All religions teach the need for cultivating virtue and conquering vice. However, as we perform a holistic study of various meditative and contemplative traditions, we find that different explanations, different teachings, different principles, were taught in accordance with idiosyncrasy, the skills, the language of their practitioners and messengers, while the outward forms might seem different, particularized to a specific geography or moment in history.
In reality, when we examine the heart of meditation within all religions, we find that they are universal. There is a common thread. There is a synthesis regarding how to establish within oneself an alert, serene, clarified, cognitive state, that has the capacity to perceive the inner depths of a thing. All these traditions emphasize the need to develop the capacities of the consciousness, the virtues of the soul, by comprehending and removing the different psychological contaminants that afflict our daily state.
In our tradition, we spend a lot of time and emphasize how to practice meditation. We have received a very beautiful gift from our teacher Samael Aun Weor, whose books and writings offer a profound, practical basis by which to understand and interpret the variety of religious forms that we have been graced with. What is unique about his writings is that they specifically target the core teaching of meditation, the principles, the archetypes, the practices and blueprints by which we generate a new way of being, a virtuous state, a compassionate heart. Likewise, what is interesting is that his writings are very clear. They are very refined because they synthesize thousands of years of teaching about meditation, and so there is a lot of knowledge and wisdom contained in his books.
Unfortunately, for many people his writings are difficult precisely because they are given in a language that is directed to the consciousness, not the intellect. We make a very clear distinction between the mind, intellectualism, rationality, and a state of understanding, comprehension, real insight into the problems of life, which if we are honest with ourselves, we can find that our mind creates problems for us. The intellect cannot know anything beyond its domain, which is the acquisition of data: to compare and contrast information, to label concepts upon phenomena. The mind is a useful instrument when it is placed within its orbit, when it is cultivated with a real deep understanding of the virtues of the heart.
What is interesting about Samael Aun Weor’s writings is that they are very potent, very refined, very synthetic, as I said. He is often referred to as the Master of the Synthesis. Much in the same way that you can take 10,000 roses to produce a 5 ml bottle of rose oil―which is the size of your thumb―likewise Samael Aun Weor gave us a wonderful gift in which he extracted the essence of diverse religious forms to arrive at a very pure understanding of religion, of yoga, of spirituality, of meditation. Unfortunately, for some people it is too much. His writings are too strong. His teachings are very potent.
His name in Hebrew, interestingly enough, means “the perfume of God,” the aroma of divinity: סמאל Samael. It is also the “poison of God” because it is very strong, very direct, and very profound. His message goes to the core of what we are and points out the obstacles of the mind. It is poison to the ego. It is a knowledge that very expediently, directly, and powerfully approaches the fundamental issue of why we meditate, which is to cultivate virtue and to conquer our vices.
For some people, when approaching his writings, it is good to understand the context in which he had written and provided this knowledge. What is very useful is to study his books on meditation like The Revolution of the Dialectic, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology, and The Great Rebellion in conjunction with proven traditions and ancient methods, so that we understand and have clarity that this is not the teaching of one man. It is universal.
So in this lecture we are going to synthesize many points that he made in relation to meditation, practical techniques, the science of knowing oneself. But also, complementing his wisdom are the traditions in which he also studied, extracted, synthesized, and refined that knowledge. You will find many explanations in this lecture regarding Buddhist meditation especially from Tibet, the Mahayana and Tantrayana traditions. In explaining this synthesis, we will touch upon these traditions and how they all connect, so that we can radically achieve a profound state of serenity and deep insight into our daily problems.
The Purpose of Meditation
We will explore the purpose of meditation, why we meditate, why we reflect, and why we approach spirituality.
Meditation is a science in which we explore our inner reality, our states, our psychological nature, our qualities of mind, so that by separating from the world, the senses, the distractions of life, from the hustle and bustle of modern living, we can begin to gain a clarity and understating of how we produce our own suffering.
There are certain things in life that we cannot control. There are certain events in our politics, our society, our culture, that appear to be beyond our scope of influence, things that we cannot change. While there are many problems in life that afflict humanity, and while we may feel overwhelmed by the chaos that has been afflicting many people, we can learn to understand our own agency in this, to comprehend what we can do in this mess, what we can do to change our own daily problems, our confusion, our suffering, our fears, our morbidity, our disillusionment.
We practice meditation in this tradition because we really want to understand why we are in pain, but more importantly how to cease suffering. If you have studied Buddhism, you are familiar with the Four Noble Truths, and that 1) in life there is suffering, 2) that suffering has causes and 3) the causes of suffering can cease, but likewise, 4) there is a path known as meditation that leads towards the complete nullification of our conditioned, suffering, and psychological states. Meditation is the process by which we gain information about who we are, about our own psychological contaminants, defects, errors.
One has to be very confused to think that one is perfect in life and that we do not possess some type of fault or chip on our shoulder. Most people do recognize that they have errors but do not really know the process by which to actively look at them, confront them, comprehend them, and eliminate them. Meditation will provide us the groundwork by which we can do this, in which we can see within ourselves without confusion, assumption, belief, or preconception about what is really going on.
Most people are in a state of perplexity, confusion, disorder, and ignorance, not because we lack some intellectual knowledge, but because we do not understand how our behaviors produce the consequences of our life. It is a law of nature. We follow the trajectory of our actions, our behaviors, of our choices. If we are in a very negative situation and, while we like to blame our neighbor, our community, our spouse, whomever it may be, we have to be honest with our mind. We have to be very direct with ourselves and to really look where we do not want to: at the causes of our present circumstance, of how we ended up, and where we are at. If we are not happy with our situation, then we have to go within. We have to look at our choices and not to defend our sentiments with such vehement emotion, with animal instinct, with terrible fear. We have to look honestly, to observe in ourselves what we have in abundance and what we lack.
For some people, meditation is a means of acquiring spiritual experience, and this is very valid and useful. The truth is that even having some blissful state―in which you escape for some moments the conditions and limitations of your own mind―the only purpose of that is to inspire you to look at yourself further, to examine what keeps you encaged. What are the obstacles in our life? What are our repeated, observable, cyclical behaviors? In what way do we keep repeating the same actions, in the same circumstances, and why we should expect a different result? But the common tendency is to ignore our own culpability, our responsibility, our own agency.
So, meditation will provide us the means by which we can really reflect on our quality of life, our state of being, our purpose for living. If we are suffering a lot, if we are confused, if we are distracted, but we feel in our heart a deep inquietude, a deep yearning, or uneasiness in our very being, we have to listen to that. That is what guides our meditation. That is what guides our introspection. That is what drives us to understand what spirituality is and what to do.
The Natural Laws of Meditation
There are three trainings in diverse traditions. You find this dynamic especially within Tibetan Buddhism. You find it in traditions like the mystical doctrine of the Sufis, the mystics of Islam―three degrees or stages. You find it in Freemasonry. You find it all throughout the world, which proves and emphasizes that there are steps to meditation. It is a scientific approach. These are based on laws of nature. If you wish to enter and develop, to realize a real state of equanimity, of internal divine perception, you have to fulfill the causes and requisites of their fruition.
Believing or not believing, thinking or not thinking, assuming or rejecting with our mind or heart, does not indicate any real change, because psychological transformation is based on the actions that produce them. Just as nature has its laws, likewise, our spiritual life has laws. Divinity has laws. In the East this is known as karma: cause and effect, action and reaction. For every effect there is a cause, and in every cause there is an effect. It is inescapable in the same way that gravity is inescapable. You can believe that gravity will not affect you and therefore leap off a cliff. We can believe whatever we want, but nature does not adhere to our preferences, our assumptions, our ideologies, our concepts. Nature is nature.
So in this approach to meditation, we are very factual. While we may have lots of literature, and many concepts that we study intellectually, the real blossoming of the soul is based on enacting superior causes and conditions, superior ways of being, a higher level of being, because if you follow superior actions, you will produce superior results. It is a basic law. In science, they call it invariance, in which if you produce an action, you then must face the consequences of it. Maybe in this lifetime, maybe not in a few days, but eventually you will. So, by enacting superior, ethical behaviors like compassion, kindness, generosity, moral and psychological purity, we produce a conduit or a psychological matrix in which we are generating and activating a real potential.
The truth is that we need to create a space within our psychology that is conducive for realizing the spirit, our inner divinity, our inner God. When we lack serenity in our daily states, we cannot see clearly within. This is why ethics is the foundation within all meditative traditions. If you fulfill a horrible action, if you lie, if you steal, if you kill, not only are there physical consequences, societal repercussions, confrontations with the law, we really in turn disturb the waters of the mind. We become agitated. Just like a lake that cannot reflect clearly the heavens upon its surface when it is churned, in the same manner our mind cannot reflect anything positive within its surface. If we are engaging in negative, harmful behaviors, instead what we will have is a whirlpool, a storm, a hurricane, which most people define as our life.
But there are ways to train. The beginning is to train in ethics (Sanskrit शील sila). Refrain from harmful behaviors. Enact positive, conscious behaviors. We call this self-observation in our tradition. We observe ourselves. We examine, moment by moment, our thoughts, actions, our feelings, our impulses, our instincts, in the same way that a director of a film observes an actor in a scene. The actor is your own mind. It is your own negative emotions. It is your own instinctual, animalistic habits and behaviors. The consciousness, the soul, or what we call the Essence, is the director. We are looking within. We are examining our mind. We are examining our heart, and examining our impulses to be.
In this way, we are learning to distinguish and discriminate what to do in life in the moment. We call that conscience: following the inner judgement of our heart. That is the voice that emanates from divinity. The mind can rationalize and debate, “This behavior is good. I should do this,” and have many justifications, and yet we taste the flavor, the aftermath, the consequences of this―bitterness, remorse, sorrow. It is better to have foresight rather than hindsight. But so long as we are making changes in our daily life, we can in turn progress. We progress based on ethics. Again, acquiring information by observing yourself and by learning to fulfill the intuitions of your heart, the voice of conscience, we learn to navigate the boisterous seas of our life. Things begin to calm. The waters settle.
In that way we start to acquire states of समाधी samadhi. This is the word in Sanskrit meaning “bliss,” ecstasy of the soul. We start to experience blissful states of consciousness as we are working with concentration. We are beginning to integrate our mind, which is usually very dispersed, diffused, and distracted amongst multiple activities and obligations. The mind tends to be all over the place. But as you being to learn to observe yourself, remember yourself, and remember what you are doing at any given moment, you begin to integrate your consciousness. You start to strengthen it so that you gain continuity in your alert, novel, perceptive states, so that you can begin to understand something more profoundly in you. As you access that you feel bliss, you feel a sense of joy. You feel inspired. You feel elevated as you begin to recognize you are not anger. You are not pride. You are not fear. You are not resentment. You are not lust. You are not desire. You are something much more than that.
Some people have written to us online with a lot of distress, a lot of unhappiness, saying they have tried these techniques and methods and yet they continue to suffer a lot. They have many negative thoughts, many fears they say they can see in themselves. They recognize they have defects, but they are not changing and just feel very dark and sour. This proves that one does not have ethics. One is not awake. If we are not paying attention and seeing the mind for what it is, then we are identified with it. We are feeding it our energy. We invest ourselves in that self, in that anger, that pride, that morbidity, that resentment, instead of separating it and not feeding it, because when you recognize yourself, you feel joy. You feel happiness. You feel bliss. You feel samadhi to a degree.
Some people like to refer samadhi as some elevated mystical experiences within different dimensions, but the truth is that samadhi or bliss has to do with our perception and quality of being here and now. You will recognize a selfless state when it happens, as you are cultivating superior behavior in your mind, in your heart, in your body. Samadhi, the bliss of the awakened consciousness, a concentrated perception, is such that when you are not invested within the different modifications of the different defects you carry within, you begin to subsist within your own true nature, which is the soul, the Essence, the consciousness.
Prajna: Profound Wisdom
In this way, as you are established in that state, you then enter profound wisdom, which in Sanskrit is known as प्रज्ञ prajna. Prajna is the capacity for insight, when you really go into the depth of a phenomenon and even within noumena, the truth, the thing in itself, the essence of a given thing. Profound wisdom is the capacity to have profound perceptive understanding and analysis of very obscure things, qualities and states that are not accessible to the physical senses.
They are apprehended by, first, developing concentration, and when that is very strong, we begin to see things, have visions within our meditations. We can even physically leave our body and enter the superior dimensions in nature, which in kabbalah it is known as the Tree of Life.
The Integration of the Three Trainings
We need to cultivate all these qualities in ourselves. They are predicated and grounded within one another. As you begin to develop ethics, you begin to establish a state of concentration to a degree, happiness and joy in recognition of your work, your successes, and also your failures, by learning to move ahead so that with enough practice, we develop profound wisdom, by having insight of different experiences of life. But also, within meditation, we begin to feed our ethics even further. These work together. They complement each other. They funnel and feed within each other. These dynamics are deep and are interrelated. You cannot separate one from the other. If you want success in meditation, you have to consider these in their totality.
Types of Meditation
There are different types of meditation. We can talk about two specifically. There are meditations that focus on stabilizing the consciousness and there are meditations that help us to analyze, to develop perceptive, critical understanding of whatever we are focusing on in our practice.
When we are stabilizing the consciousness, we are learning to concentrate. In the beginning, right now, our mind is all over the place. Concentration is the capacity to focus our attention on one thing without being distracted. If you sit, close your eyes, introspect, and simply look at your quality of mind, in the beginning of our discipline, we find we are thinking many associative thoughts. There is a chain of compare and contrast, thesis and antithesis, good and bad, memories relating to other situations that relate to something else, and the mind wanders. If we forget that we sat down to meditate, to look within, we can recognize that we lack concentration. We do not remember what we are doing. We are not focused on one thing and being distracted by others.
This quality, concentration, is very important. In the beginning, it is necessary to learn to concentrate. Learn to focus your perception, your consciousness, so that you can focus on one thing and not get lost. If you examine your day, if you take public transportation, you start thinking of other things or daydreaming. Maybe you are listening to your music player thinking about something that happen earlier in the day, not paying attention to your surroundings, not being aware, and then we forget our stop. It means that we are not awake. We are asleep. We are daydreaming. We are not conscious. That has to change.
You learn primarily to develop concentration when you are learning to be aware of yourself, your surroundings, and your internal states at all times. If you are learning to self-observe yourself throughout the day, your meditations are going to be very strong because meditation, as a state of being, is based on the capacity to focus throughout the day. This is genuine willpower.
Now in the West we like to think of willpower as something aggressive, violent, abrasive perhaps. But willpower is really the effort of the consciousness to place attention to one thing with serenity. Genuine willpower is very gentle. It is not mental exertion: the mind investing in a lot of thinking, or the heart in feeling, or the body in acting. The consciousness is beyond that. Conscious will, it is the capacity to perceive without having to think or to rely on negative emotions or instincts. It is a serene perception and introspection within oneself. It is a state of equipoise. It is quiescence, in which with your willpower, you are learning to observe yourself and not get distracted by anything, to be alert and attentive.
As you are doing that, much in the same manner as you are riding a boat that rocks with the waves when you are moving, when you sit still and maintain your focus by holding on to the mast of the ship and do not move, eventually, the waters will calm. Then you can start to see things clearly. The storm passes. It is the same thing with our mind. With willpower, we learn to sit still from a state of perception. In meditation, we learn to calm the body, calm the mind, calm the heart, and in that way, you are gaining an understanding of how chaotic your mind was. You do not get identified with it.
This state is known as calm abiding in Sanskrit: शमथ shamatha, or in Tibetan: shyine. It is very important to develop this. You do this with concentration exercises, but also learning to self-observe your self and remember yourself through out the day, to not be inattentive, asleep.
We also have analytical forms of meditation which relate to the capacity to perceive with clarity. There are visualization exercises in which you perceive non-physical imagery. If I tell you think of an apple, you can see it. It is not a physical thing, but it is in your mind. That is visualization. It is the capacity to perceive non-physical images, which is important when we learn how to perceive and understand ourselves.
In the beginning, our capacities to visualize tend to be very weak, very dispersed, very clouded, very obscure. But with analytical forms of meditation, like visualization practices, we strengthen the capacity of the soul, the consciousness, to see within. We do this through exercises like retrospection meditation, in which we learn to visualize our day: what we thought, what we felt, what we did. You can review your day from the morning to evening, or evening to the morning. You visualize what you saw in yourself. You rely on facts. In this way you begin to comprehend the different defects that manifest in you from moment to moment. This is how you gain inner vision: internal understanding. You start to see yourself in a new way when you look at the observable facts of your existence, so that you can gain deep, lasting knowledge about what actions are wrong and what you can do to change them.
Some people call this faculty clairvoyance. Unfortunately, it is a French term meaning “clear vision” that was created by a group of French initiates who wanted to establish a technical language and flavor to their art, so that the uninitiated would not basically disturb them in their practices. Unfortunately, this term has harmed many people, in the sense that many believe clairvoyance, this visualization capacity, this dynamic, is something only for the exceptional and the few, when in reality, it is merely the faculty of imagination: to see within.
That imagination can be subjective, meaning, conditioned by our own internal states, our defects, our defects, or it can be purified and clear meaning conscious, undisturbed, objective. This is known as insight (in Sanskrit: विपश्यना vipassana).
Qualities of Concentration
Let us talk about some qualities of concentration. I already mentioned a few.
Real concentration in the end is effortless. I know that in the beginning if we sit to focus, perhaps on a candle, observing the flame, as one practice you can do, or in the exercise of self-observation, in the beginning, it takes a lot of effort. It is very intense to stay alert, because you find, as you are trying to observe yourself, that you forget. You get lost within the mind. You forgot what you were doing. It takes a lot of energy within the consciousness to be present. But as you really cultivate concentration within yourself, it does not take any effort, because when you establish a momentum and that quality or way of being in life, it is natural. It is serene. It is calm.
We make a very clear distinction between mental exertion of the mind and the willpower of the consciousness. The consciousness is serene. It is calm. It happens spontaneously even as you are training yourself, so that you can respond to any situation in life with understanding, with wisdom, with compassion. In the higher stages of concentration, there is no effort involved, when it is perfect. In that way, it is unafflicted by desire, by defects.
As I said, concentration relates and can relate to the state of bliss, in which as you are observing yourself, you are not tossed about by the mind. You are not hurt by your own anger, because you have created a space, in the sense of separation, enough that you can look at yourself without getting caught up, being swallowed by the animal. Instead, you confront it. You look at it with equanimity, with calm, and in that way, you are inspired. You have bliss.
The greatest joy of the Gnostic is the discovery of one of his or her defects, because a discovered defect will be a dead defect. ―Samael Aun Weor
So, there is joy in that work. It is a continuous process. When concentration is really maintained throughout the day in a continuous, persistent, disciplined manner, gently bringing ourselves back to the present moment, we develop what is known as mindfulness: continuity of attention. Self-observation is the capacity to observe yourself in moment, but maintaining that throughout the day, that continuity, is known as mindfulness: to remember yourself all the time. With practice you gain clarity of yourself. You see and understand your daily states without labels, without conceptualizing what is going on, saying perhaps, “This is pride,” “this is anger,” or “this is fear.” Instead, you just look at yourself. You see yourself.
While it is important in our studies to understand the different qualities of our defects, it is important not to get caught up in terms. Sometimes we refer to the seven deadly sins or the legion of defects to help us have some type of groundwork to approach the complexities of our mind. When we talk about self-observation, you learn how to see how each defect works together, but also individually. Defects are not easy to categorize, if we are really honest and look at ourselves, because anger can be proud. Lust can be gluttonous. Fear can be angry. Vanity can be greedy. Each ego has its unique flavor that we have to comprehend and not to box up in some category in the intellect. This type of perception and concentration we are talking about is not strictly limited to a set of ideas. It is something really deep.
As you are observing yourself, you get a more vivid, intense, and stable consciousness. The consciousness becomes more robust as you exercise it, in the same manner that by going to the gym, you get stronger. It is also one-pointed in the sense like if you are really investing your whole heart and concentration within your consciousness, you are able to direct it at one thing at will, and to sustain it at will, for however long you want. This is what it means to be undistracted, and it is that foundation that allows us not to be obscured within ourselves.
When you are able to look at something with your consciousness without obscurations, without distraction, you start to understand the inherent nature of that thing. It is selfless. Self-observation, when the consciousness is looking within, does not have a self. It is clear and unconditioned. To be specific, the ego in Latin is a term for “I,” “myself,” “me,” “my desire,” etc. That is the self we need to understand and know so that by comprehending them, we can eventually remove them. But the consciousness does not have a conditioned sense of self there. Consciousness is perception. It is knowing. It is understanding. It is liberated, but it is not based upon a sense of “I.” This is something that you can only understand through experience and through the practices that we are going to elaborate.
The Basis of Concentration
So the basis of concentration involves some teachings from the Lam-rim Chen-mo [The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment], Tsongkhapa especially, a great Buddhist master who explained in his writings some ethical foundations and some stipulations that can help us to develop basic concentration.
One of them we already mentioned is an ethical lifestyle. If we are killing, stealing, lying, performing sexual misconduct, indulging in alcohol or intoxicants, negative behaviors, extortion, crime, etc., then we do not have basis in which to concentrate, because our mind will be a complete storm. Ethical livelihood, a compassionate lifestyle, is our best defense against negative circumstances in life. As Samael Aun Weor wrote:
The best weapon in life is a correct psychological state. ―Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology
Ethics has to do with living appropriately in the given moment. Cultivate your mind and cultivate a better way of being.
We also need to cultivate an environment that is going to help us rather than hinder us. A conducive environment has to do with establishing a space in our home or a place to go to meditate. For some people, their home is not an option. Maybe we have roommates, or other people nearby, neighbors, whatever it may be. We need to learn how to cultivate a space or have somewhere to go to practice. It is ideal to have a room in your home that you can dedicate to meditation. Have a well kept space and altar because that devotion to that particular space and environment for practice can charge us with a lot of enthusiasm, and a lot of joy to really continue and aspire in these studies.
For some people, a room is not an option, but instead one has a corner in their apartment or home, a park, or temple they go to. Whatever it is, we need a conducive environment that is going to facilitate our capacity to concentrate within.
In that way, we have to learn to reduce the desire for more. For some people, we have attachments to future expectations or longings for a better situation, better environment, better circumstances. Maybe some people (and it is common in the Gnostic movement) want a Gnostic spouse, feeling and thinking that they cannot meditate and enter the path if they are not married. This is an illusion. Whatever our desires for more or for different situations, we have to reduce our attachments.
We have to learn to become like renunciates, as seen in this image of Buddha Gautama Shakyamuni shaving his hair off before he became an ascetic. He eventually entered the wilderness in order to fully dedicate himself to meditation. Now, we are not advocating that kind of extreme practice, fakirism, or living in the wild to just meditate all day and only eating a grain of rice, which is extreme. Instead, what we are learning to do is be content with our situation. We need to learn to renounce our attachments and our desires for a different situation. We need to learn to accept what we have. We are where we are at in accordance with our actions, our karma. Our situation is a direct reflection of our mental states:
The internal is the reflection of the external. ―Immanuel Kant
If you want a better situation in your life, we need to learn to be content with what we have and the blessings that we already received, to accept our karma like the hammer and the anvil. It can be painful, yet we have to learn to get comfortable with adverse and difficult situations. If you are changing your mind, transforming your mind, having gratitude for the gift of life, and the fact that we still have a consciousness that can work despite a physical, emotional, or mental illness, we can really learn to transform ourselves. I have known people in these studies who have suffered really terrible illnesses, physically, emotionally, and mentally. I know one person who is suffering from schizophrenia, and by learning to comprehend his own inadequacies and faults, by learning to get treated and helped, has achieved great progress. There are some people who have a physical ailment, or are paraplegic, who cannot walk, who are sick. There is one example of a meditator who was dying of dysentery. If you are not familiar with that, it is very painful, and yet he still developed his meditation practice. So, reduce your desires and accept your situation.
Renouncing Useless Activities
It is not easy, but if you do and learn to renounce useless activities and distractions, we really can radically change.
So, some useless activities that we are probably already familiar with: fsome people, it is television, browsing the internet, doing useless things that really do not produce anything spiritual for us. Yet we tend to gravitate towards these things because our mind is agitated and wants to do something.
By reducing and renouncing useless activities, we learn to spend more time in useful activities like meditating and developing concentration.
Supportive Posture and Relaxation
We have to have a supportive posture, supporting our spine in a way, relaxing deeply, so that we can calm the body and also forget about it. The important basis of concentration is that our posture has to be adequate enough, in which we can relax it completely and no longer be identified with its itches, scratches, or discomforts. Calm your body. Spend a lot of time relaxing it, and learn a position that is useful for you. It can be full lotus or half lotus. Particularly for Easterners, this tends to be very common. For Westerners, you can sit on a chair or lay on our back. Although I do recommend that, if you are learning concentration for the first time, to do so sitting up on a chair, because sometimes laying on our back can be so relaxing that you forget the practice and you fall asleep. Learn to relax to the point that your body can suspend its activities, your senses calm, and you can look within completely, but without forgetting what you are doing.
For this we have to learn to work with energy. The consciousness needs energy to work. It cannot be active if we are not working with our vital forces, our mental forces, and our emotional forces. Every action requires energy in life, without exception. If we are wasting energy mentally, emotionally, or sexually―as we explain in our tradition as the most important energy we need to work―then consciousness will be depleted. It will not be able to awaken in a positive, pure, and clear way. We need energy to awaken the soul. If you are interested in learning how to work with creative energy especially, you can study Samael Aun Weor’s The Perfect Matrimony, or books like Kundalini Yoga and The Yellow Book.
Introspection and Withdrawal of the Senses
As you are working with energy, you are withdrawing your senses. You are working with exercises like pranayama, which is the practice of controlling the breath. You circulate the vital forces of your body, and in that way, you are withdrawing your attention from the external world. You are introspecting and entering your own psychology. You are calming. You are entering quiescence, equanimity, dispassion.
Mindfulness and Abandoning Distraction
As you are going within, you are developing mindfulness. You are not forgetting what you are doing. Mindfulness is important when you are developing concentration, as I said. You need to learn to self-observe throughout the entire day, not just for one moment, but for our entire, daily states, our entire life. We already mentioned that it is important to abandon distractions, things that are really pointless, as I said.
Also, abandoning distractions is not only physically renouncing activities, but it is learning to avoid the distractions of our mind. If we are sitting to concentrate upon something and your mind is thinking of something else and wants to go over some minute detail of your day, it can be good to look at it for a moment, but then abandon that distraction and return to the point of your practice. If you are sitting to practice with a specific purpose, I recommend that you fulfill that and stick to your guns, so to speak. Do not do something else than what you intended at the beginning of your practice, so that you have consistency and continuity, because the mind will look for excuses and opportunity to do what it wants, which is to wander in the mind.
Vigilance, Awareness, and Self-Observation
Vigilance helps us to establish concentration because, as I said before, with mindfulness, we learn to be awake at all times. To be in vigil means “to not sleep. “ Vigilance also has to do with the clarity and quality of our perception, to really see oneself in greater depth, greater vividness, intensity and purity. Awareness has to do with remembering oneself, being aware of one’s environment, and observing oneself moment by moment.
All of these principles help to establish concentration. If you practice these principles very heartily, you will radically progress.
Some basic concentration practices include focusing on external sensory objects. That is very good for beginners especially.
Upon External Sensory Objects: Breath
We have concentration upon the breath, Anapanasati, in which you only focus on the inhalations, the retention and the exhalations of breath. If the mind starts to think of something else, just focus on the breath. This is a very useful exercise when you are beginning to develop concentration, because grounding yourself in a natural function of your body can help you to gain awareness of yourself and some continuity in your attention. You can inhale for eight seconds, retain the breath for eight seconds, and exhale for eight seconds―however long you need, whatever is natural for your lung’s capacity.
Upon External Sensory Objects: Mantra
We have mantras and sacred sounds, which are vocalized sacred words. Mantra literally means “mind protection.” It is a vibration of sound in which it reverberates within our body, our internal physiology, and within our consciousness. Sacred sounds are a great way to charge your body with energy, and they help you to focus as well. It is good in the beginning to mantralize out loud. It is good to vocalize these sounds because there is a physical benefit to them.
There are practices in our tradition like the runes, which you can study on Glorian.org, in which you adapt postures in your body and vocalize sacred sounds in accompaniment with prayer, so that these energies and vibrations activate different centers of your psychology and physiology. It is also good to pronounce sacred mantras by whispering them throughout the day if you want to maintain your attention and concentration while you are at work. You can also do it mentally if you do not want people to notice.
We work with all three aspects: the physical vocalized component, there is a whispered component, and there is a silent recitation in the mind. Swami Sivananda wrote that silent Japa, mental recitation, is the most powerful because it requires the most attention and skill. I recommend that you work with all aspects of this. Spend some time vocalizing out loud during the day, whisper them as well, but also mentally pronounce these mantras when you are engaged in your daily life. This will help you maintain profound concentration and mindfulness.
Upon External Sensory Objects: Relaxation, Pulsation, Circulation
You can also concentrate upon the pulsation and circulation of your heart. This helps you to relax. Focusing on your heartbeat is very beautiful. It really grounds you in your own body. It helps you to realize that your heart, your physiology, your body, is a beautiful living thing with intelligence, with life. We often ignore our own body throughout the day. We are tense. We are uptight. We are agitated. By learning to relax your body, by learning to focus on the beat of the heart, you become more aware of yourself. You become more in tune. You relax. Relaxation is key. You want to relax yourself and your body to the point that you can forget about it. With this exercise, if you are really concentrated, your body can fall asleep, and you can have an astral projection through the chakra of your heart. It is very beautiful and very effective.
Upon Internal, Visualized, and Conceptual Objects: Candle or Stone
You can also concentrate upon internal, visualized, and conceptual objects like a candle or a stone. Light a candle. You observe it. You look at its features. You examine it and close your eyes. Then gently you construct the image your mind. Let it appear and show itself within your imagination. You learn to observe that quality in your consciousness, your imagination. You are visualizing the object. If the mind starts to play with the image―which it will―simply open your eyes again. Become observant again. Observe the candle. Look at it. Then close your eyes and visualize again. With practice you will learn to sustain an image with real intensity and vividness, with clarity and longer periods of time. You can also take a stone and simply observe it and visualize it as well in the same way.
The point is not to think of other things or let the mind do what it wants. But on this point, it is also important not to force the mind to do your practice. You do not want to exert tension in your mind. Imagination does not take effort in the sense that you are trying to build something in your intellect. You want to look at the image, close your eyes, gently bring it upon the screen of your attention, your visualization. If you are tense, relax. Open your eyes and look at the object again. This is not a violent repression of the mind. Do not beat it up. Do not beat yourself up. It is very calm and very peaceful.
Upon Internal, Visualized, and Conceptual Objects: Sacred Art, Sculptures, Mandalas
If you gain some skill, you can learn to concentrate on sculptures or mandalas, which are sacred art forms. They represent qualities and principles of divinity, which can inspire our practice. It takes more skill to visualize, obviously, more complex images, and we will talk about this in brief in the next few slides.
You can also focus on a plant which is the body of an elemental soul of nature, in which you learn to observe the plants features and visualize its qualities. If you are really deep in your meditation, you are concentrated and fully focused on what you are doing, you can relax to the point of falling asleep, then learn to enter the superior worlds to speak and communicate with the soul, the elemental of that plant. It is a very beautiful experience.
Upon One’s Own Mind without Discernment or Distraction
Lastly, you can explore and concentrate upon your own mind without discernment or distraction. This practice is not accompanied with a deeper visualization. What it is, is that you are looking at your internal states, not trying to discern or look at the depths of these defects, but you are learning to just look at the flowing thoughts and distractions of your mind without getting carried away by it. It is like looking at a blue sky in which clouds emerge, they sustain, and they pass. Concentration can be developed in that way. It can be very difficult for beginners, but work with whichever exercises help you most.
Deepening Concentration: Mindfulness
There are ways to deepen concentration once it is initiated. Mindfulness, as I said, is the capacity to remember what you are doing moment by moment throughout your entire day. Concentration is much more robust and strong as you consistently return yourself back to the origin of your discipline
Deepening Concentration: Remembrance
Remember your practice. For some people they like to have alarms on their clocks, watches, or phones set throughout different times of the day, so they can remember to engage their practice in case they forget what they have done or what they have been doing. Their alarm can bring them back. For some people, that can be very useful.
Deepening Concentration: Vigilance
Vigilance, as I said, is the capacity to not sleep, to be aware at all times, to remember yourself. Once you learn to identify distractions in the moment―this takes a lot of discernment and skill)―if you have established some degree of concentration, not forgetting what you are doing, there are other forms of distractions that emerge from the subconsciousness, infraconsciousness, and unconsciousness that ripple upon the surface of our awareness. As the waters are stilling, you can learn to look within with more profundity to learn and see the origins of distractions before they even really manifest upon the surface.
Deepening Concentration: Remedy Excitement and Laxity
Sometimes we can feel excitement or laxity in our meditation practice. You can feel overexcited or agitated, like you want results, or you can feel lax like you are really dull, heavy. You want to fall asleep. You simply enter oblivion, eight hours of unconsciousness where one does not even dream.
The remedy for excitement is to learn to reflect upon your mortality. Reflect on the fact that at one point we will die. Our life will end. Therefore, why be agitated? We have to face the reality of our circumstances, of our life.
For overexcitement, some desire for something, we have to curb that by understanding and reflecting that our desires are transient. They are futile. They are impermanent. Reflect on impermanence. Nothing lasts forever in this universe. Therefore, why be attached?
If you are lax or dull, you can practice a visualization exercise. You can imagine a bright sun in your consciousness, your mind, in your heart, as you see in this image of a buddha meditating towards the sun. Imagine a bright, brilliant, golden sun within your consciousness, so that light can give you strength and inspiration. You can also visualize any image that gives you joy and encouragement from the diverse religious traditions, so that you are inspired to embody those qualities.
