<![CDATA[Chicago Gnosis - Lectures]]>Mon, 11 Oct 2021 20:26:42 -0500Weebly<![CDATA[Who Doesn't Dream?]]>Sun, 19 Sep 2021 02:35:17 GMThttp://chicagognosis.org/lectures/who-doesnt-dream
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<![CDATA[Who Dreams?]]>Sat, 21 Aug 2021 05:00:00 GMThttp://chicagognosis.org/lectures/who-dreams
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We are continuing our course on the science of dreams, the experiential knowledge of awakening consciousness. We talked previously about some common ideas surrounding what people have called astral projection, out-of-body experiences, lucid dreams, awakening, near-death experiences, and we are going to dive very deeply into many practices so that we can augment our perception.

Our consciousness has the capacity, when trained, to be awake even when the physical body is asleep. Even when dreaming during the eight hours we go to bed, we are in an intensified state of awareness. We do not enter into a type of amnesia, unconsciousness, sleep, dullness, but learn to instead verify what religions have called heaven. When one has that experience for oneself, one knows. It is not a matter of belief, of thinking a tradition or institution is true or not. It is rather about testing these realities for ourselves. When we verify what these states are like from experience, we have what is called genuine faith, real knowledge, real understanding. 
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Theories Regarding Dreams

​But what are dreams and visions specifically?

In psychology, Sigmund Freud believed that dreams are the doorway to the unconscious and that by looking at our dreams we can understand ourselves.

He talked about what is known as manifest and latent content within dreams. The manifest content of a dream is its narrative. We can all think of a dream that we had in which there was a form of logic, a storyline, a progression of scenes, dramas, comedies, tragedies within our own consciousness.
 
The latent content of a dream has to do with its meaning, and this is something that has deeply interested many people, psychologists. The latent content of a dream, according to Freud, could signify how that dream represents something physical. For example, we could have a dream of being assaulted by an animal. We are filled with fear, terror, resentment, agony, and if we carefully examine our life, we can find that these psychological states that we find in dreams reflect something that is going on in our personal life. Perhaps we have a relationship with someone in which we feel that fear, like we are being hunted, persecuted, shamed, and therefore, the animal in the dream could represent how we react to a particular person in our physical existence.
 
Or perhaps someone has a dream of a serpent, being bitten and attacked by a snake. Obviously, that symbol is prominent in many religions for a good reason, because the language of different religious traditions and mythologies is oneiric. It is dreamlike. It is from the world of dreams.

Carl Jung emphasized how the symbols of dreams are the foundation of all religion because all religious traditions teach symbols, allegories, parables, stories that are processed and have been manifested through dreams, through that language, a type of logic.
 
Having a dream about a serpent obviously can be something about temptation in one's physical life. We are very familiar with the Genesiatic story of the Bible.

Now other people have posited different ideas about dreams. John Hobson basically described through neuroscience that dreams are a form of protoconsciousness. They are a virtual reality, according to this theory, that helps us to navigate the problems of daily life.
 
Some have posited different theories, different ideas, like the threat-simulation theory. People have argued that dreams are engrained in our biology from an evolutionary perspective, in that dreams were developed within the consciousness in people, growing humanity, evolving humanity, in which people were trained to confront their fears in dreams. That is one possibility that is described by scientists.
 
There are other theories too: expectation-fulfillment theory, basically referring to how dreams release built-up tension. Someone can experience emotion in a dream that is a form of release because those desires in daily life can be repressed. That is very known within psychoanalysis and Freudian psychology. This also explains, according to some scientists, how when those types of dreams are fulfilled, they are forgotten, because the energy related to that emotion is released. That is one perspective.

There are many theories about dreams, many beliefs, and they all offer some type of perspective in relation to why this occurs. In our Gnostic tradition, we have very different approaches to the study of dreams, not just merely limited to a biological component or the study of the brain, such as in NREM sleep (non-rapid eye movement), or REM sleep in which we dream. Those are valuable in their level, but they have a very limited utility. Merely looking at the biology of a person when approaching dreams, this often delimits or cuts off any type of mystical, experiential, divine component.

Now Carl Jung was very interesting because he risked his reputation by declaring the spirituality of dreams, often to the denigration of his colleagues. So much of the knowledge that he taught was very ciphered because the type of wisdom he was expressing about how to experience dreams and how to understand them is often very much misunderstood or condemned.
 
Now what is interesting about Carl Jung's theories about dreams is that he talked about what is known as a collective unconscious. He believed that humanity inherits, through lineages, biology, and ancestry, different religious symbols. That would explain, according to this idea, why different religions across the world, different cultures, shared the same symbols or what he called archetypes.
 
Archetypes are basically parables. They are codes. They are an intuitive, spiritual, and divine grammar. A symbol can carry multiple dimensions and levels of meaning, which is why dreams are so powerful. They do not merely just communicate on the level of a type of logical analysis of our common current everyday intellect, but instead, they reveal a type of logic that is beyond our current level of cognition. It is something that has to be developed and practiced with in order to deepen, in order to be worked with and effective.

Carl Jung and Freud had very different opinions about dreams. They came into many conflicts and it would seem that the collective unconsciousness of Carl Jung would contradict Freud's interpretation that dreams are merely just a personal expression of your own daily life. So there was that apparent contradiction between theories according to scientists.
 
Now what is interesting is that despite this difference, they are both revealing different aspects of a very nuanced problem. Dreams are often a reflection of our daily life, our habits, our actions, our drives, our impulses, our desires. But also according to Jung, there is something spiritual that can be experienced within that state. It does not mean that our desires, conditions of mind, mental projections, fears, anxieties, and worries that manifest in dreams are somehow sacred. In fact, there is a duality within our perception that we study very deeply in this tradition.
 
There is a conditioned self: pride, fear, anger, lust, envy, jealousy, hatred. There is also a part of us that is not conditioned by any element of that nature. It is spontaneous joy, freedom from pain, compassion. We call that the soul, or in our tradition, consciousness, the Essence of a person, their true nature. It is this Essence that we seek to develop because the Essence, the soul, which right now is in a very undeveloped, latent state, can be awakened. It can be free of all types of distractions of mind: paranoia, hatred, wrath, vanity, defects. It is that part of us that is not conditioned. It has the capacity, as we said previously, to communicate with divinity, our own inner truth, reality, what religions have called God in their original essence.
 
But the problem is that our consciousness is very much trapped and limited. So, often for most people, our dreams seem to be just a personal reflection of our daily life. We feel fear. We are worried about our jobs. We are insecure. We are proud. We are hateful, whatever it may be, whatever our particular idiosyncrasy, psychological crutch, or limp that manifests within dreams. But also Jung is pointing out there is something more here that is possible for individuals to experience and to understand, to not only initiate, but also to sustain and to perfect at will. 
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​Dreams and Visions

​So we make a very clear distinction in our studies between dreams and visions. This is where you find that distinction between Carl Jung and Freud in relation to whether dreams are collective or whether they are personal.
 
Dreams are merely projections of our own minds. Think of your experience like a film projector in which reality is a screen. Often times, rather than looking at what is there, we are always projecting ourselves onto reality. This not only occurs within the eight hours when we go to bed at night, but also even physically while we are awake. Have you ever had a conversation with someone where they are talking and then you are thinking more about what to say next? We do not even hear what they are saying. It is because we are projecting our mind, our desires, onto the impression of this person who is talking with us. That is a dream.

There are many types of dreams. We dream all the time, not only when we physically go to bed. We are dreaming in our waking life by distractions and afflictions of mind. We are going to go very deep into this very nuanced problem, how we dream all the time.
 
But a vision is different. That is when the projector stops projecting. When you are physically at rest, your consciousness is active but the mind is perfectly still, in a state of calm, peace. Then instead of churning with affliction, in the stillness and the perfect quietude of being, images from our internal worlds emerge. They reflect within our consciousness and then we live those dramas within the internal worlds. You can experience astral projections. You can experience dream yoga, lucid dreaming. We are awake in that state and then you can see what is actually there.
 
A vision often includes a type of symbol. It is a drama that is living, in which you are both a participant and a witness. Those dreams have a very allegorical character. They are very sacred, and they teach something very practical about how to live our daily life. Divinity always wants to teach us through visions, when the mind is calm and receptive, so that we can learn how to be better people, how to be more ethical, how to bind our communities, how to make people strong, to help others no longer suffer. But of course, this requires training. It is a type of work in which we are going to didactically explain through each lecture. We will study different practices so that we train the consciousness to be alert, aware, mindful. 
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​Mysticism

This in itself is genuine mysticism. The word mysticism comes from the Greek mysterion. It originates from the root word myein, “to close the eyes,” and relates to mystikos: an “initiate,” or someone who initiates a different lifestyle, what religions have defined as the sacred mysteries of communicating with the divine, like Moses on Mount Sinai, Arjuna talking to Krishna in the Bhagavad-Gita, Prophet Mohammed receiving the Qur’an from the Angel Gabriel.
 
Many of these stories bear a type of unifying element, and that is the science of dreams. These are all dream symbols. These are all visions in which, instead of having a mind that is clouded and obscured, driven by problems, by negative habits, mechanical desires, instincts, we instead have a crystal clear, sharp, open, receptive, intuitive mind, a mind that is not always churning with thoughts, but instead knows how to put thoughts in their place in order to understand.
 
That is a very distinct and different quality that meditation teaches us, not to be so caught up in rationalization, because that is a type of obscurity. As I said, we could be thinking about something, perhaps a friend, a family member, a relative, or something else, while we are with someone having a conversation. That is a dream. That is not being awake, even while physically being in the body.

Learning to become a mystic means becoming a meditator. Silence the mind. Let it relax, calm. Be clear. Be sharp and alert, not distracted, so that we can receive insight, intuitions, and understandings from that intelligence that religions have called God.
 
Again, God is not some anthropomorphic figure in the clouds, but is presence, formlessness, Being. That is how you learn to see the heavens, not just some physical place in the atmosphere or some temple someone goes to on pilgrimage. Instead, that journey is within. That understanding and experience is personal. But to do that requires we learn to comprehend how we dream. We must understand the path that leads to the cessation of dreams and leads to the awakening of consciousness.

Helena Petrovna Blavatsky stated in the scripture she transcribed known as The Voice of the Silence​:
Before the soul can see, the Harmony within must be attained, and fleshly eyes be rendered blind to all illusion. ―H. P. Blavatsky, The Voice of the Silence
​So that consciousness can perceive in the superior worlds where we go every night. When we dream, we go to sleep at night for eight hours. We astral project and enter that region, but without awareness. If we learn to overcome our own illusions, psychological habits, and conditions that trap us, we can learn to see and know these realities for ourselves. That is a form of harmony, real harmony, real integrity, the perfection of the soul, in which we end pride. We end hatred. We end fear. We stop laziness. We end lust. We end all these passions of mind and defects that we often very much cling to. When those cease and are perfectly still, then we can know something superior. That is a form of harmony in which we integrate consciousness that is usually very much dispersed in many different habits, right?

We can be at home, obviously, many people are working from home now. Hopefully, that has changed. We can be at the computer desk doing a project, but then think of something else, thinking of a friend, a fiancée, a partner, a spouse, a relative. Or we feel hungry and have the instinct to get up, to get something to snack on. Or we have the emotional feeling that “I want to listen to some other type of music now because I want to relax.” We have many elements in our psychology that are always going all over the place. We are very distracted. That in itself is the origin of many problems, because we are not really addressing the necessities of life with full consciousness, directed attention, awareness, focus―in which we finish a task, give it all of our depth, and soul, and being, so that it can be something magnificent―and really create something superior, instead of just multitasking, because that is the mind and desires going in many places. We lack integrity.
 
This is why consciousness, when it is trained, can be focused and sharpened so that when we practice that skill in the day, physically, when you go to bed at night, your consciousness is already trained. It is exercised. It knows how to work. Instead of falling asleep and after eight hours, waking up in the morning without any remembrance, we enter that dream world with lucidity, with intentionality, with focus.
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​The Fifth Dimension

​So what is the dream world? This is something that has fascinated a lot of people for as long as there has been recorded history and scriptures.
 
We mentioned in the first lecture how the world of dreams is the same place as the world of the dead. This is why in Greek mythology, Hypnos and Thanatos, sleep and death, are brothers. If you want to know how conscious you will be when you die, look at how you are when you go to sleep. Do you remember anything? Or do you just sleep eight hours and nothing? That is a barometer of how conscious you are.
 
While this can be a very disturbing realization, the truth and reality are that there is the potential to develop something truly profound. That is something that is learned. It is a gradual skill.
 
I know some people like to think of astral projection as given to only the few who are graced by divinity. It was just given to them at birth. The reality is that is not true. At some point in the development of that individual soul, that person had to work. It is acquired. It is a form of self-mastery, in which by training oneself, one can go into what is known as the fifth dimension. Some people call it the astral plane, the world of dreams, heavens, jannat amongst the Sufis and the Muslims. Whatever name we want to give to that reality, it is the fifth dimension.

Now, in terms of dimensionality, we are all familiar with three dimensions: length, height, and width, the physical plane. But scientists have also talked about the fourth dimension, which is time. Einstein is very famous for talking about relativity, the space-time continuum, which is basically a form of development and temporality in which all experience at our level is processed.
 
But the astral world is beyond time. The world of dreams, the world of the dead, is beyond time. That is why if you awaken consciousness within that state, you can see things happen there that are going to come true physically later. The fifth dimension is beyond time, things you can witness that are from the past, the present, and the future. That is why in the Book of Daniel in the Bible, prophets such as Daniel were able to interpret events that were going to come true later through his dreams. This is the essence of prophecy.
 
But also one can see the past in a very visual form. It is like watching a movie, in which you are witnessing events but also participating in them. Some people have called this the Akashic Records, the memories of nature in which every action is recorded and imprinted within nature. That is known as eternity. Eternity is also a circle, but it is also a loop, because past, present, future meld into an eternal now―something very beautiful, mystical.

If you want an example of that, I remember, a long time ago, walking in the astral plane. I was in some city. I was just looking at the billboards because I was curious. I was practicing my mindfulness and being in remembrance of myself and not losing my attention, just observing the things going on there.
 
When I am talking about that type of experience, I do not mean it is something vague or unclear or amorphous. There is more color, lucidity, crispness, depth than even being physically awake. We have that potential.
 
So I remember looking at a billboard and I saw an advertisement for a movie that had not come out yet. I believe it was one of the Indiana Jones films: “The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” or something like that. I woke up, and then, I do not know, six, seven years later they announced that they are making this film. So I just found that interesting. Whether or not it has some utility is another thing, but it is interesting. I saw something that existed in the internal world before it became physical.
 
That is what inventions are like. People imagine or conceptualize or have an idea for something. It exists within the astral world before it becomes physical. That is just the way the universe and the mind work. Things kind of just trickle down from more abstract realities into more manifest reality―so, something timeless, but because it is beyond time, you can see things that are going to happen, that have happened.

In this dimension, you can fly. You can teleport. You can walk through walls, because that dimension is governed by very different laws: elasticity, plasticity, levitation. This is why people report dreams of flying. Perhaps we have had that experience ourselves, levitating in the air, going places.
 
But for most of us, we do not really see what is there objectively. We tend to just interact with our own mind, because our mind, as I said, projects its dreams onto the screen of that dimension. So we do not really, in our current state, see the objectivity of that plane. But if you turn the projector off, quiet the mind, enter meditation, concentration, awareness, you can enter that state with vigilance, with awareness, and then actually see what is going on. That is the real joy and beauty and mystery of that type of science. 

​Who Dreams?

​So the question becomes: who dreams?

As I said, or hinted at, we often like to think that because we go to bed for eight hours and we do not see anything, that we do not dream, but the truth is that we are dreaming all the time.
 
We dream when we are washing the dishes. We are remembering or recalling something in the day or projecting an idea about the future, like what we are going to do later, but not actually watching what we are doing.
 
We can be driving our car, having a conversation, or listening to the radio, thinking about it, trying to analyze a podcast, perhaps, but we are not paying attention to the road and we get into an accident. It is because we are dreaming.
 
People get on the train and while reading a book, get lost in revelry, thoughts, fantasies, daydreams, recollections, and then we realize that we missed our stop. It is because we are dreaming. We are not awake.

Of course, even at a very basic level, it is easy to understand that there are certain problems to this. Perhaps we are at a job where we have to pay attention to learn new skills, but if we are thinking of something else and we get distracted, we are losing something essential and that we have to ask again for help, and perhaps that could be annoying to an employer. We are dreaming all the time.
 
So what is important to remember is that the dreamer can awaken. It is a very famous trope you find even in movies like Dune, or Frank Herbert's book. “The sleeper must awaken.”

All religions teach the need to awaken consciousness. “Awake, awake, Deborah, arise Barak," says the Old Testament, I believe in the Book of Judges, the story of the Prophetess Deborah, made the declaration saying "you need to awaken consciousness," because we have the illusion that we are awake, that we are present, that we are mindful, that we are aware.

Often times, if we are very serious and analyze our daily state, we find that we are usually very distracted. Our thoughts are in one place, our feelings are in another, and our desire to act is conflicted. We are split. But by learning through training to focus on what we are doing at all times, to be aware, to be observing ourselves, our thought processes, our emotional reactions to life, our sentiments, and also our will to act, our impulses, we start to discover that we are something much deeper than thought, feeling, and will―something much more profound.
 
Consciousness exists even before thought. I know in our Western culture we like to idolize thinking quite a bit, but in truth, it is actually a very slow machine. It is a processor of energy and matter and perception at its level. We need the intellect and to know how to use it, but it is not really the defining factor of an individual.
 
We can touch a hot stove, burn our hand, and retract our hand in pain. We have the instinct, the impulse, to first get out of danger. Perhaps we feel frustrated and angry. We feel that visceral pain of having been burned, and then we think right after that, “that really hurt!”  It shows us that thought is actually a much slower process than many other aspects of our psychology.
 
The reason why I am mentioning all of this is that if we want to understand what awakening consciousness is within the dream state, it is important to understand how we process information and experiences in life in different ways. We will go into a lot of depth into this, specifically when we talk about “How Do We Dream?” But by understanding our own thinking, our feelings, and our impulses, we no longer let those habits and desires simply run amuck. We understand them.
 
Instead, we can respond to life with intelligence instead of just reacting to someone when someone criticizes us or when we feel anger or fear or depression or whatever it may be. All of those are forms of dreams, different thoughts perhaps, but also many times different types of emotions which we often indulge in, in life.
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​Sushupti: Profound Sleep

We explain that there are different types of consciousness, different states. 

There is Sushupti, which is profound sleep. That often is associated within Hinduism and Yoga as physically going to bed, and when eight hours pass, we do not remember anything.
 
But also on a more practical level for us, there is profound sleep when we look at mobs, lynches, crowds propelled by violence, war, because those people, even though they are physically active doing things, they are not really conscious of their neighbor. They are driven by fear, instinct, self-preservation, the desire to kill. That is a profound state of sleep, in a spiritual sense, in a conscious sense. If we were really conscious of other human beings, we would feel love and compassion for them, because we understand that we all have the natural inclination to avoid suffering and find happiness. Everyone has that ingrained within the substrate of their very being.
 
So Sushupti is profound sleep. Basically, people who are murderers, who kill, who commit violence in any form, are very unconscious. It is important to dissociate from the assumption that sleep is merely just related to the physical body, because the physical body, in truth, could be doing things, but yet we are not aware. This is very well known in Yoga and Buddhism especially.
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​Swapna: Dreaming Sleep

Let us talk about Swapna, dreaming sleep. What is dreaming sleep?
 
As I said, we dream in the day, often. We can argue with people, wanting to assert our beliefs, political ideas, religion, culture, race, doctrine. All these things that our modern world often adulates and worships are in fact a form of dreaming. It is an illusion. These such things are very temporal. They do not last. They are not eternal.
 
The soul, the consciousness is eternal. It does not have a beginning and an end in its ultimate sense. We adopt different beliefs and ideas and cultures and habits and ways of thinking whenever we lose that connection with our true origins. We are often very much distanced from our true nature, but we can see glimpses of it day-to-day. We find selfless acts of heroism, compassion, love, sacrifice, benevolence, patience, kindness, in which we are not really thinking for ourselves. We are doing for others. But those types of experiences tend to be very minimal―if we are honest―very limited.
 
What we have instead are a lot of dreams: “I am a republican.” “I am a democrat.” “I am a capitalist. “I am a socialist.” “I am a philosopher.” “I am a scientist.” We have a lot of ideas about who we are. We often cling to things―our name, our culture, our habits, our beliefs―as something substantial, as something permanent. But the truth is that these things always change, right? There are always perhaps different circumstances that happen in our life. To use a very silly example, maybe we are a republican, then something happened in the media, especially in this past year, and then we change our beliefs. We change our ideas. But the truth is that even those ideas do not necessarily have a type of eternity. There are conditions. They do not really reflect the type of values that we call the divine. So knowing that distinction is very challenging. It is very difficult because of attachment, because of the type of hypnosis of identifying with our own conditions of mind, habits, etc. 
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​Jagrat: Waking Consciousness

This is why we study Jagrat, which is waking consciousness. Notice we are not just talking about the wakeful body, that the body is awake. This does not just refer to the physical body being active and doing things, because we can be, as I said, driving our car but not paying attention. It has to do with consciousness that is perceptive, that is alert, that is understanding, that is seeing the impressions of life, but not necessarily just labeling experiences with the intellect or judging a person based on our emotions.
 
Perhaps we feel aversion to someone based on their race or their caste, their culture, their language, their beliefs, their politics. We feel perhaps negative emotions about them, resentments, pride―whatever it may be. Or certain relationships, we feel conflicted. We do not know how to act around certain people and we kind of get stuck between this clumsy deliberation.
 
But the reality is that waking consciousness knows how to intuitively respond to any situation with lucidity, with compassion. It does not necessarily mean complacency, like letting a person walk all over you. Consciousness can be firm, but loving, kind, patient. It does not identify with problems in life. It does not suffer. The consciousness knows how to act. It is the intuition of knowing what to do at any time. You do not have to think about it. It is beyond thought.
 
I know in one example, I remember I had a conflict with a person from years ago and I was in a situation where, years later, I had to speak to her out of necessity. I could not avoid her. I felt that conflict in myself, that fear like “I do not want to talk to this person,” the thoughts, and the logic, and the reasoning, and the resentments, that were stewing there. But then I was observing all that process in myself and I understood that, just by looking at that defect within me, that it was wrong. I intuitively knew that this person is suffering, therefore, “I am going to act.” Putting my prejudice and self behind me, I went up to the person and had a conversation with her, and it turns out that she was very grateful for me, for showing that olive branch and making that connection. That is one example of really being awake. I just saw myself, my own defects, observing that. That is waking consciousness.
 
We have a practice in our tradition called self-observation in which we learn to understand the origin of thought, feeling, and will, even before they emerge, because we are activating that sense and skill within us that is often very atrophied. 
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​Turiya: Spiritual Illumination

It is in that way that we can access what is known as Turiya. This is spiritual illumination. This is what all the diverse religious traditions have called ecstasy, samadhi, spiritual states in which there is no distortion of mind there. In terms of dream yoga, you can be physically in bed, have an astral projection, and there is no type of obscuration in your perception. You are seeing what is there. You are fully lucid. You are clear. You are in control, and you can investigate and you can navigate those regions with competency.
 
It also has to do with the type of perception relating to a divine being like a prophet. We call them masters. We call them buddhas, angels, gods. They do not have pride, laziness, fear, calumny, gossip. They are perfect―no fault. We can access a state like that in a temporary sense, but obviously, it is something that has to be gradually developed through discipline. But there are beings, prophets, angels―whatever you want to call them―who did it. This is why we study their teachings very profoundly, in their original sources, not what institutions say they say, but what are they actually saying from experience. In that way, we have no doubt. 
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​The Line of Life

​We talk in our studies about the line of life.
 
It is very important to analyze where we have come from and where we are going. That is why many people study religion and spirituality in general. They have a yearning to understand the origin of the soul, the origin of the world, the meaning of faith, the meaning of compassion, where we came from and why do we suffer. Perhaps that is the most compelling reason why anyone goes to any church or school or religion or community.
 
We study the line of our life very diligently because our own life is a book. It has many chapters. If we want to have self-knowledge about higher realities, it begins by knowing ourselves, knowing where we came from physically, but also psychologically, our habits, our ideas, our personality, our culture. These are the things that come to us. Or better even said, we come to it. I think that is even an more accurate description.
 
We are born in this world, and as children, we are very innocent. If we look at any child, we see the beauty of the soul there that has not been tainted or contaminated by defects. But with time and through gradual exposure to parents, school, family, language, culture, customs, that initial brilliance of a child is dimmed. It gets swallowed by pride, anger, hatred, defects. We call that ego, self, egotism, desire.
 
Most people tend to go through their life, from that initial state, acquiring and acquiring more experiences, accumulating more and more―family, job, reputation, income, retirement, whatever it may be. While there are necessary components of life that we need to work with, it is not the definition of a person. There is something more. There has to be something more than being born and going through adolescence with all of its turmoil and suffering, its pain, its uncertainty, its abuse, becoming adults who are trying to piece together their lives, and then getting married, having children, and then dying, and then… what then?
 
Why be so caught up in that? It does not mean that we reject all these things and live like hermits. That is another extreme to life that does not offer a very long-term solution.
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​The Line of Being

​Instead, we begin where we are at. Fortunately for our spiritual life, there is something more. There is a point that intersects with our daily existence. We call it the vertical path. On the horizontal beam, we have the line of life, but here vertically intersecting in the form of a cross, we have a line of being. This has to do with the quality of our life, the quality of our states.
 
Of course, as you see here, there are inferior qualities of life and psychology and also superior states of mind. I have named some of them for you. In the inferior levels, you have ego, selfishness, more attachment, more aversion, more craving, more desire to accumulate more and more, many ideas, theories, beliefs, philosophies, doctrines. The mind just wants to saturate itself and acquire more and more information, because it thinks by feeding that desire, we are going to be happy.

Knowledge is useful in its place, but it is not fundamental for a person to be spiritual. There is a balance there. We have to make that distinction.
 
We often go from birth to death dreaming. We dream while we drive our car. We dream on the train. We dream while married. We dream while making love. We dream and have many desires and beliefs and habits that we invest our energy into. Wherever we direct our attention, we expend energy. We often find in life that we are very depleted, which is why as we approach our elder years, we are decrepit. We are sick. We are old. We are weakened. That energy that can fuel our spirituality is often very much wasted, invested in the wrong things, identified with the wrong things.

When we die, most people go to the grave, they enter the dream world, but are not aware that they are dead. Personally, I met my grandfather in the astral plane. He died a long time ago. I was in a room with my family who were still alive, talking with them, and then I realized, “why am I talking to my grandfather here? He is dead!” As I was talking to them, they did not know where they were.
 
So it is a pretty alarming thing, and something that should not necessarily fill someone with fear, but with urgency. It is a very different, nuanced principle, to have urgency. To want to awaken consciousness is different from being fearful: “Oh, if I go to the grave, then what?” Fear is another condition of the mind. It is an inferior state of being, something that we can overcome by looking at it. By learning to understand ourselves in the moment, we can access superior states of consciousness and then we stop dreaming. We are no longer filled with fear, with agony, more problems.

The superior line of being is developed in us where we ascend vertically in the moment. It has nothing to do with time. Spiritual development, in a conventional sense, occurs gradually, obviously, because we are in physical bodies. We are in this physical world and we are subjected to the laws of nature, time especially, the fourth dimension. But the consciousness does not belong to time. It is eternal. But unfortunately, because we dream physically, we are not aware of it. We do not realize it from experience.  

Anybody who has had an astral projection obviously has tasted some glimpse of that and knows for themselves that it is real, and that we are more than just our physical body. So this pushes us to want to know ourselves, know our defects, our faults, so that we cease dreaming.
 
We are aware of the moment, because every moment we advance towards death. We progress in this line of life towards an inescapable end. But this should not be a source of morbidity or shame, anxiety. Obviously, these are emotions that are very common for people, because we do not understand where we came from or where we are going. But if you awaken your consciousness, you will know. You know where you came from, where you are, and where you are going, what your trajectory is.
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​We follow the trajectory of our actions through life, consciously or unconsciously. By making conscious decisions, we are learning to develop our perception so that, physically, when we die, we welcome it―not out of some quirkiness, being dark. Instead, it is born out of acceptance and understanding. For me personally, I know what will happen when I die. I have been able to awaken enough consciousness within the internal worlds to be shown what it is like after the body is dead. Therefore, why be afraid? You do not have to be afraid. It is a natural process.
 
What one could be afraid of instead is not living one's life ethically, taking advantage of this precious time that we have, moment by moment, to make changes, small changes, gradually.  In that way, we do not necessarily become victims of life. We do not react to problems. Instead, we can comprehend our situation and learn to respond with intelligence.
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​Kabbalah: The Tree of Life

We talked briefly about this image in our previous lecture, something that we will go back to periodically. It is known as the Tree of Life. It is a Jewish symbol, but also a universal one.
 
In Jewish mysticism, they talk about Kabbalah. This is the Tree of Life within the Book of Genesis. Rather than constituting a literal tree in Mesopotamia that existed however long ago in the physical Middle East, it is really a symbol. It is a map of consciousness.
 
It depicts the inferior states of consciousness and the most superior, ascending towards a higher and more elevated spirituality. These are not spheres or levels of being that are mapped out in physical space. It is not like there is some sort of verticality to this. It is a symbol. It is an allegory. These spheres, known as סְפִירוֹת sephiroth in Hebrew, are known as emanations. They are qualities of consciousness. They are also dimensions. This is a map of us as a psyche, but also of divinity, and also where we go when we sleep, when we dream. There are different levels of matter, energy, and consciousness.

Right now we are in the bottom sphere. This is known as מלכות Malkuth in Hebrew [the Kingdom], the physical world? It is our physical body.
 
Above that, we have our vitality, our creative energy. This is known as the fourth dimension. So the third dimension is below and the fourth dimension is above. This is time. It is known as יְסוֹד
Yesod, the foundation, because how we work with our energy is the foundation of spiritual life. As I said, wherever we direct attention and energy, we spend it. So if we spend it within our consciousness, we can conserve that force and learn to awaken our potential.
 
What people call the astral plane is known as הוד Hod, meaning “splendor” in Hebrew. It is this sphere at bottom of the left pillar, as you see here. We call that the astral plane. This is typically where people go when they have superior astral projections.
 
To the right of that, we have נצח Netzach, which means “victory.” This is known as the mental world. So there is a mental plane and an emotional plane, mind and heart. These two spheres constitute what is known as the fifth dimension. This is eternity. יְסוֹד Yesod is the fourth dimension. מלכות Malkuth is the third dimension.

But we have inferior dimensions as well, what religions have called hell or the hell realms. Those states are experienced through nightmares. That is hell in a direct way. It is a type of experience that is real, but not in physical matter, energy, and perception, but it is in a more subtle form of experience. This is why we often interact within those states within dreams but do not realize that it is not physical, because the internal worlds reflect the physical and vice versa.
 
Above we have more superior states, which I will not go into depth here. We have a future lecture that we will talk about called Where Do We Dream? But I want to just summarize this because it is a very beautiful graphic, a very practical tool.
 
We can use it to understand our experiences, but also when we travel within those dimensions, we can know how to navigate it, because this is the map so to speak. It is important to know and learn this glyph with time because just as one would not travel to another country without knowing its language, its geography, its culture, its goods and bad, in the same way, it is reasonable for dream yogis, practitioners of this science, to understand the structure of that inner reality, so that when you experience it, you know how to navigate. It is a very gradual process which we will talk about in detail.

Practice

​So we will conclude with an exercise that you can use in order to develop what is known as concentration. As I said, by learning to develop concentration, awareness, mindfulness throughout the day, the ability to focus on one thing without being distracted, we no longer dream. We teach the consciousness to not dream. We teach it to be awake. In that way, that skill will transition from visible life to dreaming life.
 
So every day, develop self-observation from moment to moment. At the end of each day, reflect on how you did. So this has to do with learning to observe our psychology. It is like being a director in a movie, in which you are the actor, but you are also viewing the scene. Consciousness has the capacity to observe, to intuit, to understand, and this skill has to do with whenever a thought emerges, look at it. Observe it.
 
You may know that you are seated in this chair listening to me, but are you observing the fact? It is a different skill. Then as we are learning to self-observe throughout the day, obviously it is going to be very challenging. You might realize even before coming here that learning to be mindful and aware throughout the day can be difficult because there are just so many distractions, whether externally or even our own emotional reactions, our thoughts, etc.
 
At the end of each day, just take five minutes. Reflect: how mindful were you? How observant? how aware? Then, every day perform this preliminary meditation exercise: 
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Carefully relax your body, heart, and mind. Observe an object such as an image or a lit candle flame without preoccupying yourself in thought, memories or distractions. If you forget yourself, return to the object of the practice.
 
Practice ten to fifteen-minute sessions at least two or three times a day.
 
So, we are going to practice this together―if you like―we can stay after. We have a candle here. You just take the candle and observe it. If your mind starts thinking of something else or labeling ideas or talking about it, just become aware of it. Do not try to repress, push it away, or try to get lost in it. Instead, just return to the candle. It is a beautiful exercise in which we learn to understand the distinction between knowing what is going on but also observing it. As I said, you can know something is going on. By sitting in a chair, you can know that you are in the chair, but observing it is active. Knowing is passive―different quality.

At this time I would like to invite you to ask questions.

​Questions and Answers

Question: I am a little confused about the self-observation practice. So you are saying that if I am thinking about something that I can not be self-observing? Or is it possible to be both thinking and self-observing? In my job I am thinking a lot. It is an intellectual job, and how am I supposed to be self-observing during the day when I need to also think in my job?

Instructor: That is a good question. The latter is the answer. You can be thinking and doing intellectual things, but observe that. Some people think of self-observation as like “I have to stop thinking.” In the higher degrees of understanding, we do not need to think. But we begin with where we are at. If we have a job that is very intellectual where we are thinking, or teaching, perhaps reading a book, reading something about our job that we have to do―read, but observe that. It is difficult, but it is a skill that is acquired. It comes with patience.

Question: I have seen people who are yogis and they sit still. Is it normal or is it an indication that something is not right if you are not still? There are some actions of the body, which while sitting for a long time that suddenly happens, and I get that feeling that it is not right. Does it show a lack of attention or concentration? How do I realize that? Am I in the moment or not in the moment?

Instructor: Great question. For most people who are not training in mindfulness, it is not a problem because they are not really interested in learning about being conscious of themselves. But as we are learning to self-observe or do a meditation practice, it is important to understand even our involuntary movements―like, perhaps, scratching, or twisting our fingers, or moving a leg, or whatever it may be. Tapping your foot, you know, is a very common thing.
 
But we have to become aware of that. If you find that you are doing that, observe yourself and then reflect: where is that impulse coming from? It is not necessarily an intellectual question, but it is a perceptive one. You are just analyzing and being mindful of why you are doing that. I think oftentimes, at least for me, when I have observed that in myself, I have come to understand that there is some type of psychological defect in me that is perhaps impatient, or bored―or whatever it may be―agitated. Something psychological is going on in a deeper sense that I am not aware of.
 
So it does not necessarily mean to have to force your body to be still, but it is better if you just observe it and understand it, because if you understand it, then your psychology is quiet, right? All physical actions are a material manifestation of our internal reality. So things that happen physically come because, psychologically, there is something there.
 
One thing I wanted to mention is that in one of the earlier slides about the fifth dimension, I mentioned that things happen internally and then manifest physically. The same thing happens with our psychology. So this proves to us that we are in truth very multidimensional. Our thoughts are one thing, our emotions are another dimension to ourselves, and our instincts are another. The more understanding you have of your own psychological impulses, the more you comprehend why you are tapping, and you will stop.
 
It does not have to be something like, “I cannot tap my foot,” right? That is kind of the mind fighting the mind, and that is not what we are advocating. Instead, it is something about observing yourself, understanding where it comes from, and when you understand that impulse, it quiets, ceases. I believe even Gurdjieff mentioned quite a bit about the need to no longer be doing movements of our body involuntarily, carelessly. It means that we are very unconscious. In fact, one of the best ways to learn self-observation is learning about your posture. Learn about your breathing. Learn about your habits. It is a very simple way to begin. You may notice that perhaps you crack your fingers, or whatever it may be. Begin with that, and as you get more confident, understanding those impulses, then the more relaxed you become. That is really important for meditation, having a relaxed mind, heart, and body. When you have that, meditation is open to you when you are concentrated, when you are aware.

Question: Is there a difference between waking in a dream versus allowing your body to fall asleep and maintaining consciousness?

Instructor: Yeah, it has to do with when you enter the astral world. You might fall asleep physically and unconsciously project and then you wake up in a dream later. That happens all the time. Then other times, obviously, the goal is to learn to fall asleep consciously, so that you enter that state with awareness. So it has to do with how attentive you are.
 
Oftentimes you can wake up in a dream later because, even though you were not conscious in the beginning, suddenly you start to expand your perception, where you are seeing your surroundings in the astral plane. Maybe you are walking down a street of your old neighborhood wherever you grew up, and then you realized, “Oh, what am I doing here?” For me, I tend to have dreams where I will be at my old house where I grew up as a kid, and I will recognize my surroundings and question, “What am I doing here? How did I get here?” I remember where I came from. I  am living in the city now, not out in the suburbs.
 
So then you can learn to question that and develop that inquiry. That is something you can only develop by learning mindfulness throughout the day. You are self-observing. You are becoming aware of your different thought processes, feelings, impulses, and when you train your consciousness to do that during the day, even when you physically go to sleep, even if you are not aware of an astral projection, you can suddenly start to see things in your dreams where you are getting more lucidity. The consciousness is being trained, is being strengthened. So learning to concentrate and develop those skills helps to see more clearly, awaken more perception. So you can wake up later in the night too. It is different from a conscious astral projection. We are going to talk about how to awaken in dreams later on, specifically.

Question: So earlier you were talking about how Sushupti is a sign of that most profound state of unconscious sleep. You mentioned that some murderers are in a state of profound sleep of consciousness because they do not feel compassion for other people. But can some people be awakened in evil, because some murderers are very conscious of what they are doing you know, like serial killers? It is not like they are asleep. I see what you are saying that they are identified with, like anger or violence or something like that. Could you explain that distinction?

Instructor: Sure! It has to do with the individual. As we mentioned before, we can be aware that we are killing someone. I know a lot of people talk about mindfulness and awareness as sometimes the end-all and be-all of spirituality, but it is just the beginning. Being aware of yourself, so that you can be understanding of where you are at, is the initial step of learning to be a conscious and ethical person. The next step is learning to transform situations with compassion, learning to transform the impression of a situation with awareness, with understanding, better said.
 
But there is also another flip side to that coin. I mentioned to you and showed you that image of superior states of being and inferior states. We can awaken positively within our consciousness or we can awaken within desire, within hatred, within anger, within pride, because awakening is dual. It does not always end up positively. Now, awakening negatively has to do with giving one's energy to one's desires. So one can be very awake, but through hatred or pride or vanity, and therefore they develop a lot of power in that element. They tend to be very dangerous individuals because they are very influential. They can even be charismatic, influential people.
 
The difference between the type of unconsciousness I was referring to is for most people. People who have never really trained in any type of spirituality tend to just go with the flow of life. If there is a crowd, they get attracted to it and they go to it. It is kind of a collective hive mind so to speak. But there are people that learn to train themselves to awaken within their own defects, and that is something we do not teach. It is a negative thing.

Question: So the first step is to be awake and be conscious of what I am doing? Then you are saying later on that I have to learn to discern between if what I am doing is driven by pride, or anger, or revenge, on someone? How do I know that it is not that and I am awakening in a good way?

Instructor: Follow your heart. Look at your heart. Your conscience is the best guide. Unfortunately, there are people in our society, in our world, that do not even have a conscience anymore, and therefore those people tend to be very lost causes. But if you look in your heart and examine in a moment an action you performed where you felt pain; your heart will tell you what is right and what is wrong, in most normal people, but not psychopaths, so to speak.
 
For example, you get into an argument with someone and you are telling yourself, “I want to be patient with this family member.” Then you start to observe in yourself that they start pushing your buttons, because family members know how to do that―resentment, pride, fear, anger, whatever comes up. You are aware of that. Now, just because you are aware of that does not mean that you are going to act ethically, transforming the situation, transforming your consciousness.
 
The way that you do it is by following the different precepts of different traditions, religions, like kindness and selflessness. If someone insults you; understand the insult, understand where it is coming from and why. Understand that we are not perfect, so why be offended? It is really nothing stable there. Then follow your heart about how you should act, because your heart knows. That is conscience. That is intuition, knowing without having to think about it.
 
But of course, the difficulty becomes that our mind wants to devour us: anger with its logic says: “They offended me. I am going to get back at them!” So when you observe that process in you, that is great. You are starting to see and understand how you are dreaming. The anger is dreaming. It is projecting its desires. It thinks it is being offended and insulted and it is seeing the situation through a lens. Is it not true that when we are angry, we only see through anger? You do not see through any other way. Every situation becomes interpreted through a false door. That is one way that we sleep. So observe that.
 
The beginning of change is to stop dreaming. But just because you learn to stop dreaming, in the beginning, does not mean that you are going to be successful, because you just have to really work at it. See what is happening. Be aware of it, and then act appropriately. That is the next step.

Question: We are about to do the practice with the candle and I know there are other techniques that you can use to awaken in dreams. What would be the best method to awaken consciousness here and now?

Instructor: So, there is a lot of things that complement this, right? There is a lot of facets. We will talk about it in a lot of detail. I will explain this to you now, but in the future, we are going to go really in-depth about different ways to do it. Working with all of them together is like building a puzzle.
 
Now as you said, the primary method is to be aware of yourself in the day. That is why at the very beginning of this course, we are just talking about p, “what are dreams, who dreams, how do we dream?” Be aware of it because that is the foundation. Be aware of how you get distracted in the day and learn to curtail that, not with a type of militant despotism, but with recollection. Remembering yourself is how you start to really use the tools in this course. It is like, for example, if you learn to work with a machine. You have to be aware of yourself first to work it. Children obviously can not operate difficult machinery and that is why you get trained physically. First, you let them grow up. In the same way, we learn to grow up spiritually as a child by learning to awaken our consciousness. Then we start using these different tools and techniques to kind of augment that.

So one of the techniques we use is called the Key of Sol. We have a whole lecture that is going to be about that, where it is an acronym: subject, object, location.
 
Subject: who am I? What are my thoughts? What are my feelings? What are my actions?
Object: what is in front of me? What am I seeing? Not necessarily questioning with the intellect, but just being inquisitive, the way that a child is inquisitive when they are growing up and looking at a toy or creating something from the imagination. It is a very innocent quality. It does not assume that there is anything there, or merely just projects memories onto reality, but looks at it.
 
You know, we can be in our house oftentimes, our home, and we do not really observe where we are at, because we just have things in our memory, right? It is easy to get into an accident even in your own home. A lot of people get hurt in their own homes because they are not paying attention. They think they know what is going on or what is around them. Instead, we are not observing. Object has to do with what is in front of us. Subject―ourselves.
 
Location: where are we? Inquire. Where am I? What am I doing? It might seem silly, obviously, being physically here in this world, but if you learn to train your consciousness in that way, you will eventually start to see things in your dreams because you are observing your thoughts, your feelings, your actions. You start to see objects in front of you and then a location in dreams. Maybe you are not in Chicago in a dream. That is a big alert. Question yourself: “I live in Chicago. How did I get here?” And then you start to realize, “I think I am dreaming. How did I end up in Spain? How did that happen to me?” I found myself in Spain in the astral plane and I am like, “people are talking Spanish. Why are they talking Spanish? What is going on? Where am I?” I realized that I was dreaming.
 
Then if you want to test yourself, you pull your finger. In the astral plane, the matter of your astral body is ductile. It is elastic. Pull it with the intention of making it stretch. If you are intentional enough and gentle enough, obviously, physically, you do not want to do this too hard. You do not want to hurt yourself. In the dream, it will stretch. Then you will realize, “I could not do that physically. I am dreaming. I am in the astral world! “ That is something you can do physically where you are just training yourself, and then you just get in the habit of questioning, “where am I?” Then physically, discretely, when no one is watching you―thinking you are perhaps weird or unusual―just pull your finger.
 
In dreams, you can also jump in the air and see if you are going to levitate, right? See if you fly. You can do it physically too, but I like to be more discrete because I am not going to be jumping around and my co-workers looking around at me like, “something strange is going on.” Instead, pull your finger. That is one method, a very good one, very effective.
 
Or try something else: you can put your hand through a window to see if you are going to pass it through. I have done that many times and it works too. The only reason that it works is because we learn to question our dreams. Be self-observant moment by moment.

Question: In the questioning of daily life when we are not sleeping, is that what helps us to wake up when we are sleeping?

Instructor: Exactly. It is the questioning. It is the inquiry.

Question: Is this an intellectual kind of labeling like, “Ok, location. You are in the studio―me, my name?” Or how can I make this conscious and not just in the intellect?

Instructor: Practice. Just do it. Then you find in time that it is not an intellectual thing. In the beginning, you can question yourself. It is easier that way, right? It becomes more of a habit. The beauty of the practice is that it teaches us how to start from being mechanical to how to be conscious. So you are learning to take something that is very mechanical like just walking in the street, or even pulling your finger, or jumping in the air, right? It is a common thing you can do, but with time and practice, you learn to start doing it with awareness. It just takes acclimation, getting used to it, to the point that you may even have times where you have trained yourself so well that suddenly you become vivid in a dream and you know you are dreaming, and then you jump in the air and fly away and go and investigate something. 

Question: You talked about the two kinds of dreams you can have, the self-projecting kind and then the fifth dimension kind. Can you lucid dream in both of those?

Instructor: Definitely. Great question. Both. You could be lucid in a dream where you still do not realize you are dreaming.
 
For a lot of people there is a big step or hurdle there, where suddenly you may have the experience where you see a lot of different colors, and images, and landscapes, perhaps, but you do not really question that you are dreaming. The first step is awareness. The second step is discernment. That is a very delicate skill that comes about as we learn to be more aware physically but also learning to discern our own psychological states. This is the same skill that you use to comprehend how whether or not you are seeing things clearly through the lens of fear, or anxiety, or anger, or whatever it may be. Instead, we are learning to see life without egotism. We need to discern our own psychological states.
 
It gets easier to discern our surroundings, so that when you are lucid dreaming, you see things more clearly, you can start to question things and then make the leap. When you recognize, “Ok, I think I am dreaming here,” where you even make that first declaration to yourself. That  is a big step, just recognizing and questioning, “Am I here?” That is the starting point.
 
Sometimes it is possible to have visions where you are receiving a divine symbol from your inner divinity through a mystical experience. It can be happening and you are kind of just taking it all in, but you are not necessarily fully aware that you are dreaming, or that you are in that experience, and then you wake up and then suddenly realize, “Whoa, I think I just got an experience from my inner God!” So there is that reality too. But with enough training, you start to learn to be in that state and then suddenly make the discerned judgment of what is actually going on, and then you can say with confidence that “I am dreaming.”

Question: So can you be lucid during a projection of your own mind? Like how you dream at night is a projection of my fear. Can I wake up in that?

Instructor: Yeah…

Question: Or I can only wake up in the objective in the fifth dimension?

Instructor: Both. In the sense that you can be having a very lucid dream in which your ego is projecting things and you are just seeing your own desires, and even in the middle of that, even if it is very intense and vivid, you can start to realize that “This is kind of crazy,” like “why am I seeing this action film playing out in front of me, and all this weird logic going on?” You can discern, “There is something going on here,” and then you realize, “I think I am dreaming!” It is possible, but usually, with those very intense egotistical dreams, we tend to just go along with it because we are very sleepy.
 
But visions that are more objective, relating to our own inner divinity, occur within the superior fifth dimension, you could say. We call it the heavenly realms, the heavenly world. It just takes practice and a lot of meditation. You have those experiences and maybe you do not understand them at first, but you know, with patience you learn to discern between them.
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<![CDATA[Fact and Fiction]]>Sat, 17 Jul 2021 05:00:00 GMThttp://chicagognosis.org/lectures/fact-and-fiction
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This is a powerful topic, one that has captivated generations of people, primarily because in reality, the study of dreams, internal experiences, and the awakening of consciousness within our interior, has very ancient traditions, very profound roots that are not merely a new age novelty. Instead, there have been many practitioners, amongst many diverse religions, who have learned to experience the reality of the dreaming state, and to verify, from their own internal work, how to receive guidance about truly pertinent problems in our daily life.
 
Anyone who has approached the study of dreams is obviously very interested and invested in understanding some type of experience, some type of inner vision. Perhaps in childhood, we experienced a dream of vivid intensity, of profound clarity, of deep mysticism. This demonstrates for us what is lacking in many forms of religion, which is precisely this experiential dynamic of knowing, for oneself, higher mysteries, higher truths, so that with this knowledge, we can orient ourselves and have a deeper, more profound, enriched spiritual life.
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What are out-of-body experiences (OBEs)?

Out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences, astral projections, lucid dreams, have been known by many names. It is known as dream yoga, from the Sanskrit yug (योग yoga), “to unite, to bind.” But to bind with what?
 
All religions teach, from the experiences of their founders, that there is a divinity inside, whom we can access and understand from experience. We can reunite with a truly higher principle, and in that way, we experience genuine religion, from the Latin, religare, “to rebind.” It is the same meaning in both East, and West―different terms, the same principle.
 
Even the Arabic دين Din, meaning “religion,” has to do with this type of experience. It is judgment, but not of a tyrannical God who punishes those who does not obey a certain code. Instead, it is our own inner process of judging our own faults, so that by comprehending our own conditions and mistakes, our own flaws of character, we can truly awaken our full potential. Thereby we experience the realities of what people call lucid dreams, astral projections, etc.
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The Yoga of the Dream State

In the East this term is known as स्वप्नदर्शन Svapnadarśana: the yoga of the dream state. Swapna indicates “dreaming sleep,” and darshana is “auspicious sight,” “revealing” or “appearance.” It is the reverence and the awe that the soul feels when in that state and is directly communicating with our innermost divinity.
 
If you want examples of what this is presenting, we can look at the story of Moses, such as receiving on a mountain a prophetic vision, where he received the Decalogue, a guidance and instruction for humanity. Or in the Baghavad Gita, Arjuna seeing Krishna when he asks, “Show me your true form. Show me who you really are.” ― and then a vision, an infinitude of figures, men, women, children, full of beautiful forms. This is an exact representation of how the divine abstract becomes concrete, and this is processed in the medium of dreams, where an internal principle becomes a manifested reality. So in that state, we feel genuine reverence, great respect. It is auspiciousness. It is the amazement of an awakened consciousness before the divine.
 
We also have terms like Theophany, “the manifestation or visions of the divine” in Hinduism, and Darshan can also mean “an opportunity or occasion of seeing a holy person, or the image of a deity.”
 
So not only do we have our own inner divinity inside, our own particular unique Being, there have been many people in history who have perfected themselves. We call them saints. We call them prophets. We call them masters, buddhas, gods. In the dream state, you can learn to communicate with those who have fully awakened in that realm, who have really refined their conduct, so that we can gain insight in how to live.
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Dream Yoga in Tibetan Buddhism

In Tibetan Buddhism, dream yoga is very prevalent. Vasubandhu and Asanga taught five paths to liberation, the third being darshana-marga, “the path of seeing.” It is based on facts, based on the direct perception of that state in which the consciousness, devoid of any type of filter or obscurity, any vagueness, sees the reality of that state for what it is.
 
I know some people that when they reflect on dreams, they describe, perhaps, a repetition of their day, or a nightmare, a chaotic state, dreams of fear and suffering. While these dreams in themselves demonstrate a quality of our mind that is often ignored, we can learn to take advantage of the dreaming state to understand these deep traumas, perhaps, and experiences. By clearing them away, any type of subjective states of mind, we see directly what is there, the reality of those states without any type of filter or condition of our own mind.
 
So most of the time when we dream, we are seeing our own psychological condition, usually, as I said, a repetition of our day, perhaps a memory, something very fleeting. Instead, in darshana-marga, dream yoga, we take the potential of that inner reality and make it something amplified, clear, without vagueness. We make it something penetrative and profound.
 
This is accomplished by learning how to practice certain exercises. It is like training for a new job or going to the gym. You can learn to train your consciousness not to merely project its own desires into that reality, but to see what is actually there. In that way, you are no longer dreaming. You are awake. You are perceiving that dimension, that state of being, without any type of confusion or doubt.
 
We do this through what in Tibetan Buddhism is known as sadhana. It is daily consistent practice. In this way, we perform a type of Tantra, which is a very popular term in East and West, especially. It means “continuum.” It is a perpetual flow and flux of perception.
 
So in the beginning, we may find that we do not remember dreams. We do not perceive our dreams. We do not understand them. They are fleeting. They are fragmented or confused. We can learn to become, through training, awake in that state, so that by awakening our potential consciousness, we augment it. By learning to be in a perpetual state of remembrance, to be awake at all times, even when our physical body goes to sleep, we as a consciousness are awake.
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In Tibetan, it is known as Milam, known in the Nyingma or Kagyu schools of Buddhism. So, these are very ancient traditions with very deep roots. This image here is popularised within any school of Buddhism. It is called the nine stages of meditative concentration.
 
You perceive a monk ascending up a spiral path towards the heights of a mountain. He is chasing after an elephant. It is a symbol of how in the beginning of approaching spirituality, we have a very distracted mind, very scattered, very dispersed. We tend to be very identified with memory, or associative thought, or different fears, different chain reactions towards life, and never examining the source. In every Tibetan Buddhist monastery, you find this image, whereby slowly training the mind to slowly overcome its own obstructions, its own faults, we clarify and perfect it, like you see in this image. The elephant goes to sleep. The mind is relaxed―no disturbance―no ripple. It is in perfect equipoise. It is in perfect concentration, to be able to focus on one thing without being distracted. In its highest form, it is effortless. In that way, the consciousness within the meditator enters the dreaming state, but with lucidity, with clarity.
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​OBEs in the Old Testament

There are many examples within the Bible about dreams. We have the famous story of Jacob’s ladder, where Jacob went to sleep with his head on a stone, and he dreamed of a vision. I would like to relate this excerpt to you:
And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran.
 
And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep.
 
