus goes into, in order to find the beast known as the minotaur, a symbol of our own egotism, which by learning to concentrate ourselves in meditation, we go into the mind. We cease being distracted and we learn to get to the core root of our suffering, which is psychological. It is a conditioning, as we have been explaining.
So the process of meditation is about, again, going into the mind, focusing the mind, being specific with our practice, being aware of what we are doing at all times, and when we learn to discipline our intellect, concentrate ourselves to be focused, moment by moment, day by day in every circumstance of life, we find that the practice of meditation opens up spontaneously. So if you find that you are distracted, you may have a certain longing to know God, the Being, the divine, and we go through certain prayers or rituals or practices. But if we are not mindful of what we are doing, it means that we are not going to have the results we want.
Because, to receive that insight from the divine means the mind has to be calm. We have to be concentrated on what we are doing. So the very beginning of meditative practice, the path of prayer, of communicating with the divine, occurs when the mind is in silence. When it is focused. When we command our attention to do one thing at the exclusion of everything else. That we don't let our mind wander. We don't waver. We don't begin a prayer in our practice and then forget what we are doing, and then realize "I should have been reciting this prayer with this practice," and then we remember.
So that is the beginning of any person who starts in meditation, because we see that the mind needs to be controlled, it needs to be harnessed. But, when we find that when the mind is calm and serene, we can start to receive knowledge, insight and this usually comes in the form of some type of spiritual experience.
As I said, you can awaken in dreams by learning to meditate in which you, as a consciousness, with a mind that is calm, can say and invoke your Inner God, your Inner Goddess, and say "My God, help me, teach me!" Because prayer, when it is focused with intention, and then we wait, that is when we receive insight. That is when the communication happens, because most people think that by reciting a hundred Hail Mary's, or Hari Krishna’s, or whatever a thousand times, that you are going to get some kind of result. The truth is that you can't if your mind is mechanical, if we just repeat things; we think things, we feel things, without any real knowledge or observance. No attention.
And so this lecture we called “Conscious Prayer” because in order to have that communication with your Being, you have to be conscious of what you are doing. And as I said earlier the path of meditation begins when we learn to concentrate.
So in this exercise, we were invoking the energy of the Divine Mother with a mantra Ram-IO. We learn to focus on that mantra to pronounce it. To immerse ourselves in the vibrations of that sound so that this energy saturates the consciousness, awakens it, develops our hidden potential. In that way, when you have energy, as we have been talking in this course and the Light of Consciousness lecture, when you have energy applied to action, then you can get results.
When the mind is not calm, if the lake of the intellect is churning with negativity, with anguish, with preoccupations about our job, not really focusing on what we need to focus on in our practice, it means that the images of the heavens cannot reflect in that lake. Your mind is a lake, but we typically tend to throw things into it. Stones, garbage, or whatever metaphor we want to use. Negativity. And that mind that is agitated, churning, can't help us to focus. We sit to practice, we look into the mind and we see that we are filled with a lot of memories, and anguish, and suffering.
When people realize this at the beginning of meditation, they typically tend to run away because they realize how monstrous the mind is. It's so chaotic and you realize, or think, “this practice is harming me.” The truth is we are just becoming aware of what is going on moment by moment and day by day. We are just not conscious of it.
And to help us with this process of learning to become conscious of our daily life, we learn to pray. It means to be focused and to be sincere. To be concentrated. If we, again, pronounce Hari Krishna multiple times, but we are not really invested with our heart, our longing to know the divine, and our concentration, there won't be any results. We can speak all we want but the answer won't come directly. So calm the mind is the beginning. The mind needs to be stable. We need to be concentrated and in that way the truth emerges spontaneously within our consciousness.
Durga, the Divine Mother, and Astral Forms
So we pictured here the Hindu representation of the Divine Mother known as Durga. There are many other forms of the divine feminine, such as Kali and, as we mentioned earlier, this divine feminine has been represented by Athena, amongst the Greeks, Miriam and Mary amongst the Hebrews and the Christians. It is interesting that you look at the word מִרְיָם Miriam in Hebrew, which means “to raise, to elevate” because the Divine Mother, your Inner Goddess is the one who can elevate you from psychological conditions and sufferings into the heights of the divine, the spiritual. And personally, if I am teaching you this, it is because this is something I have been working with for many years, where I have had experiences in the dream world, where I have been receiving insight from my Inner Goddess, who has been helping me so that I can be of help to others.
In dreams, this divine feminine can take form. So I said that the divine is formless, but is an energy, is a principle, is a force. That energy can materialize in the dream world in any symbol, any form, in order to teach you something psychologically about yourself. And then that way, when you are presented with this symbol, when you are asking your Inner Goddess, "My God or my Being, help me, teach me what I need to know"—you are meditating, you are focusing on that one question, you fall asleep. You wait. And then spontaneously, your consciousness can awaken in that state in which you ask that question again, “My God, help me, show me what I need to know about myself. About this problem that I am going through. What I need to do. What I need to change!”
And then the answer will come in a symbol. It will come in a some type of living drama, because the world of dreams, the astral plane, is a symbolic language. A symbolic world. Your Divine Mother will come to you in any form that is going to be concrete and conducive for teaching you something.
I remember one instance, I invoked my Divine Mother in the world of dreams and I asked her the question, "Please help me to understand what I need to work on. What I need to do!” She appeared. I was outside my house in the dream world, because in the astral plane, in that dimension, we see everything that we see physically, but with differences. It is a different dimension. A different type of materiality that is not physical. She came to me in a figure of a bear and in spiritual studies, we know that the bear is a symbol of egotism, of animalism, of desire, of defects, and of the secret psychological enemies we carry within that are fighting against this type of work—as we have been talking about with the many other myths in this course.
So she came to me with a radar in her hands that was showing a laser beam, or that beam that goes in a circle, so that you can find some kind of blip or dot of some type of aircraft that is present, and it was blank. And she said to me, “I can't find you!” And I woke up.
I was really filled with a lot of remorse because she was showing me, "I am trying to awaken your consciousness and you keep forgetting me. You keep forgetting My presence." Because your Divine Mother is with you, here and now. You don't need to have some type of samadhi or mystical experience out of the body, to really actualize the presence of your Inner Goddess within you. So she came to me, fortunately in a dream to show me: "I'm looking on my radar and I don't see you." Meaning, you are not paying attention. You are not awake. You are not concentrated in me in your daily life.
So in my daily life, I had been getting too distracted. Forgetting my own consciousness. Getting caught up in daydreaming, and worries, and thoughts, and not being focused about where I am at. So that is an example of conscious prayer, where by silencing the mind, you meditate, you go out of the body in the dream state, and then you ask the question, "Show me what I need to know." And often times through discipline, your Divine Mother will come to you in a way that is unexpected, where you may not even be able to get the question out of your mouth and suddenly the answer will show up and come to you. That is why Dante in his Divine Comedy stated that the Divine Mother or Virgin Mary, often provides the answer before we even ask it, because she is the power of love, of compassion within the depths of our psyche.
The Four Yogas
And so we in these studies learn to actualize that presence in different ways, specifically through what we call four types of yoga. The word yoga comes from the Sanskrit yug, “to reunite.” So when you learn to communicate with your inner God, your inner Goddess, face-to-face, you are performing union, because you receiving the direct Insight you longed for.
But, let us remember that the term yoga as is used today really has no meaning. People think that yoga is contorting the body, twisting it, or making it thin, so that one can attract the lust of other people. Instead real yoga is fourfold.
We have Karma Yoga relating to action, to service. We have Bhakti Yoga, related to devotion, the heart. We have Raja Yoga relating to powers, abilities, psychic capacities. We have Jnana Yoga, relating to knowledge.
So this lecture we will talk specifically about bhakti, devotion and what it really means. But you can't explain Bhakti Yoga without talking about the other constituents of spiritual practice.
Karma yoga relates to how you use your body, in a more superficial sense. How do we act with our physical body in daily life? Do we do so working at our job to benefit others, or do we use our body in ways that is selfish, where we are concerned more about our own welfare? How do we act? How do we behave? How do we think? How do we feel? And how do we express what is internal?
As we've been talking about in these lectures, we talked that psychologically, we carry many egotistical elements we call ego, "I,” me, myself, anger, pride, fear, vanity, lust—a whole conglomeration of defects, which are shells, conditions, which trap our full potential, which trap the consciousness and which in religions, they have been represented as demons—because these senses of self, these desires, are really demonic. They don't want to help others.
Anger does not want to help others. It wants to destroy. Likewise with fear. It debilitates. Many elements that drag us down into states of suffering. Those have been represented by monsters and figures in different religions, different traditions, different myths.
And so we have to examine our mind, our mind stream. What do we carry within? What is going on psychologically that makes us act in daily life? How do we behave towards others in life? Are we thinking about ourselves or do we really think about the benefit of others?
Now it is important that one learns to understand one's psychological state, because our psychological states shape our life. Where we are psychologically determines how we act, what we say; what we think determines how we behave and energetically when we learn to awaken our consciousness, we see that even our thoughts influence others, because it is a form of energy. It is a form of matter and it influences people. There is an interaction that is psychological, that is psychic, that relates to Raja Yoga. But Raja Yoga is actually much more profound than just psychic powers. It involves many things that we are going to talk about.
So karma, how do we act? In these studies if we really want to learn how to meditate, we have to learn what shapes and conditions us. What makes us suffer? But more importantly, how do we make others suffer with our egotism, our sense of self? When you learn to understand how anger is a destructive element, is an animal that needs to stop being fed, then you begin to experience what all the Greek myths have taught about the great heroes fighting against the monster, the medusa, the minotaur, the Kraken. Symbols of our own defects.
But when you learn to restrain the mind in a moment of anger, we learn to comprehend in ourselves and we look inside and we see that a certain element is a rising in us that wants to act negatively, but we don't feed that element. We restrain ourselves, because we know that this element will harm the other person if we speak what that element wants to speak, that ego, that sense of self.
When you restrain the mind, you empower your consciousness, and in those moments of great anger, you can invoke your Divine Mother. You simply pray, "My Goddess, help me to understand this anger that is boiling in me." And sometimes it could require us stepping away from the person. Other times, we may have transformation, where we realize and comprehend that we are not that anger, and then we can learn to respond with love. Instead of responding with anger, we serve the other person. We serve divinity in the other person, because all people have God within. Therefore we shouldn't disrespect anyone psychologically, mentally, physically.
When you learn to restrain the mind and act in positive ways, you are performing a form of bhakti, of religion. Because religion come from the Latin religare, which means “to reunite,” to bring people together and also to unite the soul with God, the Being. When you speak words of compassion towards your aggressor, towards someone who dislikes you, who treats you with disrespect, instead of reacting with anger, we see that element arise and we don't act on it. We choose conscious action. We serve the other person, and Samael Aun Weor, the founder of this tradition, states that one must learn to kiss the whip of the executioner, to kindly receive the unpleasant manifestations of our fellow men and women.
We understand that those people who are angry are suffering. We should not treat them with disrespect or anger, but with patience. In that way we are performing Karma Yoga. We are also showing devotion, because we are showing that we don't want to harm the other person, even in our thoughts. We show bhakti. We are showing that we want to perform religion, reunite people, not separate. Bhakti Yoga is how we devote ourselves in every action of our life with consciousness, with awareness.
Jnana Yoga relates to knowledge of the intellect. To study. To studying and having a certain knowledge of scripture, religion, teachings, psychology, whatever lectures we receive, in order to help Inspire us and also to train the mind to know the path and the steps, the principles of how to change, of how to practice meditation.
Bhakti relates to devotion, to the heart, your emotional qualities, your psychological states.
Notice we have in the lower three frames of yoga: Karma Yoga relating to your body, Bhakti Yoga relating to your heart, Jnana Yoga relating to your intellect.
In gnostic psychology, we call this the three brains. You have a center for intellect, the thought, the mind where thoughts emerge. Where thoughts originated and which is not a physical brain, but a psychological center, which the physical brain channels thought, because the soul is inhabiting the body like a car, like someone is driving it. The mind is a form of a vehicle, a brain, a machine; it processes certain energies which exists physically but also psychologically.
We have an emotional brain relating to sentiment, hate, love, passion, desire, which relates to the physical heart and it's nervous systems, but also to the energies of emotion, which is different from the intellect. That is something we learn to distinguish through meditation.
The body, represented by the entire spine, is the motor-instinctive-sexual brain, where we process movement, instincts, and our sexual impulses.
Karma Yoga relates to the body. Bhakti Yoga relate to the heart. Jnana Yoga relates to the mind.
Raja yoga is the balancing of all three. Raja means “royal yoga.” It is regal yoga, meaning, by learning to silence the mind, calm the heart, control the body, calm the body, we activate certain powers of the consciousness that make one into a king or a queen of oneself.
So Karma Yoga, we typically see is associated with performing good action, to benefit others so that in some way we benefit ourselves. As the Dalai Lama stated "if one can't really be selfless, at least be wisely selfish," meaning, at least don't harm the other person, but at the same time, you are doing that so that the person doesn't yell back at you, because that perpetuates suffering. It makes us suffer. In a more profound level, we learn to be selfless in our actions when we learn to comprehend our defects and to make conscious choices. To not act upon fear or resentment, or pride. In that way, we radiate naturally spontaneous joy peace, and that benefits humanity.
That is a form of service, sacrifice. We sacrifice our desires so that we can benefit others. This is the symbol of Jesus on the cross, where he was crucifying his own animal ego, his mind, and of course that is a very painful process, because we are very attached to our body, our emotions, our intellect. But he showed a profound will and love in those moments of being nailed to the cross. He said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do," because he was speaking from the consciousness.
So Raja Yoga is when you learn to silence the mind, calm the heart, calm the body, so that when you sit to meditate, the heart opens naturally and then we can begin to concentrate on a specific question we have, a practice we want to fulfill so that we can get insight.
The Elements of Bhakti Yoga
This is Swami Sivananda. A great yogi. A great master. He wrote some easy steps to yoga, some explanations about what devotion really is. It's importance. People who typically read these type of writings, they become inspired, but some people also look at it very superficially and don't really understand that bhakti, devotion, doesn't just occur when we go to Puja, perform japa, mantra recitation, perform certain rituals; but we show bhakti devotion with every interaction of life.
As the Dalai Lama stated or was asked the question, "What inspires you most?" He said, "Every person I come into contact with." Because, other people show him or show us ourselves. Sivananda explains that:
“Bhakti is the basis of religious life. Bhakti destroys Vasanas and egoism.” —Sivananda, Easy Steps to Yoga
Vasanas are latent animalistic tendencies in the mind.
So how does bhakti destroy vasanas? As I said, you are at your job, your boss criticizes you, or you have a conflict with a difficult client and they are provoking your anger, and then in that moment, you realize how destructive that element is. Those thoughts of revenge, of resentment, of pain, that its actions will cause harm and perpetuate suffering for us and for others. We restrain from the mind and we learn to speak with love. Not forced. Not veiled. But spontaneously.
That is something that comes to us with training and intuitively when the mind is silent, when you are relaxed, when you are paying attention to where you are at. You learn to say the right thing, do the right thing, think the right thing, at the right time. That is inner judgment, as we have been talking about previously.
So that is how you destroy egoism. You stop feeding the ego. You perform bhakti, devotion. Worshipping the God of that other person who is criticizing you. Saying, mentally, "I respect the divine within all beings, even within an ant or criminal." All beings have God within. The reason why the criminal acts as he or she does is because they are ignorant. Therefore “they don't deserve my anger; they deserve my compassion.”
You don't have to formulate this in your mind when you are having a conflict, instead the insight emerges and you realize the person is suffering. So why feel anger? And then you transform your own mind, and by acting with kindness, we transform the situation.
“A life without Bhakti, faith, love and devotion is a dreary waste.” —Sivananda, Easy Steps to Yoga
So what is faith? In our gnostic studies, we state that faith is conscious knowledge, not belief. To believe that something is true or false is irrelevant. To think that something is true or not doesn't mean anything. Instead faith is when you know something from experience, personally. Like having a conversation with your inner Divine Mother in the astral plane. So real bhakti is faith. Your heart becomes inflamed when you are communicating with your inner God and “to not have that is to be a dreary waste.” People who never discover that is a tragedy.
“Bhakti softens the heart and removes jealousy, hatred, lust, anger, egoism, pride and arrogance. It infuses joy, Divine ecstasy, Bliss, Peace and Knowledge.” —Sivananda, Easy Steps to Yoga
So what is ecstasy? Coming from the Latin exstatuo: “to stand outside oneself.” People often think that ecstasy is a spiritual experience, which means to be in some type of out-of-body experience. But you experience moments of standing outside of yourself when you learn to comprehend that you are not fear, that you are not those negative elements that make us suffer. But instead, you are something divine, consciously speaking. You step outside of yourself and you have a moment of perspective in which you see your subjective self and your objective self. And how you choose between the two determines your religious life, your spiritual life.
“All cares, worries, anxieties, fears, mental torments and tribulations entirely vanish. The devotee is freed from the Samsaric wheel of births and deaths.” —Sivananda, Easy Steps to Yoga
In Buddhism and Hinduism, samsara means cyclical existence, which people typically interpret to the multi-dimensionality of nature and its different levels and forms, which we discussed in relation to Kabbalah. But samsara literally means “cycling, repeating, habits.” So we learn to identify our negative habits and change them. We perform cessation of those causes of repetitive behaviors that produce suffering. Cessation in Sanskrit is Nirvana. So it isn't just a place, but a psychological way of being, in which you cease repeating behaviors that are detrimental for oneself.
And through bhakti, “He attains the Immortal Abode of everlasting Peace, Bliss and Knowledge.” —Sivananda, Easy Steps to Yoga
That everlasting abode, that immortal abode is not some other world in which some utopian existence is experienced. It's not by going to the astral plane or the mental plane or Nirvana or the different dimensions that we talked about in the Tree of Life, that one is going to find absolute peace, because all those dimensions are here and now with us. Our center of gravity tends to be in this physical body, but psychologically we have mind, emotion, energy, which are different levels of matter and experience.
Watchfulness is Prayer
All those aspects of the consciousness integrate within us in the here and now. That abode is not something foreign to you, but it's within your Being who is with you.
So how do we experience and know that immortal abode? It is through remembrance of the divine. It Is by being watchful. By learning to pay attention. We have an image of a Sufi in meditation and prayer who has in his right hand what some would call a rosary in the Christian tradition, which traditionally, such as in Hinduism, you would perform japa with the beads. You count the beads while reciting a mantra for each bead in order to train the mind.
So as we mentioned in the practice at the beginning of this lecture, we repeat a mantra in order to protect the mind, to train it, to cease being negative. Mantra means “mind protection.” Japa is when you are reciting a prayer in your mind, but not mechanically, instead consciously, with force, with devotion. And we have many mantras in our tradition, but also in many other religions. Amongst the Sufis it is Allah Hu Allah. Amongst the Hindus we have Hari Krishna and many other prayers, which are really effective, but if you repeat them mechanically, they are useless.
You have to be conscious of what you are doing. And sometimes in ancient traditions, they would train themselves reciting those prayers by counting beads. Repeating again and again a mantra to remember the presence of divinity within. To invoke energy in the mind, the heart, the body.
But the best act of worship, of prayer, is watchfulness. Watchfulness of the moment. It isn't by going to some spiritual place going to Tibet, going to a church or a mosque in which one is going to find communion with the divine. You find divinity by being watchful. The physical place doesn't matter so much. The best act of worship is when you are paying attention, self-observing.
We discussed in our previous lectures about the path of self-observation in which you as a consciousness are observing your three brains: your thoughts, your feelings, your body. Observing the impulses of the mind, the instincts, our sexual drives, our thoughts, our emotions. We become mindful. We observe ourselves like we are watching an actor in a film as if we are the director.
So this watchfulness, when you are paying attention, is precisely that greatest prayer we can enact, because if you are not aware as a consciousness, you cannot know divinity. You cannot perceive divinity here and now. Like I said in that experience, my Divine Mother said, "You are lost. Where are you?" And I felt panic, because She was showing me that “you are not worshipping Me. You are not remembering Me.” How do you remember divinity? When you are provoked with anger or negative elements, and then you realize what to do. How to act. How to behave. Not only just physically, but mentally you make choices. You have insight. Instead of responding with resentment or revenge, you transform the situation with love. This is the meaning of the following statement:
“The best act of worship is watchfulness of the moments. That is, that the servant not look beyond his limit, not contemplate anything other than his Lord, and not associate with anything other than his present moment.” —Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So what does it mean that the servant not look beyond his limit? So when we prefer perform Bhakti Yoga, we are serving divinity. We are also performing Karma Yoga, positive action. When we don't look beyond our limit, it means don't think about other things. Don't worry about other things. Be fully concentrated in what we are doing, because to be distracted in a moment of crisis can produce a tragedy. As Samael Aun Weor stated in Revolutionary Psychology, people who don't know how to transform negative internal psychological states, become victims of circumstances, and even a simple mistake or moment can bring one disgrace."
So don't look behind your limit. Don't think about other things. Don't associate with anything other than the present moment. Don't think about anything other than your Being. Be aware of your Inner God. That is a quality that you learn to become a familiar with practice.
So in the beginning we feel we are blind. We lack insight. We want to know divinity. We want to have some type of experience. We feel some longing, some inspiration. People say, “I can't meditate; I can't have an out-of-body experience; I haven't seen these things for myself…” and many people get filled with despair. They write to us. And one thing I always mention to them, is that “Well, what are your longings? What do you feel?” And they say, "I feel in my heart that this knowledge is very true and I have experienced certain things." “Okay, that is the next next step. Follow your longing, that intuition, that judgment, that inner hunch in your heart. The more you feed that, that spark will grow into a flame as you train yourself in meditation.” That is mindfulness.
I remember, personally, many years ago, before I found this knowledge, I was looking and looking and looking and not being satisfied with what I was finding. Then I realized what I was looking for was already within me. So mindfulness is the key. That is the greatest form of worship, because your body is a temple of God. The mind, the heart, can become a temple of the Being if we purify it. So in those moments of great crisis, moral and emotional suffering, when we learn not to look beyond our limit, meaning: don't wish for the situation to change, but actually change it.
Or if you can't change it, at least be conscious, because some situations we can't change. People are going to be what they are going to be. Sometimes you can't make those changes in them, so instead what you have to do is not harm them, and that of course becomes very difficult.
Like Odysseus, in the symbol of The Odyssey, he was tied to a ship mast when he was sailing next to the sirens. It is a symbol that relates to this teaching. Where the sirens were calling him and he was driven mad with passion, with frenzy, or even anger, wanting to jump overboard or sail the ship into the reefs and become shipwrecked. It is a symbol of how in those great moments of suffering and crisis, we have to tie ourselves to our mast. Control our mind. Use our will. Even though we are tempted by those different defects, or egos, or wills, as we have been discussing in this course, we learn to be firm, to be mindful.
That is a form of worship. Be mindful of what you are doing. Be awake. Don't daydream. When you learn to be in the present moment, you become conscious of the path itself.
The Lines of Life and Being
We use this glyph to talk about the intersection of the line of life with the line of being.
The line of life is simply our existence from our birth in the past, to our childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, old age, sickness, death, towards the future. The line of life is mechanical. Everybody experiences this. People go through life typically identified with their name, their language, their culture, their customs, their beliefs, their religion, their concepts, their philosophy, their politics; and yet, when those people go to the grave, those things don't go with them.
So that type of mentality that only believes that materialism is the only tangible, experiential thing are really mistaken, because we do have something intersecting with that line of life, which has to do with the line of being. Our level of consciousness.
Above we have superior levels of consciousness, which is represented by Jacob's Ladder in the Bible, in which the angels were ascending and descending in this vision that Jacob had in the Book of Genesis.
As above there are heavenly states of consciousness inhabited by beings like angels and prophets, you also have inferior states of consciousness, relating to negative ways of being, known as the hell realms, which again are symbols of something psychological. They are places too, but, what's important is to realize our psychological state, because what we are psychologically determines where in nature we gravitate.
If we are filled with envy, and lust, and pride, we naturally gravitate towards inferior states of being the hell realms, which is experienced in nightmares and dreams. But there are also heavenly states of being, heavenly states of consciousness.
People typically go through life totally not paying attention of where they are at, where they are going, what they are thinking. Most people only relate to external things, which is the mechanical line of life. But someone who learns to awaken consciousness in meditation ascends the vertical path moment by moment, instant by instant. That is the path of remembrance of divinity. When instead of responding with conditions of mind, we react or better said respond with cognizance, with light.
Knowledge belongs to the line of life, because intellectual knowledge, knowing how to have a job, a career, a business, is necessary, but it's not everything. Comprehension is something much more profound and is what concerns any person who studies meditation.
“Knowledge and comprehension are different. Knowledge is of the mind. Comprehension is of the heart.” —Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology
So what is comprehension? We know in a very basic level when you put your hand on a hot stove, you get burned and then you realize not to repeat that action. It is a very superficial form of comprehension, but real comprehension is when you understand the conditioning of the psyche and then you don't act on those elements. You comprehend how lust, how fear, how hatred, is negative and when you really comprehend how those elements are destructive, you resolve not to go back to them and not to perpetuate your suffering and making other people suffer too.
So comprehension is real prayer, because when you comprehend your situation, whatever circumstances of life present itself and how the mind is the source of suffering, we then dedicate ourselves to changing fundamentally. It is a profound form of prayer.
Question: Does the intersection of the line of life and line of being relate to the Christian cross and the cross of the four elements?
Instructor: It does relate to the cross, which is the crossing of the four elements, but also the cross of the present moment, because when Christ was crucified, He came to physically represent or symbolize something psychological too. The death of the animal mind, of egotism, is in the present moment, here and now, and also the rebirth, or resurrection, or experience of the divine happens on the cross in the present moment. But also there is more deeper significance as you know.
The Eightfold Steps of Yoga in the Song of the Lord
We'll talk about a few excerpts from the Bhagavad-Gita [“The Song of the Lord”], which teaches something profound about the nature of Bhakti Yoga, of conscious prayer.
So in the myth or in the scripture the Lord Krishna comes to Arjuna, who is a representation of the Christic energy. Christ is not a person, but a force, symbolized by the Greek Khrestos, meaning fire. That fire manifests within many prophets or masters who come to teach humanity something profound. Krishna was the embodiment of that light and represents that divine energy.
Arjuna is, in our fundamental depth, willpower, human soul, human consciousness, and if you remember in the Mahabharata from which the Bhagavad-Gita is taken, Arjuna is in despair, because he is told by Krishna that he has to go to war against his family, his family members, his relatives. This is the same symbol that we talked about in the Book of Judges previously, in the lecture Conscious Judgment, where the people of Israel, symbolizing the forces of the soul, have to go against the ego, the armies of Sisera.
So there's a great battle that emerges in the soul when we begin this path, because our animalistic egotistical elements don't want to die, and so they fight for their life.
When Arjuna sees the vast armies of his former companions, his relatives who are against them, he feels despair. Who are those relatives? Fear, laziness, lust, pride, everything we are familiar with that we typically associate with ourselves. Then when we go against that, we realize there is a big battle about to happen and, of course, Arjuna feels despair. He's despondent. But that is when Krishna comes and teaches him what he needs to do in order to overcome his own mind.
He explains the path of Bhakti Yoga very beautifully in this chapter on the Yoga of Devotion, where he teaches him how to consciously pray, to receive help.
1. Arjuna said: “Those devotees who, ever steadfast, thus worship Thee and those also who worship the Imperishable and the Unmanifested which of them are better versed in Yoga?” ―Bhagavad-Gita, The Yoga of Devotion
Again, meaning union of the soul with the divine.
2. The Blessed Lord said: “Those who, fixing their minds on Me, worship Me, ever steadfast and endowed with supreme faith, these are the best in Yoga in My opinion.” ―Bhagavad-Gita, The Yoga of Devotion
So what does it mean to fix one's mind on the divine? It means to concentrate. To not think about other things. That is how you worship the divine. You receive insight. To be steadfast means to be consistent, meaning to adopt meditation and to practice it daily for it to have real effect.
3. “Those who worship the imperishable, the indefinable, the unmanifested, the omnipresent, the unthinkable, the eternal and the immovable, 4. Having restrained all the senses, even minded everywhere, intent on the welfare of all beings, verily they also come unto Me.” ―Bhagavad-Gita, The Yoga of Devotion
We mentioned previously in our lectures in this course about the Eightfold Path of Yoga taught by Patanjali, known as Ashtanga, meaning eight-limbed form of yoga. We have discussed these steps in depth. The first is Yama, meaning “restraint of mind,” and as we have been discussing in this lecture, one learns to restrain negative habits, egotism, desires, that is the first step of yoga. People who give in to their egotism, their desires, their anger, can never meditate, because the mind becomes a chaos and when you invest your energy into the ego, you feed the ego and make it fat. So the first step of yoga is restraint. Restrain the mind.
By restraining the mind we learn to follow Niyama, meaning “precepts.” Precepts have to do with codes of conduct, virtues, whichever religion stipulates in their own way. Don't kill, don't steal, don't lie, don't fornicate, don't commit adultery. These are not rules to repress people, but the teach us psychologically how to save energy, how to awaken consciousness.
The next step is Asana, your posture. As we said in our opening practice, your asana, your posture should be firm but relaxed. The body can't relax if the mind and the heart are in chaos, or agitated. If one wants to learn how to calm the body, the mind has to be calm, meaning: don't feed desire. You feed desire, you feed the ego, which is synonymous. The mind can't settle, because in a moment of anger, we lose energy. Or a moment of lust, we lose energy and that energy, which can be used for conscious development, is lost.