Deepening Concentration: Notice an Object’s Qualities as They Are
The important thing is that we need to notice an object’s qualities as they are. We cannot project our assumptions and ideas of what we are seeing. You just have to look at what is there. Do not let the mind label what you are seeing. In that way, you abandon expectations, assumptions, or thinking that your meditation will end up a certain way. Some people enter a meditation expecting a samadhi, an astral projection, a mystical experience, and they ignore that that very desire is what obscures their practice. We have to abandon all expectations. Let the mind settle. Simply be, and if the experiences come, they will do so by their own accord when you are receptive.
Deepening Concentration: Increase Relaxation
You can also learn to increase your relaxation in order to really deepen concentration, because if you are agitated by excitement or feeling dull, you want to relax the body. But again, if you are too tense, you want to let go so much on the strain, so to speak. You do not want to be too tight psychologically.
Deepening Concentration: Unwavering and Effortless Focus
We need unwavering and effortless focus. This is something that happens in the higher degrees of concentration in which you no longer waver from thing to thing. You are no longer distracted. But then as you are becoming more acquainted with that state, it does not take any effort. It is effortless. You simply will it and it is. It is very gentle, spontaneous, intuitive, and a wonderful, blissful state.
Deepening Concentration: Don’t Exert Thought and Energy
Now, if you are forgetting yourself, gently refocus upon the object. I cannot emphasize this enough. Do not exert the mind. Recall your attention. Reflect upon the object, and be gentle. Do not exert yourself with thought and energy. That can be a major obstacle towards the end of your concentration practices, especially as you are advancing towards higher stages. If you exert yourself to any degree, you will lose that state. For some people, they can be meditating or even having an astral projection, in which they are awake in that state, then they become fearful or engage in a thought for the moment or they exert their mind, and then they lose the samadhi, the ecstasy, the experience. Do not exert yourself at that point. Let your mind settle.
Deepening Concentration: Momentary Retrospection
If you forget what you are doing at some point in your meditation, it is good to utilize a momentary retrospection when you lose that mindfulness. So, if you are meditating and you remember your object, but then for a minute you forget what you are doing, it is good to reflect in that moment about what thought led you down that chain of associative thinking, that led you towards distraction.
Qualities of Insight
Some qualities of insight that are really important to reflect upon, as I said, are insight, which is imagination: the ability to perceive internal imagery. In the same way that you dream, you perceive images that are not physical. Likewise, imagination is that capacity. It is direct perception of internal reality.
Dreams occur in a material dimension that is not physical. There is a different form of matter and energy there. There is a reality there that is very concrete, but it is not as concrete as our physical dimension. Likewise, our internal experiences emerge within our consciousness in the form of non-physical images, sounds, visions. This is clairvoyance.
But unfortunately in us, our perception tends to be very clouded. It is very conditioned. Most of our time throughout the day, we engage in fantasy. As I said, when we are distracted, we are thinking of our co-worker, perhaps, and an event we had in the day. Perhaps we were angered by their actions, and so we are ruminating about revenge. This is negative clairvoyance, fantasy. It is mechanical. It just happens within the mind, and we simply go with it if we are not questioning ourselves, examining ourselves. That is a negative psychological state in which we are wasting profound reservoirs of energy within our body, heart, and mind.
Real clairvoyance, real vision, conscious imagination, pure seeing, is when we are looking at the contents of our experience without any ego there to filter. In the beginning, it is going to be mixed, because we are training ourselves for the first time. We are learning to see ourselves, who we are.
But of course in the beginning, we are going to be mixed, as I said. Often times in the beginning, we struggle to visualize. We struggle to see the qualities and colors of an image, and to sustain that within our consciousness.
It is important to reflect that there are different forms of visualization or imagination, we can say. I mentioned that there is a negative component, which is fantasy, egotistical, the projections of the ego, mind, or desire. But then there is conscious imagination, which is the soul.
Now the consciousness can learn to develop its perceptive qualities by projecting an image. We learn to take a candle, as I said, you imagine it. You visualize it. You are projecting that image within yourself so that you can develop that capacity in you that can see it as it is with your imagination.
With practice we also learn how to receive images as well. As you are entering a silent and serene state of mind, your body is fully relaxed. You are fully withdrawn in your consciousness. You are imagining that projected imagine within your awareness, the screen of your imagination. Suddenly without thinking about it or expecting it, you receive something new. Perhaps a situation, a dream, a vision emerges. Often times it occurs in a form of some type of drama in which you are an actor and a participant. You are witnessing yourself doing things, seeing people, seeing landscapes, seeing cities. There is really the infinitude of possibilities here, of different experiences that you can have with your imagination. But the important thing to remember is that when you learn to project images and remain consistent and sustain those visualizations the best we can, we learn to receive images of a new type. This is really meditation: to receive information that you have not known before, to receive something in a new way. This is an unconditioned, conscious, and clarified state.
When you receive these visions or experiences, we can start to sense and discriminate that there is a different quality to these images and these perceptions from our daily, egotistical states. For most people, those visions occur very quickly and then they end, suddenly, we are back in our body, in our chair where we are meditating, once again. So, this shows us that our imagination, our perceptive qualities, are not necessarily sustained as of yet, fully developed. We can gain sparks of insight here and there. Those types of perceptions give us a lot of inspiration and joy to continue working. These experiences become more sustained and detailed the more we work with them, to the point that we learn to develop and access supraconscious states.
There are many possibilities within imagination. In the beginning, we have small visions or experiences, but with dedication for many years, we can learn to access perceptions, not only of individual consciousness, but of a universal state, of a divine perception. This has to do with our studies of different dimensions of nature, the multidimensionality of our Being called the Tree of Life. You can study many courses in our website, but also Glorian.org, if you want to find out more information about that: the different structures, principles, and spheres of being that exists within and without.
Those experiences are very spontaneous, as I said. They come when we do not seek them, but when we establish the requisites and the steps, the foundations for their actualization. These experiences are very factual. They relate not only to our psychological states, but to different events in our life. This is how we can confirm the reality of our perceptions, their validity, their veracity, their truthfulness, when we look at the physical facts and how they relate to what you perceive. Otherwise, we can be clouded by our own subconscious memories, our habits, our own frustrated desires, even our deep infraconscious states, which are deep traumas, desires, or terrors within the deeper qualities of our psychological abysses.
We have to be cautious of our own perceptions. Do not take them at face value, but learn to discriminate with the heart.
Also, study the different teachings, the symbols throughout various traditions, so that we can learn to interpret with clarity. We have given many courses before about this subject. You can study the Sufi Principles of Meditation on our website. One lecture we talked extensively about how to interpret what we perceive [Awareness, Unveiling, and Witnessing]. You can also study our course Gnostic Meditation where we talk about those same principles: Imagination, Inspiration, and Intuition.
Insight Practices: Visualizing, Pondering, or Discerning an Object
Some practices for insight include visualizing, pondering, or discerning an object―when you take an object to perceive in your consciousness, your visualization, and try to discern, intuit, or comprehend what it is in a deeper level. As you are learning to sustain that visualization and simply imagining it with an open mind, new insights can emerge regarding it, as I said. You start to have experiences. They enfold magically within your perception.
Insight Practices: Visualization and Retrospection of Memories and Dreams
We also have visualization and retrospection of memories and dreams. This is probably one of the most important within our tradition. It really is the bread and butter of our meditations, because retrospection helps us to understand how and why we are thinking a certain way, or dreaming throughout the day, and in our nightly life when we are physically asleep. We review our states so that we can understand interrelations, the connections, and the subjectivities of our own egotistical states, so that we can comprehend the ego and eventually remove them.
Insight Practices: Visualizing and Comprehending a Deity
There is a practice within Tantrayana, Tantric Buddhism especially, in which we visualize and comprehend a deity. This practice involves imagining one’s self as a divine being, not from a sense of megalomania, pride, or vanity of a mystical type. Instead it is about learning to embody the qualities of compassion that we find present in sacred beings, in sacred masters, in sacred entities, the divine.
Insight Practices: Comprehension of Conscious Qualities
Also, we can perform insight practices of comprehension of conscious qualities: comprehending our virtues. I know some people get caught up in the ego and are very distressed by their own mind. We always recommend to meditate on their virtues. Meditate on compassion. Meditate on what it means to love, to sacrifice for others, to be patient, to be diligent. When you recognize those qualities in yourself, you will not be easy to be fooled. You will not give up because you recognize what is real and what is false.
In retrospection dynamics or meditation, you need to have some relative state of concentration. We say that typically you want to have enough concentration and continuity in your discipline that you do not forget what you are doing, because you need to remember all the different events of your day. You recall your memories, and you visualize them. Take a part of your day, those that you remember most. You can also start from your earliest moment to the last, or from the last moment of your day when you sat to meditate and reflect on the morning.
Probably in the beginning, at some points you will recognize that there are times in your day in which you do not remember anything. This means that we are very asleep. You can pray to your inner divinity to help you remember what happened. We have a mantra that we use with retrospection, and it is:
You pronounce it like this:
You pronounce that mantra mentally. You can do it out loud as well, but I recommend doing it mentally, and look to extract the moments, the events that you had forgotten, or that are difficult to ascertain. Those mantras, as Samael Aun Weor states, are like dynamite. You are blowing a hole within your subconscious caves, your mind, so that you can go into the depths to see and shed light there.
It is also important that when you are retrospecting that you observe when your thoughts and emotions arise in connection with visualization. So for example, you are retrospecting your day and suddenly as you are thinking about an argument you had at work or a conflict. You start to feel that anger again. You have thoughts of revenge, animosity, or rage. You have to observe that reaction in you when it is happening, in response or in reaction to your visualization. The important thing is that you look at your reactions because that is in relation to your visualization. So, you can pause a moment in your retrospection and look at that defect that is so adverse in you, to examine it, to discern, to intuit, to understand, to comprehend your mental processes. You look at your reactions.
For some people, they can retrospect the entire day, or you can retrospect your week. I recommend you work daily, but you perform retrospection meditation upon events that occurred even in your childhood, or even when you were born.
The consciousness can remember if you train it. So, it is important that when you are performing retrospection meditation that you remember that your consciousness is distinct from mental processes. Your consciousness is not the mind. When you are remembering your day, you are not doing it with the intellect. It is a different skill. You need to learn it through practice. Visualization and perception of the events, recollection, recall, attention, is very different from thought. You have to learn to distinguish the two. If you want to distinguish the two, I recommend learn more about self-observation. Practice it n your daily life. Study Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology by Samael Aun Weor. That will teach you the distinction very clearly.
Visualization of a Deity
When you visualize a deity, you want to achieve some relative level of mental equipoise. We have Padmasambhava here, a great Buddhist master from the Tibetan tradition, a great initiate. You can take an image of a great master, a deity, and imagine yourself as that quality. You want to embody certain aspects of comprehension, compassion, joy, love, of certain divine figures, like Jesus or Virgin Mary. You can visualize those entities or beings and that your consciousness resonates with that, that you are that quality in your most profound depths and recesses of your heart.
Pick an image or figure that really inspires you, an image of a deity, a god, an inner being. You combine this with prayer and deep spiritual longing. You need to feel in your heart, that tremendous love for that being, for that master, for your inner God even. You can take an image of your inner Being―if you have had that experience where you have seen your inner divinity as a figure―because divinity can take any form to teach us. You can visualize that. Visualize your Innermost. That is obviously a much more difficult practice if you have not had that experience. If you do, then in your meditations and internal visions you can reflect on your true nature. Combine it with prayer with longing with joy. We yearn with our heart and beg that we may realize those qualities in ourselves.
Discerning Mental Processes
When we discern mental processes, we need to comprehend the how and the why of the mind. Serenely perceive the mind’s changing states in the moment. We need to look at ourselves.
How is our intellect? How are our emotions? How is our body changing moment by moment? How is it functioning? Why do we react a certain way? Why do we think certain thoughts? Why do we behave in certain circumstances a certain way?
You need to look at this when you are discerning your mental processes in meditation. You are looking within at how your different thoughts are moving about and what they are doing. You are learning to extract and understand what is there. This is a very profound meditation that you can perform in which you are just discriminating the thoughts and emotions from your consciousness.
Again, your consciousness is very distinct from thought and emotion. They are separate when you look at their different qualities, their taste. They are as different as water from wine. You learn to acclimate yourself gradually to what is real from what is false. But of course, in that process, you have to learn to not identify with those thoughts, emotions, and fluctuating states. You do it gradually and question yourself on what you think, see, understand, and know, because we need to be very cautious with our own mind. We must not assume that we know what we know, not out of a sense of morbid skepticism, but from a conscious analysis, an inquiry into wanting to understand the reality of our own inner states.
When you expand your consciousness, your mental processes will become more subtle, in which thought will seek to evade our radar, so to speak. But in this practice, you are discerning your mental states―just looking at what is there. Do not label with your thoughts or emotions, but learn to see within what each ego, thought, feeling, or memory is doing. Apprehend the phenomenon and the phenomena without conceptualizing your mind, without boxing it up in a category and assuming that we know. Simply look.
Integrating Concentration and Insight
When you are working with concentration and insight, you are integrating these qualities in a deeper sense. Some principles that relate to this involve the fact that when you have greater concentration, your insight is much more profound. If you are able to focus your attention on one thing without distraction, your capacity to understand it is going to be much more deep than if your mind is fragmentary and dispersed.
As I said, imagination is the perception of non-physical imagery. That quality develops in us as we are working with concentration and stabilizing our perception. We gain greater color, vividness, intensity, sustainability, understanding, and the overall quality and clarity of our vision increases the more we work with it and the more we remove our negative psychological defects.
It is important that our consciousness can only understand through perception. It must first perceive before it can understand. You cannot comprehend what you do not see. This is why meditation is fundamental for real change. You may intellectually conceptualize that you have a defect that you want to remove, but unless you see it, you cannot do anything about it.
Now, visualization in this process strengthens our insight, our ability to understand something, because when you are learning to visualize, you are granting your consciousness more strength by which to first see more, but also develop and inspire deeper concentration in order for you to practice more, to understand more. It is also important to know that perfect concentration, shamatha, is not necessary to gain initial wisdom. You just need enough concentration so that you do not forget what you are doing, if you really want to develop insight further.
Shamatha, or calm abiding, the ability of concentration, without insight, can produce a very temporary state of liberation or bliss. We can feel joy, as I said, in recognizing a state of consciousness that is not identified or limited by distractive thoughts. Obviously, if you are perfecting shamatha and learning to introspect within, you can learn to access even deeper states of bliss. This state of shamatha in which you are absorbed within concentration is not a final state of liberation. It is not the end. There are many degrees of imaginative knowledge, inspirational knowledge, intuitive knowledge that is accessible only when we really abandon all distractions of mind. Having some stability of concentration is not the end, as some schools like to think. We do state that perfect serenity and insight are needed if you do want complete liberation. In the analogies I mentioned to you before, the lake cannot reflect perfect images if there is any ripple there. Both are needed in their fullest forms in order to go really deep.
Advice for Developing Concentration
Here is some advice for developing concentration.
We recommend that you overcome procrastination, meaning, try to meditate as much as you can, but do not postpone it. Do not delay the practice of meditation. Learn to cultivate some time and period of your day to actually practice, so that you do not enter self-defeatism, when you feel like you are beating yourself up and then you are not getting anywhere because you are morbid, sad, or overwhelmed by the magnitude of this work. Start small. Begin with what you can, and gradually build from there.
Also, give up useless activities, because the more time we give up doing senseless things, the more time we have to practice.
Also, we should not forget the practice’s instructions, but learn to follow them, meaning, if you are sitting to concentrate but your mind wants to do something else, remember the practice. Do not forget the objective you have established and set down for yourself. Do not follow the whims of your mind, but learn to follow the instructions.
Do not forget to practice. When you are doing it, do not forget that you are doing it. Remain conscious throughout. We recommend that you start with two to three short sessions, such as five to fifteen minutes each. Start small but frequently. That is how you are going to go deeper in your exercises.
If you are unable to accomplish these or clarify what this all means, we recommend that you really study. Study the resources we have available and reflect on what you really want. Reflect on what you long for by approaching meditation, because when we clarify what we want, we have a greater understanding about how to achieve it.
Advice for Developing Insight
We also have some advice for developing insight. I recommend that in the beginning, visualize less complicated objects. Do not start with something really intricate that you cannot handle. Start with something small. If you are struggling to visualize with greater clarity, start smaller and simpler. If you have a larger object, you can visualize parts of it to gain clarity or vividness, sustainability, and intensity. If you want to take a mandala, just focus on one aspect of it, whether it be the head of the figure or the bottom. Whatever it is, just focus on that one part. When you master that, move on. Expand your degree of visualization.
Also, practice short but frequent sessions. You want to gradually increase the time. It is important not to strain or exert your mind. Learn to relax. This is not a strenuous thing where you are trying to scrunch your eye and brow together to visualize something and make it happen. This practice does not require any strain. Likewise with concentration. If you find that you are tense, relax your body, and return to the visualization. Then allow the imagery to sustain itself and hold.
Learn to first project that image in your consciousness. Imagine it. Learn to sustain it, and eventually you will start to receive new perceptions and insights without you asking for them, or expecting them, more importantly.
We have some reading sources available. You can study our course on Gnostic Meditation but also Glorian.org has a wonderful course called Meditation Essentials. We highly recommend it, and also, we finished a course called the Sufi Principles of Meditation where we go into more depth about each individual aspect of this science. We highly recommend that you study them.
At this point in time, I would like to open up the floor to questions.
Questions and Answers
Question: One of the things I find happens automatically, if I have been away with my mind somewhere for a fair time, is when I come back to where I am and I become present again, which is a shock. An adrenaline hits, like I have been smacked back into awareness. Any thoughts to this or how to keep it from occurring, as it upsets any calm in the body that was there? Sometimes it is like a smack. Other times I hear a loud sound that hasn’t happened in reality, whether a bell or like a firework bang, or something to that effect.
Instructor: The question is about when coming back to the present moment, it is like having a shock, an adrenaline hit, and that happens when arriving back to awareness in the present moment, that one feels an upset state, no longer calm in the body or in the mind, because one recognizes that one forgot oneself.
It is important to distinguish between the capacity of the consciousness to remember itself, to remember divinity, that you remember the moment, but without a sense of self-flagellation or abrasiveness, so to speak.
If I understand your question correctly, when coming back to the present moment, it can be a shock. Yes, we can forget what we have done in a moment, perhaps because we were distracted. Personally, in my experience when I had such moments, I felt great joy in remembering “Oh, I am supposed to be remembering what I am doing!” ― to be awake. But not out of a sense of shame or a sense of agitation or negativity. It is very different. The ego is always negative, a conditioned state which can produce a state of agitation in our body, mind, and nervous systems, particularly if we are more sensitive emotionally. In psychology, they refer to it as neuroticism, to be neurotic, more susceptible to negative emotions, and if we have that predisposition, sometimes having a shock of awareness in a moment can really startle us.
I recommend if you are struggling to being present in the moment and those shocks tend to disturb you, work with your heart. Learn to shock your consciousness with good energy, with positive superior emotions. You can develop the mantra O, especially, if you want to develop that capacity for yourself, so that your intuition and your conscience guides you, and reminds you, “Hey, you forgot yourself!” Now, you bring yourself to the moment without having to self-flagellate, so to speak, or to feel upset.
Question: Can you speak on memory? What is it? What is there in relationship to the Tree of Life or spontaneity of thought?
Instructor: Memory is ego, typically. Our mind, our defects, are constantly immersed in the past or projecting ideas into the future. Our psychological conditions are memories. We get lost in thought that associate one event with another, and with another event. That is how the mind projects its images, its contents within the screen of our imagination. It is typically negative, where the mind is projecting its own ideas or fantasies or remembrances about what happened.
In relation to the Tree of Life, the ego operates within the lower sephiroth or the four bodies of sin. We have Netzach, which is the mind, Hod, which is the emotions, Yesod, which is our vitality, and Malkuth, which is our physicality. Our mind operates those four sephiroth or spheres, and the ego operates within those bodies, those vehicles.
We tend to get caught up in memories within the mind, the intellect, Netzach, and often times have emotional responses to them, our Hod, which wastes and expends creative vital energy, which is Yesod, often times without our body [Malkuth]being aware of it or being agitated by those memories.
So, the ego is memories, the past. It is illusion. If you are in the present moment, you can learn to introspect within your own states, to those defects in meditation.
There is another type of memory which is much more distinct from our common sense of it. We call it work memory, in which the consciousness can remember what happened factually. Do our memories tend to be more or less accurate? Typically not. They are half-truths, fragments of what happened or what someone said. They are not accurate. Whereas work memory is the memory of the consciousness, to understand intuitively and profoundly what our daily states were, how we behaved, what we said, what we did, what we thought, how we acted. It is work memory because you have to work to get it. You work the consciousness. You exercise it in order to remember and understand in that way, whereas the ego does not work for anything. It just simply is. It is a heavy, conditioned, lethargic, destructive state. It is caught up in the past or is always projecting its anticipations and fears into the future.
Our ego operates moment by moment. We have to examine the different trends in our psychological states, to examine what is going on there. What are the interrelationships between our thoughts, our feelings, and our actions?
Comprehension is spontaneous. This is something more deeper than thought. Comprehension happens in the moment in which you are brilliantly aware, awake, comprehending any given phenomenon. It can happen without you thinking about it. Thought is much slower. Thought is a machine, but the consciousness is what has to operate the human machine. So, there is a very distinct difference there. If you want to learn more about those differences, you can study our course Beginning Self-Transformation. It goes into great depth about this.
Question: How can we transform negative mental vibrations when starring at a candle or plant or person?
Instructor: I recommend that if you are overcome by negative mental states, energies, or influences, that rather than focusing on a candle or a plant, you learn to work with prayer and conjurations. We have different exercises that help to protect our mind, such as sacred sounds or mantras from negative influences.
We have given a course and are continuing to add to it on our website, which is called Spiritual Self-Defense. You can study those lectures which emphasize different practices in order to defend oneself from negative influences corroding our spirituality, or from influencing us in a negative way.
Question: How do we distinguish obsessive thoughts from insights from our higher self, soul, inner Being, especially when those thoughts go against our ethics―sexuality or lust?
Instructor: The answer is in your question. Your ego does not do anything in accordance with the law, spiritually speaking. Our ego always goes against our ethics. So, if our thoughts and our desires, our mind contradicts the ethical stipulations of any tradition, it means that we are being driven about our own inner Satan, שטן Shaitan in Hebrew, our adversary, our ego, the devil.
So, you learn to distinguish real insight when you are not caught up in your desires. You can only distinguish between them when you establish yourself a space within your interior, a calm, serene, ethical state. You cannot distinguish anything if you are giving into your desires. This is the basis of any religion. If you want to learn to have insights from your inner divinity, you need to not act on your ego, your desires, your lustful thoughts. That is the beginning for anyone. It is very difficult because we have so many conditioned states and a lot of desire, but it is possible. Learn to reflect on the qualities of the prophets, the masters, the divine beings, because they can give us inspiration to want to fulfill their ethical codes of conduct.
The second part of this question is:
Question: Namely do we simply accept our truth, or do we also change it to make ourself better?
Instructor: Unfortunately, most of us do not know what the truth is because we have a lot of desires. Most people want to accept their desires at the expense of religion. This is why you find religions today have degenerated. People are basically giving into their preferences and not really looking at the reality of their actions or what the different religious scriptures actually teach. They are adulterating what they taught.
So, we cannot just accept our psychological state, because our mind is not reality. It does not see reality. It does not see the truth. We have a lot of desires, preoccupations, preconceptions, and attachments. If what we want is to enter a state of meditation, we need to learn to confront all of that, to accept the fact that we are at fault. By recognizing our own defects, we learn to change them. We do not necessarily make our own egos better by cultivating more intellectualism, sentimentality, or certain ritual observances without comprehension, but instead, it has to do with removing the obstacles that prevent the realization of our own inner Being within us. That is how we purify ourselves.
Question: Can you speak about the importance of having a sense of awe and wonder while observing ourselves throughout the day, and the importance of this sense of the consciousness? I notice that when my consciousness is in a more active state, this sense of awe and wonder is present within me.
Instructor: Yes, that is a very beautiful statement and question, because when you are really observing yourself, you are seeing life in a new way. You are seeing like a child. You ever watch a child looking at things, being absorbed within the novelty of the moment, within reality, within the joy of being present? That is a psychological state that we need to cultivate whenever we are observing ourselves, when we have consistent and continuous awe, respect for our own inner divinity, because we are seeing life in a new way. We are not caught up in our own mind, clouded and obscured by thought.
When you are actively perceiving and remembering yourself, you are cultivating a real inspiration within you, and that is how you know that you are really doing it. You feel joy in the process.
Some people, for some reason, they get very upset, overwhelmed, and angry when they are observing themselves and they see such and such defects: “I am so negative,” “I am so evil,” and feel very morbid and repressive. This is wrong. When you are seeing with your consciousness, you feel inspiration and joy―a very different state. Even though you may be afflicted by defects, you still feel that happiness and alert novelty in the moment by following that intuitive state.
Question: Do you have any tips for interpreting dreams or visions?
Instructor: Yes. We touched up on some points in the Sufi Principles of Meditation, especially in the lecture called Awareness, Unveiling, and Witnessing. We go into some detail about how to interpret dreams and visions. But also, we are going to be giving a course very soon in person and also broadcast the lectures on Dream Yoga and Astral Travel. We are going to go into a lot of depth and many aspects of that science.
Question: When sleeping, I would have some vivid or lucid dreams. I would then sometimes have an intense vibration in my ears, extremely tense with an oscillating vibration. I would try to work through that sensation, but it would ultimately just wake me up. I was also afraid every time this occurred. The vibrations were compounding with increasing intensity. Can you provide any insight?
Instructor: When you experience any type of psychic perception, psychic sound, or vision, you also must learn not to identify with it. The important thing is that whatever happens in your meditations, or your dream yoga exercises, practices, that whatever occurs, you do not identify with it. Personally, I have experienced many such sounds like you have mentioned: oscillations, and vibrations in the brain. In the beginning I remember being scared of it, obviously. It is unfamiliar. It is unusual. It is strange. It is uncomfortable because we are just not acclimated to that type of transition, in a conscious sense, from the physical world into the internal worlds.
When you become more familiar with them and you let them happen without fighting against them or trying to accelerate their process, you let the astral projection and the experiences unfold magically on their own. Eventually, with practice you will get to a point when that happens to you, you get really excited. You realize, “I about to astral project!” and so, you let it happen and you go about your business in the internal worlds.
Just be patient. Do not get fearful. Learn to accept what happens. Look at the psychic impressions that emerge, but do not get filled with fear. Instead, comprehend and meditate on your fears that you do not like in those experiences, because the reality is that those type of vibrations are happening all the time when we go to sleep. The reality is that we do not have any awareness of them. When we go to bed, we experience them every night, but we do not really do so with attention or awareness. Let them happen and be patient.
Question: So, what is meant to go beyond duality and become one or whole if we keep having this fight against our animal instincts?
Instructor: That is a really good question. I like that a lot, because it helps us to understand or to comprehend the different nuances of diverse spiritual philosophies, but also the practical application of those methods. Now when you are observing yourself, there is a type of separation there. When you as a consciousness are looking within your internal psychology and your thoughts, feelings, and body, you need to have a sense of separation as a consciousness. You are learning to look at the different multiplicity of defects that are in you. You can only do that if you are looking within and examining your relationship of your three brains to your environment.
Now the reality as religions teach―like in Islam or even in Hinduism that God is one, but expresses as many―the reality is that our consciousness has the potential to be unified and whole, integral. Yet for now, it is dispersed and fractured amongst multiple defects like anger, pride, vanity, fear, lust, laziness, etc. Our consciousness is trapped within those defects.
In the process and path of meditation, we are learning to integrate ourselves more and more, just as you integrate your concentration by learning to focus on one thing and not get distracted. In this path, we learn to integrate the soul, so that it can unify with divinity. Therefore, we become a unity, a perfect being.
So, the problem with many people who approach these ideas of duality and wholeness really do so from an intellectual standpoint. They are not comprehending that in order to be unified, you need to have an integral consciousness in a practical sense, in the practical dimensions of life.
Fighting one’s animal instincts can be a problem for people because in that sense, when you are exerting mental effort to repress your own mind, you are harming yourself. That is a harmful activity. We are not talking about that. When you meditate, you are not repressing your mind. Some people like to think of meditation like that, where you are just fighting your desires with your intellect, your heart. But that is not the real meaning of real spiritual work, spiritual war. It is the consciousness that has to act. The consciousness has to look at each defect and not give in to them or identify with them. But you do not do so by exerting effort, by fighting or repressing your mind. Seeing something that is negative and then feeling shame―that is just the mind battling the mind. That is duality there. That is the dualism that keeps us hypnotized within unconscious, suffering states.
If you want to be integral, you really have to be your unity, which is your consciousness, because we still have some consciousness that is available to us. Traditionally, we have 97% ego according to Samael Aun Weor and 3% consciousness. The problem is that 3% tends to stay asleep and inactive. What happens for most people is that giving into one’s desires, that 3% becomes swallowed within the rest of the ego. That is a big problem.
Even though we have 3% consciousness, we can still achieve a lot because that is still what remnant we have left of any integrity or unity within us. It is that unity of our soul that has to work and free the rest of the consciousness that is trapped. This process does not involve a dualistic notion of fighting oneself, in the sense that your ego is fighting the ego. That does not work. The consciousness has to understand all the different aspects of our psychology, so that it can integrate everything. It can integrate the shadow, so to speak according to Jungian psychology. Do not create a duality within yourself in the sense that your mind is trying to fight your mind. You can only recognize what is objective and subjective by learning to see with a serene state of mind. Serenity does not require any type of conflict of intellectual concepts. It is a very subtle thing. It is not very easy to apprehend.
I recommend to study Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology and Light from Darkness and Spiritual Power of Sound by Samael Aun Weor. He talks a little bit about how the mind cannot fight the mind. Instead, the consciousness must understand and work upon itself.
Question: Do we get tested more often as we work more and more, bettering ourselves?
Instructor: Yes. You will get challenged by divinity. Divinity is very demanding. You say you want to enter the path of initiation and spirituality. Divinity says, “Prove it.”
So if you want to show that you are a very ethical person, you get tests so that those hidden defects will come out of you, so that you can see what you need to work on. We have talked about this extensively in our course The Secret Path of Initiation, which you can study.
Question: So we as a physical being have a role in teaching our own soul and not simply manifesting our soul’s desires?
Instructor: I would like to provide some clarity regarding the distinction between the soul and desire. We say that our desire is ego. The ego wants. It craves. It needs. It seeks. It strives. It wants to be fed: “my thoughts,” “my pride,” “my anger,” “my fear,” “my gluttony,” “my lust…” That is desire.
The soul is not desire, in strict language. I know some people get caught up in semantics, but the soul does not crave anything. It only longs for divinity. It is a different, conscious quality. It aspires to the heights, not out of ambition or pride, but from humility and love.
As physical beings and as consciousness within such bodies, we need to basically train ourselves in meditation so that we can work. The one who teaches the soul is the Being, the Innermost, the divine. In the process of meditation, we need to train our body, heart, and mind to work effectively, consciously. The one who teaches you, that is your inner Being, your divine spirit who manifests his intuitions, hunches, and inquietudes within the heart, within our conscience. So, the conscience, intuition, guide us. Our inner judgment guides us in this process, teaches within our heart what we must apply, in terms of these practices, so that we can effectively change.
We need to learn to hear that voice, but also act on it. That is what we need to teach ourselves, how to do, because the divinity within us needs us to respond. We have a choice. We can follow our desires, egos, or follow the intuitions of our heart, which is ethical consciousness of Being.
Question: Should we be aware of our three brains during the day?
Instructor: Absolutely. That is the beginning of self-observation. You learn to examine the contents of your thoughts, your feelings, and your impulses.
The Three Brains:
We need to understand how these brains function, how they operate, what their food is, how they process life within these respective machines, so that we can operate and manage our negotiations with the world. You have to learn to observe how your thinking works, how your feelings and your impulses manifest.
The important thing is not only just to be aware of your three brains, in a moment that you have anger boiling inside with these negative emotions, thoughts, and desires that harm verbally, or not. The important thing is to be aware of it first, but also to learn how to act consciously within your three brains. Transform the impression that you received.
So, the beginning is awareness. A lot of people are already familiar with this within spiritual circles and movements. It is the kindergarten of spirituality. Be aware of where you are at and your states of mind. It is important not to just get stuck there. Being aware does not guarantee that you are going to act ethically. You can be fully aware of yourself while you are committing murder. You can be fully aware as you are stealing something from someone. Having awareness is not enough. Yes, it is the beginning, but if you are investing your awareness within negative psychological states, it means that we are awakening negatively. We are acting in a destructive way.
If you really want to curtail that, first be aware, but then learn to act ethically within intuition, with conscience. The more awareness you invest within transforming negative psychological states and responding to life with the highest ethical caliber, you learn to transform the situation and produce happiness for others. That means when you understand how negative thoughts work, you also understand how superior intellectual understanding emerges. You understand and learn how to work with intuitive mind: knowing an answer without having to elaborate with the intellect, with the slow and laborious process of intellectualism, with theories, with ideas. Instead, your mind can receive an insight, intuition, and then you can act with a superior emotion, with love, with compassion. In that way, you are also training your motor-instinctive-sexual brain, not only to be aware, but to know how to respond to the higher centers of your being, because your sexuality and your motor-instinctive qualities, belonging to your spine, operate vertically in relation to the lower parts of your body. So, they are inferior in a sense, but they are also a foundation of how the other centers work.
Be aware of these processes, but you also want to integrate the three brains in your actions, because most people, we can become aware that our thoughts are in one direction, our heart is feeling something else, and our body wants to act in another way. That means that we are split in three. We are not integrated. First become aware of that, but then you learn to integrate your self by learning to act consciously, by transforming impressions, by becoming aware of that process, and also making conscious choices of how you drive your human machine.
Question: My question is, how to distinguish the voice of the consciousness and that of the mind, emotions, and call to action by the ego? What does it feel like in the body when the consciousness is communicating with one?
Instructor: The only one that can really guide you in that is your own meditation. I can relate to you qualities of my own experiences, which could help inspire you and give you some sense of direction, but knowing the voice of divinity is a very difficult thing, especially because we are so hypnotized by many conditions of mind, many problems, many egos. You will know it in your heart by examining yourself and by reflecting on how your behaviors and your tendencies whether lean toward it or against the ethical law of divinity, which is compassion, ahimsa, non-violence, truthfulness, patience, humility, conscious love, chastity.