And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. ―Genesis 28:10-12
What is interesting is that these are symbols, seeing a ladder from earth to heaven. It is the same symbol that is in Tibetan Buddhism, from being in an inferior, lower state of being in life, and learning to go up in oneself. Perhaps in the beginning, we are afflicted by many problems in life. We lack solutions to difficult issues. We do not how to resolve conflict, perhaps in our relationships, perhaps in our communities. If we introspect and examine ourselves, we can learn to discover that there is potential to, again, awaken and develop a type of consciousness, which, as its foundation, grants us access to higher way of being. So like this dream, Jacob symbolically saw angels ascending and descending―levels and qualities of being, of life, of internal life, of internal spirituality.
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​OBEs in the Book of Daniel

​In the famous Book of Daniel, we also find the emphasis of interpreting dreams, of understanding dreams, understanding our experiences. 
Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. ―Daniel 1:17
You see in this image a very famous depiction of King Balthasar, who was the son of Nebuchadnezzar. Now a little history in terms of Judaism. You find Kng Nebuchadnezzar had sieged the kingdom of Judea back in 586 / 587 BCE. Nebuchadnezzar was from the kingdom of Babylon, and they sacked the sacred temple of Jerusalem, the first temple of Solomon, and took the Jews there, brought them to Babylon. Daniel was among them, and Daniel was known for his ability to interpret dreams, which made him rise to prominence within that kingdom.
 
Primarily the story that I would like to relate to you is when Balthasar was hosting a feast, in which they used the sacred vessels of the temple of Jerusalem for their party, which was a blasphemy according to the scripture. So according to this, Balthasar and the people in the feast saw a vison that they could not interpret. The words: “Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin” appeared. This is very much a dream-like state, a representation. So the men, the sages, and the astrologers could not resolve its interpretation, what it meant, its significance. It was the queen who stepped in to say: 
O king, live for ever: let not thy thoughts trouble thee, nor let thy countenance be changed:
There is a man in thy kingdom, in whom is the spirit of the holy gods; and in the days of thy father light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, was found in him; whom the king Nebuchadnezzar thy father, the king, I say, thy father, made master of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers;
 
Forasmuch as an excellent spirit, and knowledge, and understanding, interpreting of dreams, and shewing of hard sentences, and dissolving of doubts, were found in the same Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar: now let Daniel be called, and he will shew the interpretation. ―Daniel 5:10-12
​So dreams do not have to necessarily reflect a type of disorder, but instead, we can receive insight in dreams from a superior origin. In that way, by practices and experiences, we interpret and decipher their meaning so that we can better orient our life. 
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​OBEs in the New Testament

​We find out-of-body experiences even in the New Testament, Corinthians especially, the sayings of Paul of Tarsus. He mentions:
It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.
 
I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.
 
And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)
 
How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. ―2 Corinthians 12:1-4
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​OBEs in the Qur’an

​Even within the Quran you find the same teaching. In all the Abrahamic traditions, but even in the mysticism of the Middle East, you find similar explanations:
And with Him are the keys of the secret things; none knows them but He; He knows whatever is on the land and in the sea; and no leaf falls but He knows it; neither is there a grain in the darknesses of the earth, nor a thing green or sere, but it is noted in a distinct writing. 
 
It is He who taketh your souls at night, and knows what ye have merited in the day: then he awakens you therein, that the set life-term may be fulfilled: then unto Him shall ye return; and then shall he declare to you that which ye have wrought. ―Qur’an 6:59-60
What is very beautiful about this verse is that it is stating that by learning to adopt and practice superior ethics, compassion, kindness, divine love, we get rewarded with experiences. We are shown, in dreams, the quality of a particular psychological work, of our behaviors, of which we get symbols about. This is where you are at, your level of being on that ladder going from earth to heaven. We get insights and we get inspired because we are being shown, in a very direct way, what we can do about suffering. 
It is Allah that takes the souls (of men) at death; and those that die not (He takes) during their sleep: those on whom He has passed the decree of death, He keeps back (from returning to life), but the rest He sends (to their bodies) for a term appointed. Verily in this are Signs for those who reflect. ―Qur’an 39:42
So what are these signs? It is inner visions. It is dreams, experiences. 
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OBEs in Sufism

​There are references amongst the Sufis especially, who are the mystics of Islam. Ibn ‘Arabi is known as the greatest of Sufi teachers. He gives some very interesting examples of what we are talking about as well. This is from The Meccan Revelations:
Know that these bodies are the coffins of the spirits and what beclouds them; they are what veil them so that they do not witness the spiritual world and are not witnessed. ―Ibn ‘Arabi, The Meccan Revelations
​What is interesting is that this word “witnessing” has to do with awakening, experiencing in its most profound sense. It does not mean believing in a tradition or disbelieving, but actually seeing for oneself what diverse religions teach.
 
So our body veils our perceptions. We are often very conditioned by our senses. But when you go to sleep, you abandon that. You learn to see with internal senses, and therefore you begin to witness higher realities. 
So the spirits do not see, nor are they seen, except through being parted from these bodily tombs (cf. Qur'an 102:2)―by becoming oblivious (fanâ) to them in their absorption in spiritual things (and this simply means entering a state of meditation, falling asleep physically, and awakening consciousness in the internal worlds) not through physical separation [which is death]. ―Ibn ‘Arabi, The Meccan Revelations
​I know there is an assumption in our modern culture that we cannot know what will happen when we die, primarily because, the argument is, no one has ever come back to talk about it. What is ignored by that assumption―which we will talk about a little bit later―is that the same dimension or state that one accesses when one dies is precisely the same as when we are in a dream. So by learning to awaken in our dreams, we can awaken after death. 
Therefore since they have inner vision, when they become oblivious to witnessing [their physical] bodies then they witness the One Who gives them Being in the very act of witnessing [being conscious of] themselves. ―Ibn ‘Arabi, The Meccan Revelations
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​Are out-of-body experiences real?

​So while religion has talked about out-of-body experiences and mystical states, modern scientists are still trying to catch up. What is interesting is that the Dalai Lama―who is a great master of Tibetan Buddhism―is also a practitioner of dream yoga with a lot of experience about this type of science. He has been making a lot of effort in talking at conferences with different scientists to get them to investigate, in a scientific way with different instruments, these types of testimonies.
 
Now the problem is there tends to be a lot of skepticism and doubt, which, when we are trying to scientifically verify phenomena, you want to be very rigorous, obviously. So, the Dalai Lama was talking to a Harvard scientist by the name of Alan Hobson. It is known as the Mind and Life Conference. I would like to relate some of this to you at length and talk about this.
Returning to the Mind and Life conference, in his conversation with [Harvard psychiatrist Allan] Hobson, the Dalai Lama raised the issue of knowledge obtained in dreams:
 
Dalai Lama: I know some Tibetans who lived in Tibet prior to the 1959 uprising. Before their escape from Tibet, they did not know about the natural trails and passes by which to get over the Himalayas into India. Some of these people I met had very clear dreams of these tracks and, years later, when they actually had to follow the actual trails, they found that they were already familiar with them because of the very clear dreams they had had previously.
 
Allan Hobson: This is a so-called precognitive dream and there are many examples of this in the West as well. I would like to defer discussion of that until later, as it is an important question. ―Dean Radin, Supernormal: “Mysticism and Miracles” (p. 57)
​So unfortunately, there is a tendency in some scientists to want to dismiss certain propositions because they seem very unlikely, or they do not fit within a type of dogma, even of a materialistic type. But fortunately, there are a lot of people who are pushing to understand these types of phenomena, of how physical facts align with internal experiences. In that way, we learn to develop conviction, verification, understanding.
 
As we talked about in previous quotes from religious scriptures, we learn from practice how these types of dreams coincide with certain evidence in the physical world. That gives us what is called genuine faith―not a belief, not a theory, but we know. It is that type of understanding which pushes one to want to investigate, to inquire, and to look into these types of phenomena.
A while later, the Dalai Lama returned to other phenomena that are taken for granted by the Tibetans… ―Dean Radin, Supernormal: “Mysticism and Miracles” (pp. 57)
because in Tibetan Buddhist culture, these types of studies are a very common place. In the West, we are very much alienated from a lot of religious principles, unfortunately, due to the perhaps bad examples of many religious institutions.
Dalai Lama: There are certain people who feel they have out-of-body experiences while dreaming.
 
Allan Hobson: This has not been studied in the laboratory, but it is easy to imagine how such a state could arise since it is possible to hallucinate practically anything during dreaming.
 
The Dalai Lama continued to press the issue:
 
Dalai Lama: There are accounts of people experiencing this sense of leaving their body, actually perceiving things in the external world, and later being able to recall events that presumably took place there, even to the point of being able to read a book in someone else’s house. Has there been no scientific investigation of this type of testimony?
 
Allan Hobson: (admits) That is correct, there has been no scientific investigation of these. But I would like to discuss this issue because I think that the issue of precognitive dreams, out-of-body experiences, and claims of previous lives, all have a problem in common for science… The question is: How can we advance any of these claims above the status of what we would call testimony and anecdote? ―Dean Radin, Supernormal: “Mysticism and Miracles” (pp. 57-58)
​Dean Radin makes an interesting point here:
This exchange highlights a central problem in dealing with discussions of miracles. Scientists meeting with the Dalai Lama are undoubtedly interested in anything he has to say, but having been selected as scientific and scholarly experts in their fields, they probably feel a certain pressure to behave like experts, even when they don’t know what they’re talking about. ―Dean Radin, Supernormal: “Mysticism and Miracles” (p. 58)
Some examples of how our own inner dreams can validate physical facts and how that is a foundation of genuine faith―my wife and I, before we were friends, had many dreams about each other. We both related, in our friendship and eventually our relationship, that we had certain experiences about each other that were really profound, very beautiful and symbolic, archetypal. As I was learning from my wife certain experiences that she had from training in this science, my own experiences came to my mind. I realized the connection, even though this experience happened ten years ago. It shocked me because I immediately knew the person I was going to marry. But we let the relationship unfold, despite our knowledge, like a flower letting itself show its own innate beauty.
 
That is an example, one of many, in which you can have a dream that comes true. What validates it? You look at the diverse symbols that are presented and study them. Meditate on them and look at the connection between the facts. That is what really is very moving.
 
There are lots of examples in which scientists are making a lot of effort to validate these types of perceptions from a materialistic basis, which is wonderful. You can find even on Netflix a show called Surviving Death, where you have the testimony of people who died and have come back, describing very similar experiences amongst many people. You can also look at a documentary on Amazon Prime. It is called Third Eyed Spies. Lttle bit different topic, but it does relate to a lot of these principles.
 
Now as Dean Radin states:
The discussion panel’s answer to the Dalai Lama’s questions about reincarnation, precognition, and veridical out-of-body experiences might have been a more modest “I don’t know.” Instead, they asserted that science has not studied these issues, or they gave the impression that the reason there is no scientific evidence is because the beliefs are not true. In fact, there is substantial evidence, and the results confirm that at least some of the Tibetans’ beliefs are almost certainly true. ―Dean Radin, Supernormal: “Mysticism and Miracles” (p. 58)
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​Are out-of-body experiences provable? 

So building off of this question about “Are out of body experiences provable?” ― we can talk about a very interesting teaching from Sufism where they talk about three certainties. They discuss how there are different forms of knowledge, understanding, and experience, which can apply to many walks of life, many aspects of living.
 
Now the knowledge of certainty has to do with listening to a lecture, reading a book, studying a scripture, in which you have certainty in an intellectual sense. You are listening, and you are learning, and you are looking at these type of teachings, and they are making sense at their level, in terms of intellectual knowledge. So it is useful. It is useful to have that in the beginning.
 
But there is something much more deep than that, which is known as seeing of certainty. It is when you have a dream that is so intense, that you feel it is greater and more real than your physical life. You are seeing it. You are just perceiving in that state, accessing a type of experience that is beyond the senses. So what people call astral projections, out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences, this is seeing of certainty. You have certainty that there is something more than just the body.
 
But there is something more profound than that as well. There is the truth of certainty. The truth of certainty has to do with when your experiences are coinciding with the physical facts, and you know you have received guidance from the divine, from an inner source.
 
You can compare the knowledge of certainty to hearing about a fire in a certain part of the country. The seeing of certainty is like seeing the fire for yourself, very distinct. You can read a textbook, and―when you actually do it―it is a very different thing when you are burned by fire. This can apply to different states of being.
 
So I mentioned an example of having a nightmare, the seeing of certainty, in which you are perceiving a state that is real. You are interacting, whether it is our own mind, or perhaps other qualities of our being, within a different state that is inaccessible to the senses.
 
Now a nightmare, in reality, can be caused by a number of things. For one, we are perceiving a deeper part of ourselves that is really beyond the range of our ordinary senses. So we can have dreams of being persecuted, or being killed, or even killing, things that we would never do in our daily life, and yet are there. That is seeing of certainty and seeing our own inner hell. A nightmare is seeing what religions call infernal worlds, negative states, and obviously we wake up and we feel relieved that it is over. Some people may have this problem of having nightmares, and what those type of experiences within are showing are very deep seated traumas within the mind, rooted in anger, in pride, in lust, in fear, in vanity, in doubt, that are trapping part of our consciousness in that state. So actually having a nightmare―as difficult and as painful that might be―it can be a blessing, because we are seeing something in us that needs to change. We are seeing the reality of ourselves.
 
In having certainty of the truth, that just as there is a hell, there is also a heaven, we can really aquire the truth of certainty, because there is not only infernal states of being that are not only accessible to us, we can access what religions call heaven, in which all those conditions of mind, those defects that are mentioned, are stripped away. They are gone, in which you are vibrating with a level of being which is superior, heavenly states in which all the different prophets that came to humanity were teaching people to experience, to know. That is the truth of certainty, when we realize that there is something more than just what modern scientists, or perhaps our contemporary culture, would have us believe. 
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​What are astral projections? 

So what are astral projections? This has to do with when we physically go to sleep every night. The issue becomes: are we conscious of the process of falling asleep?
 
It might seem like a catch-22, or a conundrum, a paradox. How can you be awake when you go to sleep? The reality is your physical body goes to sleep every night, and the consciousness, our soul, the root of our very being, our perception, leaves it. Because it is not very active, we tend to go to bed and we wake up eight hours later and we do not remember anything.
 
Now the realityif we really train ourselves and really learn to experience this for ourselvesis that whenever we go asleep physically, we enter the dream world. We astral project every night. We just do not have consciousness of it. We are not aware of it. This is verifiable when you practice some of these exercises that we are going to be teaching sequentially in this course. You can see this where, if you have a conscious astral projection in which your body goes to sleep and your soul is awake, you learn to transition with lucidity, with intentionality, with will.
 
Eventually with practice it becomes very familiar. It becomes a very welcomed thing. I know how some people can get scared about what is happening. Some of us might even had an experience where we were astral projecting, and perhaps we lost that experience. Perhaps we got scared. We got emotional or fearful. It is easy to be fearful of what we do not know. But the truth is that we do it every night. It is just a matter of becoming accustomed to it, becoming aware of it.

Who can astral project?

​Some people think that it is gift for an exceptional few. In reality, anyone can train themselves to do it at will. It is not because some people have received the grace of God and are able to do it intentionally. It is a matter of training, of becoming aware of ourselves, especially throughout the day. Mindfulness is especially well known in many contemporary spiritual schools. We talk about that a lot.

​How do I astral project at will?

​But we can all learn to astral project at will, to enter that dreaming state with intentionality, when we develop the faculties of consciousness: being aware of ourselves at all times, being mindful, learning to concentrate so that instead of having a mind that is dispersed, thinking of different things, or many thoughts as we are going to sleep, we focus on one thing, one exercise. By integrating our willpower, our consciousness, our concentration, we go into that state with clarity.
 
We also develop exercises of visualization, which is very popular in meditation schools, especially in Tibetan Buddhism. By learning to visualize images in the mind, we develop the faculty that allows us to deeply perceive dreams. It is the same faculty. It is the same characteristic. Those who have a more robust ability to imagine and concentrate on one thing, on one visualization, and be able to see the different colors of an object, the different details, with real intensity or detail, are able to awaken in dreams much more easily, because you are using the same faculty.
 
Also, we learn to develop a relationship with divinity within ourselves. That is something that comes with time, obviously, with practice. When you experience these things, obviously, they inspire you. They fuel your efforts.
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​What are different ways to experience the astral?

So there are four ways we can really experience the astral dimension. One of them is being conscious when we astral project at night, whenever we go to sleep.
 
Some people awaken in their dreams. They are dreaming and suddenly they realize, “I am in the dream world. I am not here physically!” There are different techniques we can use to verify and test the reality of where you are at, so that you know.
 
People have also experienced near-death experiences, like in the Netflix show Surviving Death. One lady mentioned how she died on a rafting trip and they brought her back, and she was able to talk about what happened. So she entered the astral world, came back, because it was not her time yet.
 
Or we can die, and that is the last way one can enter the astral world. So it is interesting that either when we die or go to sleep, we enter that region. 

​What is the astral plane like?

In truth, it is a material dimension. It is interesting, because for a lot of people, if we just have dreams, things can be very vague or incoherent. But when you remove all the subjective conditions of mind and learn to access that state with an awakened consciousness, we see that there are cities. There is Chicago. There are people driving cars. People are doing things that they do normally in their physical life. Nothing vague there. The reality is it is a type of matter and energy that is not as dense as this physical world, which is why people have reported dreams of flying, passing through walls, putting their hands through a glass window, for example. That is one thing I liked to do when I first started testing if I am here physically, or if I am in the internal worlds. I would go up to a window and press my finger, slightly, with the will that I put my hand through it. Because it is more subtle, you do it, so that you can then realize, “I am dreaming.” But it is a type of matter, energy. There is a reality there. It is just less materialistic. It is less dense, governed by laws like levitation, elasticity, plasticity, ductileness. You are basically able to even pull your finger and see it stretch, fly to distant places. You can drink a cup of water there. You can eat and drink in the astral plane, but it is very different. 

​What are lucid dreams?

​This has to do with having more vibrancy in our dreams, in our inner experiences. We may have moments in which we see something with greater expansiveness or perception, greater depth, and we wake up. Or a lucid dream is you are basically seeing more to what is there.
 
There is a greater range of perception. You see more colors there than you see physically. But what is interesting about lucid dreaming is that just because we are seeing a panorama of what is there, it does not necessarily mean that we realize where we are at. We could be dreaming or having all of these great images. We are perceiving things in a new way, but we do not realize that we are dreaming.
 
I know some people like to say that lucid dreaming has to do with waking up, but we make a very clear distinction between a dream and a vision in these studies. Dreaming has to do with the fact that you are projecting from your mind onto that screen of reality. So you are dreaming and interacting with your own contents of your psychology. But a vision has to do with when you let all of that to subside. You let it all rest and you receive knew insights.
 
But also, lucid dreaming is a wonderful gateway into deeper knowledge, because if you realize or see greater range of perception in your dreams, it means that you are going to be able to see more. But there is some steps that are necessary to transcend dreams.

​How do I perceive the astral plane? 

​We have to train our consciousness through concentration, imagination, meditation. These are techniques that will help us to really know these truths.

​How do I navigate the internal worlds?

​With familiarity―you become familiar with it. In the beginning, we can get scared. I remember when I first started to practice astral projection when I was really young, I was terrified, because I was lifting out of my body and levitating over my bed, seeing things with more depth than was physically possible. So my fear took me out. But eventually after getting used to that process, now when that happens, I get really happy, because now it is another wonderful opportunity to pursue my spiritual life, internally.
 
You learn to navigate the internal worlds the same way you learn to ride a bike. You learn the neighborhood. You learn where to go and where not to go with the guidance of your parents, meaning, not just physical instructors, but your own inner divinity. You learn.

​Is astral projection dangerous?

​No. we do it every night. If it were dangerous, no one would be alive, primarily because you fall asleep, and every time you fall asleep you go into the astral dimension. People who do not go into the astral dimension have insomnia. They cannot sleep, so it is good to take care of that.

​Can I get lost in the astral plane and not return to my body? 

​You can not. A lot of traditions have talked about what is called the silver cord, the Antakarana thread. It is very important in astral literature, where you have a silver cord that connects you with your physical body. You can basically travel throughout the planet. You can go to other planets in the solar system, even to the edge of the galaxy if you want, and yet that cord will bring you back to your body when it is time, when you wake up.
 
The only time when that cord gets cut, and the person cannot return to their physical body, is when it is their time to die, and that is something that is governed by divine beings. We call them the angels of death. I know in our popular imagination we think of these hooded, skeletoal figures with a scythe as something very demonic and terrifying, and it is because we are not familiar with the process of dying. We are not aware of it. We do not remember, perhaps, in previous lives when we entered this life, and how we have died many times before. That is something you can also verify through experience, by learning how to astral project.
 
But these beings are very divine. Personally, I have met one such being. When I saw this angel, I was crying because it was so powerful, the presence of divinity, and this is a type of being that can really guide us through the process of sleep and death if we learn to train ourselves

​Can one be injured in the astral plane? 

​No. So you can jump of a roof and end up like Neo in The Matrix, landing on your face first ton the pavement―you are not going to get hurt. It is because your astral vehicle, the body you use in dreams, is subjected to the laws of elasticity, plasticity, levitation. You cannot get hurt like that. Also:

​Can entities take over my body during astral projection?

​No. It is not like you leave your body and then someone can creep in to your house, your physical body,. It cannot happen. You belong to your car, so to speak, or your car belongs to, you better said. Your body is a vehicle that you operate. You drive it every day. If you want someone else to take over your car and drive your car for you, well, that is what mediums are for. We do not recommend that practice because mediumship, allowing different entities to enter within oneself, is a practice we do not teach. So it is not like you can leave your physical body behind and someone else can sneak in. It cannot happen. 
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​Hypnos and Thanatos: Sleep and Death

​Now what is interesting about the relationship between sleep and death, is the Greek myth of Hypnos and Thanatos. So I touched briefly on how we enter the world of death every night whenever we go to sleep. Whenever we go to bed and we dream, we are in the world of the dead. The problem is that we are not aware of it.
 
Hypnos and Thanatos in Greek, sleep and death, were brothers, because the ancient Greeks knew that relationship. They taught that if we want to awaken after death, we have to awaken in dreams. It is the same process as going to sleep.
 
The question becomes, “How do we become conscious during dreams?” and “What does it mean to awaken consciousness?”
 
The Tibetan Buddhists mention that every time you go to sleep, it is like you are dying a little death, which is a quote from Samael Aun Weor as well:
It is stated that a dream is nothing but a small death. ―Samael Aun Weor, Gazing at the Mystery
​Our consciousness is not awakened to its full potential. While we have a degree of perception in this physical world, it is very limited. It is conditioned and it is censored through many layers and factors. We call them thoughts, feelings, sentiments, anxieties, worries, daydreams, fantasies, preoccupations, resentments, hatred, desires, appetites. Often times we are so dedicated in our Western culture, catering to our bodies, that we forget to be aware of ourselves, even of our breathing. This is why all meditative traditions teach the need to be mindful, especially, throughout our day, because if we are mindful and awake in our physical body, when we physically go to sleep, we are going to awaken in dreams. It is the same process.
 
Your eight hours of sleep are a barometer of how awake you are. It can be a very scary proposition. If we go to bed and eight hours pass and we do not see anything, it means we are very unconscious. However, if you have dreams, it means we can start to nudge the door open a bit more until we can enter the temple of mysteries.
 
Even Plato mentioned this in The Republic. Here is an example of a negative person: 
The most evil type of man… in his waking hours, has the qualities we found in his dream state. ―Plato, Republic 9:65 
Now it applies not to just bad people, but good people. We have preoccupations. We have thoughts, worries, and daydreams. Perhaps we are driving to work. We have a certain routine we go through. We take the train. Maybe we are thinking so much that we are remembering the past; we forget our stop. We are not awake. We are driving our car. We are thinking of our friend, and then suddenly we nearly get into an accident. It means we are not paying attention. We are not conscious. We are not aware.
 
Most people tend to go to sleep and merely just repeat their daily life within the dream state. It is because we are not really focusing on our internal states. We tend to go through life mechanically, just reacting to different situations. However, if you learn to become awake of the process, of your moment-to-moment life, your daily states, you start to expand consciousness within dreams.
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​What are the different qualities of consciousness?

This is bringing us to a point about four states of consciousness that we study. These are Hindu terms. Sushupti is profound sleep. Swapna is dreaming sleep. Jagrat is awakening consciousness, and Turiya is spiritual illumination.
 
The easiest characterization of this dynamic has to do with physically―you go to sleep―Sushupti. Swapna is when you dream. A lot of people associate, within yoga, Jagrat as being physically awake, but it is wrong. The truth is that these are qualities of consciousness, not whether or not if you are in your physical body or not. Profound sleep is like when we go to bed. Eight hours go by and then we awake, but also physically, if we go through our occupation throughout our day, oblivious to, perhaps, physical danger on the street, or on the train, or driving a car, it means that we are not conscious.
 
I am pretty sure that we can all think of moments in our day, or perhaps trying to remember months ago what you ate for breakfast on a Tuesday. We cannot remember it. In our contemporary culture, we like to accept this type of distracted state of mind. But the truth is that, spiritually speaking, it indicates for us that we are not aware. We are not conscious. We cannot remember where we went two years ago for a vacation, or amongst friends, what we said, what we thought, what felt, what we did. We are not awake. We do not remember. That is profound sleep.
 
In certain cases, too, Sushupti has to do with a common state of barbarism of humanity. In one context, it has to do with mob mentality. For example, we see people get in fights on the street, or commit violence, or go to war. That is Sushupti, because people who are conscious of the humanity of other beings would never kill, would never commit violence, even in their thoughts.
 
So we can see that we all have this inside. We spend eight hours in the bed, and we do not even remember anything. That is Sushupti as well.
 
Swapna is interesting. It not only has to do with dreams at night when the physical body is at rest, but all of the dreams we engage with in the day. We are washing dishes and we are thinking of that television show we want to watch. We are riding our bike thinking of our neighbor. We had a conflict at work and we are ruminating on what they said or we are anticipating our revenge. We are always projecting our mind and thoughts onto other things and never looking at where we are at. We are not concentrated. We are not lucid. We are dreaming, and physically if you are dreaming all day, then at night we will dream as well.
 
This is why all religions teach the need to awaken. This is Jagrat. It has to do with adopting a certain discipline in which you pay attention all the time. You observe not only our body, but, with the psychological senses of the consciousness, we learn to observe the sources of even our thoughts, our emotions, our impulses. We learn to become aware of all that, and then we develop the continuity of paying attention all day and not getting distracted by anything. That is mindfulness. It is the continuity of perception. It is Tantra: a continuum and flow of awareness at all times.
 
When you really develop that in yourself, you begin to get glimpses of Turiya: spiritual illumination, in which we perceive things without conditions or filters, without prejudice, without bias. It is a state of consciousness that is very dynamic and it applies to a very profound range. It has to do with perceiving with objectivity, perceiving like a god, and you can have that in dreams, especially. Physically you can experience glimpses of illumination like that. But especially when you go to sleep with an awakened consciousness, you can be given certain visions from divinity that are very beautiful, and so penetrative that we could not do it on our own,. It is a grace and gift of divinity, but also when the conditions are right, the cause and effects are applicable. When we have set the foundations for experiencing that type of insight, it emerges.
 
Going back to that Sufi teaching, you will find that it has to do with the truth of certainty, because when you have that type of experience, you have great joy. But the thing to remember is that just having a temporary experience like that does not mean we are enlightened. It is a glimpse into what is possible. It can be given to us as a gift, but to sustain that takes training.
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​Can machines, frequencies, synthetic sounds, and binaural beats affect the brain and awaken consciousness?

​A lot of people have approached astral projection wanting to use different material techniques to produce a spiritual phenomenon, and unfortunately it is mistaken. It is not that simple. For those of you who are not familiar with binaural beats, it has to do with listening to two simultaneous tones, one at a slightly different frequency so that when you are listening, it creates the illusion of creating a third beat, which is in your brain, in order to produce a type of mental state. So there have been certain studies how synthetic sounds or artificial sounds can produce astral projection, primarily from the perspective that it is the brain that we are trying to affect and that the brain is something malleable and can be influenced easily so as to awaken consciousness.
 
It is true that you can have experiences with these things, but the question is “Of what quality and of what state?” Merely having an astral projection is not enough, because there can be superior astral projections or there can be inferior astral projections. This is something that many people ignore, unfortunately. As I mentioned to you briefly, like that ladder of Jacob, there are heavenly states and there are inferior states. There are more liberated, unconditioned, luminous, unobstructed, clear, divine perceptions, and there are conditioned, selfish, negative, egotistical states―heaven and hell.
 
We emphasize that spiritual experiences cannot be influenced by mechanical means, primarily because if you are trying to influence the brain to do things for you, it is treating oneself like a machine. Machines know how to react. They are conditioned and they are constructed in such a way as to react to influences.
 
Now the brain, we have to remember, is merely a vehicle. It is a car that we have to drive. Who is driving the car though? The consciousness is not the brain. The brain is a vehicle of consciousness. It is not the originator of perception. We use the brain and our physical body to interact in this physical world. But it is just that. It is a machine that you can operate with intelligence. Or perhaps it is like working at a franchise or a fast food restaurant, or a meat packing plant. You are just doing things mechanically. You are not thinking, because you just have so much to do. These machines and mechanical methods can not produce the type of unconditioned awakening that we seek, if we are sincere.
 
Projections, again, can be conditioned by external influences, such as by synthetic sounds, frequencies, binaural beats, but those will awaken perceptions that are conditioned. Awakening is dual. I know in modern spiritual circles, people like to think of awakening as something positive. But there are two forms. If you look at the statements in the Book of Daniel in the Bible:
And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. ―Daniel 12:2
​…because there are ways to awaken powers and abilities like this, whether for good or for ill. So there is a distinction there. We do not rely on these types of things. We do not need to in order to have positive spiritual experiences. There are many more intrinsic ways to do this. 
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​Can drugs, psychedelia, and intoxicants produce astral projections?

They do, but down in the infernal worlds. Primarily because, whenever you ingest an intoxicant, it is a condition. It is conditioning the consciousness. It is stimulating the consciousness to act, but within pride, anger, fear, laziness, lust, hatred etc. There are ways of experiencing these truths without relying on anything outside of us, but inside. So if you are interested in learning more of the nuances of this topic, you can study an article we wrote on our website. It is called: “How Do Drugs Affect Our Spiritual Development?” We go into a lot more detail than we have the time to elaborate here, but that is the synthesis.
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​How do I interpret my dreams?

​I have talked a little bit about heaven and hell. We see it represented on that graphic on the left. This is the Hebrew Kabbalah, the Tree of Life. It is the mysticism of all religions, not just Judaism. It is a map of consciousness, from inferior to superior levels of being, levels and states of perception.
 
We have our physicality, which is this bottom sphere. We call it מלכות Malkuth, which means “the Kingdom,” because we have to reign and rule in our kingdom: our body.
 
But there are superior states and spheres. We call them סְפִירוֹת sephiroth in Hebrew, emanations from the unknowable, divine abstractions or source, and which we seek to return to in our studies. But there are also the inversion, which are the hell realms.
 
We use the Kabbalah as a map in the same way that you travel to another country. You learn the language. You learn about places to go, the geography, the culture, the customs, so that you can be more informed and navigate with facility. This image is precisely the same thing, but for the inner worlds. If you want to understand your dreams and where you are dreaming, or where you are experiencing things, we study and apply this glyph. It is deep. It is very scientific, very precise, and can give us clarity and understanding about what we are seeing. 
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We also use the Tarot. On the right we have The Eternal Tarot deck from Glorian Publishing. We use what is known as the major arcana. These are the principles and laws of nature depicted through images. The numbers themselves represent spiritual principles. Some of us may have had dreams where we received a date, or a number, or a time. It is Kabbalah. Kabbalah in Judaism is the science of numbers, how numbers represent abstract principles, which in a dream can apply to certain situations or dramas.
 
For example, you may have a dream about a certain situation in which you receive a number, and that number, especially one through twenty-two, relating to the first twenty-two cards of the Tarot, give us insight about what is happening there, about what we need to do about a certain situation in life.
 
These are very deep principles,. There is a lot of extensive knowledge available about them. Especially on our website, you can study The Eternal Tarot of Alchemy and Kabbalah if you want to go into depth about what these cards mean.
 
Even receiving a card in the astral dimension, you can actually see these images. Personally I remember even receiving a Tarot reading from an Egyptian initiate in the astral place, who was showing me cards related to what I needed to develop. The cards coincided with this. Now these cards, they are living art. While they are described through Egyptian imagery and mysticism, they are really universal. The Tarot are beyond Egyptian cultural phenomena. They are even older than our humanity, even other worlds, with other humanities. The same laws apply. We just contextualize them with Egyptian images because it is convenient for our understanding.
 
But the truth is that these twenty-two laws apply to everywhere in the universe. They all represent different qualities. So we study them so that when we receive a number in our dreams, we can perform certain calculations with how the numbers add up to a unified synthesis or sum. We get the meaning, and we do not get confused about what we perceived. This is why we emphasize in our tradition that all traditions are golden pearls strung upon the golden thread of divinity, because all religious forms embody the same principles like the Tarot.
 
These numbers apply to all religions, and if we study the scriptures themselves with the knowledge of what the Tarot mean, you find that they mean the same thing. It is the intuitive grammar and building blocks of meaning from the spirit, because the different cards and numbers can add up together to create a synthesis. It is very elegant. It is very extensive. But more importantly, it is very simple. We study it. We learn it. We apply it. So all of these traditions represent these truths.
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​Should I use dream symbol dictionaries?

Some people have asked: “Should we use dream symbol dictionaries?” We always emphasize the need for independent thought, self-reliance, investigation. It is very easy to open a book, look for the symbol, and try to get an answer. It is the most normal reaction to have when we are experiencing dreams. We want to know what we are seeing, and see what other people have said.
 
Personally, my preference is to rely on what the prophets have taught, beings who have really demonstrated, through millennia, their caliber, because they are a lot of books in the world that are written by people who never reached that development. It is good to rely on instructors, but proven ones, prophets like Jesus, Buddha, Moses, Krishna, who, through the scriptures, have related in their symbols the very fabric of meaning. In our spiritual path, when scripture is applied to our spiritual work, we can really interpret what is going on there.
 
So the thing about dream dictionaries is that the lack intuition, and here is why: you can look at a symbol in a dictionary, and look at one level of meaning of it, but there are many layers to a dream symbol. It is very extensive. Perhaps you have a dream of a cross. I have had that before in relation to a kind of work that I needed to do. But the overall tone was a state of suffering. You are bearing your cross and you will have ordeals. That was the meaning that played out in relation to my physical life, certain hardships I had to face.
 
But the cross is just not about suffering. It can be the four elements: earth, air, fire, water, or related to our psychology: mind, emotions, physicality, and sexuality, certain aspects of our constitution. We also need to look at what is happening in relation to the symbol. Were we carrying the cross? Was it in front of us? What happened? There are a lot of applications that do not get codified in one strict book.
 
This is why even in diverse religions traditions you do not find a book with the absolute meaning for everything, although that is what a lot of people think when they think of their religion. But the truth is that all of these teachers and all of these prophets taught in accordance with their capacities, and also of the level of development of the student. While their insights are valuable, it is also good to look at all religions to see how they all complement. Now, that is even at a level of a prophet who can give really deep insight, but just studying one source isolated by itself is like… we are not looking at the bigger picture.
 
The problem with dream dictionaries is that you find a lot of these testimonies from different people are very contradictory. They conflict with each other. The reality is, if you want genuine insight into the reality of dreams, we have to look to sources that really agree. They all say the same thing. It is all unified. It all points to the same direction. When we have that foundation and see how it relates to our experience, we then gain confidence in its source. But the problem is there are too many contradictory opinions, mostly made from people who have not reached those heights. So it is out of caution of our own development that we don’t rely on dream dictionaries. It is good to be prudent
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​Can someone interpret my dreams for me?

​A lot of people ask―and we have gotten this question from people too―“Can someone interpret my dreams for me?”
 
It also begs an interesting question too. Obviously, we have a yearning to know what a dream is. We look for insight, perspective, and so we might go to people that hopefully provide that for us. But this relates an interesting dynamic within students, especially.
 
The Talmud states:
A dream not interpreted is like a letter not read. ―Talmud
​Most people in the beginning do not know how to read spiritually. We have a dream. We do not know what it means. We want someone else to read it for us. What would be better, relying on someone to read and teach you through what they can read, or someone to teach you yourself? Is it not true that a person who does not know how to read is vulnerable? Someone could tell you, “This is what it means,” even for example, they do not know what it means or have bad intentions. We do not know, and because we do not know, we should be cautious.
 
Be prudent, because dreams are important. They are essential for learning to master our spiritual life, to awaken there. Therefore, we should really be critical, not of other people, but of our own selves. This need and this desire for security―we want to be secure in our spiritual life. We want someone to tell us that everything is ok, or to tell us this is what that means. It does not work that way. In reality, the magic of dreams unfold as we meditate.
 
Practice meditation. Learn the science of meditation. Become a self-reliant meditator, because really, we can unpack meanings and unfold the significance of dreams over many years. Personally, I had dreams decades ago that have only come true recently, and part of the awe and the joy of that realization is from having worked upon myself, not going to other people: “Tell me what this means!”
 
If we learn to study genuine sources, such as learning Kabbalah and the Tarot, and learn the diverse symbolism within different traditions, you gain a very expansive lexicon by which to interpret what is happening. It gets easier. It gets intuitive. So in the beginning, we start to study, intellectually, different sources. But the real work comes in meditation. Put aside the mind. Put aside thought, the desire, the fear: “I want this to mean a certain thing,” the anticipation that “I want a certain result. This is what I want the dream to mean!” This is where people can start to get into problems especially. Having a dream, thinking it is one thing, but it means another. Therefore, why get another person in the mix, especially if we do not know their experience or qualifications? So it is good to be prudent.
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​How do I know if a dream is real or not?

We made a distinction earlier. We mentioned that there is a difference between dreams and visions. A dream is a projection of our mind, which, with its levels and qualities, perceptions and states, can be more objective or less. But the mind for most of us is very heavy. We have a lot of errors. We have flaws. We are not perfect. We have defects. We have fear and anxiety, the yearning for security, ambition, perhaps not for physical things, but maybe spiritual things.
 
We have a lot of qualities in our mind that is really best described as desire, ego. We want something. We desire something. Therefore, we try to feed our desires. These are conditions.
 
The soul is something different. The soul can feel great joy and aspiration, yearning for the truth, love for others, philanthropy, kindness, compassion, patience, and the consciousness that realizes its true nature does not dream. It sees. It has visons. It knows. So a dream is a projection of our mind. We are enmeshed within our desires, and as we mentioned, going about our day is being lost in daydreams. It is like being lost in thought, memory, sleep. But a vison is when the mind is calm. It is receptive and it is at peace. We are seeing the reality before us, whether physically or internally.
 
This is why Samael Aun Weor, who is the founder of our tradition, stated in the lecture called "Mental Representations":
True illuminates have no dreams. Dreams are for those who are asleep. True illuminates live in the higher worlds, out of the physical body, in a state of intensified wakefulness without ever dreaming. ―Samael Aun Weor, ”Mental Representations”
There are many examples of this: Jesus, Buddha, Muhammad, Krishna, Moses… we could go on for ever. They did not have a sleeping consciousness. They did not dream. Physically, they can go to sleep at will and project into the internal worlds at will, for as long as they wanted, because they were so exact and rigorous with themselves, holding themselves to such a high standard. Therefore, they taught it to others. We can do the same. 
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​What can I do through astral projection?

​There are a lot of things. I find this is perhaps one of the most compelling points about these types of studies, which drew me into studying and practicing this.
 
Through astral projection, we can receive divine teachings. We can communicate with our inner God. We can receive insight on difficult situations and how to solve them with efficacy, with complete equanimity.
 
We can also explore the superior and inferior worlds, as demonstrated by this graphic on the right: the Tree of Life, the heaven and hell realms.
 
In the astral world, you can visit other planets. You can see other humanities that dwell there. When we talk about other humanities, we are not talking about other little green men with antennas, and perhaps little crustacean features, or something really exotic or disturbing like Hollywood would have us presume. Instead, we learn to interact with different species and humanoids who are very spiritual, who are awake. We can get insight from them and they can help us internally.
 
You can also visit the temples of the universal fraternity of the divine. There are temples in the physical world such as Egypt and other places that are now cadavers. They used to be flourishing with life physically, but internally they are active. You can go into the temples of Giza in the astral world and receive initiation and guidance from the masters there, luminous, enlightened beings. There are many temples throughout the world in the internal worlds, throughout all cultures, because this type of knowledge is universal.
 
We can invoke genuine spiritual masters. You can learn certain prayers with which you can call unto divinity to send this master to you, to teach you, and that can give you guidance. That is really better than relying on someone helping you physically, is when internally you invoke and you ask a master about a solution to a problem. They will always come, especially if they have perfected themselves. They are here to help.
 
We can also enact―and this is an uncomfortable topic for some people―spiritual self-defence, because just as there are friendly beings, there are also negative beings. We call them witches. We call them black magicians, sorcerers, warlocks, those that can astral project, but within hell. The live and they dwell within the inferior regions of the astral, the negative infernal planes, and because we have ego, we tend to gravitate to those states, unfortunately. But with training we can awaken and change ourselves.
 
In that process, we do get confrontations even, but there are proven ways to defend oneself, through prayer, through sacred invocations. We call them conjurations. This is where the term “magic” came from. It is when you exert the consciousness in its defense, so that it is not influenced by any negativity. These methods that we teach in courses like Spiritual Self-Defense on our website go in to great detail about how to practice that. They work, but with training and time we learn to practice these techniques the same way that you go to a dojo to do martial arts. In the beginning you are sloppy―and I speak from experience―but with practice you get very efficient.
 
You can negotiate your destiny with the Lords of Karma. These are masters who guide the trajectory of humanity. Karma is a very popular term. It means cause and effect. These are beings beyond good and evil. They manage the law of destiny out of compassion. Karma is not some blind law of retribution in which we suffer or “get what we deserve.” Instead, despite our past actions and mistakes, we can receive mercy. We can even go to those hierarches, such as Anubis in the Egyptian mythology, in order to discuss our problems and how to negotiate it, because the scales can be balanced in our favor. We learn to do that by personally speaking with the law.
 
We can also face and conquer ordeals. This has to do with tests the student can face as a means of provoking and pushing us to develop. So in our spiritual path, we learn to overcome certain adversities and hardships, whether physically or also in the internal worlds. You can have symbolic dreams that represent certain challenges that you need to overcome. They are always managed by divinity. We have related a little bit in our courses previously, but you will find more about that in The Secret Path of Initiation on our website.
 
We can enter initiation, meaning, we enter a new way of life, to be welcomed amongst the gods, to become perfect like the gods. Also, see the same course in which we talk about that, the degrees and stages by which one unites with the divine, so as to be welcomed by those who have walked before.
 
We also, lastly, can watch or view the Akashic Records, view prophecies. This is a very compelling topic, and I know a lot of people have talked about the Akashic Records. It is basically like a film of nature. In the astral world, which is very fluidic in the sense that it is very impressionable, it relates to emotions, sentiment, a subtle form of matter and energy. In that dimension, everything is recorded, every action. Even if you speak into an old tape recorder, you can find that there are actually geometric shapes that are imprinted in the film. The same thing with the Akashic Records.
 
All the history about ancient humanities in different civilizations are imprinted within the consciousness and the memory of the astral world. So if you ask your inner divinity to show you about an ancient point in time, or a certain thing you need to know about the future, you will see images. You will see living dramas, a film. It is like watching a movie, but you are seeing reality. You are not seeing illusion. You are seeing what happened, what is, and what will be. We can learn to access that and really understand things about our humanity and our world that are inaccessible to our physical senses.
 
In conclusion, we will mention that by knowing ourselves, we will know these things.
 
The oracle of Delphi mentioned:
Know thyself, and thou shalt know the universe and its gods! ―Oracle of Delphi
​Hence the importance for learning how to awaken consciousness.
 
So at this time we are going to open up the floor to questions. We have some from the chat, most likely. The other instructor will be reading them for us at the appropriate time, but we also have a lot of people here as well. So feel free to ask.

​Questions and Answers

Question: When using the Tarot are you supposed to take in to account the three cards, or just the final number you are supposed to add up?
 
Instructor: Good question. For those of you who are not familiar with the Tarot themselves, such as doing your own reading, we mentioned some of this in the lecture called The Magician, the first arcanum in our course The Eternal Tarot of Alchemy and Kabbalah.
 
The major arcanum sets the tone, one of the first of twenty-two cards. So there are twenty-two major arcana, and fifty-six minor arcana. You first separate the major arcana from the minor. Shuffle them. Pull out one card face down. You look at the minor arcana. Shuffle, pull out one card. Shuffle, pull out one again. What you do is you look at their relationship. First you look at the individual cards, but the minor arcana and major arcana complement. They work together. So just as you form sentences with words, in the same way, the different arcana all constitute a certain meaning in the end. So you look at the synthesis. You look at the relationship between them, and you also look at them independently. So look at them all together.
 
Question: How often can one use it, like, can one use it every day or should you change it?
 
Instructor: You can use them every day if you want. Once a day. If you want to learn about genuine spiritual issues, the thing is not to get caught up in when you get an answer, to doing the tarot reading again, in a sense like you do not like the answer. Therefore you want to get another one. You cannot trick divinity. But if you have a certain issue that you want to explore, you can work with the Tarot. You can use it once a day, even if you want to know different things, such as “How do I proceed about my day? What do I need to know?” I have done it in the past, especially in order to learn about all the different cards, not just the first twenty-two, but all the minor arcana as well. So you can do it once a day if you want, but really dedicate it to genuine issues.
 
Other Instructor: It can be done more than once a day if you have more than one serious spiritual question to ask.
 
Instructor: Exactly.
 
Question: How can you go about being successful in meditation, because I try but my mind is like “You got to do this… you got to do that!” I find it very difficult to like keep my mind blank, and to not think about anything.
 
Instructor: Sure! It is a learned skill. We have some resources online. You can study courses we gave, such as Gnostic Meditation, and the Sufi Principles of Meditation, teaching meditation with the Sufis scriptures. We did a whole course on that. What I also like more is on Glorian.org: Meditation Essentials. That is a very synthesized and a very refined way of explaining meditation, step by step, with weekly exercises. I recommend that especially. So if you study that on Glorian.org, practicing each of the exercises for each week, in each lecture, you will get very profound results. That image we talked about, the nine stages of meditative concentration, the course elaborates on that a lot, so I highly recommend it.
 
Question: You mentioned that with out-of-body experiences, it happens when you are falling asleep. But then I know that the dream state is through REM, so that does not usually happen until you have actually been sleeping for a while. So what is the difference between those two, and the timing? And what happens when you go out-of-body? Do you immediately go in to that realm, or do you, like you said, you see yourself, and then you go into that realm?
 
Instructor: Sure! So there is a deep connection between the brain and our internal life, because like the Antahkarana thread, we are united with the physical world and our internal worlds. Now a lot of people record having deeper dreams and experiences when we are in REM sleep, when you are really deeply within the internal worlds themselves. It does not mean that people are astral projecting during REM. The reality is that we are projecting in the initial phases of sleep as you are stripping away your identity. Such as when you are falling asleep, you see memories, and dreams, and voices, and sounds, and landscapes, or whatever it may be. That is indicating to us a type of process in which we are starting to increase the light of perception, in which you are in the process of entering slowly in the dream state.
 
Now a lot people get caught up in those initial phenomena and they are unconscious again. Then they might later have experiences relating to deeper stages of sleep, REM. Now in Tibetan Buddhism, we talk a lot about the four lights. We will give a whole lecture about this especially. In the beginning phases, we start to perceive that we are about to enter into a dream. But if you maintain your concentration in that process, you enter willingly. But with REM sleep, we have already been in the astral plane for a couple of hours, typically. With training and learning to awaken your consciousness, you can be fully lucid throughout the entire time, even to the point that you physically leave your body, you go in to the astral world for a couple of hours, physically, terrestrially, and you can come back with full consciousness withiht forgetting anything. So that is possible. You can have the potential to be that skilled. It is very possible. It just takes work.
 
Question: Is sleep paralysis our ego not willing to leave our body?
 
Instructor: Some people have reported sleep paralysis associated with nightmares even. You are in your body but you are not conscious or you cannot move your body. That is usually just the process, sometimes, when you are returning to your body and you have not fully integrated into your physicality, in order to be able to move yourself after having come from dreams. It is not something to be really alarmed about or fearful. I know some people who have mentioned, for an example, I have a relative who had sleep paralysis associated with nightmares. He would see aliens or some other negative things coming at him when he is in sleep paralysis, and he felt defenseless when that happened. But the thing is not to be identified. Sometimes you have just not fully gotten your car to start, so to speak. You cannot be harmed. So nothing to worry about.
 
Question: Is it possible to get to the astral plane through meditation instead of going to sleep?
 
Instructor: Absolutely! So actually with meditation and practicing that skill, we are learning to go to sleep consciously. So when you meditate, with enough skill, you let your body relax. You are fully concentrated within. You are focusing on something to investigate. You can imagine whatever the object or goal is. Visualize it and let your body start to slumber. What is interesting about this state of meditation is that we learn to receive new information, when all of the mental obscurations are settled, like the sediment in a jar with water and all sorts of elements. If you shake it all of the time―which tends to be our daily waking state―you have a muddled chaos. But with learning meditation and applying these principles in our daily states, the sediment begins to stratify, layering itself so you can begin to see all the different contents of the jug of your mind.
 
What helps with that is when you are learning to meditate, you are falling asleep intentionally. It is the same skill. In fact, as you are learning meditation and you learn to go to bed, you are meditating while you are falling asleep. You are meditating even when you are laying down. So meditation, even in your chair or whatever position, you can learn to do that. In some meditations, you want to balance that threshold between wakefulness and sleep. But certain meditations you may find that if you want to learn to astral project, you do so while you are meditating. In fact, the best end result of a real successful meditation is an astral projection, because now you leave the body behind. You have removed certain layers that obstruct your investigation into certain phenomena, and then you can go. So meditation is a state of mind. It is a quality of being, when receive information in a new way.
 
Question: So when you are in that meditative state, does the body always go to sleep, or can you have visualizations and the body can be still mobile or functional?
 
Instructor: Great question! The best visualizations occur when you are still, in which you have relaxed enough to the point in which your thoughts cease to be a distraction. You are not churning with emotion. Your body is not agitated, and when you are perfectly still, meaning, you do not move physically or internally, mentally, suddenly images appear. They emerge. We do not will them. We do not intend them. But they just arrive, flashes of insight. You see visions. You see dream-like symbols. You see experiences, landscapes, especially, perhaps. That is indicating that we are approaching it in the right way.
 
You can have certain insights when you are physically active. It is true, but that take a lot more training. But with time, if you are sitting to meditate and you are stilling all the contents of your psychology, those visions appear magically on their own, and can really inform us about certain things we need to take care of.
 
Question: Ok, and so any visualization, I guess in that aspect, would be considered astral projection, regardless?
 
Instructor: Good question. An astral projection is when you are conscious of leaving the body. But often times when you are meditating, you are beginning to enter that threshold of that state, not necessarily projecting all the way through, but you are starting to perceive your inner reality. It is like stepping in between the doorway of two chambers: the physical and the internal. If you are really focused as you are receiving these visions and experiences from your internal dream state, you let your body fall asleep and you go out. But sometimes we might of fallen asleep in our meditation and suddenly we are seeing all of these things too. So there is a dynamic here too. But in both cases, you are perceiving your inner reality. An astral projection is when you are aware of leaving your body. In some cases, we fall asleep and we have no awareness of it at all. So… a little difference.
 
Question: Can we learn to heal others or ourselves through astral projection or when dreaming?
 
Instructor: Yes. The important thing is that when you learn to astral project, you use that ability for good. Use that capacity to help other people. You can do so by learning how investigate the karma of your particular situation, or another person if that is granted by divinity, if it is allowed. There ways to communicate not only with the Lords of Karma, but also the masters of medicine. There are beings that are governed by the archangelic hierarchies of influence known as the Angel Raphael―very famous in Christianity, in the Judaeo-Christian tradition―who can help heal people if it is in accordance with the law and with the will of divinity. So you can learn to astral project and go to the temples of healing, to ask for benediction for those who are suffering, always in accordance with the mercy of the law, the rigor of the law, but also with compassion, we ask. We can pray. So you can do that.
 
Question: When one awakens consciousness in an astral projection, what are the keys to staying awake?
 
Instructor: We have certain mantras we use. A mantra is a sacred sound. It is a vibratory force. We know that through regular speech, our words can have blessings or curses. There are improper words and proper words. There are qualities of speech in reflection of the quality of our mind. Words spoken from hate harm the mental atmosphere, but compassion and blessings unite communities. 
In the same way, a mantra is a type of keynote, a sacred sound which through, either physically or mentally, vocalizing like the mantra “O,” we are learning to attract superior forces. 

One simple mantra to do, even when you are driving your car or doing it mentally at work, is “Om” [or O]. Prolong the vowels. You sing it mentally. That type of practice helps to strengthen our concentration so we are focusing on what we are doing. We are aware of what we are doing. We are not distracted. Even when you do that physically, when you learn to train yourself with practice and time, you can find yourself in the astral world suddenly awake. If you feel your consciousness is getting a little weak, a little tired, sing the mantra mentally.
 
You can sing it out loud even in the astral plane. People are asleep anyways in the astral world. People are not going to care. I know one time I was doing the mantra “Om Tat Sat” repeatedly, and some person in the astral plane was making fun of me: “You look weird.” I did not say anything because he was asleep. He did not realize he was in the astral plane. So it does not matter. Physically, you may not want to say it out loud because people may think you are a little strange, but in the astral plane it does not matter. They can judge you, but they will not remember.
 
Question: If one cannot be harmed in an astral projection, why do we need to enact spiritual self-defense?
 
Instructor: Good question! Astral projection is unharmful. Learning to transition into the internal worlds is not a problem. The issue becomes when you encounter beings like sorcerers or demons, black magicians who want to pull you into their path. Now there is not something dangerous about transitioning into the internal worlds. You cannot be hurt in the internal worlds like when you get punched or hit, or you fall over, or you scrape yourself. There is no danger to that. The struggle between positive and negative forces is in the mind. It is a conscious quality in which certain entities will try to exert their will on you to get you to act how they want. We call it black magic. But white magic is wanting to invoke the aid of divinity to work through you, so that you can nullify those types of efforts.
 
For example, someone comes up to you with a lot of anger, very hateful, very resentful. Maybe we did something wrong, and then if we learn to transform that situation and act kindly, like with genuine compassion, you diffuse it. In the same way, when you are working with certain prayers, you can learn to nullify those type of influences. But astral projection is not dangerous.
 
Question: Should we conjure and protect ourselves in the astral plane even if it is a beautiful angel, deity, etc.?
 
Instructor: You can, and it is actually recommended to be cautious, because there are beings that say, “Yeah, I am Jesus.” Anyone can say that, but it does not mean you should trust them. I remember even when I met the Master Jesus, I was scared because when I invoked him, he was a very luminous being. I was so terrified of the intensity of his presence, and I felt fear, like perhaps I called upon a demon instead. But I started to pray more and eventually clarity came.
 