When the body is calm, you can begin practices of Pranayama, or work with mantra, energy. Pranayama means to “yoke the prana,” the energies of the body, and the mind, and the heart, and our sexuality. When you control your breathing with mantras or with certain interchangeable nostril breathing exercises, you learn to circulate energy so that the mind settles. So the practice we did at the beginning of this lecture, the mantra RAM-IO, helps to channel energy and focus it in the mind and the heart. Then when those energies are present, we learn to restrain our senses.
The senses become calm. This is known as Pratyahara. Pratyahara is when you restrain the senses and where you are focused fully within yourself. You begin to settle, you become calm. Pratyahara is like a lever that can produce the other steps of meditation, that are fundamental.
So these are things that we can't skip. They are not rules like something dogmatic to follow, but they are principles to apply consciously. With restraining the senses you don't get distracted by what is going on outside in the neighbor's house, the sounds that one hears. The mind becomes calm. That is when one becomes even-minded, concentrated. As stated in the fourth verse of the scripture, "To be even minded is to be concentrated." To be serene, meaning: whatever you are doing, do it with full attention. Don't think about other things. Don't get distracted.
With concentration we learn to focus on one object of focus for our practice in order to experience Dhyana, meaning meditation. Dharana is concentration. Dhyana is actual meditation. We state that meditation is not a practice. It is a state of being in which you receive knowledge.
So that experience I mentioned to you where I was talking to my Divine Mother, that was a form of meditation, but in the astral plane where I was receiving knowledge from my Inner Goddess, in that moment I understood, comprehended something profound about my dilemma. That is Samadhi, the next step. The eighth and final step which is comprehension, understanding. Samadhi is when you comprehend something profoundly without the influence of the mind, of the intellect, of the ego.
So notice that the Bhagavad-Gita teaches these steps of yoga in its verses.
If you wish to know and worship the Divine through prayer, one must be steadfast and with discipline, fix one's mind on that presence, which is not a physical entity, but force, a state of consciousness, a way of being. And, by learning to meditate or being concentrated all day, when you sit to practice, your mind is easily focused on one thing. You don't get distracted. You don't think about other things. You don't get lost in daydreams or worries. Because people who sit to practice for ten minutes and who are distracted all day, they don't get anywhere. But if you are concentrated on what you are doing at all moments of life, your life becomes your religion, your discipline, your practice.
So notice that we have the two armies presented before Krishna and Arjuna. It is obviously a very difficult thing to know in oneself to confront; that we have many egos and defects that need to be comprehended and eliminated. So in the path of conscious judgment, we talked extensively about comprehension. How to comprehend the mind, how to comprehend the ego.
Prayer and Self-Remembrance
The next step is learning to pray. To receive help from a superior force, from our Inner Goddess to aid us in those moments of great crisis and battle, when moment by moment, we are learning to face certain challenges and ordeals—certain situations that provoke elements that we never even suspected that we had, and by learning to be observant, we catch them.
We catch those defects in action. That is discovery, and when we learn to meditate on out faults, we learn to judge them. By comprehending them, we pray to our Divine Mother to eliminate.
We will be talking about this process towards the end of this lecture, but of course this produces a great struggle in oneself. Trying to comprehend the mind produces great suffering, because we recognize morally that we are responsible for all of our sufferings and faults, which are very overwhelming to face in the beginning especially. Which is why the Bhagavad-Gita states,
5. “Greater is their trouble whose minds are set on the Unmanifested; for the goal—the Unmanifested (the divine)—is very difficult for the embodied to reach. 6. But to those who worship Me (who are mindful, who are awake moment by moment), renouncing all actions in Me, regarding Me as the supreme goal, meditating on me with single-minded yoga (concentration), 7. To those whose minds are set on Me O Arjuna, verily I become ere long the savior out of the ocean of the mortal Samsara!” ―Bhagavad-Gita, The Yoga of Devotion
So what does it mean to renounce all actions “in Me,” in the divine? This is known as self-remembrance in our tradition—to remember the presence of your Inner God in those moments, particularly in which one is being challenged, confronted, criticized, lied about, gossiped, even attacked. You renounce all actions in the divine when you don't act egotistically, but remember the light of your presence, your Inner God, who comes to you like a light, an insight, an understanding in your mind and your heart. You learn to act on that impulse when it arrives spontaneously, intuitively.
"Fix thy mind on Me only, thy intellect in Me…” ―Bhagavad-Gita, The Yoga of Devotion
The word intellect in Sanskrit is Buddhi, which is a representation of the consciousness. When we think of intellect, we typically think of thought, so this is a bad translation. The original is Buddhi, which we are going to talk about in the next slide. Buddhi is the Divine Consciousness, Geburah (Deborah), judgment.
8. “Fix thy mind on Me only, thy intellect in Me, (then) thou shalt no doubt live in Me alone hereafter. 9. If thou art unable to fix thy mind steadily on Me, then by the Yoga of constant practice do thou seek to reach Me, O Arjuna!” ―Bhagavad-Gita, The Yoga of Devotion
Meaning: if your mind is still wandering and you are not able to concentrate, train yourself daily with simple practices. Take a candle or take an object to focus, like on a lit flame, and observe it. And as you are observing, observe your mind. Observe what you are observing, but also be aware of how you are seeing or perceiving. If your mind starts thinking about other things, just gently bring your attention back to the candle, and that will train you how to cease being distracted moment by moment. That can help empower your consciousness. That is part of some preliminary exercises one engages with when one prepares for meditation itself.
So by the yoga of constant practice, one can reach the divine, because consistency is key.
The Stages of Meditation and Prayer in the Tree of Life
We were talking about the Kabbalistic tree of life in our previous lectures. This image known in the Book of Genesis as the Tree of Life, is a symbol, a map of consciousness. These are different levels of perception, of matter and energy, and we have been talking extensively about these different degrees or sephiroth, modalities of being, in order to understand how to meditate.
In our practice we talked about the body known as Malkuth in Hebrew, represented as the “kingdom.” This is where we are. But, of course, above that are higher levels or modalities of energy and perception, which are not vertically situated in space, but instead, represent levels of being, ways of consciousness, ways of perceiving.
We have Yesod, relating to our vital energies, our creative energies, our sexual energy itself, which can give life to spiritual life, or even to a physical child, depending on how we use that energy, which is very well known in Buddhism as Tantra, and Hinduism as well.
We have the emotional sphere relating to Hod, meaning “splendor.” This is the emotions or astral body, the world of dreams. Yesod means “Foundation”—the foundation of our spiritual temple, because how we use our creative energy determines our spiritual life—energy that we activate through exercises like pranayama and mantra, which helps to settle the heart as well, Hod, the emotions.
To the right we have Netzach, meaning “victory,” the mind. When you conquer the mind, you become a Buddha, a victorious one, a master.
Above that though we have a more rarefied form of energy and perception known as Tiphereth, which means “beauty.” This is willpower. Willpower is simply the ability to act, but for most of us this will is conditioned to thought (Netzach), to emotions (Hod), to energy or sensations in the body, related with Yesod and Malkuth. Our will, which is at the very center of this glyph, is the very focal point of all action in our very being, so this is an image of who we are psychologically.
And the very center we have willpower, because it is through will is how we can access the higher levels of being or we can condition ourselves further. So when you learn to concentrate, you are using your will. To control thought, feeling, impulse, and the body. Notice that when we practice meditation or when we prepare ourselves, we relax the body. We also relax out energies. We have to relax our heart, relax our mind, and then we concentrate on one thing. So we have the five lower sephiroth represented in our discipline.
If we want to access the higher levels of being, we have to use our willpower, and willpower is concentration. Are you able to focus on one thing without thinking, or feeling, or being distracted by the body? Because when your mind is still, your emotions are calm, your energies are balanced—willpower becomes empowered. It allows you to experience the higher sephiroth known as Geburah, “Justice,” of which we spoke extensively in our previous lecture. This is Buddhi in Sanskrit, the divine consciousness.
To the right we have Chesed, meaning “Mercy,” our Inner God, our spirit, which in Hebrew is אל El, the Being.
Above that we have the trinity of Christianity: Kether, Chokmah, Binah (Crown, Wisdom, Intelligence), which is the highest form of energy in the cosmos, represented by the trinity among the Christians, as Osiris, Isis, and Horus among the Egyptians. Wotan, Baldor, Thor among the Nordics. You have Dharmakaya, Sambhogakaya, and Nirmanakaya in Buddhism.
Our Divine Mother is the feminine aspect of Binah, intelligence. She is Shakti, the wife of Shiva, the Holy Spirit, which is a force, not a person.
That energy is within our body. We have the energies of the Father in the brain, Kether. We have the energies of Christ, the son, Horus, in the heart. We have the power of the Holy Spirit in sex, the sexual organs. So that power which can give life to a child, if it's used well and harnessed, can give birth to the soul.
Those are very rarefied levels of consciousness, which we can access in meditation if we are concentrated, because if our will is not empowered, is not guided by the spirit and by our consciousness, if we are distracted by our thoughts, and our feelings, and our sensations, we can pray all we want, but we are not going to get the answers we want, because the mind has to be calm, the body has to be calm. The lower sephiroth have to be in control, to be still.
We have a quote from Hamlet, in which Claudius is confessing his crime to himself for having murdered his brother, which is a symbol of masonry and many other traditions of the death of the divine potential within us. Claudius is a representation of the ego, and he said something very profound in relation to this lecture that's relevant to state.
"My word fly up to heaven, my thoughts remain below. Words without thoughts never to Heaven go." ―Hamlet, 3.3.100-103)
So Shakespeare was an esotericist, a meditator. Your words can fly up to heaven. You can be asking and asking for insight, but if your concentration is down in your body, if you are moving your body, being irritated, if you are identified with thought or feeling, it means that those words will never reach the divine. Words without thoughts, without concentration, never reach the destination. Or better said, we never get the insights we want, because the mind is in chaos.
This is why Prophet Muhammad stated that “An hour of contemplation is better than a year of prayer.” Meaning, an hour of meditation, of experiencing your Inner God is better than going to mosque for a year and praying salat five times a day mechanically.
So people can do that if they like, but if it's mechanical, it doesn't serve any purpose, which brings into mind a saying by a Sufi master by the name of Bayazid Bastami, who talked about the real esoteric meaning of prayer. Muslims, when they pray, they pray towards the east, towards the Kaaba, which in alchemical or Kabbalistic teachings relate to the stone of the Freemasons. That stone, the Kaaba, is a symbol of the energies of Yesod, the foundations of our spiritual temple.
Notice that this sphere is at the very base of the whole Tree of Life and is at the very bottom. It is the foundation. How we use this energy, the creative energies of our body, determines our spiritual life.
People in the Muslim tradition have lost the meaning of this significance. They pray towards the stone in the Middle East but ignore that they have the stone in their own body. They don't use their energies consciously. You can pray all you want to the the East, towards Mecca, but the Sufi Master by Bayazid Bastami pointed out something very beautiful. He said:
“When you are separate from the Kaaba (Yesod), it is all right to turn toward it. But those who are in it can turn towards any direction that they wish." —Bayazid Bastami
Meaning, if you are actively using your energies wisely, you can access the whole Tree of Life. You go to any direction, because notice that there are ten spheres, ten sephiroth. These are the ten directions of Buddhism mentioned by the tantric scriptures. Ten modalities of energy. So if you learn to use that energy in yourself, you don't need to pray towards a stone. You can if it brings you reverence, but if you pray, be conscious of what you do, because those who don't learn to work with that energy can access the higher aspects of the Tree of Life, the consciousness.
The Path of Balance
So one must be even balanced in order to perform Raja Yoga, as well as Bhakti Yoga. As we have been stating, one must learn to calm the mind and to learn to be compassionate in all circumstances.
13. He who hates no creature, who is friendly and compassionate to all, who is free from attachment and egoism, balanced in pleasure and pain, and forgiving, 14. Ever content, steady in meditation, possessed of firm conviction (from having internal experiences), self controlled, with mind and intellect (Buddhi) dedicated to Me, he, My devotee, is dear to Me. 15. He by whom the world is not agitated and who cannot be agitated by the world, and who is freed from joy, envy, (or better said, egotistical joy, evil pleasures), fear and anxiety—He is dear to me. —Bhagavad-Gita, The Yoga of Devotion
So to not be agitated by the world, neither to agitate the world. Like the Christian saying, “Be in the world, but not of it.” Interact with others like as the Buddhist teach: a butterfly going from flower to flower, extracting the pollen, the knowledge, the insight one needs, transforming those situations, and leaving without harming the flower itself, the petals.
16. “He who is free from wants (who is not constantly occupied with one's bills or trying to sustain oneself in this life), pure, expert, unconcerned, and untroubled (meaning: an expert in meditation unconcerned as is stated in the Gospels)…” ―Bhagavad-Gita, The Yoga of Devotion
See the lilies of the field and the birds of the sky, how they toil not nor spin. Why worry about what raiment you shall have for yourself? What money, what sustenance, because your inner dvinity knows you need these things, so therefore have faith in your Inner God to give you what you need so long as we do our part.
16. “He who is free from wants, pure, expert (in meditation), unconcerned, and untroubled, renouncing all undertakings or commencements (meaning: to not act egotistically in any circumstance), he who is (thus) devoted to Me, is dear to Me.” ―Bhagavad-Gita, The Yoga of Devotion
And this has to do with the path of balance, not being identified, even with those qualities we think are good, psychologically speaking. We have many bad egos as we have been talking about. There are also many good egos, senses of self that know how to do good, like to give money, or to the be a member of some Church or Mosque or Masjid, or whatnot. But even the ego, the sense of self that thinks it does good, is subjective. Consciousness is something much more transcendental or profound.
17. “He who neither rejoices, nor hates, nor grieves, nor desires, renouncing good and evil (as philosophical concepts, but learning to act in the present moment consciously), and who is full of devotion, is dear to me. 18. He who is the same to foe and friend, and in honor and dishonor, who is the same as in cold and heat, and in pleasure and pain, who is free from attachment (identification, desire), 19. He to whom censure and praise are equal, who is silent (in the mind), content with anything, (even) homeless (meaning: not identified with having a house or a home but being not attached to the world even if one has a house or not), of a steady mind and full of devotion, that man is dear to Me (that meditator is dear to Me). 20. They verily who follow this immortal Dharma, (this doctrine or law), as described above, endowed with faith (conscious experience), regarding Me as their supreme goal, they, the devotees, are exceedingly dear to Me.” ―Bhagavad-Gita, The Yoga of Devotion
The Three Factors for Spiritual Revolution
Let us talk about the teachings of the Divine Mother we have been discussing. We have what is called three factors in order to achieve success in meditation and the spiritual path itself.
We have the path of birth. The path of death. The path of sacrifice.
Birth relates to chastity, which does not mean sexual abstention, but by learning to harness the energies of sexuality, the body, Yesod, the vital forces, one learns to take that energy and to empower one's meditation, because that energy which can create a child, if we conserve that force and transform it, it can awaken the soul in its full capacity.
We also have what is called the death of desire, sanctity, which is what we have been discussing in the path of judgment. To comprehend the sources of the ego, our defects, and to eliminate them, to annihilate them—so that by breaking those shells, we free consciousness like the genie from Aladdin's lamp—so that the soul can perform miracles, experiences, knowledge, powers in ourselves.
Sacrifice, to have charity. It doesn’t mean to just give money to the poor or what not—it can involve that. But you also sacrifice for others when you learn to perform your job with consciousness, with love, so that we don't harm others. These three factors we will be talking more in depth in future courses, but these three we find are synonymous, different aspects of one thing. If you want to awaken consciousness, we have to learn to use energy, to give birth to the soul. We have to learn to comprehend the sources of the ego, to die in those defects, and learn to serve others.
The Stages of Comprehension
So the stages of comprehension, which are fed by those three factors, involve the following. We discussed in our previous lecture the light of consciousness, the path of discovery, and in the path of conscious judgment, we talked about the second step, judgment. In this lecture. we are talking about execution, prayer.
So we have in this image the Divine Mother slaying a demon. She is the power of the Kundalini that can eliminate our conditions of mind, our defects, our egos, which she does through the creative energies of sexuality, harnessed within a matrimony or between man and woman, who can learn to use those energies as a couple to transform the mind.
So we find many interesting symbols in her hands, and the fact that she has multiple hands represented by Durga riding a lion, represents her ability, her omniscience, to act in all circumstances of life without conditions. To act in multiple ways.
With discovery, we find our defects—we observe ourselves moment by moment. We save energy. We serve others. We comprehend our faults in meditation through judgment and after we have comprehended our defects, we learn to execute them, or better said, the Divine Mother, the divine feminine, executes them through prayer.
We have been discussing how prayer is to speak with divinity, with the divine, face to face. The Divine Mother is the root energy at the base of our spine, but also in our heart. She is the energy that can liberate the soul. So we work with her daily in our gnostic studies in order to remove the obscurations of the mind, to comprehend ourselves, but also to invoke that divine power—to destroy the shells of the ego.
So again, we see Her riding a lion, which is very symbolic. That lion is a symbol of the lion of Judah among the Christians. Judea or י Yod, ה Hei, ו Vav, ד Daleth, ה Hei, which has the four sacred letters of the name of God: י Yod ה Hei ו Vav ה Hei, יהוה Jehovah. As we talked about in our previous lectures, יה Ya or י Yod ה Hei is the Father. ה Hei or הוה Havah is Eve, the divine feminine. Male-female. Man-woman. Because we have a Divine Father above and a Divine Mother above within our consciousness.
So יהוה Yod-Havah, Jehovah, is the power of male-female. And הוה Havah, or Adam-Eve we can say, and יהוה Ya-Havah is precisely the power of the divine feminine. הוה Havah, hidden within Durga, who is the power that can slay any ego, any defect, where we learn to pray to Her consciously.
Samael Aun Weor stated in Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology:
“Prayer in the psychological work is fundamental for the dissolution of the “I” (the ego, the myself). We need a power superior to the mind if indeed we want to disintegrate this or that “I” (whether it be pride, an ego of vanity, of fear, of lust).
“The mind by itself can never disintegrate any “I”; this is indisputable and irrefutable.
“To pray is to talk with God. We must appeal to God the Mother in the depths of our heart if we truly want to disintegrate “I’s” (egos, selves, conditions of mind). The one who does not love his or her Mother, the ungrateful child, will fail in the work upon himself.” —Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology
Meaning: those who forget after they have begun working on their mind, to continue working with Her.
So again, that experience comes to my mind where She told me, "Where are you? I can't find you on this radar." So, one must not forget one's Divine Mother when you begin this work. She is the power that can liberate the consciousness from the ego, the self.
She is the Virgin Mary, Miriam. As I said, the word מרים Miriam means “to raise,” and what else is the power that can raise us to the heights of the heavens except the Kundalini in the spine? She is the power of מרים Miriam, or מים Mayim, which in Hebrew means water. You have מ ם Mem repeated twice. The letter מ ם M in Hebrew and the letter ר R. Miriam. You have the word מים Mayim, which means “water” and the letter ראש Rosh means “head.” So those waters of the creative energy are in the base of your spine, in your sexual organs, which if you raise through certain practices up the spine to the mind, you can illuminate the intellect, produce the halo of the saints. She is the power that can raise us from suffering up the line of being.
Practical Advice for Psychological Work
Samael Aun Weor provides some advice about this:
"Make yourselves introversive. Direct your prayer within, seeking within your interior your Divine Lady. Thus with sincere supplications you shall be able to talk to Her. Beg Her to disintegrate the "I" that you have previously observed and judged. Comprehension and the discernment are fundamental." —Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology
Meaning: you have to see your egos in action. See what arose in your mind, in your heart, in your body at a certain instance of the day. Be specific. Be understanding of what defect you saw in action in each moment of your day. To discern is precisely the capacity to see, to discriminate, to understand.
“Nonetheless, something more is necessary if indeed what we want is to disintegrate the “myself” (the ego, the I).
“The mind can give onto itself the luxury of labeling any defect, passing it from one department to the other, exhibiting it, hiding it, etc. However, the mind can never fundamentally alter the defect.
“A special power superior to the mind is necessary, a fiery power that is capable of reducing any defect to ashes.
“Stella Maris, our Divine Mother, has that power. She is able to pulverize any psychological defect.” —Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology
Stella Maris is Virgin of the Sea, the waters. Those waters are precisely your energies in your body and those waters, if we learn to control them through breathing exercises, mantras, circulate those forces up the spine, they help to awaken faculties of the consciousness in their full potential.
She is the power that can liberate the soul, and she is also represented in the Tarot. We have been giving a course on the twenty-two arcana of the tarot and in the eleventh arcanum, which will be our next lecture, we find a virgin holding open the jaws of a lion.
It is interesting that in these images of the tarot, we find many symbols that relate to every religion. Notice that Durga rides upon a lion because that lion is the energy of Christ, Jehovah, whom we work with and dominate through the power of the divine feminine. So that lion, instead of attacking her, is pleasant, is tranquil. She opens the jaws of the lion, meaning, She controls those forces completely in us when we learn to meditate.
The transcendental axiom or statement of this arcanum, this law, this teaching, because the word arcanum means “law,” is the following:
“Joyful in hope, suffering and tribulation, be thou constant in thy prayer.”
So, as you are working and self-observation of your defects, learn to pray to your Inner Goddess. Ask for help, for insight. Ask her to help you control the jaws of the lion, which is your energies, because sometimes we have energy that wants to act in ways that we can't control, and we have to appeal to her deeply, to guide us. We won't talk about this arcanum in depth today, because we are giving whole course on this and this will be our next lecture.
Ways to Develop Devotion
Some ways that you can learn to develop Bhakti Yoga in yourself are through the following ways stipulated by Swami Sivananda in his book Easy Steps to Yoga.
We have Sravana, hearing the Lila of God. To hear the Lila of God means you develop devotion by hearing the teachings, by reading scripture and understanding its meaning.
How does it apply to your life practically? You can read any scripture that you have an affinity for and meditate on its meaning. How does it apply to certain circumstances in your life? Otherwise, it's just theory. You may read the Bhagavad-Gita, the Qur’an, the Old Testament; find scriptures that are explained that are meaningful to you. That is a form of devotion. We read scriptures that inspire us, that teach something profound about ourselves.
We have Kirtana, singing His praise. Kirtan is very common in schools of yoga where they have small concerts and they play many traditional Hindu songs, but there are many other forms of singing, of prayer, like amongst the Christians you have Cistercian monks and even classical music, we have choral pieces, which are very divine, very profound, that one can learn to be a part of, that inspires you.
Smarana, remembering His name. This typically has to do with reciting a mantra. So, you can relate to remember your inner divinity by reciting a prayer or mantra, moment-by-moment, mentally. You know RAM-IO, you can pronounce mentally in your mind and in your mind recite japa, prayer. Repeat that mantra, whatever mantra you resonate with, that gives you power in your consciousness.
Padasevana, worshiping his lotus feet. It literally means “service to the feet.” This has many beautiful meanings that are explained in the Judeo-Christian Bible by Jesus anointing the feet of his disciples before his passion. To wash one's feet with ointment, with oil, is a symbol. It is very profound. To have dreams of washing one's feet, which are filled with mud, with pure water, is a symbol of removing the impurities in the mind, because how you walk in your daily life is how you walk spiritually. You can't separate the two.
Most people think that life in the mosque and life at work are separate. They don't see the connection. But the truth is that your work is your religion. How you behave psychologically is your is your mysticism, your path. To wash the feet in waters of purity is a very beautiful Christian symbol related to baptism and transmutation, as we have been explaining in our courses, which you can find available explanations on our website. By worshiping His lotus feet is to purify the mind because when you purify your mind and your body by working with energy, you develop devotion. The heart becomes inflamed, inspired.
Archana is offerings. This is very well traditionally-understood as providing flowers or some kind of holy relics upon an altar, but a real offering is when you as a consciousness decide to restrain from certain habits, which are negative. Certain defects that you observed. You make an offering to the your Divine Being and say "I will renounce this ego that I have in me and offer my self with sacrifice." To receive those benefits. Then of course divinity always responds because when you work on the ego, you develop light. You illuminate the darkness; you develop light.
Vandana, prostration, can mean many forms of prayer, not only in Hinduism but also Buddhism and Islam. To prostrate is to surrender oneself, psychologically-speaking. In so many traditions, they involve prayers and prostrations, which we do too in this tradition, as well certain prayers we do on our knees or certain exercises we do on our knees as a form of reverence for the divine.
Dasya is service, as we have explained in great detail today, related to Karma Yoga. What are ways that you can help other human beings to benefit? It doesn't mean by having to give this type of knowledge, but instead refers to how we possess certain skills that can benefit other people. We have qualities that are intrinsic to our dispositions and which we have to offer. So, we have to find what it is that we are good at and that we can really give to others to be of benefit. When we do it with love, we are performing service, yoga, union, karma, Karma Yoga; therefore, we receive certain benefits, blessings from divinity, because in order to receive help, we have to give help according to our level.
Sakya is friendship, and has to do with associating with people who are like-minded. Meaning, people who are more elevated or spiritual, because obviously, sometimes we may be associated with certain people who are drunkards, drug addicts, and like attracts like, so to speak. If you want to be around better vibrations, you make friends with or associate with people who help inspire your spirituality. It is always good. That way when you are very confident about your level of being, you can help those who are less fortunate.
Lastly Atmanivedana, complete self-surrender, which has to do with when you recognize your ego and you don't give it what it wants. You surrender your consciousness to your Inner God. It is a psychological state of being to surrender one's mind, one's heart, one's body for one's divinity.
We are going to conclude this lecture with the following quote where Swami Sivananda states:
“Study the Gita, Ramayana, and Bhagavata. Have Satsanga. Visit holy places (Teertha-Yatra). Do Japa. Meditate. Sing His Name. You can develop Bhakti and have his Darsana (yogic discipline, such as Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, by following these steps).” —Swami Sivananda, Easy Steps to Yoga
Questions and Answers
Question: Is there any technique that can help with negative emotions?
Instructor: With negative emotions, especially, you could step aside for a minute or five minutes to have a break. Sit, relax, breathe. Inhale for six seconds, hold your breath for six seconds, exhale for six seconds. Then when your mind is calm, if you have even more time, do pranayama. Do transmutation of your energies by working with the breath and circulating that force, because that energy will help calm you, especially when you get overwhelmed by certain egos or defects and you feel like you are going to lose control. Like if you are very upset with someone or someone challenges you or does something very negative, it can be very difficult for transform that, so instead in order to avoid exacerbating the situation, step back for five minutes. Take a break, real quick if you can, somewhere isolated. Just breathe. Focus on your breath.
Question: It's something I never really noticed before until I started retrospecting.
Instructor: And most people, they had no idea because people who don't self-observe are not going to discover that. But now that you are seeing it, now you seeing, “This is my daily state” as we talked about in the lecture on the “Light of Consciousness.” You must look within to develop light. But of course, when you develop that light, the darkness wants to swallow that light. So it becomes a very painful circumstance.
Ways that you can deal with it is to transmute more when you get home. Work with your energies, and pranayama is an is an exercise in which you take the energies of your body and circulate them, such as breathing exercises or mantras. You transform the substance of your bodily energies into energy or force and that will help calm you.
Personally if I am at work and I am dealing with, you know, as I mentioned previously, had some very difficult clients that I work with. So, what I do is if I have been overwhelmed at times, at my break, I'll do a mantra in my mind, not aloud. I will be doing other things in my office or my room and I would be doing a mantra, such as: Klim Krishnaya Govindaya Gobijana Vallabhaya Swaha.
That mantra we have on the website gnosticteachings.org. You can look under the videos of how to pronounce that. It is a mantra in order to invoke Christ, to remove and reject negativity. Not only just from outside, but from within. So, I found that if I am getting angry, if I was getting angry at certain people, I had to step back and during my break, do this mantra. Totally changes everything.
Question: Where is it located?
Instructor: It is in The Perfect Matrimony and the chapter about the gnostic pentagram. It's very powerful. You are invoking Klim, Christ. Krishnaya, the Lord Krishna. Govindaya which Govinda relates to “cowherd,” I believe. The shepherd, or the one who leads the souls of the cows to light. Symbol of certain disciples, like sheep in the Bible, where they are led to light. That light enters into you and you can form the pentagram, which is a five-pointed star. When it is upright, it rejects negative forces. And not only just to reject people outside of you who are negative, but more importantly mentally, your internal states.
Question: What is the meaning behind Ham-Sah?
Instructor: Ham-Sah is a mantra for transmutation. Another exercise of working with the sexual energy, which when you conserve it, you sit in a comfortable place, you imagine your spinal column. We have the famous caduceus of mercury amongst the symbol of medicine, which represents how certain channels of energy rise from the testicles for men or the ovaries for women, up the spine in the form of two snakes, until reaching the head. In the middle you find two wings that open up. It's a symbol of how by working with energy and circulating it, you develop the wings of spirituality and with Ham Sah, you first close your eyes and pray to your Divine Mother. "My Goddess, help me to work with this energy in me because you are that energy. Help me to awaken you within my spine and to calm my mind. Circulate these forces in me!" And then you breathe and inhale through your nostrils, imagine the energy is rising like light up those two energetic channels at the spine, which are called in Hinduism by the name of Ida and Pingala. Masculine and feminine energy. Or in Taoism: Yin and Yang. Or in Hebrew Od and Obd. Adam and Eve. Male and female. A symbol of those forces.
When you are inhaling, you imagine these energies rising up the spine to your brain. you pronounce mentally the mantra. "Haaaaaaaaammmmmmm…" You don't verbalize it. You make it mental, and you prolong the inhalation, Ham, [pronounced as with an “Ah” sound] in order to send the energies from your sexual organs to your brain.
That Ham saturates the mind and fills the chalice of the brain and then as you are about to exhale, imagine that energy descending to the third eye through nadis or energetic channels in the face, down into the heart. Then you pronounce externally the mantra "Ssssaah!"