If your inclinations push you to act against those ethics, you can be sure that you are being driven by your own ego. The problem is our defects become very subtle as we are entering this work, because as we study gnosis and meditation, our own defects acquire a mystical flavor, which is very dangerous. The ego adapts to our studies because it does not want to die. Therefore, the ego wears a mystical robe, adorning fornication with a type of spirituality, where the mind tries to justify committing adultery or looking at the opposite sex with lust. One’s mystical logic, so to speak, can be, “I am a spiritual person. I need to appreciate the beauty in other people.” That is some of the logic that people tell themselves. But really, they are just being demons. It is very subtle. It is a good question, because it is not easy to discriminate what is real and what is false. If we had it down perfectly, it would mean that we have no ego. We would be done. But in the process of changing ourselves, we need to learn to be patient.
You learn to discriminate the voice of the silence in you gradually, and often after periods of great disillusionment and despair, such as we feel like we are not communicating with our inner God. We feel lost. We feel disoriented. We feel in pain. But suddenly we can get an insight in the moment, an inspiration, a realization that we can do something about our situation. The more that we acclimate ourselves towards that hunch, those inquietudes, those longings, the greater and strong that voice becomes, but the problem is that we tend to just give into our mind. We do not discriminate what is there.
The way that you do it is by meditating. That is the only way. Abandon your senses. Suspend them. Relax. Work with energy. Practice pranayama or alchemy. Work with your vital force. Circulate it. Pray to your inner Being, “Show me what I need to understand.” Empty your mind. Observe it and look.
The more you look at yourself and take the time to really meditate, the greater the distinction you will find between your conscience and the ego. You will know it like night and day. Right now, because we are so clouded by our own negative behaviors and our distractions, activities in life, we tend to get very lost. The water is churned, and the sediment is spread out everywhere. This is why we need to learn serenity. Sit still. Calm your mind. Act ethically in the day to the best of your ability. You are not going to be perfect, but you will gradually learn it.
As you start to acquire serenity in yourself, the sediment of the jar starts to stratify, becoming layers, and then you can see and start to discriminate what is actually going on there. That is the way.
To aid us in our discipline, we're going to explore a very important teaching to Buddhism, particularly Tibetan Buddhism, known as the nine stages of meditative concentration. Specifically, when we address concentration, we do so with a purpose of understanding where we are. We study the following diagram, which is a very famous mural that we find in pretty much every Tibetan Buddhist monastery in the world, in order to understand where we are in our practice.
The purpose of this lecture is to understand where we are: what is our level of being? What is our capability? Our ability when we sit to concentrate, close our eyes, and really reflect inside?
This teaching, pertaining to Buddhism, was taught by Samael Aun Weor in a very synthetic manner. He never explicitly detailed the nine degrees of calm abiding, or the nine steps leading to calm abiding―to have a serene mind―instead, he expected his students to really study and meditate on the teachings, and to work to comprehend this methodology in practice.
He also spoke, in a very synthetic manner, about these nine stages, emphasized in this image, which we are going to explain in detail. This image explains how, from the beginning of concentration, the mind is disturbed and wild. Then, through gradual training, our practice eventually leads us towards a mind that is completely serene, a mind that is completely still. So, to help us to really understand where we are, and how to effectively concentrate, this map will lead us towards the real gateway to meditation.
Everything that we do in these studies, pertaining to runes, mantra, pranayama, transmutation, sacred rites... these in themselves are means to develop concentration. When we sit to practice, we do these preliminary exercises to help us to focus our mind, which is really the beginning of actual meditation; it is not meditation itself.
My purpose in elaborating on what this diagram means, in relation to what Samael Aun Weor taught, is to help us be sincere and to examine the nature of our mind and what we need to do to develop concentration.
Previously, we were discussing the eightfold steps of Patanjali's yoga sutras, who wrote one of the key scriptures of yoga. When we talk about yoga, we do not refer to the physical calisthenics of the body: Hatha yoga. We are talking about "yug," from the Sanskrit, meaning union with Divinity; or "religare" in Latin, religion.
Patanjali taught that there are eight steps, which ties into the eightfold path of Buddhism. We have Yama / Niyama. Yama is restraint of mind from harmful action; Niyama is the precepts, developing real ethical discipline, purity of mind. Yama / Niyama are formed by things like Saucha (clarity), Santosha (contentment), Satya (truthfulness), Aparigraha (renunciation of worldly desires). In other words, these are the ten commandments, anything that we use as a discipline to train our mind: Yama / Niyama, to do or not to do. This is followed by Asana, which is our posture in our body. This is followed by Pranayama, transmutation, mantra, sexual energy, runes―any exercise that we use to work with the vital forces in our mind, in our body. That leads to Pratyahara, meaning, silence of mind, or suspension of the senses. This leads into Dharana, which is concentration, which is what we're going to be explaining, in detail.
Previously, in our lectures, we were talking about these preliminary steps: ethical discipline, the need to train our mind, to fulfill the vows of yoga, of religion, of discipline. As well as how to relax our body, in order to fully concentrate. We are discussing the preliminaries that lead to the actualization of learning how to focus the mind.
Samael Aun Weor taught that, when we sit to practice, we must stop thinking. This is the beginning, to learn how to concentrate. If we sit down and we examine our mind, and we see that we are thinking all the time, it means that we still have not yet developed Pratyahara, serenity of mind, suspension of the senses. Typically, the impressions of life enter our psyche, and our mind becomes disturbed as a result of not transforming those elements as they enter our mind. For example, we see a provocative image on a billboard, or on television; it strikes the mind; it offends the senses; the mind becomes identified, agitated; it becomes stimulated. We need to really refrain from these types of activities―which I will be elaborating on―as a requisite to developing concentration.
We find that our mind is over stimulated with all these impressions: they enter the mind; the mind is not still; we don't know how to transform the experience of life, as it happens in an instant. Without this understanding of mindfulness, and of fulfilling the basic vows―chastity (Brahmacharya in Sanskrit), sexual purity―the mind becomes overwhelmed, agitated; we cannot sit still.
This is represented by this image. We find here a monk who is chasing after an elephant. That elephant is our mind. The fact that is dark in the very bottom of the image refers to the dullness of our mind, the laxity of our mental states, the lethargy of our consciousness. This monk is chasing after this elephant. You see, gradually, this elephant becomes subdued, and it becomes white, purified, as a result of mind training, the nine degrees that we are going to explicitly detail.
This is precisely the path that we need to take, to realize that our mind, in the beginning, is―in this instant―very chaotic very wild. There is no control or dominance over the mind typically, in the beginning. This path that winds up towards the mountains of the superior worlds is precisely the path of Dorothy, the Wizard of Oz, the winding golden path of Jnana Yoga, which is knowledge yoga, mind yoga.
It is precisely these higher states where the elephant is tamed and subdued, in which we are free of the mind, and the mind fully obeys our will. We see an image of a monk flying in the astral plane, or in even higher dimensions, Tiphereth, etc., symbolized by the mountains of initiation. For, if we awaken in the internal planes, divinity can show you mountains. A mountain pertains to walking the path of initiation itself.
We want to calm our mind, to develop serene mind, which, as we find that these waters from the mountains descend, the waters of the pure energy of divinity. These waters become turbulent, as they descend toward Malkuth, the physical world, which is represented by this monk leaving a pagoda of three steps. This pagoda is really the body, Malkuth, represented by three floors, which are our three brains: our intellect, our emotions, and our motor-instinctual-sexual dynamics.
The waters are turbulent because the waters of our mind are chaotic. We receive impressions in life; we go through our day with our work, with our daily occupations, or with watching televisions; we receive impressions that enter the mind and are not transformed, that are disturbed. Therefore, the mind, the elephant, has no control.
We must understand this fact, and really be honest. When we sit to reflect, what is the state of our mind? If we want to really enter the path of what meditation actually is, we need to develop concentration first.
When you lack the elements of serenity,
This is the core scripture that Tsong Khapa, a great reincarnation of Buddha, taught in his Lim Rim Chenmo, a Tibetan Buddhist doctrine.
We will explain more specifically each step of this image, in detail.
We really must understand what it means to concentrate, if we are going to practice. So, I'd like to quote from you a teaching from Pabongka Rinpoche from Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand, where, in a very stark and explicit manner, he explains precisely and honestly, a maxim that we really need to contemplate, and to realize: are we actually practicing when we sit down? Are we really focused on what we're doing? No practice will have benefit―pranayama, mantra, runes―if we don't understand the nature of concentration itself.
Though you may pretend you are doing a practice, you are not practicing at all if you do not know what is required to achieve single pointed concentration. ―Pabongka Rinpoche from Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand
In terms of the nine degrees, this is the eighth. It is the second highest rung of actual concentration itself.
You must definitely achieve single pointed concentration with two features: great clarity together with some stability, and tight image retention. ―Pabongka Rinpoche, Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand
So the purpose of developing serenity is that when the mind is perfectly still, we can then begin to meditate and reflect the images from the superior worlds. When we're fully relaxed, the mind is completely still, there are no thoughts, no distractions; we have finally reached the highest degree of concertation, meditative equipoise; then imagery can reflect from our Being, from the internal worlds, into our mind, in our clairvoyance, into the lake of our perception. And, when it is still, it can reflect the superior worlds, and we will explain more about what one needs to do when in that state, in detail.
We need great clarity. If we sit and examine our mind, what do we see, and what do we not see? That is the question. If we don't see anything, if we just experience the sensations or memories of the day, from the events of our life, if they are just surging in our mind, without any order, without any clarity, it means that the mind is very dull; it means that we really need to work very hard to develop that clarity, which is born from acquiring more stability.
This is, of course, achieved through self-observation, as we always teach. But, more importantly, mindfulness, as we will elaborate on.
When the mind is serene, meditation is easy; images come of their accord. We talk a lot about imaginative, inspirational and intuitive knowledge. Imagination is when we receive images inside. Inspiration is when we feel the soul's reaction or response of an emotional, superior nature, towards that image; we know that it is a symbol that comes from our Being; we are inspired. Intuition is direct cognition, understanding the nature of that symbol. But, imagination, inspiration and intuition, which we will explain next, come as a result of serene mind; if the mind is completely still. If it is not, we cannot develop insight.
In Buddhism, we talk a lot about two terms: vipassana (special insight) and shamatha (serenity).
Samael Aun Weor explained this very beautifully as imagination and willpower. Imagination is the power to perceive. If the mind is chaotic, if we are not transforming impressions in the moment in which we receive them, we lack that tight image retention, that clarity of mind.
First, we develop, through willpower, control of the mind, as the Master Samael Aun Weor explains in Igneous Rose: that we must dominate the mind with the terrible whip of willpower. So, we need effort, especially in the beginning, to control the mind. But, in the higher degrees of concentration, there is no effort. But, as Master Samael also explained and emphasized, Tsong Khapa says:
Nowhere does it say anything else but this: if you hope to develop insight (vipassana: comprehension), the training of wisdom, you must find quietude (shamatha / dhyana), that of concentration. ―Tsong Khapa
So, if we want insight into the ego, into our defects, we must develop that stability. If we lack that, then there is no wisdom; wisdom meaning: "the power to perceive."
The teachings that we're presenting here come from Tsong Khapa's text, the Lim Rim Chenmo, known as, The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment. This is one of the core texts of Tibetan Buddhism and is very useful to study.
I know that when the Dalai Lama was fleeing Tibet from the Chinese, he made a special case to take with him his text of the Lim Rim Chenmo, before he escaped from Tibet into India.
Prerequisites for Developing Genuine Concentration
This text explains the physical requisites, and the psychological training we need to acquire that stability, if what we want is insight. I invite you to really reflect on the nature of these statements, very deeply:
Dwelling in an Appropriate Area
We cannot meditate if our home is chaotic or cluttered, or if we live with other people who are noisy, who are distracting, especially in the beginning, when we need a sense of quietude, to really focus. To not meditate in a place that is filthy or disorganized. It should be some place that, when we come to sit to practice, we have inspiration to really sit and to relax. Also, if we live in a warzone, we can't meditate; an adept can meditate in any circumstance.
Living in an appropriate area means that we need to leave in a place that there is peace, that there is no threat of our life being in danger. The fact that living here, in this city, in a relatively safe environment, we are fortunate. There are people across the world who cannot even fulfill this requisite, even if they want to meditate. We get this on our forum, people who are writing about this problem.
An appropriate area must be clean, peaceful. It doesn't need to be a temple in our own home, but what matters is that we have a space dedicated to practice. It can be simple: an altar, white tablecloth, candle, religious image; or no altar. What matters is that our environment inspires us, and gives us the capacity to really practice.
Having Little Desire
This is something that, honestly, most of us don't have. We usually have a lot of desires in our mind that are constantly conflicting, pushing us to do other things other than meditate or practice preliminary concentration exercises; defects which emerge and say, "I want to ride my bike, watch television, take care of this or that responsibility, etc." The mind is surging with this torrent of forces and energies which we have previously put into motion, which formulate into our egos. This is represented by that water in that first image, = descending in torrents from the mountains, into Malkuth, towards the monk in that image. The waters above are very pure, but when these energies of God enter us, into our mind, they become transformed and blackened by desire.
So, we need to have little desire, meaning: curtail our appetite, such as overstimulating foods or elements which may impede us from practicing well.
The term for this, in Sanskrit, is Santosha. In Patanjali's yoga sutras, Santosha means being grateful for what we have, and not craving things that we do not have. Craving gnaws at the mind and produces the inability to sit still.
Completely Giving Up Many Activities
Meaning, give up fruitless activities, things that are just useless. We all have our habits that we do that push us to do, honestly, dumb things. I am no exception. For instance, Swami Sivananda said, you should give up reading novels, especially things that are just useless―magazines, journal articles, things which do not promote anything in relation to our spirituality. Really, we must abandon that. Typically, in a monastic life, initiates would meditate six hours a day, and study six hours a day. But they would study scriptures that are important, whether in Tibetan Buddhism, the Bardo Thodol, The Tibetan Book of the Dead; in India, the Bhagavad Gita; or the Muslim initiates in the past, with the Qur'an... studying scriptures that matter.
We must abandon useless things, such as watching tv shows, things that fill the mind with garbage. A lot of shows are based on sarcasm and abuse of the mind, or movies that are violent or things that offend the senses.
Pure Ethical Discipline
This is probably one of the most important: examining our ethics. In a given day, have we lied to someone? This doesn't mean that we said something, but, internally, in our mind, we may have had the thought.
Ethics begins with restraining (Yama) the mind, the senses, from not physically verbalizing, expressing our ego or defects. Niyama pertains to training the mind, deeper, to not have that reaction inside. This is the internal silence that Samael Aun Weor talks about in Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology.
Our ethics must be very pure. We have to examine where in the day we transgressed, in our mind, in our hearts.
Completely Getting Rid of Thoughts of Desire
If we have been studying this teaching, and practicing for a long time, this is really the most difficult. Not thinking evil, but even if we have the thought that we don't want to do this, the mind continues to churn and to gestate with these elements.
So, if we really want to develop meditative serenity, we must abandon all of that. To not think, to not conceptualize, for as Samael Aun Weor stated, in Igneous Rose, in the chapter "Esoteric Discipline of the Mind":
It is necessary to change the process of reasoning for the beauty of comprehension... ―Samael Aun Weor, Igneous Rose
Most of the time in the day, we are thinking, and we do not comprehend where our thoughts come from, where they go, what they are doing, how they arise, why they arise. If we are not comprehending those processes in ourselves, in the instant that they happen, we are asleep.
This means that we are churning in the mind in the battle of the opposites. He often talks, such as in The Magic of the Runes, the sensation of contemplation. We must comprehend what arises in us in an instant.
Those who want to enter into the wisdom of the fire must overcome the process of reasoning and cultivate the ardent faculties of the mind.
Comprehension emerges when the mind is still; this is serenity in Buddhism, shamatha. Imagination is the capacity to perceive, vipassana. So, in his terms, he is explaining the same concept that Tsong Khapa taught.
If we do not comprehend the mind in the instant, we can't perceive. Comprehension is the understanding of something without the need to think about it. Master Samael said that to reason is great crime against the Innermost, because God does think. In our everyday affairs, we need to learn to resolve our issues without the ego involved. The ego thinks, puts thoughts into our minds, impulses in our body to act, but comprehension is when we know how to act without thinking. This is the demarcation between an angel and a demon, precisely.
So, as we learn how to act without thinking, that is how we enter the path of concentration.
I want to emphasize something that Samael Aun Weor stated, which is something that, typically, many students and instructors tend to ignore:
1. The Gnostic must first attain the ability to stop the course of his thoughts, the capacity to not think. Indeed, only the one who achieves that capacity will hear the Voice of the Silence. ―Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony
When we sit, we should not think. But, if we are thinking, distracted, we are not even able to enter concentration. That is the important point.
Usually, we will attempt to practice with the mind churning, distraught, agitated. But, in order to really receive that insight―which is the voice of the silence, the direct action of your Being within your psyche, the impulse of your Innermost, divinity within you―you can't let your mind interfere. This is a type of experience in which you do not think, you know. God knows without thinking, God does not rationalize.
We have here in this image the Buddha, with one hand up and one hand down. This is referring to the need to receive―usually, with the left hand we receive the forces of divinity, and the right hand expresses action. The left refers to the left hand of the body, the lunar receptive nature of ourselves; the right is action. The root word bud, in the word Buddha, means cognizance, awareness, which knows how to receive and knows how to act. But this is not an intellectual process. This is an intuitive process. We must learn how to act from our Being without thinking about it. Usually, the Being gives us a hunch, an insight, and we feel that inclination that comes from somewhere, but we don't know where usually, when we know in our hearts whether an action is right or wrong, and yet, the mind then conceptualizes: "Well, I should do this, because I have this reason," and then the intellect is debating against what we know is right in our heart.
Insight is lightning: you know it's wrong. But, then the mind says, "Well..." and starts to debate. So, the lightning emerges, but the thunder of the mind comes after. This is the demarcation. We can only develop that as we learn to not think. This does not mean that we become stupid, that we don't know how to do our daily obligations and affairs: it means that we do so consciously. We use the intellectual brain under the influence of our Inner God.
So, the first step is, don't think; and then, learn to concentrate.
2. When the Gnostic disciple attains the capacity to not think, then he must learn to concentrate his thoughts on only one thing.―Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony
That is when real concentration comes into play. We need a certain degree of serenity of mind to really concentrate.
It's important to understand that learning not to think is not the same as mindlessness, or inattention. We need to learn to use our personality, according to the will of our God. We need personality to subsist in this society. We need to be trained, to have vocation, to have certain intellectual knowledge. But, this does not mean that we let our defects use that knowledge in a subjective or harmful way. Instead, we let the Being use that insight to direct our course.
Our daily life is our practice: that is what we really need to analyze and understand. If we sit to meditate for an hour, yet all day, the other 23 hours, we are daydreaming, arguing, fighting, debating, having conflicts―that is a lot of energy that is going contrary to our practice. This is why Samael Aun Weor said that these activities have to saturate every instant of our life. So, our practice is at work, with an intellectual job, or working with other people in a very tough environment.
Our spiritual practice is when we relate to other human beings. Every instant is our spiritual work. If we have the concept that our practices only exist when we sit in our home, isolated from our experience, then we will get nowhere. But, if we let our life be our training ground, in developing genuine concentration, then our understanding will be very robust.
So, we develop that capacity to not think, Pratyahara, which leads to Dharana (concentration)―focusing only on one thing.
3. The third step is correct meditation. This brings the first flashes of the new consciousness into the mind. ―Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony
Real meditation is when you receive information in a new way, when you understand something spontaneously... no thinking involved. Your insight can come as a concept in the mind, but it is not egotistical. The way to differentiate between the superior messages of the Being from the subjective notions of our ego requires developing a lot of clarity, which is why the Master Samael says that we must learn to carefully separate the smoke from the flames. Flames are insight, the Being, the virtues; the smoke is our mind. We must learn how to sift through that in every instant, if what we want is to really develop the capacity to concentrate.
Then, when we can focus on one element at a time, without being distracted from our purpose, that is when we receive new insight: that is when we are meditating.
4. The fourth step is contemplation, ecstasy or Samadhi. This is the state of Turiya (perfect clairvoyance). ―Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony
This is perception without any filter. It is supra-conscious, no ego involved. We can this experience in our daily life; we don't need to have an experience out of the body, an astral projection, to experience the supra-conscious nature of the Being.
This is perception that is beyond the mind.
Swami Sivananda states that one cannot have any experiences without the Kundalini awakened. Now, this does not mean that the Kundalini has to be fully awakened through sexual magic, but you can awaken sparks through runes, through transmutation... and, that energy in motion, which we need, will awaken the consciousness to have that experience. So, we need that force. We cannot do it without the Divine Mother.
The Five Flaws to Concentration
Now, to explain the flaws in relation to our concentration, when we sit to practice, I am going to emphasize a teaching from Buddha Maitreya.
Maitreya is a title, but it was given to a certain Master in the past, who gave this teaching of the nature of concentration in his Separation of the Middle from the Extremes.
So, we are going to explain a little what the common flaws in what learning to concentrate are, so that we can examine our practice.
The mind being dull, which is for most people a common problem.
2. Forgetting the Object (of Concentration)
We sit to practice, we forget what we're doing. 20-30 minutes go by, and we don't remember anything. We sit, and we wonder to ourselves what we were doing. We forget what we're focusing on.
3. Excitement and Laxity (of the Mind)
This is the mind that is agitated, with either negative emotions, or laxity, meaning that the mind is dull or that there are certain egotistical elements that are influencing our perception, making it dull, as it relates to laziness.
4. Failing to Apply the Antidotes When Excitement or Laxity Arises
In Buddhist teaching, there are certain remedies that we use that Tsong Khapa explained. When we are concentrating, or if the mind becomes dull, there are certain things that we can focus our attention on, in order to remedy that thought, in the instant that it emerges. Likewise with excitement in the mind. Dullness, apathy, or agitation. The mind must be equilibrated. We will explain more about this.
5. Excessive Exertion
Meaning, when the mind has reached certain degrees of stability, it is pointless to exert effort. This is pertaining to the highest degrees of concentration, in which you don't need effort to attain it. All you need is familiarization with that state.
When we work with breath, pranayama, mantra, that can be an object of our concentration. Those energies, the vital forces, by awakening the sparks of the Kundalini, we can have insight. I am going to explain, precisely this point, in relation to this slide.
The Eight Antidotes to Flawed Concentration
There are eight antidotes to flawed concentration, that Tsong Khapa explains.
This is an image of Tsong Khapa in meditation, who Master Samael explained was the reincarnation of the Buddha. Floating in the clouds, he is meditating next to his disciples. Above him is the heavenly city of the Gods, the Buddhas, or, the Celestial Jerusalem of Revelations. Below are the waters. We see many flowers, many virtues of the Being. If you have an experience in the astral plane, where they show you flowers, they are showing the virtues of your Inner God, inside you. Beautiful flowers, roses, are representations of virtue, since the plant elementals have not left Eden yet; they transmute their creative energies.
We see roses, flowers, immaculate clouds, and the waters. This realization appears as a result of working with our watesr, our seminal force, our sexual energy. And so, one of the best methods to countering laziness, when we are trying to concentrate, is to transmute.
Use your breath to mantralize, "Sssssssssssss," "IIIIINNNNRRRRIIII," or "IIIIIIIAAAAAAOOOOO." There are many mantras that we use to sublimate that energy.
Tsong Khapa explained that, to counter laziness, we need to develop faith, aspiration, effort and pliancy.
Faith is in relation, in Buddhist doctrine, to the understanding of the nature of mind; the certainty of the benefits of meditative stabilization. We must really comprehend the benefit of when the mind is really serene, and which we genuinely perceive, from a state of peace, what that state is like. If we don't taste that experience directly, there is no striving.
So, faith does not mean in the Christian sense of belief. In Buddhist doctrine, it is understanding of the genuine, pristine cognitive nature of mind, without flaws. We must have faith in this teaching and about the transformation of our mind, otherwise, we will not do it. The mind is lazy. We must really understand that benefits of having a stable mind, and to actually see it.
If the mind is chaotic, and we don't see what the benefit is of meditative stabilization, we won't strive and practice to achieve it.
Willpower pertains to the need to control the mind, through Tiphereth controlling Netzach. We use our will every time we do runes, pranayama, transmutation, sexual magic... To develop faith in effort in our practice―applying more effort to really concentrate, developing more pliancy in the mind, more stability in the body―we work with aspiration: to aspire. Through inspiration, we inhale the prana in the nostrils, then we bring that energy inward and upward, to aspire, bringing up to our mind, to illuminate it. That develops pliancy. In Buddhist terms, pliancy refers to the flexibility of the consciousness to perceive. This is the dynamic of seeing our mind, as it is, and all the structures of the ego that resist and opposes our effort, because, when we direct our attention towards it, the ego fights back, to not be seen.
In The Revolution of the Dialectic, this is known as structural and transactional analysis. We must see the structure of the ego, when they emerge in the mind. Transactions―such as in a bank, depositing cheques, moneys, accounts, etc.―refers to the movement in the mind. Pliancy pertains to understanding those structures in our mind, as they appear and emerge, and how we're flexible in our perception. We're not distracted, like we're practicing martial arts; we have stability in our body, and we're calmly fighting an enemy, with composure. This is pliancy.
Effort pertains to having strength in our will, which is pertaining to our consciousness, conscious will.
Some benefits I personally have experienced with effort is, listening to a really powerful piece of classical music. For instance, I listened to Mars, by Gustav Holst, who is a gnostic master. He is explaining the effort the we need as a consciousness to fight against degeneration of the mind. This is the power of Samael, the angel of war, but, also our Being, our Innermost relates to Mars, strength. Our Being can inspire us―when we understand the message―to really make efforts to concentrate.
For forgetfulness, if we are forgetting that we are practicing, we need to develop more mindfulness throughout the day. Self-observation is perceiving ourselves in a given instant. Mindfulness is that self-observation throughout an entire day. So, if we keep forgetting that we are meditating or concentrating, we must really be vigilant in our day to day practice: our daily practice has to be our spiritual practice.
When we sit to meditate, and things emerge in the mind, and we become aware of them, then another element emerges saying, "I don't like that," this thought is still subjective. This is excitement of mind: seeing a thought that emerges, that is spontaneous; you don't know where it comes from; it disturbs you, then there is the reaction, "I don't want to see this, I don't want this." This is another ego in the mind. The solution is to develop vigilance. We need to perceive that element as it arises, otherwise, if it passes into the screen of our experience, enters our intellectual brain and has passed already, we have missed the moment. So, we must be in vigil, meaning, awake, not looking at other things, but examining the thought as it emerges. We will explain more about this.
Laxity is if the mind is dull, and we feel sleepy as a consciousness. We need greater clarity in our perception. If our internal sight is befuddled, where we have thoughts and memories and desires, but we don't really see their nature, we need vigilance, which is introspection, perception. We must develop our clarity, and the best way to develop vigilance is to exercise that muscle.
Transmutation is not enough. You can have energy, but, if we don't know how to harness that energy, then the ego takes it. We need force, but we need to have discipline: energy and will, in harmony.
The final antidote to inappropriate application of exertion or effort is equanimity. And, this really applies to the higher degrees to concentration, in which you do not need effort. To exert the mind is to disturb the mind, and you can lose the experience. So, when you have greater stillness pertaining to the eighth and ninth degrees of concentration, you don't need to exert any effort. It is effortless, pertaining to the ninth degree. You need some effort in the eighth degree, which we will explain.
Equanimity means to not need to apply anything, any antidote.
Plato’s Allegory of the Cave and the Four States of Consciousness
We have included some images of the diagram that we have been explaining. Some of you may be familiar with Plato's Allegory of the Cave. In book seven of his Republic, Master Plato explains the nature of the path to truth and understanding. This is synonymous with this map of the nine degrees or stages of concentration in Buddhism.
Likewise, we have Christ, who is ascended, representing any initiate who has fully mastered that state, such as the Tibetan yogi, who is flying in the clouds.
Those of you who are not familiar with The Republic, there is the myth, or Allegory of the Cave, pertaining to any initiate who is ascending from the subconsciousness towards supra-consciousness.
In this image, we have people, who should be depicted as being enchained by their necks, legs and hands, to a wall. Behind them is a fire that burns. These people see nothing but darkness, or, at most, they see people who are passing between the fire and the wall, carrying objects on their heads, pottery, clay, etc. These images project their shadows on the wall. These people who are enchained only see darkness, or they see shadows on the wall, and this is all they know.
So, to reiterate what these states are, we talk about four states of consciousness in the Gnostic doctrine. We have Eikasia, pertaining to sleep of a barbaric nature: complete unconsciousness, darkness. We look in our mind, we see nothing. We know there is thoughts and feelings and emotions, surges of desires, but we don't really see where they are coming from. This is the darkness mentioned in the Book of Genesis, "And darkness was over the face of the deep, and the Ruach Elohim (the Spirit of God) floated on those waters (to transform them.)"
The images on the wall are dreams, Pistis in Greek. Sleep with dreams pertains to the fact that we see images and how we experience life; we have ideas in our mind, concepts; we have thoughts, feelings and expectations, longings, but they are not objective. When we really examine their nature, they are devoid of any substantiality. That is Pistis: people's beliefs about religion, faith, mind, ideas, the way they interact with society.
But we see in this image that there is a superior way out of that. There is a person who is unchained, and who is forced to see the fire directly. That fire is the energy of Christ, and it pertains to the third state of consciousness known as Dianoia.
Dianoia means revision of beliefs, revision of Pistis. This is the perception of the mind without desire. Dianoia is when we are examining our mind, and we see that we are not the mind; we perceive the mind, that it is something distinct and separate from us, with thoughts, feelings, sensations. But we must be forced to experience that―meaning, divinity pushes us to really examine what the shadows on the wall are, which are our previous conceptions of our self: our ideas, culture, language, our pride, our faith, our hatred, our vanity. And so, this guru takes this initiate out of the cave. This winding path out of the cave is precisely this diagram that we see here.
In the Allegory of the Cave, the initiate is forced out of the cave, through a winding path, until finally reaching outdoors, experiencing the starry sky. For the first time, this person who has lived their entire life in the cave, sees the sun and the dawn, which is overwhelming. This is a representation of Nous: a high state of consciousness, super-consciousness. Nous pertains to perception of divinity, to perceive as God perceives. Our God is inside, so, when we unite as a soul with our inner divinity, the soul is one with divinity; it is integral to that. One experiences perception, life, from the perspective of the Being. That is the sun, the Solar Logos. Likewise, in this image, this monk is training to get out of the cave, going up this path, until finally reaching meditative serenity at this stage. And, when walking on this rainbow bridge, one is in Samadhi. Those who are familiar with Richard Wagner, his opera Das Rheingold, which we will watch, the gods tread on this path of the rainbow, to the city of the gods, Valhalla, the hall of the warrior who has defeated himself in battle.
The Nine Stages of Meditative Concentration
To explain how this Buddhist glyph pertains to the Allegory of the Cave, we will explain some of the symbols. The fact that this path is winding is the work of Dianoia; we are constantly having to revise our concepts of ourselves. When we observe our mind for what it is, we see that we are not who we thought we were. We must change our self-concept.
Master Samael explains that Dianoia pertains to cultural and intellectual synthesis, spiritual knowledge, revision of beliefs, direct perception of what is real. This is awakened consciousness. Dianoia is when we see ourselves differently from how we used to see ourselves, when we change our beliefs about who we were as a person. We cease to be what we were. But Dianoia, on this path of concentration, also pertains to intellectual knowledge of a superior type. So, when Master Samael explains that Dianoia is a cultural, intellectual, spiritual knowledge, this is not the intellectual knowledge of the ego, but a new type of understanding in our mental center, which is superior, abstract. This is a mind that can conceptualize superior concepts without struggling between the battle of opposites in the mind. This is what epiphany refers to, the spark of joy that the soul feels, the pliancy of the mind, in the Buddhist doctrine of the mind, which is free from distraction.
We have here this image of a monk chasing an elephant. That elephant is the mind. The fact that it is black in the beginning represents the dullness of our mind. We do not see anything; we don't understand what our mind is.
There is a fire here on this path; referring to the type of willpower we need to dominate the mind. The monk is chasing after this elephant, likewise, there is a monkey, following before the elephant. The monkey is a restless mind. The monkey is always grabbing things; the intellect, our desires, our emotions are always trying to satiate itself, with desire.
Notice that this fire gets smaller the further up the path that one goes. This is because the amount of effort or engagement one needs with the mind becomes lessened the more that the mind is controlled. In the beginning, it takes a tremendous effort to remember that we are practicing, that we are concentrating, and to not get distracted.
Likewise, the fact that the elephant starts to gain color, becomes white, means that there is gradual purification of the mind. There is greater insight, clarity. Likewise, the monk with the rope in his hand, represents mindfulness, and the hook, vigilance. He gets ahold of the elephant and is starting to turn it towards his direction, meaning, the mind is becoming subdued.
What is important to note, is as this process occurs, the elephant becomes purified of its dullness; the monkey is tamed, until the elephant is completely stabilized, and the meditator is fully in control of the mind, entering the superior worlds.
We also have, in this image, a silk cloth, representing the sense of touch; some fruit, representing taste; a perfumed conch, representing smell; cymbals representing hearing; and a mirror, representing sight. This is because it is through our five senses that we learn to develop concentration. It is not by running away from life, but by using your daily life to develop that concentration, that we make it rigorous. Until we reach the end, the rainbow path of Valhalla, towards the city of the gods, one can enter into higher degrees of calm abiding.
What I am going to explain now, are the nine stages of concentration, that lead to calm abiding. As the Dalai Lama explained, calm abiding pertains to what one attains after the ninth degree of concentration, which is represented by the monk flying in the air, and the monk with the sword, riding an elephant. That sword of fire is wisdom, also representing the Kundalini of any master; it is that energy that gives one the root cognizance of cutting through delusion. So, if you see images of Manjushri in Buddhism, that sword cuts through the distraction of the mind. In that image of Tsong Khapa―I didn't explain―but there is also a sword of fire, to his right. And, there was a book on the left, pertaining to the book of studying one’s life, directly, studying the methods that lead to that insight. So, study, method and wisdom; wisdom is the sword, method is the study. We need a combination of studying the steps of concentration, along with our practical work, the sword, if what we want is to develop that union.