You can do certain prayers and invocations to ask, “Show me who you really are!” So we will talk more about different practices later on, but you can call upon divinity to say, “Show me who you are” with certain conjurations that will basically clear up the astral environment for you, so that you can discriminate what is going on.
 
Question: At times in my dreams, I get a sensation of extreme intoxication. It happens suddenly and without taking any intoxicants within or out of my dreams. I feel extremely disorientated and have a very hard time standing up or walking. It feels as though I am very drunk. I tend to work through it, but eventually I have to just sit down. Could you please explain what this may be?
 
Instructor: Those type of dreams that a recurring are showing us something. If something keeps repeating, like a recurring dream, it means that we need to see something about ourselves. Now, feeling like one has no control over the body in dreams like in the astral vehicle, to be drunk in that state, could imply that there is a lack of control in one’s daily life. Usually dreams will show us something going on factually, something that is happening in your daily state.
 
So there is a relationship there. You should always examine your dreams in relation to your physical life. If there is a correlation there, then you can have confidence that something is factual here in what you are seeing. So if you feel like you have no control in your dream, examine your life. Examine what is happening throughout your day. Where do you lack ethics in your work?
 
Question: During lucid dreaming, do you recommend talking to other dream characters? I notice that most try to convince me that I am not lucid when I wake up.
 
Instructor: Well, if they are trying to talk you out of being awake, then yes, ignore them. There are a lot of weird entities you can encounter, and most of them are projections of our own mind. So if something is starting to distract you in the astral plane, with practice you learn to say, “Ok, I am going to put this aside. I am going to do something else…” so you maintain continuity of your mindfulness.
 
Question: What about sleep walking? People who go to sleep and within an hour, they get up and walk around a bit with no recollection of it the next day?
 
Instructor: Sure. In terms of sleep walking, I am not an expert. I have known people who have suffered from sleep walking. It is kind of like having one foot in the dream world and one foot in the body, where you are in such a comatose, psychological sleep that you are acting in a way that you are not aware of. It is like you are dreaming while you are awake, in the conventional sense.
 
Now the reality is that sleep walkers are in a profound state of Sushupti, which is the deepest form of psychological unconsciousness. But it is interesting. They can be physically active, but they are not aware of what they are doing. That is a more intensified example of what we do all of the time. Now there are greater intensities to these type of conditions. For us, most people tend to get distracted by certain things in the day. We are not really aware, but a sleep walker, we can see them being unconscious. That is all I can really draw from it. I am not really an expert in that. I know some people can get that treated. Pretty sure there are other sources where people can look.
 
Question: Could it be that they are maybe too identified with their body?
 
Instructor: Well, in the case of a sleep walker, they are identified, or they are in the body, but they are not aware. So yes, they are identified by some psychological quality, and that is a really good point to make because the reason why we sleep, in a spiritual sense, in a psychic sense, is because we are identified with some psychological condition in us. If we are ruminating in a problem, or stewing in anger, or identified with anger, we feel that we are that identity. We are investing our energy into those extremes. In that way, you lose consciousness of everything else.
 
So in a future lecture, we will talk about awakening consciousness in dreams, especially, awakening in dreams. We will talk about what it means to identify, where you lose awareness for yourself. Perhaps you are walking down the street and you see some kind of item in a store. Perhaps you go by a book store―that is kind of my guilty pleasure. I will see a book on a shelf, and my energy, my attention, is drawn to it, where I want to go into the store perhaps. If I am not paying attention, I can get distracted by my desire to go explore.
 
That is identifying and that leads to sleep. There are ways to train against that. So a sleep walker is identified with something, but even they are not aware because they are so unconscious.
 
Question: Can you speak about the arcana, after the first twenty-two? Why are there minor arcana?
 
Instructor: So the minor arcana are really an important part of the whole Tarot. We focus very extensively on the twenty-two major arcana because those are the main laws that we investigate. They are really the essential structures of reality. Now for example, the twenty-two arcana, we can associate them with the twenty-two Hebrew letters, and the twenty-two Hebrew letters relate to these twenty-two cards. Just because we synthesize everything into twenty-two characters does not mean that we do not look at the other fifty-six.
 
Now the fifty-six minor arcana are really important, in that they unpack the nuance of the original major arcana. When you get a Tarot reading for example, whatever major arcanum you receive, that kind of sets the tone for the larger picture. But then how does it apply to you life? How does it relate to different circumstances? How does it show you what is happening in your spiritual work? Those minor arcana clarify the context of those things, and they are really powerful intuitive messages and principles. We sum up everything to the twenty-two cards because those are the main building blocks for everything. But the minor fifty-six arcana are also really important to elaborate what is going on.
 
Question: I woke in my dreams, but I end up going straight to the hell realms. People, or entities there, kept grabbing or holding me. I tried various techniques to get rid of them, but their response was that they cannot be banished anywhere, because I came to them. I woke up with one still grabbing on to me and I could still see its face. Is it possible to bring entities from the lower realms back to this dimension?
 
Instructor: I would say in most people, no. There have been certain magicians or practitioners who learned to manifest the astral within the physical, and that takes a certain type of work and discipline. Now sometimes when we wake up physically from a dream, like a nightmare like that or a very intense experience, we still have the residue on us. We are still enmeshed in the dream when we are physically awake. So you might feel a psychic sensation when you are physically awake when you transition back.
 
I would say, from that experience, it sounds a lot like your own egos, your own defects. You were shown, and they told you that you came to them. It is true. We created the ego, and we gravitate to our own negative conditions of mind because of our own will. It depends on how we want to act. We have a choice in everything.
 
Now since we understand the teachings and the ways to remedy the problem, we learn to face our own particular karma or situation that we are now in, not with defeatism or with the feeling that “I am such a bad person,” or “I cannot make it.” But instead, we have the tools and we know right from wrong. We can act and change the situation. But unless you are someone like Iamblichus, like a real powerful theurgist, a magician who can invoke angels into the physical world, I would not necessarily fear of having a dream like that and suddenly your own egos are going to come after you from the infernal worlds. The reality is that even though they physically not going to appear, they are with you all of the time in your mind. So the solution is, just be patient.
 
Question: The statement that you can awaken positively or negatively is extremely intense. Can you give more details? Can a person awaken negatively by accident, meaning without absolute intent, and understanding of what is happening, or do they have to want that to happen? The Essence is always the innocent victim of egos, so I have a hard time understanding these two seemingly opposite ideas. Does that negatively awakened state eventually end?
 
Instructor: Good question. Now for a lot of us in these types of studies, we tend to carry with us certain defects from past existences. So even if physically we may have not dabbled in black magic or negative arts, it is rare to find someone who does not have that ego. Now for a lot of us who have so much condition of mind, it is very easy to simply push us over the edge, because as Samael Aun Weor mentioned, we are typically 97% ego and 3% free. The 3% needs to learn how to work on the other 97%k like the story of David and the Goliath. David conquered because he had faith in God and a pebble―a powerful allegory.
 
Now there are people who willingly and intentionally know that they are practicing that kind of art, and they enter into it with full consciousness or they enter into it knowingly, that these exercises are going to awaken them. Because they have those experiences, even though they are within conditioning in hell, they think it is positive. They do not discriminate what they see. For most of us who are in Gnosis, who have dabbled in that type of thing in past existences, we might have an encounter with another entity who seeing our weakness, our vulnerabilities, and can target us. That is exactly the way that these type of situations work, where a black magician will look for a weakness in your defenses, psychologically speaking, in order to pull you or to awaken you negatively.
 
So sometimes that can happen against our will, in the sense like, perhaps, we are confronted by a black magician and they can disarm us and take our consciousness, especially by grabbing your solar plexus, which is a very venerable area. They take your consciousness and they awaken you within your ego.
 
But that does not mean it is going to be a permanent state, because you can conjure and get your way out of it. You can defend yourself, get out, and you can return to your physical body and be fine. The reality is that, because we have these weaknesses, it does not take much to trigger us in certain situations. But it does not mean it is going to last forever. You can get insight and guidance from a divinity to help you, especially if you are feeling tested or tempted internally by these negative entities.
 
Personally, I have encountered a lot of them in my work. I have received guidance internally from my inner Being who was comforting me, especially after certain situations that were very painful where I felt very defeated, like I got beat up by a sorcerer. My Being told me, “You have nothing to worry about.” It is a learning experience. So be patient.
 
Question: Can we meet our ancestors, or loved ones during astral projection? Would they have information specifically about us or current conditions on earth?
 
Instructor: They can. It depends on their level of being. There is an assumption in Judeo- Christianity, and even in Islam, that when we die, we are going to go into the afterlife with awareness. But that is not true. It is not based on the scriptures. So we can meet loved ones. Personally, I have met family who have died before. I found them in the astral plane, but they were not awake. They did not know they were dead. That is the case with a lot of people who die. So if you really want to learn about situations on earth and about life, it is good to relate to awakened beings, awakened masters. Sometimes people have recorded moments in their near-death experiences or astral projections where they have met family and loved ones who were comforting them with a lot of light, showing them a strong presence of divinity inside, who were inspiring them that there is something more to life than just bank accounts.
 
My personal experience with having seen certain family members in the astral has been divinity often takes on forms familiar to us, out of comfort. For example, I have met people in the astral who appeared as a relative of mine in order to demonstrate that there is a person in my physical life who is like a brother to me, or like a sister. It is a symbol. Sometimes when people have these types of experiences, they come back to their body and they think that their loved one is awake in the astral plane. But it could be that divinity was just teaching them and giving them a lot of comfort or support through a familiar figure. So there is that dynamic too. But each person needs to analyze and discriminate for themselves to really understand what is going on here.
 
Question: Doing some of the practices, I am learning that I am having less lucid or mystical dreams now. Could it be that prior to the exercises I was having lucid dreams based on the ego, and now that I am going back to the basics to build up in the proper way, is it more aligning to an Egregore?
 
Instructor: You have to discriminate in yourself. Look at the facts. Examine your quality of life. Now divinity will give us experiences, will help us have those experiences when he wants. There are ebbs and flows in perception, in experiences. In the beginning, we tend to get a lot of light. Divinity inspires us with experiences to push us to want to study these things. But you may find that while practicing the knowledge, suddenly you do not have experiences, and there is an interesting dynamic here. Light comes and goes. There are periods of light and darkness, sun and moon, so to speak, philosophically speaking.
 
The thing to remember is that the practices do not put one to sleep, but there are many factors that go in to play. What is the karma of you situation? What does your Being want for you? Sometimes having experiences can be a problem. Having lots of visions and thinking one is a god, and therefore God says, “You are a megalomaniac,” meaning, you are too proud. Therefore, they cut it off from you.
 
We learn by bringing light into our own darkness, not by being in the heavens, so to speak. So look to your karma. Investigate it. Pray to your Being. What does he want for you? Be patient, because those types of experiences come and go when the conditions are ripe, when they are necessary.
 
I thank you all for coming. We appreciate our online audience, and we will continue next month. Thank you!​
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<![CDATA[Trauma and Spiritual Healing]]>Sat, 26 Jun 2021 05:00:00 GMThttp://chicagognosis.org/lectures/trauma-and-spiritual-healing
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In the Gnostic teachings, we talk a lot about suffering. In fact, if you are familiar at all with Buddhism, the first of the Four Noble Truths is that life is suffering. That in our existence, in our craving and desiring after different aspects and experiences of life, we are actually suffering intensely, but we are asleep to this. We are not aware of it.
 
Today, will be talking about trauma, and trauma is unique in that it is an experience that cannot be easily denied and that brings us directly into consciousness of suffering. If you have ever experienced something so traumatic, that the pain stuck with you even after the event had passed, or maybe now that pain has shaped your life in a very impactful way, then you understand that you have some consciousness of what suffering truly is. So you, in your own sense, have awakened some level of gnosis.
 
Gnosis γνῶσις is a Greek word that means knowledge, but not knowledge from a book. It is knowledge that is experiential. In this tradition, we often talk about striving for gnosis as direct experience of divinity. How do we have awakened experiences internally in the astral plane? How do we see and talk to God face-to-face and receive answers, not just pray but actually have that connection alive and awake within us?

So when we talk about cultivating gnosis, it is something that we really deeply know not just intellectually, but with all of our being. A trauma is interesting, because it is an experience of suffering that often manifests itself in the body. Even rationally we might say, "Well I should be over that, or that shouldn't have impacted me that much, or I don't want to act like this and respond with this much intensity to experiences anymore just because I was traumatized in the past.” Even with that rational resistance to it, we still tense up. We still feel the bodily sensations associated with the pain that we have gone through, and emotionally if you have known anyone who has been traumatized, or if you yourself have experienced trauma, it carries a heavy weight as well.
 
That is why I say it is a type of knowledge or gnosis that cannot be denied, no matter how much our rational mind tries to deny it and say, “This didn't happen to me! This wasn't a big deal. This shouldn't have affected me this much.” It really is a chance for us to wake up. In many ways, trauma can be a wake-up call: a chance for us to say, "There is something in life, in my life, that is fundamentally wrong. This suffering needs to be changed."

Trauma can be a chance for us to explore, to seek more answers, to try to find a way to change. For many people, they seek more existential routes to solve their problems. They seek to find a spiritual answer for why people have to suffer some horrible things such as rape, sexual assault, child abuse, even things like divorce: things that can be so painful emotionally, physically, etc.
 
So on the one hand, trauma presents us with an opportunity to radically change our lives, but for many people, it is very difficult to find answers or things that really work to make a change in their life, to really address their suffering. In those cases, trauma often becomes more of a burden, or an obstacle―something that only pushes us deeper into suffering. Perhaps a parent's problems with addiction, when we were a child, now causes us to struggle with addiction, as an example. How do we take the risks associated with trauma and try to transform them through a form of spiritual alchemy, into an opportunity for us to rise above suffering to become stronger, to become more wise, more aware of ourselves and of the mysteries of life?

​Medical and Psychological Correlations of Trauma

When we talk about trauma, there are some interesting correlations between a medical or psychological, you know, mainstream definition of trauma, and the more esoteric or spiritual significance of trauma that I am going to discuss today.
 
Starting with a conventional understanding of trauma, we can look at the causes of trauma. In the field of psychology, it is often referred to as “Big-T” Trauma or “little-t” trauma. We acknowledge that sometimes events that seem not so significant to many people―for example a break up when someone is a teenager and feels very unloved―can often be dismissed as not a big deal by adults who don't really have that same perspective on life at that point. That would probably be considered a “little-t” trauma. It still has an impact on us. It still has an effect and many lasting effects often on the way that we would look for, in this example, at relationships in our future.
 
But it might not be considered a “Big T” Trauma. “Big T” trauma would be something like going to war and watching your best friend killed beside you, or experiencing a sexual assault, or perhaps being in a terrifying car accident. These types of long-term abuse or very traumatic incidents can be both considered trauma.
 
Now many times different people can go through the same event and have a different response to it. What this is frequently associated with is the characteristic of resilience. Resilience still remains a bit of a mystery for psychologists, but there is a lot of research pointing to the family structure and the early childhood environment as a major factor in terms of trauma, resilience. So if someone had a very stable and loving family environment, then they might experience traumatic events with more resilience, especially if they had at least one adult figure that was a stable caregiver in their life, versus people who had a lot more instability. Perhaps neglect or abuse in the home can make it much harder for victims to have resilience in a variety of different difficult situations. 

​Situational and Chronic Trauma

I also want to point out that trauma can be both situational and chronic. Now this impacts the brain in a very different way. Situational trauma is usually when someone is already an adult and they have an experience, that is a situation or maybe a few situations, that produce post-traumatic stress disorder. As given in the example, seeing someone's best friend die right beside them will be an example of situational trauma, and that this actually does damage the brain. It does have a psychological impact on the brain, but it is different from chronic trauma. 
 
Chronic trauma is usually associated with childhood. It happens over a period of years. It could be years of childhood abuse, verbal abuse, sexual abuse, etc. This actually changes the whole structure of the brain and the way that the brain develops, so that that individual's personality now has a new structure, so the way that they even interface with the world will be very heavily impacted by the trauma that they went through over the course of those years.
 
Much of that has to do with the fight for survival. If you are coming home to an abusive home as a child, there is a feeling of helplessness. There is a feeling of never knowing what to expect, if today is going to be a good day or a bad day. So that puts tremendous stress on the body, on the nervous system. In that case, the brain has to reorient itself to find a way to survive―to find adaptive coping behaviors that, perhaps later on in life, will seem maladaptive to new situations where the threat isn't so real.

​Commission versus Omission

Finally, there is trauma that happens via commission or via omission. Often we think of trauma as someone committing an act to me that makes me feel out of control. Being assaulted on the street would be an act of commission that could be traumatic for people. Give people a real sense of helplessness, and “I don't know if I have control over my life. How can I know that it is safe anywhere to go?”
 
Trauma of omission would be a lack of the needs that a person has. Omission could be childhood neglect or constant blame and that feeling of not being good enough. The absence of what someone needs also gets processed into the brain as a trauma and changes our brain structure. 
 
As I mentioned here on the slide, trauma affects the nervous system and the neural structure. One good thing is that neuroscience now has so much evidence that even past the age of our mid-20s, we are still able to restructure our brain and meditation is a tremendous tool to be able to do so. So even though trauma codes itself and creates neural pathways that are very deeply ingrained through prolonged and continuous work, one is able to redirect and to kind of cut away those negative pathways, and produce new positive pathways that change your whole perception of reality, that also, by changing your outlook on reality, change the way that you respond to it. 

​Fight, Flight, and Freeze Responses to Reality

So perhaps you will not have one of these fight, flight, or freeze responses to situations. Take for example a woman who was in a domestic abusive partnership, where you know, continually, she had to be on her guard in order to defend herself from potential attacks from her partner. Now later on, she might enter into another relationship where the partner is loving and supportive, but little things may set this woman off to respond in a very aggressive way―that would be the fight response. To become completely withdrawn and cold towards her partner would be the flight response―or to freeze, to just totally dissociate, to become emotionally numb to the situation that she is in. So that is just one clear example of how that might manifest, but depending on the trauma, these responses can look a little bit different as you can imagine.
 
Given that those types of responses are what are programmed into the lower levels of the brain, the more instinctive levels of the brain, which is what becomes activated, it affects the entire nervous system and produces instinctive reactions without the ability to truly think consciously. To have that higher thinking process where you say “Hmm… maybe I'm overreacting about this situation; I should calm down; I should look at it more objectively”―when the amygdala, or the lower part of the brain gets activated, it is actually very, very difficult to be able to control oneself and to override that response, because it is such a deep primal part of the brain.
 
However, we do know that through meditation, as I mentioned before, we are able to gradually develop pathways and strengthen pathways that do allow us a bit of separation in those moments, and to repair the damaged parts of our brains so that we can respond in better ways. 
 
For many people, trauma leads to what seemed to other people as irrational reactions. In that person's shoes, perhaps they don't even realize that they are traumatized. Perhaps they feel genuinely in this situation, “It is life or death for me. I need to defend myself. I need to survive,” and so they respond with an extreme reaction to the situation. But for someone else who standing around, who doesn't have that same experience of trauma, they may not understand why this person is freaking out about a certain situation.

​The Spiritual Impact of Trauma

Now if we step into a more esoteric understanding drawing upon teachings from the Gnostic tradition―which we have many lectures about as well, if you'd like to learn more about these―we understand trauma and the way that trauma happens in a different way. So yes, it is true all the stuff that I just talked about―the biological impact of trauma―but more importantly for our concerns is the spiritual impact of trauma.
 
When we experience life as a consciousness, as a soul that is perceiving different aspects in nature, we experience a variety of sensations as impressions. Now you can live for certain amount of time without food, without water, and even without air, but you can't exist without impressions. Even if you go off to one of the sensory deprivation tanks, still in your mind, there are impressions. There is an impression of darkness where there are thoughts.
 
Impressions both come to us from our environment externally and are impressing upon our consciousness and our perception, but they also come internally. So it may be that we almost step into the road and a bus coming by scares us, and that is an impression that strikes the consciousness, but the result that is produced within us, the fear, the instinctive pull of the body back, you know, the thought of “Oh my gosh, I could have just died right there!”―all of those things are also impressions.
 
This shows us that the consciousness, that which perceives within us, is separate from the body, separate from the heart, and separate from the mind. It perceives these aspects of ourselves: thoughts, emotions, physical sensations, experiences in our external world, but it is separate from them. This is very important, because when we try to meditate, meditation is not just to sit on a cushion and to zone out, but to activate the consciousness that is beyond thought, feeling, and body.
 
We have to have that fundamental understanding that we are not our thoughts. We are not our emotions. We are not our bodies. We are perceiving them, but they are impressions, and we do have the conscious ability to take a step back from them and perceive them without being so identified with, “I am angry. This anger is me. I must act on it!” I have no other choice but to separate a little bit and to realize, “I am feeling anger. I am experiencing anger and right now I have the choice if I want to believe that this anger is worth doing these acts and maybe later on I'll regret, or if this anger is something I can let go of and choose a different path―using my free will.”

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When we talk about the human machine, we understand that for most people, probably all of us here, we are much more mechanical than we are conscious. Like in the example I gave of the bus driving by―that happens in a split second and you react to it. There is no conscious choice in, “Am I going to jump back from that bus? Am I going to feel afraid? Am I going to think these thoughts afterwards?” It just happens. The impression comes in.
 
The brain, which we would call the intellectual center or the intellectual brain, is one part of us. We also have emotions, the heart, the emotional brain, emotional center in the body, and the motor-instinctive-sexual center of our body related with the spine. With those instincts in the lower brain, those three centers respond immediately, instantaneously to those reactions.
 
In most cases, the motor-instinctive-sexual center is the fastest brain, and we know that the nervous system is throughout the entire body and responds instinctively before your brain can even think or send a message. You touch a hot stove. Your hand pulls off before you can even think about it. That is the fastest brain.
 
The emotional brain is the second fastest. Emotions often come before we have time to process what is really happening to us and think about it rationally, and you know, there is a lot of research on how the heart is actually sending many more messages to the brain, and can actually have a bit of precognition. It can actually respond to something before it even happens.
 
Then finally, the intellectual center of the brain. So, most of us think, “Well, I am a rational person. I respond to life from logic and I am not going to act irrationally. I am not going to respond emotionally or instinctively, you know.  I am an educated person” or whatever the case may be. But the truth is, given a certain experience, you will see that we are designed to survive―that we are designed like machines.
 
A stimulus comes in and we respond to it without thought. Why this is important is because the part of us, the consciousness, the part of us that is our soul, that is eternal, is the part we want to activate, because with the consciousness we can achieve that separation and we can respond to life with free will, with choice―not just according to our conditioning―not just “this happened to me when I was kid and this is the way I was raised and so I have no other choice but to respond in this pre-programmed way.”
 
We actually have a choice about “who do I want to be” and “how do I actually do that in the moment.” The consciousness, when it is awakened, is much, much faster than any of these three centers, but awakening the consciousness requires certain conditions that we are going to talk about in a few minutes. 

​The Transformation of Impressions and Psychological Disequilibrium

Now, when we receive impressions in the consciousness and it is not awake, this produces a disequilibrium in us, and especially over time, since most of us are running on autopilot much of the time. We are not even aware of this deep disequilibrium. We think, “Well, that's just the way that I am. If I perceive somebody to be disrespecting me, I am just going to respond like that because that's my character.”
 
But truly, it may be that throughout our life, we have received impressions and never transformed them. We have never looked within ourselves to say, “What is happening in me when I perceive that somebody is disrespecting me and what is causing me to respond? Do I have a choice to perhaps sink to their level and respond in kind, or to rise above it and be the type of person that maybe I'd prefer to be?”
 
That is why I say here, and we teach in our tradition, that untransformed impressions lead to conditioned behavior and thoughts. If we want to live as a free-willed individual, we cannot be living according to the program that has been conditioned into us. If we want to have the choice to pursue a path of enlightenment, just like Buddha or Krishna,  Moses, Jesus, any of these great spiritual figures who at one point were just like us, then we need to begin to radically take control over our situation. We need to stop being who we are and open up the pathways of action that allow us to become someone new.
 
That is why meditation is essential spiritual practice.
 
Now, if you are not from an eastern religious tradition, meditation may take the form as contemplation or prayer, but regardless, we say that meditation is not about necessarily your posture, although posture, incense, those types of things of course can be helpful. Meditation is really about your state of consciousness. You may be walking about through the world and have the consciousness awake, and this can be meditation. If you have experienced a very intense situation where you suddenly felt extremely awake, that may be spontaneous experience of meditation, but we want to, of course, work with the science of meditation to learn the conditions to be able to produce it regularly. 
 
So here, our problem of trauma is that we have we have impressions coming in all the time that aren't transformed and they are conditioning us to feel certain ways, to think certain thoughts, and to respond and behave in certain ways. If we don't want to spend our lives on repeat, feeling the same emotions day after day, thinking the same thoughts day after day, repeating the same reactions and behaviors day after day; if we really want to create a new life for ourselves, then we need to be able to wake up our consciousness.
 
The founder of our Gnostic tradition, Samael Aun Weor, makes a very powerful and simple statement about all of this. About receiving impressions in our life.
To change one's life is really to change one's own reactions towards it. ―Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
A lot of us have the mentality that life is just happening to me―and yes, it is true that our environment, our situation, the different systems in our world, do have an impact on our life, absolutely. But, what really determines the quality of our life is our response to it.
 
So if one impression strikes us in a certain way and produces negativity, then we are having a negative experience of life. If we can take that same impression and experience something more positive, like gratitude or understanding, then we have changed our experience of life. Fundamentally, life is not about what objectively happens to us out in the physical world. It is about the way that we experience it.
 
We see individuals who have been through intense hardship―war zones, like I said, trauma, childhood abuse―who have been able to transcend that and really have gratitude and experienced a lot of positive emotions in their lives.
 
Then we have individuals who have been, you know, born into wealth, and you can see that they are really miserable people. They can complain about a lot of things. Now, of course, there is every gray area in between. Not everybody who is rich is miserable. Of course, I am not going to say that, but we see that it really depends on the quality of the person in that experience, more than it depends on the situation. So, we have a habit of thinking, “Well, I am only going to be happy if this and this and this situation happens to me,” which is most of the time, out of our control.

​The Gnostic Esoteric Work

In our spiritual work, we are trying very hard to flip that mentality into, “I am going to be happy if I can really come to understand my situation in life and consciously choose how I am going to respond to it.” This is a process. This is not just wishful thinking of, “Oh, okay I have been traumatized and I am just going to be happy about it.” It is not about belief. It is something much deeper.
 
So, to get into that, we are going to talk about: what is this work? I say it is a work because it requires a lot of effort, especially deep traumas that happened over the course of years. This is not something that is going to be erased overnight. Even, you know, from a materialistic psychological standpoint, to reverse the effects of trauma in the brain as you create new neural pathways takes a long time and a lot of work.
 
If we have experienced trauma and have a genuine longing to be free, we are willing to do the work. We want to be free from the suffering and we genuinely say, “This is a point in my life where I am turning it around. I am going to radically try to take control of my life and try something new.” Then we can begin to work with these methods.
 
The methods themselves are quite simple in theory, but to truly put our conscious effort into it is what depends on us. It is not about whether the method will work as much as it is about our willingness to continuously apply it and to give it, you know, give it the time it takes to work.

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​The Magic of the Roses

In Samael Aun Weor's book, Esoteric Medicine and Practical Magic―as you can see we have copies of the books over there―he teaches one remedy that is called the magic of the roses.
 
This is what I give as a precursor, because many people who are experiencing trauma, if they even begin to think about that trauma, or if some situation in their life comes and triggers the pain from the past, they are overwhelmed with emotion and pain. From that state, it is very difficult to cultivate the stability needed to be able to truly meditate and try to go deeper into changing ourselves.
 
So, this remedy is a natural remedy for us to heal spiritual and emotional pain and trauma: you know the loss of a loved one, a painful breakup, or even dealing with the after-effects of abuse, self-hatred, etc.
 
To work with the magic of the roses, one takes three glasses or water, pure water, of course, being better if you're able to, and then places one rose in each glass.
 
Position one glass facing the north, one glass facing the east, one glass facing the west.
 
Ideally if you have an altar or a spiritual place where you like to meditate or pray in your home, you would place these glasses there and you would sit and you would genuinely pray―reaching out to your inner divinity, whatever form that may take for you that is most powerful: Jesus or Buddha or the Divine Mother, Divine Father, whatever that may be, and pray for healing. Pray to bless these roses and to give you the healing.
 
Then, drink in the morning before breakfast the glass facing the east, and in the afternoon before lunch, the glass facing the north, and before dinner the glass facing the west.
 
You can refill the glasses and repeat the process for as many days as needed, until you feel like you are feeling better.
 
Now, what is important to point out here is that this is the magic of the roses. So, if we are seriously trying to work with magic or a mystical practice, an esoteric practice, we need a certain type of energy. This is not just based on belief, but it is based on our own quality of consciousness. For one thing, it matters how much you are really conscious and sincere in your prayer to be healed. For another thing, you also will need to utilize a very powerful force. 
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​Sexual Energy: The Most Powerful Force for Healing

When we think about the most powerful energy within our bodies, it is the sexual energy. What can move people to chase after a desire so passionately, with so much energy over such a prolonged period of time, as much as sexual desire, right?
 
Sexual energy is the synthesis of everything that we are physically, emotionally, mentally. The things that we have experienced, the things that we have seen and thought, all get coded genetically into the DNA of our sexual cells. This sexual energy is not just the synthesis of who we are in a physical level, but holds a very special spiritual power.
 
The spiritual power of our sexual energy is the power of God, the power to create life. And yes, we understand this on a basic level, physically. What many people are not aware of is the sexual energy's power to transform and give birth within the psyche to new states of consciousness, the ability to awaken in higher state of consciousness, or if used in a negative way, the sexual energy can be used to awaken in lower realms of consciousness.
 
That is why I put here in the slide about transmutation that we want to transmute the sexual energy with purity―not with lust, but with love. Sexual attraction for most of us is always associated with lust. "If I feel desire for someone, it's in a very lustful way and that's just the only way I can think about that person." But what we are trying to do is take lust, start where we are at―you know, we all have lust―and to transform it through different practices. These are called pranayama in yogic traditions, breathing practices where you consciously take that energy and raise it up the spine into the brain to awaken our consciousness.
 
To use that energy helps us to move from being a lustful person to a truly loving person. Lust is “all about me and what I want in this relationship” or in this exchange with another person. Love is about the concern that “I feel for my partner” or this other individual. Love is being willing to sacrifice “what I want in order to support the happiness of both of us.”
 
Being able to move from that is not an automatic process. It requires a lot of consciousness, and being able to do the work of really changing ourselves into a new type of being is not an automatic process and requires a lot of work. This type of energy gives us the ability to have the equivalent of rocket fuel in our spiritual practice and to awaken in that way.
 
These practices are talked about at length in the book The Perfect Matrimony by Samael Aun Weor. He talks a lot about sexual alchemy, sexual transmutation, sexual purity, and being able to be with one's partner in a way that is loving instead of a way that is lustful. I don't have time today to really dive into it, but we do have the book, or you can read it for free online at Glorian.org [formerly gnosticteachings.org]. I'm just going to take one quote from this book. He says:
Here, we are not dealing with a matter of believing or disbelieving, of considering oneself chosen, or of belonging to such-and-such sect. The question of salvation is very serious. One must work with the grain, with the sexual seed. […] Only from the sexual grain is the Inner Angel born. ―Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony
We look at masters like Jesus, Buddha, Moses, people who had power over nature. This was not an accident. They worked to cultivate it, and from their sexual force was born a tremendous power.
 
All of us have this capacity within ourselves, and it is not a matter of whether or not we believe it's true. It's a matter of if we do the practice and we really work with it, we see the results. We see the changes in our physicality, in our emotional center, in our mind. We see the changes in our conscious experiences: being awakened in the astral plane or in dreams, etc.
 
And so, it is not a matter of belonging to any group. You can be in any type of religion that you want, but it is a matter of really working sincerely with this science.
 
I begin with this practice, transmutation, as the basis, because although much of the work is in the next two practices I am going to talk about when we are trying to resolve our trauma. Without this basis, we can only go so far. Meditation will be helpful, magic of the roses might be helpful, but in order to create a truly permanent change in our consciousness, not just in our mind, or in our mental pathways within our consciousness, in the part of us that will move on to another lifetime, we need something much more powerful. Sexual energy is the root of who we are spiritually and physically.
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​Meditation as Therapy

The real intense work of trying to overcome trauma is in meditation. It is only through meditation that we can deeply comprehend the causes of our suffering. If we have experienced any impression in life, and it seems to be stuck and we are going around and around and around in circles over it, maybe we are thinking about it or we can't stop feeling or reacting to it. Being in meditation―calming the three brains, the mind, the heart, and the body, sitting in relaxation, and achieving the awakening of that consciousness and separating enough from the experiences that we are having emotionally, mentally, or physically―allows us to see what is truly happening to us in a more objective way, to experience it with more consciousness. 
 
There is a whole book about this as well, The Revolution of the Dialectic by Samael Aun Weor. He points out many different techniques for being able to meditate, because if you have ever tried to look at your mind, it is a very complex place, and for most of us when we begin meditating, it is a very chaotic experience.
 
It is like, “I can't pay attention for 5 seconds, how am I supposed to go deeply into comprehending the causes of suffering in my mind?” It takes time to develop relaxation, to find a posture, and you know, an ability to create relaxation within yourself in those three centers.
 
It also takes time to develop concentration, to be able to concentrate on our mind and our experience with such vividness and alertness that we can stay awake even as the body relaxes into sleepiness. 

​Countertransference: The Resistance of the Mind

But in addition to that, we have other challenges, and when it comes to trauma there are a lot of these challenges. The mind has infinite defense mechanisms to protect itself. If you are trying to work on trauma or something that is very painful for you―a wound that you have carried for a very long time―the mind will try to guard itself so that you can't go there.
 
There is a reason that many traumatic memories get repressed, or that we don't like to think about the past and the bad things that happened. It is because the mind is trying to protect itself from pain, you know, this instinct in us, to go automatically towards pleasure and to go away from pain.
 
Unfortunately, just by ignoring something, we don't resolve it. We don't fix it. Meditation, like I said, is really diving in to do the deep work, to create a lasting change in ourselves because our unconscious mind will respond and react to situations before we have time to think about it. So we go deep and we remove those unconscious structures and mechanisms within our consciousness, our psyche. Then we can respond with free will instead of as machines. 
 
Samael Aun Weor writes in The Revolution of the Dialectic:
The difficulty of profound introspective analysis (of our mind) lies in counter-transference. ―Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
Countertransference, when we think about this in a therapeutic setting, a clinical setting, is about reflecting a past trauma on to someone or something outside of us. Let's say that that in that situation of the woman who was in an abusive partnership, in that case she might try to repress that and move on, but when she enters into a new relationship, even if it's a healthy partnership, that will transfer all of that trauma, will transfer onto the new person or transfer onto different traumatic situations and produce the same reactions.
 
So even though objectively, these are two very different people and these situations may be very different, subjectively, within that person's experience of life, it is the same experience.
 
They are not conscious of this. They say, "No, no,” that “it's this guy. He's treating me bad, just like my ex-husband,” or whatever, but really, it is within ourselves that is projected onto life. I want to go back again to that earlier statement about “to change one's life is really to change one's own reaction towards it.” That is the flip side. Even if we have been victimized―which many of us in life have been… there are bad people out there right?―it is to take responsibility for our life and how we are going to react to it anyway.
 
To say, “Even though these terrible things happen to me and these people did this to me, I am not going to sit around and blame other people and persist in my pain. I really want to be free. I really want to say that no matter what happened to me, I want to be free from this and I want to choose how I respond and not be conditioned.” That is why the difficulty is countertransference. Countertransference tries to look everywhere else, but at “me and my experience and how I am responding to this.” It does not want to look at the paint.
 
Samael Aun Weor goes on to say that:
This difficulty of countertransference is eliminated through structural and transactional analysis. ―Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
It sounds very technical, but if we are sitting in meditation and we have achieved enough relaxation, concentration and stability to separate consciously from our experience, from our thoughts, to observe our thoughts―this is not to have a completely silent mind, but to have a silence that observes the mind, observes those thoughts, and observes those emotions in the bodily sensations―then we are able to see that the mind has a certain structure. It has its defenses. It has its walls.
 
In an example, if a man experienced a break up and his partner did something to really hurt him, and then he responded by shutting this person out, trying to put it all in the past, then in that case, one of the structures is, “I don't think about that. That is over. That is in the past. I am over it―all right.” This is one defense. There is a certain structure, and if this person sits in meditation and he tries to look at that and he says, “Well, maybe there still is some pain there; maybe I am not as over it as I thought, because something reminded me today about it and maybe there is some pain there”―the mind will have a transaction.
 
It will move on to some other defense. It will say, “Uh oh! He's getting through this wall.” So what is this other wall? Anger might come up and say, “Well, really I didn't do anything wrong in this situation. She did everything wrong and she was the bad person.” Again, we see the countertransference and the repression, or the ignorance gets transferred over to anger. We think, “Okay, well, I don't want to be this anger. I don't want to blame the other person. I want to be the better person,” then that transaction can move over to pride: “But really, I am a good person and I was so good to her,” and you know, whatever the case may be for any variety of situations.
 
We have to sit there and have gnosis of our own experience: to become deeply conscious of our experience of what happened, not by analyzing in the mind, but observing the structure of the mind and observing the transactions and the movements of the mind, until finally the mind has to stop deflecting and has to just let you look at the thing that you, perhaps, for a long time had not looked at. 
 
That is why Samael Aun Weor goes on to say:
It is important to segregate and to dissolve certain undesirable psychic aggregates that are fixed in our mind in a traumatic matter. ―Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
The aggregates in our mind would be something like that structure of anger, or that structure of repression, or that structure of pride, and they work together like friends. That's the transaction. So we want to set segregate them, to say, “Ah! Okay, well it just deflects it over here, but I am going to go back and I am going to focus on that until I have been able to dissolve it,” to say “I see this for what it is. I recognize and understand why this is here and I can consciously choose to eliminate it; to let it go; to say it's just not true and it has no power over me anymore.”
 
So as I mentioned before, belief, and just pushing it down and thinking positive thoughts, is not enough. We need comprehension. We need to go deeply in meditation and really see it for what it is in order to achieve lasting change. That is why this is a work of months or years, because continually, in our daily life, trauma resurfaces, and continually we have to make that choice: that our work to change ourselves is a priority, and that we are willing, again and again, to go and eliminate the different unconscious mechanisms within ourselves―things that have been fixed there as part of “who I am” in a traumatic matter. We want to make a change to them.
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​Self-Observation and Comprehension of Trauma

Going hand-in-hand with meditation is self-observation, because as I just mentioned, traumas resurface in our daily life. It said in the psychological community that trauma forces someone to live, permanently, stuck in the past. So even if they are somewhat present to their daily life, a part of them is trapped in the past and still responding to the past, trying to prevent from happening what has already happened.
 
If I have already been assaulted, I live constantly trying to prevent getting assaulted rather than being able to go back and look at the pain that is there and heal it, and let the wound heal. Comprehend it for what it is. Truly grieve for “what I have been through” and be able to let it go, rather than living as if it is still a threat currently “happening to me.” And so when we go in meditation, this is based on our self-observation: on the things that we see come up in ourselves every day.

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​The Traumatic Causes of Karma in Past Lives

In Tarot and Kabbalah, Samael Aun Weor writes:
We need to make ourselves conscious of our own karma. This is only possible through the state of alert novelty. ―Samael Aun Weor, Tarot and Kabbalah
Alert novelty is being conscious and being awake to “what is happening to me,” not just externally, but “what am I feeling? What am I thinking? How is my body responding?” Becoming aware of your body in the chair and how you are feeling emotionally? And what thoughts are popping into your mind? Not just now, but in every moment. That takes tremendous energy, which again, is another reason why sexual transmutation gives us the fuel that we really need to be able to stay awake consciously throughout the day.
 
Now when he is talking about karma here, karma comes from the root karman, which means: “action and consequence, cause and effect.” So maybe our mainstream idea of karma is just, "Oh, you did something bad to somebody; something bad is going to happen to you!” But a much more scientific understanding of karma, for our terms, is that there is no action that does not produce a consequence.
 
You can't throw a rock into a pool of water without producing ripples. Now the shape of that consequence may take, or the time it may take for that consequence to fully bloom, that can be variable. But everything you do, everything you think, everything you feel has an effect. If you feel anger and you think angry thoughts, even if you don't act on it, it will change the way that you interact with the person you are angry with. At some point it might even bubble up and express itself fully, may be in a worse way for being repressed. Everything in our life produces some consequence, and that is why it is even more critical to be able to become conscious of our response to life, because we might not be able to change what we have done in this life up to now, or even in past lives, but we can change what we are doing now that will alter the future of this lifetime and future lifetimes. 
 
He goes on to say that:
Every effect in life, every event, has its cause in a previous life; but we need to become conscious of this. ―Samael Aun Weor, Tarot and Kabbalah
If you are really working with meditation, and I say this from my own experience, and you meditate on a trauma, and you go deep enough, you will see causes in previous lifetimes. I can give an example of a painful relationship that I was in where, again and again, no matter how much I tried to change this person, this man and I would continually repeat the same types of behaviors towards each other. As much as we might have cared for each other, it continually remained a toxic relationship.
 
And so, you know, years after the fact when I am trying to go on and live my life, this keeps resurfacing for me. I am studying the Gnostic teachings. I am working with these practices, transmutation, meditations, etc., and I say “Okay, well, here is a perfect example. This is something I definitely want to change” by going deeply in meditation and understanding, on a regular basis, you know, really working on this day to day until I could get deeper and deeper.
 
First getting through the defense mechanisms, then getting into “Well, how am I really feeling?” Because I have pushed it down and denied it for so long, I haven't even objectively seen my experience, until finally going deeper into what caused this. Why would something like this happen? Why did I have to be stuck in so much pain for so long? And being able to see through astral experiences the exact actions that I had done in multiple previous lives, and that this person had done in multiple previous lives, that caught us in that pattern.
 
Now this was something that I didn't necessarily believe in or expect to happen. I totally felt like, “Well, this just happened to me, whether or not I believe in past lives. This happened because he was a bad person and I was young” or whatever. But to truly go and have an experience so vividly where I saw, instantaneously, those multiple past lives―with those multiple transgressions in different bodies and different times, but seeing the same energetic cycle―was shocking for me.
 
It produced a type of comprehension that really was so deep, I was able to fundamentally alter the way that I looked at myself, because I never saw myself really, deeply, as the aggressor. As much as I might have said, “Well, yeah, I did bad things… I really felt victimized,” it hurt. But when I saw “Oh my gosh! I did that in past lives” and I knew from the experience and how vivid it was, how true it was that I was really there, I wept with remorse, because I would have done anything I could to have changed that and to not have hurt this other person that I cared for.
 
But you know, we have to work from where we are at now.
 
So when we become deeply conscious through self-observation, through what is coming up in our current life, and also through meditation, through going deeply, day after day, into deeper states of meditation, deeper states of consciousness and comprehension, it can produce a fundamental shift. I say that, and I probably still have more work to do on that particular one, but I have profoundly changed, and in a permanent way, which wouldn't be possible for me to react in some of the ways that I had before.
 
He goes on in Tarot and Kabbalah, saying:
The law of action and consequence governs the course of our varied existences, and each life is the result of the previous one. ―Samael Aun Weor, Tarot and Kabbalah
Now we see repetition on a daily basis. We see that, “Yeah, you know, when I get in these types of situations, I tend to act the same way. Even if I am trying to change.” We see this in our current life, but even more fundamentally, in past lives, we followed very similar trajectories, because the same energy propelled us. The same desires, the same fears, the same vices, and even the same virtues, in some cases, provoked us to repeat the same patterns.
 
What we want to do is become conscious of what is propelling us in this lifetime, in this moment, and to have a conscious choice over “which direction do I want to go? Do I want to continue to get stuck in deeper and deeper suffering, to keep doing things that hurt others and hurt myself? Or do I want to change the trajectory of that energy so that the rest of my lifetime or future lifetimes is much improved from this one?”
 
Samael Aun Weor writes:
Karma is the law of compensation, not of vengeance. ―Samael Aun Weor, Tarot and Kabbalah
It is cause and effect. It is not some evil old man in the clouds trying to shoot down lightning bolts at you because he is mad at you, because you are a terrible sinner. It is cause and effect. You send an energy into motion to be angry at someone and to hurt someone, and that energy produced effects in that person, produce effects in the environment, and at some point in time, those effects come back. Because when you are angry at somebody and you hurt them, unless they are very awake and they can transform them, that unconscious effect on them produces effects that they want to respond to you with anger, with pain, to make you feel what they feel. This happens in all actions.
There are some who confuse this cosmic law with detriment and even with fatality, believing that everything that happens to the human being in life is inexorably determined beforehand. It is true that the acts of the human being are determined by inheritance, education, and the environment. Yet, it is also true that the human being has free will and can modify his actions to educate his character, to form superior habits, to fight against weaknesses, to fertilize virtues, etc. Karma is a medicine that is applied unto us for our own good. ―Samael Aun Weor, Tarot and Kabbalah
Karma is an opportunity that comes with risks.  Karma provides us with the opportunity to see ourselves in a new way―to wake up to our suffering and to change. What did I do to produce this? Maybe not in this lifetime, but in previous lifetimes, and what can I do to change it, if I awake consciousness and respond in a new way? But it also comes with the risk of just getting more identified with that intense pain and going deeper and deeper into suffering, continuing the downward spiral.
 
And he concludes with quite a bit of severity:
Disgracefully, instead of bowing with reverence before the internal living God, people protest, blaspheme, they justify themselves, they stubbornly excuse themselves and wash their hands like Pilate. Karma is not modified with such protests; on the contrary, it becomes harder and more severe. ―Samael Aun Weor, Tarot and Kabbalah
No matter how much we might resist karma or be mad about our situation or say, “Well, I was a good person and I didn't deserve this,” and “Why is this happening?” and yell at our inner God―it won't change cause and effect. It is not going to change the energies in nature that are coming to manifest for us. We will reap what we sow. If we do good deeds that produce harmony in our environment, that produces happiness and other people, they will respond to us with that happiness.
 
Now, maybe not immediately, but it is a given that any energy you put into motion has an effect. A lot of times, it takes months or years for the good effects to manifest. So, we have to really stick with it and be tenacious because, we have done, you know, all of us have done bad things in our life; thought bad things about bad things; acted in harmful ways; hurt people. So, you know, unfortunately, I said, we can't undo the past, but we can choose right now to respond to our present life in a new way to change our future. 
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​Selfless Service and Sacrifice: The Transformation of Suffering

Finally, the last force that we work with, to truly transform our trauma, is sacrifice for others, particularly those who suffer similarly to us.
 
We have talked about how we need transmutation to have the energy and the spiritual power to become someone new, to become conscious in new ways.
 
We need meditation to go deeply to get rid of the conditioning that makes us the same old person, on repeat, all the time.
 
And finally, we need the power of sacrifice, because these are the actions that help us to create those new energies in motion, so that we don't encounter those same negative experiences that re-traumatize us, but so that we can get the healing that we want.
 
As you sow you will also reap. So, if we want to heal from our trauma, we need to begin by healing others.
 
I want to preface this with a bit of caution, in that if you are in a very traumatized state and you are feeling overwhelmed, be careful what types of situations you put yourself into until you have some healing. If you have healthy and stable relationships in your life, you can begin to really do this work and go deeply in yourself, but if not, it can be unsettling especially early on.
 
It is very difficult to manage unless we have a real strength of consciousness in our meditation practice. If you don't have anyone you feel is a stable and healthy support in your life, it can be helpful to see a therapist, or to see someone that specializes in trauma, who understands the process and can be there to support you. You have to do the work, and every therapist will agree that you only get out of therapy the amount of effort you are willing to put into it.
 
But it is really necessary to have some source of stability, because as a consciousness, most of us, are very weak, and there are a lot of Impressions coming in our lives, so we want to keep ourselves, in the beginning, in situations that are positive impressions: healthy places to go; good people to be around; healthy types of music or activities or yoga, things like that, that bring us stability, rather than, you know, going into bars, or places where you know it is dangerous, if you are able to.
 
Not all of us have that luxury, I understand, so doing what we can to produce stability before we really deeply dive into working on our trauma, sacrificing for others, it depends on us and our situation and our willingness. What am I willing to really do to serve other people ? If we have the strength and we start to work on ourselves and we get to a good place, what am I really willing to do to not just serve other people, but to sacrifice for other people? To go above and beyond what is expected of me as a good citizen and to really expend something of my heart, or my time, or my talents, in the benefit of other people―this is what is the true power that produces great change.
 
However, as stated in Tarot and Kabbalah:
Many people who suffer only remember their bitterness and wish to find a remedy. But, they do not remember the suffering of others; neither do they remotely think of remedying the needs of their neighbors. ―Samael Aun Weor, Tarot and Kabbalah
When we are in intense pain, that is usually all we can think about: how much I am suffering as a self. Now, if you get into some of the more esoteric teachings of Buddhism and Eastern teachings, you come to understand that there is no such thing as a self, and yet we deeply believe ourselves to be an individual who has such and such experiences, who reacts in such and such a way. 
 
The psyche itself is egotistical. It maintains an illusion of “This is who I am” and “this is how I feel” and “this is what I think.” The consciousness is beyond that, but when the consciousness is asleep, it is fused with the psyche in such a way that it feels very strongly that “This is who I am. That is my existence.” And again, that is why it's important to be able to separate the consciousness a little bit in meditation, to observe the self, not as me, but as a structure or as an entity that can be separated from me. That can be observed as its own individual person with its own feelings and wills, and to be able to do that requires a good deal of stability, concentration, relaxation, and meditation. 
 
So when we are trapped in that egotistical prison, a feeling like, “Oh my gosh, everything bad is happening to me! This happened and then years later this happened, and this keeps happening!”―that pain is so intense it is nearly impossible to think about anybody else and anybody else who is suffering. Yet, we should take the time to really think about how much other people are suffering, not as a way of comparing: “Oh, well, I have got it worse than those people or they are worse than me” and making ourselves feel guilty, but to just truly comprehend it and feel it deeply in ourselves. This is to feel the pain of other people, empathize with that, and wish, “I wish things on this planet were better and not so many people were suffering.” We see that we have the power in our limited free time or with our limited gifts to be able to go and help someone else, to say, “Man, if all of us have to suffer this much, I at least want to produce something good for someone else!” Then we are able to break out of our prison of egotism a little bit, and it actually lessens our sorrow. It actually lessens our experience of being so enmeshed and ingrained in our in our own individual pain.

​The Cessation of Karmic Suffering

I will conclude with a final point from the same book Tarot and Kabbalah:
If those people would think of others, serve their neighbors, feed the hungry, give a drink to the thirsty, dress the naked, teach those who are ignorant, etc., then it would be clear, they are putting good deeds on the plate of the cosmic scale [of karma]. The scale would incline toward their favor. Thus, they would alter their destiny, and good luck would come in their favor. In other words, all of their necessities would be remedied. But people are very selfish; this is the reason for their suffering. No one remembers God nor their fellowmen except when they are in desperation. ―Samael Aun Weor, Tarot and Kabbalah
Again, I want to emphasize that this is not a matter of belief and believing, “Oh well, if I just superficially do a couple nice things and superficially wish good things for others, then all of a sudden my life is going to be perfect and great things are going to happen.”
 
It is a matter of action. You don't have to believe in this cosmic law of karma and cause and effect for it to have an impact on you. You don't have to believe that you are going to get wet when it is raining in order for you to step outside and get wet. This is the same way. We have a big obstacle in American society and that is cynicism. People genuinely don't believe that if you do good things, then good things are going to happen to you. They think “Well, the only people it works out for are the ones who get ahead and step on everybody else.”
 
This is an obstacle. This is a belief that changes the way we perceive reality, that changes the way we respond to reality. If we are deeply a cynic, we respond to reality with that conditioning and with that negativity and we act in negative ways as a response to it: hopelessness―you know―nihilism. So for us to really change that, we need to be open to trying new things, open to genuinely saying, “Okay, for the next month, I'll go volunteer someplace and I'll do something good in my free time that otherwise I wouldn't do.”
 
We have the free will to choose that, but do we have enough conscious will power to actually do it and stick with it even when it gets ugly, and we are really seeing the suffering, the intense suffering of other people? Are we really willing to stick with it and to see the impact it makes on us? Because that action will not be without consequence. It will change you. It will change your emotional state, your thoughts. You will see the world in a new way if you go into that type of environment, if you do that type of work, if you give of yourself, even when you are tired, or you don't feel like it, etc.
 
As I mentioned, it is a way that we can change things, but to have true faith in karma doesn't come from belief. That faith in karma comes from being awake: observing our life; observing the effects of our actions; the effects of our thoughts, emotions, etc. And that is how we produce a lasting change. It is by deeply knowing that. If I do this, it will produce this result. Then we won't want to produce negative results for ourselves, not just because we believe and we are scared it is going to produce something negative, but because we have seen it happen multiple times in our lives we have experienced it. We have gnosis of those consequences, and so we are not going to do it. You are not going to stick your hand in the fire if you know that the fire burns.

Questions and Answers

Question: I found it interesting when you were talking about the cycles that we repeat in as far as our defense mechanisms or past lives. So how does that, in this tradition, rectify with attachment theory? The big thing in psychology now is attachment theory: that a lot of your personality, all these defense mechanisms that you are talking about come from age zero to seven, things that have happened to you:  how your parents dealt with you, whatever happened. How much of that is what you are dealing with now as an adult, compared to all the past lives and stuff, or is that an aggregation of all that?
 
Instructor: Attachment theory, for those who are unfamiliar, is that if we have stable attachment, a healthy safe environment in which we grow up, we experience relationships in a different way, and are much more easily able to have healthy relationships later on in life. If we have an unhealthy or unstable, dysfunctional family or environment as a child, it changes the way our brain is wired, and we have much more anxiety and fear and withdrawal and relationships later in life.
 
Those formative years, not just for attachment, but for all kinds of things in our personality, have a tremendous effect on us, and science has shown us this. How much of those formative years is causing the problems we have now in life versus past lives? And yes, you kind of answered your question. The formative years are the compressed aggregate of many previous lifetimes. So, the formative years is where we see not just lifetimes, you know, like, “Okay, my past ten lifetimes,” but very ancient lifetimes, things that go back to previous civilizations.

Things that happened not just as an individual, but as people, as a collective, are encoded into even the way that a fetus forms. If you have ever looked at a human fetus, you know, it goes through phases of evolution, almost looking like a lizard at certain points, and then becoming more human.
 