“Ham” is prolonged. We say it is solar, creative. That energy rises, is retained, prolonged because you want to force the energies to circulate up to the mind, or send it in that direction. So, you prolong Ham more profoundly. Samael Aun Weor states you send that energy to the heart with a very relaxed way, “Ssssaah!”
There's nothing to prolong there. I have heard some people pronounce “Sah” very prolonged, but personally, I don't see that in the instructions. Instead “Sah” should be very short and relaxed. “Ham” should be more prolonged because you are teaching your body to circulate those energies inward and upward to the spine, rather than expelling them outward as you know—because for most people that energy is not controlled. It goes out. People don't know how to conserve that energy.
But remember that She is Miriam. She is the waters of your sexuality, which when you conserve, she rises up your spine to your head. ראש Rosh. מרים Miriam. מ Mem means water in Hebrew. מ Mem is the waters in your brain and also ם (Final) Mem is the waters of your sexual organs [since there are two forms of Mem in Hebrew, opening מ Mem and ם Mem Sophit, or final Mem]. You connect the two by working with mantra.
Ham-Sah is one way you can do that. To work with Her. That is a very profound form of prayer, when you work with that energy daily, because that way She will really give you a lot of strength and insight. Because without energy we have no light. Without fire there is no light.
This is a transcription of an audio lecture from Gnostic Psychology, a course originally given live at the Gnostic Academy of Chicago:
Meditation is the science of knowing oneself completely. It is the method by which we learn to comprehend and to judge ourselves.
Psychologically, as we've been explaining throughout this course, we carry many elements, conditions, many psychological qualities, which trap our potential, our consciousness.
As we've explained, the consciousness is simply the capacity to perceive, to know, to understand, and to comprehend. It is a psychological sense of seeing without the need to think, without the need to identify with negative emotion, neither any impulses of our most subconscious, unconscious, and even infraconscious nature—elements that reside within the most profound depths of our psyche, in which religions and different cosmogonies have called hell—which is not just a literal place. It is a symbol, and more importantly for us, it is of a psychological way of being, because whenever we are filled with affliction and suffering, we are in hell.
Hell is not a place, specifically in terms of what should really concern us. Instead, what we are psychologically determines where we vibrate within the laws of nature, simply, by cause and effect.
Certain actions produce suffering. Certain actions produce harmony. To be able to distinguish within ourselves psychological states that are beneficial from psychological states that are detrimental has been known in different traditions by many names. Some people have called it intuition: to know right from wrong. Not from some moral sense, but from the understanding that certain actions produce harm psychologically, produce suffering, while other actions produce the happiness and genuine contentment of our soul.
Intuition is the ability to know how to act in life—to promote actions that are beneficial and promote the happiness of others, as well as our own well-being. Some people have called this intuition by the voice of conscience. Conscience is the whisper in the heart that tells us certain behaviors produce suffering and that certain actions, whether it be at work, with our family, with our loved ones, create conflict.
Therefore, meditation is how we resolve conflict, how we silence the mind, not through force, by gagging it or by repressing it, but simply looking at it. Looking at your own mind and observing what qualities condition and shape our experience.
This is a psychological sense that typically, in humanity, is very atrophied, because people don't know how to use it. Specifically, people, when they sit in and pursue meditation as a science and as a method, very soon discover the true nature of the mind. We can sit for 10 minutes, 30 minutes, we introspect and then we realize that the body is agitated. It is impulsive. It wants to move. Likewise, the emotions may be surging with a flux of negativity, of suffering, of fear, and of panic. Likewise, the mind carries many memories which seem to surge, fluctuate, and move without any order. The mind is wild and anyone who enters meditation for the first time realizes, with great perplexity, in astonishment, that the mind that we thought we had was unitary, is really fractured.
It is fragmented, because every memory, thought, preoccupation and all these things which surge in the mind, really don't have any order. And of course, this is an overwhelming realization, that the mind is really a type of beast, that anger, the negative emotions, that conditioning of the psyche, is animalistic, and when a meditator discovers this, obviously, this is very painful—to discover the true nature of the mind, that it is conditioned within psychological states of suffering, in which all the different mythologies of the ancient traditions depicted in symbols—how the soul, the consciousness, must learn to overcome fear, hatred and pride in oneself.
It comes to memory the story of Theseus and the Minotaur. A Greek myth. How Theseus, the soul, must go into a labyrinth in order to discover at the very center what is known as the Minotaur, who is a mythological beast, half man and half bull. In truth, that is a symbol of qualities like hatred, of wrath, fear; which we as a consciousness must go into the maze to fight, to confront with serenity and with insight.
We go into the mind to discover the secret conditions which trap our energy, because if you remember in the myth, Theseus goes into the maze and this beast, half man and half bull, is still half human being, because the qualities of our consciousness, who we are in our depth, is truly trapped by animal desire. There is an essence of humanity in that element. But of course as we have been explaining in this course, egotistical qualities like hatred, pride, vanity, these are conditions that trap the energy of our psyche and make us vibrate at a very low level of being. A way of thinking and a way of acting.
Our consciousness is trapped in those conditions, in those elements, and the meditator, through the science of introspection, must learn to go into the mind and into the maze of that intellect in order to find the sources of our suffering—the cause of our suffering, of our egotism, and of our negativity.
When you sit to meditate you may find that you get distracted very easily and the mind wanders.There isn't much focus, because in the beginning we realize that the mind is a maze. It is a labyrinth. We get easily distracted. But the method by which we go into the mind and discover ourselves for who we really are, how we know what actions are positive and negative, we call in these studies: judgment,—the ability to discriminate, psychologically, what in us is good and what in us is negative.
When we learn to discriminate and judge what psychological states produce happiness or sorrow, we learn to live life with greater rectitude and with responsibility, for the happiness of others. Because when we work for the happiness of others and when we eliminate negative emotions, we radiate, naturally, purity and light for humanity, in which they, likewise, people trapped and conditioned with suffering, can learn how to change.
Some people call this faculty intuition, that is, to know what is right from wrong. Others call it conscience, the voice that says in our heart that certain qualities in the mind stream are not productive and not helpful. It is a quality that we develop in meditation through daily discipline.
Of course, one thing I will mention is that the voice of conscience has been represented in different ways. The story of Pinocchio, written by Carlos Collodi, is a story of a young puppet that wants to become a boy of flesh and blood. A human being. He has a helper by the name of Jiminy Cricket, who is a small figure that sits on his shoulder and tells him, “This is good and this is bad. Don't do this. Don't do that.” Not out of some dogmatic authoritarian sense that one should obey some commandment, some or some ordainment, or some type of law that is man-made.
In the story, Jiminy Cricket tends to be ignored and in the story Pinocchio gets into problems, but he genuinely yearns to become a human being. Of course in these studies, we emphasize that a true human being, a master of meditation, an angel, has no egotism and no defect, but rather is pure, someone who, like us, that had learned meditation and learned to go against the Minotaur, to comprehend it, and to understand it; and by the grace of the divine within him, to eliminate, so that condition is broken and the consciousness is freed, is pure and united with divinity.
Many myths teach this process of meditation in allegorical form, but here we've only mentioned a few from the Greek tradition, as well as the Italian literature for children. What is masked as a children's story is really something more profound.
In this lecture, we will talk about some symbols and some very well-known stories, particularly from the Judeo-Christian Bible, which if read literally, does not detail much except some kind of history, and which is not the point. The language of the Bible and many other teachings is symbolic and allegorical. It is not meant to be read literally, as you'll see from this lecture. We will look at a scripture known as the Book of Judges and talk about its meditative symbolism and also the path of meditation that leads through the maze of the mind and towards understanding, serenity.
The Path of Meditation
As we have been indicating:
“Internal meditation is a scientific system to receive information.
“When the wise submerges into meditation he searches for information.
“Meditation is the daily bread of the wise.” —Samael Aun Weor, Kundalini Yoga
What information do we seek? What we seek or what any genuine practitioner of meditation seeks in him or herself is to understand the causes of suffering. To understand why we are in pain, why we are afflicted, why we are so filled with grief and seemingly no control over the fate of ourselves and humanity.
The information we seek is how psychological conditions trap the energy of our soul, so that by comprehending them and seeing them in action, we learn to eliminate them. We learn to break those shells. This is the path of self-knowledge. A path of knowing who we really are, and of course, this takes great courage, to confront oneself, but to really take responsibility for our actions, psychologically, as symbolized in the many myths.
Of course meditation is a science and it is really effective when it is daily, for meditation to be effective, we have to learn to be consistent. Daily meditation unfolds like a flower, like a rose; something spontaneous, something natural, which really only helps us when we see the fruits and results of that discipline in ourselves and in our daily life.
Meditation is how we learn to not only confront ourselves and the negativities of the mind, but better said, to comprehend the beauty of the soul, the beauty of the consciousness, which when it is free of conditions, produces happiness, contentment, genuine faith, and knowledge of the divine—a type of love that is so profound that it overcomes all obstacles, overcomes all sufferings, and overcomes all ordeals. But of course, that sense of knowledge of oneself only develops when we sincerely adopt a daily discipline with this type of exercises, some of which we initiated this lecture, with a mantra, OM.
The mantra OM is an effective mantra for providing the soul with energy and with light, so that the consciousness learns to develop or to vibrate with a high level of energy. This helps to silence the mind and to be serene, because in the moments of serenity, of peace, we learn to see ourselves as we are and not as we think, or as we believe, but in actuality.
Knowledge and Being
One thing we emphasize in this teaching is the difference between knowledge and comprehension.
“Knowledge is of the mind. Comprehension is of the heart. ―Samael Aun Weor
This is from Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology by the founder of the modern Gnostic tradition, Samael Aun Weor. Why study knowledge and comprehension when we study meditation? We will seek to know ourselves and to learn to confront the conditioning of the mind.
This is because typically, people confuse knowledge, that is from the intellect, with experience. When you comprehend in yourself how certain actions produce harm and produce pain, we realize with great understanding that to perpetuate those habits and those behaviors will only lead one down a mistaken path. However, many people may know certain knowledge intellectually, in the mind, with reasoning, and yet, that intellectual knowledge will not produce change in a fundamental sense.
An alcoholic knows that alcohol is destructive for him or her, but yet continues to indulge in those behaviors. But somebody who comprehends that being alcoholic, to consume that element and to perpetuate that habit, is to be destroyed. To comprehend means to know with your full being and with your full presence, what is helpful and what is not helpful for oneself, for one's psychological well-being.
There are many people who read books on meditation and they have a lot of knowledge intellectually, but yet fail to have a sense of genuine contentment, of peace, of serenity, and of insight.
Comprehension is when you see in yourself how something is destructive. It is a psychological state, a way of being, a way of perceiving, and a way of thinking. When you comprehend that certain emotions are destructive, you realize with great astonishment and peace that you do not need to invest your energy in those elements which produce pain, not only for ourselves, but for others. You see with great gratitude and serenity that you do not need to suffer anymore because you realize how having created what we call ego or egotism, this negative sense of self, this sense of "I,” of me, of “who I am, what I want, what I crave, what I desire”; when we stop feeding that negative sense of self, we realize that we don't have to engage with suffering. We don't need to be in pain. It is not necessary.
Meditation leads us to this understanding. When we realize that by acquiring serenity of mind and no longer giving our energies to negative habits, which produce certain conflicts, we naturally arrive in the intrinsic nature or state of the soul, which is peace.
The mind settles like a lake. When the mind is serene, it can reflect through its waters the images of the heavens and the stars. Divinity can manifest and express through you, and through your heart.
When you learn to follow your intuition, about the sense of right and wrong, of certain habits that are negative, we then learn to feed the consciousness. We learn to free ourselves from conditions.
Intellectual knowledge doesn't change anyone. University, books, and lectures, do not produce any change if we don't learn to apply the techniques of meditation in our daily life—to acquire information about ourselves and to be willing to look in oneself and see, comprehend, and take responsibility for our own actions. Not to blame anyone else for our suffering.
There is no one else who created our anger. We created that element. We like to externalize, to blame others, and to judge others, but rarely do we like to judge ourselves. This is the difference between someone who really learns to meditate and somebody who follows some religion, some institution, or some politics. Someone wanting to blame the government, society, a way of thinking, a way of believing, when really the reason why there is so much conflict is because people don't know how to judge themselves. Conscience. To feed the conscience of how we are responsible for our own actions, how we have to take ownership of our own mind, our own psychological states, and to be willing to change them.
We study many religions in this tradition because we recognize the universality of meditation among many faiths. We study the essence of every religion. Not the institution, but the practices which produce change.
There is a saying from the oral tradition of Islam from Prophet Muhammad, who gave a very beautiful teaching and which is grossly misunderstood today, he stated, "An hour of contemplation is better than a year of prayer."
Adopting a posture or certain prayers and methods in a mechanical sense don't change anybody and doesn’t change anything. People go to mosques, to churches, to synagogues, and they continue to suffer. These people need to analyze and to be willing to reflect. What are we doing? What are our methods?
In this tradition we have many methods to teach how to meditate, how to contemplate oneself, and to free oneself from the mind. Prayer by itself, if it's mechanical, if we just say certain words without meaning, without concentration, they will have no effect. They have no impulse, or better said, impact on our psyche. But if we learn to contemplate the presence of divinity and to follow the voice of our inner conscience, inner judgment, then we learn to change.
I have been explaining just briefly about some stories which many people read literally and don't know how to interpret with understanding, from the sense of experience or meditative science. We have been talking about judgment. We have talked about some symbols within the Greek myths as well as Pinocchio, but a book that has been greatly misunderstood for millennia are the Judeo-Christian texts. We are just going to explore a couple verses from the Book of Judges because it is a map or teaching of meditation. I will explain some of the symbolism for you to emphasize the struggle that the soul faces with its lower desires, lower defects, and negative qualities, because it is good to recognize and see if we are struggling with meditation itself, to understand that there have been others who have already went through this process. As I said, these beings are known as buddhas, masters, and prophets.
Israel, the Soul, in the Book of Judges
The Bible, in the Book of Judges, talks about how the people of Israel are afflicted great suffering. The word ישראל Israel is an acrostic relating to the Egyptian Mysteries. Isis, the goddess of the Egyptian mysteries, the divine feminine and Ra, or Osiris-Ra, the solar entity known as the Father amongst the Christians, which is an energy, a force. אל El in Hebrew means God. If you want to use the Sanskrit equivalent, you say ॐ Om. אל El is ॐ Om and אל El among the Kabbalists, the mystics of Judaism, depict the Hebrew letter אל El within the heart, because your Being, your divinity, is in your heart and can fill your whole consciousness if we learn to connect through practice.
What happened to the people of Israel in this myth is that:
“…the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of יהוה Jehovah, when Ehud was dead.” –Judges 4:1
Again, who is this Israel?
The people of Israel who need to be freed from the Egyptians and many other people who constantly afflict them, the Philistines and groups of people who are trying to eliminate them. These people (Israelites) are the parts of our consciousness, our soul, which are trapped within anger, hatred, vanity, gluttony, laziness, sloth, fear, and pain, what we call ego, egotism, and desire. These parts of Israel or the people of Israel are the soul that has been fractured and conditioned in all these elements.
We need to learn how to free the consciousness from those conditions. We do so through meditation and through the help of our inner divine being, our spirit, our God, ॐ Om or אל El. The word יהוה Jehovah or Iod-Chavah is a representation of the highest form of divinity, which we will be exploring in relation to what is known as the Tree of Life, which is a symbolic map of consciousness and that meditators study in order to understand their experiences in meditation.
“The children of Israel did evil in the sight of Jehovah,” meaning: the soul invested its energy within wrong thinking, wrong feeling, and wrong acting. This happened when “Ehud was dead,” and the names in the Bible represents something symbolic, because the Hebrew word אֵהוּד Ehud comes from the Hebrew אֶחָֽד Echad, which means “unity.” The Jews speak abundantly about the unity of God through the Shema: שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ יְהוָה אֶחָֽד “Shema Yisrael Iod-Chavah Eloheinu Iod-Chavah Echad.” Or: “Hear O Israel, the Lord thy God, the Lord is One.” The reason why we are in suffering is because we are not in unity.
Examine your mind. In one moment, you may be inspired with love, but then the next moment towards the same person, we feel antagonism, hatred, then indifference, perhaps fear, resentment, and jealousy. There is no unity in the mind. The mind is constantly fluctuating. We like to assume that the sense of "I" that we worship is one. That all the thoughts, feelings, and impulses come from one's sense of self. But if you observe the mind, as we've been explaining in this course and in meditation, you see that there are different thoughts, feelings, and impulses which fluctuate. There is no order there. There is no unity there.
What we call ego is really a multiplicity: egos. Different "I’s,” myself, and desires which constantly fluctuate and take control of the mind, the heart, and the body to act.
When you learn meditation, you begin to see that this dynamic is something very real, but many have not experienced this yet. What we teach and advise is to learn to silence the mind and to look. Observe yourselves. What certain conditions do you think about, ways that you feel, and ways that you act in certain circumstances? Perhaps towards the same people, towards different people, towards strangers and observe. Examine your mind. Is there a sense of unity there or is there contradiction?
If we are honest, we see that we are walking contradictions. We are filled with afflictions, sufferings, pains, and ordeals and usually without our knowledge or understanding. This is why in the myth of Carlos Collodi (Pinocchio), he depicted us as a puppet, controlled by strings, and controlled by egos. Of course, this is a very unpleasant fact to realize in oneself, especially when you begin meditation. You see that the mind is in chaos. This is why many people run away from meditation because they realize how overwhelming the mind is and they become filled with fear. “When Ehud was dead,” when the unity of God was dead in us, that was when the soul became conditioned in suffering.
The Tree of Life: A Map of Meditation
We study this glyph in our tradition. This is known as the Kabbalah and this map has ten spheres, or what is known as ten sephiroth, which are levels of energy, matter, and consciousness, from the most rarefied and pure, divine, to the most material and dense.
This is a map that can explain our experiences in meditation and we will be explaining this graphic, with great detail, throughout our courses. Here I would like to introduce just a few concepts for you in order to understand meditation—also, the Book of Judges, because if you want to interpret what the Bible teaches, you need to know Kabbalah.
The word Kabbalah comes from the Hebrew word kabbel, which means “to receive,” to receive knowledge, not with the intellect or from a book, but from meditation. Remember the quote from the beginning of this lecture, "Meditation is a means of acquiring information." It is psychological and spiritual. When you want to understand yourself in meditation and after having certain mystical experiences, you can map your experiences based on this glyph or this dynamic.
This Tree of Life is not something literal, vertical in space, as if heavens are above your head or hell is below your feet. It refers to psychological qualities, which integrate, flow, and move within oneself in a very dynamic way. This is a map of our soul or consciousness.
Above we have what is known as the higher worlds or higher dimensions; higher levels of being, of perceiving, and of course the forces that come from the divine, from above, descend from this top trinity, to a middle trinity, and finally to what we call in Hebrew, Malkuth, which means “kingdom.” This is our physical body, our Earth. Our physical body is literally an amalgamation of forces which come from above, from the divine.
Above this physical body, of which we are all aware of, we have what is known as the vital body or vital energies, which is called Yesod in Hebrew. This is your vital energy. When you wake up in the morning and you go throughout your day, you may sense more or less vitality, an energy in yourself to act, to be, and to do. In the morning, you may have more energy. In the afternoon or in the evening you become tired. That relates to this vital force, which penetrates our physical body. Even though these spheres look like they are separate or static, they really integrate here and now in oneself.
Above our vital energies, we have what some traditions call the astral body and our emotions, which are known as Hod in Hebrew. Likewise, we have Netzach, which means “victory” and is related with our mind and our thoughts.
Notice that as we ascend this Tree of Life, we begin to sense, experience, and understand greater subtleties in our psychological constitution. The body is dense, but because our consciousness is also limited, this is typically all we sense or become aware of. But if we are more attentive, if we were observing ourselves, we sense that we have certain vital energy flowing in us from morning to evening. Likewise, with emotions and emotional states, moods, thoughts, and the mind.
In a more rarefied sense, we have what is called willpower, Tiphereth. Somebody who has a strong will, a strong urge or impulse to do certain occupations, jobs, or things, is working with Tiphereth, or willpower. But most of the time, if we examine ourselves and are honest, we tend to realize that our willpower is usually identified with our thinking, feeling, and our energies.
It is simply easy to reflect on our own experience of how most of the time, we go through our day preoccupied with certain day dreams, memories, emotional states, or vital forces that are in our inner constitution, as well as our physical body.
Above this willpower we have something more rarefied, which most people have no consciousness of.
When we sit to meditate, we may begin to sense our body as we relax it. Also our vital energies, by working with a mantra, as we worked with a mantra OM. We were working with the vital energy to saturate our heart and to send that energy circulating through our nervous system. By working with this energy known as Yesod, which is called the “foundation” of Kabbalah, we learn to ascend up this Tree of Life to higher levels of being.
This is why it is good before meditating to do a mantra and work with energy, so that the mind stabilizes. Notice that the heart and the mind become still when we work with that force. Of course, all this is only possible when we work with our willpower, Tiphereth—to have the will to sit still for a few minutes and to pronounce a mantra so that the body settles, the mind settles, and the heart settles. Likewise, the thing to remember is that willpower doesn't mean somebody who is aggressive. Real willpower is serene. Peaceful. There is no effort there.
In the beginning of meditation we struggle because the mind is in affliction. It is caught up in memories and daydreams, but when you learn to go deeper in meditation, or better said, when you develop your concentration, you realize that you require less effort to be still, and then naturally you sit with peace in one posture, and that is when the doorway to real meditation can begin.
Everything we are doing here is preliminary, but one thing I will mention about this Tree of Life in the relation to this lecture is that we have something divine within us, represented by the top five Sephiroth of this Tree of Life.
We have what is known as the consciousness, or Geburah in Hebrew, which means to “justice.” “Judgment.” This consciousness is beyond will; it is simply the ability to perceive, but that quality tends to be very conditioned in us and very limited.
Even beyond the consciousness, there is something more divine, known as Chesed, which means “mercy.” This is the Hebrew אל El. This is OM. Your Being. Your Spirit. That spirit is God. The Being is presence, understanding, and happiness without limits.
When people say that they are spiritual, what they really should say is that they have God incarnated, because to say that one is spiritual means to say that “I have the spirit within me and active.” Chesed is the spirit.
There are many confusions about what spirit is. People confuse spirit with soul. The spirit, God, is, but the soul, our willpower, is created. It has to be developed in meditation because the ability to focus our will on one thing is only developed through daily discipline.
Meditation is the daily bread of the wise, and in order to enter meditation, we have to be able to focus on one thing, such as a mantra or a sound and not get distracted. We tend to be distracted by our thinking, our emotions, and sensations of the body. If our body is moving in meditation, it means that we are not meditating.
Notice that this glyph is very profound and it's simple. It just takes a little familiarity. But even beyond this spirit, we have something even more divine, which is this top trinity. Our spirit, our Inner God, emanates from what is known as the Christian Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These are not people, but energies or forces within us which need to be incarnated or developed.
Some traditions have referred to this Trinity among the Nordics as Odin, or Wotan, Balder, and Thor. The Egyptians referred to it as Osiris, Horus, and Isis. The Buddhists use different names, Dharmakaya, Sambhogakaya, and Nirmanakaya. Every tradition uses these different definitions or terms for the same thing. This is the purest energy of the cosmos. This light governs all of existence from the atom, to a galaxy. We have that energy within us, which we can liberate the we use certain practices.
The word Jehovah in Hebrew relates to this second sephiroth on the Tree of Life known as Chokmah, which is wisdom. We have Kether, the Father, the “Crown” in Hebrew. Chokmah, meaning “wisdom, insight, and perception.” We then have Binah, meaning “intelligence.” Chokmah, in Hebrew in its sacred name is Jehovah, because each Sephirah has a Hebrew term associated with it.
That is the energy known as Christ amongst the gnostics and whom Jesus incarnated. He wasn't the only one who incarnated that light, but any meditator can if they know how.
I want to just emphasize that from the highest levels of existence, we have light which descends and slowly conditions itself until reaching this physical body and materializes. That energy, if it's conditioned within our anger, fears, and our resentments, becomes what is known as the hell realms, what is called in Hebrew, Klipoth. Klifah means “shell.” Klipoth means conditions or “shells” in Hebrew. Every ego or sense of "I," whether it be pride, resentment, gluttony, etc., is a shell that traps our consciousness.
Every myth of the great hero is about descending from this top trinity, down below to Malkuth and entering the maze, the hell realms, in order to confront one's egotism and desires. Then by eliminating those desires, we learn to free the consciousness that is trapped there and return it back to the light above with knowledge and understanding. One thing I will mention is that in the Greek myth of Theseus and the minotaur, he went into the maze and killed the beast, but the way that he got out of the maze was by using what it was called Ariadne's thread. In the myth, in order to not get lost in the maze and to find his way back, he had a thread with him, which he unrolled as he moved through the labyrinth until finding the minotaur, killing the animal, and then following the thread back out to the open sunlight.
Dante in his myth, The Divine Comedy, explains that the descent into the inferno is easy, but the return is hard. When you are meditating, you may see certain defects and desires, which you want to work on, but you have to follow your conscience to find your way out of the maze. Your judgment. Your consciousness. We will elaborate on how the light returns from these infernal regions back to the higher levels of being, of consciousness, because real yoga or religion, is about taking all that light that is trapped in conditions, and integrating it with the Being, the Divine. Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word Yug, that is, to “reunite.” Religion comes from the latin word, religare, which also means means to “reunite.”
That light becomes conditioned and more material, more dense and in greater states of suffering, the further it descends down this shadow of the Tree of Life until reaching the very bottom of existence. Again, these are symbols. They are different dimensions that exist that we can access in the dream state through meditation, but more importantly this refers to our daily state of being.
Kabbalah in the Book of Judges
“And יהוה Jehovah sold them into the hand of Jabin, king of כְּנַעַן Canaan, that reigned in חָצוֹר Hazor…” –Judges 4:2
I have included some Hebrew terms because this meaning is very deep. The word for light is אֹֽור Aur. “Let there be light and there was light.” What is that light? It is the awakened consciousness. Our soul, when it is pure, is light, harmony, peace, and it is contentment.
But that light, the light of Israel, of the divine, is trapped. That light, when it becomes inverted, becomes part of the negative psychological qualities we are familiar with. As a result of having misused our energies in our consciousness, that light is dislocated, disconnected from Jehovah, and then enters into these infernal states of being.
What is כְּנַעַן Canaan in the Bible? When the Bible talks about different lands, they were referring to Malkuth, when Egyptians enslaved the Israelites. Egypt is a symbol of the body, within which is contained our desires, because our ego and defects act through the body.
What is that inverted light? The Hebrew term for it is חָצוֹר Hazor [Hatzor] because it sounds like אֹֽור Aur, the light, but it is trapped in the lower spectrum of light. The higher spectrum of light is ultraviolet, but the most dense form is infrared. There is a spectrum and the Tree of Life represents this.
“And יהוה Jehovah sold them into the hand of Jabin, king of כְּנַעַן Canaan, that reigned in חָצוֹר Hazor…” (Judges 4:2), meaning: the soul was disconnected and trapped in this body. Trapped withinחָצוֹר Hazor or the inverted light that conditions the mind.
The captain of his host was סִיסְרָא Sisera. The sound סִיסְרָא Sisera or the name סִיסְרָא Sisera is a representation of what the Bible calls the serpent. There is a mantra amongst the gnostics, the letter S for "Sssssssss…" which we pronounce in order to work with what is known as the serpentine fire of Kundalini. This is the fire of the divine which is in our coccyx. You can do that mantra S or "Sssssssss" to make the energies rise up the spine to the brain.
Of course, there is a duality to that serpent as represented in the Bible. That serpent that healed the Israelites in the wilderness raised by Moses upon a staff, is a symbol of the Kundalini rising up the spine, if you are familiar with Hinduism. Of course, there is a tempting serpent in which that energy descends down and forms what is called the tail of the demons within the astral body of a human being. These are symbols, but also there are certain things that they represent that are psychological truths.
Therefore, סִיסְרָא Sisera is that negative crystallization of those energies, “which dwelt in חֲרֹשֶׁת הַגֹּויִֽם Haroshet-Goyim” (Judges 4:2), the land of the goyim.
What is goyim? It is a Hebrew term, which many Jews believe refers simply to people who don't follow Judaism. If you look at the word goyim, you hear the word ego backwards. What does it mean to be a goyim? It means to be like any one of us, even if we are Jewish, because to have desire and egotism is to be goyim. To be exiled from the heavenly kingdom of God, the Being.
To be a real Jew in an objective sense, is to have this light incarnated.
“And the children of Israel (the soul) cried unto יהוה Jehovah: for he had nine hundred chariots of iron; and twenty years he mightily oppressed the children of Israel.” –Judges 4:-3
Again, these are symbols. If you are interested in learning more about what the numbers mean in the Bible, I recommend you listen to our course we have been giving on the Eternal Tarot which is available on our website. We won't go into too much detail here, but the number nine is very symbolic. It represents again how we use our energies in the ninth sephirah of the Tree of Life.
Of course, that light and energy tends to be conditioned in us. We use our vitality in the wrong way with negative habits. We waste energy in many behaviors, which are not conducive for our spiritual well-being.
That twenty years is against symbolic, referring to the Kabbalah as we have been explaining.
The one who helps Israel in this process is known as Deborah.
“And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time…” –Judges 4:4
…and she was in the Bible represented as a great warrior and a prophetess who helped the Israelites in that narrative to achieve freedom against סִיסְרָא Sisera and his armies. Or better said the ego, his demons, and is legions.
Who is דְּבֹורָה Deborah?
“And she dwelt under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in mount Ephraim: and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment.” –Judges 4:5
What is judgment? It is Geburah. Justice. Our conscience. The sense of right and wrong. She dwells underneath a palm tree, represented by this mystical sphere known as Daath in the Kabbalah, and which means knowledge.