In the image, we also see a bunny. The bunny represents laziness, a subtle form of laziness that appears in the mind when we think we know what we're doing, when we're trying to concentrate. I will explain this specific detail.
1. Mental Placement
The first degree is mental placement, which is the beginning of when we sit to practice and we can't remember that we're concentrating. We sit down, and we know that we should be practicing, but we don't know what we're doing. Before this, you could say is stage zero, which is a wild mind; meaning, there is no control whatsoever. This is the state of every human being on this planet. But, when we begin to start to concentrate, we're placing our mind on the practice, and we realize that we can't concentrate. The elephant is running around, but we notice this fact―that is the distinction here.
So, the monk is chasing after the elephant with a hook, representing vigilance, or wisdom, insight, and the rope, represents mindfulness, remembrance of divinity, moment-to-moment.
The elephant of the mind, wandering wildly, is to be securely bound with the rope of mindfulness, to the pillar of the object of meditation, gradually to be tamed with the hook of wisdom. ―Bhavaviveka
Now, the object of our concentration can be a mantra, an image of a Buddha, an image of a master―I have personally meditated on an image of Master Samael, to invoke him. And, when my mind has been stable and clear, I sense him in my home, with me, and in many other places, when I put that image in my mind, I focus on that as an object of concentration, to receive his help. But, you can also meditate on the mind itself, which is a teaching of Dzogchen, or Mahamudra, the great seal or great perfection teachings of the Nyigma tradition of Tibetan Buddhist, in the Gelugpa; there are four schools of Tibetan Buddhism that we talk about.
So, we can meditate on the mind. Let your own mind be the object of concentration. Observe your mind―what is it like? Let that be your focus. You can develop great stability of concentration that way. Or, you can take a visualization of a stone, or pebble, or piece of art. If you are going to choose an artwork, I would suggest something simple in the beginning, nothing elaborate. Usually, to visualize all the details of an object, of a mandala, a sacred painting in Buddhism, or a painting of Christianity, to master the visualization of that image takes a lot of effort. So, I would recommend, in the beginning, start with something simple, and then, as your capacity to visualize and concentrate grows, expand that. Then, choose images that are more complicated. For instance, it comes to my mind, something that could be useful: which is that, when you are concentrating, if you have an experience in the internal planes, of an image, such as you speak with your Divine Mother, let that be your object of concentration. You sit to meditate, imagine your Divine Mother, as you saw her. That would be more personal to you; you'll have more investment in that practice, that way.
That is mental placement; we forget that we're meditating. We realize that we can't remember what we're doing. So, the type of engagement that we need, the type of effort that we need to really get in control of this element, of the mind, is tightly focused engagement. It takes a lot of effort to control the mind, to catch up to, to run after that elephant. Buddha Maitreya, who gave this teaching, he explained that there is certain antidotes to each stage. It is important to know what these antidotes are. This is not something intellectual; this is something very practical, to help you understand your own experience, your own practice.
He says that, for mental placement, you need to hear the teachings of mindfulness: to really hear them, study them, and apply them, if what we want is to understand what mental placement is. To even realize that the mind is out of control, we need to hear the teachings, in order to change that.
2. Continual Placement, or Fixation with Some Continuity
Notice that the elephant starts to get a little bit white, the monkey too. The dull mind and the restless mind have a slight purification. This is when we are concentrated; we have some flashes of insight, minor flashes. We tend to forget what we're doing, but we are gaining some insight through understanding what the object of concentration is. The monk still has to chase after the elephant, to gain control. There is more forgetfulness than there is remembrance. The flames represent the effort that we need, the type of willpower we need to gain control. So, at this level, the fire is still very intense. But it diminishes the further along one ascends the path.
3. Patched Placement
The monk has finally, with the rope of mindfulness, gained ahold of the elephant, and has turned the head towards him. This means that there are more periods of remembrance and control than there are forgetfulness. This is called patched placement, like putting patches on a cloth, to fix up holes. One is basically "patching" their awareness into the practice―there are still periods of forgetfulness, but there is more remembrance than there is forgetfulness. This is a big improvement. The monkey also becomes more purified, the elephant starts to become more tamed. This is the beginning of it becoming tamed. We remember that we are concentrating more than we are forgetting.
4. Close Placement, or Good Fixation
This is a period in our concentration in which we don't forget what we're doing. If we want to meditate on the ego, to annihilate the ego, we need to develop this. We need to reach at least stability in this degree: when we sit to practice and concentrate; we do not forget what we're doing. The problem with this stage is the rabbit on the elephant, which represents laziness. This means that, when we remember that we are practicing, there is a sentiment or influence of the mind that makes us feel that we know what we're doing. We remember that we are meditating, and there is an interference or distraction from the mind that is subtle, that convinces us that we're practicing effectively, when it is really a distraction. That is what the rabbit represents. Notice that the fire is again diminishing; meaning, the amount of effort we need is becoming less.
For the third and fourth degrees, patch-like placement and close placement, is developing more remembrance, mindfulness throughout the day. This means to self-observe and to remember our Being more and perceiving more.
5. Subduing, Taming, or Becoming Disciplined
At this point, one is dealing more with, rather than the fact that we don't forget what we're practicing, we're dealing with more subtle forms of distraction in the mind. We don't forget what we're doing, but still there is laxity or excitement in the mind, agitation or laziness in the mind in subtle levels, that we need to address. The solution to that―as we see the rabbit there, that is the symbol of laziness, that thinks we know what we're doing―is to develop insight. Specifically, in this stage, referring to awareness or introspection, as Buddha Maitreya teaches, we need to develop our clarity of perception more, insight.
What makes the fifth degree different from the fourth, is that at this point, instead of focusing on the object of concentration, we are focusing on how we perceive. In the beginning, mental placement, we are trying to remember that we're practicing. In the second, we have some brief flashes of insight into the object of concentration. At patch-like placement, we remember to concentrate more than we forget. The fourth degree, we don't forget the object of concentration―this is all about the object, up to this point. At the fifth degree, we are now focusing more on our perception: how do we perceive the object of concentration. We observe how we observe. In studies, we call it meta-cognition. The solution to this, is to develop more awareness for introspection. The difference between introspection and mindfulness has to do with the quality of our perception. Mindfulness is remembrance throughout the day, but introspection is that we're sharpening that, applying antidotes when we need to. When the mind is agitated or relaxed, we direct our attention to that, we turn to the object of concentration.
Also, you now notice that the monkey is becoming tame: it is following the elephant, and it is half purity, half dullness, in this image of the elephant.
6. Pacification or Becoming Peaceful
The mind is becoming very crisp. There is greater serenity of mind. One is still dealing with some subtle forms of laxity and excitement, which we must carefully address. At this point, what makes the sixth degree different from the fifth degree is that we must not over-apply the remedy to excitement; we don't want to heighten the mind more. We want it to become more pacified, more clear. By antidotes, we are referring to countering the influences of laziness or excitement. Such as, if the mind is excited, one can reflect on the impermanence or transient nature of the ego that emerges in the mind, or the impermanence of life and death, of fatality, to curb the excitement of that mind. Or, if there is laziness, we apply effort. But, here, we don't want to over-apply the remedy, so that the waters of the mind become agitated. But we do want to become more pacified.
7. Complete Pacification or Becoming Very Pacified
This degree is very important. In the previous degrees, from the third degree to the sixth degree, we were referring to a type of engagement with the mind, which is called, in Buddhist terms, interrupted engagement. Meaning, we are applying effort, but our efforts are always being interrupted by distractions―to one degree or another. Whether, gross, like at the fourth degree, when we don't forget to practice, towards the sixth degree, as we become more pacified―we are still dealing with distraction.
But, at this degree, complete pacification, this is a state of concentration in which you see distractions before they even arise. So, you see a thought before it even appears; you see from where it comes from. This is a very clear and sharp cognizance. The elephant is now following the monk, the monk does not have to use any force. Still, he is using effort to a degree, to lead the elephant after him, but the mind is pacified, meaning, one still has distractions, but one catches them before they even appear. This is going to be very hard to understand. But, you may have had the experience, such as an out of body experience when meditating, when you see the ego before it even projects its films on the screen of our mind.
There is a Sufi saying by Al Qushayri that emphasizes this point.
It is said, "Silence for the common people is with their tongues, silence for the gnostics is with their hearts, and silence for lovers is with restraining the stray thoughts that come to their innermost beings." ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
At this point, you catch the mind before it even acts. This is very sharp. I have experienced this in different occasions, such as out of the body, receiving teachings where I could sense my ego was about to act, before it even happened. So, this is a very sharp cognizance that we need to cultivate.
8. Single-pointed Attention
I chose the image of a samurai to illustrate this, because the type of attention we need is a sword. One-pointed means that there are no distractions; there is no subtle excitement, no subtle laxity in the mind. If you are familiar with the spiritual culture of the samurai, which is bushido, the way of the warrior, their training was such that, they eliminated all fear or excitement from their minds before they went to battle. This is before this tradition degenerated. For instance, the samurai would symbolically commit harakiri, or seppuku, to kill themselves. When this tradition degenerated, they did it literally. But this is symbolic of the need to die in the ego. So, with one pointed perception, one can deal with one’s mind, one’s enemies, without being distracted, with perfect awareness, or rather, close to perfect, because there is a degree higher than this... The fact that one is in single-pointed attention or concentration, demonstrates that there isn’t even any subtlety or laxity in the mind at all. There are no distractions, but still, it is not perfect, because we need effort to maintain that state.
9. Balanced Placement, Fixed Absorption or Meditative Equipoise
This pertains to the mind that has reached its natural state. This does not mean that the ego has been eliminated. It means that the mind is settled to its original point of being; no distractions. It takes no effort to maintain this state. One just simply must be familiar with how the consciousness functions at this degree.
There is a Sufi quote that explains this very well.
According to etymology, the disciple is "he who possesses will," just as the knower is "he who possesses knowledge" because the word belongs to the class of derived nouns. But in Sufi usage, the disciple is he who possesses no will at all! ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So, in the lower degrees, we need effort, we need will, to act to really control the mind. But, in the higher degrees, to really be a Sufi, to be pure in mind―Suf means "purity" in Arabic, referring to wool-like clothing, which is a symbol of purity―we don't need any effort. To be a Sufi, to have that realization, there is no effort involved.
Here, one who does not abandon will cannot be called a disciple, just as, linguistically, one who does not possess will cannot be called a disciple. ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So, to reach this point, you need will, effort. But, when you reach that point where the mind is completely equilibrated, you don't need any effort, you just need to be familiar with that state. The elephant is completely tamed at this degree; one just need to be settled at that state.
Now, this ninth degree, meditative equipoise, pertains to Tiphereth in Kabbalah. Tiphereth is the human consciousness or soul, which we call willpower, our human will. It seems ironic that real willpower requires no effort. But it is true. If you are in the internal planes, in a very clear, lucid state, you don't need effort to maintain it, when it is very fully developed. But, if you find that you are struggling to maintain that state, then you need some effort. But all it takes to maintain this state is to be equilibrated.
To elaborate on this teaching that Buddha Maitreya taught, I'll relate to you an experience that I had, in the astral plane, many years ago, where my Being taught me this, before I even knew about these nine stages.
Specifically, I woke up in the astral plane, and I went outside my home and I invoked my Innermost, my God, and I dove into the Earth, into the crust, to go towards the center of the planet, to be with my Being. The astral plane is material, like the physical plane, but it is a little more subtle in nature. So, you can fly through walls, or go through the Earth, breathe in water, fly through the seas. So, I went into the Earth, and I entered darkness. At that moment, I felt the presence of my Inner Being, and I heard a breathing, and this symbol of the breath pertains to the spirit, because the Innermost is the presence of force, the breath of God, which the Sufi's talked about, Al-Nafs, Ruh, in Arabic, or Ruach in Hebrew. It was a terribly divine presence.
In that moment, my God showed me something where, if you can imagine a silent film, such as when a camera lens opens, to see an image emerge from the center of a black screen, to see a scene that immediately played out. There was a yellow car skidding, like a souped-up race car. Immediately, driving off, wildly, toward the distance. And, I knew, intuitively, I had to catch it. So, I flew after it. This was a test from my Being, and it took a lot of effort to catch up to it. I was fighting to catch after it, but then, I saw that the car was starting to slow down, I was gaining ground, I had to put less effort to get to it. And so, eventually, I was victorious, and the car was starting to stop, I came up to it, and the car opened, and a bald man came out. I asked him, "Are you my Innermost?" He said, "No, I am just a representation." And I woke up.
So, the car was yellow. Yellow is the symbol of the mental body, the mind, knowledge. That car was my mental body, driving around chaotically, crazily, and it took a lot of effort to catch up to it. The teaching was pertaining to the need for me to catch up to my elephant. It took less and less effort the closer I got, until the point where the car stopped on its own, and I was able to talk to the driver. The fact that the driver was bald is a representation of the ego, because the ego is bald from fornication; baldness is a symbol of the mind that fornicates.
So, I caught up with the car, and this is a symbol of obtaining these nine degrees. I am going to provide you this glyph, which is everything we just discussed. It explains here what the characteristics are of each stage, what is the type of engagement that we need when we concentrate, and also the power that is needed.
We explained how mental placement is when we can't remember that we're meditating. So, we need to use a lot of effort and to really hear the teachings, to understand them.
Continual placement: flashes and moments of comprehension, we still need a lot of force and engagement to catch up with the mind. At this point, we need to contemplate the teachings. Here, we need to really understand the value of the teaching from experience, and not to observe merely intellectually.
I won't go through the entire list now, but you have in this glyph everything that we discussed, to help with understanding these stages.
Something else I also want to mention, in relation to the ninth degree, meditative equipoise. In this state, we don't need to apply any effort. Another experience that I had, recently, I found myself looking in the astral plane, looking at the horizon. I have been doing a lot of the practice of the mantra S M HON, to clear my mind. I found myself in the astral plane, before dawn, there was some light on the horizon, and there was a sky with barely any patches of cloud, but was otherwise very clear; I saw the stars. To see stars in the internal planes, means that the mind is clear, and that divinity is expressing, present. I didn't need to apply any effort at that point. I was just awake, and they were showing me, that when you're transmuting and clearing your mind, let that be your object of concentration, this is your mental state. To see stars is a good thing. If you see stars, they are showing you that you're being connected with your divinity. Stars pertain to the Divine Mother, Nut in Egyptian mythology.
But I also saw something very interesting there, which is relevant to this topic. When I was looking in the stars, I saw a ship, spaceship, like a boat. At first, I was almost going to ignore it. But it was hovering in the horizon, and I saw this ship was just floating there. Telepathically, I asked, "Come take me, I want to be helped." Immediately, the ship came, a magnetic force pulled me on board, and I was on the ship.
To be invited on a space ship, in the astral plane, is divinity inviting you to go to a higher level of being, asking you to ascend from an inferior level, like in the Allegory of the Cave, to see the stars for the first time, divinity. This is a state of Noetic consciousness, Nous, where you are perceiving divinity directly.
When your mind is illuminated, if you are clear, the natural state of the mind is stars, divinity. So, if you see that, it means that they're showing you your level. In the astral plane, if you ask, "How am I doing?" And you see the sky, the nature of the sky is the nature of your mind. If it is cloudy with storms, that is your mind churning. But, if you see stars, that means that your mind is so clear that, for once, your divinity can help you. But the fact that I was invited by this ship demonstrates that if you really want to get help, you have to reach that state. That is the point of me relating this experience. The thing is, we receive help all the time, but we don't see it. But, when you're in the ninth degree of concentration, which is seeing the stars, clearly, then you can receive even more help. This is represented by the image at the top of the Tibetan mural. If we really want to be aware of who is helping us, to have that clarity, reach the ninth degree, in which you don't need effort or exertion, and in which you see clearly. So, it is from the ninth degree of concentration in which you can enter higher degrees of understanding in the internal planes.
The Myth of Proteus
The Buddhist doctrine, and the teachings of Plato are not the only ones that explain this. We find this teaching in the Odyssey, by Homer, the Greek poet.
In the Odyssey, after the Trojan war, Menelaus―who we see in this image―the King, was returning back to Sparta. He was stranded at sea without wind, and he was trying to discover which God was punishing him, so that he could make appeasement in ritual, to produce his return home. He was confronted by Eidothea, a sea goddess, a sea nymph, who explained to him that, "My father, the God Proteus, will help you return, and prophecy for you, if you catch him."
So, in this poem, there is a scene where King Menelaus was disguised as a seal, a creature of the sea, in order to ambush Proteus and to wrestle him to the ground, to get him to provide answers to his questions.
Menelaus states to Eidothea, the daughter of Proteus―Proteus is a God of the sea, who could shapeshift, and Eidolthea, the daughter says, if you want to get the answers you need, you have to catch Proteus: Proteus is going to shapeshift on you, change the sea creatures into beasts, into fowl, into all sorts of serpents and creatures... and no matter what he turns into, you have to hold on to him. This relates to how, when we are concentrating and controlling our mind, the mind shapeshifts: desires, thoughts, beliefs, ideas, concepts―Proteus, in our mind, is always shifting. But, if you want to get the answers you seek, you must hold on for dear life, and use that will, until finally, Proteus will give in. And, when your mind is completely controlled, then the Gods can speak to you; such as the stars in the experience I provided.
Menelaus says to Eidothea:
Show me the trick to trap this ancient power, or he’ll see or sense me first and slip away. It’s hard for a mortal man to force a god. ―The Odyssey, IV. ll. 442-444
Samael Aun Weor says, when you're with your Being in meditation, you must be demanding with your God. It sounds blasphemous... but, the thing is, when you're concentrating, you must be so dedicated that, no matter what happens, you're never going to forget what you're doing. Then, you will demand to your Being, "Show me and teach me, so that you can give me the insight that I need."
So, Menelaus was describing, in his story, how he caught Proteus:
Now there was an ambush that would have overpowered us all―overpowering, true, the awful reek of all those sea-fed brutes! ―The Odyssey
So, Proteus was surrounded by sea lions, and many other animals that smelled terrible: that is our mind. Lust smells awful; it is a psychological characteristic which hypnotizes the mind and is filthy. When we try to meditate on our lust, that element fights to feed itself and is really overpowering. The solution is given by Eidothea, which was a kind of ambrosia, applied under the nose.
Who’d dream of bedding down with a monster of the deep? But the goddess (Eidothea) sped to our rescue, found the cure with ambrosia, daubing it under each man’s nose―that lovely scent, it drowned the creatures’ stench. ―The Odyssey, IV. ll. 495-501
What is that ambrosia? It is our transmutation. When you transmute the sexual energy, you can confront your mind with strength, the lust of the sea animals that we carry within.
…but we with a battle-cry, we rushed him, flung out arms around him―he’d lost nothing, the old rascal, none of his cunning quick techniques! First he shifted into a great bearded lion and then a serpent―a panther―a ramping wild boar―a torrent of water―a tree with soaring branch tops―but we held on for dear life, braving it out until, at last, that quick-change artist, the old wizard, began to weary of all this. ―The Odyssey, IV, ll. 509-517
You must control your mind, even if it shapeshifts. We need pliancy of the mind to control it, no matter what distraction it provides, as Homer teaches.
So, the higher levels of shamatha, which is really what calm abiding is, pertains to superior consciousness in the internal planes.
The nine degrees of concentration we were explaining lead to this point, which is a kind of concentration in which we become very skilled in the astral world, and beyond. So, the image of the top of the Tibetan mural, being above the mountains, represents the superior dimensions of the Tree of Life.
We emphasize, in brief, the nature of Kabbalah. We have on the left an image of Arik Anpin, the celestial man, divided into four worlds. Likewise, the Tree of Life on the right, divided into four worlds, which are Atziluth, Briah, Yetzirah, and Assiah. Assiah is the world of action, matter, energy; Yetzirah is the world of formation; Briah, creation; and, Atziluth, archetypes.
So, the simple way in which we can break this down is, on the Tree of Life, the world of archetypes, which are very abstract, the nature of Christ, is Atziluth, which is Kether-Chokmah-Binah, Father-Son-Holy Spirit. In the world of Briah, we have the Innermost, Chesed, the Divine Soul, Geburah, and the human soul, Tiphereth. So, everything that we have been talking about in relation with concentration, pertains to how we use our willpower. In the higher levels of shamatha, we are in the world of Briah, represented by the rainbow, as well as the world of Yetzirah, which is the mental world, Netzach, the astral world of Hod and the vital world, Yesod. Everything that we are describing here, pertains to Assiah, at first; how we, in our physical body, learn to meditate. Then, when we develop concentration here, we can investigate the world of Yetzirah, the world of formation, the astral world, the mental world. Yetzirah is governed by angels; Briah is governed by Archangels, like Samael, Orifiel, Gabriel, Raphael, etc. Atziluth pertains to direct influence of God within the Tree of Life.
We will explain more about this image in another lecture, how the Tree of Life is represented in each of these four worlds. We use this glyph of the ten Sephiroth as a map of our consciousness, or the higher levels of concentration too, in which each Sephiroth has four aspects; Atziluth, in which God acts directly; Briah, in which the forces of divinity work through the Archangels, in the different Sephiroth; Yetzirah, the angels working under the Archangels, the Cosmo-Creators; and, Assiah is our physical plane.
In a more complicated sense, we say that there are forty spheres, but we talk about ten in synthesis. I point this out because, we're at the feet here, Malkuth. We're trying to concentrate, and we must work with our waters, control our earth, then we can enter into the superior worlds, represented by the Solar System, the genitalia of the celestial man, and likewise up the Tree of Life. So, there are degrees of how we develop cognizance.
Lastly, to emphasize the points we made, I'd like to quote a Sufi teaching, from Al-Risalah, Principles of Sufism, a teaching by Al-Jurayri.
[Al-Jurayri] said, "Whoever does not establish awe of duty and vigilance in his relationship to God will not arrive at disclosure of the unseen or contemplation (mushahadah) of the divine." ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
What is divinity on the Tree of Life? Allah, the top of the Tree of Life, Kether-Chokmah-Binah, Father-Son-Holy Spirit, light of divinity, manifested on the Tree of Life. This is the Being. Da’ath is the secret sphere in the throat, pertaining to knowledge, sexual knowledge: how we work in transmutation. It is with the throat, by using mantra, is how we work with our creative potential in our vital body, specifically.
So, if we do not establish "awe of duty" meaning, we don't feel that awe and fear of divinity, and the fear that, if we don't practice, we will degenerate. It is only by developing that awe of our practices that, really, the respect that we have towards the tradition, the exercises we use to develop vigilance, in relationship to ourselves and our Being, we can obtain disclosure―meaning, to tear the veil, to see the internal planes and to develop contemplation, cognizance, like when you see the stars in the astral plane. Contemplation, in Arabic, is mushahadah, which relates to the Arabic pillar of faith, the Shahadah, which is, "I believe in Allah, Allah is Allah, and Muhammed is His Prophet." A real Muslim is someone who has really experienced divinity, who has cognizance of the divine. We can only reach that if we develop our capacity to concentrate, then, once you develop concentration, insight will come, spontaneously. That is the next stage we are going to talk about.
Questions and Answers
Audience: Samael Aun Weor said, more or less, you're not going anywhere in meditation unless you develop serenity first... that's really high up there on that diagram. Personally, I've found that, to progress on that path, getting serenity first, is related to the breath, rhythmic breath, is what leads to serenity.
Instructor: Right. Transmuting, working with Da’ath, is how you clear your mind; especially with something like the mantra S M HON, I have found that very effective, personally, to illuminate the sky of the mind. You can also do vowel Sssss, which is great for that; you can do INRI, Om Masi Padme Yum, Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Swaha; Klim Krishnaya Govindaya Gopijana Vallabhaya Swaha, and many other mantras that you can use to train your mind.
This is basic. We should do that every time we practice, so that the mind is clear. Then, we can develop that serenity that we need.
Audience: I find also that, when you do concentration on mantra, more and more it is effective at knocking out those extraneous thoughts. There is just no room, and I concentrate on that vibration, and it is a serene state of mind; that is what is helping me more. There is no room for those crazy thoughts, because I am concentrating on the mantra.
Instructor: The thing is, if you're not experiencing any distractions, that pertains to a state related to the ninth degree, in which the mind is not distracted; there are no elements perturbing the mind: there is serenity. And, there are degrees. Sometimes, that ninth degree for one person maybe different for another, even within a single individual. It will fluctuate. So, don't think that, by describing these nine stages, that you go from one to the other, strictly, like a checklist. There is fluctuation. In one meditation session, you can go from the first degree to the sixth, or the fourth degree to the ninth, and back again. You can have an experience, lose it, and go back to a wild mind. It is dynamic; pertaining to our effort of will, and our work, as well as what our Being wants.
Audience: That is what I was going to say about what Samael Aun Weor said about emptying your mind. It seems that, we must practice with ethics, and with an object in meditation and that is going to get us closer to the point when we can empty our minds of thoughts. But, it's not like it is going to just happen step by step―it is going to be a combination of steps, and that's how it feels to me.
Instructor: Yes, and that is why Samael Aun Weor said that there are many students of, say Krishnamurti ―Krishnamurti is a great Master, taught a lot of valuable things about the mind. But, the problem with his students is that... well, first off, Krishnamurti did not teach chastity. He was not allowed to teach that. So, he did not teach it openly. Therefore, students study him very intellectually, meanwhile, they fornicate. Therefore, the mind of the one who does not practice chastity has no purity of mind, no pure ethical discipline―the mind is chaotic. So, these people who study these doctrines, but fornicate, they're not fulfilling the very basic requisite of religion, of yoga; which is Yama / Niyama, restrain the mind, restrain the body... that is basic. Many people try to meditate, for twenty years, thirty years or more... but they fornicate. They are just wasting their time. It really is tragic.
People try to skip steps. They think, "Oh, I don't need to practice Brahmacharya." But, Patanjali says that this is basic; Buddha said that you need to be chaste, Jesus the same thing, "You must be born again of water and spirit."
Here is the thing, like Sivananda said, if you fulfill the basic requirements of ethics in your daily life, your concentration will be very strong, and meditation will be easy. So, try to apply ethical discipline and purity in mind, body and heart, moment by moment, day by day. Then, when you concentrate, it will be much easier. The mind will be stable. Then, you can practice the higher degrees of meditation itself. But the firmer we are in our foundation, like in that image of the pagoda, then we can ascend towards the superior worlds.
Audience: Who painted the image of the Allegory of the Cave?
Instructor: I don't know.
Audience: So, that's not all symbolism, right? There is so much random stuff in there.
Instructor: I think in that painting, there is people looking at iphones, televisions, etc. I chose that image in particular because that is typically what we do. Personally, if I watch television, I try to watch opera, or films that are meaningful. But the fact that people are hypnotized by the television screen... they don't see the light.
Eikasia, in Greek, literally translates as "imagination." But, Samael calls it darkness. So, there is an interesting dynamic here. With Eikasia, we can be visually very awake, perceiving images and light, physically, but, psychologically, we can be completely asleep. So, we have perception, but, it is not conscious.
With television, people typically get hypnotized. The world really is what the book of Genesis says: "The world was formless and void, darkness was upon the face of the deep." That is our elephant, that is sitting in front of the television, our distractions.
One of the things that the Buddhists teach is the need to refrain from the paths of distraction. Meaning, part of our ethical discipline should be avoiding, say, going to movie theatres, where in the astral atmosphere, there is a lot of filth.
Audience: You mentioned dance halls once…
Instructor: It depends. Brothels, places like that, bars, are filled with larvae and filth. However, ethical discipline is to avoid places like that. I always recommend, for students, don't go to those places, if you want your mind to be clean. It is good to feed our mind with healthy impressions. If you watch a movie, watch an opera―which we will be doing more of here―something positive. That gives you good impressions in the mind, that can inspire you to really connect with your Being. Whereas, watching the movie Seven, or something about violence or bloodshed, or films that are very offensive to the sight...
Audience: More and more, they're not innocuous at all. They're graphic...
Instructor: Feed your mind with good impressions. I personally try to avoid that kind of thing.
Audience: Going back to that painting about the Allegory of the Cave, did you see the peeker? The eyes behind the bench? Is there symbolism behind that?
Instructor: We could say that, that person is someone on the other side of the wall, and has the opportunity to see the light, but, such a person doesn't care; that is my interpretation of that image. But, the fact that their faces are like zombies... that is really our daily life.
In order to change, we must work with the fire, which is Daath, the sexual energy, to give us light. And then, when you are transmuting, watch what you eat. The Muslims say, eat only what is lawful, in Sufi scripture. This doesn't pertain to merely physical food―not eating pork is one thing. Pork is a food with a lot of degenerative elements, that can feed our lust. To eat what is lawful is to eat the right impressions, meaning, what you feed your mind. It is avoiding consuming garbage, whether television, books, or visiting bad places.
Audience: I was wondering if you could go over the first rite of rejuvenation again? It's after the first one, when you spin? You said that, after completing that, and shutting your eyes and standing there, you did some other thing?
Instructor: You bend your knees. Take your three fingers, put them on your third eye... this is partially to gain your balance, but, you're also taking all that energy that you accumulated through that gyration, and sending it to your third eye. You close your eyes, gain your balance, and you focus that energy, that chi, that ki, in the third eye, to awaken your clairvoyance.
Audience: You don't say any mantra at this point? You just focus?
Instructor: No, you just focus. The only other mantra you need to do in that practice is, "Open Sesame." And, that mantra, is something that we need to accomplish, symbolically. We need to open our mind, to receive the solar light.
So, again, to concentrate, the runes can help us, the sacred rites can help us.
Thank you for coming.
This is the second lecture in the course that we have initiated on meditation—discussing the requisites, as well as the necessary steps we need in order to really understand how to meditate, how to acquire information about any given phenomena.
We previously discussed the nature of the Eightfold Path of Yoga as taught by Patanjali, namely: Yama-Niyama, which is ethical discipline, restraint, "to do or not to do," literally speaking.
We also spoke about asana, which is posture. We talked about pranayama, the work with sexual energy, transmutation, moral purity. We also talked about pratyahara, which is the suspension of the senses: to withdraw the mind from the external sensorial perceptions, to have silence of mind.
We also spoke about dharana (concentration): to focus the mind on only one thing. And, we spoke about dhyana, which is actual meditation: to receive information about an object, to perceive the new, and to comprehend any given object of our meditation. And then, samadhi, which is ecstasy, comprehension: it is to perceive without the filters of the ego.
In this lecture, we are speaking about Yama and Niyama. We are speaking about the necessity to curtail negative habits of body, speech, and mind. We're going to talk about the foundations of meditation, precisely in how we cultivate genuine ethics and discipline, so that we can make our practices effective.
On this subject of ethics, we always speak about karma, because karma comes from the Sanskrit, karman, which means cause and effect. It pertains to the fact that whatever actions we produce will necessarily produce certain results.
Likewise, interdependence, which is a Buddhist concept, but that we find in all traditions. It is how all phenomena are inextricably linked. Internal states, external events, constitute two dynamics of one thing: our relationship to each other, to humanity, to ourselves.
The importance of ethics cannot be underestimated. It is ethical discipline, following what is called the ten commandments of Moshe [Moses], the ten meritorious actions of Buddhism, is how we purify our mind, in which we have the stability of consciousness in order to genuinely enter the higher stages. For instance, we have yama and niyama, which precede asana. It is impossible to sit down with one’s posture to meditate if, throughout the day, we committed fornication or adultery, or we stole... people who have bad habits, who lack moral discipline, if such people try to approach the science of meditation, it is impossible for them to sit still. We cannot sit still if we have had an argument or have been angry in some way.
If we want to be able to have a stable, firm and relaxed asana (posture), we first need to, throughout the day, be very disciplined in how we act. As the Buddha Gautama Shakyamuni taught us, in the Dhammapada:
Mind precedes phenomena; we become what we think. ―Buddha, Dhammapada
If what we think is evil, then our actions will be evil. But, if what we think is pure, then good results will follow, as the Buddha taught.
In this lecture, in talking about ethics, we are going to discuss a lot of the Muslim and Sufi teachings, specifically from Al-Risalah, by Al Qushayri. We are going to talk a lot about Hinduism and Buddhism regarding the law of karma and interdependence as well.
Here, we have a quote from Rumi which really emphasizes the necessity for the curtailing of wrong habits, wrong views.
Let’s ask God to help us to self-control:
When we awaken in the internal planes, the peacock can symbolize pride, vanity, one’s appearance, how we make ourselves visible to others. The tail, with its colors, is, really, our enemy: this illusion of self that we typically carry within, which we need to curtail through ethics.
The world is the mountain, and each action, the shout that echoes back. ―Jalal al-Din Muhammad Rumi
This is karma. If we speak wrong words, if we are vulgar, if we are rude to another person, that will produce its corresponding consequence.
This is such a basic concept, but it really is essential, especially as we relate to other people. What we are internally affects what experience externally. If we carry any type of negativity in our internal states, that affects others, even though it may not be visible to us on the surface.
This discipline and rough treatment are a furnace to extract the silver from the dross. ―Jalal al-Din Muhammad Rumi
This is an alchemical statement. "This discipline and rough treatment are a furnace," in which our psychological elements can be burned. Particularly, if we are married and working in alchemy, this is our furnace. The silver is a metallic element representing the sexual energy: the lunar forces. The dross is our psychological, egotistical impurities, the shells that are discarded as we extract consciousness from each ego. In order to do that, we first need ethics, discipline, and we need "rough treatment," meaning, we need to be treated badly. This is the difficult thing that we don't want to encounter; we don't want people to insult us, or to say harmful things, or be negative. But, when people do that for us, they are doing us a favor, if we are wise...
When people are condemnatory, prejudiced, this is how our egos emerge. If we act on that defect or ego, then as a result, we make the other human being suffer, and it becomes the law of the talion: "eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth." The law of retribution. But, there is a superior law we need to develop within, which is the law of mercy.