All of our biology, our DNA, our physical existence, is a code based on our spiritual existence. It is the physical manifestation of the internal existence. So, when we see early childhood traumas and pain like that, it is often from an ancient past of being caught in a cycle with that person's family, with those other souls or individuals that are in that family of harming one another. It is very sad.
 
But you bring up a good point. We shouldn't get too caught up with past lives right off the bat. It is actually more important in the beginning to look at your life and to look at previous experiences in this current lifetime: to just look at what you can observe. You don't want to get caught up in a fantasy of trying to imagine your past lives and then producing more delusion for yourselves. Really, focus in the beginning on just observing this lifetime and what I can remember from this lifetime, and sitting in meditation and allowing those memories to naturally come up spontaneously.
 
You may be sitting, meditating on something, and some seemingly unrelated memory pops up from when you were six years old in kindergarten, and then you are like, “How is that related? That doesn't make any sense.!” So then you can choose: “Okay, maybe I take a break and I'll meditate on that experience in kindergarten and try to comprehend what that was all about.” Then as you meditate on that, you may have an inspiration of, “Oh, now I see, it's not in the mind. It's in the consciousness!” This understanding. This comprehension is much deeper than an intellectual, “Oh, A plus B equals C.” It is a very deep knowledge, like I gave in my example of knowing, vividly, in the experience of seeing my past lives that they were real and that that had been me.
 
Even though I was in different bodies, I knew exactly which one was me, and that is something that is not an intellectual, “Oh, that must be me because she looks like such and such.” It is knowing. In the same way when a memory comes up and you sit with it, and you sink into it, you are praying for guidance from your inner divinity, that can come through. It might not happen in the meditation session. It might happen three hours later when you are washing the dishes. It suddenly clicks. This is the way it is. When our mind takes a break, consciousness can bring us results.
 
Other questions?

Question: You mentioned a tradition that correlates with the Buddhist tradition... What tradition was that?
 
Instructor: Vajrayana tradition: the most esoteric levels Buddhism. If you go into the essence of those scriptures, you see they are very similar to ours.
 
Buddhism, in general, has many sects, but in general, it has three levels of traditions. Shravakayana would be the lowest level, the most fundamental based on just the literal teachings of the Buddha. That is a very introductory level for people who are just coming into Buddhism. It is where they usually start.
 
Mahayana, known as the greater vehicle, has more of these mystical elements into it, and at the heart of Mahayana is the service, the sacrifice for others―trying to strive for a lifetime of becoming an enlightened being in order to help humanity, which is suffering so much. So we build on that root of: life is suffering, and I want to escape my suffering by transcending that and going into, “I want to transcend my suffering because I want to help other beings transcend their suffering.”
 
Then Vajrayana, or sometimes called Tantrayana, from Tantra, is the highest level of the teaching, the most esoteric. It has traditionally been the most hidden, although in recent years, a lot of this has come to life because of the internet. It is about expedient methods in which to achieve that enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. So, it builds on the other two, and Tantrayana talks a lot about working with sexual energy and transmuting sexual energy. So that is the direct correlation with our tradition.
 
Another Instructor: The Dalai Lama, in relation to this topic of trauma, related an experience in which he interviewed a Buddhist monk, who was exiled from Tibet after the Chinese had invaded. He was put into prison for 18 years. He was abused and experienced many of the traumas and difficulties of that particular region. And to tie into this discussion of trauma, there was an interesting comment the man made to the Dalai Lama, who asked him, “What was your greatest danger when being in prison?” And the monk said, “Losing my compassion for the Chinese.” So a question we can reflect upon is: how does the force of compassion help to overcome trauma? (especially tying into this need to serve, to sacrifice for humanity and what that does for the individual psyche). As you said, if we are focusing on trauma, if we are focused on our pain, you don't really think about other people, but how is it that compassion unlocks, unties that Gordian knot of suffering?
 
Instructor: You remind me of another quote that is quite popular: “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and to realize that the prisoner is you.”
 
When we let go of our grudges against other people, even if we feel totally justified in them, and even if those people did very evil things, we free ourselves in a very deep way. It can't be expressed in words. It can only be experienced. If you have ever had a time where you were so angry at somebody and you held on to it for so long, and then finally, somehow, you were able to forgive them, the weight was lifted and you were able to perceive life, even that person, without so much pain. Then you have experienced it and you know it's true.
 
Compassion for others is a way of liberating ourselves from suffering. It works with this principle: sacrifice for others. When we do good things for others, we forgive others, so we can be forgiven. It puts into effect powerful causes that transcend previous causes.
 
But when we hold on to anger, when we hold onto pain, we are poisoning our ourselves. It is not pleasant to feel anger. As justified as we may be in being angry, it is suffering to feel that anger and it is freedom to feel good will towards other people, no matter what they have done to you.

Keep your distance from people if you need to, absolutely. Keep yourself safe. Don't stay in a situation where you are being abused, but with that prudence, to also be able to not let not let that pain linger with you―to do this type of work and go deep into healing the pain.
 
It doesn't happen overnight, but through that process we say that the law of karma, of action and consequence, is the second law. It is the law of nature, and there is a first law, a superior law which can transcend karma. So, all these bad actions we may have done, which we may be freaking out of like, “Oh man, I know I did bad things in this lifetime, who can imagine past lifetimes!” There is a much more powerful law that we can work with in order to create effects and causes that are even more powerful than those that can, in many cases, overcome the effects of those laws. They can't erase it, but they can be more powerful than the effects of those other actions. It is the law of sacrifice.
 
To do good things for others is a law. It is an intelligent law, is that divine law. It is a law that works with superior principles. The laws of nature are mechanical, karma. Karma has an intelligence, or I should say, it is managed intelligently, but it is like physics. It happens. You can believe whatever you want, and it is still going to happen to you, but sacrifice is a very special divine law.
 
Again, it is something that you can only truly experience the effects if you have done it, if you have given it a try. Like I said, going for a month and really sacrificing, then you experience for yourself, when you sit at the end of that month and you reflect back on it, you know from your experience the effects of that. You don't have to believe in it. Many times, we have in our imagination or in our fantasies, “Well, if I go do that, it's just going to be like this.” And we never actually do something. We just have our projection of the future, a projection of what a situation will be like.
 
Without having experienced it, we think we already know. We need to question our mind because the mind and the imagination are very powerful and condition us, producing the effects it wants us to do, but an action, actually, is much more powerful.
 
Question: So trauma, not properly addressed and not transformed, would you say that it would carry over into another life?
 
Instructor: Absolutely. Yeah, because trauma itself, even if it's something good that happens to us, can carry over to future lives. So good things that happen to us that we become very attached to, like having a loving relationship with a child, you know, even in a future lifetime again, we are going to find that same individual and whatever new relationship and have a strong attachment. So even good things, good attachments, which carry over to lifetime to lifetime, are still unconscious and mechanical.
 
We want free will, both from the traumas and the pains that have conditioned us to respond to people or certain people or certain situations, and in the same way, we want to separate from that and free ourselves and also from any kind of unconsciousness. It doesn't mean we stop doing good things or loving people or having kind relationships, but it means we have a conscious choice about it.
 
So trauma, as I mentioned before, is just a really powerful experience of gnosis that prevents us from denying suffering. But other experiences, good experiences, can have that same kind of un-transformed or un-digested impressions, that same effect on our structure of our psyche.
 
And even though the physical body doesn't carry on from lifetime to lifetime, what we call the astral body, which is made up of our emotions, or the mental body which is made up of, you know, more finer mental substances, they carry on from lifetime to lifetime in the form of the ego. It is a type of matter that is more protoplasmic, that is more malleable than physical matter, and it can exist outside of the physical world. That is why with astral projection, you can go outside of your physical body and you can still have experiences. You can still walk around and talk, but it's not with your physicality.
 
After death, those different aggregates of ourselves can move on lifetime to lifetime. What is important is that if we wake up, we can become very conscious of that experience, not just when we go to sleep, but also after death. We can have more power and more choice in our future lifetimes. 
 
Also, we can become a different type of being in higher planes of reality, planes that are more ethereal or subtler planes of nature. They are just as real as the physical plane; in fact, in some way, very much more real, but we are not conscious of them because we are so asleep and so hypnotized by our physical nature.
 
We want to be aware of our physical nature, but also aware of these other aspects of ourselves. So this can be both higher aspects of our emotional and mental nature, but also lower aspects, because we have a lot of unconsciousness, subconsciousness, infraconsciousness trapped in negativity. And that, for us, is hell. If we are trapped in the negative states: anger, pride, greed, lust, etc., we are continually tortured by those desires and pulled in different ways from one minute to the next. It can be completely contradictory desires. This is a state of confusion and suffering.
 
Until we become conscious of it and liberate the consciousness out of that, then we can't really move fully up. We might have parts of ourselves that are up in higher states of consciousness and parts of ourselves trapped in lower states of consciousness, but generally speaking, for most of us, the majority of us are trapped in negativity and lower states of consciousness.
 
That is the work of meditation, not just with trauma, but with everything. It is to enter in meditation into the lower states of our mind, to perceive them not as real and “that is who I am,” but to perceive them as structures in our mind that project images, that project emotions, or fantasies, or plans for the future, and to just perceive it without becoming hypnotized and identified with it. We must comprehend it for what it is, to turn and look at what is the source of this fantasy that is playing, or this fear that is playing, and to be able to comprehend that source and eliminate it through the power of transmutation, which can give birth to something new.
 
Question: Based on the answer it sounds like as far as trauma goes… does the work to transform that energy, that experience prior to death so that you are not going into the next life with that baggage, so to speak. What would be the complete set of things that you need to be looking to do by death so that you are in the best space for the next life?
 
Instructor: Great work, that is, a truly deep work. We do as much as we can, as much as we have the willpower to do. But, it's these three things:
 
  • Transmutation (which we actually call birth)
  • Death (which is meditation)
  • Sacrifice
 
These are the three factors for the revolution of the consciousness.
 
So on a daily basis, doing good deeds, performing good actions, meditating on the unconscious parts of ourselves, whether seemingly positive, negative, or neutral, meditating on them and comprehending them―becoming awake and aware of what is controlling us beneath the surface.
 
Birth is working in transmutation to give birth to new elements in your consciousness and to eliminate those negative structures. Primarily, if we are not working with transmutation, we do not have very much of the substance which can destroy the roots of trauma and of karma. When I act in a certain way, I fuel energy into it, and a lot of times, even if this isn't a lustful situation, even if it's for example, pride or anger, that takes my creative energy, that takes my life force, the essence of who I am, and invests my energy into that.
 
That is being born in me as a living type of substance, a living entity, almost of itself, and that entity is anger, and that anger has a will of its own―a will to speak a certain way, to think a certain way, to act a certain way. And so, until I take that same force, draw it out of the anger―through comprehension and use my own life force to say, “I am eliminating this”―then nothing can be changed on a permanent level.
 
We might be able to do some superficial change, but to really achieve a deep and lasting change, we can't do that. And if you read the book, you'll see that that work with the sexual energy is the work with the Divine Mother. 
 
I didn't want to get too much into it today, but we are working with the power of the Divine Mother, or the power of the Holy Spirit. The Third Logos is that power of creation and destruction, of birth and death. And so, that is the power we work with when we utilize that energy. Doing as much as we can before death will radically change us.
 
It is like an exponential curve. The more that you are able to do, then the more that you will be able to do. “If I do this much, then exponentially I'll be able to do that much more, and from that point, I'll be able to do so much more.” Karma really restricts us, and the more unconscious we are and the more karma we have weighing us down that hasn't been transformed, our actions become very limited by our circumstances, by the types of people around us, by our environment, etc. The more that we work with the little three percent of free will that we have to break that karma, to transform that karma, to work with sacrifice and conscious actions, then we get five percent free will. Then ten percent free will, and you know, exponentially the more free will you have, suddenly you have a lot more control over your situation.
 
We see people in the world who have way more freedom than many of us. We also see people in this world who have very difficult situations. You know, to have mental illness, for example, is a type of karma. It is a structure that conditions your ability to act and feel, and you know, there are medications and things we can do that can help, but the very conditioning of our psychology is a part of our matter, a part of our experience of life, and is formed by previous actions and karma.
 
Another Instructor: I would also say that the more we awaken our consciousness, physically and in the internal planes, the more prepared for death we are. In Buddhism, they teach to prepare for death by meditating daily on that inevitability, and by becoming more conscious and working on our traumas, those negative states of anger or pride, the more we will remember and be awake. Because for most people, especially in the West, who have never had any type of training, they don't remember where they came from―their past lives. So, as we were talking about the theory, or what people think is a theory, is not a theory for people who can experience that for themselves. The more we awaken, as we were saying, and the more freedom of perception, and then if we take another body, we will remember where we came from or the level of work we obtained, and in that way we have more opportunities to continue to go deeper and to resolve those traumas that trap us. 
 
Instructor: The capacities of our consciousness are practically infinite, but we are not aware of that because we utilize the consciousness so very little, as compared to our intellect, or our physical body.
 
Question: There are so many versions of meditation and different physical ways of experiencing meditation or practicing meditation. Would you say that they are all innately trying to achieve the same thing or are they based on different types of practices that you do or trying to awaken a certain level of consciousness or area?
 
Instructor: That is a good question. Do all different forms and techniques of meditation produce the same results, or strive for the same results? No. I do believe that there are a variety of genuine meditation techniques that can, regardless of which one you work with, if you work with a diligently enough, it can help you along the way to achieve the awakening of consciousness, but much of that is determined upon your own conscious effort.
 
Even if you use the genuine meditation technique from a given tradition, that has helped lots of people to awaken, to become enlightened, if you are not active in consciousness, it is not going to work for you.
 
As the internet proliferates all kinds of things, there are some meditation techniques which could be harmful from a psychological perspective. Meditation techniques that say, “Okay, go and fantasize about your ideal life and really invest in that,” is not going to awaken your consciousness, but it is going to further hypnotize your consciousness, and could even inhibit your ability to see reality, or make you more dissatisfied with reality. We should be careful.
 
Also, different techniques produce different effects. So when I talked about pranayamas as an example, we have a variety of different pranayama techniques from different traditions. Many of which are genuine pranayama techniques, and each of which would achieve this transmutation of sexual energy, but also with slight variations. I believe that meditation is much the same way, you know. When I work with different mantras or different meditation techniques, I can achieve different results, but all of which if they are a good technique, awaken my consciousness. But perhaps one awakens my consciousness so that I am more aware of my heart and activate my heart and feel more compassion, whereas another awakens my consciousness and helps me to astral project. Or, another awakens, you know my ability to try to perceive a past life.
 
So we have hundreds or thousands of techniques in our tradition that you know, many of which also come from other traditions, religions around the world, all in the books. So, we are happy to refer you to books that have those practices if it's helpful.
 
Another Instructor: Another point too is that, as we are mentioning, in Buddhism, there are three schools, and every religion has its systems.  In Buddhism, Shravakayana, the introductory level; Mahayana, the greater vehicle; and the most expedient Tantrayana.
 
So meditation, as taught within the introductory levels, are geared with a specific focus. They teach the beginning practitioner how to concentrate, work with ethics, upright action, upright thoughts, and feelings and deeds so that the mind becomes stable. If you think of the mind like a lake, if we keep throwing stones, negative thinking, impressions into the lake, it is going to be churning, unstable.
 
From that point of view, we can't address any trauma, because in order to see clearly, your mind has to be perfectly still. So in the introductory levels of Buddhism or any tradition, we teach ethics, karma, serenity. To develop a serene mind, the meditative practices of that tradition, or any introductory level, will teach you how to develop stability. As it was explained in the lecture, we have to balance our three brains and a brain in esoterism has to do with any type of machine that processes matter, energy, and consciousness.
 
Our intellect is not just the only brain, because we have many forms of intelligence in the heart and in sex. In fact our entire physiology is a marvelous machine that can transform energy, but if we don't use or balance those centers through ethics, upright thought, feeling, action,  we can't really enter a state of meditation. We need to really go to the heart of our problems.
 
Once we have that type of serenity developed, then you can start to develop more compassion for others, because you see that other people, who don't have that training, are in tremendous suffering and affliction. That is the Mahayana level, the middle ground, the greater vehicle, and the meditations taught in that tradition are more profound and demand a type of diligence and foundation.
 
So in all the meditations, they lead towards the highest stages, in which we are meditating not just for ourselves, but for humanity. That is when we can do practices like Tantra, or as we say in this tradition, the perfect matrimony: to utilize energy in the highest way, to transform not only yourself, but others, and that is what we are leaning towards.
 
It is important that when we approached meditation, we, in our tradition, have many practices. Work with where we are at and, in most case,s we have to start at the very bottom. Because if you sit to reflect on your mind, you can see that it is difficult to concentrate, or we have no serenity in the beginning. So in our school, we teach all three levels of Buddhism at once, because students are at different levels and have different needs. If you look at other traditions, you may find some schools will only focus on the basics. Some very high, but the problem becomes not having a practical foundation in the steps, because they help to build off one another. 
 
Instructor: A great explanation, because everybody wants to jump right to Tantra, and right to the most advanced practices, like “Oh, I want to get out of my body and speak to the Lord of Karma, Anubis or whatever the case may be,” but if we don't have the ability to relax physically, emotionally, and mentally, to separate our consciousness from it, to awaken our consciousness from those three brains, and to have concentration, to maintain our attention and our awareness on the object of our meditation, then we're not able to even work with those more advanced techniques. We are going to try them, and they are not going to work, or if they do work by chance, it could end up being a harmful situation.
 
So really establishing ourselves in the basics allows us to then gradually work our way up to those more advanced practices. Like the example I gave about going deeper and deeper and deeper in meditation, and finally into, you know, a past life experience―that was built on months and years of really working with meditation and basics, working with concentration and relaxation. If you stay for the optional meditation after this lecture, you will be able to try out a basic technique with us in which we're going to meditate exactly on balancing those three brains and working with relaxation and concentration.
 
Another Instructor: Maybe to finish on how the magic of the roses work, because I know especially in North America and the West, when we hear of magic, we think of right circus tricks, or all sorts of people who perform illusions. But how do roses or the magic, the soul of the plant, go with the practice?
With that practice, in our tradition, we use a lot of exercises that work with nature. Magic, in its true sense, is how we as a consciousness can communicate with divinity and interact with the soul of nature. All the vegetable kingdom, the mineral kingdom, the animal kingdom, has this type of soul, in different gradations of complexity. So, minerals are obviously very simple. Plants more involved. They process and channel energy in nature. Animals, of course, are more developed. They are collectively developing a type of will, which is different than plants, until finally we have humanoids, or the intellectual animal. The human being, the soul, anima, with intellect.
 
We work with plants primarily because the souls of those types of creatures have power. We learn to work and communicate to command the souls of plants to help, because every plant and nature has its type of properties, which can heal. It can perform medicine. We know this very extensively from indigenous cultures, which still retain a type of wisdom that our modern orthodoxy and medicine does not support.
 
The rose is a very elevated plant. It is the queen of flowers. If you know astrology, each plant relates to different planets, because each plant channels the forces of the cosmos. It transmits. So, as you see that the human being is a machine that transmits forces, likewise, minerals, plants, animals. That is why you have such diversity in nature, because each living entity channels force.
 
It is interesting that the rose is especially powerful for healing the heart. Even conventionally, we may give roses to our loved ones in order to show love, especially, romantic love, because the rose, we know instinctually, has a marvelous presence. Even within the internal planes, the soul of that plant is very elevated. We can command the soul of the rose to work with the divided hierarchies of the angels, related to the planet Venus, the star of love, to invoke that intelligence, bring it to our home and deposit medicine within the glasses.

​So you notice that you have a glass facing the East; you drink this before breakfast; the glass towards the North, before lunch; then the glass towards the West, before dinner. That sequence parallels the trajectory of the Sun, and we know that Venus is the star of the dawn. It channels the forces of the divinity we call Christ, which is a force, particularized in any person who is prepared.

 
So, you pray to your inner Being, “My God, my Divine Mother, command the elemental of the rose to work and deposit healing within these glasses,” by invoking the angels of that force, that bring the particular influence of love, so that we can heal trauma―to at least gain stability to the point that we can meditate further. And you drink in that sequence. Very simple. Healing is very simple. Prayer, relaxation, concentration, faith. Not belief.
 
We have experiences we know, if you awaken in the dream state, you can personally converse with the elementals of nature. Personally, I have been in the habit over the years to meditate on certain elementals, the plants that I have in my home, in which I have been able to communicate with those entities, those beings who are still in Eden. They are innocent. They haven't entered into all the complex problems that we have in the humanoid kingdom through the process of evolution. So they are very simple. They are like angels, but in a very small degree.
 
You can pray and with faith, you have the experience. You know that these elements exist and that the rose can heal pain. Personally, I have used the roses when I have had traumas, in certain betrayals and conflicts that I could not reconcile, and by working with the glasses, you drink, over a sequence of a few days. When the roses wither, you can remove them. Then your pain is alleviated, at least at the surface, to the point that we have enough stability where we can meditate and then look at the problem, because in the moment when we are afflicted, we can't think. You can't concentrate.
 
Those elementals or souls of nature are very powerful. They work and obey divinity. The rose is, of course, held in very high regard in certain traditions, such as the Rosicrucians, the first Gnostics, the Rosicrucian Gnostic Church. The rose is a symbol of the transformation of the soul into the beauty of God. Of course, the rose is very effective for that. You can work with it however much you need.

​It’s simple. Pray, relax, and concentrate. You drink it like medicine. The good thing is that there are no side effects. Of course, some people in this day and age have traumas and illnesses in the mind, of the heart, that, because that karma is crystallized in the body, some people need to take a drug to be able to find balance. But the wonderful property of this practice is that there are no side effects. Water. Roses. Magic.  Because those substances that divinity places are not physical. They are etheric, astral, mental, spiritual, internal.

 
In conjunction with whatever people may have to do to find balance, whether it be medication and therapy, the roses are exceptional. Simple, but profound. That ritual is as effective as your prayer. Prayer is something simple. You don't need formulas when you talk to your inner divinity. You say, “My Father, my God, help me!” Use your words and just ask for that healing and experiment. That practice is of course effective when we are working in transmutation. Work with your creative energy, because your prayer will be empowered when you use that force, and that way it opens the doorway into the internal planes. 
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<![CDATA[Practical Methods for Inner Balance]]>Sat, 19 Jun 2021 05:00:00 GMThttp://chicagognosis.org/lectures/practical-methods-for-inner-balance
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Throughout our experience of teaching Gnosis, we have had the privilege to correspond with many Gnostic students, some of whom have and continue to suffer from very debilitating mental illnesses. While it has been sad to hear so many personal stories of mental deterioration, suffering, and decline, we have witnessed many miraculous and joyful victories, all due to the courage and efforts of students. Rather than giving in to disease, many aspirants have decided to face the burden of stigma, confronting their own crippling, inner demons with nobility and heroism.
 
This course has been inspired by such conversations, instructions, and testimonies. For those who may suffer from mental illness or if you know someone with a diagnosis, we hope that you can apply these techniques for the comprehension and alleviation of suffering. Such exercises in our tradition can be very useful, complementary with the advice of mental health professionals.
 
Psychology is a very deep topic, a very deep science that has profound roots within diverse spiritual traditions and the ancient mystery schools of all continents, all cultures, and all religions. Basically, ψυχή psyche in Greek signifies the consciousness or soul, which strives for union with divinity, the λόγος logos. This is a Greek term denominating the sacred word, divinity, or beingness. Genuine psychology is very concerned with the relationship of the consciousness with divinity. It is not the mere study of intellectual or mental processes but of the entire constitution of the human being.
 
But sadly, due to materialistic skepticism, science has often rejected the transformative possibilities of religion and spirituality. There is much to learn from the psychological teachings of yoga, Buddhism, meditation, Kabbalah, Sufism, Rosicrucianism, and Gnosis. These can complement the work of modern psychological professionals. Understanding a person’s spiritual orientation, their background, their identity, is promising for treatments. Spirituality can help professionals assess the psychological and spiritual roots of a given problem.
 
Not too long ago, spirituality was considered “woo-woo” for approaching mental health concerns. However, there are more people now who are beginning to realize that merely addressing the physical needs of a person and not their heart is insufficient. In fact, many understand that it is very narrow minded. Many argue against integrating spirituality within mental health practice. Some want to maintain consistent parametersunderstandably sofor applying spirituality to mental health concerns. These are often difficult to determine with current criteria, when spirituality deals with realities beyond material existence.
 
However, the problem is not that spirituality or religion is superstitious, but that its discipline requires a new type of training with which psychological professionals are not typically trained in. Now the desire for facts should not be exclusively limited to mere material means, since human beings operate within multiple spheres of experience, beyond just the body. This is verifiable through the practices of the Gnostic tradition.
 
In this lecture, we will demonstrate how lasting psychological change arrives through practical spirituality. Through consciously applying proven methods for mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual wellbeing, individuals suffering from imbalances can realize a conscious state of inner equilibrium. We will offer some basic suggestions for learning how to initiate such a psychological work, one that can aid individuals suffering from mental illness who are working with qualified mental health professionals.
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​The Divide Between Psychology and Religion

​Unfortunately, there have existed tensions, animosity, and even outright suspicion between modern psychology and religion. The seemingly irreconcilable differences between science and faith, and the efforts of psychology to distinguish its self as a science and not an art, have led to many mental health professionals divorcing their practice from spirituality. Sigmund Freud, a devout atheist, declared in The Future of an Illusion that:
“Religion is comparable to a childhood neurosis,” a “defense against childish helplessness” whose “infantilism is destined to be surmounted.” Sigmund Freud, The Future of an Illusion
He viewed religion as an escape from the reality of suffering, psychosis and its causes, rather than as a means for recovery. He also believed that science possesses the keys to treat individuals with mental illness.
 
Now there are many commonly held stereotypes regarding mental health and religion, that religion is repressive, reductive, dogmatic, or even irrational. However, there exists a large body of research demonstrating the positive role of religion in recovery from serious psychological disorders. There are also abundant empirical studies that show how religious communities are often the first places that people go when people are confronted with a serious illness.
 
Why is this the case?
 
Religion can offer optimistic world-views. They can provide ethical behaviors that promote a balanced lifestyle. Many benefits of a religious life include the restriction or prohibition of smoking, drinking, substance use, suicidality, crime, and sexual promiscuity. Likewise, religion and spirituality can provide comfort for those suffering from mental illness, in that communal and emotional support can help all people, regardless of whether or not they are ill.
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​Religious and Spiritual Psychopathology

​However, despite the promising rise of medical research about spiritually integrated mental health treatments, there exists some problems.
 
Often times, people with mental illness adhering to a religious system have often mistaken what is known as psychopathology with spiritual or religious experience. By psychopathology we mean both the scientific study of mental disorders but also their expression within individuals. This can often take on a religious, spiritual, or mystical flavor. In the words of Dr. W. Patrick Sullivan in “Spirituality: A Road to Mental Health or Mental Illness”:
Discerning the content of delusions and distinguishing them from true spiritual experiences is not an easy task. ―Dr. W. Patrick Sullivan, Spirituality: A Road to Mental Health or Mental Illness (2009)
In the Gnostic teachings, we learn to awaken. We learn to strengthen and expand our conscious possibilities. In that process, we learn to discriminate between the falsity of our own subjective perceptions, while verifying the nature of objective testimony. By questioning what we experience, we can arrive at a deeper understanding of reality and our relationship to it.
 
This is why Samael Aun Weor wrote the following in The Perfect Matrimony:
We disseminate spiritual intellectual culture, decency, refinement, logical analysis, conceptual synthesis, academic culture, higher mathematics, philosophy, science, art, religion, etc.  Therefore, in no way whatsoever are we willing to continue to accept the gossip of hallucinating people nor the madness of dreamers. ―Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony
​The questions become:
 
Do such spiritual experiences impair one’s functioning, or do these insights empower an individual’s capacity to excel, to continuously improve in all aspects of life?
 
Are individuals cultivating a rich understanding of religious and spiritual traditions?
 
Are they effectively applying practical techniques for comprehending and removing the causes of suffering?
 
Or on a very simple level: are they decent, respectable, and respectful people?
 
Individuals who have been diagnosed with a mental illness or who proclaim to be enlightened need to seriously examine their level of being and quality of their states, since if their perceptions are causing their personal, occupational, and social life to deteriorate, then they must come to terms with the fact that they have a problem.
 
However, we will say, just because an individual’s psychosis resembles spiritual elements, such as paranoid delusions of religious persecution or communicating with angels, this does not guarantee that all reported incidents of spiritual experiences are delusions. Individuals suffering from mental disorders must distinguish the reality of religion and a delusion.
 
Even if we are relatively sound in our mental and emotional wellbeing, average persons all have delusions about mundane things too. Even an atheist can have delusions about reality and not religion, whereby their psychosis matches their cultural, secular upbringing. Religion does not cause delusions. Delusions occur spontaneously and they take on the form of one’s idiosyncrasies, including one’s religion or culture.
 
So as you can see, there are a lot of nuances to this issue that require a lot of analysis, a lot of comprehension, and especially a lot of meditation, because while the mentally ill must be exceptionally critical with their delusions, with their perceptions, with their attitudes, this should not discount the possibility of true divine communion.
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​Culture and Diagnoses

​Despite the prevalence of spiritual experience throughout religions and cultures, many skeptics conflate genuine mystical perceptions as symptoms of mental illness. However, to quote Dr. W. Patrick Sullivan:
First and foremost, what is considered delusional thought and belief is heavily influenced by culture. ―Dr. W. Patrick Sullivan, Spirituality: A Road to Mental Health or Mental Illness (2009)
​This is very important. Culture has to be considered within mental illness diagnoses. For example, in some societies ghosts are an accepted part of their belief systems. For others, it is talking with angels. Therefore, clinicians will often compare individuals to the rest of their cultural group when they want to determine a diagnosis. Each case must be examined within the context of a patient's cultural norms, to understand what the norm is and is not. That is how you can better diagnose what is going on. It is a frame of reference. It is a starting point.
 
For many of us, materialism dominates the Western psyche to the point that it rejects the mere possibility of any experiential verification of spiritual truths. However, while our modern culture goes to the extreme of materialistic skepticism, the Gnostic tradition suggests that we should also not go to the other end of the pendulum, swinging between extremes by believing everything we perceive. This is especially the case for individuals who suffer from some type of mental illness. 
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​Mental Health and Faith

​So, what is the solution? How can patients benefit from the modern mental health system without divorcing themselves of guiding principles, from ethics, from conscious spirituality?
 
In Gnosis, we seek to find balance, the synthesis of oppositions, so that we can enrich our quality of life. Samael Aun Weor mentioned something very interesting in The Revolution of the Dialectic. He stated: 
Mental health is not possible if conscious faith does not exist. ―Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
As evidenced by this quote, we have a very different psychological and spiritual orientation within the Gnostic teachings. Rather than merely adopt a concept to believe in, an ideology, a theory, a belief, we prefer to investigate the truths contained within religion. We seek to experience what divinity really is. In this, we leave beliefs aside. The main method is meditation, where we can learn to access the direct experience of the truths contained within all traditions.
 
Direct experience of the truth, of reality, of divinity, is the best medicine. People who suffer from mental illness afflicted by many negative emotions, disordered thoughts, agitation, dis-ease, dissatisfaction, uncertainty. Genuine spiritual experiences provide optimal mental health. They ground one in a stable state. These experiences are qualified by their very distinct psychological and spiritual flavor. We call them states of compassion, altruism, spontaneous joy, freedom of mind, heart, body; patience, diligence, perseverance, resilience, the endurance of hardships with the utmost ethical character. There are many virtues cited throughout religious traditions. They all point toward a balanced state of mind. This is predicated upon faith, having an awakened consciousness, a serene, intensified awareness and directed attention that is unwavering, that is clear, that is spontaneous, that is joyful, that is our true nature, and those who suffer from any type of disorder are disconnected from that, with varying levels of intensity.
 
So faith, the experience of these principles, is something we can verify for ourselves whether or not one has a mental illness. But in the context of mental health, this is especially important. It is a fulcrum for convalescence, for healing.
 
We have to state that in reality, genuine spiritual experiences inspire order. They provide cohesion in life. They demonstrate a profound integrity, a motivated purpose within a chaotic physical and internal world.
 
Delusions on the other hand produce pain. Very simple. They are the origin of confusion, despair, disenfranchisement, alienation, suffering, and especially the corrosion of one’s relationships, whether personal or professional.
 
Now, individuals who suffer from forms mental illness may be convinced that their perceptions are real. However, we have to ask about the quality of their daily state because that is the best measurement, the most sure evidence.

​Psychological Equilibrium

Let us elaborate on this.
 
Can these people keep a job? Can they relate to others? Are they a decent parent? Are they a good sibling, child, or spouse?
 
Jesus said, “By their fruits you will know them.” If individuals act on delusional states of mind expecting the best while convinced that they are infallible, their life will reflect the consequences. This is why in our tradition we rely on the tremendous, inescapable, and incontrovertible facts. For students who have suffered from mental illness, we always emphasize, “Examine yourself. Study your behaviors. Look at the results of your actions. Where have your ideas, your knowledge, and your beliefs taken you? Do you have greater stability in your psychological states? Is there greater harmony in your relationships? Is your financial situation in order? Your occupation? Your daily life?” Unfortunately, the proclivity of most people is precisely imbalance.
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​To understand genuine psychological equilibrium, it is important to study the three brains of our human machine. In esoteric studies, a brain constitutes a physiological and psychological transformer of energy.
 
We have an intellectual brain in our cranium that processes the energy of thought.
 
We have an emotional brain in our heart that processes the energy of feeling.
 
We also have a motor-instinctual-sexual brain in our spine, which processes the energy of action.
 
While these are physical machines in our body, they are also vehicles through which our consciousness operates and is modified. If we are honest, we can see that our modern culture and way of life is very imbalanced. Many occupations exclusively require engagement with the intellect at the expense of the other brains. We overuse the intellectual brain and its energies to indulge in our bad habits: too much intellectualizing, reading, reasoning, theorizing, analyzing. Our education system is also heavily focused on the knowledge of the mind, rather than the qualities of the heart.
 
A typical person also abuses the emotional brain through negative emotions like anger, through resentment, pride, and fear. We also saturate our heart with negative emotions when we argue, when we fight, when we ruminate. These types of behaviors drastically deplete our emotional brain of energy.
 
Lastly, we have the motor-instinctual-sexual brain where we process movement. It is where we have impulse, desire, instinct. This brain is also greatly abused today in the modern world, whereby we put too much strain on the body either through excessive exercises or violent sports, and most importantly the abuse of sex. Sexual behavior has the most long lasting and serious consequences. Everybody knows this, but sadly people ignore how sexual misconduct is the primary cause of imbalance. People who constantly pursue and consummate sexual relationships are never satisfied. They are never happy. After one partner to the next, they go through the ups and downs of relationships, always trying to satisfy their appetites for more, for more pleasant sensations. This is like throwing fuel into a fire. Desire will never be satisfied, no matter how intense, and once it gets what it wants, it wants more. This is a tremendous disequilibrium.
 
This is why in our Gnostic studies, regardless of our suffering from a mental, emotional, or physical state, or those who are suffering from a form of illness relating to the three brains, we always seek to conserve our energies, since without fuel in the three brains, the consciousness cannot operate optimally. Psychological, emotional, and creative energy are necessary if you want to drive your car. If you want to drive your spiritual destination, you need to use your three brains in balance, with conscious awareness, with ethics, so that you do not get hurt. You do not hurt yourself. You drive safely on the road. This is why Samael Aun Weor wrote in The Perfect Matrimony:
Perfect mental equilibrium is of vital importance for those who want spiritual progress. Almost all the aspirants of esotericism easily lose their mental equilibrium and usually fall into the most absurd things. Whosoever yearns for direct knowledge must ensure that their minds are in perfect equilibrium. ―Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony
The reason that people get sick, whether mentally, emotionally, or physically, is due to the abuse of the three brains. What happens to an engine the runs out of fuel? It stops working properly. Or you give it the wrong fuel. You put rocket fuel into a car. We do this all the time with our diet, with our habits, with our addictions. When an engine runs out of fuel, it does not operate. It is the same with our psychology and our body.
 
If you want examples of this, people who exhaust their mental energy become delusional. They become paranoid, schizophrenic, insane. Those who waste their emotional energies become depressed. They become manic or bi-polar. Likewise with the motor-instinctive-sexual brain, by wasting our vitality we become paraplegic, paralyzed, a host for sexually transmitted diseases.
 
Therefore, to avoid getting sick students must learn to conserve their energy, to do it wisely, so that the consciousness can awaken to its true state.
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​The Reality of Gnosis

​But sadly, many skeptics conflate mystical states with madness. They equate it with delusions, hallucinations, and disequilibrium because in their materialistic worldview it is impossible to experience divinity, to know reality, the truth. Such a possibility is just not afforded within their worldview. Also there have been many people who approach the Gnostic teachings with incredible psychological imbalances, who later blame Gnosis for making them sick. It is strange, and it is sad, because they ignore how their own actions have exacerbated an underlying condition.
 
The truth is that all of humanity is imbalanced and sick. It is a disease to be afflicted with pride, to be motivated and driven by anger, to be enmeshed and saturated by laziness, to be addicted to lust, and many defects that our society venerates and worships. People need instruction regarding how to identify, how to comprehend, and how to remove psychological conditions. Actually, the people who are the most sick deserve the most attention, for as Jesus stated in the book of Matthew: 
They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick… for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. ―Matthew 9:12-13
Also, the reality is that no one ever enters the Gnostic teachings from a state of balance. It does not happen that way. Therefore, it is not unusual that many who attempt Gnostic practices discover just how sick they really are, because Gnosis is mirror. It shows you who you really are. It forces you to confront your real level of being, your condition, your state. It is factual. If you are not ready to confront the reality of yourself, then you might obviously want to run away and even blame the mirror for how ugly it is. This is how most people approach genuine spirituality. Whether or not they are diagnosed with a severe condition, everyone is imbalanced to a degree, but obviously people who are diagnosed by professional obviously have a more intensified version of a common problem.
 
Despite how priceless this gift is, many people blame Gnosis for the fact that they finally recognize their underlying psychology. It is very disturbing, so they leave and choose to follow a life path that involves a greater and accelerated deterioration and devolution.
 
Now while having a mental illness is a serious obstacle, it can be overcome with proper tools and techniques when combined with professional help. 

​The Requisite

​It is truly rare to find healthy, balanced, and integrated people. It is also very difficult to find Gnostics who are living up to the ideals of this tradition. It is very challenging, precisely because it is very demanding, very rigorous. Authentic spirituality is difficult, because it requires that we renounce all of our bad habits. It is difficult to practice because, for many, they lack a basic foundation, which is being a proactive, a humble, a decent individual.
 
There is a very common trend within spiritual groups where people proclaim great advancements or enlightened states, and yet their etiquette, common, social graces are lacking. While many people aspire towards the heights of mystical consciousness and the greatest methods for spiritual transformation, a lot of people fail to master and perfect the basics. A house cannot stand on faulty foundations.
 
This is why Samael Aun Weor stated the following:
The crude reality of facts demonstrates to us that many are those who have not comprehended the transcendence of the Gnostic esoteric work, and that great majorities are not good heads of households.
 
When one is not a good head of household, it is clear that one is not prepared to enter onto the path of the razor’s edge. In order to work on the revolution of the dialectic, one needs to have reached the level of being of a good head of household.
 
A fanatic, lunatic, whimsical type of person, etc., cannot be good for an integral revolution. A subject who does not fulfill the duties of his home cannot achieve the great change. A person who is a bad father, a bad wife, a bad husband, or a person who abandons his home for whichever man or woman, will never be able to arrive at a radical transformation.
 
The cornerstone of revolutionary psychology requires that one has a perfect equilibrium at home by being a good spouse, a good parent, a good sibling, and a good child. One must have perfect completion of his duties that exist with this suffering humanity. One must convert himself into a decent person.
 
Whoever does not fulfill these requirements will never be able to advance in these revolutionary studies. ―Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
While many Gnostics might not suffer from mental illness, there are others who are sick with fanaticism, who are diseased by envy, who are consumed by spiritual pride, and petrified within dogmatism. So long as they are attached to the concept that they are the only authentic spiritual group or that they are enlightened, that they have done it and that no work is left for them, they will not advance. They will not develop.
 
Likewise, persons who are whimsical―you have got to love this word here―who open their sail to any wind, who just allow themselves to be moved by any impulse, they likewise demonstrate their disequilibrium. They are not stable. Now the thing is that we should be careful not to go to the other extreme, just repressing whatever psychological elements arrive or whatever one fears.
 
This is why we meditate. Through developing a clear, serene, and unwavering observation of our psychological states, meditators gain essential knowledge of their internal conditions, so that through deep comprehension, very painful and traumatic states of mind can be transformed. They can be healed.
 
People who are really sick can be radically healed with meditation. Obviously, working with professionals, with whatever particular condition that they might have been diagnosed with, meditation is a beautiful complement, a wonderful training, because it is through this exercise that people gain enough control of their mind. Their mind does not push them around. 
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Also, with enough training, one can be like Jesus here in this image. He is praying before his Passion, his Crucifixion, his martyrdom, and obviously someone with that level of discipline could remain calm and serene even while being crucified. This means that for individuals who suffer from a condition or merely have a lot of problems and suffer a lot and want to have inner balance, one can learn how to endure difficult situations, how to face the triggers of life, whereby stimuli no longer provoke a negative reaction. This is the goal, to respond with equanimity in the face of hardship.
 
You cannot necessarily change the situation outside of yourself, but with training your mind, you can endure the negative reactions that inevitably emerge as a response to those ordeals. One can learn to respond with perfect equanimity in the face of hardships that really seemed in the past insurmountable. This is how internal conflicts can be resolved.
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​The World of Relations

Researchers have recently studied a concept known as religious struggles, whereby an individual experience conflict relating to spirituality. These exist along three levels:
 
  • Intrapsychic: within oneself
  • Interpersonal: between others
  • Divine: between oneself and a higher power
 
For some people suffering from mental illness, religion and spirituality can become an intrinsic source of radical change. It can become a means of developing more personal, fulfilling relationships with others. It can also help one to integrate socially within larger communities. This can help foster a really deep and lasting sense of self-worth, but also an ethical orientation towards a higher purpose.
 
However, for others, religious thinking can exacerbate psychosis, such in the case of severe depression whereby a person can blame God for their suffering, their disappointments, their failures, their disillusionment. What these conflicts reveal about a person is a lack of connection with the Innermost Being, our divinity, who is perfect serenity. The Being, your true identity, is perfect happiness. It is a state of plentitude, in which there is no deficiency or lack. It is joy. It is compassion. It is altruism. Divinity is not the source of conflict. A lot of people like to blame God for their problems, ignoring their own agency and the fact that every action has a consequence.
 
A real spiritual person takes responsibility for their mistakes and does not shy away from the facts. It is a very brutal, difficult thing to do, to be honest with oneself, especially when other people show us our errors. However, by learning to face these adversities, these interrelations in life, by observing oneself, by becoming aware of our conditions of mind, one can access the genuine, divine root of our consciousness, a true state of joy.
 
The Being, divinity, is not tyrannical. The Being does not afflict anyone. What happens is that individuals with perhaps a mental illness, they distort and utilize metaphysical concepts, ideas and thoughts to qualify subjective experiences. A sick mind skews reality. It does not perceive the facts. It is sees things in a way that is personal to the individual, and is seeing connections and relationships there, and causes that are not really, fully observed and understood.
 
Now, regardless of having a condition or not, this is very difficult for people to do. However, it is possible through consciously applying effective methods. We talk a lot in our studies about the practice of self-observation. We will build off this idea throughout this course, but also if you go onto our website, especially Beginning Self-Transformation, you can learn about this technique in more detail. It is very extensive. I highly recommend you study and practice self-observation, for those who are not familiar.
 
Now, Samael Aun Weor provided some insights about this dynamic that I am talking about in his book Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology, and there are some connections and correlations between what modern mental health professionals are calling religious struggles in relation to different types of connections that we can have, with ourselves, with the body, and with humanity. I would like to read this chapter for you at length. It is from Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology.
The world of relationships has three very different aspects that we need to clarify in a precise manner.
 
First: We are related with the planetary body, in other words, the physical body.
 
Second: We live on the planet Earth and by logical consequence we are related with the exterior world and with our personal matters such as relatives, business, money, office matters, profession, politics, etc.
 
Third: We have the relationship of a person with himself. For the majority of people, this kind of relationship does not have the least importance.
 
Unfortunately, people are only interested in the first two kinds of relationships. They look at the third type with the most absolute indifference.
 
Indeed, nourishment, health, money and business constitute the principal worries of the “intellectual animal” mistakenly called the “human being.”
 
Now then, it is evident that the physical body, as well as worldly matters, are exterior to ourselves.
 
The planetary body (physical body) is sometimes sick, sometimes healthy and so on.
 
We always believe that we have some knowledge of our physical body; yet indeed, not even the best scientists of the world know much about the body of flesh and bone.
 
There is no doubt that the physical body, given its tremendous and complex organization, is certainly much beyond our comprehension.
 
Regarding the second type of relationship, we are always victims of circumstances. It is lamentable that we have not yet learned how to consciously originate circumstances.
 
Many are the people who are incapable of adapting themselves to anything or anyone or to have true success in life.
 
When we think in ourselves in relation with the Gnostic Esoteric Work, it is then imperative to discover if we are at fault with any of these three types of relationships.
 
A concrete case can come to pass that we become physically ill, as a consequence of being incorrectly related with our physical bodies.
 
It can happen that we are incorrectly related with the exterior world. Thus, as a result, we have conflicts, economical and social problems, etc.
 
It can come to pass that we are incorrectly related with ourselves. Accordingly, we suffer deeply due to the lack of inner enlightenment.
 
Obviously, if the lamp of our room is not connected to the electrical installation, our room will be in darkness.
 
Therefore, those who suffer from a lack of inner illumination must connect their mind with the superior centers of their Being.
 
Unquestionably, we need to establish correct relationships not only with our planetary body (physical body) and with the exterior world but also with each of the parts of our own Being.
 
Pessimistic patients, tired of so many doctors and medicines, no longer desire to be cured. Yet, optimistic patients struggle to live.
 
Many millionaires who lose their fortune gambling in the casino of Monte Carlo commit suicide, while millions of poor mothers work to maintain their children.
 
Innumerable are the depressed aspirants who, due to a lack of psychic powers and inner illumination, have renounced the Esoteric Work for themselves.
 
Few are the ones who know how to take advantage of adversities.
 
During times of rigorous temptations, discouragement and desolation, one must appeal to the intimate Remembering of the Self.
 
Deep within each one of us is the Aztec Tonantzin, Stella Maris, the Egyptian Isis, God the Mother, waiting for us in order to heal our painful heart.
 
When one gives to oneself the shock of “Self-remembering,” then indeed, a miraculous change in the entire work of the body is produced, so that the cells receive a different nourishment. ―Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology. “The World of Relations”
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Expanded Psychotherapy

​Medical science has dedicated itself to treating the material symptoms of any condition. However, without exploring the internal, psychological reality of a given person, it is impossible to address and cure the root causes of different symptoms.
 
Studying the brain has provided many valuable insights into the material expression of mental illness. However, the brain is not the mind. It is a vehicle of the mind. In the same manner that a person can drive a car and eventually leave it, the same with consciousness in the human body. If you are interested more in that topic, you can study our course Dream Yoga and Astral Travel, especially.
 
This is why we study Kabbalah, the Tree of Life. It is a map of consciousness in varying levels. While it is considered a distinctly Jewish phenomenon, Kabbalah is represented throughout all religions, although in different forms. All traditions share the same principles that are specifically illustrated here. While this glyph might appear complicated, in truth it is rather simple. It represents everything that you are from the most divine, abstract, refined, subtle, and liberated spheres above to the most selfish, conditioned, condensed, and material below.
 
It is not our intention to explain the various nuances of each sphere represented here. Instead, we are introducing this graphic to emphasize an essential point. Mental illness must be considered in light of a person’s entire constitution, including the material, the psychological, and the spiritual. This is why Samael Aun Weor wrote in his book Sexology: The Basis of Endocrinology and Criminology:
It is impossible to know the fundamental cause of any mental disequilibrium without expanding psychiatry with Theosophy, Rosicrucianism, Hermeticism, yogic philosophy, and high Gnostic esotericism. This is how expanded psychiatry can discover and cure the alienated. […]
 
We need psychotherapy. It is necessary to study the syndromes or psychic sicknesses. The criminological diagnostics must be based on expanded psychiatry. It Is necessary to analyze the mental alterations of ourselves based on Theosophy. It is urgent to know the mental body. It is necessary to expand forensic psychiatry. It is necessary to study, in a didactic way, psychobiology and psychopathology. ―Samael Aun Weor, Sexology: The Basis of Endocrinology and Criminology
​So in synthesis, Kabbalah describes precisely all of that. Kabbalah describes the levels of the mind and all of its various manifestations, its depths, its intricacies, its functions. So rather than merely just treat the outward, corporeal form of a person, their body, psychological professionals can learn to intuit the internal causes of illness.
 
All illnesses emerge from an internal cause. While there is a biological and chemical component in our physical brain, our emotional brain, our motor-instinctive-sexual brain, the truth is that people who suffer from illnesses do so because there is something much more deep than just a physical cause. The Tree of Life explains this. Illnesses originate from actions that we are not even able to begin to apprehend or understand with just our physical senses. Instead, it requires psychological investigation. This is why we practice meditation.
 
Many diseases originate from these internal causes, and by learning to suspend our senses, relax, introspect, go within, we can learn to apprehend the real nature of a particular problem, the origin of a condition, of a trauma, of a disequilibrium within our body, within oneself. This technique applies to people who are patients but also any practitioner of Gnosis who wants to understand more about their internal sufferings.
 
So, these diseases manifest in the body, but they come from within, much in the same way that a creature can disturb the waters of a pond from its depths. We do not see the origin, yet we can recognize the ripples on the surface. Anyone can detect the symptoms of a problem, but to really determine the spiritual cause of illness, the psychological causes of illness, is very different. It requires a lot of analysis and a lot of patient work, but it can be done. We have personally worked with people, students who have suffered from different types of disorders and, in combination with professional treatment, by applying Gnostic techniques, have been able to remedy and address their issues, gain equilibrium, balance.
 
By learning to still the waters of the lake of the mind, one can go within and see the depths for what is actually there. Now as I said, people might not see the origin of a particular phenomenon, yet one can recognize the ripples in the surface. If mental health professionals could really access the inner causes of their patients’ external behaviors, they could go a long way to help and heal a lot of people. Kabbalah is just one such tool. We will go back to this graphic later on in this course. I am just introducing it here to synthesize a few points.
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​Resources

​So through the daily discipline of meditation, practitioners can gain knowledge that is inaccessible to the senses, as I said. As aspirants, we can go deep within the mind to discover why we suffer. For an individual suffering from mental illness, meditation when combined with professional help can aid one in establishing inner balance.
 
We recommend that you study and apply the techniques provided in this course: Meditation Essentials by Glorian Publishing, because it provides very clear steps for how to cultivate a rich spiritual life. This can complement professional treatments of mental illness to help one experience happiness, vitality, health.
 
At this point in time, I would like to open the floor to questions.

Questions and Answers

Question: How do we distinguish schizophrenia symptoms and mystical experience? Is it only evidence and proof or something else?
 
Instructor: Meditation is required and a lot of self-criticism. Individuals who suffer from schizophrenia often attribute meaning to situations or circumstances that are subjective. They are personal to the individual. They are not objectively there. For example, a group of people could be having a conversation at another table at a restaurant, and a schizophrenic person would think that their conversation is about him. That is an example of paranoid schizophrenia. Now, any type of perception in oneself has to be judiciously analyzed within meditation. It is not enough merely to just go with the flow. Perhaps a person who suffers from this condition has these very convincing perceptions and believes in them. It is important for that person to develop a lot of prudence in what they perceive. This is advice that not only applies just to people with schizophrenia, but to anyone, because every person, due to their egotistical conditioning, possesses some type of flaw in their perception of things, a bias or prejudice.
 
Mystical experiences are very distinct from hallucinations. The problem with a schizophrenic person is that they do not discriminate what they see. They could be having these perceptions in their physical body or even in dreams that they take and mistake for reality. This is why meditators who are in this tradition develop a lot prudence, discrimination in what they see. It is not enough to just assume that what one knows or sees of a vision is authentic. It has to be proven with facts. It has to be in alignment with the highest spiritual principles, ethical conduct, discipline in oneself.
 
A person could have a dream that is authentic, in which they have a type of prophetic vision about what is going to happen later that day. Now, the dream occurs perhaps in the early morning. It is very common to have that type of experience when one is practicing Dream Yoga and Astral Travel, in which one perceives a type of insight or guidance from divinity. Now, what happens is that one has to be patient with those experiences, and to test them, to not assume that they mean one thing or another, but to let the evidence unfold of itself, and to meditate. Meditation is essential because one has to strip away all of types of obscurations, prejudices, assumptions, biases from one’s judgement. One has to suspend the senses, to abandon all type of intellectual deliberation, of thinking about the issue or the problem, wanting an experience to mean a certain thing. Instead, one has to concentrate upon and visualize that experience with patience, and empty the mind. Do not think, to relax. Comprehension unfolds when we put the mind aside. Hallucinations occur because the mind is active.
 
There is a very distinct quality to people who have schizophrenic hallucinations and genuine mystical experiences. One of the most basic is that the person’s physical life reflects the highest spiritual principles of conduct. If a person is having visions and believes that he or she has to commit an act that contradicts the religious stipulations given by the prophets, then one can be assured that such an experience is egotistical because it contradicts basic ethics, basic social etiquette, social norms, how to be a good person, how to behave in society, how to interact with others.
 
Now, what is interesting is that with a mystical experience, those reinforce and validate not only physical events in the material world, but also they inspire one to greater order, compassion, cohesion, structure, discipline, integrity in one’s thoughts, in one’s feelings, in one’s actions. By their fruits you will know them.
 
It is a very subtle thing. I cannot discuss all of the nuances to this type of problem. It is very complex and very difficult. We are going to give a lecture in the future that talks specifically about this topic, so I thank you for bringing it up now because that is going to preface into when we have the time and the opportunity to really go into all of the difficulties of this. So, hopefully this is just a cursory explanation that can hold you off in the meantime, so in future we will talk more about this. Any other questions?
 
Question: Can you consider that many factors determine mental imbalances within the human family: poor diet, incest, family karma, personal karma, as well experiences which each person has in their life, family socialization and adult experiences?
 
Instructor: Yes. There are a lot conditions and factors that come into play. All of that you mentioned here really goes together in terms of addressing a psychological reality.
 