Some people have called it alchemy, the science of transmuting the base lead of the personality into the gold of the spirit by the work of energy. She dwells beneath that tree, meaning: works like Buddha did meditating under the Bodhi tree until he achieved enlightenment (if you are familiar with the Buddhist mythology).
Geburah, our soul, our divine consciousness, dwells beneath this palm tree between Ramah and Bethel, because this glyph is represented as three pillars: one on the left, one on the right, and one in the middle. Ramah is the left pillar of the Tree of Life, Bethel is the right, and the mountain Ephraim is represented by the center of this glyph, Tiphereth.
To have dreams in the internal worlds when you are meditating, if you experience seeing a mountain or climbing a mountain, it means you are entering the higher dimensions with your spiritual work. The mountain represents the path that leads from the valleys of Klipoth, the infernal world, up towards the world of heaven. It is called the "heavens" in the different mythologies.
The Israelites, in order to receive help from Deborah, had to climb the mountain, Ephraim and receive judgment. It is a symbol. It means that God doesn't come out of the clouds to give us some kind of magical experience, although that can happen, and it is very beautiful and necessary. However, to obtain comprehension of our faults, God doesn't come out of the clouds to give it to us. Instead we have to work and raise our level of being up within ourselves towards this higher sephiroth, Tiphereth, the mountain.
By learning to overcome our body, our energies, our emotions, and our mind with willpower in meditation—that is how you climb Ephraim, the mountain, to receive judgment. It is a symbol. If you want to reach comprehension in yourself, peace, and understanding, you have to raise your level of being.
This myth is also very beautiful and explains other things relating to many other mythologies, such as the teachings of the Kundalini in Hinduism. If you are familiar with the force of the Kundalini, it is the serpentine power of the divine feminine which rises up the spine from the base chakra, Muladhara. Then up the spine to the brain. In the Bible a mountain also represents the spinal column which one must climb.
The prophets must climb in order to receive the commandments of the divine, like Moses did on Mount Sinai. It is a symbol of how he raised the energies of the divine up his spine through certain practices in order to illuminate his intellect. If you see the halos of the saints in many myths, it is because those heroes, those masters, those prophets, worked with energy and illuminated the mind. They climbed the mountain and when they illuminated their crown chakra like Moses, Muhammed, or whatever prophet you want to refer to, that is when they were able to receive knowledge and understanding. Commandments from the Being. Direct experiences in meditation. The Bible and the Book of Judges refers to that force of the serpent as Barak.
"And she sent and called Barak the son of Abinoam out of (קֶּדֶשׁ) Kedesh in Naphtali, and said unto him, Hath not (יהוה) the LORD GOD of Israel commanded, saying, Go and draw toward (בְּהַר תָּבֹור) Mount Tabor, and take with thee ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and of the children of Zebulun.” –Judges 4:6
In the story you see that Deborah and Barak go to war against the armies of Sisera, as a symbol of the consciousness going into battle against our desires. How does our consciousness work against desire? By working with the Kundalini.
She says, "Go and draw towards Mount Tabor."
Again the mountain refers to the sephirah, the heart, Tiphereth. "Take with yourself ten thousand men," meaning the ten sephiroth and integrate all the parts of your Being within you in meditation in order to have command of yourself, in order to work against desire and against defects.
“And I will drawסִיסְרָא Sisera, the captain of Jabin's army, with his chariots and his multitude, unto thee to the river Kishon; and I will deliver him into thine hand.” –Judges 4:7
What is that river Kishon? These are your vital energies, because how you use your vitality, your vital forces in meditation, determines whether you will have that inner strength to work against your own defects.
But of course Deborah says, “I will fight against סִיסְרָא Sisera, which is "Sssssssss," the fire of our own divine energies that has been inverted and negative. It is the tempting serpent of Eden. It is a symbol of the misuse of our energies and which, by misusing that force, we were kicked out of bliss, Eden.
The word עֵדֶן Eden means “bliss.” It isn't a literal place in the Mesopotamia in the Middle East, but refers to the original state of the consciousness before it's conditioning.
In the myth סִיסְרָא Sisera is killed by a woman named יָעֵל Yael, and the name is very symbolic, because the word יה Ya, if you know Kabbalah, is י Iod ה Hei, reading it from right to left. Hebrew is written from right to left, representing the Father, known as Kether in the Kabbalah, the height of our Being, of our divinity. אל El is your spirit, your inner God.
This woman is literally the forces of the divine and the spirit within us who works in order to eliminate our defects. She is part of our conscience. In the myth, she takes a hammer and chisel and then pummels his head in order to kill him when he sleeps. But what first happened was that she brought סִיסְרָא Sisera into her tent or into a tent and brought him milk in order to put him to sleep. When he was asleep, she killed him.
These are symbols how when you work with vital energy, like with the mantra OM, or sacred sounds, the mind settles and become serene. Then from a state of serenity, you put your defects into an inactive state; your egotism and your desires, so that when the mind settles, you can learn to look inside in meditation and comprehend the causes of suffering. When you then see your own desires or certain defects you want to work on, you take the hammer of willpower and the chisel of understanding, and you slay it.
We mentioned in the previous lecture of this course how developing concentration, to focus on one thing, is willpower and is essential. The next step is developing insight, the ability to proceed images in the mind clearly. To see through the sense of observation of ourselves—self-observation and imagination: the ability to perceive psychic imagery.
In the Book of Judges (5:24-26), there is a song:
“Extolled above woman be Yael, extolled above woman in the tent. He asked for water. She gave him milk” which is the energies of our vital forces, referring to the creative energies of sexuality and which we will be talking about within tantrism and other teachings related to alchemy and the perfect matrimony. The work with the vital forces in you and the creative energies in you can be done by working with mantras such as OM. You circulate that force in you. It is like milk, which is nourishment for the soul.
As I said, silence the mind and then you can work on yourself.
"She brought him cream in a lordly dish. She stretched forth her hand to the nail, Her right hand to the workman's hammer, And she smote Sisera; she crushed his head, She crashed through and transfixed his temples.” –Judges 5:24-26
The word יָעֵל Yael signifies an “ibex, a goat.” And again, there are many symbols here. The sheep separating from the goats. In the Christian tradition, this is a symbol of how one is either purified as a lamb, following the teachings of the divine or Christ, and the goat, meaning a person with egotism. Of desires. יָעֵל Yael literally means “a goat,” a desert dwelling goat, because any one of us who begins meditation is filled with desires and defects.
Symbolically as in the Christian symbols, we are goats and by purifying the soul one becomes a sheep. Interesting etymology.
Conscience, Judgment, and the Symbolism of Deborah
How do we work with the force of conscience, of judgment, of Deborah? We work with mantras.
There's a song in the Book of Judges, which says:
“Awake, עוּר awake, דְּבֹורָה Deborah: עוּר awake, עוּר awake, דָּבַר utter a song: arise, בָּרָק Barak, and lead thy captivity captive, thou son of Abinoam.” –Judges 5:12
The word for awake in Hebrew is עוּר Ur, which is similar, etymologically to the word אֹֽור Aur, which means “light.”
“Awake, Deborah, awaken the consciousness, awake our soul” to its true nature, its peaceful nature, its serenity and its compassion. You do so by working with songs, which are mantras.
“Utter a song,” it says, דָּבַר Dabar in Hebrew. “To utter, to speak.”
The word דְּבֹורָה Deborah has these Hebrew letters, ד Dalet, ב Beth, ר Resh. De-Bur-Ah. If you want to work with your inner judgment, you can work with those sacred sounds to empower your soul and your concentration.
"Arise Barak," referring to the Kundalini, which rises in the spine. "Lead thy captivity captive," which means take control of your situations and learn to live with greater rectitude and love.
Who is this בָּרָק Barak? The Muslim tradition teaches some interesting symbols. In the Ascension of the Prophet Muhammad, he rode on a creature called الْبُرَاق Al-Buraq, which literally means “the lightning.” Where is that lightning? It is in your spine, or better said, it it contained in the Chakra Muladhara and needs to awaken. So, by riding that creature up the spine, the energies, and the forces, we ascend towards the heavens as symbolized in the Muslim myth. Barak is that energy or Al-Buraq, which helped Deborah fight against the afflictions of the mind.
We will be giving courses about the mystical teachings of Islam known as Sufism. We gave a course called the Sufi Path of Self-knowledge, which explains some of these interesting symbols in relation with the path of meditation.
Inner Self-Remembrance, Mantras, and Sacred Sounds
We will read a few excerpts from some Sufi scriptures, which are very valuable. In these teachings we study the path of remembrance of the divine. Meditation is about remembering our own inner divinity, by developing serenity and insight so that we learn to connect and strengthen our connection with that presence. We do so by following the voice of our inner judgment, our conscience, our heart, and our intuition, how certain behaviors are negative or harmful. The way that we can empower that remembrance is by working with the sacred sounds, as I have been mentioning.
The Sufis or the mystics of Islam, not to be confused with the orthodoxy, has some very interesting explanations about how to remember the divine. We work with mantras to strengthen that inner judgment and to be aware, mindfully, throughout our day in a state of attention.
If we want to learn to meditate, what is necessary is to learn to be observant all day. Meditation, when you sit to close your eyes and relax, is only an extension of your daily practice, your daily life. Learning to be mindful throughout the day and not being distracted in the mind is the beginning. If you are washing your dishes, don't think of other things. If you are driving your car, don't talk on the cellphone. Don't listen to the radio. Just drive. Don't think about what you are going to do later, but be mindful of where you are at. The reason why there are so many accidents is because people are asleep, consciously. They may be driving and physically active, but as a consciousness, they are distracted. Their mind is elsewhere. Their emotions are elsewhere. Their bodies are doing one thing but they are not really present in the body.
Remembrance is strengthened when we work with mantras, which is known as Dhikr amongst the Sufis.
“Remembrance is a powerful support on the path to God [the divine, the Being] (Glorious and Majestic). Indeed, it is the very foundation of this Sufi [or we can say, Gnostic] path. No one reaches God save by continual remembrance of Him. [Our inner OM. Our spirit.] 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.” --Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
Meaning, to pronounce, verbally, certain mantras, but to do it with concentration, because if you vocalize but are not mindful what you are doing, there is no power there. We are distracted. Therefore:
“It is remembrance of the heart that yields true effect. When a person makes remembrance with his tongue and his heart simultaneously (with concentration), he attains perfection in his or her wayfaring.” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
To be focused. Concentration is important. If you want certain mantras to be effective and to produce greater depth of understanding and concentration, you have to invest everything you have into that practice. Don't think about other things. Let your mind be immersed in those vibrations. As I said, be like the bee that is immersed in the flower or the pollen as it is creating honey.
The Sufis also teach that it is good in the beginning to work with a mantra that helps to strengthen our heart, our conscience. However, many practitioners write to us through letters and correspondences; people and many students perform certain mantras, but still they don't feel like they have any results and experiences. The thing to think about with that is to revise what is the psychological state we are in when we engage in a practice.
As you start in this meditation, what is your mental states? What are your moods? What are your qualities? What are you feeling? What are you thinking now? Become aware of that, relax, breathe deep, and then begin a sacred mantra so that there is sweetness or genuine genuine power in that practice.
As the Sufis teach:
“A group of wayfarers complained to Abu Uthman, ‘We make vocal remembrance of God Most High, but we experience no sweetness in our hearts.’ He advised, ‘Give thanks to God most high for adorning you at least your limbs with obedience.’” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
Meaning: at least you are consistent, because some people begin a mantra one day and and don't finish it. Don't continue it. The thing to remember is, it's good to be diligent with one's practices.
Three Stages of Comprehension
In this course, we have been talking about three stages of comprehension. We talk a lot about discovery, self-observation, to see ourselves, to observe, to be mindful. By learning to observe ourselves like a director watching an actor, we begin to gain information or acquire knowledge of our conditioning of mind, so that by seeing it, we go home, we go to meditate, we go to judge our defects.
In the beginning we learn to gather data. What are the thoughts, feelings, and impulses we experience whenever we engage at work in the morning, with friends, our boss, our co-workers? Analyze, what are the qualities that are go on within us whenever we interact with other human beings? And, in that way you learn to discover your defects in action.
I recommend if you haven't heard those lectures yet, to do so. It will give greater context for this lecture, but we've been talking a lot about judgment, following our intuition, which is the path of meditation.
As you begin to discover yourself in action, finding defects that you never suspected you had, you take that information, that sense of remorse, that sense of responsibility, and go home, relax, meditate, silence the mind, and learn to ask for help from your inner being. Work with a mantra and power your heart with energy, and then pray and ask, "My divine Being, show me, help me to understand what I observed in myself today." Perhaps it was anger. Perhaps it was fear. Perhaps it was lust. A quality that you notice produces suffering in you and that you want to remove.
The next step is execution, which is prayer. When you comprehend a certain condition of mind, fully, then you can ask for its elimination within you by the help of your Divine Mother Kundalini, the divine feminine.
And as we have been discussing also in our courses of meditation, “The first stage of worship is silence” as Prophet Muhammad taught.
So silence of mind is generated when you learn to relax. Don't identify with your thinking, your feeling, your impulses, negativity, and negative emotions. Those things will sap you of your energy and will make you weak. So to have a mind that is in silence, a mind that is able to be intuitive, it is necessary to observe, relax, be aware. As I mentioned, when you are aware of yourself and you relax throughout the day, your body becomes less tense, your mind is relaxed. If you don't invest your negative qualities with so much energy, when you go home to meditate, you can sit in a minute and immediately enter meditation, easy, because your body is not tense, your mind is not tense. You are not depleted of energy.
So silence occurs naturally, spontaneously; when you fulfill the necessary requisites, meaning: follow your conscience. If we are investing our energy into psychological states that are harmful, the mind becomes a churning chaos, overwhelmed, an ocean that is in the middle of a storm, in the flux of tides, overwhelming the mind. But if you naturally observe it like you are in a helicopter viewing from the sky, you can observe the tides and gradually the storm will settle on its own, because you are not churning along with it, going on with the flow.
Silence occurs in levels. There are levels of introductory teaching relating to concentration or serenity, and there are more higher levels of serenity obtained by people who have entered meditation very deeply.
Abu Bakr al-Farisi mentioned in the scripture called Principles of Sufism, a very beautiful teaching:
"If one's homeland is not silence, he is talking to excess, even though he is silent with the tongue. Silence is not confined to the tongue but concerns the heart and all the limbs." ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
If we have sat to meditate, we may have found that even though our bodies are quiet, we here in the mind, we feel in the heart a constant commentary, a chatter—the mind wanting to label things, point at things, and explain things. The mind is like a monkey, attached, craving, always wanting to move. It indicates that the mind is not serene.
We are constantly grasping at the external world. The body wants to move. It is an animal that needs to be tamed. So silence doesn't occur just with the physical tongue, but mentally. If you don't want your mind to be overflowing with thoughts, observe. Don't invest your energy with it. Don't identify yourself with that. But serenity naturally occurs when you distance yourself from that internal chatter.
“Silence for the common people is with their tongues, but silence for the gnostics is with their hearts…” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
Meaning: those who really know the Being, the divine, do so because they even attained some type of internal silence and inner serenity in which they are not influenced by thinking so much, but instead are relaxed, at peace.
Yet there is “silence for lovers,” meaning prophets, “by restraining the stray thoughts that come into their innermost beings.” So that's a stage of serenity or concentration in which one sees a distraction in the mind before it even emerges. This is well discussed in our course on Gnostic Meditation on our website as well as the lecture called Calm Abiding: the Stages of Serenity.
But serenity occurs in levels and that inner serenity is natural and spontaneous, it is not forced. People think that concentration has to be something aggressive. That one has to be exerting some type of energy or force in order to meditate. But the reality is that serenity is natural, relaxed, spontaneous, at peace. Judgment occurs naturally when we are at peace; when the mind is silent. Comprehension emerges like a spark, an insight, that emerges in the mind when you are not looking for it. When you are simply concentrated, relaxed, at peace.
Exertion, Comprehension, and the Dialectic of Consciousness
"Comprehension replaces exertion when one tries to comprehend the truth intimately hidden in the secret depths of each problem. We do not need any exertion to comprehend each and every defect that we carry hidden within the different levels of the mind." ―Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
In our previous lecture, we talked about the dialectic of consciousness: how the consciousness, represented by Christ in this image, overcomes the mind—how to receive insights, intuition, understanding from the Being, represented by Jesus, and the devil on the right is a representation of our ego, the mind that points towards materialism, egotism, desires. That is the difference between a mind that is distracted and a mind that is concentrated.
And in this myth, Christ was tempted by the devil in the wilderness. It is a symbol of how we, in meditation, learn to overcome the distractions of the mind in order to overcome him. So I mentioned to you that in the Kabbalah, the word wisdom is simply the ability to perceive, to judge, to know.
We have an image of The Last Judgement, painted by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel. The word judgment relates etymologically to the word “wisdom.” Wisdom is the power of perception, of knowing, of seeing, which occurs spontaneously in us when we learn to look, to observe, and not to anticipate what we may see, but simply engaged in the act of looking, of seeing.
“The word wisdom is derived from vid, videre (to see) and from dom (judgment). Thus, wisdom alludes to that which one can see with the senses of the soul and of the Innermost; to the wise judgments which must be based on the ultra-sensorial perceptions and not simply on dogmatic intellectualism or vain professional sufficiency, which are already in declination and decrepitude.” —Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
So again, the intellect cannot know the truth. It can store knowledge, ideas, beliefs, concepts, and memories. Real wisdom is when you learn to see in yourself the causes of your suffering. It is the power of perception, of knowing. So we learn to develop light through meditation. Through seeing. Through observing ourselves. We gain genuine contentment, serenity, and happiness when we learn to experience is what perception is, what light is. The qualities of the Being. The qualities of our Inner God.
Spiritual Insight and Witnessing
The Sufis in the Qur’an also teach that this sense of understanding is represented by light, because light is the power of seeing. With light we know, we understand. So to have light in meditation means to have experiences.
You may have the experience when your mind is silent, in which your body falls asleep, and you as a consciousness enter into the dream state, the dream world, and experience the higher dimensions of that Tree of Life we have been looking at. You climb Mount Tabor or Mount Ephraim. You enter the higher regions of the divine in order to converse face-to-face with your Innermost God.
A person who has that experience in meditation is obviously very different from those who haven't, because with that type of experience comes conviction. What we call real faith—real judgment—because then by having that help from your Inner God, you learn to help others and to help yourself, more importantly, so that you can be of benefit.
“Concerning the saying of God Most High, ‘Or one who was dead—we have brought him to life’ (6:122), a Sufi said, ‘Someone who was dead of mind, but God Most High brought him to life with the light of insight, and set for him the light of divine manifestation and direct vision—he will not be like someone who walks, unconscious, with the people of unconsciousness.’” –Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
It is easy to see that, after having those experiences, we realize that humanity is really dead, spiritually. They lack genuine understanding, but with that understanding comes the determination to help them to experience that for themselves.
“It is said that when insight becomes sound, its possessor progresses to the level of contemplation (mushahadah) [meditation].” –Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
The Arabic is mushahadah, which relates to the Arabic saying of the declaration of faith, the Shahadah, "There is no god, but God and Muhammad is His Prophet."
Many people recite that intellectually, but have they meditated and experienced in higher dimensions, talking with their Inner Being, or Allah, or God, their El, their OM, their Spirit? The truth is that they don't, so are they really Muslim in the objective sense? You can say that they are not, because if you experience your divine Being in the higher dimensions, in meditation, then you bear witness. You say, "I see my God face to face.” Therefore, there is no god but God and Muhammad is His Prophet, or Krishna is His Prophet, or Buddha is His Prophet. Many teachers, one light.
Ascension to Higher Levels of Being
That process of seeing is inner judgment and the path of inner judgment is like a like a staircase. We discussed in our previous lectures about the levels of being; how the ascension to the path of genuine spirituality is like climbing a staircase and having a dream in the internal worlds, or your dreams themselves in meditation, that you are climbing a staircase, means that you are going to higher levels of being.
You are experiencing higher states of consciousness, and I believe that is from Alice in Wonderland climbing a staircase, or something symbolic of that nature, because the soul, we could say, is feminine, whether in a male body or masculine body, because the soul receives the forces from above. It is receptive and so:
Abu Said al-Kharraz said, “One who sees with the light of spiritual insight, sees with the light of the Truth.” –Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
…because when you see a problem, when you see a defect for what it is and you don't make excuses for it, or justify it, or repress it, but simply observe, you can comprehend it and that is how you arrive at judgment. Conscience.
In the beginning, we follow our hunch, our intuitions that certain psychological states are destructive and by learning to comprehend them deeper and deeper in meditation, we develop light.
“The very substance of his knowledge comes from God, unmixed with either negligence or forgetfulness.” –Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
The very substance of this knowledge comes from God, because your Being gives you that understanding, unmixed with either negligence or forgetfulness. Meaning: negligence is referring to begin meditation and then to stop, to be negligent and to not work.
This is a spiritual work and is very difficult, but it is rewarding because it provides the beauty of the soul within oneself.
And forgetfulness, meaning to not forget what you are doing. You sit to meditate. You have a specific practice. You are going to review your day. What you observed in yourself. Or take an object to meditate on like a candle, a stone, a picture, and you want to understand a certain scripture, or whatever it is you want to meditate on. You have to have the focus to the point that you don't forget what you are doing when you sit. If you forget what you are doing when you sit to meditate, it means that we are distracted, we are forgetful.
“Indeed, it is a judgment of Truth flowing from the tongue of a servant.” –Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
…because when you have that knowledge for yourself then it becomes crystallized in you.
We will conclude by stating that the way to develop meditative practice is by following our inner judgment, our inner conscience—again, that sense of right and wrong.
“The human being who allows that which is called self-judgement or inner-judgment to express itself in a spontaneous manner within, will be guided by the voice of the consciousness. Thus, he will march on the upright path.” –Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
Meaning: by learning to live with attentiveness and consciousness in our daily life, our work, our job, or career, we learn to do our work not only better, but we naturally help humanity and enter deeper states of awareness.
Questions and Answers
Question: How can we experience the divine when meditating?
Instructor: If you want to experience the divine through some type of samadhi in meditation, and the word samadhi means “ecstasy,” where your consciousness is liberated from its conditions so that it perceives without egotism in the higher worlds—to have a samadhi, I like to quote for you Rumi, a great Sufi poet. He said, "Finding love, the divine, is not by seeking it but instead looking for all the obstacles you place to obstruct it."
So that love is your inner God, your Spirit, OM, and if you want to know that Being in you, the way to develop that light and have those experiences is by working on your defects. Because remember the Bible says "Let there be light and there was light.” From the darkness, God spoke and said that verse. From the darkness of our ignorance, light emerges. You develop light by working on your egos, comprehending them, because when you eliminate your egos, you are extracting the genie from the bottle, and when you extract the genie from the bottle, like in the myth, you integrate those conscious qualities, and then you naturally are awake in the higher worlds when your body is asleep, physically, and you are traveling in the astral plane, the world of dreams. Your dream states.
If you learn to awaken consciousness physically in that way, then you have easier access when you are dreaming or when you are meditating. So samadhi occurs naturally when you remove the conditions that trap your consciousness, which is why even Friedrich Nietzsche who wrote in his Thus Spoke Zarathustra, an esoteric text which modeled this philosophy; he stated that "I love he who does not make any excuses for him or herself, but instead doesn’t reach for the stars first, but decides to descend in order to be a sacrifice."
So that in being a sacrifice, one can be of service, says the very beginning of that text. So symbolically, what he is talking about is: you want to experience heaven? We all want that. To see the stars of the divinity in the internal worlds. To reflect God in us. We want to go to heaven, but the reality is that we are trapped down here. We are trapped by our egotism, in the valley of Klipoth. But in order to get out to experience those dimensions, those realms, those realities, you have to climb the mountain. You do it by working with where you are at and not worrying about having experiences.
Many people read certain books such as by Samael Aun Weor, the founder of the modern Gnostic tradition, and get very inspired. You know, people read that, and they say, “I want to talk to my Inner God. I want to know my Being and many have that inspiration,” but in order to actualize the experience of your God, you have to work on what you can see here and now, because your Being will give you experiences as you are working to change yourself.
Personally, I remember many years ago before I found the Gnostic tradition, I was studying many schools of meditation and other teachings, and then I was going back and forth with certain places and things and scriptures and books, and what I decided was following my inner judgment, my conscience, about changing certain habits that I was engaging in that was destructive for myself. As I started to renounce those behaviors and not going back, comprehending how that behavior was wrong, I started to have experiences like I did when I was a teenager, in the dream world, and then in that way when of my body was asleep, I was awakened in the astral plane and I received certain teachings about my development.
I remember climbing a staircase and being led by a woman up the stairs, and that woman was my Divine Mother, my Being, my Divine Mother Kundalini was showing me, "you are ascending, you are ascending up this path, but be careful." She was warning me about certain things.
Question: I had a dream of a torch, and there was a, well, I was not scared though, kind of a grey wolf, and it was watching me in concentration.
Instructor: The torch is light. Developing insight. You have an experience of seeing fire or light, it means your consciousness. It is a symbol of that because consciousness is the ability to perceive, to see. A wolf, we have been talking about in Arcanum 5, the fifth card of the tarot in our website. That symbol of the wolf is a symbol of what we call Karma. Karma is a law that is governed by divineb as we have been explaining. I have had experiences of wolves too and the wolf, if it is attacking you, it means the law is against you, the Divine Law, because we committed some kind of wrong and we have to face the consequences. But, if it is calm, it means it is good. It means the law is at bay.
I know in the beginning of my path, I had certain situations postponed or withheld from me as a result of changing certain habits. But because I made those changes, they said okay, you know what you prevented this from happening and they showed me what would have happened to me if I had continued along that mistaken path.
So dreams are very symbolic. To interpret them literally is a mistake, but you learn how to interpret dreams by studying Kabbalah, which is the symbolic language of the divine.
I invite you to study some of the resources we have available and we will be getting more courses on meditation as well as practices you can use to develop your discipline, in order to cease suffering and develop genuine serenity. We gave a course on meditation on our website, which you can study. We will be giving more material of that name of that on Chicagognosis.org, especially, but I invite you to study some of the literature written by Samael Aun Weor, whose writings are the focus of this school, primarily because of their efficacy, their directness, and simplicity.
In relation to some other schools, many people tend to get lost in intellectual knowledge. So, I have been explaining a lot of about the Kabbalah lot because it is very rich and complex, but it is very simple when you boil it down. It refers to: how do you meditate? How do you control the mind? How do you learn about yourself? You do so by becoming serene. Observing yourself. So, if you haven't heard the previous lectures in this course, I recommend you study them.
We talked about discovery, judgment, execution. Discover your defects. Work on what you can perceive in yourself, that you can change and then when you gather data about yourself, you learn to judge those habits. You ask for guidance insight. You ask my Being, my God, show me what I need to change in myself. Help me to see my errors. Help me to understand this anger that I witness in myself and my work. How can I change that?
And if you concentrate on that question, relax, wait. When the mind is serene, suddenly insight comes like an experience. Sometimes insight emerges as a type of "aha!" moment. We certainly understand that condition, and then you realize that you you are liberated from that element, to a degree, and at that moment you ask for help. You ask, “My Divine Mother, my inner Goddess,” as we have explained in this course, “help me to eliminate this desire,” and in many cases that ego doesn't get eliminated right away, but gradually. So, you will see progress day by day and you know that there is change occurring when you reach the same situation in your life, same people, same circumstances, because things repeat mechanically; you don't react like you did. Then you don't have to perpetuate a certain dynamic of "an eye for an eye, tooth for tooth," where you get mad at someone or they get mad at you, and there is an aggression that builds up and pain for everyone.
I know that in the case of my new job that I have been working at, I had to work with very difficult people, very challenging, and I know that one thing: I have been working on is my inner judgment. Finding the right psychological state to engage with, in order to help the people I am working with. So, what happened was I have been meditating and training day by day asking my Inner God, "show me what I need to do. How do I act with these people, in this situation, in this circumstance." I have been finding and I have been getting insight where working on certain defects of mine where I have been going to work facing the same people, and when I have been treated disrespectfully, respond with love. With patience. Patience and love are much more crushing forces than anger, because when you respond with anger, the other person is going to retaliate in the same way and the cycle repeats.
But if you are patient with that person, kind, and naturally appears in you spontaneously, without force, without expectation, suddenly you realize that those people who are your enemies become your friends. And you change everything and then you stop suffering. You stop making the other person suffer. That is judgment. When you see in yourself what needs to change and then you work on it day by day. But that occurs when we comprehend our psychological states. It doesn't occur overnight, and many times we have to struggle and suffer a lot with mistakes, until we get it, and then when you get it right, the situation is transformed.
You notice that people always want to change things externally. Change the job, change the work environment, get a new job, do something else. But, we tend to carry the psychological disease with us of suffering—wanting everyone to change but us. I have had people say to me or certain people I worked ask, "How did you manage to change the situation?" I had my boss ask me that. She said, “I don't know what your secret is.” I just kept silent because some things you don't talk about with an employer. I can't tell my employer that I worked on my ego with my Divine Mother [laughter from audience], you know, some people will think I'm nuts but they see it, they see the results and they feel the results and they say, "this is is amazing." They say, "how did you do it this well?" I did mention I teach meditation and yoga, and that is a very easy answer for people to understand and they say, "OK, it's good."
But you know, if you make a you make the changes you need to change, then the pieces externally will situate themselves and then you won't have to feel depleted and worried about going to work, or doing certain things, or being with certain people. You don't try to change the other person with force, with coercion, but instead, you change your psychological habits. That is how you walk the path of judgment.