So, this is our furnace, the psychological gymnasium that Master Samael Aun Weor speaks about so frequently, which relates to three social spheres: how strangers may be rude to us so that we might perceive our egos, that are not necessarily the subtlest and deeply rooted in our psyche. We also have friends and family, which is typically more stressful. And, lastly, the most difficult ordeal is our own partner: our wife or husband, for those who are married. It is precisely from this psychological pressure which exerts itself on our psyche, to stimulate and boil the waters at 100 degrees Celsius, so that those elements that need to be destroyed will emerge and can be worked on. We need difficulty.
It is important that we must face these challenges. As Friedrich Nietzsche, author of Thus Spoke Zarathustra, taught: "Is not the greatest thing, the most difficult thing that the spirit of the renunciate seeks to develop, is to take on challenges in order to exalt in its own strength?" Oftentimes, we look at ordeals and problems and we don't want them. But, we really need them. We need to be challenged, so that we can really flex our spiritual muscles and grow.
Those elements are boiling in those waters, in either temptation or conflict, so that we can see them for what they are, to observe them. This is key. This is how one becomes an angel: through difficulty.
This image is of an Elohim, or angel, crowning a woman. That woman is our soul. If we want to be crowned, to receive the crown of life, we must be faithful unto death, as the book of Revelation teaches us: be thou faithful unto death and I will give you the crown of life. The crown is precisely Kether, Chokmah and Binah, Father-Son-Holy Spirit, the three energies of the Lord in one, the Tri-unity. This is represented by the angel, it is our Inner God, who crowns us if we are faithful unto death, meaning: every day we work on our pride, our anger, our lust, meditating on those defects that were boiling when someone said something insulting to us. We must remember that, in order to really work on that ego, on those defects, we cannot act on those defects. If in the moment we react to the external impressions of our insulter, then, we in turn strengthen our ego, our defects. But, if we restrain our mind, we respond with kindness, we're developing virtue.
Swami Sivananda teaches that every time an ego of anger emerges, when someone insults us, if we curtail and restrain our mind from reacting and behaving in a negative way, we strengthen our virtue. In turn, we give more force to our soul. But, every time we identify, even mentally with our chatter—psychologically in the intellectual center, our negative feelings in our emotional center—then we strengthen our habits, terribly. In order to really work effectively on the ego, we must catch that defect, as soon as it arises.
Observation is restraint. As we observe ourselves, we are learning how to not act on our desires. It is that restraint that is really the essence of discipline. If we do not restrain our mind, it is like feeding the lion.
In this image, we have Sufis dancing at Sama, which is a spiritual concert. We find this quote from Al-Qushayri, a Sufi Master and scholar, who wrote a book called Principles of Sufism. He explains the following:
It is related that Ibn al-Mubarak said, "We have greater need of a little bit of refinement than a lot of knowledge." ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
It is good to read books, to study this doctrine intellectually, but we have a greater need of even a little bit of psychological purity, than having mere intellectual knowledge. This is not to downgrade the necessity for studying books and lectures, receiving help and clarification that way... what is more important is applying the teachings. That is the only time that is becomes real, when we apply them practically. For, as we say, this teaching is really a dead letter, that only the spirit can vivify. Meaning, the letter kills, if we just leave it at the level of the intellect, the soul is dead. But, when we fully enact it, then, any scripture or book becomes living: it becomes part of our soul.
So, we need more refinement in our habits than we do for reading books. That is the important thing; study is important, but practice is essential.
I heard Muhammad bin al-Husayn say… that bin al-Mubarak said, "We sought for right conduct once the teachers of right conduct had left us." ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
This is explaining a common habit in spiritual groups, where individuals often may be taught by a master... and when I say master, I am talking about a master of the Major Mysteries, who has reached the Fifth Initiation of Fire, raising the Kundalini up the physical, vital, emotional, mental and causal bodies. Someone who has reached Tiphereth in the center of the Tree of Life, and has incarnated Christ, as a Bodhisattva. Many times, Bodhisattvas come to teach humanity, but, people do not really get the message, because people tend to intellectualize, read too much, and not practice.
So, once these teachers leave, such as in the case of Samael Aun Weor, he taught right conduct and he disincarnated and is working with initiates in the internal planes. Then, people start looking for their teacher... well, we have his books, but now we seek the right path after we have received the teachings. This emphasizes a dynamic or quality within disciples.
We need to really take advantage of the practice, of this discipline.
It is said that if one has three traits, one is never a stranger. They are avoiding doubters, behaving well, and restraining oneself from causing harm. ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
What does it meant to be a stranger? We find in the Old Testament, oftentimes in Judaism, the stranger is associated with the gentiles—those who are not Jews. This does not literally mean those who are not of the Jewish race or culture; it refers to initiates, those who are not initiated and who have not received the crown of life, because Yew, or Yehudah, Iod-Chavah, Judah and Jehovah, and Yehu, all have the same letters associated with each other.
To be a stranger is to be unconscious and asleep; it is to not be an initiate. It is to not have development with the creative energies of God, and through discipline. We need to avoid doubters, meaning, it is not good to necessarily associate with people who are very skeptical, and who are negative. Negative emotions are more infectious than any disease. If someone is angry, and they give a speech to a group of people, they infect other people with that anger. This is not ethics at all. Many religious teachers, preachers, of different denominations and traditions—whether in Christianity, Judaism, Islam, even in Buddhism—who are filled with skepticism and cynicism, infect students. This is a crime, because that creates doubt. Once people are filled with fear and dependency on a group, or doubt about a teaching, about how to change, that is a terrible karma. There are terrible consequences for misleading people in that way. Doubters are really people who try to pull us away from our practice. We need to be very disciplined. If we must associate with certain people, then we have to multiply our diligence and our ethical state of mind.
Behaving well is necessary. When we talk about behaving well, we are talking about, as in Buddhism, the trainings of body, speech and mind. In other words, our three brains, in the Gnostic doctrine. Body is the motor-instinctual-sexual brain; speech is usually related to our emotions, because as Jesus taught:
Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught?
It doesn't really matter what you consume, but really what comes out of your mouth, is what he said. Speech relates to the heart, because what is in our emotional center expresses through our speech. If we are negative and evil, if we cultivate that in our mental states, our emotional states, we will speak degeneration, and that affects others. Usually, when people are very negative, we should avoid them and not open our doors to receiving impressions which we know will infect our heart. Part of our ethics is to be wise in our relationships, and to curtail our mind, for again, as Nietzsche said in Thus Spoke Zarathustra, "For some people you may not give your hand, only your paw, and I desire that your paw should also have claws." So, we must learn to establish boundaries with people. Being compassionate does not mean being a doormat, for people to walk all over and abuse us. Compassion is knowing how to establish boundaries for the benefit of oneself and others.
This relates to speech, because how we speak determines to how we relate to other human beings. When we work with our emotional brain, we are really dominating our tongue; these two things are intimately related.
Finally, we have mind, which is our intellectual center.
In Buddhism, we talk about avoiding the sins of body, which is fornication, using intoxicants or drugs, alcohol, etc. Likewise, for the abuse of the heart, we talk about restraining anger, pride, resentment, calumny, envy. And, with the intellect, we seek to avoid wrong views, specifically talking in regard to the Buddhist doctrine.
This is really the center of our problem, with how we negotiate our internal realities with the external world. We typically have mistaken views about who we are as a psyche. And, the only way to rectify that is to observe. Every ego, every defect has its own viewpoint—its own thoughts, its own ideologies, its own sentiments, its own way of acting. But, in order to behave well, we need to understand what in us is mistaken in our perceptions. The only way to do that is to separate your psyche from the ego, and to observe it, and then restraining oneself from causing harm—even if you feel consumed with passion or lust or anger, to restrain yourself and to not engage in that habit, because the more we give into it, the less energy we have for our work. The more we restrain our mind, the greater strength we have.
The Role of Ethics in Concentration and Meditation
This is an image of Swami Sivananda, who is a great resurrected Master, meditating on a leopard, I believe. I am not sure when in his life this was taken, but he was an adept, who had no ego; he fully eliminated his defects, which is symbolized by him meditating with this beautiful smile on his face, over this dead skin of an animal. The animal is our ego. With ethical discipline one controls, one annihilates those defects, and then like Shiva, can meditate and show that he or she has conquered their animality.
Swami Sivananda gave very practical and essential points in his books, which we study. He says in the book, Concentration and Meditation, regarding the need for ethics:
Some foolish impatient students take to concentration practice―this is preliminary concentration, not real meditation yet―without in any manner undergoing any preliminary training in ethics. ―Swami Sivananda, Concentration and Meditation
So, let us step back and emphasize this. Concentration is to focus on one object, such as a mantra, or a visualization, an object, without thinking about other things. Meditation is when we are extracting information about what we are concentrating on. So, they are different things. But, in order to have real concentration, we need to really be ethical: meaning, don't fornicate, don't drink, don't steal, don't commit adultery, don't indulge in anger, lust, pride, etc.
This is a serious blunder. ―Swami Sivananda, Concentration and Meditation
Meaning, those who do not develop ethics, before entering concentration, will achieve nothing.
Ethical perfection is a matter of paramount importance. Concentration without purity of mind is of no avail. There are some occultists who have concentration, but they do not have good character. That is the reason why they do not make any progress in the spiritual line. ―Swami Sivananda, Concentration and Meditation
We are going to talk a little bit about Islam, and how, basically, there is a Sufi master that was approached by a student, who told him, "So-and-so can fly. So-and-so can walk on water, in the air." And, then the Sufi master said, "Well, does he follow the Qur'an?" And the answer, of course, was obviously no. So, he said, "Shun that man. Don't have anything to do with him."
This is because, those who have powers and abilities, and concentration, can do things through the ego. The difference is, in terms of our ethical discipline, we seek to curtail the habits of our defects, of our mind, but, a black magician takes those egos, such as anger, and concentrates that force through that anger. And so, they have a lot of concentration as well, but, within that anger; it is conditioned concentration. The type of ethics we seek to cultivate is by extricating our free consciousness, so that there is no filter, no conditioning; it is liberated. That is really the meaning of ethics, but many people develop powers in their ego, because they keep strengthening the shell, the conditioning, which has them act and perceiving in that subjective way.
Here we find an image of a Sufi meditating. In order to explain the necessity for ethics, in terms of how we practice, as well as the importance of having experience in developing cognizance, we are going to discuss a teaching associated with the Muslim doctrine.
In Islam, we talk about Shariah, Shariah Law, which in the Middle East is associated, typically, as the culture and customs of Muslims. But, that is not the Shariah that we are talking about. In this case, we are talking about ethical discipline: don't fornicate, don't lie, don't indulge in anger... etc. We call this the Divine Law, or as we say in Hebrew, the Torah, or in Sanskrit, Dharma. It is the instruction that teaches us how to really die in our errors, and to be reborn in our Being.
Shariah Law became, literally, a cultural thing, rather than a conscious teaching. Shariah is really the foundation of how we practice, using the Arabic terms. But, if we were to use the Hebrew terms, we would call it Torah, the Law.
So, in Sufism, we have four stages. We have Shariah, which is the basic law or instruction, how to be disciplined in meditation. Tariqah, which is the path—literally translating as a "path in the desert"—is how we walk the path, how we practice. Then we have Haqiqah. A Sufi Master by the name of Ibn Husayn Mansur Al-Hallaj said, "Ana al-Haqq (I am the truth)." Haqq means truth: this is God. Anyone who has no ego can manifest the truth within themselves, like Sivananda or Al-Hallaj. Haqiqah is the truth, the way of knowledge. Marifah (knowledge), really, is the same thing; these are two aspects of the same higher teaching. Marifah is Gnosis, in Greek terms: direct perception of divinity.
The divine Law commands one to the duty of servanthood. The Way, the inner reality is the contemplation of divine lordship. ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
This excerpt emphasizes how, if we want to have internal experiences, we need to follow the law. I do not mean terrestrial laws, but the laws pertaining to the development of the consciousness, the laws of initiation. The path, the way to the inner reality is contemplation of divine lordship. Contemplation, a term that we will revisit, is in Arabic called, "Mushahida." This is the word from which we get the Muslim declaration of faith, the Shahadah, which we will elaborate on.
Contemplation is meditation. So, the way to the inner reality is when we are meditating and speaking with our God, face to face.
Outward religious practice not confirmed by inner reality is not acceptable. Inner reality not anchored by outward religious practice is not acceptable. ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
There are many Muslims that follow the outward religious practice of their tradition, or Jews, or Christians, yet, they do not have any experience. This is useless. Neither should we rely on inner experiences, if we are not cultivating, in our daily physical life, ethics. So, like the example of the individual who is flying through the air and walking on water, but not following the Qur'an, really emphasizes this point. If someone has powers but is not practicing chastity, moral purity, restraint, then, they are obviously a demon, a black magician. So, our inner reality should always be anchored by our ethics, our religious discipline.
Divine Law brings obligation upon the creation, while the Way is founded upon the free action of the Real. ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
When we talk about how the divine law brings obligation upon the creation, really, when the Qur'an talks about "the creation," it is referring to the Tree of Life, the ten Sephiroth of Kabbalah. The Divine Law brings obligation upon us; we are the bottom of the Tree of Life. But, the Law requires of us that, if we want to enter into the superior dimensions, we need to follow the laws that pertain to those higher worlds. It is our obligation to do so. Or, as Gurdjieff taught, "Being-Partkdolg-Duty" meaning the necessity for God to know himself, to acquire cognizance, by developing the Tree of Life, descending as energy down through different modalities of matter, consciousness, energy, until reaching our physicality. It is our spiritual duty to follow those laws, and return inward, and upward, to the source, with knowledge, so that God can know himself, through us. The soul is like a mirror which can reflect the image of God, inside.
Often in these studies, we talk about the Absolute, which is ٱللَّٰهُ Allah, in Arabic, the Christ, the source of divinity within us. The goal of these studies is to return to the Absolute, the emptiness, the Ain Soph. We often talk about the Absolute as the great reality of life, free in its movement. There is always movement involved in returning to that pristine, abstract joy of consciousness, which is pure liberation, without vehicles of any kind.
So, the way is that we really comprehend the Absolute, is that we follow the Torah, the Shariah, the Qur'an, the Law.
The divine Law is that you serve Him. The Way is that you see Him. ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
In the beginning, we do not see God, typically. But, we seek to serve him, through transforming our daily life into something pure. But, "the Way is that you see Him." In the beginning we feel longing, intuition and a hunch about the need to practice, and to change certain habits that are in our daily life, so we are serving God in that way. Whenever we restrain our mind from doing harmful things, trying to create peace and harmony with others, this is how we serve God, Karma Yoga.
But, to take that a step further, we need to perceive God, directly. "The way" is that we are actually communicating with our Inner Being, so that He will direct us further. In the beginning we serve, and we are blind, we do not see anything, but we sense a presence in our heart that we follow and that we want to develop. But, to really enter the path, we need to perceive God directly. In the beginning we serve Him, but, through the way, by entering this path of the Bodhisattva, we have to see God.
The divine Law is doing what you have been ordered to do. Haqiqah is bearing witness to what He has determined and ordained, hidden and revealed. ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
The Muslims have a saying:
لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا ٱللَّٰهُ مُحَمَّدٌ رَسُولُ ٱللَّٰهِ
If you look at the word for "bearing witness," which is Shahadah in Arabic, you can also call it Mushahada, which means contemplation, to see. So, to "bear witness" as a Muslim, is to have spoken with God, face to face, like Prophet Muhammad did. Then, when we have that experience, then we can say, "Yes, Allah is Allah, God is God, El is El (in Hebrew), and Muhammad is His Prophet, Buddha is His Prophet, Krishna, Zarathustra, Samael Aun Weor, etc., is His Prophet." To know God is to know the prophets, from experience. To witness is to see, out of the body or in the internal planes, even physically too.
We have two terms in Islam,الظاهر Al-Zahir and الباطن Al-Batin. Al-Batin is the inner, esoteric teachings, and Al-Zahir is the outer, exoteric teaching. These are both names of Allah, the inner and outer, because God is inside, but also outside. We know in Islam that ٱللَّٰهُ Allah has 99 names, which relates to Kabbalah. But "the hidden and the revealed" pertains to internal states and external events. So, we must understand the relationship between the two, the written law and the divine way.
I heard Abu Ali al-Daqqaq say that God's saying [in the Opening Chapter, Al-Fatihah] iyyaka nabudu—"You we worship"—preserves the outward practice, the divine Law. Iyyaka nastain—"to You we turn for help"—establishes the inner reality, the Way. ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
In one of the seven lines in the opening of the Qur'an, it says, "You do we worship, to you we turn for help." The first part, "You do we worship," refers to our ethical discipline, working with the Divine Law; efforts that we make to worship God. So, to worship our divinity means that we do not act on any egotistical impulse within us. That is the requisite, we must do that first, if we want to receive grace, which is, "To You we turn for help." In accordance with our ethics, we worship the Lord, but then, "To You we turn for help," meaning, we want You [the Being] to help give us an experience, in the astral plane, in the mental plane, in the causal world, in Nirvana, in the world of Chokmah, the Christ, the Absolute even... There are two things there. First, we must practice. Then, we must be patient, in order to receive those experiences. Divine Law, Shariah, is practice, the ethics; Haqiqah is the experience we get by following our discipline.
Know that religious obligation is a spiritual reality in that it was made necessary by His command. And spiritual reality, as well, is a religious obligation, in that the realizations of Him were also made necessary by His command. ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
I know many people in this tradition, in different groups that I have been associated with, who do a lot of practices, but, for some reason, because they don't really work with their consciousness, they don't have experiences. But, at the same time, I know many others who developed their practice, with comprehension and cognizance, and they have many experiences.
So, it is an obligation to develop practice, and also to have experiences: they are inter-connected. But, in order to have spiritual reality, we must have religious obligation, meaning, we have to really cultivate purity. The only way to do that, is to observe oneself, here and now.
In order to really have experience, every time we sit to practice, we must do it with our consciousness, not with a cloudy mind. In the beginning, the mind is obscured, but, with transmutation and with disciplining ourselves, little by little, we learn to practice better each time. In this way, we will attain to realization.
This is an image of the Prophet Muhammad, ascending up the seven heavens, on the creature Al-Buraq, which has the face of a woman, the body of mule, and the tail of a peacock. Here, you see Muhammad is veiled, and in Muslim tradition you find that the veil, depicted on the prophet, shows for us that God is veiled, that, to know divinity, we need to tear the veil of Isis, which is the illusions of this world. But, in order to look directly on divinity, which is expressing through Prophet Muhammad, is that fire around him. So, we need to tear the veil of our false perception, so that we can bear witness of Allah, Shahadah. A real Muslim, a real Gnostic, a real practitioner, is somebody who has experienced God, and is cultivating that every day, and knows divinity very well, directly.
This scripture, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism, really teaches us the importance of developing ethics.
God Almighty and Glorious has said, "The sight (of the Prophet of the time of his Ascension, from Mecca to Jerusalem, and from Jerusalem up the Tree of Life, the seven heavens), did not deviate nor overstep the bounds" (53:17). This is said to mean, “He maintained the conduct proper to the Divine Presence.” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
When we talk about ethics, it is important to realize that, if we self-realize, if we come to know God, our ethical discipline does not end there. Ethics is restraining the mind from producing, causing harm. Even if we have a solar mind—which we often talk about, in these studies, how we need to create a solar mental body, a Christic-mind—even though we might have that vehicle of God, it is a material vehicle which can make mistakes, if we identify with it, and not choose to reflect the inner image of our Being. So, even resurrected masters need ethics: they have no ego, but they are like Prophet Muhammad, knowing God, but even their mind can take them away from the path, which is why we say that even angels can fall. The reason why there are fallen masters is because they lacked ethics. Don't think that by eliminating your ego that you are done with ethics; faithfulness to God is something eternal, to not back away from that. But, that is for resurrected masters.
The Most High also said, “Save yourselves and your families from the fire” (66:6). ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
It is interesting that we find in the sixty-sixth verse of Surah 6 how one has to save oneself from the fire—we find the number 666. The Arcanum 6 of the Tarot relates to the three brains, indecision, being tempted between good and evil, the virgin and the whore, which represents the ego.
According to the commentary of Ibn Abbas, this means, "Teach them the stipulations of the divine law and refined behavior."
Right behavior is understanding our relationship to our Innermost, our Being. We can read about ethics, but, really, this is about our connection, what we learn from God. We cannot learn ethics from any book, but the book of our life, fundamentally. Study is important, so that we are inspired and so that we learn things that we should, but, the actual doing is knowing what rights God Almighty has over us, Allah, our Being, the Christ.
It is reported that the Prophet said, "God Almighty and Glorious had educated me in refined behavior and made good my education.”
In these studies, we often talk about receiving ordeals in the physical, but also the internal planes. If, for instance, you conquer an ordeal of the four elements—the ordeals of fire, earth, water and air—which are given to us by the angels, if we conquer those ordeals, then we receive feasts, banquets, celebrations in the astral plane, with the Cherubim, the angels who appear like children.
The ordeals of fire relate to criticism, if we are slandered and provoked; the ordeals of water are working with difficult circumstances, swimming against the current, of challenges; earth, which is financial troubles or difficulties, like a mountain is closing in on oneself; then, air relates to the mind. So, fire with the heart, water with sex, air with the mind and the earth related to the body. Ordeals relate to these elements, manifest as these elements. But, when you conquer ordeals, then you have a banquet, internally, a maduba, with a group of refined people, which are angels, like Rumi taught, "right conduct created the angels."
I heard Abu Ali al-Daqqaq say, "Through his obedience the servant attains to paradise. Through refined conduct in obedience he attains to God.’ I also heard him say, ‘I saw someone who, during the prescribed prayer before God, wanted to stretch his hand to his nose to remove something that was in it. His hand was seized!” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
When we practice, we should not move our body, our asana, our posture, is what this is teaching. We should not obstruct our practice with bad habits, such as that mentioned. But, really, it pertains to how we concentrate. When we sit to meditate and practice, we should not move our body, we should not do other things, we should not think of other things.
Ethics in the Doctrine of Unity
Now, again, emphasizing the nature of the divine law, the ethical discipline, we talk about the doctrine of unity, which in Islam is tawḥīd. Again, this is the saying that, "Allah is Allah, God is one." Or, as the Jews say in their Shema, when they pray in the synagogues, they close their eyes, "Shema Yisrael Adonai Eloheinu Adonai Echad," which means, "Hear, O Israel: the LORD is our God, the LORD is One." But, they place the word Adonai in the stead of יהוה Iod-Chavah, which they believe is too sacred to pronounce.
They close their eyes, meaning, like the veil of Muhammad, they do not look directly at God, showing subservience and obedience: "Hear, O Israel: Iod-Chavah is our God, Iod-Chavah is One." In Kabbalah, we talk about how God is a tri-unity: Father-Son-Holy Spirit, which is one light, which is Allah, emanating from the Ain Soph, through different levels of manifestation of that one light.
This is a very important scripture, this teaching from Al-Risalah:
I heard Abu Hatim al-Sijistani say… that al-Jalajili al-Basri said, "For the testimony of unity (tawhid) to be in force, faith is prerequisite, for whoever has no faith cannot testify to the unity." ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
What do we mean by faith? Faith is not believing in something, intellectually, emotionally, or having instinctual habit in the body. Faith is our direct cognizance of God, in our three brains, and out of the body in experiences.
If we do not have that experience of God, then, we cannot testify to the unity of our God, to know that divine presence as, really, a profound state of being.
For faith to be in force the divine law is prerequisite, for whoever does not hold to the divine law has no faith and cannot testify to the unity. ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
Someone who has no ethical discipline cannot know God. This is sad to see, in spiritual groups, where people are infected with pride and anger and resentment; they gossip, they lie, they speak badly about others. As the Apostle James said, it is really the tongue which produces all the suffering in the world. It is like a little rudder in a ship, which steers such great, giant vessels, such a little thing as the tongue... but, really, it directly influences all things, our relationships. But, those who do not follow the path of ethics cannot have faith. Meaning, those who fornicate cannot have faith; those who steal, who lie, who commit adultery, even if not physically, but in the mind, it means that we do not have faith. But, the more we work on those defects, then we will come to know God.
For the divine law to be in force refined conduct is prerequisite, for whoever has not refined his conduct cannot hold to the divine law, has no faith, and cannot testify to the unity…
Samael Aun Weor says in The Revolution of the Dialectic:
It is as much a crime to speak when one must be silent as it is to be silent when one must speak. ―Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
This is the same teaching.
Refined behavior is knowing, when we are with others, when to be silent, but also knowing when to speak, when it is necessary; we know this through intuition, following our heart, and being mindful of the commandments that were given to us, for refining our behavior.
This is probably one of the most important quotes that we find in this scripture, Al-Risalah:
[Al-Jurayri] said that whoever does not establish awe of duty and vigilance in his relationship to God will not arrive at disclosure of the unseen or contemplation (mushahada) of the divine. ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
What does it mean to have "awe of duty"? It is to feel that reverence when we sit to meditate, that we have a sense of fear, not egotistical fear, but a sense of longing and yearning for God, that inspires us to practice, every day.
To have awe of duty is to really establish a regiment of practice, and to have reverence for that and to maintain it.
Vigilance is self-observation, to not sleep as a psyche, but to observe our relationship to ourselves, to others and to our Being. For, whoever does not do this, will not arrive at "disclosure of the unseen," meaning, to tear the veil that Prophet Muhammad wears, that Isis wears. "Nor will we have contemplation (mushahada) of the divine," meaning, to bear witness of the Shahadah.
This is one of the pillars of Islam—there are five pillars in Islam, one of which is the declaration of faith, called the Shahadah. Muslims, traditionally, say, "Allah is Allah and Muhammad is His Prophet," and supposedly they enter into Islam, and become part of the tradition. But, this is not the real esoteric meaning here; the meaning is to know God in meditation, in a samadhi, without any filters to our perception—free consciousness, no ego present. That is mushahada, contemplation, to bear witness.
Another important quote regarding what refinement really means:
I heard Abu Hatim al-Sijistani say that Abu-l-Nasr al-Tusi al-Sarraj said, "People have three levels of refinement. For the people of this world, refinement largely consists of eloquent speech and rhetoric, among with the memorization of sciences, of the names of kings, and of the poetry of the Arabs. For the people of the next world, refinement largely consists of training the ego and disciplining the body, preserving the limits of the law and abandoning desires." ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
Having culture, intellectually... anybody can do that. But, such people do not work on their ego. But, a person of the next world, someone who is having astral experiences, do so because they are training their mind in ethics; disciplining the body to sit in one posture, in order to meditate, and observing the commandments of the ethical discipline we follow, and abandoning desires. This is essential. Renunciation of our desires is the key. Ethics is when, every moment, we do not act on a bad habit; we are abandoning those desires, we stop feeding them. That is really when we are cultivating this sense of self-observation and refinement.
For the elite, refinement largely consists of cleansing the heart of vices (annihilating the ego, with the help of the Divine Mother), guarding inner secrets… ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
Meaning, if we have experiences in the astral plane, etc., we do not necessarily share with the whole world, but rather, typically, keep it to ourselves. Sometimes it is good to talk and discuss things, if we have questions. But, really, the most sacred experiences, we should not talk about.
…being faithful to one’s promises… ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
We find that, to be "faithful to our promises," refers to having a continuity of purpose. If you have read Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology, you find that the Master Samael talks about the need for continuity of purpose. We have thousands of egos which all have different wills, ideas, which take us in different directions. But, in order to become a unity, tawhid, to express the unity of our God, we need to take that multiplicity and destroy those vices. That means to be faithful to our promises. We promise to our God to serve Him and Her, but, those who are not faithful to their promises, are identified with their defects. We call this, in Arabic, that which is split between God above and our demons below, a Hasnamuss; this is an esoteric term for a being with a split personality, which is all of us. We have God above, in ourselves, but, here we are in the physical plane as a demon... we are split. We need to have faith in our Being so that we can eliminate our imperfections and unite with God. Then, one is not split anymore, between heaven and hell. That is what it means to be faithful to our promise, to our Being, to the mission that our God has, to change.
…protecting the present… ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
To be vigilant, here and now, and to never abandon self-observation.
…not turning aside in thought along with refined behavior in the stations of the search… ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
Meaning, we don't let our thoughts distract us from being aware of God, because our God is with us, here and now, and we need to be aware of that. The "stations" refer to levels of development, initiation. As we are searching for God, we continue to develop more and more.
…in the moments of presence with God, and in the stages of closeness to God. ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
Even if one is united with the Lord—like I said, even angels can fall. If they are at that level, they still must be ethical, and to not identify with their own mind, but to become one with the abstract Seity, the universal mind or consciousness, which we can only verify and really understand through experience.
The Principles of Karma
In terms of Karma, we talk about four principles. All this talk about ethics pertains to karma. If we produce certain causes, we will get certain effects. Tsong Khapa, who Samael Aun Weor said was the reincarnation of Buddha, came to teach in one of his three books called the Lamrim Chenmo, which is The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment. He talks, in the first book, about four principles of karma, which are important to know.
To again emphasize, the word karma comes from the Sanskrit karman, "to act."
1. Actions produce related consequences.
This is something that seems simple, but if we analyze ourselves, we find that we typically do not really understand how our actions produce certain results.
2. The consequences are greater than the actions.
I know in Newtonian physics, it says that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. But, the truth is, if you throw a stone in a pool, that one ripple extends outward, and affects the entire lake. So, one positive action can benefit the world; one destructive action can affect everybody. We see this in the news, we hear about school shootings: one person can cause so much chaos. People emotionally distraught and disturbed can affect entire communities.
So, the consequence is always greater than the action. The Dalai Lama emphasized this point, when someone asked him, "How can we change the world if there is so much negativity going around?" And this Master Tenzin Gyatso said, "If you think you cannot change the world, think about when you're trying to sleep and there is a mosquito is bothering you. Such a little thing can make a big difference."
3. You cannot receive the consequence without committing its corresponding action.
Meaning, you cannot receive a certain karmic result if you did not produce the individual action. This is important to understand in alchemy, because I know many gnostics think that when someone is sexually united with their partner, they share karma. Well, the truth is, if one is married, one shares tendencies, psychologically, emotionally, physically, but, you cannot receive a result, if you did not produce the action. If, for instance, a person commits murder, it does not mean that the wife goes to jail, that is the way to think about it. But, if you produce a certain action, you get the consequences, no one else.
4. Once an action is performed, the consequence cannot be erased.
However, there is a superior law, which is grace. In accordance with Gnosticism, as the Master Samael says in Tarot and Kabbalah, a superior law always washes away an inferior law. So, even if we make a mistake, we can rectify it, if we follow our Being, to have upright conduct.
From the Bhagavad Gita, we find this teaching of Krishna, the Christ, with Arjuna. He talks about Karma Yoga, and the yoga of renunciation of action, which summarizes many of the points that we've made.
So, first he talked about banning desires, then, next, yoga, union with God.
The Blessed Lord (the Cosmic Christ, through Krisnha) said:
So, first, we need to learn to how to renounce our bad habits. But, then we need to learn how to act consciously. One thing is to restrain our defects from acting, but, once we have fully comprehended an ego, our Divine Mother annihilates it, and, in turn, we learn how to act in a superior way. A superior law washes away the inferior law. The law of mercy overcomes the law of the talion.
3. He should be known as a perpetual Sannyasin who neither hates nor desires (A Sannyasin is someone with no ego, a real meditator); for, free from the pairs of opposites, O mighty-armed Arjuna, he is easily set free from bondage! ―Bhagavad-Gita: Yoga of Renunciation of Action
Meaning, discipline is when we overcome the battle of the opposites in our mind, the battle of the antitheses; thought/anti-thought, concept/anti-concept, thesis/antithesis, when the mind is constantly struggling in duality, and instead we find unity, tawhid.
4. Children, not the wise, speak of knowledge and the Yoga of action or the performance of action as though they are distinct and different; he who is truly established in one obtains the fruits of both. ―Bhagavad-Gita: Yoga of Renunciation of Action
So, children—people who are ignorant, who have no direct knowledge—talk about yoga and these traditions, without really understanding that they are two aspects of one thing, a conscious principle.
5. That place which is reached by the Sankhyas or the Jnanis (those who have Jnana, knowledge) is reached by the (Karma) Yogis. He sees who sees knowledge and the performance of action (Karma Yoga) as one. ―Bhagavad-Gita: Yoga of Renunciation of Action
Again, knowledge is what we gain directly from restraining our mind, and performing good action: upright thought, upright feeling, upright action in our three brains.
6. But renunciation, O mighty-armed Arjuna, is hard to attain without Yoga; the Yoga-harmonised sage proceeds quickly to Brahman! ―Bhagavad-Gita: Yoga of Renunciation of Action
Brahman is the Absolute, the Christ, another name of Allah.
7. He who is devoted to the path of action, whose mind is quite pure, who has conquered the self, who has subdued his senses (through pratyahara, attaining silence of mind) and who has realised his Self as the Self in all beings (the Innermost Atman, our Inner God as the God within all there is), though acting, he is not tainted. ―Bhagavad-Gita: Yoga of Renunciation of Action
When we learn how to act, in a conscious way—first restraining the mind, then acting to the virtues we develop—we in turn learn to see God within all beings, and we do not commit sin, we do not acquire negative consequences.
So, like the lotus flower that emerges from the swamp, it is pure, not affected by the muddiness of the waters, it is the same thing with our life. Our soul should blossom like a flower above the filthiness of our mind. Every time we act consciously, we stop acquiring negative consequences.
There is mention of the Blue Race in different traditions, specifically within a book called Gazing at the Mystery by Samael Aun Weor. In this next image, we find three colors: blue, yellow and red. Blue relates to the Father; yellow relates to the Son, the Christ; and, red is the Holy Spirit. So, Krishna is really the three primary forces above, Father-Son-Holy Spirit. But there is a race of blue men mentioned by Samael Aun Weor, it is true. But the deeper meaning is that blue relates to the Father, Kether. So, this is Kether-Chokmah-Binah, with Arjuna on the battlefield of the Mahabharata, the Bhagavad Gita, with Arjuna which is Tiphereth, the human soul, our willpower.