Physical illnesses, whether in the intellectual brain, the emotional brain, or the motor-instinctive-sexual brain, all have some type of psychological cause. There are some defects or egos responsible for creating that disequilibrium. Now, the reason why people get sick in their body is because they have wasted certain energies related to their different physiological and psychological centers, the three brains. This has to do with karma. People, for example who suffer from schizophrenia, obviously have abused their mental. They have wasted their mental energies, whether in this life or in previous lives. This is why when one experiences the onset of schizophrenia, there is a crystallization within the physical brain because the karma is so severe, depending on the person, that it crystalizes and materializes within the physicality. So there is a biological and chemical component to their imbalance. The issue comes when one has to treat that type of condition, one should obviously rely on professional assistance but also work to understand the egos that are hyper-intellectual, that are paranoid, delusional.
 
Diet can obviously affect a person’s mental health, can exacerbate problems. It is important that people who suffer from certain conditions treat their bodies well. Get good rest, good sleep. Take care of themselves, because their deficiency or lack thereof can really heighten symptoms, make a person much more prone to illness. So there are a lot of factors here.
 
Now, in relation to family karma, people who have mental illnesses or some kind of sickness obviously are born into families where that genetic condition or those genes are present. So, while there is a genetic component, people are in the families they are and receive the type of bodies they have based on previous actions and their consciousness before they are physically born.
 
There are a lot of factors here that come into play, but primarily the one I want to help us focus on is the ego. The ego is the origin of illness because it takes the energies of the consciousness and the three brains and uses it within desire, within errors. So, that is what makes people sick, and that illness crystalizes in the body in many ways.
 
It relates to the karma of a family because one is attracted to situations and people and families as a result of their internal psychology. We call this the law of attraction. As I said, people are born into families that resonate with their level of being. So if there is family who drinks a lot or are depressed, who have chronic depression, it is more likely that the children born of those households will have the same condition because obviously there is a genetic trace there. But behind the genes is the consciousness.
 
We obviously follow the trajectory of our former actions, so this is why meditation is really important for understanding why perhaps one could have a certain problem.
 
Also, karma comes into play within a person’s life. For example, a person could suffer depression because they experienced a lot of trauma growing up. Maybe they were abused in their family. Now, there are certain causes that underlie that type of situation that one has to investigate―not to accept at the mere physical level but to really consciously comprehend why that situation is unfolding, why one is suffering in that household, or has inherited a certain family, a certain lineage. It is important to reflect on that because there a lot of things that go beyond just the mere analysis of the intellect, making associations in this physical world. Instead, one has to go into the internal worlds. This is why Kabbalah is really important.
 
Question: You mentioned a practice for working through trauma. Can you please go over that once again?
 
Instructor: Yes. There are a few practices that you can do. We talk a lot about self-observation, learning to observe ourselves, to examine the qualities of one’s mind: their thoughts, feelings, and actions so that one can gather data about certain defects, flaws of character, and conditions, such as traumatic feelings or experiences that one might have faced before.
 
Meditation is really the primary method we use to comprehend deep psychological states. Now, for people who suffer from trauma, obviously, it can be very difficult to relive those experience within meditation. That is why it is a balancing act. One of the other lectures in this course talked about Trauma and Spiritual Healing. You can find it on this course, Spiritual and Mental Health. She goes into a lot detail about how to work through trauma, some practical techniques for understanding one’s traumas, and also how to remedy them with spiritual methods. They go very deep, and have very lasting and profound effects.
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<![CDATA[Strategies for Mind Training]]>Sun, 06 Jun 2021 01:00:19 GMThttp://chicagognosis.org/lectures/strategies-for-mind-training
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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. 
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​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.

​Ethics

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.

​Samadhi 

​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. 

​Stabilizing Meditation

​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. 
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​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. 

​Analytical Meditation

​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).
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​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. 

​Ethical Lifestyle

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. 

​Conducive Environment

​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.

​Reducing Desire

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. 
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​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 

​Contentment

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. 

​Energy

​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. 
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​Concentration Practices 

​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? 
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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. 
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​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. 
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​Retrospection Dynamics

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:

RAOM GAOM
 
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. 
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​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. 
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​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. 
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​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.
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​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. 
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​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.
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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. 
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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:
 
  1. Intellectual
  2. Emotional
  3. Motor-Instinctive-Sexual
 
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.
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<![CDATA[Gnostic Mysteries of Chastity]]>Thu, 27 May 2021 05:00:00 GMThttp://chicagognosis.org/lectures/gnostic-mysteries-of-chastity
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Congratulations to the chaste saints. Their souls never condemn them. Having won them, they are never separated from themselves. Congratulations to the spirits of the chaste saints. They have received the perfect heavenly crown from the heavenly sphere assigned to them. Congratulations to the bodies of the chaste saints. They have been deemed worthy to become temples of God, so that Christ may dwell in them. ―Acts of Thomas

What is Chastity? 

For many people, we associate chastity with celibacy, which is the total avoidance of sex. For centuries, many religious organizations have taught us that sex is shameful, that sex should be avoided except in the cases of marriage or to procreate children. For many centuries, this teaching has been propagated that sex is something shameful or dangerous, precisely because of its tremendous power and the sacred nature of the sexual act. It is in sex that we have the power to create life, and God, divinity, also has that power to create life, and has given us the ability to do that through the unity of a man and a woman in sex.
 
We see in sex the principles of creation. There are always three factors involved whenever life is created. There is a masculine principle that is projected. There is a feminine principle that is receptive. Uniting them, there is the holy conciliation, sex, through the Holy Spirit if you are familiar with the Christian teachings.
 
Today’s lecture will be an introduction to the Gnostic mysteries of chastity, and we will be studying a gnostic text, a scripture from almost two thousand years ago called Acts of Thomas in India.
 
This scripture is generally considered to be a teaching of celibacy by many mainstream scholars, and that is because at that time, the true teaching of chastity―how to harness our sexual energy and how to work in the sexual act in accordance with God’s highest commandments―was no taught publicly.
 
For many centuries, sex has been relegated to the private sphere, and what happened in people’s private, sexual lives was not talked about openly. Perhaps it is for this reason that many people have associated sex with shame and fear, but the reality is that sex has a dual potential. It has a potential to bring us into greater suffering, to create pain, for who could deny that sexual abuse, sexual crimes that are committed, are among the most horrible abominable acts that we see today?
 
Sex also has a beautiful potential, a spiritual potential. Chastity is the teaching about how we can use sex and our sexual force in accordance with God’s commandments. Those familiar with Christianity know that two commandments directly concern sex. One of them is that “Thou shall not commit adultery.” We should not have sex with multiple people. That is a commandment from God. The other commandment is “Thou shall not fornicate.” Fornication is the misuse of sex, whether outside of a marriage or within a marriage―if sex is used with impurity, with lust, with desire, for selfish pleasures, in forgetfulness of divinity, which is always present with us―especially in the sexual act when we have that power of creation illuminated.

​The Duality of Sex

​There are two doors related to sex. When we go through the act of sex in one direction―which is what we know about today in our public media, in our television shows, in music―we experience all of the sexual sensations with a tremendous desire. We go around seeking more and more of those sensations. We watch videos. We read articles. We find partners and go to places intending to find sexual partners, and that is the modern idea of sex, that sex is something to be enjoyed.
 
Ever since the sexual liberation movement around the 1960s and 1970s, we had so much public content shared about sex. There has been medical research, lots of movies, television shows, in which, in the very first few moments, you see very graphic content that several decades ago or even just a few years ago would not have been permissible.
 
Sex is unavoidable in our modern culture, and that is why in this teaching of chastity, we have finally been granted access to how to use sex in accordance with God’s law, knowledge that was not given publicly before the 1950s, knowledge that was preserved for centuries and millennia by true initiates of mystery schools, of genuine temples, of religion. Only those who were properly prepared, who had purity of mind and heart, who had willpower and self-control, were able to understand and learn the true secret of chastity: how to perform the sexual act with purity.
 
That is why when we study ancient gospels like Acts of Thomas, we see that sex can be veiled, can be a hidden mystery, something that must be discovered. Anyone who remembers being a child, before they had exposure or had much understanding about sex, it was a great mystery. It was something that, when encountered for the first time, it produced a tremendous reaction and tremendous effect in all of us. Anyone who has experienced some form of sexual trauma can tell you that sex is much more than of mere physical act, that sex is psychological, and has tremendous power to shape our life. Each of us, if we are sincere and examine our psychological relationship with sex, can see that this is an important aspect of life, and sex is a natural part of life. But if that act produces pain or produces joy is truly dependent on the psychological state that we bring to that act. That is why we seek to understand, through scriptures, the mysteries of how to become pure, how to become chaste, and gain all of those rewards that are spoken of regarding the chaste saints that I read earlier from this scripture, Acts of Thomas

​How to Approach Sacred Sexuality

In order to properly approach this teaching today, we have to set aside the concepts, the ideas, even the experiences or preferences that we may have regarding sex, to encounter this teaching with an open mind, for it is a mystery to most of us, a very new teaching to many of us, that has not been heard about before. For those who have never heard of chastity before, it may be surprising. It may be offensive to your ideas about what sex is, and since we have been exposed to a large amount of propaganda in our culture regarding sex, it is difficult to approach it with humility and open-mindedness when we already have strongly held positions and opinions about our sexuality.
 
So, I encourage you to take the mindset of a child, and if you are able to, return to that state of innocence before you had much knowledge of sex, what it really signified, and to have an open mind as you hear this teaching today. For Jesus taught us in the Gospel of Matthew that we must be changed and become as children. Through chastity, we are able to become again like children, like virgins, new to sex. 
And [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. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” ―Matthew 18:3-4
​If we really want to enter into heaven to know the mysteries of divinity, to experience the bliss of Eden from which we have been cast out by our abuse of sexuality, we must have that innocence, that purity, that humility and reverence of a child when we approach the topic of sex. 
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​Kabbalah and Alchemy: The Heart of Gnostic Christianity

We also need the two esoteric sciences of Gnostic Christianity that allow us to interpret scripture according to the principles of the initiates. People who are initiated into the mystery schools or the highest levels and temples of genuine religion were taught Kabbalah and Alchemy.
 
The first, Kabbalah, is related with the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden, because Kabbalah can unveil to us the mysteries of the universe, of nature, of ourselves. Kabbalah is like a map of divinity, and for those who have not studied it before, I strongly encourage you to study the course on Glorian.org [.
 
This course on Kabbalah relates to the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet and has a corresponding course related to the twenty-two arcana of Tarot. These twenty-two letters and twenty-two arcana of tarot are one in the same, and that each one encodes a spiritual principle, a mystery about our universe, our existence, our spiritual journey, and how we can return to divinity. That code is very deep, and it requires much more study than what I can provide to you today, but we will apply it in a basic way through kabbalistic numerology, to give you an introduction on how we must apply this science to spiritual scriptures.
 
Similarly, Alchemy is essential for understanding scripture and we would be remiss not to apply Alchemy to this particular scripture, Acts of Thomas, for it is an extremely sexual and alchemical text.
 
Alchemy comes from two roots, Al, El, God. אל El is God in Hebrew and Al-, the + ilah, God, الله Allah, “The God” relates to the Arabic name of God. Chem, or Khem is from χυμεία Kimia (Greek), this means “to fuse or to cast metal.” Those of us who are familiar with the tradition of Alchemy from medieval times will understand why they encoded Alchemy through symbols of converting lead into gold, that one must take a very heavy, dense, and dark material and transform it through a scientific procedure into gold, the most pure and rarified and noble of the metals. That science encodes how we can use sex, as a procedure, through which we can convert the base lead of our personality, of our corrupted psychology, into the pure gold of the spirit, and give birth to Christ within our own physical body.
 
It is very important to understand Alchemy was written in code and that the masters who wrote about it, just like the great masters of all religions, kept the sexual teaching hidden, so it would not be abused by people who approached it with ambition, with pride, with lust, with little spiritual understanding. Only now, because our society has become so open, because we have entered the era of Aquarius where sexual liberation is abundant, we are able to speak publicly about mysteries which were never revealed to the profane.
 
Though Alchemy, sexual Alchemy, we are able to fuse ourselves with divinity. Alchemy is the science to fuse the human soul with Christ, God, divinity. Christ is a principle, a force, an energy, an intelligence that is permeating every atom of life in our universe. Christ is far beyond one terrestrial person, but Christ has the ability to manifest physically in our world through a properly prepared individual. That is why Jesus Christ, the greatest master this planet has ever known, is given that title of Christ, because he was incarnating Christ into the physical world, so that infinite force of love, compassion, and wisdom could teach humanity how to live in accordance with the laws that divinity has set into our nature―laws like chastity, which forbid fornication and forbid adultery, so that sex can only be used in purity, in accordance with divinity, in mindfulness of the divine nature of that sacrament. 
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Mystical Geography in the Acts of Thomas

​So, in order to understand the basics of these two sciences―Kabbalah relating to the Tree of Life and Alchemy relating to the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden of Eden―we will study the location of this scripture.
 
Acts of Thomas in India is about an apostle, Judas Thomas, who is sent on a mission to India. While scholars generally accept that this was truly a real man who traveled to the actual location of India around the Indus river, in that region at that time, establishing Christian churches, we must also know that this text is symbolic. It encodes a greater truth, a spiritual truth, a secret, a mystery, hidden in its symbols.
 
The first symbol is India because India is far more than a literal place in this scripture. India indicates the setting or the environment in which this apostle is going to bring his teaching, the teaching of Christ, the teaching of chastity. This is why we need to analyze India in accordance with Kabbalah, this divine science that can help us to understand the nature of God and also the path to return to divinity.
 
In Hebrew the word for India is הֹדּוּ Hodu. הֹדּוּ Hodu is written with three Hebrew letters. The first is ה Hei, the second is ד Daleth, the third is ו Vav. Just observing the shape of the symbols of these letters, we can see already a hint of their spiritual significance. In the letter ה Hei, we see a shape of a womb, a uterus. That is because ה Hei represents femininity, the divine feminine, and also the physical feminine body and sexual organs. At the end of this word, we see ו Vav. ו Vav is a phallic symbol resembling an erect penis. For that reason, we can understand that on either side of this word, we have the man and the woman present. Uniting this man and woman is ד Daleth, which has the shape of a door. ד Daleth means “door” in Hebrew.
 
Sex can be referred to as the door to Eden, and it is also the door out of Eden through the abuse of sex. We lose the ability to remain in union with Christ, with God. We lose our bliss, for עֵדֶן Eden means “bliss” in Hebrew.
 
That is why initially in this gospel, Acts of Thomas, the apostle is a bit reluctant to travel to the place where he is assigned, because India is not literally a place he is reluctant to go, but symbolically it signifies sex, that door which is so treacherous and can lead us back to God, but it can also expel us away from God and separate us from God if sex is abused. That is why we see this quote from Samael Aun Weor in his book Tarot and Kabbalah:
…within sex is a major force that can liberate the human being, but also a major force that can enslave the human being.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Tarot and Kabbalah
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Tarot, Kabbalah, and the Hebrew Letters

For those familiar with Tarot, you can see the symbol of the fifteenth arcanum, Passion, commonly referred to as the devil. The fifteenth arcanum relates to the Hebrew letter ס Samech, the serpent biting its tail.
 
That cycle of passion is what can enslave us and convert us unto devils. If we see an attractive person walking by, we may be compelled to act a certain way around them and talk a certain way around them. We may obsess about that person, or conversely, we may try to repress that force and avoid that person, avoid thinking about them. But either way we know that sexual potency is a major force that has an impact on us psychologically, regardless of if we try to indulge it or repress it. It shapes us, and very few are those human beings who can truly master and command their sexual force.
 
Sex is also the key to liberating us, and that is what Thomas will teach us in this Gospel.
 
The reason why we can relate the Arcanum 15 with India, esoterically speaking, is because the kabbalistic addition of the three letters in the word India: ה Hei, being the fifth letter in the Hebrew alphabet, corresponds with the number five; ד Daleth, being the fourth, corresponds with the number four; and ו Vav corresponds with six as the sixth letter in the Hebrew alphabet. In Kabbalah we know that there is an esoteric significance to the sum total of any number given in a scripture. When we add 5 + 4 + 6, we receive the kabbalistic sum of 15, the devil.
 
Judas Thomas of Acts of Thomas has the challenging task of going to the realm of the devil in order to convert the people there, who are confused about sex and sexuality, through many interesting parables about sex, back to chastity, so they can become chaste saints, disciples of Christ. 
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​Alchemical Symbolism of the Indus River and Date Palm Tree 

​Through the study of Alchemy, we can also examine the symbol of India, which relates to the Indus River, a river which gave tremendous life to that region and continues to give tremendous life to that region.
 
The Indus River in Sanskrit: सिन्धु Sindhu, “a large body of water; river, ocean,” derived from Cintu: date palm tree. For those who have studied the course on Kabbalah and Alchemy, they will know immediately that water, especially bodies of water like rivers and oceans, correspond with the sexual force, especially the sexual force in relationship with the Divine Mother, for it is the waters of the womb which create life. The sexual waters of the woman bring life and also the sexual waters of the man, semen, also give life. That is the alchemical significance of water when we see it mentioned in the scriptures, the waters of life.
 
However, it is important to know that water can also bring destruction, and that is why through the floods of Noah, humanity was destroyed for their crimes, for their vices. This is a dual symbol. Sex can bring life and it can destroy life, depending on how it is used.
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This teaching is seen very clearly in the Qur’an. The word Sindhu is derived from “Cintu,” date palm tree and date palms, which were abundant in the Middle Eastern region, are sometimes considered to be the true tree in the Garden of Eden―not an apple tree, but a date palm from which Adam and Eve ate, and that is a very sexual symbol. That is why that is the tree related with Alchemy, the science of fusing oneself with God through sacred sexuality.
 
In Surah 16:67 in the Qur’an, we see that the date palm is mentioned along with grapevines. Grapes are another sexual symbol, which is why Jesus performed his first miracle at a wedding, and that miracle was to convert water into wine. We see the relationship here, that water is our potential, and if that water is transformed, it can become the spiritual wine of the soul at a wedding, where two are married. That is the same symbol as converting the lead―the impure sexuality, slowly through a process of gentle heat, through a scientific method―into the gold of the purified spirit and soul. 
And from the fruits of date palm trees and grapevines you derive intoxicants as well as wholesome provision. Surely in this is a sign for those who understand. ―Quran 16:67
Who are the people with spiritual understanding? They are the initiates: the ones with spiritual ears and eyes who can hear and see the mysteries that are hidden behind in the scripture. In this mystery, so beautifully presented to us in the Holy Qur’an, is that from sex, we can see intoxication, obsession, addiction, lust, desire, that has no satiation. We can also see wholesome provision: the ability to bring life, not only physical life of a child, but also spiritual life to regenerate ourselves. 
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​The date palm, interestingly, the date resembles the testes, the male sexual organ. The date is considered a sacred food in Islam. We can see why that is sacred, just as our sexual seed is sacred. The sexual water must be conserved, transformed, transmuted through the science of Alchemy.

​Harnessing the Sexual Force

That is precisely the science that Samael Aun Weor, the founder of the Gnostic tradition, unveiled in the 1950s in his book, The Perfect Matrimony. As today’s lecture is only an introduction into the Gnostic mystery of chastity, I strongly encourage you to read this book, which can be read for free online on Glorian.org or purchased from any bookseller. In this book, Samael Aun Weor extensively teaches us the science of sexual Alchemy, chastity, and also pranayama or transmutation for single persons, who are not yet married and need the science by which they can still harness that sexual force for themselves.
 
For single people, it is important to note that they can conserve their sexual energy and must transmute it every day through practices like pranayama, which you can read about in the book The Perfect Matrimony. If one conserves their sexual energy but represses it, does not transform that energy, one could become a very troubled person. We have seen that the celibacy, the total avoidance of sex, is harmful. It produces psychological imbalances, and in some cases has led to sexual crimes. We do not advocate celibacy in this teaching, but chastity does require that an unmarried person abstain from sex. Until we are married, we should be transmuting that energy, working with prayer, mantra, pranayama, so that force is continually flowing through our body and allowing us to unite with divinity.
 
If we lose that force through the vices such as masturbation, we lose our connection to divinity. That is why many feel shame after orgasm, for they know that they have lost something valuable. Yes, on a physical level we can lose thousands of sperm, but for men and women orgasm is harmful, more importantly on a spiritual and energetic level, because the orgasm produces a short circuit in the physical and energetic bodies and destroys those bodies. The orgasm not only affects us energetically and physically, but also spiritually, in that when we expel that sacred substance from our bodies, we are losing the very force of God, the creator within us. That is why we become blind, deaf, and lame, spiritually speaking. That is why when most of us sit to meditate or pray, we see black. We hear nothing because we are dead inside, spiritually speaking, because we have lost the very force of life and creation within our own body. 
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​Spiritual Creation is Sexual

Samael Aun Weor states:
The sexual act is the real consubstantiation of love in the tremendous psycho-physical reality of our Nature. ―Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony
​Consubstantiation in Christian terms relates to the teaching that the bread and wine of the Holy Eucharist, the Holy Communion, is simultaneously one with the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Con represents “together,” substantiation: substance―they are one substance together, simultaneously. That is the teaching in mainstream Christianity, but Samael Aun Weor taught from an esoteric standpoint and is pointing out that in a psychological and physical reality, sex unites us with divinity.
 
Psychologically and physically, we must be pure. We must maintain that sexual energy within our body and transform it in accordance with God’s guidance, the teachings of chastity. That is the real consubstantiation in which we are simultaneously a human and divine. 
Something is created when a man and a woman unite sexually. ―Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony
In the sexual act when man and woman unite, something is created. What is created? Of course, we know that a physical child can be created when a man and woman unite sexually, and there is a mystery in which one sperm and one egg are needed to create a pure physical child. That is a mystery for another lecture, the mystery of Immaculate Conception, but you can read about it in The Yellow Book by Samael Aun Weor if you are interested in learning more about it.
 
What else is created when we unite sexually? Well, if we reflect on our lives, what have we seen created through sex? We may see some happy marriages, although these are becoming fewer. We have seen much pain created by sex, suffering. That is because mankind has not been taught how to use sex appropriately. Mankind has been taught how to abuse sex, how to indulge in sex, how to go around seeking the next sensations or have multiple partners and masturbate―all kinds of sexual vices which corrupt our psychology. These vices do not just harm our physical body. They harm us psychologically. They create imbalances. They create addictions. They create lunacy. Some of the worst sexual crimes are committed by lunatics who have zero control over their sexual force.
 
Sexuality must be properly understood so that we can use it in balance with divinity. This is a great mystery that can only be known through experience. Anyone who has experienced the suffering, the heartbreak, the loss and sorrow of lust, can understand that there is one doorway that we can pass through with sex that brings an emptiness, a longing that is never fulfilled. Many people believe in the promise of love, of sex as love, but do not know how to bring real love into the sexual act. Love must be brought not only for our spouse and our partner, with selflessness, sacrificing our own selfish desires for that act, but out of love, union with our partner.
 
Love must also involve divinity. Where divinity is not present, there is not love. Christ, God, divinity is love. If you are performing the sexual act or sexual behaviors without divinity, there is no love present there. We need to understand that the very potential for our own heart to love our spouse, to love humanity, to love our children, the potential in our own heart is the spark of divinity. The one who loses their sexual forces, their sexual energies, and their sexual substance, loses that ability to love. That is why lust for the pleasure it can bring, in the short term, never materializes with that eternal happiness that it seems to promise.
 
People spend their whole lives believing that chasing sex will somehow bring them that happiness, will bring them to love. But it is not sex alone which brings us to love. We must bring love to sex, through our inner union with divinity. That is why chastity does not begin just in the sexual union with a partner. Alchemy begins with us, with our willingness to purify our minds and hearts, to become as children, to go sincerely and humbly unto God, and to learn these mysteries from our inner divinity. Divinity will teach you much about chastity and sexual Alchemy if you are open in your heart, in your mind, if you are pure, if you have set aside your pride which thinks it already understands sexuality, that it already knows what sex is about. You allow God to teach you God’s divine mystery of sex. You will see that on the other side of that door that there is a tremendous abundance of sacred mystery that we have barely begun to understand through our modern, contemporary notions about sex.

​The Prerequisites of Sexual Alchemy

​So, how does one practice sexual Alchemy with their partner? For those of us who are married, what is the practice of chastity? How do we engage in this sexual act, but do it with purity and do it with full meditative awareness of the presence of divinity?
 
Samael Aun Weor gives the full teaching about that in The Perfect Matrimony, but just to read a little bit for you today from that book―in relationship to a man and a woman, sexually united and experiencing all the bliss of that union―he states the following: 
If man and woman would know how to withdraw without the spasm, if in those moments of delightful enjoyment they would have the willpower to control the animal ego, and if at that point they would retire from the sexual act without ejaculating the semen (neither inside the womb, nor outside of it or to the side of it, nor in any other place) they would have then performed an act of Sexual Magic. This is what is called in occultism the Arcanum A. Z. F.
 
With the Arcanum A. Z. F., we can retain all that marvelous light, all those cosmic currents, all those divine powers. Then, Kundalini, the Sacred Fire of the Holy Ghost, awakens in us and we become terribly divine Gods.
 
However, when we ejaculate the semen, the cosmic currents merge with the universal currents and then penetrate the souls of the two beings with a bloody light, the luciferic forces of evil, fatal magnetism. Then, Cupid leaves crying The gates of Eden are locked; love becomes disillusionment. Disenchantment arrives and the black reality of this valley of tears is all that remains. ―Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony, “The Son of Man"
​God has created a door for us, a door in physical nature through which we can enter Eden, into bliss, or through which we can leave it. Meditate on your experiences with sex. Become prayerful and sincere and see if sex has really brought you lasting happiness, or if you have been abusing that act, forgetting divinity, forgetting love, and if that is the case, then you will understand when he states Cupid leaves crying. Cupid relating to the god Eros, the god of love, one in the same mystery of Christ in the Greek mysteries.
 
Eros leaves us when we orgasm, men and women. Although women may not lose any physical substance through the orgasm, they are losing tremendous substance energetically and spiritually, and that can be seeing through clairvoyance. Orgasm separates us from love and locks us out of heaven. We must become pure like children, like chaste virgins, as we enter into the sexual act every time remaining pure, bringing love for our spouse and love for divinity.
 
If we break this law of nature and we fornicate through orgasm―orgasm and fornication are one in the same, regardless if we are in a marriage or not―we will in the long run experience tremendous suffering because we are losing our connection to divinity. Divinity is what really brings us happiness. Through sex, we strengthen our union with divinity if it is performed with purity, prayer, and love.
 
Before we can perform sacred sexuality, sexual Alchemy with a partner, we have to establish that covenant with our own inner divinity by establishing purity within ourselves. We begin this practice as animals, filled with animal lust and desire, but through willpower, through constant application, we are refining this act and refining our own psychology, meditating on the evils that exist within our own heart, the selfishness, the pride, the greed, the lust, the desires that are never happy, that are never satisfied.
 
How do we free ourselves from that? How do we liberate ourselves from that? It is through sex, working with Kundalini, which is the mystery of the Divine Mother who controls those sexual waters and allows us to become free, to become washed and purified by those waters, if we keep those waters within our body.
 
When we lose that spiritual water, we become inhabited. We open that doorway for evil forces to come into our body. Sex is the original sin, because sex with fornication opened the gates of Eden and expelled us out of union with divinity. Sex is called the original sin, but sex with purity is salvation and redemption of mankind.
 
Acts of Thomas is about many, many individuals who are suffering from the misuse of sex. Today we are only going to talk a little bit about Act I, “The Wedding Feast of the King’s Daughter,” but if you read this scripture, you will see again and again that people are committing sexual crimes, that people are being tormented by sexual demons, that sex is prevalent through out this act. That is why Kabbalistically and esoterically speaking, India symbolizes sex, the perilous nation in which people are afflicted by sexual impurities, just like each one of us.
 
Whether we have had sex or not, each of us should examine our relationship to sex, our sexual behaviors, our psychological relationship to sex, and ask ourselves if it is pure. Many who fear sex just want to avoid it, never want to think about it, want to repress it, want to be celibate. But that is a false door, because the celibate person never goes anywhere. They never grow. The chaste person, even if they are single, is growing through their own sexual force or through the union of masculine and feminine forces in the sexual act. But the celibate person who refuses to transform that energy, who tries to ignore it and runs away from it, is lying to themselves. Sex is an essential part of nature and human experience. Sex is an essential aspect of our spiritual journey, because without sex, we have no power to get out of the current state that we are in and we have no power to reunite with divinity. 
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​Building the Temple of God

So, we need to preserve those sexual energies, which are continually coming into our body from above, from our Divine Father and our Divine Mother. We need to preserve those energies, transform them, and use them to build the temple of God in our own bodies. That is why Thomas goes to India, to build a palace for a King. The true king is God. The palace is the temple. The temple of our body can become a palace, a temple of God, but only if we meet God’s requirements, just as divinity demands that there is purity of heart and spirit in the sexual act. That is what we need to understand. If we do not meet the prerequisite, this is the law of nature that states that sex expels you from Eden, or it brings you back into Eden. Sex abuse separates you from God. Sex performed with purity and chastity reunites you with God. That is the law of nature. That is not an idea that someone just made up. That is a law written into nature, and we can experience it, work with it, and verify it directly through our experience.
 
Judas Thomas unwillingly gets sold by Jesus, his master, as a slave, so that he is forced to go to India, sold as a slave who will build a palace for a King in India. Before he is able to build this palace, he is compelled to attend a wedding feast for the local king’s daughter. Why does he have to attend a wedding feast before he can build a palace? Spiritually speaking, this is symbolic. The wedding feast, the consummation of marriage, the sexual act, is the prerequisite through which the temple of God can be built, truly, to create a vessel into which Christ, that profound, tremendous power of wisdom and love, can actually incarnate within a human body. Those vessels are created through sex. That is the only way that anything nature is created. That is why Thomas and Jesus as his twin teach the mystery of chastity in the bridal chamber. 
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​The Teaching in the Bridal Chamber

​When they are teaching this, Jesus appears to the young couple in the form of Judas Thomas, and they are surprised because Judas Thomas has just left the room after blessing them and praying for them. They asked, “How is it possible that you are still in the room?” and Jesus explains to them that he is not the physical man Judas Thomas, that he is Christ.
 
This again is symbolic. Thoma means “twin.” Thomas is “twin,” the twin of Christ. The physical apostle is the vessel in which Christ manifests and gives that gospel to humanity. Jesus was a literal person, but symbolically, looking at this symbol, we see that Jesus is representing the force of Christ because this gospel takes place after Jesus had died and resurrected. His spirit comes through the vessel of Thomas, his physical apostle, to teach the mystery of chastity.
 
So, what does Jesus teach in the bridal chamber? Acts of Thomas says that Jesus taught the following to the young couple:
Remember, my children, what my brother spake unto you and what he delivered before you: and know this, that if ye abstain from this foul intercourse, ye become holy temples, pure, being quit of impulses and pains, seen and unseen, and ye will acquire no cares of life or of children, whose end is destruction… But if ye be persuaded and keep your souls chaste before God, there will come unto you living children whom these blemishes touch not, and ye shall be without care, leading a tranquil life without grief or anxiety, looking to receive that incorruptible and true marriage, and ye shall be therein groomsmen entering into that bride-chamber which is full of immortality and light. ―Acts of Thomas
Modern scholars who know nothing, who have never been initiated into the deepest genuine mysteries of spiritual teachings, always interpret this scripture as advocating for celibacy, total abstinence form sex. In reality, this scripture very obviously indicates that sex is important, and Jesus spends the whole night there in that bridal chamber with the couple. What happens in that bridal chamber is not explicitly stated in this gospel, for at that time it was forbidden to give this knowledge publicly to the profane, to people who were not properly prepared, who could not handle working with sex in this way.
 
We see that Jesus is talking about two marriages here. One marriage of foul intercourse, the lustful marriage which brings impulses and pains, seen and unseen. Physical pain, yes, it can bring physical illnesses to us, karmically speaking, in the long term, but also unseen impulses and pain, those addictions, psychological imbalances, the madness that comes when sex is out of control and abused. The other marriage that he mentions is the incorruptible and true marriage, the bride chamber, which is full of immortality and light. When we practice chastity and we are meditating and we are awakening our spiritual senses, our spiritual eyes, we can see the light penetrating around and through our physical bodies. We can see that divinity is present. Angels are present, observing and guiding that sacred sexual act. It is a holy sacrament, and for those who work with it, they can verify this in their experience, but the prerequisite is purity.
 
You will never reach the heights of this chastity of this teaching if you are orgasming. If you are losing that sacred energy, even jus now and then, you will never be able to build the temple of God, because it is a law of nature that is required. That is the substance through which the Divine Mother can build a vessel for God within us. Only a fool would spend so much time, effort, and discipline to build a beautiful temple and go in with a sledgehammer and start breaking down the walls, destroying it, and then decide to go back and rebuild it again. We will never get anywhere if we are going back and forth. We must obey the law. We must work with sex. It is absolutely essential, but we must work in accordance with God’s commandments, which forbid fornication. They forbid orgasm and forbid adultery. The person who tries to practice this with many partners will also get nowhere. Love must be present, genuine love that grows and grows and grows as we continue to practice with our spouse, love for our spouse and love for divinity. Love is the substance of divinity and divinity leaves the adulterer. 

​The Response of the Bride

Although, the sexual act is not explicitly discussed or written down in this scripture, it is clear to us that a marriage has taken place, that Jesus spent an evening with the young couple teaching them and guiding them in the sexual act. We know that something has happened, because the next day the bride and groom are radically transformed. In fact, when the king and queen come down to see their daughter and her new husband, they are shocked, very surprised to see that she has removed her veil, which is called the “garment of shame” in those times, which the woman would wear to hide her shame after having sex. They come down and they ask her and her husband, “Why do you look so happy? Why are you not ashamed? Is it because that you are in such great love with each other that you are not ashamed?” They are shocked because they have never seen a couple come out of the sexual act with a happiness and joy that pervades them in this way, in this level of transformation. So, the bride, the daughter, responds to her parents and says this:
Verily, father, I am in great love, and I pray my Lord that the love which I have perceived this night may abide with me, and I will ask for that husband of whom I have learned today: and therefore I will no more veil myself, because the mirror (veil) of shame is removed from me; and therefore am I no more ashamed or abashed, because the deed of shame and confusion is departed far from me; and that I am not confounded, it is because my astonishment hath not continued with me; and that I am in cheerfulness and joy, it is because the day of my joy hath not been troubled; and that I have set at naught this husband and this marriage that passes away from before mine eyes, it is because I am joined in another marriage; and that I have had no intercourse with a husband that is temporal, whereof the end is with lasciviousness and bitterness of soul, it is because I am yoked unto a true husband [Christ]. ―Response of the Bride, Acts of Thomas
There are many symbols of Alchemy in the bride’s response in this scripture, but even to the uninitiated we can see very clearly that she has experienced, through this teaching, joy, happiness, and is beginning to enter into the true marriage, the marriage of Christ.
 
Many of us are seeking for temporary pleasure when we are lustful. We are seeking after physical sensations, physical experiences. That is temporal and passes away. That leads to lasciviousness and bitterness of soul. But chastity, chaste sexual union, is actually uniting the husband and wife with their inner divinity. The divinity of the wife, the divinity of the husband become one, and that is why it is not a marriage with a spouse that is temporal―not just a union of the physical bodies, but really the union of the immortal souls. That is why there are two marriages: one marriage that is temporary and passes away when the physical body dies, and another marriage through which the souls of the husband and wife become one with the spirit, with Christ. They are re-establishing, rebuilding that bridge, that connection that guides us back to God. That is what gives us conscience. That is what gives us insight, intuition, guidance, visions, dreams that are prophetic. All of that is established through working with our sexual potential, because sex is what can reunite us with God, just as it has separated us from our inner divinity through its abuse. 

​The Response of the Groom 

​Personally, I prefer the response of the groom even more because the groom, as we can see in his response, is someone like many of us who has been confused, who has been taught many ideas, corruption, impurity, and suffering. We can hear in this response from the groom so much gratitude for how sex has guided him back to his true nature, his soul, reunion with divinity and real love for Christ. In Acts of Thomas, the groom states: 
I give thee thanks, O Lord, that hast been proclaimed by the stranger [Judas Thomas], and found in us [Christ within us]; O’ Lord who hast removed me far from corruption and sown life in me; who hast rid me of this disease that is hard to be healed and cured and abides forever, and hast implanted sober health in me [chastity]; who hast shown me thyself and revealed unto me all my state wherein I am; who hast redeemed me from falling and led me to that which is better, and set me free from temporal things and made me worthy of those that are immortal and everlasting; that hast made thyself lowly even down to me and my littleness, that thou mayest present me unto thy greatness and unite me unto thyself; […] hast shown me how to seek myself and know who I was, and who and in what manner I now am, that I may again become that which I was: whom I knew not, but thyself did seek me out: of whom I was not aware, but thyself hast taken me to thee: whom I have perceived, and now am not able to be unmindful of him: whose love burns within me… ―Response of the Groom, Acts of Thomas
That is Christ. The disease that is hard to be healed and cured is lust, abuse of sex. We see that there is so much addiction, especially to pornography that is extremely hard to be healed. It leads people to lunacy, suffering, pain, to have affairs, to throw away their marriage. That disease can be healed by Christ. That is a tremendous source of hope. This teaching allows us to change no matter how fallen we are. Even if we are a prostitute, we can be saved through chastity, through being purified and washed by the waters of our Divine Mother. It is an incredible power, a sacrament that should be approached with tremendous respect and humility. Most of us approach sex with impurity, selfishness, disgusting desires, and that is why we hurt ourselves, other people, and that is why we see so much pain and suffering in our society, so much abuse of sex, abuse of children, sexual assault, and rape. Mankind has not been taught how to control his sexual force, and that is because sexuality is so powerful that only the properly prepared have been taught this teaching.
 
Now, frankly speaking, we are in a society, in a time, in which the abuse of sex has become so great that there is really no other option than to give this openly with the hope that maybe a few people will have enough willpower, sincerity, humility, and genuine love for divinity to be able to accomplish this very difficult feat of chastity and sexual Alchemy. It is not easy. It is very demanding, but the rewards are infinite, eternal rewards, the ability to know your God again. We see here that the groom says he knew not God, he knew not Christ, but Christ sought him out. He was not aware of Christ, but Christ took him back to divinity through sex, sacred sexuality.
 
This is just an introduction today to a really deep mystery, and for those who really want to experience this, I encourage you to study a lot, to prepare yourself through meditation, meditating on lust everyday, because with this sexual force, you will have the power of the Divine Mother working within you, and that power can destroy your lust, your greed, your anger, your envy, your hatred, your pride. That is the power of chastity, to regenerate the human being, to purify the human being, to restore the spiritual sense of the soul, so that we can see and hear divinity again, and always be mindful of divinity because divinity will burn like love within us.
 
If we abuse this teaching, if we abuse sex, those waters will drown us. If we pollute those waters with impurity, and we try to work this practice, it will create nothing but extreme suffering for us and the people around us. So, prepare yourself properly, because the groom you are seeking to unite with is Christ. 
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​Christ: The Groom and the Church

​Christ is an infinite beauty, power wisdom, and love. Christ is the force that animates and gives life to every atom in this universe. That is why in Acts of Thomas, the apostle states:
If man loved God as much as they love one another, they would ask of him all things and receive them, and there would be nothing which would not obey them. ―Acts of Thomas, 128:9
If we love God, if we love Christ, that force of divinity, as much as we love our spouse―which hopefully we love our spouse, because nowadays mankind does not seem to love each other as much as we have the potential too―if we loved God, with the strongest intensity, with which we loved another person, then we would have the power to reunite with God through this sexual practice. Love is sexual. Eros, the god of love through the Greek mysteries, representing the force of Christ, is erotic love. Those two are intertwined. That is why the teaching was given to us in the Bible by Paul of Tarsus―relating to Christ and the church, the church being the Ecclesia―called out the ones called forth to the assembly, the congregation. The church is not as the physical building, but the church as the community of the followers of Christ who become the physical vessels in which Christ acts and performs his miracles, manifests, and gives his teachings to humanity―through his apostles, through those who work with this science to purify themselves, to create a vessel that can withstand that tremendous energy of Christ within it. That is why in this teaching in Ephesians, Paul of Tarsus, directly relates the love of Christ, the union with Christ, to the relationship between husband and wife. It is one in the same mystery. If engage in the sexual act, we renounce orgasm, and we bring the presence of divinity, prayer, and love into that act, that is the path to God. Paul wrote:
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” ―Paul of Tarsus, Ephesians 5:25-32
So, we see here that when a man and a woman unite, they become one flesh, one flesh with each other, one flesh with divinity, if we are without blemish, if we have been washed by those waters, if we are holy. The church are the true apostles, the true followers of Christ.
 
There are many people, many organizations that claim to be the true church of Christ, but we should examine ourselves: are we a temple of God? Are we the physical body through which God can perform his will? Or are we filled with selfish desires, self-will, egotism? Are we motivated by the guidance we are receiving internally from divinity and acting in ways that help humanity, that heal humanity, that brings happiness unto us and others, and that help us to reunite with God? Are we giving that teaching of Christ? Or are we teaching spiritual things out of vanity, out of pride, out of ambition and seeking for power? Or are we just totally living a life divorced from God, totally about me, myself, and what I want?
 
Maybe we say spiritual things when we are in public streets, and then when we go into the bedroom and whatever happens there, well, that is not of God’s business, we think.  We are fools if we think that God does not see especially that which has happened when we are working with the force of creation, with the power to give life in our own bodies. That is the moment when God is most present and our Divine Mother weeps when we lose and abuse that force.
 
If you work with this teaching, if you work with this practice, I promise you that you will begin awakening consciousness then you will see, with tremendous shame, the pain that we have brought to divinity and to other people through lust. So much of the suffering in this world has been the direct result of uncontrolled lust, a lack of willpower, indulgence in lust. That is it. There are many other problems, but lust is the root because in lust we have lost the connection with divinity. We have lost our conscience, which guides us to perform what is right in God’s eyes. You know we truly learn from within from our conscience what is good and what is evil, what is constructive and what is destructive. We can read it in a book, in the commandments. The ethical precepts of all great religions are wonderful starting places, and are necessary. We should be following those to purify our psychology, but the real teaching of right and wrong comes in each moment, in the presence of Christ, of divinity within us.
 
But we have to be awakened. We have to have spiritual sight and hearing to interpret those messages. It is one thing to receive a message, to have a powerful dream for example, but if we are foolish and our mind is out of balance, if we are totally controlled by selfish wishes, then we are going to interpret that dream according to our ego, according to our egotism, “What do I want that dream to mean?” Then that spiritual value, that gift that has been given to us, is lost.
 
So, if we want to become the bride of Christ, we have to work very hard with ourselves. Sexual Alchemy is important. Union with a spouse is important. But merely doing this practice with a spouse without any purity, without any love of divinity, without any love of our spouse, is not going to be enough. We should be the bride of Christ, because our physical body can be that receptive vehicle which can receive that projective force of Christ. The spirit can come down into the womb of our physical body and grow, be developed, and channel light here in this physical world, which needs the light of Christ, the teachings, and the presence of Christ more than ever. Because so few people are capable of this, each of us should hold this duty, this obligation to work on ourselves, to purify ourselves, to work with this practice with respect, with humility, to follow the will of our inner God. Humanity needs it now more than ever.
 
We see again Paul of Tarsus teaching us this mystery, that we as the souls of men can become betrothed or married to Christ, that divine spirit. Paul wrote:
For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. ―Paul of Tarsus, 2 Corinthians 11:2
​How does one become a virgin? Through virility, through virtue, through chastity. Humanity has fallen, but we can be redeemed. We can be purified. We can become again virginal, virginal bodies, virginal minds, virginal hearts, virginal souls, through chastity, through working with Christ, reading those scriptures, learning Kabbalah, learning Alchemy, studying this, doing these practices, transmuting every day, whether single or in a marriage, finding a way to work with that energy and meditating on our defects to destroy them, and performing good works and sacrifices that help humanity, even in small ways, helping people around us, not for our benefit, not for our pride, not for our ambition, but out of love, because Christ is love.
 
If you think of the moment in your life, or the time when you felt the strongest love for another human being, that is Christ―a small taste of Christ. As we work with chastity, we enliven that force. We bring that fire to life in our hearts, the fire of love. The sexual fire becomes pure and it brings us power, but the power of God, power that can only be granted if we are obeying the laws of god.
 
Again, I recommend for those who want to learn more about this sacred mystery of chastity and are interested in applying it as a way to regenerate their souls, return to God, and receive that inner guidance within, to read the book The Perfect Matrimony by Samael Aun Weor. Study Alchemy. Study Kabbalah. We have a tremendous gift that this teaching is being given publicly for humanity. People for centuries would risk their lives, would dedicate years, decades, in preparation in the temples to receive this mystery, and it is being given to us because we so desperately need it, and because without it, well, we already know the direction that our society is going. We are not progressing. We are crumbling. If that is the outcome we are already headed for, then we have nothing to lose by working with chastity, by applying it, by dedicating ourselves to it.
 
If your sexual behavior has brought you nothing but pain in life, then sacrifice it. Give it up and try this practice. Work with chastity, and see directly, in your experience, the tremendous results that you can receive through consistent, dedicated practice. You will be transformed. You can be purified. You can become converted like a child. There is tremendous power in sexual Alchemy.
 
So, let us conclude from one final verse from Acts of Thomas:
It is particularly fitting for you to live in holy chastity, for that is favored in God’s eyes and it leads to eternal life. It is the capital city of all good things in the eyes of God. Those who don’t compete in Christ’s stadium won’t receive the prize of holy chastity. Holy chastity was revealed by God: it destroys sexual immorality, overturns the enemy and pleases God, for it is an unconquered athlete, having honor from God and esteemed by many. It is the ambassador of peace, proclaiming peace; if anyone acquires it, that person remains carefree, pleasing the Lord, expecting the time of redemption. It does nothing improper but affords life, rest, and joy to all who acquire it. ―Acts of Thomas 85:3-8
​If you have any questions, please write them in the chat box. 

​Questions and Answers

Question: How can a single person before marriage identify if a partner would commit to a sex life without orgasm?
 
Instructor: That is a wonderful question. I will let you know that I know many Gnostic practitioners in this teaching who work with chastity with a spouse who does not practice chastity. So, it is possible that we can purify ourselves and unite with divinity by working in the sexual act if there is love in that marriage. Obviously, that has its challenges, right? So, be mindful of it, but if you are performing the law of God, if you are obeying and are chaste, then you will be able to achieve union with your inner divinity, with Christ through sexual Alchemy. The forces are present there. The masculine, the feminine, the Holy Spirit of sex is present there. God can come to you if you are prepared. Of course, your spouse might not like that. That is your karma. That is your situation. That is what God has given you, and so you have to consider very carefully before marriage, is love really present there in that relationship? Or is it desire? Many people have been fooled by desire and ended up in very unhappy marriages.
 
If your spouse is not open to this and you are already married, if there is love present in that marriage, you should not run away from that marriage. Love is the prerequisite for chastity, and those who chose to only marry another Gnostic, only with another person who agrees with what “I” believe, and do so only out of ambition, will get nowhere, because there is no love in that marriage. Of course, if you meet another person that is open to this and wants to practice with you, that is ideal. That is perfect. That is wonderful and beautiful, but only if love is present. So, do not get married out of ambition. Meditate and pray. Let God guide you to the spouse who you are destined for, the one whom you can love, and who can love you, the one who will bring you closer to Christ through that love, through the force of Christ within your hearts.
 
Question: What are the characteristics of chastity in woman versus in men? To be more specific, how does chastity manifest itself in men and women?
 
Instructor: Well, the spiritual work for men and women is the same. So, as a woman, I am required to fulfill all the same requisites of purity, of chastity, abstaining from orgasm, transforming that energy in my body through pranayama, or through sexual Alchemy, meditation, working on my vices every day. It is really no different. One thing I will say for women who practice this though, who transmute, whether married or single, we do not work with our sexual energy when we are on our period. If you are in your menstrual cycle, abstain from working with sexual energy for that time. That is a time of cleansing in which the body is flushing out impurities, and energetically as well. It is a great benefit that women have, that nature purifies our bodies every month, but it means that we should not be transmuting those energies, because that is a time when impurities are being cleansed from us by nature.
 
So, what does chastity look like for a woman versus a man? It is the same. As a woman, you should not be orgasming. Many women say, “Well, I am not losing any seed when I orgasm.” You do not see what you are losing spiritually and energetically in that orgasm. You are losing your vitality, that sexual energy that connects you with divinity, that power of creation in your own body. So, men, woman, it is very similar. I cannot speak too much on the man’s point of view, but at least as a woman I can share that.  
 
Question: What is the name of the broad statue shown in this lecture with a quote of Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony, and is that position the only way to practice? Can you provide terms on what one should do, or how to perform sexual magic in simple terms with detail on the procedure?
 
Instructor: So, that is not the only position which one can practice sexual magic. Generally speaking, the position is really not so important. You can perform this with the man on top of the woman, or the woman on top of the man. What is important is that you are awake. If you are meditative, if you are prayerful, you feel love for your spouse. You feel love for divinity. You are not allowing animal passion to overcome your willpower. You are allowing the heat, the fire, and the bliss of those pleasant sensations to awaken your consciousness, to nourish you, but you are not losing that force through orgasm.
 
I am not familiar with the name of that specific statue, but I have seen many like it. That comes from Tantric Buddhism. There are many symbols throughout the Tibetan Buddhist tradition that describe and show this union. There are many buddhas or many spiritual masters, enlightened ones who are showing that particular act, such as Padmasambhava and Yeshe Tsogyal, or his consort, as an example. There are many examples of that practice within that religion specifically. In terms of the only position or the way to practice, you can study a certain chapter in The Mystery of The Golden Flower by Samael Aun Weor [The Sexual Paroxysm and The Golden Embryo]. There are different positions and postures that one can practice with in accordance with Hindu scripture and ancient text itself.
 
Definitely, in these texts you will learn a variety of mantras as well. Mantra is an important part of sexual Alchemy because it allows us to move that energy more effectively in our body. One of the main mantras that is taught in The Perfect Matrimony is IAO, which is pronounced as in Latin:
 
I: (as the ee in “tree”):  
A: (as the ah in “father”)
O: (as the oh in “holy”)
 
Take a breath when you are united with your partner and vocalize the vowel sound:
​Iiiiiiiiii…
 
Then again…
 
Aaaaaaaaaa…
 
Then again…
 
Oooooooooo…
 
That is just one practice to give as an example, but before you enter into this practice you should study the book and you will learn a lot more mantras and much more about how to engage in that practice effectively.
 
Question: As a single person I have verified that these teachings are true through my own experiences with pranayama, prayer, self-observation, meditation, etc. I am totally dedicated to this path. It has given my life the most beautiful meaning and purpose. I know these teachings are true in my heart and are the purpose of life. Ever since I started sincerely practicing these teachings and transmuting my sexual energies daily, about a year ago, I had been experiencing nocturnal pollutions about every two to three months. These are very painful experiences as I observe my consciousness is weakened and I lose my psychic energies. My question is, what is the cause of these experiences? Is it karmic debt from past sexual misconduct? Are these tests in the internal worlds? Is it a lack of comprehension of lust? A combination of all these? Obviously, the goal is eventually find a spouse and enter into the major mysteries of sexual Alchemy. Is physical chastity possible like Sivananda and Yogananda?
 
Instructor: What an important question! Thank you for asking. For those who are not familiar with the term nocturnal pollutions, it refers to wet dreams, where―most notably for men, this is obvious―men might wake up and realize that he has orgasmed in his sleep. Women may wake up and realize that their body is orgasming. This can happen for men and women. There are a variety of reasons why this may happen, and we also have a remedy for this: the remedy of the melon drink, which can help you. So, if you are suffering from nocturnal pollutions, I encourage you to drink that remedy frequently until you see that the problem has been lessened.
 
But we need a permanent solution to this problem. The cause of the problem is lust. On one hand, I think that many single people are not transmuting enough, at minimum ten to fifteen minutes a day, but you can practice pranayama as long as you need. If you are a particularly fiery person, if that is your sexual temperament, you might need to perform a lot of pranayama every day. Also, work with runes―another sacred science that we teach in this tradition and you can find a whole course about the runes on Glorian.org. There are also videos of these runes that allows you to transform more energy.
 
So, one cause can be that you have too much sexual energy pent up, and since it is not being transformed, it is leading to that nocturnal pollution. That is a big problem, because you do not want to lose that energy.
 
The other is that we are tempted and tested in dreams. Often our own egos come out in dreams and take the shapes of many attractive people or situations that tempt us, and if we have not developed enough willpower through meditation, then when we are less awake, when we are more hypnotized in the dream state, we are more likely to fail and to engage in some kind of sexual activity in the dream state that causes our physical body to orgasm and to lose that energy. So, do the best that you can. It takes time to train the body. It takes time also to train our psyche.
 
But we should be vigilant. We should be on lust everyday, to understand our lust. How does it manifest? What does it want? How does it control us? What provokes it? What tempts it? Some people try to avoid temptation all together, but when we see something in our life, we should not be looking at pornography. We should not try to find ways to test ourselves. That would be foolish. We are not at that level. But things happen in our life. We see people that we feel some attraction to. Do not avoid that. Go home and meditate. Meditate, meditate, meditate. What in you is impure? Sometimes we think we may love a person, but that love is mixed with a lot of impurity. So, even if you are married you still need to be meditating on lust. Lust is always selfish and divinity is selfless.
 
The karmic debt from past sexual misconduct is the creation of lust in our own psychology. So, whenever we commit abuse of sex, we generate a psychological consequence, and that strengthens lust in our psyche, which then causes us to have less control over sexual force in both our physical life and in our dream life in the astral plane. So, the karma is psychological. But we do have the power to overcome that. We do have the power to meditate on that. What did you dream about? Meditate on it. Understand it. Do not just feel like, “I failed. I should be ashamed!” and then not learn anything from that. It is a very humbling experience, and it is a very painful experience. We should learn from that, because when that happens to us, it is an opportunity to understand something about ourselves that we do not understand. Otherwise, it would not happen.  
 
As a single person, we can achieve up to 50% of the elimination of the ego. Right now, in this teaching, we know that most of us in this planet have about 97% ego. That means we are 97% selfish and blind to divinity. We have 3% consciousness free that can perceive things in a new way, that can perceive divinity, that can act spontaneously, and the other 97% of us is conditioned to habitual behaviors, conditioned psychology, that wants to repeat habits again and again― repeat the same anger, repeat the same envy in a new situation, repeat the same lustful sensations. So, as a single person, it is possible to become truly pure.
 
Yogananda is a beautiful example. He made the mistake of believing that he could be married within to his Divine Mother without a spouse, and so he was only able to achieve half of that work, but what a tremendously beautiful soul, like an elemental, very pure, that brought wonderful teachings to humanity! Yes, that is possible for the single person.
 