As I quoted Samael Aun Weor at the end of this lecture, "Inner judgment is what lead you on the upright path." Meaning: you don't suffer so much, unnecessarily. Meditation will unfold naturally for you when you see how it applies to your life, because if you don't see how it will benefit you, that is why people leave. People stop practicing meditation because they don't see results. The question is not the technique, it is the mind. How effective are the methods if we're using any method? But also, when the method is effective, what is our application of it? What is our daily discipline? How is it applying to our life? Because if our spirituality doesn't apply when we go to work, or talk with friends, or in the bedroom, or whatnot; if our spirituality is divorced from every aspect of our life, it isn't spiritual. It is just an excuse we tell ourselves, because we continue to engage in negative habits. So, if you want to learn how to meditate, I recommend you study some of our other resources we have available on our website Chicagognosis.org. We gave a few courses, one of them, which is very introductory like this is known as The Sufi Path of Self-Knowledge, but also Gnostic Meditation.
Thank you for coming.
This is a transcription of an audio lecture from Beginning Self-Transformation, originally given live at the Gnostic Academy of Chicago:
In this course, we have been discussing how to achieve a psychological transformation of one’s mind, of one’s heart, of one’s body, so that by learning to overcome our own internal obstacles, we can learn to experience divinity in a very concrete, direct, and practical manner. That knowledge of experience, of God, of the Being, is known in Greek as gnosis, self-knowledge. We do not like to use the term God so much, but we use it as a type of reference point. Instead, we like to refer to Being, presence, a type of consciousness that is inside, not external. And we have been discussing the fact that if we wish to know divinity, the Being, our own inner spirit, we have to learn to see in ourselves all that which afflicts us, so that by comprehending our own errors, our own conditions of mind, we can experience the truth. We can free ourselves from suffering.
So this is the fifth lecture in the course Beginning Self-Transformation. In our first lecture, we mentioned a true human being, a true spiritually enlightened one, is a Jesus, is a Buddha, is a Krishna, is a Moses, beings that exemplified the highest ideals of humanity, the highest truths possible for anyone to attain. And if we look at the word hum-man, we can see something very profound etymologically.
Hum in Sanskrit means spirit, and the spirit is divinity, the Being, the truth that never mixes with impurity. It is totally free. It is omniscient. It is universal. And that intelligence is inside, within ourselves, within our true nature, and man, like the Rune Man, with the Nordic letters, symbolizes us in potentiality. We can receive that energy in us if we learn to cease being machines.
It is an unpleasant fact to recognize in our daily experience that we tend to be very mechanical, habitual creatures, mechanical beings, constantly reacting to the influences of life, but never really comprehending the sources of our sorrows. We tend to like to externalize, to blame the government, to blame one’s spouse, one’s friends, one’s boss, one’s job for all of our sorrows that we experience. But if we fail to comprehend how we contribute to our own suffering, how our own states of anger, of pride, of fear, of vanity, really traps our true potential of who we are and what we can become.
So a human machine is like anyone of us. Our body is a means of transferring energy within the universe, within the cosmos, within our psyche, and as we began this lecture with a series of runic postures, the runic yoga, we are learning to circulate divine energy within our human machine, because the body is a machine.
It is very easy to see that we process certain elements in our body in order to achieve homeostasis, a type of equilibrium, a type of balance, physically-speaking, but in a spiritual sense, it is also possible to use our body in order to transmit divine energy, divine force, so that our physical body is a temple that can incarnate the Being, the truth, the divine, can fully manifest those qualities like compassion, divine love, patience, virtue, in which beings like Moses, Buddha, Krishna, Jesus, fully embodied themselves.
They were true human beings who had Hum, the spirit, the Being, fully present in them. And this is why, in instances of great trial, in which they were sacrificed, crucified, victimized, they only responded with love towards their enemies. That is a type of compassion that is very profound, that is very universal, in which we can access in ourselves if we transform who we are, so that light can permeate throughout our spinal column, seven chakras, our mind, our heart, our body.
And in that way as we learn to work with that force which the Gnostics, the Greeks called Christos, Christ, we cease suffering, because the conditions of mind, like fear, laziness, pride, hatred, gluttony, that which we call ego, is fully dead, so that only the resurrected soul is present in our very thoughts, our very words, our very deeds.
So to be a mechanical being is like anyone of us, going through life, reacting towards our circumstances, perhaps some days better than others. But the fact that we continue to react in the same manner towards the same circumstances indicates that we are habitual creatures. When we are criticized, we return with resentment, with anger, with pride. Those circumstances can help us if we engage in this type of self-transformation, this type of work that we have been studying in this course.
We spoke previously about the need to observe ourselves, observe our psychological states, our ways of thinking, our ways of feeling, and our ways of acting, so that we can comprehend those negative qualities which afflict us and unfortunately make us harm others, psychologically-speaking, because anger is an emotion that only knows how to destroy. Fear is debilitating. Pride, instead of exalting itself, only brings about the suffering of others. So that is ego egotism, defects, vices, desire. These types of mechanical reactions make us mechanical beings, because when slandered, we slander in return. We are never free. We are always victims of circumstances, but that can change, by learning to observe who we are, psychologically-speaking, because genuine spirituality is knowing how to cease reacting mechanically to “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,” to quote Hamlet, Shakespeare. But by “taking arms against a sea of troubles,” psychologically-speaking, learning to work on our own faults, we can “oppose and end” all sorrow.
Real spirituality is learning to circulate divine force, divine energy, so that we can empower our consciousness. So we cease being puppets of life, where we are cursed, we return with curses. We are laughed at, ridiculed, but we can respond with genuine serenity and peace, remembrance of our own divinity.
So in this lecture, we will talk about what does it mean to be a machine, but also what does it mean to be a genuine human being, a real spiritual illuminated one. We will talk about the physical and internal constitution of the intellectual humanoid.
We spoke previously that because of our egotistical conditioning of mind, we do not know the spirit from experience, from meditation, from internal visions, such as when physically we go to sleep, and we enter the dream world, because in that state, we can learn to awaken consciousness, to perceive divinity directly, just as we are speaking face to face, through types of visions, prophetic experiences, which any enlightened one can access in themselves if they cease being machines. But learning to work with exercises like runes, charging energy in our temple, our mind, our heart, our body, so that the consciousness is awake, even when the physical body is asleep, we therefore can learn to access the internal dimensions and have that face to face contact and receive wisdom from our own inner divinity, our own inner Being.
The Heavenly Human Being
So we will talk about this image in the Kabbalist tradition; it is Adam Kadmon, the heavenly man, the heavenly, spiritual, enlightened being, a symbol of our own inner divinity. And he has around his chest and genitalia the solar system and the zodiac, representing that our true identity is universal, is cosmic, and that our terrestrial identity only constitutes a very small portion of who we genuinely are, of what we are. This image is the Being, and that perfect Being, that perfect archetype, is divine love, is selflessness, is compassion. And he knows how to govern all the forces of the universe, in himself, for others.
We all have that potential, to create something so divine that it can govern worlds, planets, suns, galaxies, but in order to reach that point, we have to learn what in us is mechanical, is habitual, is negative, is demonic. So this symbol represents, with one foot on the earth and one foot in the waters, a being that has conquered himself or herself, where the physical body is the earth, is in full control by the Being, by divinity. Likewise, the waters are the energies of the body; the mind, the heart fully circulate, perfectly, purely, divinely. And then likewise the fire and light of creation, the powers of the heart and the air of the mind, are in full subservience to that divine truth, representing how our mind, our heart, our feeling, our thinking, our ways of acting, are in full reflection of our own inner God, the Being, the truth. So the human being, the human machine, can channel all the divine energy of the cosmos in order to help others, out of selflessness, out of compassion.
So the following quote is from a book called The Narrow Way by Samael Aun Weor, where he explains how the heavenly human being is inside of us, and that he reflects all of the divine principles of the cosmos.
“If we vividly imagine in a clear and precise manner the resplendent and elongated body of the Solar System, we will see all of its beautiful coverings and intertwined threads that were formed by the marvelous traces of the planets. Then, from such a receptive state, the living image of the human organism (with its skeletal, lymphatic, arterial, nervous, etc., systems) will come into our minds. Without a doubt the constitution of the human organism is also constituted and reunited in a similar manner.
“In space, when looking upon the solar system of Ors from afar (which is the solar system in which we live, move, and have our existence) it looks like a human being who walks throughout the inalterable infinite.
“The microcosmic human being is, in his turn, a solar system in miniature, a marvelous machine with various distributed nets of energy that are in distinct degrees of tension.” —Samael Aun Weor, The Narrow Way
So we learn through meditation, runes, yoga, how to work with energy, how to work with that force known as Christ, so as to liberate the soul from its conditions, from its suffering. And in that way, it reflects the universe, as the Gnostics reiterate the statement from the oracle of the temple of Delphi, “Man know thyself, and you will know the universe and the Gods.”
We have to know ourselves, know our limitations, and transform them. So these energies of the cosmos are within the human machine, all the energies of the galaxies, the stars, the planets, circulate through us. But typically, we do not have any awareness of it. And so by learning to accustom our body to mantras, sacred sounds, prayer, meditation, we can learn to channel that directly and become conscious of that force—we transform our life, our daily experience.
We cease going to work for jobs we hate, suffering the afflictions of life, by learning to face the greatest adversities and circumstances with patience, with serenity and with love for others, without fear or uncertainty, without egotism, without pain.
The Three Brains
But to reach that point, we must work with these distinct forms of energy in us, in which we find are presented in what we call (in Gnostic psychology) as the three brains.
So typically, we know from science that we have a physical brain in the cranium, a very superficial understanding. Esoterically-speaking, a brain is a machine that processes energies within the physical brain itself, but also within our nervous systems, such as our heart. Our brain is a form of intelligence, a form of knowing, or a means by which we can process cosmic, intelligent forces that permeate space.
The physical brain is the physical manifestation of the psychic apparatus known as the intellectual brain. It’s a machine. The physical brain processes thought, but it is not the originator of thought, because mind, thought, exists in other dimensions, which are internal, which we can verify by learning to awaken our consciousness. Such as in dreams, as I stated, where physically, your body is asleep, but you are thinking and doing other things outside the body, in the astral dimension, the mental dimension, or in other planes of experience, which are not vague or amorphous states, but concrete realities.
So the brain is merely a machine. It processes thought. It expresses thought, that which is internal, into the physical plane.
But we also have an emotional brain, because the emotions are a profound form of intelligence, which is not necessarily material.
We live in our world of emotions more than anything, typically, although we cannot necessarily point physically anywhere except for the heart. We feel something emotional, profound, strong, whether it be love or anger, or our pride is hurt. We say, “I am hurt,” and we point towards our chest, because that is the physical location of where we experience emotion. But that emotion is not limited to physical matter. We find it in the internal dimensions, where in the dream state, the astral plane is the world of emotions. We learn to perceive in those worlds with cognizance, lucidity, with direct perception, but the emotional brain processes profound energies relating to the heart, which can express the most divine sentiments, the most pure love, the most profound understanding.
The last brain is known as the motor-instinctive-sexual brain. It is a combination of movement, instinct, and sexual drive, which, those elements in us tend to be very mechanical, habitual, egotistical, and that brain itself is located throughout our spine.
The motor brain or the aspect of movement relates to the top of our spine. We also have the sexual glands, which is where we process sexual desire, which in us tends to be very lustful and conditioned, but even that energy can be used for divinity, if done with purity and love, cognizance. And then instinct, relating to the base of the spine, our most instinctual nature, that is where we find instinct, such as reactions.
A boxer who is in a ring, who gets into a fight, he is moving instinctually. He is using the motor brain, and he is using instincts to react or to respond to the opponent. So if we put our hand on a hot stove and we get burned, we place our hand off the stove, and then we think later how the pain of that experience emerged. First came instinct. It was quick, spontaneous, and thought came after the emotional pain of saying, “I was hurt.” But these different brains have different forms of energy and speed by which those forces manifest and act in us.
The Three Nervous Systems and Cosmic Laws
We also find that these three brains with their nervous systems help to process what we call the law of seven and the law of three within our interior. We spoke briefly about the law of seven, which is how the universe is organized in creation: seven planets within alchemy, alchemical traditions; seven archangels; seven virtues; seven defects or vices; the seven capital sins. It is a way of organizing and understanding nature. And we find that law of seven manifest in us through the seven chakras of our spine.
The law of three relates to creation. How does one create not only physically, but spiritually, and vise versa? The law of three is simply the law of affirmation, the law of negation, the law of reconciliation, which we find within our three brains. We have affirmation relating to thought. We have negation relating to the heart. We have reconciliation relating to our motor-instinctive-sexual qualities. And these three brains are our spiritual temple, which, if we learn to use this machine well, we can manifest God the Being in us.
Affirmation negation, reconciliation is also referenced and referred to by the teachings of Tantra in the east, in Buddhism. And in Buddhism they talk about how husband and wife, man and woman, can work together to transform the sexual energy, the motor-instinctive-sexual brain, and that energy itself, in order to awaken all the full powers of divinity in us through the awakening Kundalini, which we do in sparks, gradually, by working on the vowel S.
We did the seven runes, the seven vowels, which for those listening online, you can access on gnosticteachings.org a video instructing students how to perform these seven vowels, these seven runes. But again man is affirmation, woman is negation, and when they reunite sexually, spiritually-speaking, they reconcile each other in order for that energy to awaken in them.
And so that power is very profound, very liberatory, but if it is not harnessed well, it can also lead to one’s damnation.
So these three brains channel all the forces of the cosmos and relate to the law of three and the law of seven, because by working with our three brains, with mantra, with prayer, with meditation, we work with the seven chakras of our spine and awaken everything in us that is divine.
So this quote is from The Narrow Way by Samael Aun Weor, where he explains about the role of these physical brains themselves:
“The human organism possesses seven superior glands and three nervous systems. The Law of Seven and the Law of Three intensely work within the human machine.
“The cerebrospinal nervous system produces those very seldom conscious functions that occasionally manifest themselves through the intellectual animal.” —Samael Aun Weor, The Narrow Way
In our first lecture, we talked about how we are souls with intellect. The word animal comes from the Latin anima, soul, “to animate.” And it is very easy to see that in our life, we may have elements relating to the animal kingdom: pride, anger, vanity, fear, laziness, gluttony, etc., so, therefore, we are animal souls with intellect, with the capacity to rationalize, judge. But there is a higher kingdom available to the spiritual practitioner or meditator, known as a true human being, which is developed in oneself gradually, by learning to work with the three brains.
“The cerebral spinal nervous system produces very seldom conscious functions,” meaning: we may think and rationalize that we are awake, but if we are driving our car, thinking of our fiancé, our friend, our neighbor, and we get into an accident, it means that we are asleep, spiritual-speaking, consciously-speaking. We are not very aware of our body or ourselves throughout any given day, but that brain can learn to help us stay spiritually awake if we charge it with good energy.
“The sympathetic nervous system marvelously stimulates the unconscious and instinctual functions.
“The parasympathetic or vagus restrains the instinctual functions and acts as a complement of the latter.” —Samael Aun Weor, The Narrow Way
So again, this parasympathetic nervous system relates to the motor-instinctual-sexual brain, the cerebral spinal nervous system with the intellectual brain, and the sympathetic nervous system with the emotional brain.
So the parasympathetic or vagus system helps to reconcile all the forces of the other brains, because by learning to work with creative energies, of life, the sexual energy in oneself, we have the greatest potential for change, for transformation, because that energy can awaken or create a physical child, a human being, a person. So that power which can create can also be used for divinity, if we know how to use it well and with purity.
“Thus, we are totally accurate when affirming (without fear of being mistaken) that these three nervous systems represent the Law of Three, the Three Primary Forces within the human machine. Likewise, the seven endocrine glands and their secretions represent the Law of Seven with all of their musical scales.” —Samael Aun Weor, The Narrow Way
The Tree of Life
So we know in numerology that there are seven notes, seven musical scales in relation to this law of organization, and the law of three relates to the three primary forces of any universe, which we find represented by this image known as the Tree of Life.
This image is not the soul patrimony of Judaism, but it does relate to every religious and spiritual tradition. It is a map of consciousness, from the very heights of the divine to the most material; from the most energetic and subtle to the most manifest. We see the top trinity above represents three forces in nature known as, in Christianity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; or if we want to use the Nordic mythology: Oden, Baldur, Thor; amongst the Egyptians: Osiris, Horus, Isis, that energy descends throughout creation into more manifest levels of expression, which we find represented in these seven levels of energy, but also matter.
We find at the very bottom this physical world, which relates to mechanical energy, simply the energy of being able to move. Above that, we have vital energy, relating to the vital body, which is a form of matter and energy that is not physical, but etheric. Sometimes, if waking up in the morning, we may have more or less energy through our day, which relates to how vital we are, our vital forces, which saturate and permeate throughout the physical body, internally, to give us life. If there were no vital body, there would be no life physically. If you are familiar with the Kirlion camera, you can find images of hands or butterflies or stones that have an aura. That is the vital body or the vital depth of our physical expression.
But above that, we have more subtle forms of energy. We have emotional energy relating to the astral dimension, the heart. Likewise, we have mental energy relating to the mind, which is the mental plane, the mental world. Above that, we volitional energy relating to willpower, which is very subtle.
We say some people have a certain will to exist and to succeed in life and some who do not. It is easy to see physical energy or physicality, to sense our vital forces, and to be aware more or less of our emotions and our mental states, but it is very difficult and more profound to examine willpower, volition, which is above mind, above thinking, above emotions.
Above that, we have conscious energy relating to our soul, and then beyond that, we have spiritual energy relating to our Being, our inner God, our spirit: Hum.
So this map shows the universe, but also inside of us, because the human being, the human machine, is a microcosmos, a miniature universe that reflects the macrocosmos, the universe at large. But above that, we have the three primary forces, which is much more subtle and profound and very difficult for people to even conceive of.
We can see that if we sit to meditate, usually people do not even get past the physical body, because the body tends to be fidgeting or agitated, ill at ease. If one maintains one’s posture, one’s asana, the practitioner may become more aware of the energies in the body, the vital forces, and as the body and mind settle, we start to sense emotion, mind. But beyond that there is willpower, which is our human potential, our human soul, which if we learn to develop through exercises like runes, prayer, meditation, that willpower becomes fortified, strong, so that it can conquer the afflictions of mind and heart and obey the higher forms of the Tree of Life, the consciousness above, and the spirit.
Our will tends to be very egotistical, selfish, inverted, and egotism, ego the “I,” “my anger, my pride, my fear, my laziness, my hatred, my blasphemy, my vengeance, my resentment,” that is selfish will. But we can develop conscious will in our spiritual discipline, to cease being machines, and can learn to obey divinity above, which is symbolized in the Passion of Jesus where he says, “Father, if this is possible, take this cup of bitterness from me, but not my will, but thine be done.” That is a type of willpower known as Christic will, Christ will, which is selfless of egotism, but knows how to act in every circumstance of life for the benefit of others.
The Law of Seven and the Musical Scale
We also find the law of seven represented in the musical scale. These notes: Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, Ti, relate to the dimensions of the Tree of Life and the creation of the full human being, a spiritually enlightened one, a master.
The lower three notes: Do, Re, Mi, relate to our three brains. We have the instinctual center, the emotional center, and the intellectual center. This represents mechanical humanity, because people tend to engage in life, mechanically-speaking. Usually, some people are more intellectual, and some people are more emotional. Some people are more instinctual; they are always acting; they are always moving; they never sit still.
Instinctual types of people never understand the emotional or intellectual types, because they always need to move to do something. The emotional types never understand the intellectual or the instinctual types of people because they always want to feel through the heart. But the intellectuals never understand the emotional or instinctual types of people because they are always rationalizing everything. So these lower three types of people constitute, in the Bible, the tower of Babel, babble, gibberish, and represents our psychological predisposition to act in life mechanically.
These three brains, these three notes, are represented in Alice in Wonderland by the Mad Hatter, the Queen of Hearts, and the White Rabbit. Those are symbols of psychological truths.
The Mad Hatter is crazy, is in love with his theories; intellectually-speaking, he always tries to solve things with the intellect, but spiritually-speaking, it is empty of any meaning; it is gibberish; it is insane.
The Queen of Hearts is always angry, saying “Off with her head!” because the emotional type of person is always very violent in the emotional center; the emotional brain is always very negative.
And the instinctual type of person, the White Rabbit, is always saying, “I am late, I am late, for a very important date!” and is always running around doing things without any type of cognizance, and that is mostly us.
We all have these qualities inside, but we tend to lean towards one brain or the other in a malfunctioning way. And the way that we learn to see that these three brains are imbalanced in us is by learning self-observation and working with energy.
But above these lower three notes, we have superior types of beings relating to the notes Fa, Sol, La, Ti.
We have the fourth type of human being, a real human being, a balanced person who knows how to use the intellect, the emotions, and the instinctual qualities of the body, for the spirit.
It is interesting that the note Fa relates to the awakening of consciousness, because there is another rune which we did not perform, in which we face the east. Our left hand above our right, we imagine the energies of the Solar Logos, the solar light, the Christ entering the chakras of our palms, down through our arms in the form of the letter F amongst the Nordics. The first letter of the Nordic alphabet is F, from Futhark, and with that we learn to receive the divine, and we say a prayer:
“Marvelous forces of love, revive my sacred fire, so that my consciousness will awaken!” You do the notes Fa, Fe, Fi, Fo, Fu; you pronounce those prolonged. And we learn to work with the note Fa, the rune of the Fa-ther, in order to cease being machines, so we can transmute that energy consciously and be aware spiritually-speaking.
The note Sol, the sun, relates to a heart or emotional state that is spiritual, that is divine, which we say is solar, is Christic, is eternal.
We also have a type of mind that is solar relating to the note La, and a type of willpower, a type of causality relating to the human consciousness, relating to the note Ti—Fa, Sol, La, Ti.
Willpower, Conscious Shocks, and Deviation
And notice that there are two shocks relating to the awakening of consciousness, where we cease being mechanical beings, that are intellectual, emotional, or instinctual, but through working with runes and energy, we spark the consciousness and acquire balance of these three brains.
But even there is more work to achieve, in which after attaining equilibrium, psychologically-speaking, through self-observation, through meditation, we learn to create what are known as solar vehicles, relating to the internal dimensions. Some people talk about astral bodies, mental bodies, causal bodies in philosophical literature. These bodies need to be created in oneself. They are never given to us by nature, mechanical forces; they are given to us when we create them in what is known as the perfect matrimony, through a marriage, of which we will be explaining in this course later on.
I just want to synthesize that these notes tend to deviate in us; there is a type of willpower needed in order to attain a conscious shock, a spiritual shock, in which we realize that, consciously-speaking, we are not very attentive awake, aware. So we work with the runes, the Rune Fa, the seven vowels, in order to spark consciousness, because if we examine our mind, we find that we tend to be distracted, as I said.
These seven notes play a very important part in spiritual development because if there were no type of organization in the cosmos or the seven notes themselves, it means that any type of project we engage in would automatically fulfill itself without our imposition, without our agency, without our will, but instead, because energy is needed, willpower is needed to act in life, to attain any type of goal. We find that things tend to never be completed.
I would like to relate to you a quote from P. D. Ouspensky from the Fourth Way, which explains how this law of seven governs everything and why it is important that in these type of spiritual studies, we work with energy to awaken consciousness, because we will never be able to experience divinity mechanically, by hoping for it, by wanting it. There has to be a type of action, spiritual discipline, and practice in ourselves if we wish to have that experience, because if this law of seven did not exist, things would result mechanically naturally. That is why in any spiritual tradition, they always taught that if one wants to know the Being, the truth, they have to practice certain rituals and prayers and exercises so that they have energy to do so, to awaken, otherwise things would just happen through evolution.
And we do not accept that people will attain self-realization through evolution, through mechanical hopes. They occur in us through a type of concerted effort inside.
“The reason why it is necessary to understand the Law of Seven is that it plays a very important part in all events. If there were no Law of Seven everything in the world would go to its final conclusion, but because of this law everything deviates…
“…We can observe in human activity how people start to do one thing and after some time do quite a different thing, still calling it by the first name without noticing that things have completely changed. But in personal work, particularly in work connected to this system, we must learn how to keep these octaves from deviating, how to keep a straight line. Otherwise we shall not find anything.” –P.D. Ouspensky, The Fourth Way
So what does it mean that things deviate? We may have the willpower to finish a project related to work, but then we get distracted, we do something else, or we think that we are doing the same thing, but really are thinking of other things. And that all relates to the lower three qualities of the soul: the intellectual, the emotional, and the instinctual types of people who only engage in projects, but always never finish, or think they are doing something else, but really, in reality, the mind changes, thoughts change, emotions change; they are always fluctuating, and nothing is ever completed.
But by learning to work with this musical scale, by working with the seven chakras, the seven notes of the spinal column, we create a shock in ourselves and learn to remember divinity in every moment of our life.
The Laconic Action of the Being
So that type of development relates to what we call the laconic action of the Being. We included an image of the galaxy in order to refer to our true nature, the spirit, the Being.
The Being, the divine, is pure action without conditions, without limitations, and is the force that governs all of the cosmos in us, because of our egotism, our egos, our mistaken sense of self, again, we tend to react mechanically to life, mistakenly, unconsciously, asleep. And therefore, this is why we state that in strict esoteric language, because of the ego, we are mechanical beings.
We do not know how to do things; life simply happens to us. Circumstances are difficult. We react. We do not respond with consciousness, with intentionality. We tend to respond with anger, fear, violence, resentment, etc., the whole conglomeration of defects we possess. But if we learn to remember divinity, to self-observe ourselves, and to awaken our consciousness, then we can learn to have the Being expressed through us, perfectly, so that He transforms any situation for the benefit of everyone.
Personally, I work in a job that is very difficult. I work with clients who are very challenging, who are very troubled, who suffer a lot and make other people suffer. And personally, I have had to work with this law of the scale, working with runes to charge my temple with energy, so that consciously-speaking, I could learn to respond to my enemies, who are my own clients, with love. And in that way, learn to change and transform the situation so that they are no longer responding to me with resentment, or pride, or anger, or even violence, but in that way develop their compassion, their harmony, their religion, because the word religion means “to reunite,” to reunite people.
It is not easy to help other people who are very afflicted with negativity when we ourselves are so burdened by so much garbage, but if we transform that within ourselves, we can learn to respond with kindness, with perfection, in which the Being, our inner truth speaks through us and guides those people who are afflicted. It could be any job, whatever our circumstances may be, and in that way, we become a vehicle that can express the perfect, laconic action of the divine.
And what does it mean to be laconic? Meaning, to be relaxed; there is no effort involved in expressing divinity. We have to do our part, to work with willpower, to settle the mind, to settle the body, settle the heart, the three brains, so that divinity can express within our centers themselves. So what is this laconic action of the Being?
“The Laconic Action of the Being is the concise manifestation, the brief action, which in synthesis the Real Being of each one of us executes. This action is mathematical and exact, like a Pythagorean Table.
“I want you to reflect very well upon the Laconic Action of the Being. Remember that above, within the infinite starry space, every action is the result of an equation and of an exact formula. Likewise, as a logical deduction, we must emphatically affirm that our true image, the Inner Kosmic Human, is beyond false values. He is perfect.
“Unquestionably, each action of the Being is the result of an equation and of an exact formula.” —Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
Those qualities are more manifest in us as we learn to comprehend the ego and eliminate it, and get rid of pride, fear, vanity, laziness, lust, desire, anger, frustration, resentment, which religion has called demons, and which we all possess, but by learning to eliminate those qualities, divinity can express through us with perfection, with love, and in that way the Being manifests and organizes our three brains, functions and manifests those energies in us, because without that energy, we cannot express divinity perfectly.
Pinocchio: The Human Machine
Otherwise, we will be a marionette, a puppet, which we find reflected in this story of Pinocchio, which is a beautiful esoteric teaching masked as a children’s story. In order to escape persecution, Carlo Collodi, who wrote that text, wrote a children’s fable in order to convey very profound esoteric truths, because all of us are like Pinocchio, a puppet.
We are influenced by cosmic radiation or influences, and more importantly, our own egotistical drives, our ego, the self, that which is: “I am, I want, I crave, I need, I desire; me, myself, and I,” which is a pluralization of self.
It is not unitary, but is multiple. Every fear, every thought, every transgression, every resentment, every sentiment, every element of fear and pride, all constitute a conglomeration of errors, defects, “I’s,” a multiplicity. And it is easy to see this in ourselves if we are observing, because in one moment, we may want to wash our dishes and then we change our mind, “I am going to go drive my car, and go to the store.” And then, “No, I think I am going to go read a book.” There is always this constant fluctuation and change of thinking, feeling and acting, which is never unitary, never the same. And people like to attribute all this to one sense of self, but through the sense of psychological self-observation, we begin to see that we are not unitary; we are multiple.
That is a very disturbing fact to realize. Pinocchio in the story recognizes this fact, and he gets very upset. He wants to become a real boy, a real man made into the flesh and blood of divinity, a true human being, a God. And the way he does it is explained very beautifully in that myth. I mean, even the Disney depiction, the film, did a decent job. It is a very long, profound tale, which we could give a whole lecture on, but I just want to mention that we are like puppets.
People can say what they want, think what they want, do what they want, and we will usually react mechanically. We are never free of slander, circumstances. Things happen to us: the weather can be bad; we wake up grumpy, our mood is altered; we feel negative. We tend to be very afflicted and victimized by circumstances. So Samael Aun Weor in The Narrow Way explains that:
“The human machine (as any other machine) moves under the impulses of the subtle forces of Nature. The secret agents that move the human machines are first the cosmic radiations and second the pluralized ‘I.’” —Samael Aun Weor, The Narrow Way
So it is very painful to realize in oneself, but there is the possibility for change. Pinocchio literally in Tuscan means “pine seed.” It is the seed that can become a Tree of Life, perfected, a fully illuminated Christmas tree, a master of meditation, a profound Being, but as we are now, we tend to be very mechanical.