8. “I do nothing at all”—thus will the harmonised knower of Truth think—seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, eating, going, sleeping, breathing… ―Bhagavad-Gita: Yoga of Renunciation of Action
We must feel that we are not doing anything from our ego; to not act with desire. But, to let our God act through us. In this case, one’s actions come from the Being. So, in a sense, one does nothing, but the will of the Lord.
9. Speaking, letting go, seizing, opening and closing the eyes—convinced that the senses move among the sense-objects.
Here, intellect should really be "Buddhi." They translated it as intellect, which we think of as the intellectual brain, the mind, but, really intellect, in Sanskrit, is a common translation for Buddhi. Buddhi is the Divine Soul, the consciousness, Geburah. Every time we act with purification of the soul, we are controlling our body, mind and soul.
12. The united one (the well poised or the harmonised), having abandoned the fruit of action, attains to the eternal peace; the non-united only (the unsteady or the unbalanced), impelled by desire and attached to the fruit, is bound. ―Bhagavad-Gita: Yoga of Renunciation of Action
So, the non-united, those who are unsteady and unbalanced are identified with ego, desire.
13. Mentally renouncing all actions and self-controlled, the embodied one rests happily in the nine-gated city, neither acting nor causing others (body and senses) to act. ―Bhagavad-Gita: Yoga of Renunciation of Action
Again, "nine-gated" relates to the nine superior Sephiroth, refers to the human being. We find this in the teachings of Ibn Arabi, as well, the Sufi Master, but also here in the Bhagavad Gita.
The fruit is the results of past mistakes, which is the abuse of the Garden of Eden. The Tree of Knowledge represents the sexual energy. To "eat the fruit" is to orgasm, to abuse the energy. The fruit of fornication is bitterness, suffering. Likewise, each action should be one born from purity of mind, of chastity.
Willpower and Superior Action
We find the image of the Prophet Muhammad, with the veil covering his head, illuminated with fire; meaning, he has raised the Kundalini up to the brain, from the base of the spine, and is fully illuminated with that sexual power.
So, to emphasize how the yoga of renunciation and the yoga of action are united, I'd like to explain another quote from Al-Qushayri, which emphasizes this duality between Being and soul, and how we need to learn to not do our own will, but the will of our Being; to renounce our own habits and desires, and to let the will of the Being determine our actions.
Iradah, the will to find God, is the beginning of the path of spiritual travelers, the first title given to those who are determined to reach God Most High (Allah, may he be praised and exalted, as we say in Islam). This attribute is only called iradah because will is the preface to every undertaking. What the servant does not will, he does not carry out. ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
We will not produce the necessary consequences, if we do not fulfill the action. Karma is dual; if we behave negatively, we receive negative results, if we act positively, with the consciousness, we receive conscious, positive results.
Since this is the start of the enterprise of one who travels the path of God Almighty and Glorious, it is called "will" by analogy to the resolution involved at the beginning of everything else.
What willpower are we talking about? This is something that we need to observe. Are we following our egotistical desires? Or, are we following the will of our Being? We need to both abandon desire and to act from the will of God, as Krishna taught Arjuna.
It is this understanding of cause and effect in our daily life, that we understand the law of interdependence in Buddhism, which is called dependent arising, or dependent origination:
No phenomena is separate, independent of others. Even our psychology: our psychological states are determined by their relationship to external events or impressions.
So, we find that, in Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology, we need to develop internal states in relation to external events; to find the relationship between them.
When this exists, that comes to be; with the arising of this, that arises.
It seems simple, but it is very profound. If we examine ourselves, in our daily life we do not see how our negative habits produce wrong consequences, typically. But, if we are observant of that, and we really understand this principle, fully, we will become an angel. An angel knows good and evil, in balance, in harmony.
To really understand how certain causes produce certain effects, completely, is to be self-realized. Do not think that one day we will simply "get it" and it will be over. Even the gods are balancing those forces, knowing how cause and effect relates; it is an eternal law. So, as I said, ethics pertains even to the gods, but at a very high degree; something that we cannot get at this level, but, if we have experiences, we can get glimpses.
[The body and mind] cannot come to be by their own strength,
Every internal state is a response to external impressions. You cannot separate one from the other. Usually, when we identify with our mind, we feel like everyone is outside of ourselves, and that we are separate. We have to become clairvoyant and understand that our thoughts relate to other people, and that other people’s thoughts affect ourselves.
As Samael Aun Weor said in Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology, the one who learns to appropriately match internal states with external events marches on the path of success. For, as the Buddha said, in the Majjhima Nikāya:
Now this has been said by the Blessed One: "One who sees dependent arising sees the Dhamma (the Dharma, the law, the instruction, the Shariah, the Torah, the commandments); one who sees the Dhamma sees dependent arising." ―Majjhima Nikāya
To really know ethics is to understand our psychological relationship to other things, in every instant, and not to identify with our mind. If you want to live happily, we need to learn how to cultivate our internal states and to make them more appropriate for the external events that we perceive. This is dependent arising: an impression emerges and enters my psyche, and I react egotistically… or I respond consciously, it depends. If an impression of a hurtful word enters one's psyche, anger emerges. That is the reaction; that is the egotistical response. If we curtail that, and separate our psyche from that, and observe that defect in action, and respond with love towards the aggressor, that is developing a superior law, the Dharma.
To know the relationship of cause and effect—internal state, external event—is the work of a master. To be a master is to fully understand that law, to a degree, we could say. There are levels amongst the masters. But, to really understand that law, to be self-realized is to understand how our psychological states effect our external events, and how they relate; especially how we relate to people. This relates to clairvoyance and telepathy: understanding other people’s minds and thoughts, or seeing them directly, with our spiritual perception.
In this image, we have Nagarjuna, who talked about the fundamentals of the middle way. In the Mūlamadhyamakakārikā, he discusses that it is understanding of cause and effect within oneself that we find the relation of how phenomena are empty, that they are not independently existing of themselves. When we understand how our internal states are related to external events, and we develop conscious states through ethics, we find that we are in turn understanding how egotistical desires are really empty; they are not substantially real. We have them, but, at the same time, we must understand that these phenomena really do not have any absolute existence. Anger emerges whenever a person insults us; so, that ego is dependent on that impression in order to emerge. Eventually, that anger goes away or disappears, so we can see that it is really not eternal: there is no eternal self there. Only God, Atman is eternal. But, even god is dependent upon the Absolute, we could say.
So, we say that all phenomena really do not have intrinsic existence; they are empty. When we understand this emptiness, the pristine, luminous nature of our consciousness, we see our defects and desires really do not have any substantiality.
That which arises dependently
Cause and effect. Ethics is how we understand emptiness, which is God. God is empty of form; it does not depend on anything; the Christ does not depend on anything, but is luminous light, intelligence, perception, without filter. But, to understand how certain actions produce certain results is the work of dependent origination.
Because there is no phenomenon
Impressions are impermanent; they come and go, they are not stable. And, it is by understanding how the instability of our internal states relate to external events is how we develop comprehension, which is emptiness, cognizance; not a nihilism, an abstract negation of one’s existence, but a type of comprehension and perception which is free of conditioning of the mind, free of obstruction.
Lastly, Swami Sivananda, explains the following advice, that I want to relate to you.
Do not imagine that you are a great initiate and that you only have to sit in meditation and enter into Samadhi. You will have a terrible downfall. Even after years of practice, you will find you have not progressed an inch forward because there are deep within you lurking desires and cravings which are far beyond your reach. Be humble. Make a searching analysis of your heart and mind.
In order to understand Christ, which is empty of form, we need to have ethical discipline, as we have been mentioning.
It is the preparation that takes very long, but do not wait for perfection in ethics in order to take the higher practices of the path. Try to get established in ethics and at the same time practice the other steps (such as concentration, pranayama, maintaining a relaxed posture, etc.). The two must go hand in hand, then, success will be rapid. ―Swami Sivananda
This is something to think about, in terms of our understanding of our own discipline.
Questions and Answers
Student: This is kind of how I feel. I am not a saint, but I am just working to build up my practice.
Instructor: And, as Michelangelo said, perfection isn’t a trifle. Rumi said, if we can get up early for 40 mornings, to practice, that will contribute to our growing wholeness as a psyche, in development, like an embryo of a child that is giving form. Little by little, we develop the soul: with patience possess ye your souls, as Jesus taught. The way that we develop ourselves is with patient discipline, ethics, restraining our mind, and then meditating; combining those two things. Don't wait for perfection in ethics in order to practice, they go hand in hand, together.
Student: So, if I get this right, from this lecture, the most important thing for us to work on is our ethics?
Instructor: In conjunction with our practice. Ethics is really the foundation for meditation. If we want to meditate, to have a clear mind, we can't be killing, stealing, or doing other negative things. On the one hand is the physical level of application, but, more importantly there is the psychological aspect: how we react internally, in our mind, in curtailing those habits.
First, physically we cannot do those things. Then, psychologically, we need to curtail those habits.
Student: I did have a question about the work, regarding the four principles of karma. The third one, which is that the consequence cannot be received by anyone that is not making the action. Does that mean the return consequence of the karma? Because an action can have consequences that expand beyond the person that committed that action.
Instructor: Yes. For instance, if you are married, if your wife commits murder, you don't go to jail, she does.
Student: Right, but your wife might suffer the pain of you leaving her. Is that a karma that she acquires along the way, or is that just collateral damage?
Instructor: It is part of the consequences of her actions. That shows that everything is related; nothing is separate. But, in terms of receiving an illness, disease or punishment as a result of acting wrong, no one else can receive that, but a person who deserves it, who committed those wrong actions. The law is the law, as we say in these teachings; the law is always fulfilled. In order to receive something, you must perform the action.
Student: So, the consequence and the action are interdependent as well?
Instructor: Yes. Understanding the relationship of right action and wrong action is understanding karma, and, understanding how phenomena are empty, in and of themselves. We must understand the connection between things, especially our internal states and external events.
That is how we act well: we stop behaving in mistaken ways. This is the work of self-observation.
Student: And that is the superior law? Of getting out of the turning of cause and effect? Extracting yourself from that?
Instructor: And, the thing with this is that, it is like when you learn to act in a conscious way, one does not acquire karma; if you do not sin, you will won't be blemished, you won't receive bad actions. But, we will be like the lotus that hovers above the waters, as Krishna said in the Bhagavad Gita.
Student: Because that's past karma...
Instructor: And that is the thing; we must bear that, patiently. We bear it, we're patient, we're disciplined, and we work on those elements that need to be disintegrated, then, we pay our debts and in turn, purify our mind. That is really the purpose of karma; if we receive certain challenges in our life, if we are chaste, it means that we are going to receive that karma in an objective way, in a different way, than someone who is fornicating.
Student: But, even the masters suffer greatly, right?
Instructor: At a higher level.
Student: So, are they suffering because of karma still? Or are they suffering for a different reason?
Instructor: The suffering of a god is different from us. One could reach the Ain Soph, in Kabbalistic terms, return to the Being and to the Absolute, to a certain degree, with knowledge, and it is bliss; but at the same time, even angels have to balance their karmic transactions, at a very high level, in order to gain the right to enter into the Ain, the Absolute. There are levels of development. Masters can suffer as a result of wanting and waiting to be admitted into the Absolute.
Student: So, their bliss is interdependent on their suffering?
Instructor: Their bliss is a result of being united with God to a level. But, suffering, at that degree, is very, very different. It is a difficult thing for me to convey or to explain. It is something that, if you have an experience at that level in a Samadhi, then you may get it. We know that even the gods suffer; but, not like we do. Our suffering is very intense.
Student: I was thinking of someone like Aberamentho, who went through that trial. He gave that up himself, right? That wasn't karma for him? That was him willingly walking into suffering, to be resurrected, right?
Instructor: And to give an example for what we need to do. He fully conquered suffering. He is a being that went beyond the Law and is an inhabitant of the highest divinity. He is absolutely perfect. He is teaching other masters how to reach that degree, known as a Paramarthasattya. Paramartha means absolute cognizance, and Satya is the essence. So, someone who has full knowledge of many infinites. An infinite is a collection of billions of galaxies, so, Aberamentho is really a rare being.
There are degrees among masters and there are degrees among initiates. Some masters suffer because they want more knowledge, even if they are perfect, to a degree. It is a subtle thing, but their suffering is very different from ours, and very difficult to comprehend, unless we really have a Samadhi at that level, and to see what it is like to be at that degree of consciousness.
Student: Is there also a type of suffering that the high masters will go through, for humanity, on our behalf?
Instructor: It is suffering for a master... for instance, we are going to do a course on The Voice of the Silence; at the end of that scripture, it talks about how, when one self-realizes, one becomes another brick in the guardian wall. Each brick is master which composes an army of angels that really work to help humanity. It is a path of suffering, really, but, also bliss, because after many eternities of helping humanity and suffering for their benefit, to help them to self-realize, they will eventually gain the right to enter into the Absolute.
Blavatsky transcribed that scripture from Senzar, an ancient language, and it conveys a lot of suffering on the part of these masters who try to help humanity. Eventually, they'll gain the right, after serving from many cosmic days—if they self-realize, and they keep working and manifesting physically, or internally, to help others attain the state of the angels... but, that is the path of an angel, in order to enter the Absolute. An angel is a self-realized Master, but, they may not have the right to enter into the Ain, which is where a being like Aberamentho (Jesus) entered. He is a Paramarthasattya, he is above an angel. So, there are hierarchies.
Those beings like angels suffer because they are serving and serving, but humanity is ignorant. So, they serve many humanities, for different cosmic eras. But, eventually, if they don't let themselves fall, they'll eventually have the right to enter the Absolute. The problem is, many of them fall, because they are tempted. So, that is why ethics does not finish when you have annihilated your ego; even if you have no ego, you can get tempted to do wrong things. The mind is still there. It is not a lunar mind, but a solar mind; it is a different thing. To learn the difference, we must have that body inside and to really know what it is like, and to meditate and to have experiences.
Today, we are going to discuss the nature of consciousness, the nature of mind as it is explained within the gnostic doctrine, as well as its relation to the famous solar bodies of esotericism. We are going to elaborate on how mind, or consciousness, is related to the vehicles of the soul.
The solar bodies are well mentioned throughout the literature of Theosophy. And we are going to address the nature of the solar bodies in relation to the path, which is the path of the Self-realization of the Being and the complete development of the human being.
This path and the solar bodies are well explained within the Christian, Buddhist, Sufi doctrine, through all the world religions. As we are going to elaborate today, Master Jesus of Nazareth, Master Aberamentho, explains the nature of the solar bodies, in detail, in his gospel.
We also have in this image, Padmasambhava, who is known as the Second Buddha. He originally brought Tantrism to Tibet. Now he is recognized by having documented The Tibetan Book of the Dead. He taught the nature of Dzogchen, which means the Great Perfection.
So, we have here, in this image, Padmasambhava with his consort, the force of the vehicle of Tantra. Sexual union is how we create the soul. Let us remember that Master Jesus never taught that we have soul. He said: "With patience will possess ye your souls” (Luke 21:19). The soul or the solar bodies are vehicles through which God can manifest and express. These are only created precisely through tantra: pure, pristine, chaste sexual connection or union, and the transformation of one's vital principles.
When we talk about the solar bodies, we also need to talk about the nature of mind, because there are many misconceptions in spiritual circles between the consciousness and the solar bodies. We emphasize that the solar bodies are merely vehicles that can transmit light, in the same manner that a lightbulb transmits light.
The bulb is the vehicle. The light is Christ. So, in the path of Self-realization, we need to create the solar vehicles. We need to become solar beings, pure souls that can transmit the light of Christ, without blemish. This path has been taught in all the religions. And we have a saying by Padmasambhava about the nature of this path.
Dzogchen is the secret unexcelled cycle of the supreme vehicle of tantra, the true essence of the definitive meaning, the short path for attaining buddhahood in one life. ―Padmasambhava
When we talk about the solar bodies, we emphasize there are many steps in the process of Self-realization. There are many who think that when creating the solar bodies, one is done. But that is a mistaken concept. Because the solar vehicles are merely a footstep in order to enter into the higher stages of initiation.
So, again we have a description of the solar bodies in relation with the Egyptian mysteries. In this image, we have the Tree of Life, kabbalah. On the right, we have the Tree of Life transposed on an egyptian god, Ptah, which is where we get the word Patar, Father. So, this father is our Inner Christ, our Inner Lord. And notice that his body is made of gold. Gold is the symbol of Christ, the light of the Being, the light of our real identity or Innermost God.
Solar bodies are created intentionally. Human beings do not possess them by nature. And that is why we discussed elsewhere in the lectures; we find that the only way to create the soul is by revolution. Not against other people, but ourselves. The requirements are very specific.
We typically possess what we call lunar vehicles, which we are going to explain in relation to the Christian Gospels. But speaking in general about the solar bodies, we are referring to the kabbalah, the Tree of Life.
Here, we have in the bottom Malkuth, which means “Kingdom” in Hebrew. This is our physical body, which we receive as a gift of nature by the procreation of our parents. Above it, we have Yesod, which is the vital body. And our vital body is the origin of all our chemical, metabolic, catabolic processes―reproduction. It is our energy and vitality.
Our physical body would not be able to exist without Yesod, our “Foundation.” After creating the Ssolar bodies like Ptah, Patar, the Father, as it is represented in gold, we can reach the Father―if we want to work with Yesod, our foundation, our vital forces, specifically our sexual energy, which, as we elaborate in the scripture, is the foundation of all genuine spiritual Self-realization.
Above that we have Hod, which means “Glory.” This is our emotional body, our astral vehicle. That is what we commonly have when we go into the astral plane when we dream.
What we typically possess is not a legitimate astral body, but a lunar phantom known as kama rupa, meaning “desire body.” This in relation to the theosophical teachings, as well as the Hindu scriptures.
In the right, we have Netzach, which means “Victory.” This is typically referred by theosophists as the mental body. But we know from esotericism that we do not possess a solar mental body, but manas or lunar mind. Sometimes, we say kama manas. Kama means “desire” and manas, “mind.”
So, our mind is animal, in desire and nature, as evidenced by the fact when we observe our psychology from moment to moment. We are constantly afflicted by negative thoughts and discursive elements which keep the consciousness enslaved.
Above that, in the middle of the Tree of Life, we have Tiphereth, which means “Beauty” in Hebrew. This is our willpower. We call this human soul, which is not developed in us. As Jesus taught:
With patience will possess ye your souls. ―Luke 21:19
We have to develop Tiphereth into a fully illuminated human being. But Tiphereth, as it is, is merely our willpower, which is typically channeled through our mind and desire, mind and emotions, which are subjective in nature.
We do not possess yet what is the called a solar casual body, a solar vehicle that only knows how to express the will of Christ. And which all the great initiates have developed.
So, in emphasis to this point, we explain that we are not yet human beings. Because the human being is made to the image of Elohim, God. Or better said, “gods and goddesses.” When we refer to the human being, we refer to the Hum (Sanskrit for) the breath, the wind, the spirit and man, manas, mind. So, the real human being is man or mind, not exclusively of the male sex, that is united with Hum, spirit.
Our image of Ptah represents a human being with his bodies of gold that are only created with alchemy, the science of perfect matrimony.
Above that, we have in the left, Geburah, which means “Justice,” severity, in the kabbalah. We call this our consciousness, divine soul.
To the right, we have Chesed, which means “Mercy,” our Innermost God, our inner Being.
Now, notice above we have the trinity, which is known as Christ: Kether, the Father; Chokmah, the Son; Binah, the Holy Spirit.
Understand that the top three sephirah [Hebrew for “emanations,” spheres, “jewels”] are Christ. The trinity is Christ.
Chesed and Geburah, the Innermost and divine soul, are God within us. It is our inner Lord. God never enters into degeneration, meaning: God has not fallen. His human soul, Tiphereth can obey God or fall down into the abyss, Gehenna mentioned in the scriptures.
The problem is this: the willpower obeys the inferior quaternary, the inferior four bodies, which are elementally, lunar vehicles in most of us. Because in order to create the solar vehicles, one needs to work in alchemy, in a matrimony.
Speaking about the lunar bodies, what we typically possess, if we examine them in the internal planes, they are of a phantasmic nature. They are of a ghost-like appearance. They are not substantial.
Question: The four lower bodies, those are the lunar bodies, the four lower ones?
Instructor: In most of us.
What we need to accomplish in alchemy is to create the solar vehicles, which are represented by the Tree of Life. But for most individuals who are not human beings yet, but intellectual animals, souls with intellect, our mind, emotions, vitality, as well as our physicality, are vehicles of the ego. We do not yet have the conduit, which are the solar bodies, in order to reflect the light of God and return it back into its source.
Question: So you’re saying our willpower over the ego at this stage?
Instructor: Our will typically follows our mind or emotions, which are the expressions of the ego.
Question: So if you’re able to astral project and stay conscious in the astral plane, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you created that solar body, right?
Instructor: It does not necessarily mean that, but, at the same time, individuals that did practice alchemy in the past are basically recapitulating their work.
So, some individuals who do already have those bodies, tend to have experiences as a grace of God, to bring those souls back to the path. But just because one has experiences in the internal worlds, that does not mean that one has the solar bodies yet. The way to verify that is to learn to astral travel, to communicate with our God.
For most of us, we do not have those vehicles. And Samael Aun Weor stated solar bodies are a luxury which can only be created through the work alchemy. It is Master Jesus that taught us we typically have what we call the lunar bodies.
The importance of creating the solar bodies in order to express Christ is emphasized in the scripture―in Matthew 22:1-3 and verses 8-14, where we have the parable of the wedding garment. The wedding garment are the solar bodies, which can only be created in a matrimony.
And Jesus answered and spoke unto them again by parables, and said:
In order to enter into the kingdom of heaven, we need to create the solar bodies. Because without those vehicles of Christ, we cannot resonate with the divine laws.
Christ needs a vehicle in order to express himself. And the way He does that is through the soul, the solar vehicles. So, with our lunar bodies we cannot enter into heaven.
However, I will emphasize, even creating the solar bodies is the first step. It is not the end. We need to be born again, which fanatic Christians of these times associate with doctrine or belief. They raise their hands and say: "I believe in Jesus and I am saved." And they say, “Well, you are born again.” That is not the case.
To be born again is a sexual problem. We need to use the sexual force in a matrimony. For as emphasized in this gospel: the wedding garment is the result of a marriage. Therefore, individuals who seek to enter heaven through abstinence, or as renunciates, or by rejecting sex, walk the path of error. Because Christ taught us that to be born again is to work in a matrimony, with the sexual power and to use it for Christ.
For as Jesus taught us in the book of John, Chapter 3, verses 3-8, when he talked to Nicodemus:
Jesus answered and said unto him: Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
So, we have in this graphic Jesus talking to Nicodemus, where he explains that which is born of flesh, meaning through the animal orgasm, is flesh, physical children. But that which is born of the spirit, through the sexual act, that is conserved and controlled, is spirit.
So, birth is, whether physical or spiritual, the result of working with the sexual power in a matrimony. There is no other way. Master Aberamentho taught this.
Alchemy, Chakras, and Kundalini in the Psalms
We talked about the pneuma, the spirit like the wind, which we are going to elaborate further in relation to the bodies themselves, how to create them. When working with the spirit, we work with the sexual force known as the Holy Spirit, which we mention as Binah in Kabbalah.
In this image, we have an illuminated spinal medulla and the seven chakras. These chakras awaken when the power of the Divine Mother, known as Kundalini, awakens from the coccyx and ascends up the spine into the brain.
When that fire awakens in the matrimony, it ascends slowly in accordance to the merits of the heart, never by one’s own whim, but by the intelligence and power of the Divine Mother. She is the one who, as the Weaver in Arcanum 24 in the Eternal Tarot of Alchemy and Kabbalah, weaves clothes for the soul to inhabit.
She is the one in this card who spins the wheel. She elaborates the soul, so that the consciousness can be dressed. When she awakens in the coccyx and ascends up the spine, She awakens all the faculties, the seven chakras. That is a divine fire that you can see in this image. And, when we rise the fire within the different spinal medullas within our lower bodies within the Tree of Life, we create the solar bodies.
As we illustrate, Kundalini is the sexual force. The seminal energy is the power that gives life or can produce death, if we abuse it. For it is stated many times in the scriptures of the Old Testament, we find one reference in the sons of David, in the Psalms.
The trees of יהוה Iod-Havah are full of sap; the cedars of Lebanon, which he hath planted; where the birds make their nests: as for the stork, the fir trees are her house. ―Psalm 104:16-17
So, that is why this sap that the Bible talks about is the semen. The sap is the semen of plants. And we know that semen, physically, in man or woman, is the condensation of blood. So, that sap that fills the cedar tree is precisely our sexual matter, seminal fluids, whether in man or woman, because semen does not only apply to man, but to woman as well.
And the cedar tree relates to this process of creating the solar bodies. The cedar tree represents our spine. And the angels that govern the cedar family can aid us if we practice sexual magic. Even the word Lebanon teaches us a great mystery. Samael Aun Weor explains in Igneous Rose:
In the word Lebanon (Spanish: Líbano), we find the IAO that permits the angels of the cedars of the forest to open the door of the spinal medulla when we practice Sexual Magic. IAO is the mantra of Sexual Magic. ―Samael Aun Weor, Igneous Rose
IAO in Latin means Ignis, Aqua, Origo; fire, air, spirit; or fire, water, spirit. And Samael explains this is the mantra of sexual magic to create the solar bodies. First, it is the wind of the spirit working with the fire of sex in order to generate the pneuma, the wind, the breath of spirit, which is the essence of the practice of tantra.
So, Lebanon in the Old Testament refers to the science of IAO. This secret mantra is considered the holiest of all mantras amongst the great temples of mysteries. And we know from the writings of Samael Aun Weor that when this sacred name was pronounced in ancient times, they would pound the drums so that the profane outside would not hear the name of this mantra, because it is exceptionally powerful.
IAO relates in Hebrew to י Iod, ה Hei, ו Vav. And IAO or י Iod, ה Hei, ו Vav is יהוה Iod-Havah, Jehovah. When we work with the sap of our bodies, we practice alchemy and raise those forces upwards, the Kundalini, so that it illuminates the chakras and gives birth to the soul.
Solomon and Sacred Sexuality
To elaborate this point of our sexual nature, of the creation of the soul, we have the following teaching by Solomon, who is in synthesis a great solar man. He was a great king recognized for his kingdom of gold, meaning: he was self-realized. He was a great master.
He taught in Song of Songs the sexual nature of the spiritual union with God. And it is precisely through sex that solar bodies are created. And what will be relevant in this passage is that we examine this image of Shiva-Shakti, which is the Holy Spirit. Shiva is the Father or Abba Elohim with the Divine Mother Shakti, Aima Elohim. These are the two polarities of the Holy Spirit, which is masculine and feminine.
This is represented in the scripture of the Song of Songs by Solomon. He talks about his wife, who is his sister, which if we interpret it literally, is absurd. Because the fact this great master was practicing incest would be a crime. Instead, these are principles.
Just as Adam and Eve, in the garden, united sexually, they represent man and woman, or brother and sister. They are principles. They are not literal figures. So, Solomon and his wife, his sister can represent Shiva-Shakti, because the same power is male and female. And when we talk about Shiva, we need to talk about Shakti. And when we talk about Shakti, we need to talk about Shiva. Because the Holy Spirit is dual, both powers, male and female.
Question: In Indian philosophy, one of them is the creator and the other is a destroyer.
Instructor: Shiva-Shakti is the power of God that can create the soul or damn the soul, if that energy is expelled through the orgasm. That is our original sin.
And so is represented in this scripture, we will explain how scientific chastity, purity in sex, is precisely which leads to the development of the soul.
As Solomon states:
Thou art all fair my love; there is no spot in thee (meaning that you are completely chaste with no impurity in you, my Shakti, the sexual force).
What’s interesting with Shiva is that he is typically portrayed sitting on a leopard's skin or a lion's skin, meaning he has conquered animal desire. So, when he talked about being elevated in the mountains, that is the symbol of having looked the path of initiation and that one has conquered desire, like Solomon did.
Thou hast ravished my heart (which in Hebrew is לֵבָב lebab, similar to לבנון Lebanon, as we are going to explain), my sister, my spouse; thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes (which in Hebrew is עיניים Ayneen), with one chain of my neck. ―Song of Songs 4:9
So, he talks about the heart as לֵבָב lebab and mentions right next the city of לבנון Lebanon. There is a profound relationship there.
We know that in transmutation, we bring the energies inward and upward to our brain, and into our heart. לֵבָב Lebab, as in לבנון Lebanon, is heart. The last part of Lebanon is נ Nun [or ן Nun Sophit, final Nun], which in Aramaic means “fish.” נ Nun is sperm, literally, because our sperm and ovum swim within the waters of sexuality.
Lebanon represents those who practice chastity. As Samael Aun Weor mentions, Lebanon or Líbano is IAO. In order to really dwell in that divine city, one has to transmute the נ Nun, the sperm or the ovum through the spinal column into the brain, and then into the heart, לֵבָב lebab. That is the meaning of Lebanon.
Question: You mentioned נ Nun again. Could you give the description where you mentioned fish?
Instructor: "Nun” in Aramaic means “fish,” and refers to sperm and ovum. The letter N [the Hebrew נ Nun] hides the meaning of the sexual principles.
Now, Solomon says: "Thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes (Ayin)."
How fair is thy love, my sister, my spouse! How much better is thy love than wine! And the smell of thine ointments than all spices. ―Song of Songs 4:10
The word for smell is ריח reyach. ריח Reyach relates, in Hebrew, to רוח ruach, which is spirit. In the book of Genesis, the spirit hovers over the face of the waters, the אלוהים רוח Ruach Elohim.
Genesis is a work of alchemy. So, by working in a matrimony, the spirit hovers on the waters of sexuality and creates the heavens in the seven days of genesis, which explains the teachings of the solar bodies in depth.
It would take many lectures to explain each component, but here, we are speaking more generally.
And the "smell of thine ointments”―the word “ointments in Hebrew is שמן shemen, which is where we get the word “semen.”
“And the smell of thine ointments,” the רוח ruach of thine ointments, the רוח ruach of thy semen, the spirit of thy semen, is more voluptuous, “delightful than all spices,” meaning: all the common and terrestrial pleasures we typically experience―because the sexual act is the ultimate consubstantiation of love between man and woman, and Christ.
When we talk about the spirit, or the ריח reyach, the smell, which is really רוח ruach, “the spirit of thine ointments,” it talks about, how through alchemy, by being sexually connected and controlling the breath, inhaling profoundly the energy, conserving it, transforming it, bringing it up in the spine, and later into the heart―that is how we enter in the kingdom of Lebanon. I mentioned נ Nun is the sperm and ovum, the sexual matter, and לֵבָב lebab, the heart. He continues:
Thy lips, O my spouse, drop as the honeycomb: honey and milk are under my tongue... ―Song of Songs 4:11
That is honey, which was originally pollen. Through work, the bee transforms that into sweetness. This is the symbol of the soul. Because through the impurity of our daily life, we work on ourselves and transform that garbage into honey, through alchemy, into sweetness of the spirit. And that is ultimately achieved when one is working in a matrimony.
…and the ריח reyach, the smell of my garments is like the smell of Lebanon. ―Song of Songs 4:11
So, what are these garments? It is the solar bodies. Here, it is very explicit. The solar bodies are created trough sex. There is no other way. “The smell of thy garments, the ruach of thy garments, is the smell of Lebanon,” meaning heaven. Those initiates who entered the Heavenly Jerusalem, into the Kingdom of God, which is Lebanon or Jerusalem.
Lastly, Solomon states:
A garden enclosed is my sister, my spouse, a spring shut up, a fountain sealed. ―Song of Songs 4:12
So, the Hebrew word for fountain is מַעיָן ma'yan. And, if we look at this graphic, we have the word מַעיָן ma’yan, which is Mem, Ayin, Iod, Nun.
Notice, we previously talked about Solomon, ravished with one the eyes of his sister, his spouse. The word מַעיָן ma’yan is the same word as eye, עין ayin. It just has the letter M in front of them. So, instead of עין ayin, it spells מַעיָן ma’yan. That is fountain.
So, these are the fountains of life that Jesus mentions, which will never allow you be thirsty again. As explained in the parable of the woman at the well, when the woman asks: "Give me the water that springs up to everlasting life." And Jesus says: "Go call thy husband." Meaning that if you want to know how to find the water, work with your husband, because in the matrimony is where the fountain is produced.
These waters of life are precisely the sexual energy. And sexual energy has a profound relationship with our perception, as evidenced in Hebrew: עין ayin, eye; עיניים ayinim, eyes. מַעיָן Ma’yan is the same word, but with מ mem; and מ mem is water.
So, in order to have spiritual perception, we need to work with our water. That means we need to be married in order to begin this process. In order to enter the higher stages of initiation, we need to work with the waters, represented by Mary, מרים Miriam, the Divine Mother. And עין ayin is an eye. [Remember that “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single (pure), thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil (impure, lustful), thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! ―Matthew 6:22-23]
So, he says very clearly: "A garden enclosed is my sister. A spring shut up. A fountain sealed." So, we will have the energy of sex, but we need to be sealed hermetically with this force. We must never expel it. It is very well known in tantra, from the teachings of the Dalai Lama. He even explicitly states:
Sexual energy should never be let out. ―The 14th Dalai Lama
And this fountain should never be spilled, meaning one should never reach the orgasm, because if we lose that fountain, we cannot assuage our thirst for the kingdom of heaven.
Question: But only in procreation―you would have to. That would be the exception, right?
Instructor: In the past humanities, procreation was accomplished without the orgasm.
Comment: But still, it was a fall.
Instructor: There was never loss of the seminal fluid, but one sperm would be emitted in order to enter the womb of the wife. So, in the past, human beings procreated without orgasm and they had children which were pure.
Question: Is that possible today?
Instructor: Yes. What matters is that we follow the will of our Being, so that he can guide us as when to practice in the appropriate astrological hour, so those forces are conducive for producing a child without pain. It is mentioned in The Yellow Book, specifically.
Question: So, you are saying that if a couple procreated without spelling the semen, the woman would give birth with no pain?
Instructor: Less pain, I would say. When following the divine laws, we avoid pain.