We should not have such a strong desire for a spouse that we forget about how to live in happiness with what we have. God has put you in that situation for a reason. It is possible that if you found a spouse, but you weren’t properly prepared, that you could generate a lot of pain for you and that person, that it could harm your future lifetimes, that it could create a karmic consequence that could be much more terrible. So, there are worst things than being single. We could use that time as a single person to master our sexuality, to become very comfortable with moving those forces in our body, with transforming, to awaken with purity like a child, to become virginal. Then when the time is right, God will bring a spouse to you and you will know it because you will feel love, real love, not just sexual attraction, but real love.
 
Question: Usually we find “You shall not commit adultery” in the Ten Commandments, yet we do not see, “We shall not fornicate.” Is that a part of the former commandment or is it a hidden commandment that was not taught before the Age of Aquarius openly?
 
Instructor: That is a good question. “Thou shall not fornicate” is not part of one of the Ten Commandments, but we see it repeatedly in the Bible, so I might of misspoke a little bit there. Fornication is frequently talked about in the Bible as a sin against God. Fornicate comes from the same root as furnace, that sexual fire. Is that fire working in a positive way or is that fire destroying us?
 
Fornication is destructive. Chastity is regenerative, revitalizing. Whenever we are expelling the sexual energy, we are adulterating the power of the Divine Mother. In terms of the tradition itself, the commandments, those have been interpreted and even modified in different ways through out religious tradition, but specifically there is a distinction between “You shall not fornicate” or expel the sexual energy, but also “You shall not commit adultery” or misuse that force in multiple relationships, as the lecturer had said.
 
Question: Could you explain the connection between sexuality and the original sin? Can we say that sexual sin, lust, is the fundamental vice and the source of all other vices?
 
Instructor: Yes, we can. That is the original sin because lust, the orgasm, is what kicked us out of Eden, brought us separation from divinity. When we feed lust, when we orgasm, we become hypnotized. We become confused. A little piece of us or a big piece of us starts to become diluted, and through that delusion, humanity can wander further away from God. The more that that action is repeated, the more delusion humanity enters into, and that delusion can include all other kinds of crimes: anger murder, hatred, theft, greed, pride.
 
So, it is from lust over many centuries, over many lifetimes that we have been committing lustful acts, that all of these other crimes have been able to occur. Now these vices can occur separate from lust as well. Even the gods are said to have spiritual pride, which is a vice, but those gods know how to work with sex in the appropriate way through sexual chastity, using sex with purity. So, while it is the root of all sins, those sins can be manifold. We usually say that there are seven deadly sins, but even within those seven there are so many unique manifestations of those seven deadly sins, and lust is like that. Sometimes lust can be proud. Sometimes lust can be angry. Sometimes lust can be greedy. So, they are all interrelated. If you really want to understand the fall of humanity, the sexual fall of humanity, then I encourage you to read the book The Elimination of Satan’s Tail, which tells the history behind why humanity originally fell out of the Garden of Eden. Really interesting story by Samael Aun Weor.
 
Question: Taoist and other traditions distinguish between orgasm and ejaculation for men. Is this distinction made in Gnosticism? Is the key for men to restrict ejaculation, what many people are calling today semen retention?
 
Instructor: That is a great question and one that comes up often when we give this teaching. Orgasm and the loss of semen are both considered not permitted in the sacred sexual act. So, no. You cannot just retain the semen but indulge in the energetic orgasm.
 
As I mentioned earlier for men or for women, the short circuit of the orgasm is destructive for the physical body and for the vital body, which is the energetic body that animates us, that gives the power to move around, that enlivens our heart and allows it to keep beating. That vital body gets destroyed and that is why illnesses can develop. It is harmful. But spiritually speaking, as I just mentioned in the previous answer, when we indulge in that orgasm, in that sensation, our psychology changes. Our consciousness becomes conditioned, becomes addicted, becomes hypnotized by and wants more, more, and more. So, even if you are only performing the orgasm now and then, or you are only performing the orgasm to have a child, it is harmful for this practice. You should renounce orgasm one hundred percent if you are going to work in chastity and perform the perfect matrimony. That is what we teach, because that law of nature indicates that through that door, we can leave heaven. We can go into hell, into the lower states of consciousness, and that door is directly related with sex, with orgasm. Orgasm opens the door to the lower states of consciousness and allows devilish qualities, evil energies, to enter into us psychologically and spiritually.
 
When we go up through that door, when we transmute that energy from the sexual organs up the spine into the brain, to enliven the pineal gland, the seat of the soul, where our inner divinity can give us guidance, we are going back up to divinity. Orgasm will bring us down. The law dictates that chastity is a prerequisite to go up unto the heavenly realms.
 
Question: Is it possible to over do pranayama if single? Sometimes if I do Ham-Sah too much it seems to build up too much fire, or is it because I am not doing the pranayama correctly? It does not produce much fire with runic vowels, etc.
 
Instructor: It is not possible to harm yourself by doing too much. So, you can do three hours of it a day. You can do five hours of it a day. It will not hurt you. If you say that you are feeling a lot of fire as a result, it is because that sexual fire which was latent has become active, and you need to apply that fire in your meditation.
 
When we feel sexual fire, we are very awake. Our consciousness becomes vigilant. Now when we are conditioned by lust, yes, that lust drives us to become vigilant, seeking sexual sensations, but when we meditate on that lust and seek to understand it, as we are enlivened by that same fire, that fire gives us the ability to be very awake and very aware and go deep into comprehension of that ego of lust. Fire, also transmuted, gives you Divine Mother the power. That fire is her power to destroy those egos of lust. So, if you are feeling overly stimulated by the practice, yes, you can do some other practice instead to balance it out, but meditate on what is coming up for you psychologically. If you become overwhelmed in your meditation, and the impression is too powerful, you cannot transform it, you are being tempted too much, go outside. Go for a walk. Read a scripture. Do something to calm yourself down, and then meditate again when you are feeling calmer.
 
Question: You have mentioned ambition in spouse selection as an impediment in progressing in the path. You have also said that we should not submit to animal passion in the act. If one is in a loving marriage where the couple is disinterested in Alchemy in one evening, is it best to practice pranayama?
 
Instructor: If I understand the question correctly, you are asking if we have to practice the sexual act every night? No. The most that sexual Alchemy should be practiced is once per day, and again, women should not be performing this act on their menstrual cycle, so there is a magnetic pause during that time.
 
You do not need to practice it every day. It depends on the temperament of the couple. If the couple has a cooler temperament around sexuality, then they might practice this once a month, once a week. That is ok. A very fiery couple will probably practice once per day. If you are not feeling interested in sex, then it is ok to practice pranayama. If you feel particularly lustful one day and you are afraid that you are going to enter into that sexual act and potentially lose your energy, then I would encourage you to practice pranayama first. Meditate first. Wait until you are not feeling that lustful anymore to enter into that act, because it is very difficult in the beginning. We have an animal mind that seeks sensation and that wants more, more, more of that desire, and that is difficult to overcome. So, in the beginning, we usually encourage couples to only connect very briefly, or just to maybe touch, hold each other, kiss, but not to physically connect right away, just to get used to conquering that sensation, and then to connect, just for a few minutes, and to take a break. It depends on your temperament. It depends on how much discipline you have with your mind and pranayama before marriage. If you practiced with pranayama for many years, you might be able to adapt to the sexual Alchemy practice more quickly, but it really varies by individual. Each of us has our own karma which has shaped our psychology. So some of us are more strongly addicted to lust than others, but all of us have lust and all of us need to meditate on it.
 
Question: If the couple is ambitious and decides to engage in the Arcanum A.Z.F., do those creative energies give life to ambition, potentially related to desire?
 
Instructor: Thank you for clarifying. So, just like lust, we should not bring ambition into the act. In the act we should really meditate on our love for our spouse. We should not just be saying, “Ok, let us practice today because I want to have more spiritual experiences and experience divinity!” and that is the motivation for our practice. We should practice because we love God and we love our spouse, and so if you are going to the act with ambition, you are not going to get very far. You are actually going to channel that energy into your ambition, so that desire for more and more spiritual sensations will become stronger. Meditate before Alchemy. Meditate on ambition, or lust, or whatever defect you see coming up in the act to corrupt it, to separate you from divinity. Then pray before that act to your Divine Mother. Use the sexual energy. Use the sacred power to eliminate this ego of ambition, this ego of lust or whatever it may be for you. That will really help your practice.
 
Question: Is it only suitable to engage in sex when both parties are in a state of innocent love for one another?
 
Instructor: As I mentioned before, we might not have a partner, a spouse who is not interested in chastity and who is engaging in orgasm. That is a painful situation, but it happens, and we should not leave that person because of that. However, we are going to need to have those hard conversations and discuss to find a way, which out of love, that person can respect your choice to be chaste. That is really specific to the case of the couple. If you have a spouse that is practicing chastity with you and feels particularly lustful one day and says, “I do not want to engage,” then respect them. Have love for them. Support them.
 
Also, if you and your spouse find that lust is coming for you in sex, meditate. In the beginning, there is going to be a lot of lust there. As much as we try to start with an innocent mind, with purity, with love, there will be lust there. So, in that case, again, we should meditate after sex. Meditate on what we saw. In the beginning it is very difficult. That fire is big. It is out of control. It takes time and willpower to learn, so engage for a few moments until you realize that you are starting to get distracted. You are starting to get hypnotized by the sensations and losing your wakefulness, your vigilance, your awareness of God.
 
Love is a very beautiful sensation that comes out in sex. I do not want to encourage people to be afraid, so afraid that they are not able to do this practice. Let your heart guide you, and let divinity guide you. There will be lust present in the beginning and that is why we need this practice to purify ourselves. Eventually, if we are successful, we can become saints free from that torment of lust. We can become masters of our sexuality, and then we command the sexual force to work when we want it to work rather than that sexual force commanding us to be slaves, to be servants of its sensations. It takes time.
 
Question: I am curious on what you mean by orgasm exactly. My experience of raising the sexual energy up the spine and into the brain centers is actually highly orgasmic. The body pulsates in just the way it does during orgasm and a feeling of joy is generated. The same goes for all chakras and dantians. Do you mean that this whole body energetic experience should be avoided in Gnosticism?
 
Instructor: Good question. There are sensations in Alchemy. There is sexual pleasure. There is bliss, the bliss of love, the bliss of Alchemy. So you really have to examine for yourself. But yes, if there is an orgasm in your sexual organs and you feel that, then that is not sexual Alchemy. So, in black magic, they teach you how to perform the sexual act with orgasm and channel that energy in the way that has just been described in the question in order to awaken consciousness. But what happens because of the orgasm and those negative demonic influences that come in, you might experience bliss, but you are also awakening consciousness and developing within the ego, which is separate from God.
 
So, you really have to meditate on yourself, on what is happening there, because there is spiritual bliss, energy, moving in the body in Alchemy, but there is not the orgasm in the sexual organs. It is white Alchemy. White Tantra that we teach here in this school does not permit orgasm because that orgasm short circuits the body, loses the energy. While the sensations of bliss that you might feel in a orgasm―even outside of any spiritual context, of course, orgasm is “blissful” and people feel that sensation of bliss―that is actually not positive, because it is the bliss of that energy, but then that energy is lost and expelled from the body. So we want to keep that bliss, calm and consistent, throughout our practice.
 
Question: Is it true that cardiovascular exercise, running while breathing through the nostrils and out through the mouth, helps to transmute the sexual energies? 
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Instructor: Yes. Some exercise, some sports, some martial arts like Aikido, or some that are not too violent, that can be one form of transmutation of sexual energy. However, I caution you not to use that as your only form, because without pranayama, your body naturally is not going to move those energies back up the spine. Pranayama done everyday is cleaning out the two cords which go around the spine, the two channels of Ida and Pingala, and allowing that energy to become accustomed to moving up the spine into the brain and heart. If you are not doing that every day, those channels are going to be very dirty, and they are blocked. If you are just playing soccer with your friends, but you are not performing the pranayama, then no, you are probably not transmuting very much energy. So, it can be good to walk and to breathe, but breathe with transmutation, with that visualization coming up through your spine. You can use the Ham-Sah pranayama, if you are familiar with it, throughout the day. I have used it at work silently, just to keep myself awake and vigilant if I notice that I am starting to get unaware of what is happening spiritually, lose my self-observation.
 
Work with some form of pranayama every day if you are a single person, and if you are married, you can also work with pranayama. It is an option for married people so that you do not have to feel the pressure to work in sexual Alchemy every day. Generally speaking, married people are moving more energy in that sexual connection, so they may not need pranayama on the days that they are not united. It really depends on the couple. You have to investigate, meditate, pray, and watch the answers that you receive in your dreams from divinity. Divinity will tell you if you are going off of the correct path, then guide you on how to get back.
 
Question: Isn’t chastity a cruel repression of the self? Sometimes like a punishment or a sadistic behavior, then when it is released in different ways, it creates suffering everywhere?
 
Instructor: If you are referring to celibacy, as I mentioned earlier in the lecture, it does produce suffering if that energy is not worked with through prayer, through transmutation. Celibacy creates imbalances in the psychology in the same way that lust and orgasm create imbalances in the psychology. In celibacy, that energy sits there like a pool of water that becomes stagnant, and that energy becomes putrid and poisons the mind, and that creates suffering. Chastity is not celibacy. Chastity is learning how to work with sex in a positive way and so it is not a repression of one’s self. It is connecting directly with ones sexuality in a very powerful way, in a very conscious way, and working with that energy in the body. The result of real chastity, if you are practicing this without orgasm consistently, then you will have positive benefits. You will feel more love for your neighbor. You will feel more subtle emotions. You will feel more peace and happiness. You will feel more awake, and more spiritual senses developed, spiritual vision, more powerful dreams.
 
No, I would disagree with that idea.
 
Question: I am getting more confused about orgasm and ejaculation. I always felt through experience that they are one in the same or happen at the same time in my past. How are they different?
 
Instructor: I am not too familiar with semen retention, although I have heard of it. It is the practice by which some retain the semen instead of ejaculating semen, but still experience the orgasm and allow those sensations to move through the body. So, with the orgasm without ejaculation, you are not losing the physical substance, but you are losing the energetic, spiritual substance, because its that short circuit that occurs in the orgasm. That energy moves quickly through the body, then it is lost. So, those moments of bliss, which may be prolonged and may last for certain time, ultimately leave and are depleted. It is the feeling of bliss that the sexual energy is being depleted, which is very different from the feeling of bliss that we have when the sexual energy is being activated and conserved and moved through the body. Both might be considered blissful but have different flavors, but when you work with both those practices you will understand the difference.
 
It is quite popular and a lot of people like that, they can still have the orgasm and feel like they are getting the benefits of non-ejaculating, but it is black magic. Semen retention is black magic, and if you read the book The Perfect Matrimony, you will understand why we consider it black magic in this tradition, because it breaks the law that God has put in nature, and it hypnotizes the psyche. Your psychology becomes imbalanced and addicted to sensations, and while you may feel spiritual doing it, you are actually strengthening ego and you are giving that energy into egoic states, desire, lust, pride. So, you will not experience the benefits of chastity that I have described.
 
Question: If you are doing pranayama with alternate nostril breathing, what is the best mantra to use? Is it acceptable to use an abbreviated Egyptian mantra: Ton Sa Ham?
 
Instructor: We recommend that when you choose one of the practices, you can use the mantras specifically denoted in that practice. So, if you have read the practice in the book about the Egyptian pranayama, you should use the mantras in the way that they are taught in the book. There is a pranayama of alternate nostril breathing that does not require any mantra. That is just focusing, bringing your awareness, breathing in through one nostril as you visualize the energy moving up one side of the spine, up one of those cords, and then through the other one, visualizing that energy moving up the other column up the spine (Ida and Pingala). If you are too burdened by the mantras, then begin with alternate nostril breathing that does not require a mantra. 
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<![CDATA[The Esoteric Christian Tradition]]>Thu, 20 May 2021 05:00:00 GMThttp://chicagognosis.org/lectures/the-esoteric-christian-tradition
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There have existed alternative forms of Christianity, which have very recently gained recognition amongst scholars, although much of that criticism applies only to the past. What many are not willing to recognize is the existence of a modern esoteric Christianity. This term “esoteric” or “esotericism” implies that which is hidden, secret, obscured from the public. The roots of this esoteric Christianity are very ancient. They are even older than Christianity itself, the first Christian sects.
 
The reason for our studies is to approach the science by which we can experience the truths contained within religion. However, for modern scholasticism, the tendency amongst many spiritual groups is to compartmentalize knowledge, to label things within easy categories, within labels, within a structure, and there is credence and value to this. But the reality is that individuals, groups, and systems are complex. They are subtle. They are nuanced. The tendency to approach religion with our assumptions, our preconceptions of what is there, really demonstrates for us the fundamental nature of belief, which really constitute a set of values, philosophical approaches, for making sense of life. Beliefs can create a sense of order in a world that is falling apart. However, we have to recognize that beliefs have a very limited utility when it comes to practical spirituality.
 
Due to this tendency, many have approached modern Gnosticism as another such system of belief, but I would like to present something different, and to ask us to reflect on a very important principle, as is demonstrated by the Gnostic scriptures themselves, their mere existence, the Gnostic teachings. We find that this wisdom strikes at the heart of what it means to believe, but more importantly, what does it mean to possess knowledge from experience, to know divinity? ― not from a theory, not from an idea, or what we have read, or a conviction without evidence. Instead, it has to do with facts.
 
Gnosis is a living tradition. It was made, and is made of many mystery schools, which had gone underground primarily to avoid persecution, and corruption when exposed to humanity. It is a natural law. When the divine provides exceptional and expedient knowledge for transformation, eventually when exposed to humanity, to degeneration, to vices, traditions become adulterated. They fall apart when the adherents of those disciplines no longer enact and fulfil their requisite values upon which such traditions are based. While this occurred even with early Christianity, this dynamic persists even today.
 
This is why the real keys for unlocking such knowledge, such enigmatic writings, were never giving to the public for millennia, and there is a very good reason for this. Humanity with its prejudices, its biases, its assumptions, translates and interprets according to the conditioning of our psychology. Therefore such wisdom was only given to those who had earned it, not to the uneducated, the inexperienced, or we could say, the uninitiated, because these scriptures lose their essential message when we lack the key, and more importantly when we are not willing to reflect upon their significance within our own life, with full objectivity and self-criticism, with analyisis, with investigation.
 
This knowledge is now being given openly out of compassion. Before, to really receive these kinds of teachings and instructions, scriptures and knowledge, one had to be part of a group in the physical world for a very long period of time, but now we are in a very different era where scriptures that were once hidden, and unavailable to the public, are now immediately present. You can pick up your iPhone and find the Gnostic Gospels. You can find teachings that were obscured for thousands of years―for a long time―with ease. This kind of reality is unprecedented in our history, but it is also important to remember that while we have a bunch of scriptural knowledge, the task is incumbent upon us to know how to interpret.
 
When approaching these studies, it is also important to examine our motives. Do we sincerely seek to understand the causes of our suffering, and more importantly, the suffering of others? Are we willing to sacrifice behaviors and views that produce conflict, discord? Or do we approach spirituality with ambition, with vanity, with selfishness, to impress others with obscure knowledge, or to acquire power?
 
The Esoteric Gnostic Christian tradition has methods and practices, procedures by which we can comprehend all of this, how to become better people, to change, to help others, and in that process of embodying the most elevated ideals of humanity, we approach divinity from experience.
 
We investigate these divine truths through experimentation, through analysis, through inquiry, through investigation, but first in order to do this, one must understand that which conditions our psychological states, so that by understanding them, we can remove them. In the process of self-transformation, Gnostic scriptures become very useful. But when isolated from the core teachings that inform their being, their genesis, their secrecy, these texts become elusive at best, and even useless.
 
Understanding gnosis, the Gnostic Gospels―without exception―requires initiation into the codes by which such scriptures were written, which specifically are known as Kabbalah and Alchemy. We are going to elaborate on what these two sciences are today, because without an understanding of what these principles are, it is impossible to understand what the Gnostics were referring to, because those were the codes in which those scriptures were communicated.
 
Just as appreciating Shakespeare requires a strong knowledge of English, likewise interpreting the Gnostic scriptures requires facility with the symbols, the methods, the allegories, the parables, the mystical language in which they were written, in which they were disseminated. We will examine today the necessity for evaluating our concepts, especially regarding the Gnostic traditions, in what manner the Gnostic Gospels were composed and why. We are also going to examine why the Esoteric Christian tradition was forced underground only to remerge to the public in the 1950’s.
 
I cannot emphasis enough―the Gnostic Gospels are truly compelling. They are practical writings for those who are initiated into its systems. We will take some time to elaborate on the practical roots of Gnostic scriptures, because they challenge our millennia-old beliefs, our assumptions, our theories, as well as the limitations of such beliefs.
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​Who Were the Gnostics?

The term γνῶσις gnosis is not well understood today. While literally indicating “knowledge,” gnosis is not limited to a particular geography, or history, or denomination. Just as water has many names, but is prevalent throughout all cultures, likewise gnosis, which is the experience and the knowledge of divine truth from personal testimony, is eternal. Many messengers, many prophets, many luminaries, taught humanity about the origin of spiritual life, but their languages are different. The symbols and codes they use are unique to a given culture. However, the essence of what they taught is the same.
 
As a tradition, Gnosticism constitutes the secret doctrines of Christianity, which precisely stipulate the following, as stated in the Gospel of John:
Know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.John 8:32
​Many modern scholars and students of religion are really fascinated by the early Christians, the Gnostics, because their teachings differ greatly in terms of their content, and especially their pedagogy, in relation to modern Christian dogma. Rather than exclusively believe in the personality of Jesus, the Gnostics taught, and teach, how Christ is an internal principle, something that must be developed, and that salvation does not depend upon following a system of belief. It is found by awakening to our true nature, by comprehending and eliminating the obstacles to our own redemption.
 
Gnostic Christianity teaches a personal, experiential relationship with the divine. It does not require mediation from a priest, from a rabbi, from an imam, from any theology, from any idea or group. Gnosis is what we know from our own investigations based on facts.
 
Some have argued traditionally that Gnostic Christianity interpreted their mysteries through pagan symbolism, and there is some credence to this. However, Gnosticism extends very far beyond any particular geography, including the Middle East, the Holy Land, any particular language, any individual messenger, any historized or localized group. Through studying and applying these principles, we can verify this truth for ourselves, the universality of diverse spiritual traditions. We begin to see the essential thread that unites them, which is direct experience of the truth.
 
The Gnostic tradition, like many other mystical traditions, was maintained within secret societies, or esoteric schools, which was only accessible by certain candidates who had demonstrated their maturity, their ethics, their dedication, specifically to transforming themselves so that they can benefit humanity. Therefore much scholarship and modern interpretations surrounding the essential nature of Gnostic doctrine is wrong. Most scholars of Gnosticism even admit this. What little history we have, acquired regarding the first Christian groups and their teachings, has some problems.
 
First, it is obscured by a lack of material. We cannot really construct a comprehensive picture of their faith. We have ideas. We have assumptions. We have correlations. We have studious analyses of different texts by scholars and renowned academics, but the truth is that there is a lot that is missing, and because universities and scholars do not have access to methods and means for investigating these on a deeper level, in a spiritual sense, their judgments are incipient, insufficient. They have not received training within the mystery schools that are living the teaching. Therefore they cannot comment. It is beyond their scope.
 
Secondly, the knowledge that we have is filtered. We have many biases and assumptions, many ideas as I said, but we have to remember that what little that we possess of Gnostic treasures have been pieced together. The essential knowledge of the Gnostics was never written down. It was written in code, what little we have. Most of that knowledge was transmitted orally through a secretive chain of transmission between master and disciple. Therefore what remains of their doctrine is very limited. It is like a door without a key, since a lot of their teachings were destroyed, as evidenced by this statement by Manly P. Hall in The Secret Teachings of All Ages:
The entire history of Christian and pagan Gnosticism is shrouded in the deepest mystery and obscurity; for, while the Gnostics were undoubtedly prolific writers, little of their literature has survived. They brought down upon themselves the animosity of the early Christian Church, and when this institution reached its position of world power it destroyed all available records of the Gnostic cultus. ―Manly P. Hall, The Secret Teachings of All Ages
​Therefore to truly understand the Gnostics, one has to be an initiate. One has to be a member of the initiatic, living mystery school. Now this statement can seem problematic. We are not referring necessarily to a physical group or school, because there are many Gnostic institutions that teach what we are teaching. When I refer to the living mystery school, I am specifically referring to states of consciousness that are beyond mere physicality. We practice the science of meditation, so that we can withdraw the senses and enter into profound introspection, and learn to experience our internal reality.
 
Some people may be familiar with dreams. Some people call it astral projections, astral experiences, lucid dreaming. We are going to be giving a course very soon on this topic [Dream Yoga and Astral Travel], but I just like to synthesize for you that there is knowledge accessible to us beyond the physical body, and that the consciousness can learn to gain lucidity, clarity, confidence, familiarity, skill, efficacy, abilities within the dream state, so that we are no longer dreaming there, and we can learn to access knowledge that is far beyond which is conceivable with our materialistic theories. The living mystery schools and the Gnostic Church are within these internal realities, these internal worlds. It is something that we can verify and experiment with, to test, to know, to witness.
 
It is important we learn to approach this knowledge without believing or disbelieving, but merely experimenting with it, testing its principles, its hypotheses, so that we can learn from facts what is the reality here, because physical senses are very limited. Intellectual knowledge that we gather from books does not really gives us the full picture of the reality of a thing. Intellectual knowledge is useful in its place, but it is not the core purpose of why we approach this type of spirituality.
 
Comprehension and understanding is born from experience. It is not acquired  by merely reading a book, or attending a lecture. It is something much deeper than that. So we have many practices that we provide so that you can verify these things if that is your wish.
 
Now in relation to the Gnostic Gospels, some have referred to them as the Apocrypha, from the Greek apokryptein, “to hide away.” We can hear within this etymology the word “cryptic,” that which is indecipherable, archaic, obscure. This term includes religious scriptures not included within the standard cannon. It can apply to biblical books from early Christianity, such as the Greek version of the Old Testament, which is not included in the Hebrew Bible. Apocrypha can also signify texts which are considered of doubtful authenticity, which despite their prevalence, may be questionable, even if they are accepted commonly.
 
For the purpose of our studies, we are examining these apocryphal texts, because they challenge us. They challenge well-established assumptions about the essential nature of Christianity, of Christian dispensation, about faith, about reality, about experience, about investigation, about knowing.
 
Many have tried to prove these scriptures false because it is truly frightening, if you think about it, to conceive that we in the West, our Western culture which prides itself on its magnificence, its worldly materialism and glories, really stands on mistaken foundations. This is why we study meditation very deeply and practice it, so that we can verify and test these truths, to discriminate with knowledge, with insight, with intelligence. 
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​The Nag Hammadi Scriptures

​The Nag Hammadi scriptures are Coptic texts. They were discovered in 1945 by a group of Egyptian peasants in upper Egypt. They were digging for fertiliser near a boulder when they discovered a sealed jar. Thinking that they might have found gold, and overcoming the fear of unleashing a Jinn, which is a bottled spirit. They broke the jar and found the codices written in Coptic. Coptic, which was influenced by Greek, originally descended from ancient Egyptian language, the former having been superseded by Egyptian Arabic. Coptic is a form of the Egyptian language that was used, I believe, from the Roman period up until more recent times.
 
The Nag Hammadi scriptures are approximately 50 different gnostic texts, constituted by 13 leather-bound papyri, bound books which are not scrolls.
 
A lot of supposition has been spread and focused upon the origins of these texts. They were most likely buried in the second half of the 4th century CE, and while originally written in Greek during the early centuries of the Christian movement, such texts were translated into Coptic, possibly by early Christian monks. This is what scholars like Marvin Meyer and Elaine Pagels believe.
 
Supposedly these monks translated these texts despite the accusations in Spring of 367 by Athanasius, the archbishop of Alexandria, who was calling for believers to reject what he called heretical, “illegitimate and secret books.” Instead the texts were conserved in a jar. They were buried, and then they were miraculously found 1600 years later. 
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​The Dead Sea Scrolls

The Dead Sea Scrolls were surrounded in mystery as well, a deep history that you can read about especially on Deadseacrolls.org.il. They were initially discovered by a treasure seeker group of Bedouins in Qumran, by a nomadic group of people near the northern end of the Dead Sea. They were excavations of various documents, papyri, which were written on goat and sheep skin scrolls. Many of these were mostly written in Hebrew, but also in Aramaic. I am going to present to you most of the contents of the Dead Sea Scrolls, so that you can have a sense of what exactly was found before we go in to a deep analysis of the Gnostic Gospels themselves.
 
There were biblical scriptures, all except the Book of Ester. These are the oldest existing copies of these texts, so you can imagine that this is a huge find for archaeologists. There were translations of scripture in Greek and Aramaic, which was a language commonly spoken in the Holy Land 2000 years ago. 
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There were תפילין tefillin, which are prayer parchment slips. If you are familiar with the Jewish tradition, when praying in a synagogue, one wears תפילין tefillin, which are phylacteries, black leather straps around one’s arm, and a black box with prayer parchment slips as you see in the word תפילין tefillin themselves, which a placed in the black box that you wear on your forehead between your eyebrows, a representation of how we have to wrap ourselves within prayer, deep devotion, especially of our mind, controlling our mind, devotion to divinity.
 
There are מזוזה Mezuzot, prayers that are placed on the door post of houses. Usually you find a cylindrical object that has the Hebrew letter ש Shin, representative of שדי אל חי Shaddai El Chai, the Almighty Living God within Hebrew, a sacred name. מזוזה Mezuzot are prayers written by rabbis that are placed within these מזוזה Mezuzot, which are situated on the door posts of Jewish homes.
 
We also have אפוקריפה Apocrypha. These are Catholic and Eastern orthodox cannons, not a part of Hebrew and the Protestant Bible. This includes Ben Sira, the Book of Tobit and the Epistle of Jeremiah.
 
We also have calendrical texts, which are solar rather than lunar calculations, which document the festivals, the ceremonies, and the priestly courses of those communities, sometimes written in cryptic script.
 
There are exegetical texts, which are explicit analyses and interpretations of biblical works. If you have gone on our website you find we talk about many scriptures. We provide exegeses, which are commentary on different obscure verses within various traditions. Here in the Dead Sea Scrolls you find that they were many exegetical texts about the Bible, including פשר Pesher, relating to biblical prophecies that are applied to historical moments.
 
You also have historical texts, which are numerous historical events with theological and moral commentary, and there are also legal texts as well, rabbinical Halakah, which means the Jewish laws and customs of those communities relating to the Bible. If you have read the Old Testament you are probably familiar with Leviticus, and Deuteronomy especially, which outline a lot of the Jewish law, which mystical texts like the Zohar comment upon.
 
There are parabiblical texts retelling expansions and embelishments of biblical stories, or legal texts. There is poetical and liturgical texts: hymns and prayers that people use in synagogue, or in many ceremonies relating to biblical poetry. There is sapiential texts relating to wisdom or knowledge. It is a continuation of the wisdom tradition of Proverbs, the Book of Job, Ecclesiastes, some Psalms, Ben Sera, and the Wisdom of Solomon.
 
There are also sectarian texts which interest a lot of scholars, which are the unique theology, world view, and history of the Essenes, or Yahad, “the community.” There is a lot of obscurity about who the Essences were. Their history is very hidden from materialistic science and archaeology, but this is something that we can investigate within our meditations, to go deep into learning the history of these groups, if that is our wish.

​What is at Stake?

​Now, the question becomes: “What is at stake by studying the Gnostic Gospels?”
 
Despite their novelty within the context of Christianity’s evolution in the public sense, the presence of Gnostic scriptures asks us to revise our assumptions, our convictions, our beliefs, which for many obviously can be source of discomfort. There is a lot at stake for mainstream Christianity when studying their origins and the significance of their tradition. This is why many people simply dismiss the Gnostic Gospels as heresy, as inauthentic, as satanic, but regardless or not whether they are true, their presence asks us and compels us to present an uncomfortable question:
 
“What do we really know? What do we know about Jesus? What do we know about ourselves and divinity?”
 
We are basically asked to question what it means to believe, and what it means to know. While it is difficult even to believe in a tradition today, as evidenced by the prevalence of Atheism in the West, especially North America, it is even more difficult to experience religion, simply because for the modern mind, which is conditioned by its own scepticism, such possibilities do not exist for it. It is incompatible with the materialistic dogma that has perpetuated, and conditioned our Western world view, but the reality is even if we are in a religion, we may be very materialistic, primarily because we deny that it is even possible to experience these things.
 
When someone says they have experienced divinity, we look at them like they are crazy, but it is sad that this is the general outlook and attitude, because all religions are teachings from individuals who experienced divinity. If you look at scriptures such as the Qur’an, there are really many Surahs that simply are of the Prophet Muhammad contesting with the unbelievers who reject his testimony, much like the ancient Christian prophets and masters, or the Hebrew rabbis, the enlightened ones, who constantly had to contend with very doubtful people. So there is nothing new under the Sun here.
 
But rather than dismiss the Gnostic Gospels, it is better to really examine the situation, rather than follow the easy, dismissive, and unscientific path of just rejecting what does not fit our world view, that which is not palatable for us. We can really come to the conclusion that there must be reasons why we do not have this knowledge. I am not talking about from a book, or from a scripture, but from experience, from verification, from meditation.
 
Part of why we do not know these things is due to our inherent tendencies, such as mechanically taking in information. We always like to compare data that we receive with our memories, with our knowledge. Perhaps you are listening to this lecture and comparing what I am saying with what somebody else said, or to a book you have read, or to a lecture you heard, or to a scripture you are studying. The mind can only compare thesis and antithesis, point A and point B. It can only look at the corelations between them. It can store data. It is useful for basically storing information, but when it comes to trying to experience what these scriptures entail, the mind, with its overdependence on rationalization, tends to become the obstacle, a very chatty, distracted, and disorientated mind. We tend to project our thoughts onto the reality before us, and therefore we do not really see what is new.
 
We also like to compartmentalize information we have heard, so that it will fit a certain box, an a priori assumption, and most people get stuck there. They do not go any further, and it is unfortunate, because there is really more to life and experience, as evidenced by the Gnostic Gospels, than is merely assumed, or lived, or believed. Rather than see a phenomenon for what it is, we tend to just merely interact with our concepts, and we can say that this is really a profound state of sleep, spiritually speaking, unconsciousness, not really knowing ourselves, not really knowing our full potential or what we could do.
 
The reason why this happens is that there is comfort within structures. There is complacency within belief systems. They provide us with a sense of order. They give us cohesion when we approach a world that is really afflicted, and afflictive, with a society that is really backwards, upside down. You just simply have to look at the news to see what is happening, even in the Middle East right now, or in different cities. It is distressful, and the truth is that if you look at the conflict going on in Israel right now, you find that people have their firm convictions and beliefs why the enemy is wrong.
 
Beliefs do not change anybody. Our religion, our attitudes, our beliefs do not really affect a lasting, profound, and deep spiritual realization. If you do not believe me, you can simply examine your own life. We can think and feel one day that something is true, and yet that changes. Our ideas change. Our political parties change. Our religions change, and yet we continue to suffer. People change religion and political parties, ideas, like changing clothes. These tend to be very superficial, and worn like regalia, or a costume, in order to fit in with a specific group. But unfortunately that does not really penetrate the depth of the consciousness, of really altering the fundamental trajectory of our life, of examining what behaviors we enact that really produce problems for ourselves and for others, and learning to change them. We can change our political affiliations and ideologies, and yet we can continue to be unhappy, to be burdened with problems, with pain.
 
Therefore if these are impermanent, the question become: what is not? What is permanent? What is real? Is it not facts born from experience the most real thing that we can come close to, that we can approximate, that we can agree upon? But unfortunately when it comes to spirituality, we have many assumptions and vague notions about what spirit, what divinity, what Christ is, because if people’s basic terminologies and definitions completely differ from one another, then it is not factual. It is a belief. It is not based in evidence. It is not the raw experience of a thing.
 
So this is why knowledge, when it is divorced from practice, is really useless. Studying and accumulating information in the intellect, but not deeply changing our daily states, is a waste of time. We can use scriptures, and these teachings, and the Gnostic Gospels to inform the basis of an ethical lifestyle, but without the effort and the will to work, it will not get us anywhere, unfortunately. If our knowledge does not rectify our suffering, then it is necessary to revise our method. What is the common saying? It’s the definition of madness is to keep repeating the same thing expecting a different result. This is why Gnosis exists.
 
But traditionally this knowledge has been so revolutionary that it had to go underground, because most people cannot accept it. Whether you are new, or have studied these teachings for some time, you can simply go on the internet to realize this fact, how many people do not get it, but that is ok. People are at their level. They have their beliefs and we respect them. As for our personal life, we work with what is effective, and try to provide clarity for those who need it, who want it.
 
Some people merely hear this knowledge, about this type of instruction, and then they dismiss it because it does not fit preconceptions, and there is some truth to that. It is a natural sentiment to not want to feel challenged in one’s beliefs, our identity. We feel offended when someone criticizes perhaps even our taste in music, or our religion. It is a natural reaction or instinct, but if we want to go deeper in our understanding of these principles, it is important to question that reaction. This is why this wisdom traditionally was only given to people or candidates who proved their willingness, their maturity.
 
To understand who the Gnostics were really requires initiation, meaning, entering the discipline, into tradition that they practice, which has to do with our inner experiences, by practicing meditation, by verifying these truths within oneself. Now contrary to popular assumption, this tradition has indeed thrived throughout many centuries in very different ways―sometimes subversive, always hidden, but always adapting to the social, the cultural, the religious climate of different periods in history. There have been many figures throughout history who have known and practiced Gnosticism, yet many of them never announced their allegiance, because it was risky.
 
We now live in an era of information, as I said, that is unprecedented. We have access to knowledge that was veiled for millennia. However, since there is so much confusion surrounding it, humanity has been granted access to this knowledge so that they can gain clarity, orientation. This is the purpose of the Gnostic Gospels and the Gnostic teachings.
 
These are the teachings of a mystery school, but as I mentioned, what is a mystery school?
 
Some people only like to think that they are groups far removed from the past, but the truth is that they are a living entity that sustain, emerge, and last in accordance with the work of the individual practitioners who belong to those groups. So there are physical groups as I said, but more importantly, the Gnostic Church is within the superior, internal worlds, which we access when we physically go to sleep. We enter deep meditation and we awaken in those states. This is not a theory. It is not a belief. Personally for me, this is not what I believe. This is something I practice, and so I invite you to study and enter that discipline yourself.
 
So as we said, scholars often have not been initiated into gnosis, specifically the practices that allow aspirants to really acquire this knowledge for themselves. What we are providing here is verifiable through experience, through study and practice. It is not a belief. If some people wish to make Gnosticism into a another belief system, that is ok. That is their path. They can do that, but that is personally not why we at this school are providing these lectures. That is not a reflection of the reality and purpose of this teaching. We can only really understand this through study, and looking at some of the historical trends, but more importantly living this esoteric knowledge.
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​Esoteric and Public Christianity

​But in order to kind of emphasize and provide a distinction between the different forms of Christianity that emerged, I am going to relay to you some quotes from Dion Fortune who wrote in her book The Training and Work of an Initiate about some of the history of the early Gnostic Christians, because her analysis is very eloquent and very deep.
 
She emphasizes that there is a great tendency in humanity. People want to adhere to an outer religious form without really understanding its inherent mysteries. So there has always been a division between two spheres―outward religious forms and inner mystical meaning. This is a binary that has been studied and documented by many scholars, some very renowned individuals like Gershom Scholem, who was a German Israeli philosopher. He made Kabbalah very popular for academics, some valuable history that one can learn, but obviously one has to discriminate what the scholars assume, but also what we have known from experience, because they are different. These domains constitute the esoteric and public religious forms―the secret meaning of a tradition and its outward symbols.
 
So classes of people have developed in relation to this binary, one which is made up of dogma and the other from direct experience. In other words, one group has been initiated into these mysteries, and the majority merely adhere to a structure, a code, a ritual system, a belief system without verification. I will read for you her quote at length:
There naturally sprang up a keen rivalry between the two types of Christians; those who had accepted the teaching of Our Lord without any previous Mystery-training depended entirely upon spiritual intuition and good works; those who were already accustomed to the methods of the Mysteries sought to express the Christian truths in the language of the esoteric philosophy of their day. The first chapter of the Gospel according to John is an excellent example of the process whereby men already highly trained in mystical knowledge correlated the new teaching with that which was already familiar to them.  In this Gospel we see the influence of the Greek Schools of initiation, but in the Apocalypse we see the influence of Qabalistic thought.
 
The Gnostic Schools were the Christian Mysteries, made by initiates of other Mystery Schools who had become converted to Christianity and sought to establish within the Christian dispensation the methods to which they were accustomed. ―Dion Fortune, The Training and Work of an Initiate
​For those who are not familiar, Kabbalah constitutes the mystical teachings of esoteric Judaism, which can inform our understanding of Gnostic Christianity, its inception, its meaning. This is because Christianity has Jewish roots. Jesus was a rabbi. He was an Essene, as we are going to examine in later quotes. Therefore, if we want to understand the Gnostics, the esoteric Christian tradition, we need to know the esoteric Jewish tradition from which it sprung, without exception.
 
Likewise, Dion Fortune also emphasised something very interesting, that Gnostic Christianity was formed by initiates from different esoteric groups. These are people who already possessed knowledge. They had spiritual development. Therefore they recognized within the newly emerging esoteric Christian traditions their inherent mysteries. These were encoded, these were conveyed, and they were taught within the new religious movement.
 
As is the tendency of modern humanity, many new adherents to Christianity did not want to engage with the difficult task of learning Kabbalah: the Jewish mystical science which informs esoteric Christianity. The study of Kabbalah consists of the archetypal nature of the Hebrew letters, their symbology, what they represent, divine numerology, and many intuitive symbols. Instead, certain followers of public Christianity either ignored or they removed such roots. They wanted to make their tradition more acceptable, and as a result, they sterilized Christianity. I will read for you Dion Fortune again:
In the struggle between the two types of Christians, the initiates and the non-initiates, the latter eventually gained the day, and forthwith the order for persecution and abolition went forth against the Mysteries of Jesus. The orthodox element then gradually developed, as was inevitable, something of a Mystery System of their own in the sacraments, which are ritual magic pure and simple, as is agreed even by such an authority as Evelyn Underhill.
 
But with the development of the sacramental system did not, unfortunately, go the metaphysical interpretation thereof. Superstition has been defined as the use of a form whose significance has been forgotten. The sacraments, instead of being the symbol-systems of the Mysteries of Jesus, approach perilously near to vain observance in the hands of those who regard them with superstitious awe rather than an understanding of their psychological and esoteric significance. ―Dion Fortune, The Training and Work of an Initiate
​Christianity, as with all religions, is composed and conveyed through the language of symbols, abstractions within philosophy, within allegory, within archetypes. If you do not believe me, look at the verses of the Bible, in the New Testament, where Jesus says he speaks in parables for those who understand, for those who are initiated. Modern Christians interpret their scriptures literally, and they perform and observe rituals without really comprehending the deeper reality, the significance, what their teachings and rituals communicate in a spiritual level, on a psychological level, more importantly.
 
For Gnostics, rituals are really powerful. They are a medium for developing and awakening our full potential. We have ceremonies that we practice, which encode, empower, and which represent the path itself, within its mystical allegory.
 
Now what some have denominated magic is the capacity of the consciousness to exert divine influence upon humanity. This term magic is often denigrated today. People do not understand its original roots. It comes from the Indo-European root word mag or magush, meaning “priest.” A real magician is a priest, and there are also in the Gnostic Church priestesses, because men are not the only source of authority, of spiritual guidance, of wisdom. In fact, a real priest needs his priestess in order to be a priest. This has to do with the Gnostic Mysteries of Chastity, which is the next lecture in this course.
 
Now real magic is learning how to influence others through divinity for a positive purpose, to elevate the soul of others. Through training of spiritual practices, we can develop this capacity. We can develop the intuitive capacity for comprehending scripture, and we can also strengthen our ability to express a superior way of being―real compassion―not the hallmark cards of holidays, gifts, and sentimentalism, but loving so much that we even forgive our worst enemies, like Jesus on the cross. We can really express states of compassion and love, which are facilitated through Gnostic ritual, ceremonies and practices that we have in our tradition.
 
But unfortunately for many Christians, their tradition has been sterilized, as I said. They are really infertile. Many Christians like to say that they are born again, but really if you look at their teaching, which is divorced from its Jewish roots, there is really is not much fertility there, especially in relation to sexual aspects of this knowledge, which are studied in relation to Alchemy, as we are going to explain.
 
Their traditions no longer convey effective methods for bridging the divine and the personal worlds. Many who find intellectual, emotional, or practical deficiencies in Christianity flee to other religions. They run away, and this is really sad, because there is something within Christian dispensation for Westerners which is valuable, but when that teaching no longer reflects its original patrimony, its essence, then people become disillusioned. They leave.
 
Now rather than abandon one’s Christian heritage if one grew up Christian, one can learn to appreciate it deeply. One can find sustenance through the rich intellectual and spiritual sciences of Kabbalah and Alchemy which inform its heart.
 
As Dion Fortune states:
Consequently there is an unbridged gulf in our modern Christianity between the mysticism of its deep spiritual truths and the symbolic and magical ceremonial of its ritual. This gulf it is the task of the modern Mystery Schools to bridge. These, however, have in many cases re-illumined their fires at an Eastern altar, so that the bridge they build does not lead to the Christian contacts of the West. Those of their followers who seek initiation, instead of having revealed to them the deeper issues of their own faith, have to change their religion and follow other Masters.
 
How are we of the West, therefore, to bridge this gulf? We must do what the original gnostics did: seek to express in the metaphysical language of the Mysteries the teachings of Our Lord, and thereby establish an esoteric Christian School―the Initiation of the West. The Gnostics drew their inspiration from two main sources: the Mysteries of Greece and the Mysticism of Israel, the Qabalah, with which Our Lord was obviously very familiar. These are the sources wherein we shall find the mental and magical interpretation of our religion which shall supply the missing keys.
 
The elements which were discarded from Christianity must be replaced if it is to become a true Wisdom Religion, and unless it can answer to the needs of the intellect as well as of the heart, those who need the food of the intellect rather than the heart will seek it elsewhere, and we cannot blame them. ―Dion Fortune, The Training and Work of an Initiate
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​The Tree of Life: Christian Kabbalah

​Kabbalah is one of the primary codes in which the Gnostic Gospels were written, represented in the Book of Genesis and the Gnostic Gospels as the Tree of Life in Eden.
 
It is a map of our internal and external universe. It is the structure of consciousness within every dimension. This knowledge flourished secretly within Jewish mystical circles, but Judaism is not its sole patrimony. Each spiritual tradition contains the same elements. Some of these predominate within a specific culture, within a given time or place or language. The Jewish tradition delved very deeply within the Kabbalistic teachings, just as Buddhism flourished with its analytical insights into meditation. However this does not mean that Buddhism is devoid of Kabbalah, or Kabbalah is devoid of meditation. Each tradition encompasses the other. They embody the same principles, much in the same way as water changes shape within different cups. The water is the same.
 
Christianity has its roots in Judaism, but since its roots were removed from it, Christianity has lost its soil.
 
Kabbalah is the practical tool for navigating spiritual experience. It is a way to understand our reality and our relationship with divinity.
 
Dion Fortune states in her book The Mystical Qabalah:
It [the Tree of Life] is a glyph, that is to say a composite symbol, which is intended to represent the cosmos in its entirety and the soul of man as related thereto; and the more we study it, the more we see that it is an amazingly adequate representation; we use it as the engineer or the mathematician uses his sliding-rule, to scan and calculate the intricacies of existence, visible and invisible, in external nature or the hidden depth of the soul. […]
 
The Qabalistic cosmology is the Christian Gnosis. Without it we have an incomplete system in our religion, and it is this incomplete system which has been the weakness of Christianity. The Early Fathers, in the homely metaphor, threw away the baby with the bath-water. A very cursory acquaintance with the Qabalah serves to show that here we have the essential keys to the riddles of Scripture in general and the prophetic books in particular. ―Dion Fortune, The Mystical Qabalah
This map depicts ten spheres. These are known as סְפִירוֹת sephiroth in Hebrew, “emanations,” which emerge from the transcendent divinity, or as the Gnostics denominate, Agnostos Theos: the Unknowable God, from the most rarefied states of being to the most condensed and conditioned, material states.
 
The Gnostics refer to the origin of spiritual life and light as Barbelo, from the Aramaic language. Bar means “son,” while Bel signifies “sun.” Christ, represented by Jesus of Nazareth, the son of the solar divinity, is therefore the embodiment of heavenly light, of compassion, which permeates all the spheres, the eternal realms, the סְפִירוֹת sephiroth or the aeons, and the later which can also signify any inhabitant of such dimensions, those who have mastered those realms.
 
Barbelo can also be referenced as the Solar Absolute: the אין סוף אור Ain Soph Aur above this Tree of Life, which means the Limitless Light, the Uncreated, the Unmanifested potentiality to be. It is the source and origin of all existing, manifested things, represented by these ten סְפִירוֹת sephiroth, or spheres, these heavens.
 
All of this emerges because of the essential and eternal compassion of Christ, which is that light, the אין סוף אור Ain Soph Aur, Barbelo. Gnostics have referenced the Absolute, above this diagram, as Pronoia: the “forethought of God,” which is a pure, cosmic abstraction which is not yet materialized. It is not yet in manifestation. The Jewish mystics have referred to the unmanifested divine as Aelohim, and the creator demiurge as Elohim. This duality between the unmanifested cosmic potential and an intelligent but often denigrated creative host or demiurge, is very often depicted in the Gnostic Gospels.
 
Each sphere relates to different dimensions of nature, in accordance with the densities and the materiality of them. The most subtle and rarefied are at the top, and the most dense are below, as you can see with מלכות Malkuth in Hebrew, the “kingdom,” the physical world, our physical body. Above that we have different realms and spheres which are more subtle to perceive, but are able to be verified through meditation. I will not go through the meaning of all of these סְפִירוֹת sephiroth, because that will be the purpose of this course. We will be unpacking Gnostic scripture in relation with Kabbalah and Alchemy.
 
So we can access these higher realms when the physical body is asleep, when we experience dreams. But rather than enter such states with a fragmentary awareness or just complete unconsciousness, the Gnostics learn to enter those realms with lucidity, with full awareness, with complete intentionality, with development, so that we can take advantage of those states, of such perceptions, in order to receive divine wisdom. We can learn to speak with the divine, including all of the masters of these celestial realms, the aeons, the divine hierarchies, who can grant us the capacity for transcendence, or make us pay what we owe before the archons, the hierarchs of the Law, which in eastern traditions are known as the Lords of Karma. They work with the creative demiurge, the host of gods and goddesses that manage and manifest all of the laws of nature, whether for good or for ill.
 
Just as there are physical and societal laws, divinity also enforces superior laws that we have to learn to comprehend and follow if what we want is to achieve liberation, like Sophia in the Gnostic myth ascending up thirteen repentances, towards the source, which is the אין Ain, the Nothingness in Hebrew. Notice that you have ten spheres, and you have three realms above that, so that makes a total of thirteen―the thirteen repentances of Pistis Sophia if you have read The Gnostic Bible.
 
So all of that relates to the Tree of Life. It is very deep, very important, and all of it is mapped. To really become skilled meditators, we use this graphic to help us understand our experiences and to know what to do in our path.
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​Alchemy: The Tree of Knowledge

Kabbalah has its twin sister. This is Alchemy. It is the other tree of the Garden of Eden.
 
The Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge―Kabbalah, and Alchemy―are not specific, literal trees in Mesopotamia. These are symbols. In scripture, geography has often served as a code for deeper spiritual realities, in order to escape detection, persecution, and death, as we saw with the Spanish Inquisition.
 
Alchemy is a rich tradition that encodes a lot of knowledge, but it is not a literal science of transforming lead in to gold. It is a symbol of how we use energy, how we transform the densities of our suffering personality into the lightness and gold of a liberated Essence, a pure consciousness.
 
There are some interesting correlations between the Tree of Life and the Nag Hammadi scriptures, which we are going to examine some of the etymologies here. The term nag or naga reminds us of a serpent, from the Sanskrit नाग Naga, which in Buddhism are renown as elemental beings of nature who live within and empower nature itself. They are depicted as having a lower body of a snake and a humanoid torso. They often dwell in bodies of water and lakes, rivers especially.
 
My wife, who before coming to Chicago, she was often praying to the Nagas by the rivers where she lived, in order to receive internal assistance. They have a very concrete reality. They are very beautiful souls that can help us.
 
But importantly for us in this lecture, we are talking about the serpentine form of these elemental creatures, and the serpent is an ancient symbol. They can refer to our creative energy, which has the power to enliven our spirituality or to damn it, to destroy it. We find this evident in the duality of the tempting serpent, and the serpent of bronze that healed the Israelites in the wilderness.
 
Nag spelt backwards is גן Gan, ג Gimel- נ Nun, which is a garden. Such a garden of Eden, the Hebrew term for bliss, is not a literal place. It is a psychological and spiritual state of being.
 
حمادي Hammadi in Arabic means: “praiseworthy,” “one who praises God,” with roots in أحمد ahmad orمحمد Muhammad, the “praised, commendable, laudable.” Therefore, the Nag Hammadi scriptures are the esoteric knowledge of the serpent, of “the praiseworthy serpent,” the bronze serpent of Moses that can heal the soul. These are symbols. That energy, which is very subtle and terrifying for many, can be trained and elevated within our physiology in order to empower our consciousness. Rather than exclusively represent an evil tendency to be shunned, which is done by many superstitious people, the serpentine creative energies, when harnessed and controlled with love, provides happiness and a genuine awakening.
 
What matters is that we utilize, symbolically, the metals of bronze. This is an amalgamation of copper and tin. Copper is feminine and tin is masculine, Venus and Jupiter when corresponding astrologically to those planets related to those metals. This demonstrates how a woman and a man within the Edenic bliss of sexual union, within a marriage, can overcome temptation. They can perform actions, sexual behaviors, that are praiseworthy before God.
 
This is the original meaning of Adam and Eve in the garden. A man and a woman naked in a garden before God―obviously this is very sexual. But it is emphasizing that there are two paths that open up for the primordial couple, the archetypical man and woman. This is science has been designated at sexual alchemy, known as sexual magic within our tradition, where a couple, who are married, can utilize their union to achieve genuine religion. They can achieve return, reunion with divinity. 
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​Water into Wine

​Now Gnosticism is a specific doctrine of the initiates, primarily Kabbalah and Alchemy as I stated. All religions contain the science of these two trees, although they are in code. These sciences are the absolute synthesis of religion. When you really reduce a religion to its core, you arrive at a sexual trope. Everything else is extemporaneous.
 