“The intellectual animal is a wretched marionette, a loud speaker with memory and vitality, a living puppet entranced with the silly illusion that it can do, when indeed it cannot do anything…” —Samael Aun Weor, Fundamentals of Gnostic Education
How do we recognize this fact in ourselves? It is by observing, watching. Do not assume that we know ourselves, because every religion teaches that. If we wish to know divinity, we have to conquer ourselves, according to the origins of those traditions, not as they are taught today—by learning to observe ourselves and seeing our own contradictions that we constantly engage with day by day.
It is a terrible reality of our existence and a painful one. But you got to remember that, “With patience, ye possess your souls,” said Jesus of Nazareth. So only the Being can do, can act, can manifest perfectly in any circumstance of life, to transform it.
“…The human machine does not have any individuality; he does not have the Being. Only the true Being has the power to do.” —Samael Aun Weor, Fundamentals of Gnostic Education
So learning to differentiate between the ego and the essence, the ego and the soul, is what leads us to understanding and helps us to cease being mechanical creatures, suffering beings.
To Be or Not to Be: The Esoterism of Hamlet
So even Hamlet, in the play of his name, depicts this struggle and dilemma of “to be or not to be,” to be a human being or to be a machine. William Shakespeare, with the pen name of a certain master, explained this problem.
In the play, you find that Hamlet is seeking to avenge the death of his father, the King who was slain by his brother Claudius. It is a symbol of how our own ego had killed our inner God, meaning in us, because of our mistakes and conditions of mind. We destroyed the potential divinity in us, and as a ghost, that being comes to us haunting in the night, with inquietudes, longings, uncertainties, and the desire to study this type of spirituality, so that we can change.
But in the play, Hamlet discovers that his uncle Claudius killed his father. If you are familiar with the myths of freemasonry, Hiram Abiff was killed by three traitors. Osiris was killed by Seth in the Egyptian myth, and Horus needs to avenge him. So it is a very profound drama represented in many mythologies, many cosmogonies, many traditions.
And I will read for you and explain some of these quotes from his famous soliloquy:
“To be, or not to be? That is the question―
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And, by opposing, end them?”
So to be a being a true human being or to be a machine, that is the question. Either we can face our circumstances consciously, with hope, with diligence, with faith and our inner divinity, or we can suffer through life mechanically, and degenerate and suffer.
“To die, to sleep―
No more—and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to—’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished!”
So people always contemplate death, so much suffering. Suffering is a machine, but there is also a form of esoteric death, death of the ego, death of pride, death of fear. And people always wonder: if I annihilate my ego, what will I be? Who will I be? What am I? Who am I? What is my identity? And the reality is that the true identity is the Being, the cosmic human, the Christ.
“To die, to sleep.
To sleep, perchance to dream—ay, there’s the rub,
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause. There’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life.”
People are always afraid of the afterlife, of some conception, of some other world, in which they will go to if they lead a good life or a bad life. It is a very superficial understanding. It is true that in nature, we gravitate to places based on our level of being. If we are negative, we will return or will result in negative experiences, entering into states of suffering, whether it may be another body, in relation to transmigration or devolution, destruction within negative states, negative dimensions known as hell hell realms.
People always contemplate death, but do not really know what will happen when they die, where they will go, what they will be, and likewise, people fear the death of desire, the mind, the ego. They fear, “What will I be if I do not exist, my name, my language, my culture, my race, my beliefs, my religion?” But people who identify with the mind, the ego, feed it, strengthen it.
“For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
Th' oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of th' unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin?”
So what is the point, he is asking, of going through this life as an animal, as a machine, as a puppet, if one does not strive to become the Being, to manifest the Being in oneself, perfectly, otherwise it is vanity.
“Who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered country from whose bourn
No traveler returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?”
So again, the afterlife scares people: they do not know where they will be, where they will go, what they will become, but if people awaken their consciousness, they will know. We can know. We can experience it.
“Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.”
So this is a reference to the law of the scale, the law of the seven, of organization, and how actions deviate when there is no consistency, consciousness, or awakening. So we must learn to cease being mechanical beings, and that means by learning to transform our psychological states, here and now, who we are, moment by moment.
Internal States and External Events
“Those who know how to consciously combine the external event with the appropriate interior state are very rare,” says Samael Aun Weor in his book Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology.
“…When one wants to separate external events from the internal states of consciousness, one demonstrates concretely his incapacity of existing in a dignified manner.
“Those who learn how to consciously combine external events with internal states march on the path of success… …The best weapon that a human being can use in life is a correct psychological state…” —Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology
…to act with the essence, the consciousness, the soul, and not with the ego. The best weapon is a correct state because, with that, we can transform difficult circumstances.
We are being criticized, being gossiped about, and lied to; we do not respond with anger, but with kindness, by knowing how to establish boundaries with people, firmly, for the benefit of them and ourselves. And we cease being victims of life.
“It is possible to transform mechanical reactions through logical confrontation and the intimate Auto-reflection of the Being.” —Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology
The self-reflection of the Being—with meditation, confronting ourselves logically, and examining our daily states, reflecting on them seeing them, understanding them. So that through understanding, we can eliminate that which is impure, in order to let the Being shine in us.
So the Sufis also talk about this teaching very beautifully. They are the mystics of Islam. I found a beautiful quote from a scripture called Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri, where he explains how the gnostic, the true spiritual human being, is a person who knows how to adapt to life, instant by instant, moment by moment.
“When al-Junayd was asked about the gnostic, he replied, ‘The color of the water is the color of its container.’ That is, the nature of the gnostic is always determined by the nature of his state at a given moment.” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
So psychologically-speaking, we are always changing. Thoughts change, emotions change, moods change, the body changes, everything is in fluctuation; nothing is static; nothing is in repose. And by learning to observe ourselves, consciously-speaking, as an essence, as a soul, we learn to comprehend how to annihilate desire, the ego.
As we see in this image of Mary Magdalene praying before a candle in a mirror. That light is the soul in which she contemplates the elimination of her own desires, her defects, her vices, a beautiful symbol of transformation.
The Five Centers of the Human Machine
So we talk about the three brains. We could also break down these three brains as five centers: the intellectual, the emotional, and the motor-instinctive-sexual, the latter three constituting one brain: the brain of action, as compared to the brain of thought and the brain of feeling.
So the ego, the “I,” the self, manifests in our thoughts, our emotions, our movements, our instincts, and our sexuality. From The Perfect Matrimony by Samael Aun Weor, he explains what this work entails, this work of self-transformation.
“The ‘I’ exercises control over the five inferior centers of the human machine. [...] Whosoever wants to dissolve the ‘I’ must study its functionalism within the five inferior centers. We must not condemn the defects; we must not justify them either. What is important is to comprehend them. It is urgent to comprehend the actions and reactions of the human machine. Each one of these five inferior centers has a whole set of extremely complicated actions and reactions. The ‘I’ works with each one of these five inferior centers. Therefore, by deeply comprehending the whole mechanism of each one of these centers, we are on our way to dissolving the ‘I.’” —Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony
So these centers operate in different speeds, I mentioned briefly. Some people like to think that the intellect is a very fast machine, that thought is the definition of what one is, but the intellect is a very slow mechanism compared to some of the other centers of our constitution. So the intellect, which always processes thesis and antithesis, idea / argument or idea / counter idea, it is the slowest of the human machine.
It is easy to see that if we are driving our car, and we think too much about what we are doing, we can lose control or not drive well. Or we put our hand on a hot stove, and we react instinctually, move our hand, and then we think later of the pain of that experience, because the intellect is slower and instinct is quick. It is very fast, as fast as movement.
So we state in esoterism that movement and instinct are thirty thousand times faster than the intellect, but even more difficult to control is our emotions, especially when they are very profound and negative, or afflicted with anger or resentment. It is very difficult to overcome that emotion, because that center is very quick.
It is more difficult to control emotion than it is the intellect, but even more so, our sexual center is the most profound, the quickest. It moves one hundred twenty thousand times faster than the intellect, as compared to the emotions which is sixty thousand times faster.
In movement, we find to do or not to do, our habits. With thoughts, we find thesis and antithesis. With emotion, we find like / dislike; with instinct, we find pleasurable or unpleasurable sensations. And then with sexuality, we find attraction or repulsion.
The sexual center is the quickest, because in a moment, a man and a woman can immediately register, just by seeing each other for a fraction of a second, whether they are sexually compatible, which is why certain people feel that immediate attraction upon meeting someone of the opposite sex, feeling that desire, because the sexual center is so quick.
It also is the center that could offer us the most power for liberation, because the energy that could create a physical child, if it is conserved and transformed, can give birth to a spiritual human being, a divine being.
So the ego manifests within our thoughts, our movements, our instincts, our emotions, and our sexual drives. Each ego possesses its own way of thinking, moving, acting, feeling, doing.
The Two Worlds of the Human Machine
So this path is about studying oneself in meditation, and by observing these faults, moment by moment, by learning to meditate and comprehend those errors in ourselves, we can destroy them; divinity can destroy them in us, and thereafter we enter the higher dimensions, represented by our higher states, of being represented by this Tree of Life, this last graphic.
This Tree of Lfe is the interior worlds, liberated consciousness, which is selfless love. Pure chastity, or sexual purity, does not mean abstention from sex; it means purity in sex, purity of that energy, purity of the divine, sincere humility, selfless diligence, selfless generosity, conscious temperance, genuine happiness for others.
But there are also inverted qualities of the soul known as the ego, which are the inverted spheres of this Tree of Life. This is known as Klipoth in Hebrew, which means the world of shells; this is the hell realms mentioned in every single tradition and religion, which is not necessarily just a place in nature. More importantly, it represents for us our qualities of being, who we are psychologically, because what we are psychologically attracts our life, whether for good or for ill. So that conditioned consciousness, the ego, is constituted by the many “I’s,” greed, laziness, lust, anger, pride, gluttony, envy, self-esteem, etc.
We talked previously about the personality, the ego, and the essence. The personality we find here represented in the exterior world, that is our language, our custom, our religion, our traditions, our personality: who we are physically, how we interact with life, with people.
A person with a personality from the Roman Empire would not be able to fit in because that type of energetic interface is from a different culture, a different time. So the personality is born with time, dies in time, is not eternal. It goes to the grave whenever we die in the path and process of transmigration of souls.
The human machine, therefore, is our intellect, our emotions, our movements, our instincts, and our sexuality, which by learning to understand these qualities in our self, by seeing them in action through self-observation, we can cease being puppets, cease acting on negative qualities of mind, so that we can act for the benefit of others with compassion.
Do you have any questions?
Questions and Answers
Audience: What are the same systems related to a woman?
Instructor: So, in terms of the five centers, man and woman both have intellect, emotion, movement, instinct, and sexuality. The difference is in terms of the sexual center, which is polarized either as masculine or feminine. And as we were explaining in brief, for husband and wife, or man and woman as a couple, can learn to take the energies of the sexual center and transform themselves through specific procedures—not engaging in the sexual act as everybody knows, but in a different way.
This is the meaning of Jesus saying, “you must be born again of water and spirit. That which is born of the flesh” through physical act of sexuality “is flesh, but that which is born of spirit,” the same sexual act, harnessed by husband and wife, with love, with purity, with divine compassion, that can create spirit.
So the sexual act can either liberate or destroy, but those centers are the same for either husband or wife, but the sexual energy is obviously going to be polarized differently. And that energy, when it is combined intelligently, in a good match, and also with love, more importantly, that helps to accelerate one’s transformation, which we teach in certain lectures on tantrism, or what we call the perfect matrimony, which you can visit on our website Chicagognosis.org, but also we have books online that you can read or books here that teach that process.
Audience: What about the association of the affirmative versus the negation?
Instructor: Sure, so affirmation is masculine, as the man projects, puts forward, does, acts, wills. Woman receives. We find this physically, and we find this even in some temperaments, not always, but in some temperaments. Negation is woman because she receives from the man, you know physically-speaking, but also in a spiritual sense too.
Reconciliation is when husband and wife are united together. They reconcile each other. They complement each other. Those energies complement and build and create spiritual force inside the couple, specifically.
We also find affirmation is whenever we affirm a certain idea. We want to do something, but then negation is when we face resistance, and that happens in any aspect of life, like at work, at one’s job—any circumstance. And that relates to the law of the musical scale in the human machine, because whenever we want to begin this type of spiritual work, to be in practices, to be inspired, to want to change, we have that enthusiasm in the beginning, very strong, but then there is a resistance of the mind, the ego, the self, the negative qualities of pride and vanity and laziness and all of our defects, which present that type of resistance.
And then the way that one overcomes that resistance of the mind is learning to meditate, learning to work with the force of comprehension, observing oneself moment by moment, day by day, so that whenever we face a problem in life or a certain quality in ourselves that we do not like, we learn to see it for what it is and not act on it. But then later we go home and reflect, imagine that scene, visualize it, and then in that way we learn to try to comprehend that condition of self that creates our problems, our sufferings.
In that way we learn to destroy, little by little, anger, pride, vanity, all of that. It is eliminated, and then the soul that was trapped in those defects, the virtues of the soul, are extracted like the genie from Aladdin’s lamp, so that the genie, the spirit-soul, can make miracles in our life. So not necessarily miracles like walking on water, but changing circumstances to the point that we no longer react mechanically to situations, with problems, or suffer so much. We have difficulties, but we would not identify so much, or waste energy being invested in what other people think or say or do, but being a law to ourselves for the benefit of others.
Audience: Then, negation receives?
Instructor: Well, negation is just a law of nature. We have those three forces. We may affirm something and then we face the resistance, and usually people tend to go between these two binaries in life, whether in politics, two political parties fighting one another, people believing a religion or being atheist, and always conflicting with each other—never understanding one another. This is mechanical, machines. This is what puppets do: get identified with the mind, which is thesis and antithesis, good / bad, yes / no.
But somebody that is very comprehensive and spiritual can look at those perspectives and say, “Well, both of you are right and both of you are wrong, because there is something more profound here which you can analyze.”
There is always a pendulum that people swing between. It puts people to sleep. Consciously-speaking, you find it in political movements; you find it in religions; you find it in schools; you find it in the home, in the bedroom. You find it everywhere—duality. But the way that you overcome the afflictions of the mechanicity of life is learning to comprehend our own conditions of mind, seeing them first. Observe the ego. As the soul, observe the mind, the body, the heart, instinct, movement, everything. Be vigilant. Be awake. Be aware and study yourself, and little by little, you gain comprehension and learn to change things in life that were once very tragic and terrible into something divine. That is the meaning of transformation.
Audience: What is the best way to not be reactionary?
Instructor: So there is a lot of things you can do. Personally when I am at work, my clients come at me very angry. I deal with very absurd people, but I thank them, because they help me see my own absurdities, because I cannot judge them. I cannot judge my clients.
People are very afflicted, with a lot of problems, socially, economically, culturally, physically. They are just in a very bad place. I am there helping them. I was put there by my inner divinity, lead to that situation, that job, so that I could learn to develop things in myself for their benefit, because I have had my clients throw things at me and assault me and try to harm me. Very difficult, but in those moments, I have learned to reflect and I have been successful every time by patiently examining myself: what in me is so offended by what this person is saying to me? Why should I identify with what this person is saying? And then in the moment, I have gained comprehension by reflecting in a very Buddhist way, Mahayana way, the Mahayana tradition of Buddhism of which the Dalai Lama teaches, is that these people are suffering so much. They are trapped in hell. They are burning with passion, afflicted by their own mind, their ego. Why get mad at fire for being hot? They cannot help it. No one has ever taught them how to be human beings.
Audience: Do not hate the sinner. Hate the sin.
Instructor: Yeah, point out the sin and say, well, you know you could be compassionate to the person. I do this all the time, and I say “Look, I do not judge you. I like who you are, but you cannot be doing this here.” I just point out that I am there to help build themselves, their identity, not reject them and be very firm.
You can be firm spiritually, but not overbearing, or not be kind and be a doormat. But the way you learn to transform those situations is by reflecting in yourself and saying, “Well, these people do not know any better.” Like the Qur’an teaches: these are people who do not know. They have no understanding, so why get mad at someone who does not know? They are afflicted, and they cannot help it. They are puppets driven by forces that they have no comprehension of, and therefore I look at myself and say “Well, I have been a puppet most of my life. How could I judge someone and think I am better? In fact, I think I am worse, because I have this knowledge and its difficult to live up to that type of teaching, but it can be done.”
It just takes a lot of willpower, working with a lot of energy: runes, exercises, prayer, mantras. And then when you face those situations in yourself that are very challenging, whether people are really testing you, you got to remember that when you are working with yourself, divinity will put you in situations that are hard. Not to punish, but to help train. So that we can train ourselves, and then when those people are very negative, I just try to remember, “Well, I try to comprehend the person, put myself in their shoes,” which is why Samael Aun Weor says in Revolutionary Psychology, “Cruelty will always continue to exist on this earth as long as we refuse to put ourselves into the shoes of others.” Because people have their reasons for why they are mad. I tell my clients, “Yeah, you have a right to be mad.”
Audience: It's the extent that there's a physical danger. I guess it could be psychological. How close do you get to that fire, or you get used to it by getting closer every time?
Instructor: Well, the ordeals will always manifest in levels and levels and levels of training. They get more intense the further we go along in this type of work, but divinity, like in the Bible says, will only give us challenges that we can handle, so we can change.
If everything was too hard and we got everything we deserved in one moment, we would be annihilated. But divinity is very merciful. The Being is very merciful, but little by little, we learn to how to go into the fire without being burned. That is the myth of Nebuchadnezzar and the three figures, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, where they were put into a fire by king Nebuchadnezzar because they did not obey him and they were untouched by the fire. It is a symbol of how you go through ordeals in life that are very traumatizing, but come out clean. It is a matter of patience.
Audience: I think about it as a spiritual fire, but I guess my question is that the actual physical aspect of someone wants to fight you or kill you.
Instructor: Well, you know you can train yourself to defend yourself. Being kind does not mean being a doormat as I said. I have had people try to come at me before. You know I train in martial arts.
Audience: You like a psychiatric aid?
Instructor: No, but I will not say over the radio what I do. I do not want people to find me. No, I mean, I work with people who are very difficult, very negative, but I love my job. They are helping me, and when my clients see that I really care for them, that I do not judge them, they flock to me, because they are so used to being judged and condemned. You know we have to learn to understand people.
Audience: Even if you could suspend for a short month, stay there a bit longer.
Instructor: Well, life is a process, and jobs are temporary, so it is always good to learn to face one’s circumstances with a sense of moral responsibility, meaning: not act on ego, but act from the soul. Any other questions? Thank you for coming.
This is a transcription of an audio lecture from Beginning Self-Transformation, originally given live at the Gnostic Academy of Chicago:
We have been discussing the nature of consciousness. What does it mean to perceive, to understand, to know?—the mysteries of life and death, in a very direct, cognizant manner based on facts, based on direct experiential wisdom born from precise methods.
We spoke abundantly in our last lecture about different states of consciousness, different qualities, and how, in our daily experience, we witness and suffer in many egotistical qualities, many defects which have been categorized in religion as sin or as demonic qualities. So those mythical figures in red with horns and a pitchfork and a long tail are symbols of psychological states, like anger, like resentment, like fear.
But also, just as we have negative states, we also have positive states, divine qualities born from the consciousness, known as serenity, compassion, peace.
We denominated those divine, unconditioned qualities as the essence, as the pure soul which needs to work in order to overcome the conditions of the mind, which make us suffer. And if anyone approaches any type of spirituality, it is because they feel in their heart the need and the longing to know divinity. But also, more importantly, to cease suffering, to cease being in pain.
It is an illusion of the senses to want to blame the external world, our politics, our governments, our schools, our institutions. And it is ironic that we like to fluctuate from job to job, from career to career, marriage to marriage, expecting that we will find some type of happiness by accumulating materialism, goods, bank accounts. But sadly, we fail to acknowledge how we ourselves are carrying the psychological disease of suffering with us wherever we go. And so, while we like to change things externally, it is rare for someone to want to introspect and examine our own negative states to see where is the source of suffering within our mind, within our heart, within our body.
The Sufi poet Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī taught that “It is not your duty to seek love but merely to find the obstacles we place in the way in front of it.” That love, that pure divinity, is our own inner Being, which religion has called God, but we use the term Being to be more specific, as a psychological state, a quality of consciousness. That divinity is inside within our heart, if we know how to access through meditation, through awareness. But unfortunately, due to the hypnosis of the senses, we tend to go through life in a very unconscious manner, not knowing what that divinity is.
Again we like to externalize, and religious institutions have indoctrinated millions to believe that by following a system, by believing in some external God, one will find a way out of suffering. But the facts have arrived to acknowledge that this is not the case. We carry suffering within us, and if we wish to know those divine qualities, we have to learn to see what in us makes us suffer, to examine our psychological states with consciousness, with perception.
That consciousness, that essence, that soul, is the most noble, charitable qualities we carry within, which is a reflection of divinity, but in us that quality tends to be weak. It is not strengthened enough; it is not developed. And so this path of transformation is about learning to understand and to see our own defects, our faults. So by confronting them in a very direct manner, we learn to liberate the soul and develop our full potential, because as I stated in our last lecture, our consciousness is trapped in each defect that we carry within—within anger, within fear, within pride, within arrogance, within blasphemy. Qualities that we like to ignore in ourselves, but which we learn to see as we are practicing the science of meditation.
We begin to see when we sit to practice that the mind is thinking of other things. We may be surging with anxieties, emotions, passions. Our body may be agitated. We are filled with conflict and with complexity. We rarely have a sense of simplicity and beauty, but the more we learn to practice this type of science, we develop the soul. Or as Jesus of Nazareth taught, “With patience possess ye your souls.” So it comes about by work, by transforming our own states of suffering into divine qualities.
This has been known as alchemy, to transform the impure lead of the soul into the gold of the spirit. It is not a literal teaching of medieval alchemists trying to transform physical lead into gold, but it is something psychological and divine. How we transform, in meditation, anger into love, fear into security, doubt into direct knowledge, and faith, because real faith is when we see the truth for ourselves. We don’t rationalize. We don’t speculate. We don’t fear, we don’t doubt, but we know what divinity is and that light learns to guide us in our most difficult circumstances of life when we are faced with problems, with conflicts, with ordeals. So divinity helps those who help themselves. And the method of learning to develop that potential is learning to observe oneself.
Essence, Ego, and Personality
So we talked about the essence, the soul, the consciousness. We talked about the ego, which is our defects, that multiplicity of errors and conflicting elements that surge within any moment of our experience—resentment, pride, hatred, fear, gluttony, laziness, lust. Then we also talked about the personality: how we interact in our society; our language, our name, our race, our culture, our habits. So as I stated previously, the personality is like a mask, from the Latin persona meaning “mask,” how we relate to humanity as an interface, through which we experience all the comedies, dramas, and tragedies of life, because our defects tend to pull us in many directions.
As I stated also, that we tend to be complex people with many contradictions, many errors, but there is a way to transform all that, to transform suffering, to transform wrong psychological states which produce conflict and discord. In order to achieve this transformation, to gain self-knowledge, to know how to experience the divine is a matter of learning to awaken our full potential: our consciousness, the soul, because there is the illusion that somehow we are awake.
It is true that we have a state of consciousness in which we are perceiving life, but the question remains: how do we perceive life in its full totality within our experience? It is easy to understand that there are different states of consciousness, and when that boxer is knocked unconscious in a ring, he loses consciousness. So that is a very basic level of perception. But there are different qualities of perception, different states, different levels of being, some divine and some very diabolic; love, virtue, happiness, philanthropy, and patience. And then the inversion, which is selfishness, criminality, and desire.
If we want to learn to ascend to a higher level of being, it is important to learn what in ourselves is producing all the conflicts we experience. Of course, this introspection is very difficult because there is a lot of resistance in the mind to not want to see one’s faults. And this is why the great mythologies always depicted the great heroes like Perseus fighting Medusa, fighting a monster, and that monster is not outside, but inside, because when we are arguing with our loved ones and filled with rage, we are like Medusa with a head of serpents. And each serpent represents a different error, a different fault, and all its conglomeration of errors. And to look directly into the eyes of Medusa is to be turned to stone—not a literal meaning, but a symbol of how when we identify with anger, fear, and resentment, we become shelled; we become stone; we become that quality. And then when we cease to learn how to change, we become habitual.
We go through life mechanically on the same tracks, repeating the same mistakes, and seemingly never learning from our errors. But there is a way to break that, like Perseus; he used a shield and the reflection within in order to perceive the image of Medusa from behind him—a symbol of how we learn how to use consciousness in meditation. We observe ourselves looking through the mirror of perception in order to see our own errors. And then with the sword of insight, of meditation, of comprehension, we decapitate the animal, the beast. And then, in that way, Perseus acquires great honors; he is honored by the Gods, because he has conquered himself.
So that path of self-reflection is the path of awakening consciousness, of learning to perceive in a new way. And humanity, as it is as we are now, is asleep. We don’t know our full potential yet.
We may have had glimpses, such as in dreams and certain life experiences and in certain traumas or tragedies, in which we gained a certain insight that shaped who we are and has silently guided us through this maze of existence. The consciousness needs to be awakened. Psyche in the Greek myth was awakened by Eros, divine love, the Being. And the Bible speaks abundantly that we must awake, we must be perceptive. We must be cognizant of ourselves. We must know ourselves.
As it says in the Book of Judges (5:12), “Awake, awake, Deborah! Arise, O Barak and take thy captivity captive, O son of Abinoam.” Awake, awake! Deborah is a symbol of the soul that awakens our inner judgment. How we judge ourselves, how we change ourselves, our qualities, and escape suffering. And likewise, we learn to take captivity captive. We cease being mechanical people, by living life with more cognizance, with happiness even in the most difficult ordeals and situations.
Instead of identifying with life, we use life as a gymnasium, a training ground to gain knowledge and to know divinity. For as the Sufis teach, “He who knows himself or herself knows his Lord.” So we do not know ourselves yet in a full fundamental sense, specifically because if we knew ourselves fully, we would be present with divinity inside of us. We would be a Buddha. The word Buddha in Sanskrit means “awakened one,” to know oneself completely. And in that way, one is no longer suffering, but is in ecstasy of that pure Being which is inside—in which we gain insight little by little. But of course, in order to reach that point, we must learn to confront our inner psychological obstacles so that we can develop consciousness.
Definitions of Consciousness
So there are some very basic definitions of consciousness that serve as a platform for this lecture, for this discussion. People typically define consciousness as “the state of being aware; knowledge of one’s own existence, condition, sensations, mental operations, acts, etc.”
The question is, are we really conscious? Are we really aware of how our own negative qualities condition our states? Or do we really know the purpose of our existence in this life, the reason for being? The reason why we get up in the morning, to do what we do? Is it because we are driven by necessity, or is it because we are driven from a state of compassion for humanity, by engaging with our job, our career, for the benefit of others, with selflessness, with altruism, or are we filled with affliction going through the motions of life and hoping that we can reject or not experience pain?
That tends to be the more conditioning element in our life. We are conditioned by many things, conditioned by states of consciousness, conditioned by these negative qualities, by ego. And so the ego, the self in Latin meaning “I,” is that identity we tend to cling to which, as we stated previously, conditions the full consciousness within ourselves, our true potential.
So we may believe in a religion that we have some type of purpose in life, because Catholicism or Judaism or Buddhism or even Gnosticism says so. The reality is we find meaning in our existence by learning to connect with the Being, with divine, with the true self, who is happiness, who knows how to resolve problems without thinking, without rationalizing, without conceptualizing, but acting from a state of pure attention that is unconditioned, that is unfiltered, in which is the full presence and manifestation of divinity, the pure expression of God, the Being, the Self, or whatever name we want to give to that.
The labels do not really matter. What matters is our level of being, our qualities, who we are and how we relate to others, especially when we are faced with challenges, when we are criticized, we are gossiped about, we are lied to.
Do we retaliate? Do we seek retribution? Do we seek justice? But the question is, what is that sense of justice that we want? Who in us wants that outcome, that wants revenge, that wants payback? Most people never question this sense of self; “what I am; what I desire; what I want; what my language is, my name, my culture, my race, my customs, the food that I eat,” because we like to think that identification with these qualities makes us conscious beings.
But the reality is if we are conscious of what we are, in our fundamental depth of divinity, then we don’t make mistakes when we are awake. We are vigilant. We are attentive. We know how to respond to any conflict with equanimity, with patience, with love.
When Jesus was crucified, he only said, “Father forgive them, they know not what they do.” He didn’t want revenge. He didn’t curse or slander or gossip or complain. He was an example of a very high being who taught us a lot about the nature of psychology. That when we are confronted with great ordeals, to learn how to respond with serenity and love.
That is the state of being conscious, because our true nature, our consciousness, is selfless is love, does not want retribution, revenge, but only wants the happiness of others, the peace of others, even onto one’s worse enemies.
So being conscious is being aware and having knowledge of one’s own existence, one’s conditions, one’s sensations, one’s mental operations. But the question remains, are we really aware of what conditions us, what limits us, what makes us weak? And in that way we learn to remove the obstacles, to change what we are, to become something divine.
So in another level, we may know that we are in a bad mood, but does that mean that we really comprehend the root of that mood, the root of that state? We may know that we are angry. We may be saturated with pain on an emotional and mental scale. But it doesn’t mean that we really understand the root of that.
If we comprehend those qualities, we no longer become the victim of those qualities. We learn to see them and separate as a consciousness, and to study the intimate process, the faults, the feelings, the volitions of each defect, each ego, each “I.” Which, as a multiplicity, traps us and conditions us.