Comment: That’s tremendous pressure on the man, to get to the point that only one cell is emitted!
Instructor: The force that guides that is the Holy Spirit, the Divine Mother.
So, we need to be sealed. A fountain that is enclosed. We should never let the energy out. If we want to have children of a divine nature, of a pure nature, we must learn to practice according to the guidance of the Elohim. Because that energy, in a matrimony, should not be expelled. But according to the will of God, one sperm can leave the phallus in order to enter the ovum. But that is in accordance to the will of God [and therefore constitutes what original, esoteric Christianity denominated an “immaculate conception,” sexual generation without impurity, blemish, orgasm].
Comment: These are spiritually developed people! They will have to be very spiritually developed to do that…
Soma, Sexual Energy, and the Power of Shiva
Instructor: In this image, we have the picture of Shiva by an ocean. When explaining the nature of the fountain, the waters of life in Hindu language are Soma. In this image, we see Shiva drinking from an ocean that is being churned by a great battle between gods and demons, which results in the ocean being polluted and poisonous in order to extract Amrita, which is the nectar of the gods, the pure sexual energy. He drinks the poison, which I believe in the myth explains how he came with the blue pigment in his skin. He drinks this drink of Halāhala or Kalakootam. And this represents how the energies of sexuality have to be extracted from impurity. So, the impurity is the poison that is being generated in the battle with our own ego, our own lust.
Soma has a great relationship to the Christian scriptures. Soma or Amrita is the nectar of immortality. This is the substance, the seminal energy or seminal matter which can create the solar bodies.
We find different definitions of soma, “a secret drink of Hindu Gods through ancient Hindu religious texts.” It also refers to the “press of drinks made of juiced plants.” So, the significance of being pressed in order to extract the juice of a plant is very significant in relation to alchemy, because when a man unites with his wife, the organs press together and, therefore, if the breath is controlled, the juice can be extracted, sublimated, and elevated to the brain, and into the heart.
Soma also connotes the God Chandra, who relates to the moon. And we know that the moon relates to the vital forces of Yesod, which is the sexual energy.
Question: Which is in the etheric body?
Instructor: Yes. In Greek, soma signifies “body.” In order to create the solar bodies, we need to work with our own soma, our sexual energy.
Unfortunately, in modern times soma can also mean hallucinogenic substances, which we do not advocate in these teachings.
The Śvetāśvatara Upanishad and Sexual Yoga
So, as I elaborated in relation to soma, we have this image of the Christ crucified, which someone may find strange in the context of expressing the Hindu teachings. We find the symbol of the cross with the symbol of alchemy: the union of man and woman.
Christ, the force of God, is crucified whenever a man with an erect phallus enters the uterus of his wife. That forms the cross. The vehicle beam is the phallus. The horizontal beam is the uterus.
And we see in this image his crucifixion in which all the impurities of his psyche are annihilated. This is what the crucifixion of Christ represents. And notice how in his right side, he is pierced by the spear of Longinus, in which flows his blood. This ties to the scripture known as Śvetāśvatara Upanishad, Chapter 2 verse 6:
Where the fire is rubbed, where the wind is checked, where the soma flows over, there the mind is born. ―Śvetāśvatara Upanishad 2:6
So, when a man and a woman are united in the cross, the fire is rubbed, as mentioned in the scripture. When a phallus unites with the uterus in holy matrimony, the fire is stimulated. And when the wind is checked, when the breath in the sexual act is controlled, the soma grows and develops. The sexual energy is activated and begins to flow inwards and upwards.
We have two ways of energy flowing in our body: we have centrifugal force when the energy goes from inside to outside, which is what we do not recommend. And then, we have the centripetal flow of forces, which is from outside in, which is the science of transmutation.
When the fire is rubbed in sexual union, and when the wind is checked, the spirit, the breath, ריח reyach, רוח Ruach. When the sSoma flows over, or rather, inside and upwards, then the mind is born, meaning: the Solar bodies can be created in this context.
When we talk about flow, we talk about tantra. Tantra means “flow, continuum.” That is an eastern term for the nature of this science.
The Four States of Consciousness
In relation to the solar bodies, we have to talk about mind. We make the distinction between the states of consciousness and the solar bodies of the Being. It is true that solar vehicles can grant us access to higher states of consciousness, but they do not determine a completely awakened state of being. There are many individuals with solar bodies, or could have developed these bodies in the past, and they are asleep. Or, even worse: many of them have fallen into the path of demons.
Do not think that once you have created the solar bodies one is saved. The consciousness needs to be developed further.
When we talk about the mind or consciousness, we need to talk about four states, which we are going to the Christian Gospels as given by Paul of Tarsus. We have four states of consciousness mentioned in Greek, by Plato.
Eikasia is the first state of consciousness and refers to a state of profound sleep, instinctual, animal desire, barbarism, war, violence. There is an instinctual state of being where there is no self-reflection or cognizance.
If we translate εἰκασία Eikasia directly into English, it means “imagination,” which is interesting about this is that, as Master Samael explains, Eikasia is darkness. And yet the translation means “imagination.” What this relates is the fact that, even though we are physically awake, and active, we perceive imagery, sensation, concepts, thoughts, we are in darkness, spiritually speaking. It is a type of perception, but is devoid of any spiritual understanding of the nature of the phenomena.
So, we have Πίστις Pistis, which means “belief.” This is the common state of consciousness of humanity. Pistis is belief, sometimes translated as faith. But here, we are referring to belief and faith in a conventional sense, devoid of any spiritual substance.
Many people have beliefs and concepts of the afterlife, about astral travel, the internal dimensions, the solar bodies, but they have no cognizance of these things. They believe in religion, but they do not practice the esoteric heart of religion.
Humanity tends to gravitate between Pistis and Eikasia: beliefs, fanaticism, and war.
We have a third state of consciousness, which we seek to develop, and which grants us the doorway to really enter initiation. This other state is διάνοια Dianoia. Dianoia, as Samael Aun Weor explains in The Perfect Matrimony, is revision of beliefs. The way we review our beliefs is by awakening consciousness. This is the state of awakened perception. And in order to really develop this state, we need to be, like Solomon told us, a fountain sealed, a מַעיָן ma’yan sealed. Because עין Ayin and מ Mem, perception developed though the waters of transmutation help to awaken us to the state of Dianoia.
Diá means “thoroughly, from side-to-side," which intensifies noiéō, "to use the mind," noús, "mind.” So, when we awaken our consciousness by working with our own fire, with our own fountain of life, we begin to change many concepts that we have about ourselves. This is to revise our beliefs about who we are, what we know, who we think we are, where we are going. Dianoia is the alert state of perception, the alert novelty.
But now, we have a fourth state of consciousness, which can only be fully developed and reached by working in alchemy. It is νοῦν Nous. Nous literally means mind.
Question: Excuse me, sir. Did you say something that relates to the left ventricle of the heart?
Instructor: There is an atom that relates to the Innermost, a spiritual power, a force relating to the left ventricle of our heart. So, Nous relates to that. The atom Nous is in our heart. And the state of Nous is illuminated perception. It is the consciousness, which is in union with the Innermost, that perceives as the Innermost, that is one with Christ.
Nous refers to heights of the Tree of Life. From Geburah, Chesed, and above. That is the spirit of the Inner Christ. Those heights can only really be developed, as Samael Aun Weor explains, by working in alchemy, because to develop the spirit is very arduous work related with transmutation, related with the perfection of the psyche.
We explain this in relation to the solar bodies because, in order to work in alchemy, we need to establish ourselves in Dianoia. We need to cease being asleep in Eikasia. We need to cease being hypnotized by our beliefs, our concepts, which is Pistis. To work in alchemy effectively, you must possess Dianoia to be awakening, to develop that state of alert perception through mediation, through self-observation.
As I mentioned, there are many who have solar bodies, but they forget this fact. They forget this work on the ego. And Nous is fully developed when we have no ego. This path of Nous is represented by the path of the spirit, Pneuma. Nous, our Innermost, relates to that Atom Nous which is connected to our spirit.
The Heavenly and Terrestrial Man of St. Paul
We have in this image, a teaching by a great master. His name is Hilarion IX. He was known as Paul of Tarsus. He was known as a great persecutor of Gnostics until he converted through a revolution in his experience.
Question: He was a tax collector?
Instructor: I do not know what he physically did as work, but what happened to him was very profound. He experienced Nous, an illuminated state of consciousness when he knew Christ directly. The Logos. The force of God. And therefore, he stopped persecuting the Gnostics physically.
Comment: In the Christian teachings, I think they claim when he was on his way to Damascus, and a lightning bolt hit him that the divine sent. “Paul, Paul, why have you hurt me, betrayed me, deny me,” I think. That was in the Christian teachings as I remember.
Instructor: And the lightning bolt represents the force of Christ which descends from the Trinity, at the top of the Tree of Life down to Malkuth. So, he was struck by an experience, which Christ reprimanded him to change. And, so, he gave a very beautiful doctrine on the nature of the solar bodies. The nature of Nous. The nature of perception.
He explained that the solar bodies are created through sex. But importantly, we need to awake, he says, to righteousness. Meaning to work in Dianoia. If we do not awaken consciousness through meditation and annihilate the ego, we cannot walk to Christ. In fact, we can make the solar bodies and attain development to a degree, but if we do not fully eradicate our own desires, then we will suffer. We will go down.
Question: That means you’re desireless for anything?
Instructor: Desire in terms of ego. Animal lust, pride, vanity. Not longing.
So, Paul of Tarsus taught [in 1 Corinthians 15:34-40; 42-43]:
Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God (the esoteric doctrine): I speak this to your shame (to those who study, but do not practice).
Question: Does that correlate in the Greek mysteries to Ceres, or when they’re talking about grain?
Instructor: Yes, because the grain represents the seed of the sexual force that gives birth to the solar bodies.
Comment: I have to say, you go really well into details. There are so many things that are allegorical that the Gnostics, the way you teach it―for some reason, the others, whether it be the tarot schools, the fish coming up out of the waters, pulling it out through mercury, but they don’t, none of them go behind it like the way you do. I have to say that, I’m finding out things. I thought, “I know this, no!” So much is allegorical, but they do not explain the relationship.
Instructor: So he says, “Every seed to his own body.” Meaning: our body produces the semen. The seed that gives birth to our solar vehicles, which do not manifest fully in the beginning, but they are germinated slowly, in the same manner a child is born in the womb of his mother. Nine months. Nine relatesd to Yesod, the foundation, the sexual force.
He continues in relation to the solar vehicles:
All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. ―1 Corinthians 15:39
When he talks about the flesh of men, he means real human beings. Because a real human being has the solar bodies created. Those solar bodies define a real Hum-Man. Because the spirit [the Sanskrit Hum] can only incarnate when one has the solar bodies, and we fully eliminate the ego.
So, the flesh of beasts is really us. We have the flesh of beasts. Our family procreated in an ordinary manner, so to speak, and we are the result of fornication. We have the flesh of animals born through animal desire.
We also have the flesh of another fishes, meaning those initiates who know how to swim in the waters. Who control the waters. Who are beginning on the path develop the seminal energy.
And also we have the flesh of birds, meaning those initiates that know how to fly through the Tree of Life. That is one meaning we can derive from them. He continues:
There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.
So, this topic of resurrection refers to one level, the creation of the solar bodies. One has died to a certain degree and resurrects at a spiritual level. That is the process of the Major Mysteries, of initiation.
The solar bodies are sown in corruption, meaning: our body is imperfect. We experience many illnesses and diseases because our bodies are degenerated with fornication. But the solar bodies are sown in corruption, because we practice alchemy with this body. And the solar bodies are raised in incorruption, meaning they are pure.
Just as the same matter in Buddhism, how the lotus flower floats above the muddy waters. That impurity is our mind. It is Eikasia. It is Pistis. However, the lotus is above that. It is pure. It rises above the impurity of the mind. “It is sown in weakness,” meaning we are weak in the beginning. But, when we practice alchemy, the solar bodies are raised in power, with tremendous force.
The Psychic and Spiritual Bodies
The teaching of the solar bodies also relates to Paul of Tarsus and his teaching on the Tree of Life. Here, we have the image of the Kabbalah again. Another way to look at this is in terms of three triangles, which Paul of Tarsus explain in relation to the bodies of the soul.
Within the triangle of the Logos, again as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit: Kether, Chokmah, Binah.
Within the triangle of the spirit, the pneuma, which is Chesed, Geburah, Tiphereth.
Then we have the triangle of the psyche, which is Netzach, Hod, and Yesod. Malkuth is a fallen sephirah.
Question: Is that top triangle, the very apex at the top, that’s smaller?
Question: That’s Da’ath?
Instructor: Kether, Chokmah, Binah, the upper triangle is the Logos. The secret sephirah, Da’ath, does not have any image. No representation. It is the secret science of alchemy. So, Da’ath relates to the throat, which relates to the practice of alchemy, uniting sexually with our partner, the mantras we pronounce, “I… A… O…” in relation to sex; we are working with Daath, the Verb. That is how we create spiritually. When we connect sexually, we pronounce the mantras: IAO is the most sacred.
So, the triangle of the spirit is Chesed [pneuma], Geburah, Tiphereth. The bodies of the psyche relate to Netzach, Hod, Yesod, and Malkuth. Mind, emotions, vitality, and physicality.
Question: Kether is the Father?
Instructor: Kether is the Father.
Question: And Binah is the...
Instructor: The Holy Spirit.
Question: And Chokmah is the Son?
Instructor: Yes. And so, as we show the image of Shiva-Shakti that is also the Holy Spirit. Because Shiva-Shakti is male-female. Or, we say Jehovah Elohim in Hebrew. But that is digressing a little bit.
So, when talking about the solar bodies, we can refer to these triangles in relation to levels of spiritual development. Paul of Tarsus gives a very profound kabbalistic teaching, as he continues:
It is sown a σῶμα ψυχικόν psychic-image body [Soma Psuchikón]; it is raised a σῶμα πνευματικόν spiritual-image body [Soma Pneumatikón]. There is a σῶμα ψυχικόν psychic-image body, and there is a σῶμα πνευματικόν spiritual-image body. ―1 Corinthians 15:44-45
Soma means body. Psuchi relates to psyche. Ikón is image. So, we can translate it as psychic-image-body, to be literal.
People think that it usually say terrestrial body in the translations. That is not what the Greek taught us. By terrestrial, I mean relating to our lower personality, whether the terrestrial or they say the heavenly personality, the heavenly Being. So, Soma Psuchikón, the psychic-image-body, the body that bears the image of the psyche, relates to this triangle, as we showed: Netzach, Hod, Yesod, and Malkuth. This is the lower quaternary, which is what we are. So, Paul of Tarsus states:
It is sown a σῶμα ψυχικόν psychic-image body [Soma Psuchikón]; it is raised a σῶμα πνευματικόν spiritual-image body [Soma Pneumatikón]. ―1 Corinthians 15:44
Soma is body, as I mentioned. Pneuma is spirit. They usually translate this as celestial body or spiritual body. Again, remember that soma is the sexual energy that gives birth, life to the bodies of the soul.
So in the beginning we create…
Question: Some would be Yesod?
Instructor: Soma relates to the vital force. It is the vital force. And, through this energy of the sex, we give birth to the bodies of the psyche, Soma Psuchikón.
In the later process of initiation, if we are destined to walk that path, we elaborate the Soma Pneumatikón, which is really the solar bodies when they are completed, when they are perfected.
In the beginning, we develop the psychic bodies, which, through intense alchemical transmutations, by destroying our desires, our ego, they become completely perfected and give birth to the bodies of the spirit.
So, first comes the soul. The sSpirit comes next. There are many initiates who forget this detail, like Nietzsche. He thought that all human beings have these vehicles, the psychic bodies, or even have spiritual bodies. But he ignored that these have to be developed through initiation.
Question: So soul is the reflection of the spirit, right?
Comment: I always get confused by…
Instructor: Yes. The spirit is God and the psyche is the consciousness. The Being is. The soul needs to be created. We do that through alchemy for working with our soma.
Question: So, soul and Being are two different things?
Instructor: Yes. The Being is God. And through this work, the spirit, Pneuma creates the psyche.
Question: So, spirit and Being are the same?
Instructor: Yes. We use different terms, interchangeable. The Being is the Pneuma, the spirit.
So, as Paul of Tarsus states:
It is sown a σῶμα ψυχικόν psychic-image body; it is raised a σῶμα πνευματικόν spiritual-image body. There is a σῶμα ψυχικόν psychic-image body, and there is a σῶμα πνευματικόν spiritual-image body.
To elaborate, first, we create what we know as the terrestrial man. The human being is made through the creation of the solar bodies. Remember that the bodies are meant to project the image of the psyche and the Being.
First comes the psyche. We have to create the soul. Later, we develop the image of the spirit, which is a very long process.
The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from οὐρανός (Ouranos) heaven. ―1 Corinthians 15:47
Notice that psyche is mind (Netzach), emotion (Hod), vitality (Yesod), and physicality (Malkuth).
We can also count Tiphereth. Tiphereth is psyche, human soul. The heavenly man is above, relating to Geburah (divine consciousness), which is the reflection of our own Innermost, our inner God, inner spirit.
Above that, is the triangle of the Logos, Christ. So, first, we need to the develop the image of the psyche trough alchemy. And then, if we follow the path of the Christ, if we incarnate the Christ, He takes us to the development of the higher sephiroth within us.
As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.
What is important to state is that, many Christians say they are “born again,” as if they had these bodies―“I believe in Jesus and now I am saved," whereas [the solar bodies] can only be created through alchemy.
You need a man and a woman [to create, to give birth]. They think they bear the image of the earthy. That is equal to saying that they have the bodies of the soul already developed.
Comment: I’ve been to summer service. They mean well, some of the preachers. Then again, they say, in the emotion of the moment, they place some music in the background. Yeah, because like Dion Fortune said that in that moment, they go to the emotions only, but cannot go above that. So, when they get out onto the street, sure, well enough… (we all have the same defects…) in the emotion of the moment―I’ve also seen that when I was in Georgia―they all really get emotional down there. Some of them have tambourines, the spirit…
Well, they may mean that! At that time, but then they slip back into everyday routines, defects… Maybe they’ve reduced a little, but they’re not reborn…
Instructor: So, they say “we will bear the image of the heavenly,” meaning they have not entered alchemy to develop the psyche first. First comes the soul and then we develop the spirit within.
The Manifestation and Contemplation Buddhas
So, continuing in relation to this topic about the heavenly man and the terrestrial man, we could refer to Buddhism, which teaches the same thing.
The solar bodies are what grant one the capacity to unite with God. But only with the condition the ego is fully eliminated.
In Buddhism, we have the Inner Being, which is the Buddha, which we call the Contemplation Buddha. These are just Buddhist terms for the same thing, as told by Paul of Tarsus. The heavenly man is the Contemplation Buddha, God.
Question: Who is Adam Kadmon?
Instructor: Adam Kadmon is the heavenly man, which we are discussing.
We also have the Manifestation Buddha, which is the psyche, the initiate who is developing his solar vehicles, and is walking the path to completely express the Being, the Contemplation Buddha.
So, this is just to emphasize this teaching is not only from Paul of Tarsus, about the solar bodies. But it relates even to Eastern doctrines. So, Samael Aun Weor states in "Mental Representations":
Much has been said of the Buddhas. There is no doubt that there are Contemplation Buddhas and Manifestation Buddhas. Manifestation Buddhas are creatures who dominated the mind, who destroyed the ego, who did not let negative emotions enter their hearts, who did not create mental effigies in their own mind nor in the minds of others. Let us remember Tsong Khapa who reincarnated in Tibet; he was the Buddha Gautama previously.
So, again. What is the Logos? It is the Christ. The Buddha that manifests is Tiphereth, the human will, the human soul. That is created after we have raised the fire in Malkuth, the Kundalini force through the spine, in Malkuth, to the brain.
Afterward, one must create the solar vital body through this process of alchemy. After that one, one must create the solar astral body. Once that one is created, the alchemist creates the solar mental body and possesses the solar body of will.
This is beautifully represented in the Wizard of Oz.
We find Dorothy, the consciousness [who needs to return home to divinity].
The scarecrow needs a new mind. He needs a solar mental body.
We have the Tin Man who needs a new heart. He needs a solar astral body.
We have the lion who has no courage. He needs the solar casual body, willpower.
The one that gives them that gift is the Wizard of Oz, the Wizard of עץ Otz, the Wizard of עץ החיים Otz Chai’im, the Tree of Life.
So, the wizard is our Innermost, spirit, pneuma. And Geburah is an unfoldment of him.
Dorothy represents the consciousness that has been sent to Malkuth. From Kansas to the Land of Oz.
And we find the golden red road through the spinal medulla, up to the Emerald City, which is the chakra of the crown, which produces the halo of the saints.
And the lower five sephiroth are the Manifestation Buddha, the Bodhisattva, the incarnation of Christ who manifests in the physical plane.
The Contemplation Buddha is the five sephiroth above, which is our Inner Wizard, our Inner Magician.
The Spiral and Direct Paths
What is important to state in relation to the nature of the solar bodies, and to put this in context, is to emphasize that that the solar bodies are merely vehicles in which we can express Christ. However, there are many individuals that develop the solar vehicles and do not enter into much higher stages of initiation, and much higher stages of spiritual development.
And we often talk in these studies about different kinds of angels or buddhas. In the realm of Nirvana, which is really Tiphereth, we find many masters. They reflect the spirit to a degree, but they remain at that level. They do not ascend to the higher stages of the path. Because, in order to access the higher sephiroth, which is Christ, the Trinity, they have to enter into a very elevated path of spiritual development.
We call this the Direct Path. So, we talk about the solar bodies and creating those vehicles. They are necessary. We need to create the means by which our Being can manifest himself into our psyche. But, in order to develop the image of the spirit completely, in order to enter the realm of the Logos, we need to enter a very specific path.
In the beginning, one learns to rise the five Kundalini [serpents] within the lower five vehicles in order to give birth to the solar vehicles. But, upon reaching Tiphereth, one needs to make a decision. This really depends on the will of our Being.
Comment: Rudolf Steiner corroborated everything you said now. Some people, you know, they advance so far. They have no desire at that point to really, for whatever reason, whether due to karma. But it’s their option, not that they’re going to be condemned, or anything like that, because they do not want to go any higher. For whatever reason, they chose not to. They develop themselves apparently…
Instructor: We call them Nirvanis, Nirvani Buddhas, Sravakas, or Pratyekas, different terms. They are buddhas that have attained initiation, but they choose to remain in Nirvana to enjoy the blisses of that realm. They forget about the suffering of humanity. They do not descend to help.
Question: Some people call them selfish buddhas too?
Instructor: They are called selfish buddhas, and the thing is that many people think this is a bad path because they forget about the cares of the world. They develop themselves little by little in very long spiral path that leads to the Absolute.
The problem with this is that is a very long path. They manifest according to karma. They are still victims of karma. And the difficulty lies in the fact they can easily fall again when they have to return to a body.
And so, many of them become Nirvanis. They fall again. They become demons. They become Nirvanis. They fall again. They become demons. It is a cycle that repeats itself. This is represented in Buddhism by the Bhavachakra, the Wheel of Samsara. We find different realms between gods, demons, humans, hungry ghosts. A constant cycle of different manifestations.
Question: You’re saying eventually that they will see the light and eventually ascend even higher than Tiphereth?
Instructor: That depends on the Being of that individual. Because there are many buddhas, spirits or monads that say: "Well, we are happy in this level. So, we do not want to go higher." Then, there are sSpirits like Jesus of Nazareth, Muhammad, or Krishna. They want to go to the very height which is known as the Absolute.
In order to reach those degrees, one has to incarnate Christ. To enter that path is to walk the Direct Path. Because the Nirvani Buddhas go to the spiral through eternities, to the Absolute. There is nothing wrong with their process. But in this path, we teach the path of the Bodhisattva, which is very revolutionary.
Question: Are these conscious decisions to go in either direction, or is it unconscious?
Instructor: It is conscious. The Being is the one who decides whether to enter the straight path. And when the Being decides that, one must follow.
In order to get to that point, in relation to this topic of the solar bodies, it is important to state that we need to develop a very specific type of consciousness if what we want is to enter the straight path after creating the solar bodies. We call this Bodhichitta.
I mentioned the term Bodhisattva and now I mention Bodhichitta. Bodhi means “light, wisdom, enlightenment.” Chitta means “mind.” So, in this lecture we are talking about the [enlightened] mind and the solar bodies. And to elaborate that, the solar bodies are a step on the path. They are not the end if we follow the Direct Path.
We need to develop something very specific, a state of mind which is the combination of conscious love for humanity and comprehension of the Absolute. It is the union of two things. And Buddhism teaches this very beautifully.
One cannot have real love without understanding the nature of That, the Absolute, which we call emptiness, inconceivable to our intellect.
Neither can we have real cognizance of the Absolute, the source of all the gods, the universes, That which is beyond all concept. We cannot have understanding of That without real love for humanity.
When we comprehend the inherent nature of emptiness, of all phenomena and how human beings suffer in illusion, naturally love is born within our hearts, to want to serve and help others to realize their real, [intimate divine potential, which we call Christ. The Absolute is in the Christ.
Bodhichitta is a state of consciousness in which we comprehend the emptiness of phenomena and how life is illusory. But also, to have that experience in meditation when one approaches to the Absolute.
Bodhichitta is taught in Buddhism as a type of attitude. And it is so powerful when it impregnates the soul, that it goes beyond having the solar bodies. One does not create the solar bodies and develop Bodhichitta necessarily. In fact, what is important is to develop Bodhichitta now, before we even enter the path or developing the solar bodies.
Question: Just define Bodhichitta again? I missed that.
Instructor: Bodhi is light, which refers to Christ. Chitta means mind. So, it is mind or consciousness that has experienced Christ. So, just like Paul of Tarsus had that experience going to Damascus, he developed that lightning spark that illuminated him, in order to recognize he needed to serve humanity, to serve others.
Comment: Well that was an epiphany!
Instructor: Epiphania relates to revelation, to experience the state of Nous that illuminates the consciousness.
Question: That’s what he experienced?
So, we often talk about Bodhichitta as a very deep topic. But in synthesis, it refers to conscious love for humanity and cognizance of the Absolute. One that has that experience returns to the physical body and then works to serve others so they can experience divinity for themselves.
Question: Just one other thing. You mentioned about the solar bodies, that they’re vehicles. But then again, what are they? Do they refer to the five lower sephiroth, in terms of how the solar bodies relate to the Tree of Life…
Instructor: The lower five sephiroth.
And so, we seek to develop Bodhichitta above all things. And then, if we are married, we work to create the solar bodies. It is more important to develop that aspiration to serve others than to seek to acquire powers and initiations. So, as it is explained in The Voice of the Silence, the nature of Bodhi, the light:
The Dharma of the ‘Eye’ is the embodiment of the external, and the non-existing.
Here is an image of Buddha Maitreya. People think Buddha Maitreya was one individual. They do not recognize Maitreya is a title. As I mentioned, there are many buddhas in nirvana, millions, zillions. You cannot count. However, there are very few who incarnate the Christ. In order to enter the Straight Path that leads to the Absolute, one needs to become a Bodhisattva.
But first, one develops Bodhichitta.
Bodhichitta is that aspiration to help others. And that service comes about as a result of comprehending one's empty states, or the emptiness of phenomena, as well as the Absolute, which is the goal. Many Buddhas do not have Christ incarnated. Because Christ only enters the human being who has shown he has served humanity. And that aspiration and love for humanity is Bodhichitta, cognizance of the Absolute, emptiness.
Question: So, Mother Teresa might be one?
Instructor: I never investigated her, but she embodied Bodhichitta because she really showed sacrifice for others. She said: "You must sacrifice for others to the point it hurts." And always the utmost sacrifice requires pain in our part in order to genuinely benefit others.
Question: Bodhichitta is developed through meditation and transmutation?
Instructor: Yes. Bodhichitta develops when we meditate and we really work to develop compassion and love for humanity. To serve others and to experience God.
Comment Just along those lines, I’m thinking of an article I read about the nurses who work in children’s hospitals. Usually in five years they say that it’s too much. They say the pain and then the relatives coming in, the interaction and the pain. They actually have to put up a shield. It’s too much! They do good, God knows, but that’s one occupation they take them to task there, compassion-wise. Those people who stay on for a couple of years have to balance that. The pain they feel, you can’t help it, since there’s transference.
Instructor: In order to develop Bodhichitta, we need to transform our psyche. So, whatever pain we experience, we transform it as an opportunity for compassion and love for others.
So, Samael Aun Weor continues in a lecture called The Esoteric Path:
There exist the Transitory Buddhas and the Permanent Buddhas.
So, the Heavenly Man is the one who fully develops Christ is known as a Permanent Buddha. But, one who is a Transitory Buddha, the Nirvanis, they spiral through Nirvana and come back to Malkuth. Maybe they descend. They go back to Nirvana. They fall again. They are in transit. They are never stationary, meaning they never attain the absolute heights. So, a Permanent Buddha is the one who has incarnated Christ.
Question: So, a Transitory Buddha did not really incarnate the Christ [or made preparations...]
Instructor: Transitory Buddhas are those Nirvanis who have not incarnated the Lord yet. They haven’t walked that path. But those who do walk the Straight Path, they incarnate Christ and they walk a dangerous road to fully eliminate the ego in the most profound depths of their own abyss, in order to unite with the Absolute.
Comment: Then they didn’t fully eliminate the ego!
Instructor: So, the Transitory Buddhas are those who have ego. And even Bodhisattvas, those who incarnate Christ, they still have ego. They are only perfected until they fully eliminate desire.
So, the importance of mentioning the solar bodies is the fact there are many who create these vehicles, but they remain in Nirvana. They do not care about helping humanity.
Question: Why do some people say that that’s the end? Some read a book, and don’t go beyond…
Instructor: There are degrees. There are stages of the Tree of Life. There is Nirvana. There is Paranirvana (beyond Nirvana). And we have Parabrahma, which is the Absolute. So, there are degrees.
The problem with many buddhas in Nirvana is that they do not care about serving humanity. They want to enjoy bliss in their realm, but they do not sacrifice themselves in order to incarnate the Lord, Christ. As stated in The Voice of the Silence:
The Shangna (“initiation”) robe [the solar bodies], 'tis true, can purchase light eternal. The Shangna robe alone gives the Nirvana of destruction; it stops rebirth, but, O Lanoo [disciple], it also kills―compassion. No longer can the perfect Buddhas [Nirvanis], who don the Dharmakaya glory, help man's salvation. Alas! shall SELVES be sacrificed to Self; mankind, unto the weal of Units?
So, again, just to really get to the point: there are many buddhas in Nirvana. They have solar bodies, but they remain in that realm. They do not work to help others. And unfortunately, they are afflicted by their own karma. They manifest and they return to Nirvana according to the laws of the cosmos. They are not masters over the laws of the universe.
All those who incarnate Christ become lords of all things. In order to get really inspired to that path, we seek to develop Bodhichitta (the aspiration to reach the Absolute for the benefit of others). Working to self-realize, not for oneself, but for humanity. And to clarify what Bodhichitta is, Samael Aun Weor states in The Gnostic Bible: The Pistis Sophia Unveiled:
Bodhichitta is the awakened and developed superlative consciousness of the Being. Bodhichitta emerges in the aspirant who sacrifices himself for his fellowmen, long before the Mercurial [solar] bodies have been created... The one who does not possess Bodhichitta, even when he has created the superior existential bodies of the Being, is still unconscious and absurd. ―Samael Aun Weor, The Gnostic Bible: The Pistis Sophia Unveiled
Do not think like many esoteric practitioners, when they create the solar bodies and that is it. That is the path of the Nirvanis. If we really want to enter the path of the Bodhisattva, the path of Christ, it means we have to renounce our own mind and give everything for humanity.
To conclude, solar bodies are necessary, but they are not the end of the path if what we aspire is to imitate the example of Christ.
Questions and Answers
Comment: You could see that on the Tree of Life where you showed us the five solar bodies. Above it are the other, higher sephiroth, so you can’t stop really from what you’re telling us. You can’t stop there.
Instructor: The one who decides to enter that path is the Being, our own pneuma, our own spirit. If we have attained to the height Nirvana, meaning we reached Tiphereth and we have the solar physical, solar vital, solar astral, solar mental, solar causal bodies, related to the five spheres below, and if our own spirit demands it, if our own Innermost, Chesed or pneuma decides we enter the path of Christ, then we do. That depends on the will of our Being.
Comment: Seems in a way, you might say, that some of these things might be predestined.
Instructor: If your Being is pushing you to practice this science, it may be the chance he wants you to walk the Direct Path. But that path is not necessarily finished in one life, like I mentioned in the beginning of the lecture with the quote from Padmasambhava. There are few initiates who can do it in one life. It is very rigorous. But for most of us it takes many lives.
Comment: This path you are talking about [the Direct Path], going back to… Steiner, on the Tree of Life, what he called the hermetic path, is doable. That was one path. He called it the mystical path, straight up the Tree, like that, but it involved a different type of esoteric practices in a way than you would if you went from sephirah to sephirah like some people do with tarot cards, correlating astrology and all that. Steiner said it had a lot to do with the heart, and he mentioned there a lot of things that were in line with what you’re saying regarding the Direct Path, or the arrow, קשת Qeshet
Instructor: קשת Qeshet in Kabbalah, which is the Hebrew word for “rainbow,” which we see in the Book of Genesis after the flood of Noah. He saw the rainbow, קשת Qeshet. So, that rainbow is the path that Dorothy takes to Oz, from Malkuth with her companions up the straight road, in the middle, to the Father, Kether, who is our wizard, our Inner Magician.
But the only way that path can be reached is by sacrificing oneself for humanity. Because if we only work for our own liberation, we enter the Nirvani Path. But if we work to help others, to help humanity to reach Christ, then Christ would say: "Well, if you reach the Fifth Initiation, I will incarnate in you." Then, you must die completely. The solar bodies are not quickened unless you die. Like Paul of Tarsus said: "We do not perfect those vehicles until we die in our ego."
Any other questions?
Question: Does the Being nudge by putting events on our path?