This spiritual knowledge is represented by water, and knowledge (water) is fluidic. It flows like a river, and often times in history, especially in the past ages, this esoteric, secret Christianity was often flowing like a ripple, often still, unperturbed, like in a reservoir underground. But now this knowledge is being given openly like a torrent, very fierce, which we find in writings by the author Samael Aun Weor.
 
He wrote about Gnosticism since the 1950’s and was really the first to explicitly discuss teachings about early Christianity, about Buddhism, about all religions, that were previously prohibited to discuss. His most prevalent thesis is that all religions have a sexual basis, a sexual essence, which is the most expedient method for intense spiritual transformation. It is found precisely in the relationship between husband and wife. This is known as sexual alchemy, how a martial union grounded in divine love, with an ethical fulfilment, within the highest spiritual ideals, within discipline, within purity, within compassion for suffering, this results in the creation of an angel, a master, a prophet.
 
Some have qualified Samael Aun Weor’s work as neo-Gnostic, in that his writings are an innovation, yet this is a pleonasm. His teachings regarding the essential practices of the Gnostics are not new. They have been presented throughout all religions without exception. To recognize this fact merely takes study, but unfortunately people do not want to. It is even more evident when you really practice and experience this science for yourself, and then, really, a lot of clarity emerges in relation to abstract symbols and religious allegories, which might seem very superficial and dumb in a literal sense, but really is the spirit of the letter that vivifies.
 
Some people reject Samael Aun Weor because his work is not just isolated to the first Christians, but is extensive to all religions. Many people do not except the universal religion at the heart of all faiths, which Samael Aun Weor denominated as Gnosis. It is the experience and knowledge of divine truths from witnessing for oneself. He explains the following in his lecture “The Gnostic Institutions”:
There is Gnosis in the Buddhist doctrine, in the Tantric Buddhism from Tibet, in the Zen Buddhism from Japan, in the Chan Buddhism of China, in Sufism, in the Whirling Dervishes, in the Egyptian, Persian, Chaldean, Pythagorean, Greek, Aztec, Mayan, Inca, etc., wisdom. If we carefully study the Christian Gospels, we will find in them Pythagorean mathematics, the Chaldean and Babylonian parable, and the formidable Buddhist moral. ―Samael Aun Weor, “The Gnostic Institutions”
The highest form of spiritual knowledge is Alchemy. This was conserved in secret. This knowledge was kept hidden, was maintained secretly amongst the early Christian groups, because it is volatile. It is powerful. It is controversial. It is a practice that requires the renunciation of our deepest, egotistical, and sexual drives, transforming sexual instinct into something divine, into something pure, into something sacred, creative, divine. We now have the opportunity to explain and learn knowledge that was reserved for the most developed and earnest of practitioners.
 
This knowledge was represented in the Bible in symbols, in relation to Alchemy. Was not Christ’s first miracle, in transforming water into wine, at a marriage? Christ taught sexual alchemy―to be born again. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh.” Everybody knows this. But the same sexual act, but transformed, elevated, “that which born of the spirit,” through that transformed act, “is spirit.” This is how common intercourse can become spiritual, how lust, which is contrary to love, is transmuted and transformed into divine compassion, conscious love, our soul. This is the basis of Gnosticism in all religions.
 
Some people might ask, “How is it that Gnosis is in all religions, yet should not be adulterated?” We can say that the sexual teachings constitute the synthesis of all religions. The religious forms have died, but if we have the synthesis, the key, we can unlock these traditions and give them vibrancy, give them life. Religious authorities have expunged this synthesis as best it could, not knowing the full import of certain religious symbols that were retained within the Bible, within scripture. They passed censorship, especially in books like the Book of Revelations, which is so Kabbalistic and symbolic that the censors just did not get it. But because they did not want to remove the teachings of the Lord, they kept it in the Bible even though it is very difficult and impossible to understand without this key. Therefore to approach traditions without this basis is mistaken.
 
Samael Aun Weor continues:
The system of teaching which was adopted by Jesus was the system of the Essenes. Certainly, the Essenes were one hundred percent Gnostic.
 
Therefore, the four Gospels are Gnostic Gospels, and they cannot be understood without the Maithuna (Sexual Magic, Alchemy) .
 
It is absurd to adulterate Gnosis with different teachings, because the Christian Gospel prohibits adultery. It is absurd to conceive of Gnosis without the Maithuna.
 
We can drink the wine of Gnosis (divine wisdom) within a Greek, Buddhist, Sufi, Aztec, Egyptian, etc. cup, yet we must not adulterate this delicious wine with strange doctrines. ―Samael Aun Weor, “The Gnostic Institutions”
So Gnosis is within all religious forms, but not all forms have retained their essence. All religions have degenerated, unfortunately. Therefore it can be difficult to discern their original teachings if we lack an education in this studies, and especially with practical training in its methods. 

​Gnostic Controversies

So despite the fact that Gnosticism is flourishing again, there have been many disagreements among and about Gnostic groups since the times of Jesus, including today in Samael Aun Weor’s movement. For example, the Nazarenes were, according to Blavatsky:
The same as the St. John Christians; called the Mendaeans or Sabeans. They designate Christ “a false Messiah” and only recognize John the Baptist, whom they call the “great Nazar.” ―H.P. Blavatsky
​You also find the following from The Three Mountains by Samael Aun Weor: 
The Nazarenes were known as Baptists, Sabians, and Christians of Saint John. Their belief was that the Messiah was not the Son of God, but simply a prophet who wanted to follow John. ―Samael Aun Weor, The Three Mountains
And also from the lecture “Alchemical Symbolism of the Nativity of Christ”:
In those days, there were disputes among the Baptists, the Essenes, and others. ―Samael Aun Weor, Alchemical Symbolism of the Nativity of Christ
There is great diversity even today in so called Gnostic groups, whether from Samael Aun Weor or not. Many of them fight with each other. They denominate the others as heretics, much like Irenaeus, Hippolytus, Athanasius, and other heresiologists towards Christians whose doctrinal purity they questioned. For example, Irenaeus and Hippolytus were heresy hunters. They wrote against the Gnostics, yet what is interesting is that Samael Aun Weor refers to them as Gnostics. This can get confusing, right? But rather than becoming confused by this apparent or glaring discrepancy, or merely reject Samael Aun Weor, it would be better to really re-evaluate our definitions, our lexicon, our knowledge about what a Gnostic is.
 
Scholars had even argued whether to really call the Nag Hammadi scriptures Gnostic, since they do not reflect one ideology or group, but different Gnosticisms or movements. The traditions from which ancient Gnostic texts emerged were highly varied and unfamiliar to modern scholars, because certain bishops really sought to dismiss and erase any viewpoint that conflicted with their own.
 
Although the term Gnosticism was appropriated to refer to heretically-designated sects, the term gnosis is different for others. Whether elements of teachings or truths were throughout different schools, it really is disingenuous to assume that there is a homogeneous world view to a constellation of very nuanced groups and systems. For example, many believed Gnostics were dualists, who thought the world was created by an evil power, with a very fatalistic view of its god or demiurge. However, this philosophy is only a small range of knowledge within a spectrum of Gnosis , and it does not really constitute the entirety of its teachings.
 
This is because every religion possesses gnosis, direct personal testimony of divine reality. Even within any given religion there is a tremendous range of knowledge, a tremendous range of practice, let alone varying messengers who all founded different schools. This had occurred even with early Christianity, which was composed of various doctrines or Christianities (plural), many of whom were competing with one another, like basically all religions today, and especially Samael Aun Weor’s Gnostic movement. Many groups are competing with one another.
 
Now this does not mean that we should condemn, that we should shun, that we should ignore those with whom we disagree. But we should not go to the other extreme as well. We should not elevate Gnostic initiates on a pedestal, on a palanquin, on a throne where we can admire those who are really riddled with flaws. Likewise, we should not reject these people, these individuals, because they still were vehicles, however imperfect, of divine teachings.
 
This might mean disassociating with certain schools that are not maintaining ethical discipline, and finding a Gnostic institution that resonates with us. But sadly, some potential students perceive the hypocrisy of certain groups and thereafter they leave. They often associate Samael Aun Weor with the failures of his students. This has happened with every religion, without exception, to the point that now many individuals have traumas that are associated with the prophets. We can say that this is really a tremendous crime against the soul. Therefore, if we are instructors or missionaries providing guidance to others, we have a tremendous responsibility to maintain in our body, in our speech, in our mind.
 
Also there is the need to remove the psychological tendency to think that only one group is real or authentic and that the rest are wrong, as if instructors, or people, as if aspirants are not complicated, as if we are not struggling, as if we are not afflicted despite our best intentions, our most noble ideals. Until we overcome our own karma, our delusions, our assumptions, our egotism, our beliefs, even to a minor degree, we cannot even begin to understand or appreciate reality. Since we have ego, we are all susceptible to liability. We make misinterpretations. We make mistakes, no matter how authentic our teachers may be, because we are fascinated by desires, and we cannot see the truth in that way.
 
So there is value to be taken from many Gnostics instructors and scriptures, even though there are going to be different nuanced interpretations, often open disagreements between them. We have to remove the fanaticism that dictates, within a rigid, false dichotomy, that only one organisation has it right and the rest are condemned.
 
Now we have to avoid extremes. Neither blind adherence to a dogma, nor its vehement rejection, means that we have arrived at wisdom. In fact, it is the opposite. If we are not examining our position, if we are not scientifically investigating these things through personal inquiry, then we are not making any ground. There is a saying amongst the Sufis that was documented in Al-Qushayri’s Al-Risalah: The Principles of Sufism, that when the Sufis disagree with one another, the harmony and the unity of the group is maintained, since each believer helps the other. As mentioned in the Hadith:
A believer to another believer is like two hands. One washes the other, correcting each other. ―Hadith
​However, when the Sufis all agree, then there is a problem. Often this occurs in the form of a dogmatic conformity. So a balance has to be reached. You have to follow your heart, your intuition. What matters is that you rely on your conscious experiences, your knowledge, your meditations to discern and guide you.
 
Initiation is deeply personal. It is not found in a group. It is found within yourself. It is necessary to study from proven and pure sources, but for that, you need to awaken, to personally verify their efficacy, whether or not they are expedient or effective, whether or not they are worthy. Study from those masters who are proven, the founders of different religions. We have to be very careful with what we ingest, spiritually speaking.
 
Now even if we tell you that certain scriptures are pure or not, only you can really evaluate and understand these truths from experience. As Samael Aun Weor rightly indicated:
The Gnostic must not be a fanatic. We must study everything in order to reject the useless and accept the useful. Gnosis is not against any religion, school, order, or sect. We have fought for the moral purification of many religions, schools, orders and sects. We have never been against any religion, school, or sect. We know that humanity is divided into groups and that each group needs its own system of particular instruction. All religions, schools, orders, and sects are precious pearls that are strung on the golden thread of divinity. ―Samael Aun Weor, The Yellow Book: "Order and Esoteric Discipline"
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​Conclusion

​We will conclude with a reference to the book The Major Mysteries, which we invite you to study if you wish to learn more about esoteric Christianity, the path of initiation, and a foundation for approaching the Gnostic Gospels. We conclude with this statement by Samael Aun Weor:
If the Lord had not been crucified, the destiny of the Western world would have been another. We would now have sublime enlightened rabbis everywhere, preaching Christic esotericism. The union of Christic esotericism, secret Jewish Kabbalah, and holy alchemy would have completely illuminated and transformed the entire world. Yes, the mysteries of Levi would have shone with the light of Christ. Gnosis (Da’ath) would have magnificently shone everywhere. ―Samael Aun Weor, The Major Mysteries 
​If you have any questions, I invite you to ask them.

​Questions and Answers

Question: Do you hold events on specific sexual transmutation practices? I have been practicing for several years and I am looking to go deeper. Thank you!
 
Instructor: If you go on to Glorian.org there is a course called the Distance Learning Course, which if you have not registered with that, you should. We have practices and exercises that we do as a group online right now due to the pandemic, but also for the students that are long distance, where you can participate in different sexual transmutation practices. There was recently one given by my wife for Ham-Sah Pranayama. So you could study that exercise that was uploaded to our website under Guided Practices specifically. But yes, we do have online practices that we do where you can participate and ask questions of instructors in case you want to go deeper into the exercises themselves.
 
Question: Can you expound on the meaning of the demiurge and the archons?
 
Instructor: I was hoping someone would ask that. I have intended to really talk about this topic in future lectures especially, but I can relate to you some basic understandings of the demiurge and the archons.
 
Now the term demiurge is from the Greek language. It means “worker” or “craftsman.” The demiurgos or “the artificer” is an architect who supposedly, in accordance with Gnostic Gospels, built the universe. Even the Freemasons derive the meaning of “Supreme Architect” from this word. Plato even talked about it in the Timaeus, about the creator God.
 
The Gnostic Gospels speak very negatively about the demiurge, and this has produced some confusion for people, because in our tradition we talk very highly about the demiurge.
 
Now in order to explain how our Gnostic tradition refers to the demiurge, or creative architect of the universe, in contradistinction with the transcendent unmanifested deity as we explained, I will relate to you some excerpts from Samael Aun Weor in his writings. This is from The Three Mountains:
Esotericism admits the existence of a Logos, or a collective Creator of the universe, a Demiurge architect. It is unquestionable that such a Demiurge is not a personal deity as many mistakenly suppose, but rather a host of Dhyan Chohans, Angels, Archangels, and other forces. ―Samael Aun Weor, The Three Mountains
It is impossible to symbolize or allegorize the Unknowable One (or in Gnostic terms, Agnostos Theos, the Unmanifested or the Absolute within Kabbalah, the Ain, Ain Soph, and Ain Soph Aur). Nevertheless, the Manifested One, the Knowable Elohim, can be allegorized or symbolized. The Manifested Elohim is constituted by the Demiurge Creator of the Universe. [...] The great invisible Forefather is Aelohim, the Unknowable Divinity. The great Triple-Powered God is the Demiurge Creator of the Universe: Multiple Perfect Unity. The Creator Logos is the Holy Triamatzikamno. The Verb, the Great Word. The three spaces of the First Mystery are the regions of the Demiurge Creator. ―Samael Aun Weor, The Pistis Sophia Unveiled
 
The Demiurge Architect of the Universe is not a human or divine individual; rather, it is Multiple Perfect Unity, the Platonic Logos. ―Samael Aun Weor, Gnostic Anthropology
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​So if you studied the Kabbalah, you know that the creator is precisely the top three  סְפִירוֹת sephiroth of the Tree of Life: כֶּ֫תֶר Kether, חָכְמָה Chokmah, בִּינָה Binah―Crown, Wisdom, and Intelligence. These are the Trinity of Christianity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, which are not people, but forces within divinity. All of the masters and angels who have perfected themselves are the demiurge. They created the universes, the solar systems, the planets, the stars, the galaxies, the infinites. Those are divine beings who are perfect. They are beyond good and evil. They are a perfect, multiple unity. They are individual masters who are in charge of governing the mechanical laws of nature.
 
Now what confuses people when Samael Aun Weor mentions this is that the Gnostic Gospels, such as the Nag Hammadi or the Dead Sea Scrolls, refer to the demiurge as a tyrant God, as negative, as oppressive, and this is really interesting. It reveals something very nuanced that we have to examine in ourselves.
 
People, in truth, do not like divinity. In fact, we all like to blame God to some degree. Our egos and our defects, and our vices and errors, do not want to take responsibility for their culpability, for their errors, and so we like to externalize. There are many people―I am sure from our own experience, whom we know, whether in social circles―who blame God for everything, or blame divinity. There are people in the Gnostic movement who blame Archangel Sakaki for the fall of humanity, and many other things. People blame God for everything, for the state of the world, for humanity’s failure, for its degeneration, without willing to accept one’s own responsibility for our own situation. We have our own agency. Yes, there are other influences in nature which are detrimental, that are mechanical, that are oppressive, but at the same time, those can only influence us so long as we subject to them.
 
Now the Elohim or the demiurge, the gods, the divine, the angels, the masters, the prophets, they are beyond good and evil. They are beyond the mechanical forces of nature, which are represented by the lower סְפִירוֹת sephiroth on the Tree of Life, and because we are subjected to those laws, such as evolution and devolution, mechanical ways of being, we suffer. We are oppressed. Now the demiurge, or the creative host of the Elohim, they manage those forces, whether for good or for evil. They are beyond good and evil, so to speak. Now what is interesting is that the demiurge, the creative host of Elohim, manage everything. Even the hell realms are governed by the angels and the gods. So it is interesting that the Gnostic Gospels, they blame the demiurge for the fall of humanity, and there is some credence to that, but in the sense that they are only mangers of forces that we choose to fulfil in ourselves. So we are fully responsible for our own errors. We cannot blame anyone else, but the tendency of people in spiritual circles is to blame divinity.
 
This is why the Gnostic Gospels sometimes depict the demiurge as a very negative and oppressive figure. As someone mentioned in the chat box, it is like a judge. But it is true that as we are judged by the divine, he also teaches, trains, and tests us, so that we can grow spiritually.
 
Now the archons is a different term. It comes from archeus, the Law (arcanum), laws (plural: arcana), the word like archangel have this prefix which relate to the rulers, the different habitants, judges, or lords of the different aeons: the different סְפִירוֹת sephiroth of the Tree of Life. In our tradition, we refer to them as the Lords of Karma. Now in the myths of the Gnostics scriptures such as the Pistis Sophia, which Samael Aun Weor commented upon, explains the path of the soul ascending back to the origin, to the Absolute, to the divine, and in that process one has to answer and repent before the different archons, who are the different Lords of Karma who basically help us to be accountable for our deeds.
 
So for many people, it is a very painful situation spiritually when you want to enter the higher realms of divinity but you are obstructed by the Law, which is cause and effect. We reap what we sow, and as we repent and change, we learn to transform our situation and receive the blessings of those different beings. So they are kind of like the guards of the different gates, or the different spheres of this diagram of the Kabbalah.
 
Archons are the Lords of Karma, but there is also a dual significance to this too, which we have to be very careful about. Now, there are some beings that call themselves archons, which are not divine. Instead of being heavenly divinities, cosmic hierarchs, angels or gods within the pure sense, they are beings who are hierarches of the hell realms and infernal states. We call them, in our studies, black magicians, and personally I have even met many beings like that who refer to themselves are archons.
 
So that term can be dual. When you read the Gnostic scriptures, it is very important to be very flexible and intuitive, because different gnostic authors, or originators of those scriptures wrote in accordance within a specific context, and many layers and dimensions of meaning, so it is very deep.
 
One of the essential themes of Gnostic scriptures is that there is a duality. There is the unmanifested divinity and the manifested divinity, and that the reason why we are in this big mess is because we are struggling to reconcile the manifested with the unmanifested. So if you want to learn more about some of the philosophical nuances of that teaching, which of course will take a very long time because it is very profound and difficult, study The Gnostic Bible: The Pistis Sophia Unveiled, which was commented upon by Samael Aun Weor. We have that available at Glorian.org.
 
Question: Are the archons considered evil or just misunderstood by our limited human understanding?
 
Instructor: Again, it is both. We often confuse our helper with our enemy. When life gives us difficult situations or circumstances, karma, challenging ordeals, the most instinctual reaction is to complain and to resist it, even though we are just receiving a situation or ordeal to help us, often given to us by the Lords of Karma, the archons, the heavenly beings. But because they are difficult situations which are meant to test us, to help us grow, we should learn to appreciate karma and not to blaspheme, because if we complain, suffer, and blame others, we exacerbate the issue. The karma is deepened instead of being rectified. So the archons in that sense are really divine beings, but also we misunderstand them, those heavenly angels, because of our conditioned state. We do not recognize that they are helping us.
 
But there are also beings that call themselves archons but they are really of the lower realms, the inverted Tree of Life of the Kabbalah. We are going to go very deeply within these nuances with different scriptures in this course, but I invite you to study again the works of Samal Aun Weor, especially The Gnostic Bible.
 
One other point to make in relation to this duality, we have to remember that nature is dual. There is good and evil in nature: “Eat or be eaten.” “Conquer or be conquered.” There is an oppressor and opportunity. If you study the opera The Magic Flute by Mozart, you find this exemplified in the Queen of the Night. She provides the flute and the magic bells for Tamino and Papageno, the heroes of the opera, in order to save the daughter of the Queen of the Night. She is representative of the forces of nature, which nourish and support us in the beginning. But if we are not comprehending and conquering those forces within ourselves, we are in danger of becoming its slave.
 
So I invite you to study especially that opera that eventually we are going to have on our website, as well in the course: The Secret Teachings of Opera. It deeply relates to this topic.
 
Thank you all for coming!
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<![CDATA[Yoga for the Aquarian Era]]>Sat, 17 Apr 2021 21:55:21 GMThttp://chicagognosis.org/lectures/yoga-for-the-aquarian-era
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Welcome everybody to this introductory lecture on Yoga for the Aquarian Era!
 
In this talk, we will discuss some important parameters for understanding and experiencing what many have called spiritual awakening. We are going to talk a lot about how to initiate and sustain such a state, how to work with our own psychology, our own bodies, our hearts, by harnessing the energies that we carry within, specifically through spiritual exercises that awaken our full potential. 
 
It can be good to examine what spiritual awakening is because there are many concepts and beliefs, many ideas, many theories, which conflict with each other, which compete with other perspectives, and even paradoxically contradict their own foundations. 
 
If you ask a person what is spirit, you will get many answers. People have varying opinions of what spirit is. If those accounts do not concur, they do not agree, they oppose one another, then we can arrive at some basic fundamental facts that such perspectives are flawed, primarily because genuine spiritual experience is real, factual, scientific. It is precise. Divine mystical spiritual experiences are based on facts, repeatable, verifiable, and consistent. 
 
The spirit is our own innate reality at our most hidden depths, in the synthesis of who and what we really are. But unfortunately, that knowledge tends to be very obscured within most people. We can have a lot of intellectual debates, arguments, assumptions, and concepts that seek to label and approach these realities, and yet those projections of our own idealism tend to miss a very important point. That point is that reality is, no matter what our beliefs, convictions, language, labels, culture, customs, and habits. People do not agree on what spirit is, and therefore we have to be very blunt and honest, that such conflicting perspectives do not approach the facts of what spirit is, because it is an objective, spiritual, and real state. 
 
We say in our studies that spirit is divinity, the divine, the truth within a person. But as I said, because we have many concepts, assumptions, desires, and more specifically, conditions of mind, we do not tend to see what is in front and within us.
 
Some people think that spirituality is limited to intellectual study, as if reading books, listening to lectures, studying scriptures and accumulating knowledge, terminology, and wisdom in the mind, constitutes being a spiritual person. However, this type of predisposition fails to take into account that there are other forms of apprehending reality. 
 
There are people who approach spirituality from the heart, from emotions, from sentiments, believing that having a dogmaor a positive or whatever sentiment in the heartqualifies as being spiritual, that devotion is spirituality. However, this is also very limited in its scope. It does not capture the full dynamic range of spiritual expression and our full human potential. 
 
There are those who also think spirituality is merely adhering to rituals, doing many practices, working with the body, performing austerities, physically. But also, this is only one part of a larger whole that should be addressed, that should be taken into context. The truth is that there are many valuable teachings in the world, different spiritual movements, teachings, and instructions that provide guidance in accordance with the dispositions or idiosyncrasies of the student, but also the teachers. While it is good to have intellectual knowledge and that it is wonderful to develop the heart, but also to engage with positive practices that exercise the body and keep it healthy, none of these dynamics in themselves should be isolated from the others. 
 
Therefore, a balanced human being incorporates every aspect of what we are because it is important to develop everything in our constitution. It is not enough to merely exercise the intellect with profound study, or cultivate the heart, or merely work on the body, because that implies a deficiency. It is like going to the gym and only working out your right bicep and ignoring the other muscles in your body. It would be absurd, obviously, in this example, but this is what we do spiritually. We approach spiritual topics, the mysteries of divinity, of life and death, of mysticism, with a particular idiosyncrasy or psychological crutch. We think that being spiritual is with the intellect, or the heart, or the body, typically at the exclusion of everything else. 
 
But in our studies, we like to be very holistic. We like to approach the study of the complete human being because a balanced human being is necessary in order to really express the divine, the spirit, what we in our studies call the Innermost Being, God, according to some traditions.
 
We cannot be a temple of divinity, the divine cannot officiate within us, express, if we are not properly prepared, which is what the purpose of many spiritual traditions have been about, to train humanity in certain skills, habits, and practices that create a harmonious space within one's own psychology, so that we can realize what religion, what yoga, have taught, what mystical states are, what awakening is.
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What is Awakening?​

​It is good to also examine the term awakening because there are also many incongruent analyses of this truth, experience.
 
There are really many types of experiences one can have, but some people have traditionally associated spiritual awakening as some type of inclination towards a teaching, towards metaphysics, towards a religion or mysticism, due to an experience. Some of us might have had some type of vision within dreams, an awakening of consciousness within the dream state or even as simple as a sudden realization that we are more than our body, that we are alert, aware, and amplified within our consciousness. We have a magnified perception or perspective of life. 
 
But what these experiences indicate is not that we have reached some permanent state of enlightenment, but instead, these are states that are temporary and fleeting. So because we are inspired by such realizations, we seek religion. We seek out teachers and teachings to help guide us to understand what these experiences are. It is also important to reflect and remember that awakening occurs in levels and for most people who have had some type of realization or inclination to study religion or spirituality, to want to know the spirit, the divine, are not able to initiate and sustain such states at will. This is the fundamental difference between an aspirant and an initiate: someone who has begun and cultivated a new way of being. 
 
Now we mention that we tend to approach traditions based on our conditioning. Perhaps we are more intellectual. Perhaps we are more emotional. Perhaps we are more instinctive: we like to do things, to move, to act. But we have to remember and take into account that in order to really awaken our full potential, we have to be harmonious. We have to have equilibrium. We have to have balance. This is why we practice many types of exercises that we are going to touch upon today that can aid you in awakening your real capacities for qualities like divine compassion, conscious love, philanthropy, patience, perseverance, diligence, and endurance, purity of mind, heart and body, which are the requisites for really entering in a competent, efficient, expedient way, into these mysteries, into these realities, so that the spirit does not become merely a concept.
 
It is something that we verify through scientific facts, and then when we study different traditions we can verify our own experiences within those teachings, and therefore we develop what we call genuine faith. It is confidence born from experience. It is not adhering to a concept in the mind, or a belief in the heart, or by merely performing by rote certain rituals that are at the forefront of our inherited religion, or perhaps adopted one. Instead, through awakening our real potential that is in a dormant, sleeping state, we come to actualize and really witness profound mysteries that escape people who never even attempt to approach these studies, who are not inspired.
 
We also talk a lot about spiritual inquietudes: a longing and yearning in the heart. The founder of our tradition, Samael Aun Weor, wrote in The Great Rebellion, a chapter dedicated to this reality: how we go through life in a state of slumber. We can be physically active with our body. We can be engaged with our life. We can be thinking, memorizing, studying, engaging with others with our emotions, acting physically in the world, and yet we are not really aware of what we are doing. 
 
You can examine this in your own life. Why is it that people get into car accidents? They may be driving but they are thinking of something else, or you are on the train, and you are ruminating in your heart. You are stewing in negative emotions about an event that happened earlier in the day where you were suffering a lot, and then you miss your stop. You forget yourself. You are not present. You are not awake. You are not conscious of what you are doing, what you were thinking, feeling, doing, where you are at, what you were doing, basically. 
 
We are in a profound state of slumber, psychologically speaking. Any time we daydream, fantasize, memorize, or immerse ourselves in memory, ruminate while we are washing dishes, it means we are not present. We are not washing dishes. We are lost in the mind. We are distracted.
 
There are many types of distractions within our own psychology, which is something that we address in these studies because our consciousness is not fully integrated. It is not directed at will, with intentionality and purpose, towards specific endeavors. We tend to do many things being in the era of multi-tasking, in which we do not really focus on one thing, but we are scattered in our attention. We are not really aware.
 
Spiritual discipline in practice helps us to rectify this issue so that we are no longer sleeping as a consciousness. We are paying attention. We are developing our capacities for concentration, for comprehension, attention, diligence, real beauty and virtue of the soul. This is what we seek to awaken because the consciousness in its normal state, now, is not present. It is not developed to its full potential.
 
I know that we do have some level of consciousness in our physical bodies when we are in the world, but what we perceive of life tends to be very filtered and obscured by many conditions of mind. It is this condition which we seek to transform, so that we can liberate consciousness, develop ourselves into enlightened beings, into a master of one's psychology, so that with those alert, intuitive senses, we can really apprehend the nature of our spirit, the divine, and no longer have any theories or beliefs about it. It is a reality and fact for us. 
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The Definition of Yoga

What are some of the methods that we employ in order to achieve a state of being that is conducive to experiencing the spirit, the divine?
 
Many have heard of yoga, but there are many misconceptions of what it really constitutes in its full gamut, its complete range, its many methods. We like to often think of yoga as physical calisthenics, or twisting and distorting the body into different postures to gain flexibility and strength. These are very useful exercises and are helpful within the context of a larger spiritual work.
 
Hatha Yoga is a type of yoga that people are already familiar with. It is appropriate within a specific endeavor, when we are practicing many other principles associated with the tradition, not merely just trying to have a young, healthy, and attractive body, because that by itself does not really produce change in a psychological sense. There are health benefits. It is useful. It is good to get those endorphins moving, but, it should be utilized with intelligence and remembrance with its overall context. 
 
In truth, according to Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras, you find the following:
Yoga is the stilling of the modifications of consciousness. Patanjali, Yoga Sutras 1:2
The term योग yoga from Sanskrit, युज् yug, means “to reunite.” It means to unify the consciousness with the divine. This is the same meaning as the term religion from the Latin religare. Real yoga is stilling the modifications of the consciousness. As I mentioned, our consciousness is very conditioned. Examine a moment in your life perhaps in the morning when you get up. What is your routine? What are the thoughts, feelings, and habits that you engage with on a day-to-day basis? 
 
As I said, we tend not to be very alert and aware of our surroundings. We go through life in a hypnotized state. Our consciousness is modified in accordance with the level of our own psychological conditioning. We have many elements that produce agitation or conditions, modifications of a pure perception, because the consciousness in its original form is clear, lucid, liberated, and pristine. It does not involve thought. It is not a churning of emotion. It is not necessarily needing to have to move the body and engage in countless activities in life. We can have a simple experience of free consciousness by simply being alert, perhaps in a moment while watching a sunrise, in which we apprehend the profound beauty of that moment without having to label it, without having to fit it into a box, a category, because that labeling, categorizing, and compartmentalizing kills the moment, destroys the beauty and the novelty of watching something as miraculous as that. 
 
Our consciousness is modified. We are conditioned by many elements like anger, pride, fear, anxiety, vanity, lust, desire, appetites. In life we tend to go through our routine, feeding our desires, giving ourselves what our body wants, seeking emotional security in our relationships and affirmation of our thoughts and ideas. These tend to be very subjective in their own states. They are not necessarily objective and real. But we have these psychological apparatuses of thought, feeling, and impulse. In truth they tend to be very limited. We go through life, again as we said, trying to saturate ourselves with the different impressions of life, without realizing that we are conditioning ourselves even further. By identifying with the problems and circumstances of life, we have a mind that is really churned and stirred up.
 
If you do not believe me, try to sit to meditate for five minutes after a hectic day. You find that your thoughts are all over the place. Your feelings may be overpowering, debilitating. Maybe you have a trauma, maybe a difficult situation occurred in the day, at work or with a loved one, where the body cannot sit still. We have to scratch an itch. We have a pain in our leg. We feel like our shoulders are going to fall off.
 
The beginning of real spiritual practice is learning how to still modify consciousness. We have to let the mind, heart, and body settle.

It is like a container, or a jar filled with water and sediment. If the jar is shaken up, all the different mud and particles and debris will flow and scatter and obscure the water itself. It becomes cloudy. It becomes murky. It becomes distorted. However, if you allow the jar to sit still, you find that the water rises to the top and the sediment will begin to stratify into layers. This is the same principle that applies to our mind.
 
If we can learn to take advantage of the challenges of life without identifying with those problems, without investing our psychological energy into them, without wasting energy through fear, paranoia, despair, uncertainty, and doubt, we will begin to find the contents of our mind, those conditioned, limiting factors, begin to calm. They rest. Therefore, when the water is clear of debris, you can see clearly in yourself. 
 
This is the beginning of yoga, of genuine spirituality, of religion. It is the stilling of the modifications of consciousness. When the waters are clear, calm, serene, and tranquil, you can begin to reflect images within their contents. This is the nature of water. It is a beautiful element and allegory. It is necessary for life. It is also necessary for spiritual life. The mind is like a lake. If it is distraught, turbulent, and violent, you cannot see the heavens reflected within the surface. Therefore, if you want to attain knowledge of spirituality, of the spirit, first we enter tranquility.
 
This is why Swami Sivananda, a great yogi, a great master of spirituality, taught that real yoga is precisely this: how we work with the mind, how we understand how and why it functions, and the path and methods for alleviating its tensions, letting it acquiesce, to calm. 

He states in Practical Lessons of Yoga:
Patanjali defines Yoga as the suspension of all the functions of the mind. As such, any book on Yoga, which does not deal with these three aspects of the subject, viz. (namely), mind, its functions and the method of suspending them, can be safely laid aside as unreliable and incomplete. ―Swami Sivananda, Practical Lessons In Yoga
There are different schools of yoga that teach exactly what Swami Sivananda provided. He opened many schools through his students. They opened many schools within the United States where there are hatha yoga classes, learning to work with posture and the body, and  that is a kind of a fish hook to try and capture people, so to speak, to get people interested in the real, deeper mysteries and knowledge of yoga. It is good to have a healthy body because that helps to have a healthy mind, but merely working on the body, as a path in itself, is unreliable and incomplete. This is why we study forms of yoga that we are going to talk about today. 
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​Yogic Traditions and the Dawn of Aquarius

Yoga has a very rich history and tradition. It comes from the Hindu pantheon, the Hindu mysteries. It will be interesting to examine and analyze its development within the West.
 
It is true that many great accomplished yogis like Vivekananda came to the United States in 1893 in order to plant the seeds of yoga, of spiritual discipline of mind. He spoke at the World Parliament of Religions at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1893, but it is interesting that those teachings did not really blossom in his era, because there were many other practitioners that came to provide spiritual teachings of an eastern type to a western disposition. 
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For example, in 1920, Yogananda, who provided the Self-realization Fellowship Society, also taught. As well as in 1957, a disciple of Swami Sivananda, his name was Vishnudevananda Saraswati came in 1957 to teach. Those teachings only really came to fruition around February 4 of 1962, and it is interesting to examine why.
 
When we study yoga and spirituality, we also study many of the energetic and cosmic influences that penetrate the mind at a subconscious and unconscious level. There are many elements in nature that affect us psychologically, spiritually, and physically that we are not aware of, that we are not knowledgeable of from experience, in a deep, spiritual, objective sense.
 
What is interesting about February 4, 1962, is that this was the moment, between 2 and 3 in the afternoon, in which our solar system entered within the astrological influence and dominion of the sign of Aquarius within the zodiac. It was around this time that many changes occurred, within diverse traditions, amongst religions, within politics, within sexual relationships, within many things. Pretty much every level of society has been affected, around the 60s, with a profound revolution. If you do not believe me, you can just look at history, the times before the 1960s and 1950s, in the way life subsisted at that time.
 
Now people of a materialistic attitude do not really look deeper than what can be seen with physical senses. In fact, many people reject the influence of zodiacal energies and forces within nature, which enter within us psychologically and are transformed in accordance with the level of our conditioning or our developed spiritual consciousness. 
 
We might say that such influences are not real, but the truth is that we are affected by nature all the time. We are influenced by the weather. We can be in a really bad mood because it is raining and damp out, or we did not get enough sleep. Perhaps there is an influence of the weather, as I said, in which we get sick. We get a stomach ache. We feel nauseous, whatever it may be. We are heavily influenced by our environment. The same is true of levels that we do not readily perceive in a materialistic sense, but these forces are real and we can look at history to determine this fact from a zodiacal sense.
 
Now we previously existed within the Era of Pisces, which is a very different flavor and force in a psychological and spiritual level, in terms of its influence and dimensionality. Pisces is traditionally associated with conservatism, with social hierarchies and structures, institutions that have lineages and bear deep, long, and extensive history. You find this in religion, politics, and in every aspect of human life. 
 
You find that in the way many spiritual traditions used to exist, in which it was required of a disciple, in order to learn these teachings, to submit to a guru, and after proving their candidacy, after many decades of trials, tests, experimentations, ordeals, challenges, and experiences, they are really given the most profound radical and transformative practices that are at the heart of all religions and yogas. 
 
Now that the Era of Aquarius is very different. Since the 60s, this stellar, celestial, or zodiacal influence is defined by its revolutionary character. It is a rebellion. It is a profound and intense energy that has entered, as I said, within every aspect of society in order to shake things up. It is about transformation. It is about rebelling against institutions and dogmas, against conditions. 
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Aquarius is defined as the water barrier. It is the zodiacal sign in which knowledge of a spiritual type is being given openly for free, without demands, without coercion, without strict attendance or affiliation with one group, in the sense of having to adhere to a dogma, an unbreakable faith belief system. It is said that Aquarius is the knowledge given freely to all. This is why if we look at the 1960s, you find that there is an explosion of information, of knowledge that has been given openly to society, to all. It is a form of divine generosity and it is also revolutionary because it is the force that inspires independent thought, self-reliance, self-verification, personal experience of the truth without having to adhere to a lineage or a dogma.
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​This influence really reached its dawn on February 4, 1962, when you find that the planets of our solar systems were in almost perfect alignment. This was a true conglomeration of worlds, of celestial bodies and influences, that mark the beginning of a new age, in which the forces of Aquarius predominates. But that influence also came even earlier, maybe by a decade or two, because just in the same manner that you watch a sunrise, the light doesn't really peak at the horizon until the moment the sun appears. The light spreads gradually, such as in the 50s you find, and even earlier, the efforts of yogis and practitioners to spread spirituality in America. But that really did not come into fruition until the 50s and 60s. 
 
On February 4, 1962, the real beginning of the influence emerged upon the horizon of our consciousness. So, we study this influence because it helps to explain different traditions in the past and also where we are at now, and what we can do and what we can become. There have been different periods of instruction for humanity, in accordance with Piscean influence, especially in the last age, which was marked by its conservatism, in which knowledge was not given openly, but had to be earned. 
 
Now, the knowledge is being given openly in Aquarius without needing to be earned. It is given for free because unfortunately humanity is not in a very good place. We find a lot of suffering and affliction on this planet, a lot of chaos, primarily because of our egotism, our conditions, our selfishness, which are accelerating.
 
The influence of Aquarius is very revolutionary. That force is channeled in accordance with our level of being. If we are negative, angry, violent people, inside, then that energy is going to bring it. But without the proper tools or techniques to channel this force and harness it with intelligence and wisdom, we often will destroy ourselves, and we can see this happening simply by looking at the news. Many events are occurring in which this is a reality. This is a fact.

​The Aquarian Influence

By learning how to employ the instructions of mastering this influence, we in turn have a force and impetus that produces an expedient and radical change, very quickly, if we know the methods, the techniques of this era, to capitalize on that influence. 
 
There is a saying by the author M., in The Dayspring of Youth, where he describes this Aquarian influence. He calls it the Dayspring of Youth. Samael Aun Weor referred to that influence as the Dionysian wave, the influence of Dionysus who is considered the god of wine and revelry. This is a very interesting symbol because since the 60s, which is known for its bacchanalias, or sexual revolutions, its free love initiatives and movements, we find that people have been indulging in that power, that potency, but through desires.
 
However, there is another way. It does not necessarily have to be about engaging with and feeding one's desires, habits, and lust. Instead, one can take that energy and use it to create a different type of inebriation, a different type of wine, so to speak, since Bacchus or Dionysus, within the Greek and Roman traditions, is the same symbol. They represent how the force Aquarius can be harnessed in two ways, whether for our spiritual development or for our deepened conditioning and suffering. 
 
Of course, in accordance with each cosmic era, there are different periods of instruction. The author M. states the following in The Dayspring of Youth:
At the beginning and end of each age there is a pouring forth of hierarchical cosmic streams of energy, and as they intermittently enter the earth’s atmosphere and unite we find in this radiation that instruction best fitted for the time. Thus there is brought to birth a new period of discovery for the world.
 
This new force, called by Initiates, ‘The Dayspring of Youth,’ has been in activity for some time, and they who respond to it and practise this Western Yoga can enter the new era and become its instrument.
 
This force, now working over Western Europe and America, possesses a new vitality and energy that will bring about a severance from past and inherited conditions. Minds that respond to it are clarified, and any opposition within the atmosphere of the mental body (the mind) can no longer imprison them within its rebellious aura. For practice of this Yoga attracts an atomic energy of a finer nature and transmutes the consciousness. ―M., The Dayspring of Youth
If we learn how to cultivate his energy, we develop clarity, perception, awakening, in a positive sense, in which we have greater understanding and intuition of how to solve the problems of our life. We do not have confusion. We don’t have pain, or despair. It is such a powerful force that any opposition within the atmosphere of the mind can no longer imprison them within its rebellious aura.
 
Right now, our mind is a prison, if we are honest. We tend to be afflicted by many sufferings, but there is a way to rebel against our own innate failures and incipience, our own defects, our own problems, so that we can gain real happiness, not only for ourselves, but for others. We do it through this practice of yoga, this Aquarian yoga. By attracting certain spiritual or atomic energies, which are very fine in nature, we transmute the consciousness. 
 
The term transmutation refers to the prefix trans, which is “to carry over,” “across,” to move, to redirect. Also, mutation to mutate, “to change one form to another.” So our conditioned consciousness can be transmuted through this energy. We can clarify our perceptions so that we develop a very rich spiritual life. 
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​Using Expedient Methods

It is important that to do so we work with expedient methods. The Piscean influence before the 1950s especially, as I said, is marked by its conservatism, lineages, and disciplines in that one had to earn the truly revolutionary methods that we are going to explain here in this course and lecture. They had to earn the right to learn those teachings, and because the Piscean influence is very much dedicated to that dispensation, different texts of yoga and spirituality were appropriate for that time. 
 
The founder of the Gnostic tradition, Samael Aun Weor, explained in different texts, especially Kundalini Yoga, how the Piscean influence has been replaced by the Aquarian, and that many methods that apply to the Piscean Age, which are appropriate for the descending forces of Pisces into the earth, were beneficial in that context. Now what is interesting about the difference between Pisces and Aquarius is that in the Piscean influence, spiritual practitioners had to work and become more attuned to their body in terms of the spiritual involution or influx of forces down into more material states. So, Pisces is known by forces entering into our physical nature, and so that we can learn to master that aspect of ourselves, in terms of the overarching arc of cosmic evolution.
 
But the influence of Aquarius is different. It is now a revolutionary return back towards a spiritual origins. There are many practices like the mudras, hand positions and postures, bandas, which were appropriate for the descending evolutionary arc or involuting forces into materiality, but now since we are returning back to a more subtle and etheric, energetic plane, those practices are no longer necessary. I know some people can be very attached to doing certain mudras or hand postures while meditating. It is still acceptable to use them, but it is good to remember that we have other practices that we can use that are appropriate for taking advantage of the current that is now influencing humanity. 
 
For example, there are many forms of yoga that are appropriate for teaching children how to walk. There are different skills, teachings, instructions, and techniques that are appropriate for helping beginners to learn how to crawl, to walk in a metaphorical, spiritual sense. But walking alone cannot take you across the ocean to Japan. Neither can it take you to other worlds in the solar system. Instead, you need a rocket or spacecraft to do so. You need the appropriate vehicle. This is what we are going to emphasize today. 
 
Samael Aun Weor mentioned in his book Kundalini Yoga that:
Many books have been written about Oriental Yoga. Yoga means “union with God.” All the books that were written about Oriental Yoga before now are antiquated for the new era of Aquarius, which began the 4th of February 1962 between the hours of two and three in the afternoon. ―Samael Aun Weor, Kundalini Yoga
​So those exercises in many schools in yoga are a kindergarten for entering a deeper knowledge. We can use them if that is our level of being. However, we need to learn deeper aspects about religion, since there is a greater and more profound application of these teachings, which are much more expedient and radical, if that is our wish to utilize them. It is good not to be attached to traditions, but to seriously examine and analyze what we have benefitted from a given practice and to see and analyze and evaluate whether we have arrived at what we have sought for. 
 
This is what it states in 1 Corinthians chapter 13, verse 11:
When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. ―1 Corinthians 13:11
​So Samael Aun Weor in Kundalini Yoga corroborates this:
All Mudras and Bandhas are totally useless for the new Aquarian Era. ―Samael Aun Weor, Kundalini Yoga
So it is good to use specific tools in order to get specific results. If we want to achieve the real heights of divine knowledge, we can enter the Aquarian door. We no longer have to be constrained by conservative, Piscean dogma. 
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Aquarian Yogas

So let’s examine what some of these yogas are. There are many forms of yoga divided within different schools and we are touching upon a number of them that are very profound and beautiful, which have an Aquarian application and flavor.
 
We study mantra yoga, which is the work with sacred sounds, chakras, and powers.
 
We work with raja yoga, which is the royal path of meditation.
 
We work with jnana yoga, which is scriptural study.
 
We work with bhakti yoga devotion, prayer, and worship.
 
We work with karma yoga, which is selfless service.
 
We also work with kundalini yoga, which is sacred sexuality, as well as yantra yoga, the sacred rites of rejuvenation.
 
Lastly, we will talk about runic yoga, the Nordic runes.
 
All these practices complement each other. Here we are breaking them down into different methods, but which really have one unified purpose. By working with these exercises, we can balance ourselves. If you notice some of the explanations here or the titles of these yogas, we find that these exercises develop specific aspects of our psychology.
 
As I said before, some people may be more predisposed towards concepts and intellectualism. Therefore, they like jnana yoga, to study scriptures, or some people are more emotional. They like to develop emotion in the heart through prayer and worship, through bhakti yoga. Some people are more action-oriented, moving with the body and serving their communities, which is why we also study karmic yoga, which is selfless service. 
 
Now these yogas work together to, again, provide a synthesis, which is the expedient awakening of our conscious potential. So we are going to analyze what these are separately.
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​Mantra Yoga

​Mantra yoga is the work with sacred sounds. The term mantra comes from the Sanskrit मन्त्र Man, which is “to think,” and manas, which is “mind,” and trai, which is “to protect” or “to free.” Mantra literally means “mind protection,” or “to free the mind” through sacred sounds. 
 
We see here an image of a man in full lotus with seven energetic centers that are lined up in accordance with his spinal column, which are the different chakras or centers of energy within the human body, physiology, and energetic constitution. These chakras from the Sanskrit refer to wheels or vortices of forces, which exist within our subtle interior physiology.
 
There are many levels and aspects of our body, heart, and mind that is not accessible by the mere physical senses. There are instead energies that animate the physical body. There are certain channels or nadis, we say in the Hindu tradition, that circulate vital force and energy throughout our body and permeate every aspect of who we are. Energy is very important. We even know this by having enough energy when we get up from rest to subsist and to act in the day. There is a certain energy that is needed to be awake physically, in the conventional sense. Likewise, we learn to work with energies, within our subtle interior psychology and inner constitution, so that we can activate spiritual perception.
 
These chakras or vortices are named in respective ways, in alignment with the spine, as I said. 
 
We have Muladhara chakra at the coccyx.
 
We have Svadhisthana near the prostate or the uterus.
 
We have Manipura, which is the solar plexus.
 
We have Anahata relating to the heart.
 
We have Vishudda, which is the throat.
 
We have Ajna relating to the third eye between our eyebrows.
 
Then we have Sahasrara, which is the crown.
 
These are important chakras or the main seven that we really study and practice with. This does not mean there are no other chakras in the body. There are many others that are important in order to develop stability and homeostasis, equilibrium within our mind, heart, and body in order or us to function, because that energy has to circulate and flow in an unconditioned and pure way.
 
Anytime a nadi or energetic current crosses another, it forms a chakra, because that is an intersection or crossroad in which those forces meet, and therefore they spin and create a type of vortice or wheel of spiritual energy, of psychic, psychological, and energetic forces. 
 
We study these main seven because they are important for really navigating our spirituality, the spiritual worlds, even our physical life. Each of these chakras have different qualities associated with them, different powers and abilities that grant us access towards spiritual reality.
 
It is important to understand that each chakra vibrates in accordance with a certain sound or vibration because certain vowels relate to our chakras themselves. They activate those dormant centers because right now, as in most people, those chakras are like closed flowers. They are not open yet. Through spiritual discipline and working with certain mantras, sacred vibrations, and sounds, we open them. We activate them. We begin to circulate energy in accordance with those strata, those seven levels, so that we really actualize our full potential.
 
Some people may be a little averse to mantras. Some people think it sounds really weird or unusual. It is important to reflect, to remember that mantra such as “O,” relating to the heart, is based on a very simple law of cause and effect, which we can verify and correlate with our own speech. We can say that there are certain words that are afflictive and harmful, which produce conflict with our relationships. Using vulgar speech or speaking hatefully towards them is directing a very powerful, negative energy towards others. But likewise, our speech can be harnessed to speak words of compassion, kindness, and love. This demonstrates to us that our speech and vocal cords have a tremendous utility. We can use speech for harm or for good. It depends on the quality of our mind. The same thing applies to mantra.
 
Now sacred sounds help to protect our minds from negativity. They help us to defend our spirituality against corrosion, by negative qualities of mind like anger, pride, ambition, fear, or uncertainty, whatever it may be. If we feel negative in our mind and heart and bodies and we are agitated, we can work with sacred sounds.
 
It is good to vocalize for an hour out loud, especially, because that sound or vibration activates physically in our bodies, those energy centers. When you perform mantras, you're entering a state of mental and psychic purity. You approach the mantra as a tool. This sound is meant to create a type of flow of energy and vitality and creativity within you. It is that energy that is going to give your consciousness the power, the force, in order to work against your own conditions like anger or resentment, etc. This is why we work with a mantra. We want to protect our spirituality from our own negative habits. This is the meaning of mantras or mantra. It is mind protection.
 
So vocalizing these mantras out loud is really good. It helps to calm the body, and you are activating not only your energy centers and your body, your vitality, but also you are working with the glands of your endocrine system, which is very important for spiritual development. If you are interested in learning more about how the endocrine system complements our spiritual practice, you can read a book by Samael Aun Weor, Sexology: The Basis of Endocrinology and Criminology. His basic thesis is that by working with these glands and developing them, we gain greater insight into our problems. 
 
It is good to have energy. You can also vocalize mentally. Some say that saying a mantra in the mind alone is even more powerful than physically pronouncing it. But it is good to work with both techniques, because in one method, by vocalizing out loud, you are pronouncing sacred sounds and working from the outside in, the physical world into the internal worlds. But when you work with silent mantra or Japa (mantra recitation) in your mind, you are working from the inside out. So, both are really good. 
 
Personally, I like to do a lot of mantras out loud in the day, and when I am doing other activities, I also pronounce mantra in the mind. With enough training and skill, you learn to work with these sacred sounds―whether verbally or mentally, or even within the very core of our consciousness―we learn how to maintain a state of continual remembrance of our divinity, our own spiritual presence, and that gives us the strength to transform many difficult and negative situations.
 
This is how we protect ourselves. We learn to have a calm and kind psychology, a heart and mind that are very alert, compassionate, and considerate, so that we do not create harmful situations for ourselves because “Mind precedes phenomena,” according to the Buddha. “We become what we think.”
 
If you can confront the problem at its roots in its moment by using mantras, whether verbally or mentally, it is good. If you are at work, obviously, I would not go mantralizing out loud in your office, or wherever you may be, because people will think you are crazy. But you can do it mentally, and when you get home to your own sanctuary, temple, monastery, home, whatever you make of it, you can practice out loud, especially if you will not be disruptive towards neighbors.
 
It is important to work with mantras because these energies will help us to stabilize our consciousness and perceptions. It is important to remember that having energy by itself is not the main point. It is good to have energy to awaken our faculties, our perceptions, our spiritual conscious powers and abilities. But merely having energy within one’s psychology is not enough because chakras are not the end all be all. They are a conduit and a method by which we can access higher states, but merely having active chakras is not going to guarantee a successful spiritually.
 
Some people get really proud of having chakras awakened, abilities, and powers, but that is kind of unusual and funny because it is like a person getting really proud and self-conceited by having a lot of fuel in the tank of their car. It is good to have a lot of fuel in your car so you can drive places, but what matters is how you drive your car, which is your body, heart, and mind. So, ethics and compassion are the essential point.

​A Mantra for Protection

There are certain mantras you can use. I will introduce one of them for you that is very effective for counteracting negativity. There’s a video available by Glorian Publishing or Glorian.org. It is called Klim Krishnaya. This mantra is very potent for removing negative emotions. So if you find you are afflicted by very distraught and conflicted feelings, if you are saturated with a lot of sourness, if you are heavy with a lot of negativity, pronounce and sing this mantra in your mind. You can also do it verbally if you want, but obviously being in solitude is the best way to pronounce it verbally. But if you are in a place or you are dealing with people who are very challenging for you, you can use this mentally.
 
I use and continue to use this mantra many times in my daily life, and with enough training, you can pronounce this mentally and get the most powerful effects, so you cannot be tempted to act in a mistaken way. The mantra is sung, and you can click on the video.
 
It is sung basically like this:
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​Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga: The Eight Stages of Meditation

We also study meditation. We can say that this is probably the most important practice we engage with in our studies. Meditation is known by different names in different faiths and different religions, and all are valid. Here we are giving an excerpt from Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, or the path of royal raj yoga.
 
Meditation is the capacity of the consciousness to apprehend phenomena, to ascertain the nature or truth of a thing, its inherent reality.
 
We do so by first restraining our mind. Harkening back to the previous slide, we can use mantras to help us restrain our negative reactions to life. Yama means “restraint,” “to yoke.” It means that in a moment in your day in which you are tested―perhaps you have a difficult client you are working with at your job or a family member who is producing a lot of negative emotions in you―you learn to restrain your mind. You do not act out of anger and pride. Instead, you learn how to fulfill ethical discipline or precepts, which is known as niyama. Yama means restraint. Niyama means “precept.”
 
A precept is as simple as some like: love your neighbor as you love yourself. Do unto others as you would have done onto you; to be patient in trials and temptations or ordeals; to work diligently for the benefit of others; to be inspired and compassionate and to aid those are less fortunate than you. Thus if you are afflicted by anger, you can respond with love. This is precept. Once you have developed a very profound and rich ethical life, you can learn to really enter deeper states of meditation.
 