Knowing is not the same as comprehending. We may know that alcohol and drugs will harm us. And an alcoholic or drug addict may know that their habit is wrong, and yet they continue to engage in that addiction. They suffer in that vice, they make themselves suffer, and they make others suffer. But they don’t really comprehend how that habit is destroying them.
Now that is a very extreme example. But that analogy applies to us very well. We have many habits, many states of consciousness, which are negative, and yet we are addicted to those states, to those fears, to those worries, to those angers. And so in that way, we are conditioned, we are trapped.
But comprehension is much more dynamic. Comprehension is when we know something is wrong, and we do not do it. And in that way, we develop our soul, our full potential.
It is also “the immediate knowledge or perception of the presence of any object, state, or sensation.” And the truth is, are we really aware of our surroundings, where we are, where we go? If we are driving our car and thinking of our friend, our fiancé, our job, it means that we are not attentive. We are not aware of what we are doing. It means that we are asleep as a consciousness. This is why people get into accidents. It is because they are thinking of one thing while they are driving. They are not paying attention to where they are at or what they are doing.
If we are honest, we can see that we are constantly daydreaming. We may be at work speaking with someone or listening to a lecture, and yet we are thinking of other things or comparing our ideas with what we hear and rationalizing, and debating and criticizing or something. So if we are thinking of other things but not aware of what is going on, it means that we are asleep. We are distracted.
So this is a very different definition of consciousness that is commonly believed in in these times. But if you are washing your dishes and not paying attention to what you are doing or cutting food, we can slice our finger open because we are distracted. We are not paying attention.
Likewise, “consciousness is an alert, cognizant state in which you are aware of yourself and your situation.”
How often do we go throughout our day, not even aware of our body, our breath, our physical state, not mindful of tension that we carry within? And if we sit to practice meditation, we may suddenly see that we carry all sorts of friction in ourselves, in our bodies. Which is, of course, mediated and helped by learning to relax throughout the day, breathing deep, profoundly letting go of tension, observing oneself, observing the mind, observing our heart, observing our body.
The consciousness must learn to observe, as I said in our practice, like a director of a film seeing the actor of the mind, the actor of the heart, the actor of our body, separating from those demonic qualities we were talking about, those defects, in order to develop the beauty of the soul. So this path of consciousness, of observation, is one in which we look, but without judging, without debating, where we listen to someone speak or listen to our neighbor, our friend, without wanting to say the next thing or wanting to compare or to insert our comments into the conversation, by learning to be receptive as a mind, as a consciousness.
That is an alert cognizant state symbolized in Buddhism by the Buddha meditating with a bowl facing up in order to receive impressions of life, to receive insight of new things, to not go through one’s day mechanically, repeating and daydreaming and being stuck in memories, by learning to see the new even in the most mundane circumstance, so that we receive impressions. We learn to see ourselves as we are, not as we assume to be. So this is an alert cognizant state.
The question is, are we always aware of our surroundings? This is one of the values of martial arts such as Aikido and other practices where they teach the Buddhist concept of attention and awareness, vigilance, so that if we are in danger, we can escape it, but if we are asleep thinking of other things or our friend, we could walk into an alley or be accosted, or go to a bad neighborhood. We are not paying attention to where we are, getting off on the wrong train stop, making mistakes.
People who do not pay attention, as I said, can end up dead on the road. The same principle applies spiritually, knowing what spiritual states are beneficial and those that are not, so that we can choose the right action from moment to moment.
The Powers of Consciousness
There are different powers of consciousness, of attention. Some people confuse mindfulness with attention and other dynamics of the soul. When people talk about awareness, they talk about being aware of one’s surroundings. This is a broad spatial perception in which consciousness expands. We see our surroundings. We are attentive of the color of the streets, the bricks, the moving cars, the wind, the colors of our environment. We see things with clarity, with crispness, with depth. Our consciousness is heightened and expanded. It is a light that is diffused, that fills the atmosphere, that sees all things surrounding oneself.
Attention is a little different. With awareness, when you have consciousness that is spatialized, attention is more concentrated, focused on one thing. So compare the light of a light bulb that expands out and fills the room to a flashlight. When you direct your attention to one thing, you are working with that power of consciousness, such as with concentration exercises.
Mindfulness is being attentive, being aware of oneself moment by moment, and day by day. It is the continuity of perception. So as we are learning to observe ourselves, observe our surroundings, mindfulness is when you are attentive of each state, in each moment, progressively, instant by instant, moment by moment, so that we learn to gather data about ourselves, our own faults, our own conditions of mind.
If someone is practicing this science and is driving the car, they may be attentive on the road, mindful since they got up in the morning and got in the car to go to work, and yet in a moment start thinking of another thing, thinking of a friend, and lose one’s mindfulness of what one is doing, being engaged in that thought, that daydream, that fantasy. That is what it means to lose one’s mindfulness, to lose the continuity of attention of awareness.
Visualization is a much more different quality of consciousness. It’s the ability to perceive images that are not physical. So if I tell you to imagine an apple, you can see it, you can visualize it. That’s a type of consciousness that is, in most people, undeveloped. But we do have the capacity to imagine, to perceive images that are not physical, but are psychic. That is a term used by certain French authors, called clairvoyance.
Clairvoyance is simply “clear vision.” It’s a fancy term people invented to make people confused, to feel that one does not possess a quality that one already has. Because we all have the capacity to imagine, to see images mentally, and we have exercises in this tradition where you can take a candle or a religious object, observe it, focus your concentration on it, your attention, and then in that way you close your eyes, and then you try to imagine all the details. That develops the depth and clarity of the consciousness, so that when we practice meditation, we can see what we are doing, seeing into the depths of the mind like Perseus using the shield of his imagination in order to see the image of Medusa and to confront it.
These are different qualities of consciousness, which the practitioner of meditation develops in order to gain self-knowledge.
The Technique of Self-observation
The term observation, as you see in this image, relates to “the action or process of observing something or someone carefully to gain information.” So we see a woman staring at a mirror and seeing a hidden figure that should be visible to us in the background, but is only seen in the image in the mirror. That is a symbol of the work of self-observation, because we cannot see the self with physical senses.
Many people do like to think that they are the body. They are the brain, they are the physicality, and yet it is more true that our thoughts and our feelings have greater reality than physical objects. We invest more of our attention in ourselves in who we think we are, what we feel, what we think. So thoughts and feelings and will have a type of dimensionality that is very profound, which acts through the physical body, which we study in our courses about kabbalah, the tree of life, and the interrelationship of all the different aspects of the soul and of divinity.
But we learn to gather data about ourselves, by learning to observe ourselves, by having the courage to examine what we are, not to assume that we are a certain way, not to believe anything, but to learn to look, to simply see, not to judge.
It is the ego that says, “I am compassionate. I am merciful. I am a good person,” but have we ever really questioned what that self is, what that “I” is, that sense of “me, what I want, what I crave”? It is by learning to question that self that we get to the bottom of why we suffer.
Such as in certain conflicts at work. Someone says something negative to us, and then we feel hurt. Our heart is in pain. So if we are examining ourselves in that moment, we can learn to see that that sense of self that is hurt really has no value, has no importance. This relates to the Buddhist concept of emptiness, of selflessness. That selflessness of the consciousness is divine. It is peace; it is love. It is empty of desire, of condition. But we must learn to see that state and to taste what that state is, where we are looking at ourselves when someone says something negative, and we want to react with slander or negative words, defending our sense of self, our sense of honor that is hurt.
We should learn to see and to examine. Why should we feel victim of what other people say? Why be a victim of life? People can think and feel whatever they want. Each world is a world of its own, a mind of its own. Why do we want to change other people so much? It is better if we change our own negative states, our own faults, so that we are not victims of life.
So no matter how negative people can be, we do not necessarily have to invest our energy into that identification, by learning to examine, to scrutinize, to see, to gain information about why do we suffer in relation to those events.
What in us is in conflict? This is a path of self-observation, observing the self, observing the mind, the heart, the body. It is a path of monitoring oneself, "watching, scrutiny, examination, inspection; to "survey, surveillance, consideration, study, or review."
All religions teach that we must awaken. We must examine ourselves and to not judge, either way, assuming that we are good people, because while we have good qualities, we also have many faults, imperfections. But the path of love, of experiencing the divine, is precisely as Rumi said, “Seeing in oneself all that which conditions.” That is an obstacle, and by learning to see that in ourselves is very uncomfortable, a very painful process to realize that the self is not singular, but multiple, as we talked about on our lecture on Essence, Ego, and Personality (Discover Your True Self).
We are very conflicted. In one moment we may want to wash the dishes or in the next moment ride a bike. We change our mind, or our mind changes and says no, we want to go eat something; no, we want to go read. We want to do something else. We are constantly moving in multiple directions. We are changing course every moment, but we do not really examine why that is.
Why is it that we are always gravitating towards different things, that there is no continuity of purpose? This is why people begin projects and end them. They do not finish; they do not have continuity of soul. For as Jesus taught, “With patience possess ye your soul.” The soul has to be developed. It has to become singular, with one purpose, to remember the divine, so to end that multiplicity of defects, of “I’s,” of selves, which is so uncomfortable to see, is only achievable by looking into the mirror of ourselves, to see and to look, to study and to ask the question, “what is my state of being? What is my level of being? What is conditioning me right now? Why do I suffer? Why am I in pain?” But of course, there is a resistance that occurs, and it is always a very difficult topic because the mind resists, does not want to cease its errors, its faults.
The Observer and the Observed
And in this path, we learn to develop a separation of consciousness. In this image, we have Saint Michael slaying the dragon, which is a religious allegory of this dynamic. Saint Michael is from the Hebrew מיכאל, which translated means “He who is like God,” that is the soul when it is united with Christ, the divine, Allah, Buddha, whatever name you want to give to your divinity.
So he’s a great warrior, a great angel whom you can meet in the internal worlds, by awakening from dreams, to speak face to face in that state when your consciousness, your awareness is expanded, and you are remembering your self. You can invoke or call upon those divinities and speak face to face with the Buddhas with the angels, the Gods. That is a science known as dream yoga.
But my purpose in showing this image is not to talk about that specifically, but to point out that Michael represents our soul that is a great warrior, that knows how to fight for what is just, in an objective, spiritual sense, to combat anger, hatred, doubt. In this image, he is conquering the devil, the demon, the adversary, which is not a person outside, but inside of all our defects. And so this image is very inspiring, as many forms of religious art show that the consciousness has the potential to wage a very difficult war, and to succeed.
The consciousness must learn to observe, and the question is: to observe what? Saint Michael is the consciousness that is observing the lower qualities of the soul and is stepping in its mouth, to show that the soul is dominating the ego. The soul must learn to separate as an observer, to look at the observed, to look at the self, to look at the “I”—“what I am, what I think, what I feel, what I desire,” moment by moment.
The consciousness that is unconditioned is the essence, as we were saying. It is the observer. It is the director of a film that is watching an actor, that is watching the self, watching the mind. And the actor is the conditioned consciousness, which is fragmented, shelled within many elements, which we call ego, selves, desires defects.
So in the myth of Jesus exorcising a possessed man is a symbol of how the soul, the divine, learns to heal the consciousness, to liberate it, to free it from its state of suffering. And when Jesus asks the possessed man, “What is your name?” He said, “We are legion, because we are many.” That is the uncomfortable truth of the mind, the belief that we are one self.
Again, our contradictions show the facts. We are always conflicted, sent in different directions by one’s selves, one’s desires. So the question is, are we aware of ourselves aware, of our full potential? Are we observing? Are we watchful? Are we looking to see what is in us, without expectation, without anticipation, but just questioning those states, those qualities of suffering?
I would like to read for you an excerpt from a book called Revolutionary Psychology by the writer Samael Aun Weor, who is the founder of the modern Gnostic tradition, where he explains some concepts relating to this dynamic where the soul has to observe the ego, so that by comprehending the ego, the ego can be eliminated. Fear can be eradicated. Suffering can be ceased.
“Internal Self-observation is a practical means to achieve a radical transformation.
“To know and to observe are different. Many confuse the observation of oneself with knowing. For example, even though we know that we are seated in a living room, this, however, does not signify that we are observing the chair.
“We know that at a given moment we are in a negative state, perhaps with a problem, worried about this or that matter, or in a state of distress or uncertainty, etc. This, however, does not mean that we are observing the negative state.
“Do you feel antipathy towards someone? Do you dislike a certain person? Why? You may say that you know that person... Please observe that person; to know is not the same as to observe! Do not confuse knowing with observing...
“The observation of oneself, which is one hundred percent active, is a way to change oneself. However, knowing, which is passive, is not a way to change oneself.
“Indeed, knowing is not an act of attention. Yet, the attention directed into oneself, towards what is happening in our interior, is something positive, active...
“For instance, we may feel antipathy towards a person, just because we feel like it and many times for no particular reason. If we observe ourselves in such a moment we will notice the multitude of thoughts that accumulate in our mind. We will also notice the group of voices that speak and scream in a disorderly manner and that say many things within our mind, as well as the unpleasant emotions that surge in our interior and the unpleasant taste that all this leaves in our psyche, etc.
“Obviously, in such a state we also realize that internally we are badly mistreating the person towards whom we feel antipathy.
“But, unquestionably, in order to see all of this, we need attention intentionally directed towards the interior of our own selves. This is not a passive attention.
“Indeed, dynamic attention proceeds from the side of the observer, while thoughts and emotions belong to the side which is observed.
“All of this causes us to comprehend that “knowing” is something completely passive and mechanical, in evident contrast with the observation of the self, which is a conscious act.
“Nevertheless, we are not affirming that mechanical Self-observation does not exist; it does, but such a kind of observation has nothing to do with the psychological Self-observation to which we are referring.
“To think and to observe are also very different. Any person can give himself the luxury of thinking about himself all he wants, yet this does not signify that he is truly observing himself.
“We need to see the different ‘I’s’ in action, to discover them in our psyche, to comprehend that a percentage of our own Consciousness exists within each one of them, to repent of having created them, etc.
“Then we shall exclaim, ‘But what is this ‘I’ doing?’ ‘What is it saying?’ ‘What does it want?’ ‘Why does it torment me with its lust, with its anger?’ etc.
“Then we will see within ourselves the entire train of thoughts, emotions, desires, passions, private comedies, personal dramas, elaborated lies, discourses, excuses, morbidities, beds of pleasure, scenes of lasciviousness, etc.
“Many times before falling asleep, at the precise instant of transition between vigil and sleep, we feel within our own mind different voices that talk to each other. Those are the different ‘I’s’ that must in such moments break all connection with the different centers of our organic machine, so as to then submerge themselves in the molecular world, within the ‘Fifth Dimension.’” —Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology
Which is commonly known as the astral plane in certain writings. So some people may have that experience of falling asleep, being attentive and seeing dream images and hearing sounds and voices of all types while one is transitioning into the internal worlds, as a consciousness, as one is projecting into that world.
The Two Worlds
But of course, to develop that quality, we develop what is known as knowledge of the two worlds. So we included an image here of a man hidden by a mirror or reflecting a mirror opposite to him, which is our position looking within. We must learn to become aware of the internal world, but also in relation to the external.
This is symbolized in The Odyssey, of Odysseus, the poem by Homer, in which the great hero Odysseus kills his enemies who are trying to marry his wife Penelope, after he was exiled from Troy after a voyage of 20 years, to return home to Ithaca, in which he finds his home has been ransacked by certain people who want to marry his wife and take his property. So he is disguised as a beggar until Athena takes him into the throne room in order to kill the suitors.
It is a beautiful symbol of the path of the soul, how we as Odysseus must go into our mind and to confront all the selves: lust, anger, fear, pride, resentment, etc. And so he kills all the suitors in the poem. He does it with a bow and an arrow. He extends his attention outward towards his enemies, but also pulls the string so that he can release each arrow as he is destroying his enemies, which is a symbol of the battle of the soul against the mind. And so the one who helps him is Athena, a symbol of the divine feminine, the Divine Mother in Christianity, the Divine Mother Tara in Buddhism, the Divine Goddess Kali amongst the Hindus.
So we have to observe our psychological state, but always in relation to the external event, understanding the relationship, because we never exist in a bubble where things happen outside, where there is no relationship between our mental states and what happens outside. There is the illusion that somehow we can think and feel and do whatever we want mentally in relation to the other person, and they will not know. But if we are observant, you see that even thoughts influence people.
This is the capacity of clairvoyance and telepathy, to see one’s thoughts and how they relate to people and the exchange of energies, of thinking, of emotion. Nothing fantastic about it. It is a simple state of being, which we can compare to an example of walking down the street, where we may suddenly feel that we are being looked at. We turn, and we see someone across the street looking at us. It is a psychological sense that is atrophied in most people, but which you can develop with meditation.
So our internal world relates to the external world. There’s an interconnection. The self is not isolated but always is contingent upon the impressions of life that enter in our mind, our heart, our mental states, constantly and continuously. And this is where we get the Buddhist doctrine of dependent origination, that there is no intrinsically existing self or ego. There are always situations that provoke anger, pride, resentment, etc. And so we are to examine what impressions enter our mind, what is happening in life that makes us react and usually in a mechanical way. Samael Aun Weor explains the difference in his chapter in Revolutionary Psychology.
“To observe and to Self-observe oneself are two completely different things; however, both demand attention.
“When we observe through the windows of the senses, our attention then is directed outwardly towards the external world.
“Yet, in Self-observation, the senses of external perception are worthless, because attention is directed inward. Consequently, this is the factual reason why the Self-observation of inner psychological processes is difficult for the neophyte.
“The point of departure of official science in its practical side is the observable. The point of departure for the work on oneself is Self-observation, the Self-observable.
“Unquestionably, these two points of departure take us in two completely different directions.
“Someone could grow old engrossed within the intransigent dogmas of official science, studying external phenomena, observing cells, atoms, molecules, suns, stars, comets, etc., without experiencing any radical change within himself.
“The type of knowledge that transforms someone internally can never be achieved through external observation.
“The true knowledge that can really originate a fundamental, internal change in us has as its basis direct Self-observation of oneself.
“…We find ourselves then before two worlds, the external and the internal.
“The first, the external, is perceived by the senses of external perception. The second, the internal, can only be perceived through the sense of internal Self-observation.
“Thoughts, ideas, emotions, longings, hopes, disappointments, etc., are internal, invisible to the ordinary, common and current senses. Yet, they are more real to us than the dining table or the living room couch.
“Indeed, we live in our internal world more than in our external world. This is irrefutable, indisputable.
“In our internal worlds, in our secret world, we love, desire, suspect, bless, curse, yearn, suffer, enjoy, we are disappointed, rewarded, etc.
“Unquestionably, the two worlds, internal and external, are experimentally verifiable. The external world is the observable. The internal world is in itself and inside oneself the self-observable, here and now.” —Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology
So it is like a mirror. We have to learn to work with both, but typically our senses and our mind is more gravitated to the external, but if we want to acquire psychological insight, balance, understanding, we have to learn to observe the external, but also direct our attention inward, so that with the bow of the mind, our attention, we learn to see all things, develop our meditation practice.
The Flavor of Life and the Spiritual Work
All of us know what the flavor of life is. We are distracted on our cell phones, driving our car, listening to music, listening to the radio, thinking about other things. We tend to be, as I said, fragmented, distracted by multiple engagements at once. We like to think in America that we are a culture of multitasking, but this type of behavior tends to distract oneself more and more.
We like to emphasize that there are three states that constitute the flavor of life, which this path is working against, the path of meditation. Identification has to do with thinking that one is thinking, feeling that one is feeling, and doing that one is doing, but without awareness directed attention inward. When we say that we are identified, it means that our identity is enmeshed in that moment, in relation to a sense of self. It could be anything we mentioned previously.
And like in the myth of Medusa, if we are filled with anger and we identify with that anger, we invest it with our energy. We become trapped in stone, habituated. This is why so many relationships fail, because people are conditioned and they are feeding their anger, their lust, their pride. They become trapped in stone. They are identified, and they are worshiping idols.
So people think that in old religious cultures, they were worshiping idols, worshiping statues. It is a symbol of worshiping negative states or qualities. People in these times worship anger. They think it is a good thing. Or pride in our music, our entertainment, our industries, our movies, our books. We even have a show, American Idol, people worshiping vanity, selfishness, competition.
So when we are identified, it means that we are thinking that we are thinking and feeling that we are feeling. We are not really observing that self, like being in a helicopter very high up or on a mountain looking down, where you can see very beautifully everything in a conscious sense, seeing the full potential the soul.
Identification means to invest ourselves into what we are doing, or to be distracted. When we are fascinated, it means that we are experiencing the pleasant or unpleasant sensations of desire, the ego, enjoying what we are enjoying, but unconsciously not really aware, not really looking at what we are experiencing.
And sleep is to be fully inattentive. We like to think that sleep is only when we go to bed for eight hours, and we wake up in the morning. But as I said, we are asleep when we are driving our car and thinking of other things, consciously speaking. We are not attentive of where we are at or what we are doing. So we may be on a road driving, and we are thinking of a problem at work and then suddenly we realize we missed our turn, because we are so identified with that memory, fascinated by our own fantasies of what we were thinking and feeling and what we wanted to do in response, that we are asleep. We don’t know where we are at. We get lost. We lose direction.
That is a very basic understanding of this dynamic. But of course, this applies to every moment of life in which we are not observing. There is a very different flavor of life which we can experience in moments of great serenity, of insight, of peace.
So we included an image of the mountains and a lake reflecting the beautiful landscape. Again another symbol of imagination. We’re reflecting the mountain of initiation, of the Being, of the spiritual path that leads from the valley of suffering up to the heights, which many authors have allegorized in their writings, like Fredrick Nietzsche climbing the mountain in his book Thus Spoke Zarathustra. He is a philosopher who knew this teaching at one point. So the flavor of the work is a different psychological state that we develop as we are practicing meditation. We may experience intensified awareness, greater spatial perception of our surroundings, where we see things in a new way, in a bright way, with great lucidity.
We also may have clarified attention where we begin to see how certain habits in life make us conditioned. We see where fear comes from and why, why it exists, and then we are no longer influenced by that quality. We are transformed. We have strength, because when you learn to separate from the ego, you gain strength.
So it is not like some people think, that one is vulnerable. But of course, in the beginning, it is challenging to separate from that self and to observe and experience divine qualities like contentment, serenity, patience. And so that is developed as we practice the science of meditation. We clarify our attention. We see things with greater clarity.
We also have a heightened perception of ourselves. We see ourselves in a way that is totally new. And anyone who approaches these type of studies has obviously had that experience. They see things that in such a heightened way, they question their life, their existence, why they are where they are at. When we were children, we tasted this quality more commonly before we were more habituated in our culture or conditioned by society as were growing up.
Self-observation is understanding of the cognizance of facts of where our problems originate and why they sustain. How do we make things more complicated and create suffering for ourselves?
Self-observation develops like going to the gym and exercising one’s muscles. It gets stronger with practice. And one sign that one is learning Self-observation is when maybe in a moment at work, we are having a conversation with someone, and they say something negative, and we feel the reaction of wanting to retaliate, as I have been saying, to be sarcastic even, even in a level that is joking. But which, if you examine deep down, you may see that there is some anger there, an edge, a bite. But you learn to separate and to see that self, and you say to yourself consciously, “I do not need to identify with that quality, because to identify with it is to perpetuate suffering, conflict.” And then, comprehension or insight, the understanding of the causes of suffering, is deepened and heightened, where we begin to separate more and more from negative states, to experience higher states of being, higher levels of consciousness.
Of course, the difference between the two is distinct, but we gain more knowledge the more we practice Self-observation, and in that way, we become more awakened, more enlightened, day by day, moment by moment, as we are learning to transform ourselves.
Questions and Answers
Audience: Why do you say that desire is something negative?
Instructor: Because in strict etymology, the word desire is the craving, or saying, “I want. I need. I must have.” While many poets like Rumi use that word desire to refer to something spiritual, he is using it more in an elevated sense. Semantically speaking, we could say that the desire to know God, the divine, is good. And we could say, to be more precise in our language, that this is longing, the yearning to know divinity, and that aspiration, that desire, is holy, is sacred.
But also we have desires that are negative, lower, animalistic, which we are all familiar with and which shape our states of being and make us suffer.
In strict language, we could say to use precision of language, according to Socrates, desire is ego, because the ego says “I must have. I must fulfill. That person insulted me. I need to get revenge. They slighted me. They hurt me. They betrayed me.” That is a desire.
Desire always says, “I want, I need,” and projects itself into the external world and wants to get those impressions of praise or acceptance. But also you have desire in a poetic sense, like the Sufis talk abundantly about. We have a course on our website called The Sufi Path of Self-knowledge, in which we talk a lot about that nature, of that language, about how the Sufis desired God, the Being. They longed for divinity in a way that is so profound, that it is erotic, in relation to the science of tantra, alchemy, as we explained in those courses.
We could say longing, but in most cases, in our mind-stream, desire is mostly egotistical, because we are so conditioned by our states. We talked about this in the previous lecture how we possess, statistically, according to Samael Aun Weor, ninety-seven percent ego and three percent consciousness. That is a very daunting statistic, but easy to see in our life if we are learning to observe.
We tend to be more egotistical. And very rarely do moments of spontaneity and longing of desire for God manifest unless we are practicing to develop that more, instant by instant, moment by moment.
But of course, that is desire in a spiritual sense. Spiritual desire is different. But then there is a muddling, too, where we may be in a spiritual teaching, and yet we are filled with ambition as well. We want to be great saints. We want people to worship us, that we are holy, that we are great masters of spirituality, and that type of desire infects many groups. It infects anyone who is trying to teach other people, because we have ego, and the more one works on that ego, the more subtle it becomes until finally it is eliminated. But of course, it is a lot of work.
The Sufis use that word desire to refer to longing for divinity. But in us, we are typically very conditioned, which is why, in most cases, when we talk about self-improvement or desire, is ego. And in relation to that topic of the three percent consciousness, the consciousness is like a child. In the story of David and Goliath, David was a boy when he fought this great warrior, symbol of our soul, that three percent, that can—with a lot of faith, desire for God, longing—with a stone and a sling , kill his enemy, by being helped by divinity.
It is a symbol in the Old Testament of how one is working in Self-observation in order to eliminate desire, the ego, in a more strict sense. That child became king of Israel. Beautiful symbol. It is a symbol of our potential. We can become kings and queens of spirituality if we conquer ourselves, but of course, it is a very difficult battle, but very achievable. If we don’t have any more questions, we will conclude with a practice.
Audience: From the moment I’m aware of an ego, what would be the most effective way of eliminating that ego?
Instructor: Sure. So it’s a wonderful question, because a lot of people, when they begin to see the ego, they want to run away, because it is very painful to see that we are filled with all sorts of abnormality, desire and defects.
The best thing you can do in those moments, if you feel that you are being tempted by a certain condition or being influenced by anger, you feel like you are about to blow up, so to speak, by being so impassioned, some solutions could be just to step back from a situation. I know when I have had conflicts at work, I would just excuse myself, “Excuse me. I need to take five minutes.” I would go to my office and do a breathing exercise, but in the moment, you need to have the restraint that says, “I am not going to act on this element.” But of course, as the Pater Noster teaches us, “Lead us not into temptation.” Because that condition is very heavy, obviously, it is very easy to give in to the ego.
The best way to begin to annihilating it is do not give it what it wants; do not feed it. And this is what the Muslims call holy war, the word jihad does not mean holy war in a certain sense, but it has become an application in the western culture. It simply means “to strive, to fight against”; it does not mean fighting against someone who is not Muslim or one not in one’s tradition. It means to fight against the ego.
And so you strive against yourself, you do not give your mind, your heart, your negative qualities, what it wants. So the first wonderful step of that battle is do not feed it, and of course, it takes a lot of refinement to know how, to go deeper and deeper and deeper, to restrain oneself in those critical moments. And that’s why in life, when we are doing this kind of work, a lot of problems arise, because those situations will help provoke the worst in us, make us see the most ugly qualities in our psyche, but you gain strength more and more as you are facing those problems and don’t identify with them. You do not invest your energy into them.
Personally, again, when I am having issues or struggles like that in a moment of great crisis, I pray to my Inner Being. I say, “My God help me to not give in to my anger.” It does not have to even be in words; you don’t need a formula for that. It is something dynamic and intuitive. You do not think about it. You just feel it in your heart. “Please do not let me make this mistake and help me to reflect your divine qualities like compassion.” And then the more you separate from the ego, you do not give it what it wants, the more comprehension you develop, because if you are giving that ego what it wants, you are stuck in the flavor of life.
The flavor of life, is again, identification with the ego, fascination; its fantasies and beliefs, and then the sleep of our soul, and we are suffering all the while. So to escape suffering, you have to learn to work with the shield of Perseus, the armor of the great heroes, which is your solar qualities, your spiritual qualities.
Look at it, but do not look directly at it, meaning: do not identify with Medusa. You have to look at it, but not identify with it, and that is the very great struggle we all face, whether we have been meditating for a year or twenty years. It is because it is a very difficult work, but we gain more inspiration. The more we resist the mind, or better said, comprehend the mind—we do not want to resist the mind, “Oh, I do not like what I am seeing; this is very ugly.” And so we like to repress and push that away.
Observation is just looking at it. Do not justify the anger. Do not push it away. And the reason being is, if you push it away from yourself, you are not going to gain an understanding, and in fact, that anger gets stronger when you repress it, which is why psychologists say you should not repress your anger. But they make the mistake of saying that you should just feed it, whatever is going on inside. It’s the other extreme, which is negative. So they are both negative: do not feed it; do not push it away. Just look. Look at it from a state of dispassion, of equanimity, because when you do so in that way, you do not identify, you just look at it.