Instructor: Yes. We can refer to karma specially. We have many events in our life which are the result of past actions, the karmic results of our previous lives. But in many other cases, our Being, in order to help us, changes that, such as finding this type of science. The Being is intervening to help that soul to change.
Comment: Or even meeting someone who is studying esoteric studies, and saying, “Here, read this book!” And then something turns on. It could be when you’re very young, middle-aged, or even old, and say, “I want to pursue this further.” Since you look back on your life and you see that you get resentful, but then they tell you you can’t. You say, “There’s something pushing me. There’s something I have to do.” It could be based on fear too, of the unknown, or the whatever. But it starts you on a metaphysical reading, attending classes, but something happened…
Instructor: Those longings are the impulse of the Being to make that soul work to walk the path of the Self-realization. Now, what is necessary is to cultivate Bodhichitta, that aspiration to serve humanity and attain liberation for the sake of others. We need to develop Bodhichitta if we really comprehend our mind, and work to serve in whatever way possible, whatever is the idiosyncrasy of our Being.
For some people it is teaching. For some people it’s like Mother Teresa, providing shelter for others who are sick. Gandhi was teaching and leading political movements. That is how he worked with his aspiration basically.
Comment: Can I just add one other thing? Just getting back to finding out the meanings behind a lot of those teachings. But the Bible, and Rudolf Steiner said too, in a lot of ways it was a closed document, he wouldn’t go into detail. […] Someone I know who is a member of the Masonic Lodge, Jewish-American fellow, fairly intelligent, he said, “When I was in the Navy I went out and took an eclectic approach.” So he was related to the Jewish religion, but he wanted to find out, you know, he studied other religions. He said, “I used to sit on the fan tail of the ship… by myself and read. The only thing,” and sad in a way, “But Christ spoke in parables. I couldn’t follow that.” That’s another thing. People need experience in the way they see things.
Instructor: We need to know Kabbalah to understand the Christian Gospels. So, we explain in brief the meaning of the teachings of Christ as well as the teachings of Paul of Tarsus.
Comment: There’s just so much, really, is in [parables]… some people think there’s just surface meanings. They quote the waters, but what’s really behind it? And they talk about… in the human being! As it relates to the human being! What are these waters? You never see, I’ve never read this in any esoteric books except in things you’ve explained.
Instructor: What is necessary for us is to meditate. To experience this for ourselves. But personally, when I am talking about the solar bodies and Bodhichitta is because I have studied these teachings, not from a book, but from experience.
So, do not take this at face value, but practice. And awaken your psyche so you can experience your own pneuma. And a practice you can use to develop Bodhichitta is the prayer of Saint Francis. I do not remember specifically every line. "Let me not seek as much to be loved, but to love. To be understood as to understand. To give in order to receive. For in giving, we receive and in death we are born to everlasting life."
Comment: Francis of Assisi, and he, that was interesting, he certainly had an epiphany or an awakening, because he was born, as history tells us, into a very wealthy family in Tuscany, in Italy. And the father wanted him to get married and live well with possessions, but he totally renounced everything…
Instructor: He is a great Bodhisattva. He fully developed Christ within himself. He was an embodiment or expression of the teachings of the Straight Path. So, meditation and prayer can open a lot of things in terms of how we can help humanity.
Today we are going to talk about the basic requisite to verifying for ourselves the truths and realities contained within all religions. We are going to explain how to develop that within ourselves, how to become cognizant of what Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Jainism, really contain, because what draws us to spiritual studies is the desire, or the longing to experience for ourselves what divinity is, to know what is God, or what is our Buddha inside.
It is this longing that impels us to inquire. As the foundation to any religious practice, to experience divinity, to acquiring gnosis, knowledge of divinity from experience, we talk about awareness as a foundation, a basic requisite for entering to the experience of divinity.
We state in a very clear way that divinity is not what modern religion has developed it to be. Usually, we think of it in Christianity as these anthropomorphic figures of an old man in the clouds or the external physical personality of Jesus, or as Buddha Shakyamuni in Buddhism, as some external figure outside that were the ones capable of achieving these great realizations and that we do not have that capacity.
Religions, in the exoteric public sense, have misconstrued the real foundations of attaining religion. It is important to realize that religion comes from the Latin word religare, which means to “reunite.” Likewise, yoga in Sanskrit comes from yug, which means “to unite.” Both Eastern and Western traditions have taught that we need to reunite with divinity. But in order to reunite with divinity, we need to throw away our misconceptions about who or what divinity is and to really go to what is practical, to really experiment, to really inquire within religious teachings, mystical traditions, as to what is divinity and how do we experience divinity.
All religions have taught in their unique languages and cultures the path that leads to that realization. Although this path was taught in different languages from different prophets, from different messengers, from different masters or buddhas, really this path is one in the same. As Jesus of Nazareth taught:
Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto [spiritual] life, and few there be that find it. ―Matthew 7:14
Or as Krishna said:
Among a thousand who search for me, one finds me. Among a thousand who find me, one follows me. Among a thousand who follow me, one is mine. ―Bhagavad Gita
Religion or yoga, whatever name we give to this science of experiencing the divine, is our quest for developing our potential inside. Religion is not about adhering to a physical group and even attending lectures. The purpose is to verify inside: “Who is our inner divinity? Who is God within me?” Or as the Oracle of the Temple of Delphi, the Greek famous maxim, stated:
Man know thyself and you will know the universe and the gods. ―Oracle of Delphi
The basic requisite for verifying divinity in ourselves, experiencing the divine, is by becoming aware of who we are. We have many assumptions based of our culture, the way we have been raised, the religion we have been indoctrinated with, about who we are and where we come from. Really, our language, our name, our birthplace, our family, our friends, these things really belong to the physical. But as to what is spiritual or what is psychological is something that we are very ignorant about. This is a very challenging truth to confront within oneself, for as the Greeks said, “Man, know thyself, and you shall know the gods.” You will know the angels. You will know the buddhas. You will know divinity. You will know the universal light of divinity known as Christ amongst the Gnostics, Christos in Greek, God of Fire.
If we know ourselves, we will know divinity. If we do not know divinity, it means that we really do not know ourselves and our root. This is, really, the zero foundation we need to face, because by acknowledging the fact we do not know our divine Being, our divine force within us, the presence of divinity known as God, it is because we lack cognizance of all our psychological, emotional, physical processes.
The Sufis, the mystics of Islam, teach the same thing. They explain, “He who knows himself knows his Lord.” In the esoteric tradition, divinity was known by the name Allah, “the God”; amongst the Gnostics, Christ; or amongst the Buddhists, Amitabha, the buddha of light.
So, what is this light? It is our pristine cognizance and awareness of divinity, directly, and it is this awareness of who we are psychologically, emotionally, and physically. That is how we open the gateway to accessing who we are spiritually, because the spirit is beyond that. Spirit is God, or buddha. We all have our inner buddha, which simply means “awakened one,” to be aware, to be fully cognizant of everything that is occurring psychologically inside, but also in the external universe, because “Man, know thyself, and you will know the gods and the buddhas.”
In this tradition, we seek to actualize awareness. Different traditions give this name many different terms. In the Gnostic tradition we call it self-observation, to observe ourselves; to be aware of our body, our emotional states, our mood, our thoughts, our mind. In Buddhism, we call it mindfulness, to be aware as a type of perception beyond our current, common, everyday experience.
If you noticed by doing the Annapanna practice, by observing ourselves, usually what we find is that we get distracted from what we are trying to focus on, the concentration on the breath. Usually, we find that we start thinking of other things, or memories, preoccupations, the day, which takes us away from the moment. It is this fact that we are distracted, when we look inside, when we direct our attention inside, that verifies that our mind is not concentrated or developed to its genuine full potential. The fact that we are trying to focus on our breathing, a simple process of our body, and we veer off in our mind, distracted, shows that the psyche is not fully integrated. It is not completely perfected. In fact, it is distracted, split up, and unmindful.
Religion, yoga, teaches us that the beginning to real union with divinity is to become aware of that divinity.
The Bardo Thodol or Tibetan Book of the Dead
We are going to explain a teaching pertinent to Tibetan Buddhism. We study all religions in a didactic way to explain the traditions, how they relate to each other. Due to the depth and profundity of a certain scripture that I am going to relate to you, we are going to relate to you the teachings of awareness as given in the Highest Yoga Tantra within Tibetan Buddhism particularly. This is the scripture known as Bardo Thodol. It is called The Tibetan Book of the Dead. If you know anything about this scripture, this is a very controversial text and a very powerful one. It was written by a master by the name of Padmasambhava, the Second Buddha, due to his level of attainment and realization.
He wrote this scripture about the natural processes of becoming cognizant during physical death, but also how to become aware during one’s daily life, to be really aware of divinity here and now within ourselves―a type of psychological state that is very transcendent of our daily, mundane experience.
Padmasambhava, seeing that the Tibetan people were not prepared for the depth of the knowledge he was presenting, had the scripture buried under ground for centuries. It was later found by a certain monk by the name of Karma Lingpa, who received it and transmitted it to his sons. In our present day, we have this scripture, which is a very potent text and explanation about the need to become aware, to really know ourselves, who we are, and not to have preconceptions such as: “This is my name, my language, my religion, my culture that I grew up in.” These things are transitory and superfluous.
Our inner Being, in gnostic terms, is internal. These passing forms, this body, this hair, this manner of speaking, this personality, this terrestrial aspect of oneself, is like a leaf floating in the wind. It has its birth and its death, but what happens after? That is the question. This is something we can verify.
The Tibetan Book of the Dead explains how we need to become cognizant of all processes of our life, so that if we really want to know divinity, we have to develop a type of perception which is beyond thinking, beyond feeling, instincts, or sensations.
So, I am going to pause when I explain some of these Buddhist terms, to explain them in terms of gnostic commentary. We are going to perform an exegesis on this text. This is a section of this book which, traditionally, it is read at three or four in the morning before meditation for monks and it is also read on retreats. I invite you, when you listen and discuss this text in terms of gnostic psychology, that you listen with an open mind and seek to really verify what it teaches.
This is called: “Introduction to Awareness: Natural Liberation through Naked Perception, [which is an extract] from the Peaceful and Wrathful Deities: A Profound Sacred Teaching [entitled] Natural Liberation through Recognition of Enlightened Intention.”
Even in this title we find our intentions have to be enlightened by that spark, by that insight of something new. We have all had this when were children specifically, when we saw life in a way that was novel, new. When you look at a child, that child has a fascination with all things. The child is not conditioned by the perceptions or the obligations of a much more mature life. This is why Jesus said:
Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. ―Matthew 18:3
Become innocent in the mind.
The Reality and Need for Awareness
Through the single nature of mind which completely pervades both cyclic existence and nirvana, [heavenly states of consciousness]
In religion, whether in yoga exercises, in meditation, reflection, or mantra: vocalizing sacred sounds to work with energy in the body, none of these exercises work even outside an understanding the nature of awareness. These are tools that can help our perception, what we call, in gnostic terms, consciousness, Essence, in order to verify for ourselves the nature of religion, to experience that reunion directly.
This type of cognizance has been present in us, but we are not aware of it. We call this consciousness, in Buddhist terms, buddha nature: the capacity to be fully awakened, to know God directly, to know all the different truths contained in religion, to know the heavens as the different buddhas taught and verify through experience.
We have many practices in this tradition, as we explained, in order to verify divinity, but none of these practices are effective without an understanding of the nature of awareness, paying attention, being aware of our mind, our heart, our body.
And even though there are inestimable volume of sacred writings, equally vast as the limits of space,
The Difference Between Intellect and Consciousness
There are many books on religion, many books of yoga. But how many have actually verified for themselves the nature of their tradition? You find that, in relation to the conflicts of religion, they do not understand the nature of their tradition because religion, yoga, should reunite people, not create conflict.
We want to be aware of ourselves, and in Buddhist terms, they use mind, but here we are talking about consciousness. Consciousness is a much more accurate term. Some of the translations into Western language is difficult, particularly because they use terms that are familiar to Westerners in a way that do not accurately convey the depth of language. Usually, when we speak of mind, we think of intellect, and like Descartes taught, “I think therefore I am.”
But this is a mistaken concept. We could say “I think, therefore I am not.” Descartes says the intellect is our true identity, but Buddhists, and as the Gnostic teachings also convey, our real identity is divinity and our consciousness. Our soul is what can unite us with divinity.
The mind in strict terms, in gnostic language, pertains to intellect. When we think of mind, we think of intellect. The type of experience the Buddhists are talking about is consciousness.
We want to clarify some of the translations of the terms.
Consciousness is what occurs before thought, occurs before feeling, occurs even before or between sensation. Our consciousness, our soul, our buddha nature, is the capacity to experience life without filter.
Question: Is that what the Buddhists refer to as a Zen state or something like that?
Instructor: It does relate to Zen. Zen is the Japanese derivative of Chan Buddhism. It relates to Dzogchen, the Tibetan Buddhist teaching particularly. Really, the highest form of thought is no thought. We say that consciousness is the capacity to not think, but to know, to perceive, to become cognizant. If you ever observe one’s state, to be aware of what happens between thoughts, usually we have a train of thinking all the time, or being identified with our mood, or identifying with what we eat, the sensations of our body.
If we really observe ourselves, we see that these things are constantly fluctuating. They are changing and never stable. So, where is the genuine identity that we carry in that? In one moment, we have a drink of water, feeling the sensations of the water, and other moments we think about our spouse, jobs, our career, and then the next moment we are in a different mood. Perhaps we are angry, sad, or frustrated about a situation. Then we can be happy again. Usually, we identify this as being one unique self from whom we identify as ourselves, failing to recognize that these are factors that are fluctuating and changing constantly, and that our psychological states are contingent upon the events of life and that there is always change. There is no stability.
Who has genuine existence inside? This relates to the Buddhist doctrine Anatman, which means “no self.” This does not mean obliteration, as if we are talking about nihilism, as if there is no existence. Instead, it is a perception that is clear, that is superior, not filtered by thought, feeling, sensation, instinct, by impulse. It is this type of perception that we want to strengthen and that we want to develop.
In the beginning it is very difficult to differentiate what is our thoughts, our feelings, our emotions, when we begin to observe ourselves, as if we are watching a film, like the practice of Annapanna.
To state that this type of awareness is a dull state, or a neutral state, is incorrect, particularly because the soul, the consciousness, is beyond thought. It is beyond feeling, beyond sensation, and has great capacity for emotion of a superior type―not the common anger we may feel at a certain crisis of our life or difficulty.
If you listen to classical music, such as masters like Beethoven or Wagner, their music is very powerful. They were awakened and they were conveying music that was of superior type, giving a teaching of spiritual nature which we explain in different lectures. Their music is very powerful for inspiration in the heart, potency in the heart. If you look at the music of Beethoven, such as his choral pieces, his famous Ode to Joy, it is an expression of the soul in union with divinity. It is a superior emotion, but not the type of emotion we identify with and typically experience.
Consciousness is dynamic. It has a range of experience, but we can only verify this by becoming aware, by observing ourselves and understanding that we are not our thoughts. We are not our feelings. We are not our body. We are something much more profound. That soul, when it is awakened to its true nature, can really experience that bliss that all religions talk about, which all the prophets have spoken of.
All messengers have explained that union with divinity is real happiness, but the beginning is learning to separate from what we think, what we feel, what we identify with as ourselves. Religion teaches us that this self that we have is transitory, and through analysis we see that our self is changing moment by moment. There is no stable identity there: we have anger; we have happiness; we have joy; we have a memory, a preoccupation. All these things fluctuate.
In order to make any type of spiritual practice fruitful, it begins with this observation: becoming aware of ourselves and the fact that if we do not know divinity, it is because we do not know ourselves. We have to become more of that presence inside.
In our society today, we have many preconceptions of who we are as individuals or what a human being is, but if we examine this scripture, it points to us that the typical definition of mind, intellect, of our true self, is incipient. It lacks profundity. As predicted hundreds of years before us, Padmasambhava states the following:
Oh fortunate children, listen to these words! The term “mind” is commonplace and widely used,
Christianity had removed this teaching of reincarnation, which we work with and seek to verify for ourselves, this experience of having transmigrated as a soul through different lives, different bodies. When we learn to develop our consciousness, we can verify our past, where we come from, who we are, and where we are going. The Buddhist doctrine teaches, like Hinduism, that there is a transmigration of souls, which was removed by fanatics of Christianity.
We experience suffering and:
This is the fault of not understanding this intrinsic nature of mind. ―The Tibetan Book of the Dead
The Existence and Causes of Suffering
When we approach religion or spiritual teaching, it is because we suffer. If we approach yoga or religion or traditions, it is because we want to overcome that suffering. Deep down it is the primary motive. But we have to recognize where that suffering comes from.
It is not our job, our spouse or our family, friends, or strangers in the street who make us suffer. We need to understand what inside us is provoked by the external circumstances. Usually, we identify with the external world as if these are the causes of our pain. Yet if we look at any of the masters, such as Jesus for example, he physically lived a drama in order to symbolically represent something we need to go through inside, to experience internally. The soul has to become purified through a type of Passion, through the way of the cross, as Jesus taught, by facing the causes of our suffering inside in order to eliminate them. All our impurities of our mind have to die on that cross, which we explain in different books, the symbolism of the cross.
Here we are explaining that Jesus physically lived a drama in which he led himself be physically persecuted, to teach us something symbolic. When he was being crucified, he said:
Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. ―Luke 23:34
He did not curse or condemn his attackers. He blessed them, and the fact that we do not have that psychology shows that we are imperfect. Whereas the Christ through Jesus taught, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
In your patience possess ye your souls. ―Luke 21:19
Be purified as your Father, your inner divinity, is perfect. We need to have that perfection.
Where does it begin? By becoming aware, by developing cognizance of ourselves.
Many people talk about mind. There are many books in the world that will teach you how to fortify intellect. This is primarily what yogis, monks, rabbis, many practitioners of religions teach. But we need to have a mind that is simple, an intellect that is simple. This does not mean that we become ignorant, but as Jesus taught:
Unless you are converted and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. ―Matthew 18:3
Become innocent. If we do not observe ourselves whenever we have a bout of frustration or hatred, or anger towards another person, we fail to realize that we are harming that person. We may know that a certain emotion is wrong, but still we act. We are impelled to act. That means that we do not have full control.
God does not have anger. Anger is a defect that we created. Those are elements that we need to remove and purify so that we can become perfect as our Father, our inner divinity―perfect inside. That Father in Christianity is the Buddha, really, the source of our buddha nature, our divine Being.
The Three Considerations of Consciousness
How do we become aware of ourselves? How do we develop our connection with our divinity? We have three considerations in this scripture:
The following is the introduction to the means of experiencing this single nature of mind [consciousness]
Usually, in the West we have this tendency to fill ourselves with many occupations, to perform many activities, to be reading and using our intellect all day, particularly with certain jobs we may have. So, we are always moving, moving, moving―performing activities and actions. We still do not have time to just sit, relax, and really look inside. Usually, we may watch some television or movie as if it could remove our worries from what we are engaged with in our daily life. We seldom sit down to see what is really going on in our heart and our mind. Usually, we are focused in the external and fail to recognize that our psychological experience is transient. It is changing. We have to be aware of this process, and when we begin to realize that we do not have awareness, this can be very disconcerting. But it is a necessary step that any practitioner of religion has to face.
If you have seen images of The Temptation of St. Anthony by the Gnostic Master Hieronymus Bosch, he painted an image of a landscape with many demonic creatures attacking St. Anthony, who is trying to pray and focus on an image of Christ in the center of his temple in the middle of the image. All of those discombobulated creatures are in his mind, representing his own negativity, fear, his passion, his hatred, his lust. These are elements that he is trying to overcome by praying to divinity inside.
This is a difficult experience every person has to face when beginning to become aware of what is inside, and that we carry many elements that we thought we did not have. At the same time, we also see we do not have many elements that we thought we had. That begins by becoming aware of what are our obstacles inside, by observing the nature of our mind in this moment.
These three considerations―we need to recognize that past thoughts are traceless, clear, and empty. By observing the mind, we observe ourselves. We see that thoughts change and fluctuate. If we ever had the experience of falling asleep at night hearing, on that transition state, different voices in the emergence of dreams, this shows us the elements that we are not aware of. Even in dreams like nightmares, we can see certain things that are horrifying, which are not fantasy, but elements that are inside us that we are becoming aware of in dreams.
So, these past thoughts, those are traceless, clear, and empty. They do not have a foundation. They are like clouds. Observe yourself. In one moment, we are thinking about our spouse, or friend, and the next moment, we can think of a different thing. Usually we think this comes from one unique self without observing the fact of what is occurring inside.
We need to be aware. How does our mind function? Observe it. To know is one thing, but to observe is a completely different skill. Usually, we say “I know I am angry.” “Yeah, I know I am frustrated.” “Yes, I am tired.” But we are not really observing the fact. Knowledge is of the mind, and comprehension is of the heart. To observe is to understand, to develop this perception of the consciousness inside without being filtered.
Also, the fact that thoughts, future thoughts, are unproduced and fresh. Usually, we are not aware of how thoughts emerge. But if we observe, we see the elements that emerge as a result of some external cause, some impression in life, such as if we see a hamburger, we suddenly have the desire to eat. There is a constant barrage of external impressions that enter our psyche that we are reacting to all the time.
But we need to become aware of this factor. We need to realize that this present moment abides naturally and is unconstructed. As I said, we are always looking for things to do―occupations. We seldom sit in the moment and just be. We may if we go to the beach and relax from our worries. Just simply sit like a child sits, and become filled with awe of the beauty of nature, the beauty of creation of divinity. The fact that we are not in this state of awe, in reverence of divinity, shows that we re obscured in our perception. Usually, all we see is ourselves. But if we want to know divinity, we need to become aware of what is inside that prevents us from knowing divinity.
The moment needs to abide naturally and unconstructed, meaning, we are not trying to fill it with so many preoccupations or activities, but simply to sit, even just for ten minutes, to meditate, observe, relax the body, observe the mind, observe the heart, observe the experience of our physicality, and just be in the moment. It is this awareness of being in the moment that opens the gate to insight to the nature of divinity.
The Qualities of Awareness
We find that this type of awareness relates to, we say, light.
And God said, Let there be light, and there was light. ―Genesis 1:3
People think, in the book of Genesis, that this is the physical creation of the world. It is the creation of the true human being who is psychological, inside. It is not talking about the history of the world, the history of human beings, but how that psychological image, that pure awareness of divinity, is fully developed inside. Divinity says, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
That darkness is our fear, our detachment, our suffering. It is a chaos, a void. The divinity in us needs to fill that void and create light. That light is awareness, to see within. So, as the Buddhists teach:
When this ordinary, momentary consciousness is examined nakedly and directly by oneself,
I stated that we need to observe ourselves, to be aware of ourselves. But this type of perception, being unfiltered, beyond thought, beyond feeling, beyond the body, when we are observing, we find that there is no individual self, but a universal consciousness. Some people call it Christ-consciousness: a type of cognizance in which there is no individual, but there is only the universe, the Being, divinity.
[It is] Manifestly stark and clear,
This is talking about how conscious experience is dynamic. It is always changing with our states. Awareness is something that is profound and has many qualities. If you study Sufism, you see this is very evident in their discussion of the nature of different states of consciousness. Buddhism is, really, pointing towards the same thing: how there are many superior emotional qualities which are divine.
We listen to great music like by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky or Frederic Chopin, Mozart. They are expressing very beautiful conscious states of a superior type. That is why we say these masters of music are prophets, teaching how to unite the soul with divinity through music.
This type of awareness is not mere nothingness. It sounds as if, “Well, if there is no ‘I,’ if there is no ‘self,’ then nothing will exist.” This is not the case. This is a very subtle teaching of Buddhist doctrine and Gnostic psychology. The one who observes is the soul. All of the different thoughts, feelings, emotions, transient psychological states, pertain to subjective elements in our psyche, what we call ego. Ego in Latin means “I,” “Self.” So, there are many different egos, selves, different states which produce suffering inside of us.
Question: And personality too?
Instructor: Yes, personality too. The fact that we have changing elements that when we observe, we realize we do not have control over them.
Question: What I mean is that some or many people have many personalities inside.
Instructor: Yes, people have been diagnosed with split personality disorder have that to a much more pronounced degree. In strict language, what really religions teach us, we find that all of us have these elements. We may be sane physically, but deep down we do have elements which are disjointed. This is represented by the man Jesus confronted, who is possessed by demons. Those demons are egos, defects. We say that ego is lust, is pride, greed, gluttony, laziness, hate, etc. The seven deadly sins, or it is also legion. As Jesus asked:
What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many. ―Mark 5:9
People think that this is just one crazy many that Jesus healed. But this is a symbol of how our divinity, which we can call Christ, needs to create unity inside of us, create light, awareness, by freeing the soul that is trapped in all those elements.
We say that ego is like a shell that traps consciousness. It conditions our perception. So, we want to free our soul from those elements by developing awareness. We state that it is the soul that can experience divinity. We all understand that―usually, we say ―that person has ego, meaning, has a strong sense of self. We like to apply that term to people we think are very cocky, so to speak. Anyone who has anger, vanity, pride, or feels negativity at some point, that is ego. That is conditioning of the mind. It obscures the genuine light of reality inside. So, we need to learn how to separate light from that darkness. “God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” That is becoming aware of ourselves. The fact that this awareness is not a single entity, but is dynamic, is fluctuating, is something we really need to reflect on from experience.
This intrinsic awareness, which is not extraneously derived
Christianity talks about the Trinity. We think these are three figures in the clouds: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. These are really referring to energies, forces in nature, or in strict gnostic psychological terms, we say that the Father is the force of affirmation. We have the force of negation relating to the Son, and the force of reconciliation in the Holy Spirit. The universe is governed by three forces: Affirmation, Negation, Reconciliation. It creates balance and harmony in nature. That energy or divinity creates harmony in the cosmos, and also needs to create that harmony within us. This intrinsic awareness is that light. We say Christ, referring to those forces inside of us, our divinity inside, which we need to actualize.
Talking about gnostic psychology, we explain that we have different elements that obscure our realization of that light. It Is necessary to confront this fact in ourselves, because the reason why people do not experience divinity, why people do not know who God is inside, what is our genuine buddha nature inside, is because we have certain elements in our mind. This is a painful fact to recognize, but fundamental if we do not know divinity. We need to understand what we are doing that is preventing us from knowing that energy that force, that presence, that experience. Logically it makes sense that if we are not perceiving divinity, as the prophets say, it is because we are not fulfilling the necessary requirements, conditions, causes, to experience that divinity.
In religion, people think it is enough to simply raise your hand and say “I believe in Jesus,” or “I believe in Buddha,” “I believe in the Prophet Muhammad,” or “I believe in Krishna.” Many people approach religion in this way, failing to recognize that which obscures our light inside is the darkness or moon of our mind. The sun of our Being or divinity could shine in us with profound light and awareness, but our common every day mundane experience, our fluctuating psychological states, is like the moon that is eclipsing the sun.
If we honestly reflect on our previous experience in life, as I mentioned when we were young, we experience life in a much more different way. Time did not exist. A single moment brought us happiness of nature that we fail to explain. We can identify, but we do not really know what was that joy, or where did this joy come from, seemingly without any cause. This is a type of peace we had which we need to cultivate in our adult, mature life.
From Where is Our Awareness Derived?
We find that logically it makes sense that if we are not in a conscious state and do not have awareness of divinity, it is because our soul is asleep. All religions teach us the need for practice, and this is something we emphasize in this teaching. We explain in this doctrine the science of meditation, becoming aware of ourselves and to really confront in us what elements produce our pain. As the Buddhist Master Shantideva taught:
How many enemies, as unending as space, can I kill [from my anger]? When the mind state of anger is slain, all my enemies are slain likewise. ―Shantideva, The Way of the Bodhisattva
Usually, we have this tendency to approach things from the outside and not be aware of what is going on inside. To cover the entire surface of the earth with leather? It is impossible. But with leather soles beneath my feet, we can go anywhere. It's as if the whole world has been covered, said Shantideva.
This is an interesting demarcation of the psychology of our times with the psychology of an individual who is working to unite with divinity. Usually, we think the external causes are the result of our suffering, external events like loss of job, conflict with a family member or spouse. We fail to realize the internal sates that are provoking these experiences. Symbolically we want to put leather all over the world so that we can walk anywhere. That is ludicrous. We have this tendency to always look outside, or not becoming aware inside. If we cover our feet, if we discipline our mind, and we eliminate anger, we develop genuine joy, peace, and love for others. In that sense, we do not have conflicts.
Heaven is inside. Nirvana, bliss, cessation of suffering is an internal state. Certainly, there are internal states of awareness, and experiences we can have when we physically go to sleep, and we can access through dream yoga: awakening within dreams, becoming aware in dreams. But if we fail to control our mind, we will necessarily not have that experience.
The superior dimensions pertain to places we can investigate, verify and know by awakening this awareness in our daily life, which will translate into our dream state.
Heaven is really a state of being. It is not necessarily found by going to Tibet or pilgrimage or looking outside, but looking inside.
If any of you have read Paradise Lost by John Milton, a very famous poet, he wrote the greatest English epic about the story of creation in Genesis. He said:
The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven. ―John Milton, Paradise Lost
Heaven is being united with divinity, or hell is our problems, our psychological states. So, we teach how to meditate, how to understand our mind, how to understand our psychology. We explain this awareness in relation to our daily experience. There is nothing that is separate from the experience of this moment. There is no future. There is no past. We need to understand that everything we seek is inside.
If we do not know the different dimensions of nature and the different levels of the cosmos, as represented in the Hebrew Kabbalah known as the Tree of Life in the Bible, a map of the universe and divinity, it is because we need to know ourselves. Likewise, if we know ourselves, we become aware of the presence and experience of divinity in our daily life.
We stop thinking. We can be washing dishes and we are concentrated in the moment, and we experience the new, a Zen state, awareness that is beyond intellect, no thought. Just peace, a joy that is somber and solemn, but profound.
Though one were to scan the entire external universe,
Modern religion emphasizes that if you belong to this group and pray with this community, you are saved. Liberation is not like that. Liberation is cognizance of the divine. It is inside. It does not belong anywhere.
This is like a fool, for example, who, when finding himself amidst a crowed of people,
We have to really become profound, to have the courage to investigate things and to verify for ourselves our spiritual nature, which is to become present, cognizant, to approach ourselves from the perspective that if we do not know divinity, it is because we do not know ourselves fundamentally.
Some people have the impression that if one abandons thought, feeling or the body, one is like a zombie or a soulless state, that there is nothing dynamic about that person. But when we develop this sense of awareness, it is genuine joy and cognizance of reality that cuts through illusion. It cuts through transitory sense, and it is something we learn to taste and verify through experience.
Questions and Answers
Question: If I can truly observe myself as in noticing my internal state, how long is it going to take?
Instructor: It does not take any time because time, past, and future, do not exist. To access that state of divinity, it happens now. It is a result of our discipline, of being mindful through out the day. The truth does not come to us in the future. We have this idea that in the future, maybe “I’ll become a great meditator, or a great yogi sitting under a bodhi tree or a bush meditating for twenty years, and I will finally have that moment―Oh, I have got it!’”
The Sufis call it [the present moment] waqt in Arabic. To be aware of that presence, hudur, the presence of divinity, happens now through awareness, muhadarah. Awareness, the experience of divinity, has nothing to do with time. We think that “With time I will change, with time I will do this,” but that is delusional, because all religions teach that realization begins in the moment. The thing that will become developed in the future is a mistake. It happens moment by moment. We can say in conventional time, students who have been practicing for many years may have more experiences, but the realization of those truths does not occur in some remote future, but now.
Question: What I am trying to say is that it takes time to get better?
Instructor: Conventionally, it is true. With practice we get better at it. But the realization of insight or the truth occurs when we are being present in this moment. With time, the more you become acculturated with that state, the more it becomes your reality, and the more that divinity guides you in your daily experiences with life to help confront those problems. So, yes, students have been practicing for twenty, thirty years seriously will have more insight, but that insight does not come in the future. We develop it in each instant. That is my emphasis because we have this conception that with time, we will get better, which conventionally it is true, but to get better we need to work in the moment. So, two truths, the ultimate and the conventional, which coincide, if that makes sense.
Comment: I am a spiritual being, and I am connected with this whole world, and I think what religion, at least my experience, is you are not a spiritual being until after death and that is when we are spiritual beings and that is when we are connected to God. But I feel I am already connected to God. I do not know what God is but I know what he is not, and I know it is not an after life that is right here right now. That is how I feel.
Instructor: In strict esoteric teaching, we say that only the Being is. Only divinity can say that “I am,” because the soul as the expression of divinity is not the divinity. It is apart of divinity, and we as the soul can learn to follow will of the divine or follow our own selfish will.
To really know divinity, the highest expression in divinity, is taught in a structure of Kabbalah specifically―the structure of the divine and the soul. This image, as I will show you, is really a map of who God is and where we are in the universe. As a symbol represented in the Bible, the Tree of Life is ten spheres, representing the highest forces of the spirit and Christ above, and how that energy descends down into different energies of matter and consciousness. At bottom of this Tree of life we have a sphere called Malkuth, which means the physical body. Above that we have Yesod, which is our energy, our vitality; Hod, which is our emotion; Netzach, which is our mind; Tiphereth, which is our will. Above that we have the divine soul, the spirit, and then we have the Trinity. To really know God, to be really fully connected with that energy, with that force, is to know the entire Tree of Life in this moment. That is something that very elevated masters, such as Jesus or Buddha, were cognizant of all these spheres in themselves and knew the dimensions of nature simultaneously.
A person that is fully connected, in strict esoteric language, is one who is aware of this entire constitution, this multidimensionality of the psyche.
Question: All spheres [of the Tree of Life] are connected?
Instructor: Yes, and we study them individually such as through teachings of Kabbalah, which is associated with the mystical science of Judaism, but is truly a map for any religion. It helps is in studying any pantheon or faith. It can help us understand different scriptures. It is also a map of the soul, of divinity, the Being and what we need to develop inside.
Awareness really pertains to, in fuller sense, having all those elements fully developed inside and integrated, which is what we study in Hebraic teachings, the foundation in Judaism and Christianity. But also, it can help us understand Buddhism particularly.
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