And it is like Michael putting his foot into the mouth of the dragon. You see how effortless in the image he is doing it? It does not take any effort on his will. He is a very powerful being—a symbol of how, in a state of great equanimity, you have greater strength. If you give in to anger or frustration in a certain ordeal or circumstance, we make things worse. We make our job difficult. We make our clients resist us, whatever it is that we do or people we interact with.
So look at it. Just see it and do not judge it right away. Just do not label it. See it for what it is and follow your intuition, your heart about what is the right action to perform in that moment. That is part of self-observation too.
We learn to observe and see in ourselves what is going on, but in an even more profound level, in our future lectures, we will talk about this is, that we learn to transform the moment, transform the impression. So we have the impression of someone insulting us. We are observing ourselves. We see the reaction emerge and then immediately we say, “Okay, I see my reaction here; it is negative.” I know in a moment, we understand that if we give into that reaction, that mechanical behavior, we are going to create more conflict. So in that moment, we can pray, “My Being, help me!” You so not need formula, or you can use formulas too, like the Our Father, the Hail Mary, or any Hindu prayer. There are many prayers in different religions that all invoke divinity; whatever you have an affinity for that inspires you, and then you pray, “Please help me so I do not give in to that demon, so that I can see it and transform it.”
And then when you do not feed it what it wants, of course, the ego fights back. This is why this is a holy war. The mind resists. So you stop feeding the lion, it gets hungry, which is why many people in the beginning of practicing meditation, they struggle with certain conditions and habits, repeating the same mistakes because, they find that when they are distancing themselves from that anger, in that moment, that desire still wants to feed itself, to be nourished by the impressions of life, by the energies of life. So you learn to start killing the ego by first, observe it. Separate: observer / observed. And then when you go home to meditation, you can reflect and review your day.
Imagine what you experienced. Do not change the facts of what was said, of how you felt, of what you saw, but simply imagine as it was the instant. And then you can go deeper, so that when you are meditating on whatever ego emerged, you can comprehend them. Then that’s the next step is praying for elimination from your Divine Mother, which we will be talking about in our future classes, the process and the depth of it. We have a course on Gnostic Meditation on our website chicagognosis.org. You can look at the lecture at the very end. We culminate it with Retrospection Meditation, which is that process.
Review your day. Examine what you saw. Do not change the facts, because the mind will like to argue and say, “Well, I should have said this, or this is what I really meant.” The mind is always a liar; the ego is a liar. Just as Jesus says to the fanatic Pharisees, “You are the children of the father of lies.” It is a symbol of the ego, worshiping the mind. It does not mean that the Jewish people are evil; it just means he was condemning those spiritual people who think they are holy, but they have a lot of defects. But we talk about that process in that course you can study. We will be revisiting that again and again here.
This is a transcription of an audio lecture from Beginning Self-Transformation, originally given live at the Gnostic Academy of Chicago:
Humanity is in a very profound state of suffering. It is enough to look at the news to witness firsthand the affliction that our humanity is overwhelmed with, whether it be through violence, school shootings, police officers being murdered, terrorism, war. Our humanity, which boasts so much of its superiority, of its advancements, of its intelligence, has demonstrated through facts, that really compared to the barbarians of the middle ages, we have not changed.
To look at the world and its great chaos should really provoke a very profound question about ourselves. We usually like to externalize and state that the sufferings of humanity, the bloodshed, the destruction, the perversity, is somehow external from me, outside. But those who learn to meditate, to observe oneself, begins to understand from personal experience that those same qualities that we condemn in others, we carry in abundance.
Observation of the facts produces comprehension, understanding, but human beings or humanity does not understand the causes of suffering and what perpetuates such chaos on our planet. The internal is really a reflection of the external, and vise versa. External humanity is a reflection of ourselves, if we are honest; it takes a lot of courage to take responsibility for one’s own mind. To understand that psychologically, because of our negative states of anger, of fear, of pride, resentment, deception, we can not blame the world for what it is.
We should not place so much emphasizes on other people, but look within ourselves to understand, “How do I suffer? Why do I, as a consciousness, have so many problems or pains?”
Immanuel Kant, the great German philosopher, had stated that the exterior is the reflection of the interior. It is enough to observe our daily state, moment by moment, when we go to work, when we are with family or friends, or especially people we do not like. We find that, psychologically, we possess many elements, states which, even on a very conventional level, we could say is harmful and that we understand is negative. We may know this intellectually, but to comprehend the psychological causes of suffering is a very distinct matter.
An alcoholic knows that to consume that substance is to perpetuate suffering, and yet he or she may continue to indulge in those habits, those desires, those qualities.
So we possess in our mind-stream the elements of hatred, resentment, anger, frustration, anxiety, uncertainty, disillusionment, but it is rare for someone to really question this sense of “I,” this questioning of “who I am, where I am going. Who am I as a person and why do I suffer? Who is this sense of self, in the internal experience that we denominate “I”? Because who we are psychologically shapes our existence. What we are mentally and emotionally psychologically determines the fate of our interactions with all other sentient beings.
And as I said, we like to externalize. We do not like to look inside at what psychological states cause friction, anxiety, conflict. It is easy to see in our own experience that we have many problems, difficulties, problems that we face day by day that do not get any better. They do not get resolved. And the struggle of someone who enters meditation is to precisely not accuse the external world itself, or our boss, our friends, our neighbors, the government, humanity, murderers, etc., but to take ownership of our own states.
How do we become impatient? How do we become proud? How do we belittle another person, whether it be through sarcasm, even through a jest?
Our psychological state determines our life. What we are mentally will determine what we become, how we will act, how we will respond to life. And someone who meditates understands and sees that in daily experience.
We all have qualities that we condemn so much in others. It takes a lot of courage to recognize this fact, to be responsible and not to blame so and so, that this planet is a mess. Because how do we contribute to the sufferings of humanity, at our job, with our friends, with our families? How do we produce suffering? That is the question we have to resolve, in which meditation helps to unlock, in order to show us the doorway, the path that leads out of suffering and into the awakening of our full divine potential.
As we see in this image of the stars, the heavens, because the human being, human beings themselves, if they are capable of great evil, are capable of all the glories of the cosmos, the beauty of the heavens, which are states of being, ways of acting, ways of understanding, exemplified by all the great messengers that come to humanity to teach the way that leads out of suffering into the unification of divinity—a state of contentment, a state of being. So we will talk about what the Being is in this lecture.
The Beginning of Self-Knowledge
What is divinity? Who are we, who is our inner divine presence, that we can access in a state of alert attention, and more specifically, by leaving the darkness of our own psychological ignorance, our suffering, in order to enter higher ways of being, of knowing, of contentment?
Samael Aun Weor, the founder of the modern Gnostic tradition of which we study, wrote in Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology some very profound questions in the opening of this text, which are worthy to study and to apply to ourselves.
“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
Who are we? We like to think that we feel, and we know ourselves, but if we reflect on our experience, we may find that in certain instances in life, during great crises, we are presented with a problem that is seemingly insurmountable. We do not know what to do, and yet our true character, our psychology emerges, such as anger that speaks harmful words that cause conflict, whether it be in a matrimony, or with friends, or whomever, and yet after the moment of fire, of hatred, has passed, we retrospect and think to ourselves, “How did I possibly act in that way? How could I have thought or said that?” And then we go to that person and apologize. So we see there is a disconnect in this relationship.
We think we know who we are, our language, our customs, our culture, our name, our job, our diplomas. We think these are constitutive of who we are, what our real identity is. And yet we find that in moments of great trial, our true character is presented, emerges, in which we find that we have to define ourselves for good or for ill. And that we make mistakes, and we feel remorse and sense, “How did I possibly act in this way?” We say, “I feel true remorse for that action,” but if we really knew ourselves in a full consciousness sense, we would know how to act with compassion, with serenity, with insight, in any circumstance.
We would know the psychological causes of suffering, which, if we have studied Buddhism or any religion, state that suffering originates from within oneself. And there are many names and idioms and terminologies people can use, that become very complicated and very fancy, but specifically, a very simple way to look at it is just ego, self, “I,” “what I want, what I crave, what I desire.” We like to feed these desires, whether it be for a cup of coffee in a very superficial sense, or even habits that are destructive.
In the case of an alcoholic, they have a desire to consume that element, even though it will destroy them, and yet that desire is so overpowering, so heavy, so strong, that person simply invests their energy, goes with the flow, with that habit. And so we have to ask ourselves, “Who are we, really, psychologically?”
There are many beautiful sayings within different traditions, such as the Sufis. If you are familiar with the poetry of Rumi, Middle Eastern literature, they talk about that “He who knows himself knows his Lord.” And who is that Lord? Not some old man in the clouds with a beard, who sits on a throne of tyranny dispensing lightning bolts to this anthill of a humanity.
Divinity is not a person, but is a force, a way of being, a state of consciousness, a way of acting that is so selfless and so pure, that it sacrifices itself for the well-being of others without regard for itself, and yet it does not lose anything, because from that giving is an abundance that is divine, that is immortal, that comes from the very heights, metaphorically speaking, of the truth. And we all have that inside.
We have the Being, our own Inner God, to use Western terminology, but in these studies, we like to say Being, because the word God has a lot of baggage. People have a lot of traumas psychologically associated with religion, because they have been taught wrong and have been abused.
And that brings us to the question of “Where do we come from?” Religion and science like to fight and argue about our origins and have many intellectual concepts about having evolved from apes or having been created in seven days—many ideas that really are just contradictory and conflicting amongst themselves. And people follow one belief over another: religion, science. And they are battling each other. But neither of these ideas, these concepts, these beliefs, have resolved any of the problems we face on a day to day basis.
Therefore from the perspective of meditation, those type of arguments are useless. They do not benefit anyone. They do not teach us how to change, how to transform our agony, whether it be at work, we have a job we do not like, and yet we need the money to pay the bills, dealing with people who are negative, and yet believing in evolution or in science, in the Big Bang, does not change the problem of how I am going to react today in relation to my daily interactions with people. Instead, if I am attached to this concept, filled with a lot of arrogance, people in that type of mindset like to violate the minds of others, by arguing, by fighting.
So, where do we come from? These are questions that we answer from experience, from understanding, from spiritual comprehension, from perception. So whether one believes in reincarnation or one has one life in this existence, really, those types of theories are useless in comparison to where do we come from psychologically.
Where did our sense of desire or egotism originate? Where does pain come from? And how do we emerge from that? How do we saturate ourselves in suffering? And how do we continue to indulge in behaviors that produce conflict? That is really what should concern us.
And where are we going? Look at humanity. Where are people going? And also we ask ourselves, where are we going with a life of perhaps materialism, bank accounts marriage papers, drugs, alcohol, anger, violence, resentment? With all these desires that we possess that are contradictory in nature, that conflict, what is our course?
You may believe in, because of religion, some sense of heaven or hell, or some type of afterlife. Even if we want to have that conviction in our mind, it does not mean that we really know where are we going. Instead, knowing where one will go in life is precisely discovered in this moment, introspecting and observing: what is my psychological state? Is it positive, or is it negative?
And if you want to study religion, we study in this tradition many aspects of different teachings. And we understand that in nature there are places where the soul gravitates, but many people think that simply by believing in some doctrine that they are going to go to this higher state of consciousness, ascend to some higher way of being, but beliefs do not change anybody. Action does. So what we are psychologically determines where we go in life, in nature, in the cosmos.
So what are we living for? Do we live for a religion, for a doctrine to believe in, to be firmly convinced in some political party or another, some philosophy or another? What do those beliefs actually produce in us? That is something we have to introspect and ask.
How do my ways of thinking, my ways of feeling, my ideas, shape who I am? Do they really change our behavior?
In some cases that is the case. But someone may adopt a religion, a faith, and may simply go through the motions, not understanding the genuine principles behind that religion, because they simply adopt mannerisms, language, culture, which is related to personality. It is not eternal. It is just habits, which people engage in mechanically and do not really understand. And that type of mechanical, habitual behavior does not lead anyone out of suffering.
Instead, it is questioning what we are living for that does not come from an intellectual concept, but from observation of facts—observing what in me makes me gravitate to, say, these type of words, these type of behaviors, these type of actions to people. How do I interact with others, humanity?
And you find that when one learns to act from a state of consciousness devoid of desire, one does not act for one’s own well-being, but for others, for humanity, out of a state of compassion. But most people, what are they living for is usually money, materialism, fashion, drugs, sensations, because they feel that by accumulating all these things, in the end, one will simply go to the grave.
But that is ignoring the fundamental law of nature: “For every effect there is a cause. Every cause has an effect.”
Your mind is energy. Your heart, your actions, your ways of being, is a form of energy, and when that energy ceases to act in the physical body, it still continues. And this is where the concepts of reincarnation and other theories become very challenging for people, because they do not have consciousness of these things. Instead, it is just an idea, something, to either believe in or not believe in. But if you awaken your perception, you will know for yourself that every action produces a consequence. Energy moves, fluctuates, and depending on our level of being, our ways of acting, our virtues, our defects, that determines where we go.
But instead of thinking of the afterlife or some other existence, one should think about or contemplate this present moment, who we are, and that determines what we live for, whether it be for desire, craving for more money or a better job, a better spouse, or whatnot, but instead, resolving this question will aid one in developing the true qualities of consciousness, which is virtue, happiness, contentment, cognizance.
So why are we living is another big question. This is a personal thing we need to ask ourselves. Why are we really living? Is it simply because we have energy, we are born in this life, and we just go with the flow? We want to go along with family, what they believe, what they think, prejudices, biases, whether we agree with or not. The question is, why are we living?
Religion will teach you that you are here because of this, this, and this, or some philosophy will teach you we are living in this world for these reasons. And people have a lot of ideas about why we are living—concepts, but those are just concepts. We have to understand why we are living based on our actions. What produces happiness, not just for ourselves, but for others? For humanity? For from our Being emerges spontaneous harmony with others, with other sentient beings.
So that question is very important to ask ourselves, and usually people who have really hit rock bottom, who have suffered a lot because of certain ordeals or traumas in life, from childhood, from adulthood, they ask this question, because they experience a great state of pain, an abyss in which they do not know how they will get out. Usually, people who reach that state, who hit rock bottom, ask this question and say “Why am I here? Why am I suffering so much?” Because when you resolve to yourself to not suffer anymore, you will desire to look for the answer, to not be in suffering.
The Nature of the True Human Being
And that questioning leads us into discussing the nature of what it means to be a human being. So we use the term human being and humanity for others out of respect, but it is evident by the news and the many trials and afflictions of humanity that people are experiencing the fruits of desire, of anger, of pride, of resentment. A human, Hum-Man being, in Sanskrit, is represented by this mantra: Om Masi Padme Hum, or in the traditional sense, Om Mani Padme Hum. They have the same meaning, but different levels of application and practice according with the different traditions of Buddhism: one secretive, one public. But a human being made into the image of the divine is something very special, something so profound, that we only have a handful of examples in humanity, like Jesus, Buddha Krishna, Moses, the prophets.
They were true men and women. We have Joan of Arc, a great human being, a great master. There are many people who exemplified the highest ideals that are taught in religion and tradition. And religion would like to have people think that we are already human, and out of respect, we use that term, but if we look at our daily life, and we look at the facts and understand, what does it mean to be human, we can resolve this question.
Hum relates to spirit, unity, integration. Om is the sacred mantra of God, of the Being. Om is the presence of our own true potential. It is interesting that the word Hum means spirit, and in these times, people often conflate spirit with self or spirit with soul. We have a fraction or portion of soul that can be developed, but a spirit is the divine, is the Being. So a Hum-Man is a person who has really incarnated and manifested Hum, the spirit, also represented by Om or Aum.
The word Mani, where we get the word man, designates both man and woman, of both sexes. But Man or Mani in Sanskrit means mind, a mind who has fully expressed Hum, the spirit. Mani also means “stone” or “jewel.” So we could say that a human being is like a precious jewel; it reflects the light of the divine.
And so we have examples in our history of beings like Jesus, Moses, Buddha, Krishna, many prophets, angels, masters, whatever names you want to give them, who exemplified and fully manifested the qualities of the spirit inside of them. And so they irradiate virtues like joy, altruism, philanthropy, patience, naturally and spontaneously, without conflict, without artifice. They simply give out of their full conscious potential because they have actualized the very light of their consciousness. And therefore, they have no defect; they do not desire. They do not crave. They do not hate. They do not fear. They simply know the divine within them, and therefore, they are fearless. They are patient in all circumstances, just as in the case with Jesus. He was being crucified, beaten, mocked, humiliated, and he only said, “Father forgive them they know not what they do.”
Buddha likewise faced persecution, poison. Socrates was also given hemlock to drink, another great initiate, a great master, a great prophet.
Humanity does not like these human beings. People like to follow a religion based off these people, but they do not like their teachings, which is why those religions have been castrated, have been sterilized, have been emasculated. Their real teaching has been adulterated. So people now follow religions that really do not emphasize or teach the heart of what these human beings taught.
But it is important to recognize that a real Hum-Man is like a lotus, signified by the word Padme, meaning “flower, wisdom.” And what is a lotus flower? A perfect allegory of us, of our potential. A flower emerges from the mud of a swamp, the impurities of the mind, in order to blossom with perfection, with beauty, with harmony.
That is our potential. We can become like that. We are, right now, like a candle, like a flame, a spark of potentiality, of energy, which can become a great sun—radiant, overpowering, full of virtue, and omniscient to the point that one can make the very stars move around oneself, not out of selfishness, but out of a divine understanding of all things.
So different traditions explain that the human being has to be created, has to be formed. Jesus of Nazareth never said that we have soul, but that we have potential to develop it. “With patience possess ye your souls,” He said.
And we have other stories that allegorize this great struggle in the person to become a genuine Hum-Man, like Pinocchio. Pinocchio was a wooden boy who wanted to become a boy of flesh and blood. And he had many helpers and many ordeals and trials that he experiences. But in the beginning, he is a puppet. He is played with by external forces and internal forces. He is not really human; he is more animal because an animal desires. It wants something it seeks to get it. It fights for its cravings, it’s aversions.
And so without seeking to insult, we state with facts that we are intellectual animals. What is an animal? It comes from the Latin anima, meaning soul, “to animate, to act.” And we have intellect. We have intellect, and we have desire. So we are beings that are impure, like the symbol of the flower that can emerge from the mud of the swamp, which is our own anger, our own resentments, our desires, our hatreds, our fears. Those impurities of the soul have to be removed so that the flower of our genuine consciousness can emerge. And that is how we develop unity, Hum. Spirit is unity.
There are many religions from the Middle East that teach that divinity is one, whether it be Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, even some aspects of Christianity, which teach that divinity is an integrity, a unification of the soul with the spirit to create a new being, a radiant one, a prophet. But we have to ask ourselves: do we possess unity in our life?
If we are honest, we tend to find that we have a lot of conflict, a lot of struggle. We think one way in the morning and then we act another way in the evening. We have a lot of contradictions, and many people point this out to us, which we do not like. We tend to fight for this sense of self whom we identify with, but a human being a spirit, a spiritual one only respects others and is unitary. And so that unity is expressed within many beings which have been known in religion as angels, masters, prophets, buddhas, enlightened ones.
In this image we have a Christian symbol of those illuminated ones ascending towards the height, represented by Christ, by Jesus, and it is important to recognize that divinity has the name Christ. It is not a person, but is an energy, a force which is within all of the cosmos, and Jesus came to represent that highest aspect of divinity within oneself, within the mind, within the heart, within the soul. And so that prophet physically lived a drama with his flesh and bones to teach something that is psychological, of which we will be explaining in these courses.
But this is a perfect beautiful description of states of being, higher ways of being. And we see these great illuminated ones ascending higher and higher and higher towards, really, the infinitude of the divine. There was a Sufi master by the name of Abdul Karim al-Jili, I think. He stated that “The journey to God is short. The journey in God is infinite,” which corroborates with a statement given by the 14th Dalai Lama that we have to “develop the conviction that consciousness has the potential to increase to an infinite degree.”
So a lot of people become concerned that when they work on their negativity, their desires, their faults, they feel that “If I eliminate these things , who will I be? Who am I? What will be left?” And the truth is that when you eliminate, comprehend and remove the impurities of the soul, the conditions of the consciousness, you become the natural, radiant, pristine light of cognizance of the universe, of the divine. And so those levels of being ascend higher and higher and higher to the infinitude. By understanding that the consciousness can develop more and more, we then seek to comprehend the obstacles in this present moment, who we are, what conditions us, why do we suffer.
I am pretty sure many of us can consider and think in our own experience of a moment in life in which we sensed or experienced a greater state of perception. Perhaps we did not think about it. It could be something simple like washing dishes, in which we realized that, as we are fully present in the moment, we become serene, at peace, with a state of alert attention that is supranormal, expansive, profound. Our childhood tends to have many of these moments, which become lost as we condition ourselves, whether it be through the education system or our parents, our friends.
These type of expanded states of consciousness have also been referenced to by the world of dreams. Dreams for most people tend to be very subjective, but there are rare cases in which individuals become awake in the dream state, in which they are aware that they are not in their physical body, but they are in a totally different dimension. And this is represented here. We see that the heavens in the top two-thirds of this graphic represent again those levels of consciousness which are accessed, such as through death. Notice that we have a grave here with flowers, representing the resurrection of Christ, which is also a very beautiful symbol, something also very esoteric and profound: how the soul resurrects when it is dead to desire. And also, in life, we can experience heightened states of perception that are not physical, but in the world of dreams, which we will be teaching in our courses on dream yoga.
But it is important to recognize that consciousness can expand, and as Mr. Leadbeater from an esoteric school from the past stated, “It is the gravest of mistakes to believe that the limit of our perception is the limit of all that there is to perceive.”
The Tree of Life
Which is why we reference the following graphic. This image has been known in Judaism and Christianity, as well as Islam, as the tree of life. It is a symbol. It is not a literal tree that existed in Mesopotamia, in which Adam and Eve and some, better said allegorical, garden could enjoy the fruits thereof. This is a map of consciousness, a map of being, which we will be explaining didactically throughout this course and other courses as well that we have given on our website: chicagognosis.org.
In synthesis, this is a map of who we are, a map of our perception, our levels of being, our ways of being. It may seem very complicated, but in synthesis, it is very simple, and it is something that we explore many times again and again in greater detail as we learn to become meditators, because any experience in meditation can be mapped to this glyph.
This is a map of being and a map of our human consciousness. In synthesis, we can state that, above, we have the highest potential of consciousness. Some traditions call this the trinity, such as in Christianity: Father, Son, Holy Spirit, which are not people, but energies. In Hebrew, we call them Kether, Chokmah, Binah: Crown, Wisdom, Intelligence.
Beneath that, we have Hum, the spirit, our inner God, our Being, better said. This is known as Chesed meaning “Mercy.” So when the Qur’an speaks about “In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful,” it is talking about this sphere, this aspect of divinity.
We also have Geburah, meaning “Justice.” This is the divine consciousness, which greatly interests us in these studies.
Below that, we have Tiphereth, meaning “Beauty,” our will, which can fully express the qualities of the divine above or follow the whims of egotistical desire below. So this is really the essence of who we are, Tiphereth, soul that is related to will, action.
Netzach is “Victory” in Hebrew, meaning the mind, the intellect.
We have Hod meaning “Splendor,” the emotions.
Yesod meaning “Foundation,” as our vital energies, which give us life to our physical body.
Malkuth meaning “Kingdom.”
These are not spheres that exist vertically in space, but are qualities of being in ourselves, here and now. This is the nature of the Being, the divine.
So a Hum-Man being is one whose will has controlled the mind, the emotions, the energies and the physical body, to serve the spirit, these higher spheres above and also towards the beyond. And you can see that these three circles above represent the light of the divine, which is where all those angels ascend in that previous image.
So “The Being is the Being,” says Samael Aun Weor in The Revolution of the Dialectic. And the question is: “What is the Being?” Most people do not know, but by working with exercises like that mantra, we worked with “Aum Masi Padme Hum,” that mantra activates the energies of the heart relating to Tiphereth, our will, and develops the beauty of the soul. It can manifest the energies that come from above in this graphic, so that we learn to be, to be present, to be aware, because the divine, divinity, exists in this present moment, here and now. All we need is to learn to become attentive, to comprehend and to access that state.
And what is the reason for the Being to be? Is to be the Being itself. So divinity only longs for one purpose. And going back to our question of why are we here—why do we live? It is because we have an inner divinity within us who wants the soul to reunite and return with understanding, but saying this is only theoretical until you experience it and understand it through your own work, for your own path. So the Being is very significant.
We can speak to the divine in the world of dreams. And I will relate to you an experience I had years ago when I first started these studies, to help provide a concrete example of what this image represents.
So this tree of life is used to explain different traditions, whether Judeo-Christian, but also Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim. And I remember many years ago while practicing meditation, I fell asleep. I let my body relax to the point that I forgot it, let it go, and I went inside my mind into the state known as Hod, the world of emotions. This is the dream world where we experience dreams. And in that state, I was shown an image or a series of images from my Being, my Inner God, to teach me about this image. At the time, I had never studied Kabbalah, which is what this graphic is. Kabbalah, in Hebrew, means “to receive,” kabbel. It is experiences that we receive directly from our inner divinity, our inner Being. And I remember seeing a series of ten images, ten faces, ten portraits, and my own was at the very bottom, the very end. And I remember being very startled. I woke up.
I knew it was from my iner spirit, and I wondered what the meaning was until someone introduced to me what is known as the Kabbalah, with ten spheres—ten faces; ten aspects of the divine, because we are part of divinity. And my face was at the bottom because I am in this physical body. I am at the bottom who wants to go up and experience all the different aspects of the Being.
So this is a very beautiful map that we study and teach, practice and understand didactically, but this is just the synthesis, an introduction.
Life, Transformation, and the Level of Being
So when we ask what is Being, we also discuss what are levels of Being.
In these studies, we like to be practical. We study psychology, the nature of the mind from the practical perspective that we seek to understand the causes of suffering, as I have mentioned.
We see in this image a riot. I do not remember where this image was taken, but these are becoming more common. It is evident by the ways of being of humanity, of individuals, people who are filled with resentment and anger. They obviously gravitate towards other people who possess the same psychological qualities. So what our mind is determines our life. As Buddha taught, “Mind precedes phenomena. We become what we think.”
And likewise, what we are psychologically determines whom we interact with. We like to be with people who are at our level of being, a way of perceiving, a way of knowing. Drunkards are with other drunkards, drug users with other drug users, etc., businessmen with businessmen. People live in society based on their attractions within their psyche, their ways of thinking, feeling, and acting.
And so we have to comprehend and understand: what is our level of being? With what type of people do we associate, and why? Because that determines and explains for us what we have inside. Because if we ignore who we are and the type of people we interact with, we miss out on very profound knowledge about how to ascend to a higher way of a being, to associate with more spiritual people. And when I say this, I do not just mean physically. I mean that when you learn to meditate and ascend up that graphic of the tree of life that we looked at, you learn to naturally speak face to face in those experiences with beings who are more elevated than you are, who are angelic, represented by initiation. In certain traditions like in Egypt, certain masters who are very developed can teach you things and help you go higher and give you more knowledge.
Samael Aun Weor in Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology taught that:
“Nobody can deny the fact that there are different social levels. There are church going 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…” —Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology
So if we suffer because of certain circumstances in life, it is because we have something inside that we have to face and comprehend, because certain people in our work or job or in life, we meet as a result of our level of being. So by learning to comprehend where we are at, we can learn to ascend towards a higher level.
“So what is our moral level? Or better said, what is our level of Being?” —Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology
The word morality also has a lot of baggage. People think morality has to do with codes of conduct, thinking that such and such is a way to live, a concept, a means, a belief system, but really who we are relates to our level of Being, our ways of acting, our ways of thinking, our ways of feeling.
So as we have initiated this lecture, what is our moral level, what is our level of Being? Because:
“The repetition of all our miseries, scenes, misfortunes, and mishaps will last as long as the level of our being does not radically change. All things all circumstances that occur outside ourselves on the stage of this world are exclusively the reflection of what we carry within. With good reason, then we can solemnly declare that the exterior is the reflection of the interior. When someone changes internally, and if that change is radical, then circumstances, life, and the external will also change.” —Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology
The Line of Life and the Line of Being
When we study the level of Being, we look at this graphic. We study this glyph many times in our studies and teachings. We have two lines, one vertical, one horizontal.
The horizontal line is the line of life. This is the path that everybody follows: birth, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, old age, decrepitude, death, beginning to end, involving all the scenes and tragedies and comedies that we experience usually in a very mechanical way. We tend to just go with the flow. Life occurs to us, and we simply are pushed around like a puppet, like Pinocchio, by the different circumstances of life.
Someone says something negative to us; we think or respond with anger or resentment. We lose our job; we become filled with fear. Our spouse argues with us. We feel humiliated and angry. Therefore, where is the autonomy of the human person that we like to claim that we have? We tend to just be reactionary towards life, towards circumstances, but this is where the vertical path becomes very essential, important for these studies.
When someone begins to question themselves in this present moment, in this point where the present meets with the line of Being, we can learn to access higher ways of Being. So neither in the future or in the past do we discover ourselves, our psychological conditions, but here and now.
The line of Being is a vertical path; it is a path traversed by revolutionaries, but not physical revolutionaries—spiritual ones, psychological, in which we learn to go against all the negativity and reactions we carry within.
“What is our Level of Being? Have we ever reflected upon this?” —Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology
Because here and now is where we discover ourselves, as I said. By learning to become mindful of where we are at and what we are doing, what we are saying, what we are thinking, what we are feeling, and learn to act for the benefit of others, out of compassion, we are learning to ascend to higher states, higher ways of knowing.
“It would be impossible to pass into another level if we ignore the level in which we presently are.” --Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology
And we will explain in these lectures, in this course, that process. If you are interested in learning more about this topic, you can study two books by Samael Aun Weor, including Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology and The Great Rebellion.
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