It is important to reflect and understand that these are ethics. These are not morals. What is moral is acceptable in one country and time and place and not in others. Ethics are universal. There are certain habits and behaviors that produce happiness in any context when done with a compassionate state of mind. This is something to bear in mind. We are not here to follow rules that someone gave us and to do them because we have been told. That is a Piscean attitude. Here in the Aquarian knowledge and teachings, we learn to take what is useful and reject what is useless. In this sense, ethics is really the most important thing. It is knowing how to act consciously so we no longer suffer and no longer make other people suffer. This is the fundamental definition.
 
When you are really mastering restraint and precepts within yourselves, your body gets calm. Some people approach meditation, and they cannot sit still. They cannot rest because their mind and heart are agitated from wrong behaviors. After you have cultivated a harmonious space in your mind and your heart, you can sit to practice an asana (a posture) and enter a profound state of relaxation at will, where it is not difficult to do. Without ethics it is really challenging to really have a calm state of being. That is the essential point.
 
When you are in a posture you can begin to work with energy. We work with an exercise called pranayama, which we will also discuss in the sacred rites for rejuvenation, in which you work with your breath to circulate vital creative energy within your body, heart, and mind. Prana is energy and yama means “yoke” or “restraint,” “to harness.” Notice that yama or restraint is the first stage of raja yoga. Likewise, pranayama is learning to restrain and harness our creative, energetic volatility. All the energies of our mind, heart, and body we learn to conserve and circulate, and to harness with conscious intelligence and will.
 
That is how we really enter deep states of calm and withdrawal, not in the sense of being off a drug or basically disassociating from the world in a psychological sense. Instead, pratyahara means “to suspend the senses.” Yes, it is a withdrawal in the same manner we do not pay attention to external stimuli. Instead, we enter our internal psychology, but not out of a negative type of mental dissociation, which is associated perhaps with mental health conditions. Instead, withdrawal in this sense is like a tortoise withdrawing its head within its shell. We go inside, and you cannot do that unless you have energy, to activate your consciousness so you can relax and go within and see what is there.
 
So, energy helps to calm and silence the mind. It helps us to relax, so that like in the example with the jar of water and the sediment, the sediment stratifies into the bottom, so that you can see clearly what is inside of you. Without that basis, you cannot really develop serenity of mind, which is dharana or concentration: to be able to focus on one thing without being distracted.
 
In that sense, when you are not distracted―you are able to focus on one thing with serene, clarified attention and directed will―you learn to access meditation which is dhyana. Meditation is learning to receive new information with spiritual, psychological senses. You understand through inner experiences what the essential nature of reality is for the given object of our focus, whatever you are meditating upon, whatever the goal is that you sit down to practice and do.
 
In this way you enter samadhi, ecstasy. The word ecstasy comes from ecstatuo in Latin, which means “to stand outside oneself.” It is in this state you enter real bliss of a conscious and spiritual type. These are divine inner experiences in which you stand outside your normal range of perception in order to really witness and know the truth. 
 
Raja yoga is very deep and beautiful. There are different teachings available on Glorian.org, which address this path of meditation itself, specifically the lectures associated with Gnostic meditation. We talk about these eight steps of Ashtanga Yoga in depth, the eight-limbed yoga or the eight principles and levels of working with mediation.
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​Jnana Yoga: Knowledge

We also have Jnana Yoga, which is the study of scripture. As I said, it is useful to study intellectual knowledge, lectures, to receive wisdom from books, but what is commonly neglected in our common culture, era, and ways of thinking, is the manner by which we read, study, and apprehend what a book or lecture is indicating to us.
 
Now what is interesting about the way that many disciples of past traditions have studied is that they would take a small passage of a book and really meditate deeply on its contents. Perhaps they would take a sentence and reflect only on that. Our habit nowadays is to read fifty books in two weeks. I know that this is an exaggeration, but there are probably people who spend a lot of time like that.
 
Jnana yoga means “knowledge yoga.” It is what we apprehend from the written word. It has a very beautiful and useful place within our spiritual discipline because the teachings of the different masters of religion and spirituality have provided their personal inner experiences within diverse scriptural forms. If we learn to really read with an alert and awakened consciousness, with intuition, not relying so much on reasoning but with our heart, we gain access to inspiration, knowledge, and insights that are really transformative. In this way we learn to appreciate what these different masters taught, these different luminaries. Instead of reading book after book and compartmentalizing and categorizing what we have read in a certain label or box in our mind, instead we learn to look at things with a fresh view.
 
The best way to study is again, like I said, to take a small passage and read a sentence or two that is really challenging for you, or really deep and inspirational, even if you don't know the meaning, then focus and meditate on that. This is how many spiritual schools have studies and are studying now in our institutions.
 
We do not want to necessarily want to fill up our minds with knowledge, by memorizing what different teachers have said, and what terminology means, and what the language is indicating such as with commentaries. Instead, we want to really witness the realities of what is written from personal experience. This is why we have to meditate in combination with study. 
 
Now study can be very profound and deep. I recommend taking the time to really digest what you put into your mind, because the problem with many westerners, especially is that being very intellectual, is that we take a lot of knowledge into our intellect, yet we do not transform it. We do not understand what we read. This leads to psychological constipation, in which we do not digest what we put into our mind, and therefore it can become a great source of doubt, skepticism, or pessimism. This is a very unfortunate thing that has happened to many people.
 
However, if you take the time to really practice and try to experience what you read, then you gain a lot of faith, and faith simply means confidence born from verification and experience. You see that your spiritual experiences are talked about in different books by certain masters. In this way, you really verify and understand that you are not alone in your experiences and that these are objective realities.
 
This is also why it is important to study from pure sources. Study from those that really have been established, whose teachings resonate with your consciousness, and what we can really testify to from facts, such as the founders of many religions, but also in our tradition we study the works of Samael Aun Weor. Personally, I have had many blessings and been able to meditate on certain passages that he wrote, even having spiritual internal experiences that I later read about in his books, which confirmed and validated my own personal testimonies. That is really inspiring and a wonderful yoga to enact, the knowledge of spiritual teachings. 
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​Bhakti Yoga: Devotion

We also study Bhakti Yoga, which is the devotion of the heart. Perhaps the greatest bhakti yogi we have known in the West is Jesus. He demonstrated with his life the profound teachings of yoga, meditation, and prayer. He was so dedicated to his spiritual work that he allowed himself to be crucified physically, to be condemned and persecuted, to be spat upon, to be beaten, to be ridiculed, and yet he only responded with love. This is a profound devotion.
 
Now what is interesting about his example is that when we really know divinity from experience, our own inner spirit, we develop great love, great compassion, because we understand all beings have divinity inside, and not only do we respect our own innermost spirit, but we also respect the spirit in others, so that we tolerate their mistakes because all people are afflicted with anger, resentment, negativity, doubt, and hatred. 
 
By learning to access superior emotional qualities, which have nothing to do with sentimentalism or hallmark cards, we open the doors to genuine mysticism. We can say that the intellect in itself is very useful but tends to predominate in many western people. Instead, what we have is a very giant head stuffed with a lot of books and knowledge but a very deficient and weak in the heart.
 
Bhakti Yoga is important for westerners especially, but it can be very difficult for beginners because some people find devotion very foreign to them, very alien, very confusing, very difficult, because how can you have devotion to something you have not experienced? The truth is we develop devotion in our innermost intuitive faculties when we learn to follow our conscience, our heart, the heart that says that a certain behavior and action is wrong. The whole world can agree with it and yet we know that for us that trajectory is harmful, that position, that direction.
 
Personally, what led me to spirituality was following my heart. I did not have a school, a group, or a spiritual scripture, teaching, a lecture to guide me. Instead, what happened was that I was suffering a lot in life, and I was not willing to face at that time that my own behaviors were harming me. But eventually I began to follow my own innermost conscience, which is the voice that says, “This is right” and “this wrong,” even though our intellect and our reasoning can fight and argue and claw against us. It is a very painful process, but as in my example, I was very dedicated to understanding the nature of my own reality and my sufferings, so that I would find an answer. I dedicated myself with a lot of devotion to searching and looking for spiritual instruction until finally I did find Gnostic teachings, which helped to explain and confirm what I had been doing already, and that gave me faith, a lot of conviction. 
 
Sometimes Bhakti Yoga may be simple as again praying, in some people's eyes, towards a statue or to a divine figure, a painting, a master, a prophet, and our own innermost divinity, but again that can be foreign for some people, difficult to apprehend and to swallow, because we have inherited a very material culture, which has conditioned us. But the beginning is in following your heart, listening to your own conscience, what is right and what is wrong. As you verify more and more that your superior positive actions transcend negative states of suffering, you gain real faith, real verification, and conviction that these teachings work, that they are practical, that they are transformative.
 
It is in this way that we begin to experience superior emotions, which for most people is very difficult to comprehend, like conscious love, really loving our neighbor, especially loving one's enemies. It is something we have to aspire to and to develop gradually because it is not easy, but the way we do it is by relying on our heart and consciousness, so that by accessing our intuition of knowing right action from wrong, without having to think about it, we open the doorway to real experience and witnessing of divine reality. The more you experience that divine principle in you, the greater your devotion and compassion for others, of serving others, and working for their benefit. 
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​Karma Yoga: Action

​This is why we study Karma Yoga. Karma means “cause and effect” in Sanskrit. Some people think of karma as a punitive law of retribution: “You get what you deserve” according to Western philosophy. But this is a mistaken attitude because karma simply means causality. Every action has a consequence, and that there are superior actions and inferior actions. Therefore, they produce superior or inferior results.
 
Karma Yoga is based on helping others, helping our communities. We all have different qualifications and skills, different idiosyncrasies and talents that are necessary in this world. When we discover what our unique talents are, we can capitalize on them. In that way, we learn how to better help humanity with whatever level or qualification or skill set that we have. Karma Yoga is especially important within the study of Aquarian Yoga because if we really wish to overcome our own suffering, we have to alleviate the suffering of others. This is a universal, divine law. 
 
If you are sick, help the sick. If you are lacking knowledge, give knowledge to others. If you are lacking spiritual experience, teach others how to experience it. It is in giving that we receive, says St. Francis of Assisi from the Christian tradition. By learning how to serve others, especially those who are difficult and challenge us and create pain within our interior, we learn how to transform our own pain. We do not focus so much on ourselves. If we are really in a rut, we are suffering a lot, we do not know what to do, we are confused, it is important that we reflect on the needs of others because our own selfish desires keep us hypnotized. You want to break the shell of selfishness and despair? Learn to help those who are less fortunate than yourself. For some people it can be teaching, giving knowledge, giving instruction of a spiritual type. For some people it is supporting their school, communities, serving others, helping the poor, the homeless and sick, whatever it may be. If we want to not be so hypnotized by our own self concepts, anxieties, and needs, we should cater to the needs of others. This is a great, powerful tool that helps dispel a lot of the fogginess that can afflict us.
 
This is a fundamental law of nature: by giving to others, we receive. So if we want to receive a certain object of spiritual benefit, we should give that in return, and not expect anything as a reward. This is selfless service. It is compassion. This is the reason why spiritual teachings exist, because by giving to others, we help ourselves, but not in a selfish sense. I know in the beginning it is easy to want to do good deeds so that we can benefit, but with training you begin to lose that selfish attitude and really give from an uncorrupted and genuine heart
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​Kundalini Yoga: Sacred Sexuality

We also study Kundalini Yoga, which is a very popular science today or teaching, in which there are a lot of theories and beliefs, and unfortunately a lot of misconceptions.
 
Now we have in this image Padmasambhava with his consort Yeshe Tsogyal who are in the sexual act. What is important to reflect upon is that as an image of Tibetan Buddhism, it constitutes one of the highest teachings of that tradition, and pretty much any religion itself, at its core. It is how a married couple, man and woman, can combine their creative sexual forces in a state of ritual purity and conscious love, in order to harness those energies and to awaken divine, spiritual capacities. Some people have called it Kundalini. Some people have called it the fire of Pentecost. Some people have called it the Holy Spirit. Some people have called it the feathered serpent, Quetzalcoatl within the Aztec mystical tradition, or Kukulcan among the Mayans. This is the energetic force of our divine feminine reality that awaken within practitioners who are properly prepared.
 
It is important to not just look at the image with a lustful mind, although this is where people begin. Padmasambhava made a point about this essential practice of tantra, sexual union, or the harnessing of a continuous flow and influx of energy without ever releasing it. This is tantrism. The meaning of tantra is continuum, continuity. It is how we take those forces and conserve them.
 
He said that in order to do that one cannot have any lust, any passion, any animal desire.  He said, “Lustful people do not enter the path of liberation.” So some people get very confused when they study this aspect of religion. They say, “How is that Padmasambhava can be sexually united with his wife and yet he says that lustful people cannot enter the path of liberation?” The answer is  really simple: Do not engage the sexual act out of lust, desire. Instead, enact it with love. Very different quality. Lust says, “I want to satisfy my desires,” and love only wants the happiness and spiritual edification of the other.
 
When we learn to harness and conserve that creative potential and to activate it through sexual union between husband and wife, man and woman, by conserving that power and living an ethical life, we can awaken what is called Kundalini. It is the power of the divine feminine. It is the Divine Mother of all religions. 
 
You can study the lecture The Divine Mother in the course Beginning Self-Transformation. We talk about how the divine feminine is represented in many religions. 
 
The important thing to remember is that She is the power and the intelligence of love, of creation, of the universe. Therefore, She only rises up the spine of those practitioners that have proven their worth, who are really dedicated to their ethics and purifying their viewpoint, who perceive life with selflessness, with altruism, with compassion, understanding that life is transient and interdependent and that nothing is permanent and stable except for the reality of love. 
 
Now, there are many people who have attributed psychoses, addictions, or mental imbalances to Kundalini, and this is really fundamentally mistaken. We disagree with this, because the Divine Mother Kundalini can only empower those souls who have really upheld the highest ethics. It does not happen in people who are wasting their creative potential or squandering the sexual energy. It is a very specific science. It is really deep. We practice this if we are married. It is an important aspect of genuine Aquarian Yoga, and we are now giving this sexual teaching very openly to humanity because people need it. 
 
It is very easy to go on the internet to find sources that are very impure and that help to produce a lot of suffering for humanity. We are now being really explicit with this knowledge. You can learn more about this teaching in a book called The Perfect Matrimony by Samael Aun Weor, where we learn how to master the creative intelligence of God, so that our love blossoms from a state of ritual purity, of verification of spiritual states―very deep, very transformative.

​Yantra Yoga: Sacred Rites for Rejuvenation

We are going to explain a couple of exercises or what is known as Yantra Yoga. Now Yantra Yoga is commonly known as the Tibetan rites or sacred rites for rejuvenation. With these exercises, we harness the creative energies of our bodies, mind, and heart in a form of ritual. There are six rites in which we basically harness our conscious energies. We can ask for certain results or petition to divinity, our Divine Mother Kundalini, so that we can receive healing, insights, and understanding of our own defects, perhaps even to help us to eliminate certain faults that we have understood in our meditations. 
 
Sacred rites for rejuvenation are very powerful. They can help us to heal sick organs and help us to gain flexibility, vitality, and health on a mental, emotional, and physical sense, but also spiritually speaking. 
 
When we work with the sacred rites for rejuvenation, we begin by crossing our hands over our heart, our right hand over our left, and we petition and pray to our Divine Mother Kundalini, the divine feminine within us, who basically can intercede for us on behalf of Her husband, the Divine Father, the Holy Spirit within certain traditions. We invoke the divine feminine because She is the intercessor, the reconciliator between our terrestrial personality and the severity of the divine. The Holy Spirit, as sometimes mentioned in many other traditions, has the power to heal but we have to know how to work with creative energy first, conserving and transforming it. 
 
We work with our Divine Mother, to beg Her, “Please intercede for me on behalf of your divine husband, the Holy Spirit, in order to accomplish this goal.” We can ask for healing of a sick organ or the awakening of a chakra, the understanding or intuition to a certain problem, the elimination of defects. There are many uses we can apply to the sacred rites. It is a form of ritual with our body, in which we take certain postures and positions in order to invoke the aid of our inner Being. 
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Rite 1: Rotations

With the first rite after you made your petition, you begin to spin from left to right. You have to be very careful not to spin too fast so that you don’t become disorientated and lose balance.
 
You can place your right up, your left hand facing down. Extend out as in this image. Keep your eyes open when you spin, so you don't lose your equilibrium. When you spin from left to right―you want to do it twelve times―you spin in the same direction you turn a steering wheel to the right. We do this because this positively activates the chakras. In this position, posture, or movement, we are circulating the vital forces of our chakras themselves so that we awaken those powers. When we spin, we pray to our divinity. We can say either verbally or mentally:
Be healed! Be healed! Be healed!
Work! Work! Work!
We are commanding our sick organs to work, to be healed by this divine Aquarian energy influence, the power of the Holy Spirit, so that we can gain happiness, balance, and health.
 
There is a mantra that goes along with this it is very popularized today:
Open sesame!
Unfortunately, this saying has been abused today. It is actually a very powerful mantra. It comes from The Arabian Nights, the story of البابا Alibaba and the forty thieves. What is interesting about this myth is that البابا Alibaba goes to a cave and commands the stone that is blocking the entrance to move. He says, “Open sesame!” This mantra has the effect of opening the boulder, of pushing it aside, so that he could go into the cave to try and save treasure that was trapped there from forty thieves. 
 
It is interesting if you ever studied the teachings of kabbalah, especially the number forty is very significant. These forty thieves relate to our own defects who try to steal the treasure of our soul, the energies of our consciousness. So البابا Alibaba goes into the cave in order to extract the treasures, which is a symbol of going into our own mind to extract the truth, into the subconscious caverns of our own occult behaviors, that which is not readily accessible to our senses.
 
It is interesting that the term البابا Alibaba from the Arabic is translated into Hebrew as אלי אבא Eli Abba, which means “My God the father.” So this is a beautiful symbol of how we pray to God the Father and Mother within us in order to perform a magical healing, to work with the treasure of our creative energies.
 
So we spin twelve times saying:
Be healed! Be healed! Be healed!
Work! Work! Work!
Open Sesame! Open Sesame! Open Sesame!
When you are done spinning twelve times―0r you can do more if you like, but be careful not to fall over―you bend your knees. Keep your legs and feet shoulder length apart. Place your left hand on your thigh to try to get your balance, and then you bend your knees. Your thumb, index and middle finger―place these three fingers on your third eye, between your eyebrows. You put some pressure there because as you are somewhat bending down, you are helping to gain balance so that you do not collapse after spinning (which gets easier and better with practice), but you are also taking those circulated forces from your spinning and concentrating them upon your third eye and that way you basically awaken that chakra really deeply.
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​Rite 2: The Cross and Viparita Karani Mudra

The next part is by laying in the form of the cross. You continue to pray, identifying your supplication, whatever is you want to work on. You can imagine whatever sick organ in your body needs healing or imagine the desired result that you long, for comprehension. You can imagine above you, floating in your vicinity, a white dove of immaculate fire descending into you, giving you life and vitality and force. This is the power of the Holy Spirit. Pray deeply:
Be healed! Be healed! Be healed!
Work! Work! Work!
Open Sesame! Open Sesame! Open Sesame!
Command your consciousness to work for you, in whatever sick organ you are trying to heal, but whatever you are asking of the Holy Spirit to be giving, that gift, perhaps an awakened chakra, power, or faculty.
 
Afterward you perform what is known as the Viparita Karani Mudra. With the legs lifted up in the air, you can place your hands behind your knees. Engage in this posture and continue to pray out loud, verbally or mentally, if you wish.
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​Rite 3: Pranayama and Lean

​In the third rite, you kneel and perform pranayama. Going back to Raja Yoga, of working with energy, you are doing interchangeable nostril breathing, in which you are circulating the vital winds in your mind, body, and heart.
 
Close your left nostril with your right index finger. Keep your right thumb out and inhale through the right nostril. Concentrate on the forces that are entering into you. You can imagine that the energies are circulating down from the base of your spine up to your brain and then into your heart.
 
Close your nostrils with your right thumb and index finger. Imagine this energy being retained within you, and then exhale through the left nostril, so that the forces are done circulating up into your heart. With inhaling through one nostril, you are sending the energy down through an energetic channel from your nose down into your coccyx, because there are two channels that intertwine the spine. We call them Ida and Pingala in yoga. 
 
When you work with each nostril, you are working with each separate cord in your spine. The left nostril relates to the right testicle or ovary, and the right nostril relates to the left testicle or ovary. So they are intertwined. They interchange. The forces of your creative sexual energy rise up from your coccyx in your sexual organs, into your brain and then into your heart through energetic nadis.
 
When you work with the interchangeable nostril breathing, inhaling through your right nostril while closing your left with the index finger, you breathe in the vital forces. You hold them, closing your nostril with your right thumb and your right hand, retaining that force, and then exhaling through your left nostril so that energy flows in you. Then breathe through the left nostril. Inhale to repeat the same procedure. Close your nostrils with both your fingers, the thumb and index finger, and then exhale through your right nostril. That constitutes one pranayama. You want to perform three total. Pray to your Divine Mother to help you work with this force consciously. 
 
Afterward you perform a posture in which you lean back. You kind of let your abs do the work―great for keeping your physique up. Hands at your side. Arch your back. Keep your head up titled and continue to pray using the invocation:
Be healed! Be healed! Be healed!
Work! Work! Work!
Open Sesame! Open Sesame! Open Sesame!
If you find that verbally pronouncing is difficult, you can do it mentally. Sometimes the posture can be difficult to perform.
 
With any of these exercises, you do not want to strain your body, buy do it gently. Do not force any of these postures on yourself if they are harming you. Instead, these are rites for rejuvenation. They are not meant to hurt you. So you need to be careful when you practice. 
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Rite 4: The Table

For the next posture―as you are training your body―you extend your feet outward, close together, heels together, hands behind about shoulder length, and you arch your back in a backward direction. Keep your head tilted up and continue to pray:
Be healed! Be healed! Be healed!
Work! Work! Work!
Open Sesame! Open Sesame! Open Sesame!
You can visualize as well make sure you are praying from your heart.
 
The next posture is the table. You send your back upward. Make sure that your arms and legs are spread far apart so you are not straining your body too much. You do not want to lean too far backward or forward. Instead, keep a good balance. Continue to visualize and deepen your prayer.
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You then repeat the pranayama three times, breathing through your right nostril, closing both, exhaling through the left. Inhaling through the left, closing both nostrils, exhaling through the right. You want to do this process three times.
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Rite 5: Lizard Pose

You are going to perform the fifth rite. You look like you are doing a push-up. Your head is extended upward, your torso is above the ground, your feet are shoulder length, and your hands are shoulder length. You alternate positions between bending your torso down towards the ground without touching, and moving your head slightly down to the chest, and then extend outward, with your head up and torso away from the ground. Do this for as many times as you like.
 
Afterward you make an arch. Continue to pray, visualize, supplicate, and deepen your prayer. The important thing to remember is that these positions are meant as a form of communing with divinity. Your prayer and conviction and dedication and devotion are what is most important in order for this to be effective. In this posture, you basically arch up upwards. You can lift your heels up towards you as you are moving, so you can arch far enough, but again, do not strain yourself too much.
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Viparita Karani Mudra

The last rite is mentioned in Sacred Rites for Rejuvenation by Samael Aun Weor. It is known as Viparita Karani Mudra, in which, like the previous postures you did before with your hands behind your knees, you can do this against a wall where you lay back with your feet up. You pray to your Divine Mother to beg the Holy Spirit to transfer the energies of your mind into your heart, your solar plexus, and the solar forces of your solar plexus to your mind. In a manner of speaking, we have forces that relate to our intellect, which are, we can say, lunar in nature. They tend to be more negative forces. Our mind tends to be very cold and conditioned. 
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We have a lot of forces in our solar plexus that we can transfer through the help and the intelligence of the Holy Spirit, by having them circulate in the form of the Holy Eight, or an infinite, from the solar plexus over to the head. The solar forces of the sun of the abdomen rise up to the head and the lunar silvery atoms or the moon-like lunar atoms of the mind go into the solar plexus.
 
The solar plexus is like a reservoir of energy that is like a battery. We carry a lot of force in our abdomen. This is where we get the source of many gut instincts and feelings that we tend to be very unconscious of or mechanical with. We can learn to take that reservoir of force from our abdomen and take it to our mind so that we have a spiritually illuminated intellect.
 
The good thing about the Viparita Karani Mudra is that the blood flows towards the head so that we are more oxygenated in the brain. This helps to activate certain faculties and abilities.
 
If you want to learn more about that you can study the Sacred Rites for Rejuvenation. Here we are just giving a summary. There is also a sixth rite known as the Vajroli Mudra, which we do not have the time to cover today. The book explains it extensively. 
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​Runic Yoga

Runes are the Nordic yoga, which we have some videos available online that you can study. These are postures in which we place our body while vocalizing certain mantras in prayer. In this way, we vibrate with the forces of nature. The Nordic language or Futhark relates to certain postures and positions that are conducive for accumulating solar divine energy from nature. It is good to perform these runes outside in a park, or in one’s backyard if you have one,  in the forest, woods, or by the ocean, so that you can assimilate more divine energy and prana from your environment.
 
If you want to learn how to practice the runes, we have a book called Magic of the Runes but also a video on the seven vowels that you can study and apply to your daily life. The runes are very effective for charging yourself with divine force. There is a course on Runes on glorian.org. If you want to go more into depth, practicing daily is very helpful.

​Resourceful Books

​I know we covered a lot, but I would now like to open up the floor to questions.

​Questions and Answers

Question: You mentioned you need energy to withdraw and see from a clearer state of consciousness. Could you expound on this more because this is the first time I have heard of this idea? I have noticed in my own life that if I do not have enough energy, I do not feel like engaging in my spiritual practices. I am curious why there is a connection between our energy and withdrawing and approaching things from a higher consciousness. Is it just because our body is not relaxed and thus not receptive?
 
Instructor: Think of it like how a vehicle operates with better fuel. If you put the wrong type of fuel in a car, you can destroy it. Also, if you put the most fuel-efficient energy into your vehicle, it will operate better. It will drive better. The same thing with our consciousness. Our consciousness has a profound capacity to perceive life which is beyond any limitation of thought, feeling, and impulse. But in order to really enact that conscious state from experience, we need to save energy. We have to save emotional energy. We have to save mental energy. We have to save creative energy. It is impossible to light a lamp if you do not have the fuel or the wick there. In the same way that a light on a lamp has more clarity when the container it is in is washed and clean, likewise our consciousness can reflect greater light based on the purity of our mind.
 
We need energy in order to awaken, first off, to be able to learn to experience and perceive our inner reality from an objective sense. But in order to do that it is important to not only have energy but to learn how to use it well. When you direct energy intelligently, consciously, and withdraw from distractions of the mind and external senses in meditation, you learn to fully engage in your own conscious interior. You can purify your vision, so to speak. 
 
Obviously, if you do not have energy like in physical life, you cannot live. You cannot work. Someone who has insomnia has a very difficult time being physically awake, but still not being able to sleep. It has a serious effect upon one's psychology when we do not have enough energy present. We even find that if we abuse our intellectual energy, we can develop illnesses like schizophrenia, mental illnesses, paranoia, delusions, because the mind, which can operate like a vehicle in its own respective orbit, is deficient in fuel. It has lost its vital values and therefore the engine breaks down and stops working. You find these people who are very engaged in the intellect without balancing the other parts of themselves.
 
Likewise, the heart. If it is exhausted of its emotional and vital principles, it creates illnesses like depression, morbidity, bi-polar disorder, many emotional illnesses and diseases. Even the physical body can deteriorate and fall apart when it is not fueled by sufficient, creative, vital energy. People who abuse themselves through boxing, sports, and other difficult activities can become paraplegic or damaged in their body.
 
In the same way we need energy to exist in life, we need those forces to harmonize and balance, to use the conscious well. As you said, if you do not have enough creative energy, you cannot engage in spiritual practices. You are just not inspired or will not be there. But saving energy, directing it well with consciousness, that begins to clarify perception, so that day by day, we perceive more and more. I invite you to study Meditation Essentials on glorian.org. It explains how when we use energy, we clarify our perceptions. 
 
Question: I am very curious to know what you think of Christianity. I relate to many values in the Bible, but most Christians seem quite mind-controlled to me. I feel Christianity needs to integrate to other broader religious ideas like yoga, reincarnation, and more. What are the merits and limits to Christianity even when people are striving to live a righteous selfless life?
 
Instructor: We explained in other courses that there is a public tradition and an esoteric tradition. Every religion has a public, exoteric domain, which is followed by millions of people, and then there are hidden, secret, esoteric teachings within those teachings that were never given publicly. In relation to the Piscean era, that knowledge was underground, but now we are given in the Aquarian Era this esoteric knowledge freely for all. Christianity as a teaching is a very beautiful tradition. It has very deep symbolic roots, which many practitioners and adherents do not necessarily understand or follow. Just as many people of a religion may adhere to a faith out of dogma, they also contradict the values that are embedded in their faith.
 
I have met many great Christians, many bad Christians; many great Muslims, some bad Muslims; many good Gnostics, but also many bad Gnostics. Just because you adhere to a tradition does not mean one is spiritual. In fact, what is spiritual about a person is that they are working to eliminate defects and work compassionately for others, to serve others. 
 
Christianity as a tradition has an esoteric dimension known as gnosticism, which we are giving a course on our website about The Gnostic Gospels. You can study that course if you want to learn more about Esoteric Christianity. But also Glorian.org has the course Esoteric Christianity that studies the heart doctrine of that faith.
 
The esoteric version is very different from the public, where in Esoteric Christianity you find reincarnation and spiritual ideas are integrated very beautifully and are supported and sustained by scripture more importantly.

Any religion like Christianity and faith can be limited when we only follow it blindly, when we use it as a paradigm and a dogma to interpret what we perceive without actually helping us to experience reality objectively. Morality is useful in its place, in the sense that having some values can help orientate certain people into living a more ethical or more kind and compassionate life, but merely sticking to an outward form but without experiencing its inward principles is not enough. It is deficient.
 
Question: With Sacred Rites for Rejuvenation, if the petition choses does not heal an organ or awaken a chakra after a session, do we keep only asking for that particular healing until it heals with the practices or change the petitions? Should we?
 
Instructor: I have known instructors practicing sacred rites who would perform one petition for two months, not changing it, because results come with time, practice, and consistency. I would recommend sticking to one petition for at least two months. If you really want to go deep into it, keep going with it, but this applies to many practices such as the elimination of egos as well, where we focus on one ego or defect over a long period of time until we gain results in comprehension. It is good to focus on one thing and to really practice it deeply, extensively.
 
Question: If we keep only asking for one thing and nothing happens for a long time, what do we do then? How do we know what we are asking for is what we really need or can even be allowed to be granted?
 
Instructor: There are many factors that go into play in terms of working with the sacred rites. Some people practice for a long time and do not get results. They can often become filled with morbidity and despair and doubt that this even works. It is important to take into account that the quality of our practice is not determined by merely sticking to a schedule, but it has to do with the quality of our heart, how sincere we are, how dedicated in our consciousness in terms of our attitude for approaching divinity. Sometimes we can approach divinity with ambition, and that is never rewarded. Some people get frustrated because they ask for something and they do not get it, and often become frustrated, confused, disoriented and doubtful.
 
So what to do then? If you are not getting what you ask for, I would reflect on what you are asking and how. Our divinity knows what we need before we even ask or even know for ourselves. Sometimes it can be good to practice the rites to gain experiences and insights into what you need to work on, to help guide you and even initiating and sustaining a certain practice. 
 
Divinity grants unto us what we need, not what we want. But it is also difficult to ascertain in our own experiences, the difference between need and greed. What is it that we crave, like spiritual experiences, and what is it that we need to really to benefit in our daily life? I recommend that you focus on goals that will help you orient yourself in daily life, specifically, or even opening your heart and asking from divinity, praying, “Please show me what is that I need. Please help me!” and performing the rites in that way. Sometimes if we ask for a healing for a sickness that is not going away, we have to take into account certain contexts and karmic forces at play that we cannot necessarily alter or control, but with a lot of patient work. Be patient and persist. 
 
If you know that there is something that you need in your daily life that you have to aspire to, then keep asking for it. Do not give up. Do not flag, but be careful about what your attitude is and how you approach divinity, because the sacred rites are a ritual. They are very sacred. They are very divine. They are a way of communicating with the truth. We have to make a distinction between ambition and need. Pray for healing, be dedicated, and be consistent.
 
Question: Otherwise, will not the practice become redundant if we find ourselves asking for something that can never be granted with the sacred rites?
 
Instructor: This is why other practices are essential. We have to meditate deeply and investigate within our comprehension what our situation is. I know sometimes when we have difficult problems in life, it is very difficult to ascertain what reality is, the truth, the right way of acting. This is why we combine these different yogas together. We work with them in conjunction with one another.
 
If you find that you are not getting the results you want, if you feel you are practicing in a redundant way, then analyze what you are doing―reevaluate. Some people need to practice sacred rites at certain periods in their life. They do not necessarily do it all the time. But we work with certain yogas in conjunction with the understanding that these practices fulfill a specific need. If it is not granted, be patient. Meditate upon what it is that you want. Comprehend what your desires are for that longed-for objective and ask divinity to show you in your meditation what is going on, and in that way, you can have some comfort and conviction about what it is divinity wants from you and what divinity has planned for you.
 
Question: You said exhaling through the left nostril affects the heart. What does exhaling through the right nostril affect? What was the name of the video you mentioned about the runes?
 
Instructor:  In terms of exhaling and inhaling through the nostrils, just to clarify, when you are inhaling through either nostril, you are imagining the vital force and winds entering through that nostril and descending in a circuitous way, in a form of entwined serpent, moving across the spine in the form of the infinite, or like a curving line, like a light wave (if you’ve studied physics), a radio wave, down into your coccyx. When you retain that energy, when you close your nostrils, you are imagining that the energy is mixing within your sexual glands, is being retained and even rising up your spine to your head. When you exhale through the other nostril, you send the energy to your heart. 
 
That is one visualization you can do. That is not specified specifically in the book Sacred Rites for Rejuvenation. He just gives a very basic pranayama, so you do not have to go deeply with your visualization. The important thing is that you feel that energy circulating within you and that you interchange your breathing through your nostrils. Open your right nostril. Close the left nostril with the index finger of your right hand. Inhale, close with your thumb the right nostril, retain the energy, lift the index finger, and exhale through the other nostril. Do the same for the other nostril as well―inhaling, holding / retaining, and exhaling. 
 
Your prayer is what is going to be most efficacious or best. It is what is going to work and cause the energies to flow in you.
​In terms of the video for the runes, specifically, you can access those videos on Glorian.org or go onto YouTube and look up Glorian Publishing for the Seven Runic Vowels. 
We talk about seven vowels in relation to our spinal column, the seven chakras, because these seven sounds activate the seven main chakras of our spinal medulla. These vowels are explained in the video: I, E, O, U, A, M, S… seven vowels, which if you study the literature we provided as well, it goes very deep into that. 
 
Any other questions? I know we covered a lot. We appreciate you for asking questions and listening in. We will definitely have a lot more practices and exercises to share with you in relation with course. So I thank you all for coming
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<![CDATA[Processing Life through the Three Brains]]>Sat, 27 Mar 2021 05:00:00 GMThttp://chicagognosis.org/lectures/processing-life-through-the-three-brains
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When we look out at the events of the world today, we probably see many scenes that frighten, confuse, or anger us. So, the goal of this lecture is to learn how we can understand the meaning of these events, and more importantly, the meaning of all the experiences that we have personally in our lives. This is part of the course Conquering Virtue, Conquering Vice that we have been giving, to help people with practical steps when you begin seriously trying to apply the Gnostic teachings to your daily life. So, the goal of this lecture will be practical, and also build upon other introductory lectures that have been given by various instructors leading up to today’s lecture.
 
How can we use life experiences, both pleasant and unpleasant, for our own spiritual growth and transformation? How do we come to learn from our life in a spiritual way?
 
We commonly interpret our life through a worldly lens, because we are really identified with our terrestrial self: “my name, my job, my education, my family, my race,” etc. But when we approach these teachings, we are really trying to come into contact with our eternal self, our soul, our spirit, our inner divinity, and for that we need to take a different approach than we commonly take when we view our lives.
 
There is a really great verse in the Bible, 8th chapter of Romans, verses 5 through 7. Paul of Tarsus stated:
For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. ―Romans 8:5-7
What Paul is pointing out for us here that when we are so concerned with the things of flesh―providing for our physical life, for our physical comfort, taking care of our material needs, and also, adding all those things that we want that bring us pleasure materially―they are not necessarily the things that we need. We are actually in a state of death, spiritually speaking. This is not going to the extreme, saying that we do not need to worry about getting food or providing for our families, nor taking care of the deeds that are our responsibilities in our worldly life. But when we shift to a spiritual mindset, we are able to do those things in a harmonious way, with our spiritual development, and that is why Paul states so clearly that to be carnally-minded is death of our soul, but to be spiritually-minded is life and peace.
 
When our soul is awakened, when our Essence―which has been mentioned before, the seed of our soul, our consciousness―is active, we are able to experience a deep sense of peace even if we go through our lives doing all the necessary things that we have to do. Even as we see the tremendous events that are taking place on the world stage, we have the life within us. We have the serenity of God’s law in our heart. That is what gives us the ability to remain peaceful even through events that would cause most people to become extremely anxious, irritable, or angry. 
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​We know in this teaching that we exist in four bodies of sin. These are the physical body, the vital body, which provides the energy that animates our physical body, the astral body, which is the vessel for our emotions, and the mental body, which is the body of our thoughts.
 
It has been talked about in previous lectures. But to recap, each of these bodies are subtle. Aside from the physical body, which is a dense body, the subtle bodies are not something that we can see directly with our physical eyes, but they are something that all of us are experiencing continually throughout the day. We are constantly thinking, in most of our cases. We are also feeling, moving around physically, and that vital energy is continually spreading throughout our body to keep us alive, to keep our heart beating.
 
We call these the four bodies of sin because we refer to these as lunar bodies. They are bodies that are given to us by nature, and they are subject to the laws of nature. That is why Paul of Tarsus points out that the carnal mind is not subject to the law of God, because this mind, the lunar mental body, is subject to the laws of nature, the basic laws of karma, physical and energetic, cause and effect. But that law of God is a law of spiritual growth, of eternal life, of development and compassion for all beings. It is a kind of eternal wisdom that our carnal mind, our common, worldly mind, is not able to access. Our carnal mind is always selfish and seeking for our own worldly benefit, even when it hurts the people around us. That is not in accordance with the higher law of divinity, which is mercy, compassion, and penetrating spiritual wisdom.
 
I want to also talk about the ego, which has also been mentioned in other lectures, because the ego is what inhabits these lunar bodies. The ego is what causes us to no longer be aware of God’s law and aware of what our own inner divinity wants us to do and wills to be done. Instead, the ego is aware of all the various, contradictory desires that we might have. So, we might be experiencing gluttony, greed, envy, lust, all forms of selfishness, which are related to our worldly life: “How can I get more, more, more for me, me, me?” But this is enmity against God because God is the source of all light of all beings, and when we separate into a false self, an ego, we are using all of the beautiful vessels of nature―that we have been given―to sin, to act in ways that are inharmonious, especially when we sin against the law of chastity, the preservation of the sacredness of sex. We are also showing enmity towards God because sex is the source of all life, just as God is the source of all life.
 
So, in this teaching we really need to change our mindset to, “How can we perform acts that are spiritually beneficial for us?” In order to do that, to break from the habit of worldly mindedness, we need to awaken that Essence, that seed of our soul, to extract that spiritual meaning from life’s various experiences. 

​How to Develop Attention

​In order to start to awaken into this new kind of conscious vision of our life, we need to develop the capacity of attention. Gurdjieff, who is a famous esoteric teacher preceding our tradition, but which we have a lot of correlation in our tradition in our tradition as well, gave us the following example. He stated:
An aspiring pianist can never learn except little by little. If you wish to play melodies without first practicing, you can never play real melodies. It is the same with psychological ideas. To gain anything, long practice is necessary. ―Gurdjieff
So, in order to awaken this conscious and profound state of being, we need to start with the little things, with attention. We need to begin by developing the capacity for attention, because most of us now a days, sadly, have the attention of a goldfish. We receive a lot of external information from the news, television, movies, music, text messages, phones, computers, etc. So, all the time, our attention is constantly distracted and moving from one thing to the next. So, we need to develop a sort of permanence of attention that is the foundation which we can go to a more profound state of self-awareness and observation of what is happening within us, as well as what is happening outside of us in our lives.
 
Gurdjieff was asked by one of his students: 
Student: “How can we gain attention?”
 
Gurdjieff: “There is no attention in people. You must aim to acquire this. Self-observation is only possible after acquiring attention. Start on small things.”
 
(So, the student asked): “What small things can we start on? What should we do?”
 
Gurdjieff (provided a somewhat amusing response when he said): “Your nervous and restless movements make everyone know... that you have no authority and are a fool. With these restless movements you cannot be anything. The first thing for you to do is to stop these movements. Make this your aim... Only after this, you can perhaps gain attention."
Gurdjieff is using these kinds of unconscious movements, these fidgets, so to speak, as a way to point out that we do not have control over our body. We are not consciously aware that we are moving around all the time. So, in order to first become aware of the way that we move and gain some control over our body and be conscious of that, we have to focus our attention on one thing. He gives the example of these kinds of nervous movements. But you can also focus on your breathing. Always be conscious of your physical breath, because our physical bodies are a wonderful place to focus on, continually throughout the day, as we are moving around. By watching your breath continually, you will gradually strengthen your attention, and then after that attention is strengthened, you will begin to discover that a new kind of consciousness emerges while you act throughout the day. So, you will be focusing on your breath and also talking to a friend or maybe working at your job. Through this division of your attention between the outer world and yourself―in this case, your breath―a new kind of consciousness emerges in that middle space. That is just a case of conscious awareness that we need for really profound self-observation. This is the foundation in which we can expand attention to observe our three brains. 
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​The Three Brains

​What are the three brains? They are three centers that process different information, different stimuli, and different kinds of energy. The first is the intellectual brain, which we can consider it the thinking center. The intellectual center of course is associated with our physical brain and is where we often process all kinds of intellectual information. Some of us are really intellectual people and so we feel very comfortable with thinking things through, reasoning through life. We like to read a lot of books or theorize often and that might be the tendency that we have.
 
However, there are two other brains that we also use. The second is the emotional brain, the feeling center. This is associated with our heart, and often we feel this energy in the solar plexus area. If you ever felt an emotion of fear, you might feel that sinking in your gut. That is the emotional brain. So, for those of us who are imbalanced in the emotional brain, we might be constantly overwhelmed by emotions. We really like social dramas, romances, or watching television shows that really stimulate our emotions, and we might have trouble coming to a conclusion about how to take action or being reasonable in a time when we are very emotionally agitated.
 
The third brain is the motor-instinctive-sexual brain, the motor center. This is responsible for animating our physical body, all of the unconscious processes of the body like heartbeats, or the sexual instinct, or your impulse when you are burned―you pull away from the fire. For those of us who are imbalanced in this center, we might be very active people, always on the go, loving sports, and do not take time to nourish our emotional brain or to really think things through.
 
All of us have these three centers and we are using them all the time, but we need to be aware of when we might be out of balance, because if we are out of balance, we are often stealing energy from some of the brains and channeling that energy to a brain in which we have a predisposition. So, if I am a very intellectually centered person, then I may be stealing all of the energy from my physical body, or even some emotional energy to keep my mind always active, always studying, always thinking through new things. As a result, I might become sick physically or I might develop some kind of mental imbalance such as schizophrenia. In the emotional brain people who are investing too much in that center can develop emotional illnesses like depression or anxiety disorders. People who abuse their motor-instinctive-sexual brain might overuse their physical body to the extent in which they can develop a lot of physical disabilities that can create problems for them later on in life.
 
Samael Aun Weor teaches us in the Fundamentals of Gnostic Education:
The balanced and harmonious function of the three brains results in the saving of vital values and, as a logical consequence, the prolongation of life. ―Samael Aun Weor, Fundamentals of Gnostic Education
These vital values are distributed among our three brains in different proportions. So, we can say, for example, our intellectual brain has twenty vital values, and our emotional brain might have thirty vital values, and our motor-instinctual-sexual brain has fifty vital values. The more that you use one brain, the more that you use up those values. But preserving these vital values is essential to prolong our life, our physical life, and preserving these vital values is also essential to awakening our consciousness and prolonging our spiritual awareness of what is happening throughout our daily life.
 
So, we really need to learn how to balance these brains. If we are too intellectual, how do we engage in activities that develop our emotional center and motor center? And if we are imbalanced physically, how do we do different activities to develop our mind and heart? If we are imbalanced emotionally, how do we do activities that help to develop our mind and keep our bodies strong and healthy?
 
Samael Aun Weor stated that the ancients knew how to intellectually cultivate the three brains. They did this through classical art, music, poetry, dance, theatre, and opera. We think about that kind of information which stimulates the mind, heart and body in different ways all at once. We might realize that it is very different from the education that we received in school. Most of us in the West are very intellectual because we received that training throughout our school life. So, we need to take a conscious effort into redeveloping all three centers in harmony at the same time. I encourage you to find classical art, music, poetry, dance, theatre, and opera that inspires you, that you have a spiritual affinity towards.
 
Begin to extract the spiritual meanings from these art forms as you look at a painting or you watch a play, or you listen to classical music. Try to extract with your consciousness the spiritual significance that is embedded into those art forms. As you gain the ability to analyze art in this way, you will also be able to develop the ability to analyze your own life experiences as scenes in a spiritual drama in which you have to learn the various personal lessons that your inner God has provided for you.
 
Everything in our life is controlled by karma, the law of cause and effect. Our inner divinity, very intelligently, organizes the experiences of our life in such a way that they become a gymnasium to strengthen us psychologically and spiritually. When we see a scene in an opera, in which the hero of the opera is really struggling with a profound emotion, and we come to understand what that scene signifies for the development of one’s soul, then we might take a moment of turmoil in our own personal life and reflect on it in meditation to see what this means in the overall arch of our development [learn more by studying The Secret Teachings of Opera].
 
Many of the experiences in our life help us to see our own ego. So, we have to experience difficult situations in order to see the imbalances that come out in our intellect, our heart, that will cause us to act in an egoic way, in a worldly mindset, against God’s will. These are things that cause us to hurt other people or even cause harm to ourselves, because we are not thinking in accordance with the harmony of God’s wisdom.
 
Gurdjieff talked about this when he said that there was a sort of lamp of consciousness, and this lamp requires energy in order to continue burning. As we try to observe or pay attention to ourselves, our physical body, our emotional or intellectual center throughout the day, we often run out of energy. Those vital values are exhausted. Part of this is because when we act in an egoic way, we are expending too much energy. So, to act in a lustful way or a greedy or envious way, wastes a lot of our vital energy and causes us to become intellectually, emotionally, and physically depleted. Then we just do not have any energy left to be consciously aware of our breathing or our emotional, intellectual, motor-instinctive-sexual brains, right?
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​Balance in the Three Brains 

​How do we act in a way that is peaceful, harmonious, and balanced in the three brains, in order to prolong that attention? Gurdjieff gave us an example of a lamp as well as the example of a small accumulator, which today we can compare to an electric battery. We know that when a battery is depleted, the lamp runs out, right? Gurdjieff explains that the intellectual mind is like a very small battery with little energy, which is not sufficient to maintain our conscious attention. So, when we are very identified with our intellectual mind during the process of self-observation, we are often not able to pay attention to our body, or our heart, and we are usually not able to self-sustain our self-attention for very long. We are focusing on our mind in a very intellectual way: “What am I thinking? What am I doing now? What is the other person saying? How do I feel in my heart?” We are too identified with the mind. We have to remember that we are not just a mind. We are not just brains with legs to carry our brains around, right? We have a heart. We have a body. We have a soul. Throughout the day, we have to observe the heart and we need to balance ourselves, because the heart and the body, the emotional and the motor centers, often have much more vital energy than the mental body.
 
In order to stay self-aware for longer periods of time, we need to really incorporate the energy of all three brains simultaneously. This is difficult. In the beginning, remember that we are focused in just one aspect of our physical life throughout the day, continually, to develop our attention. Then we begin to expand that awareness to the emotional and intellectual center. We do not do this in an intellectual way. We do this in a conscious way. Just observing, not intellectually analyzing: “What is my body doing? I am moving my hands,” but rather we are observing the movement of our hands. We are feeling it with all of our conscious being. We are feeling the emotions of our heart. We are observing our mind without meaning, to interpret those thoughts, just observing those thoughts on the screen of the mind. It takes time to develop this skill, just like any aspiring pianist needs to begin with very simple skills in order to be able to play beautiful melodies. We begin with the basic skill of attention and we gradually expand it towards the three brains in order to really reach this profound state of self-observation.
 
Self-observation is a very essential skill for our spiritual development, because when we observe ourselves, we are not so identified with our life experiences. If somebody says something critical towards me, usually I am so focused on what they say that I mechanically react to them in a very instinctual, carnal-minded, way―acting from an ego, a sense of pride, maybe, and I am not at all aware of my intellectual, emotional, or motor brain. I am acting in a total, unconscious way, just as someone who unconsciously fidgets when they are nervous without even noticing it.
 
When we have self-observation, we can observe the outer world. In this example of someone criticizing us, we can see simultaneously what emerges in our mind, in our heart, and in our body to react to that person, and then we have the conscious awareness to be able to, hopefully, choose in that moment if we want to respond in the instinctive way or if we want to respond from a more conscious place in accordance with God’s will.
 
It is not easy to develop this skill, but it is essential, and it will benefit you in so many ways. Developing the ability to live harmoniously and not waste our vital values through these egoic states, we are able to prolong our physical life. But more importantly, we are able to develop our spiritual life and to perceive new aspects of consciousness, new sides of life that we never saw before.
 
In his book Fundamentals of Gnostic Education, Samael Aun Weor offers us this beautiful example of what one might experience during self-observation. He states:
The revolutionary psychology of the new age teaches that three distinct psychological aspects exist within each person. Thus, we crave a thing through one part of our psychic essence, yet we desire a decidedly different thing with another part, and we do a totally opposing thing through the third part. I.e., in a moment of supreme pain, perhaps the loss of a beloved relative or any other intimate tragedy, our emotional personality can reach even to desperation, while our intellectual personality asks itself the “why” of such a tragedy, whilst the personality of movement only wants to run away from the scene. ―Samael Aun Weor, Fundamentals of Gnostic Education
​We can all relate to having an experience like this, right? That is the key to the beginning, to digest our life experiences. When we experience a situation like this, we use the steps that we just talked about. We awaken our consciousness through the attention. We balance the three brains to see in a harmonious way, and then we observe ourselves: “What is happening in my body right now? What is happening in my heart right now? What is happening in my mind right now?” That allows us to perceive life from the spiritual mind instead of from the carnal mind. That allows us to really understand ourselves and see what is inside of us, to observe a new ego of pride, or fear, lust, or jealousy that comes out in such a moment. That is why all the experiences in life are more useful to us than any chapter in a book, because if you were able to be conscious and observe one experience in your life and later meditate on it to extract spiritual insight and wisdom in that moment of your life, it can teach you how to evolve spiritually. It can show you who you are in this moment, psychologically speaking. It can unveil to you how God can transform you. God does transform you in a moment like this when you are awake.
 
If we experience a moment of losing a beloved relative or losing something precious to us in an unconscious way, all we do is suffer and we react mechanically, often causing more suffering. If we experience the same situation in a conscious way, we feel that grief, but we are able to understand it as a spiritual lesson about life, about the impermanence of life, or the value of our human relationships, and we are also able to provide comfort to the people around us instead of becoming lost and self-absorbed in pain. That is the value of this process: attention, balancing the three brains, and self-observation. 

​Meditating on the Three Brains

Meditation is really the final key to gain the most insight of our lives. When we meditate on a situation that we experienced today, we can see the reactions in our three brains and observe them in a state of serenity, and then we can penetrate into a deeper insight about those situations. I give the following as a suggestion for your meditation practice, to do each night as you are working throughout the day, to observe yourself and the three brains.
 
First become physically comfortable. You need to find a physical, comfortable position for you in which you can sit without falling asleep, and maintaining attentiveness throughout your meditation.
 
Then become aware of your three brains: “Am I experiencing any disequilibrium in my physical body or in my vital body right now? What am I feeling emotionally right now? What kind of thoughts are passing through my intellect?”
 
That awareness will help us to calm down, to settle the three brains. We especially need these three brains to be balanced and in harmony when we are meditating. Take the first part of your meditation just to relax. Breathe deeply. Become aware of your three brains.
 
Then when you feel like you are in balance, when you feel like you are relaxed, but attentive and consciously awake, then you can reflect on a difficult life experience, whether one from that day or the past. Watch it on the screen of your mind. In the beginning, it is really challenging not to get identified with that experience. We need to be able to maintain serenity and observe what comes up in our three brains when we reflect on this experience, without then fueling more energy into those responses. So, if I reflect on an experience where I was rejected by someone that I loved, then I feel pain and anger coming up in my heart. I am thinking critical thoughts about that person, and even my body is even clenching and clenching my fists. Then that is not what we need. We need to be able to then breathe, relax the body, relax the emotions, relax the mind and stay in balance as we observe, see and feel what is happening in our three brains: “Ok, I am observing this feeling, this feeling of hatred in my heart. I am observing these critical thoughts. I am not continuing to fuel that hatred or continuing to think more critical thoughts. I am just observing them and praying to my inner divinity to show me myself as I really am.” That is what it means to observe these reactions with equilibrium, conscious awareness.
 
Remember, that situation cannot hurt you in that moment during meditation because it is not happening. It is not the present moment. So, do not get re-identified with it and bring it back to life. Just observe it. Study it, and see yourself, because that situation is a mirror which will help you to observe yourself and what you truly are. We might think we are a great person and always trying to do our best for others, but a moment like that can show us that we really do have a part of ourselves, an ego, that is very ugly, that is filled with hatred that wants to criticize and hurt other people. That is the valuable information that life can give us, that we cannot learn by reading a book about somebody else’s life, right?
 
If we are able to, we can go to a deeper state of relaxation and observe new insights. This takes time, but to those who are skillful with meditation and have been meditating for a long time, they can then enter into this deeper state of relaxation in which the mind is blank, but open to new perceptions. Some images may come into screen of perception and that image can encode a message from your inner divinity, which relates to the situation that you were just observing. You can write down those images or any observations that you had about your three brains in a spiritual diary, whether in that meditation or subsequent meditation. You can reflect on those new insights that you gained, then try to go deeper into them.
 
If you are particularly meditating on a traumatic experience or maybe a set of traumatic experiences that are related, this is not something you are going to fully comprehend in one meditation sitting. So, you need to continue to record these observations in a diary. At least that is my recommendation. Then each time, meditate deeper and deeper. Keep going. Our first meditation will be very superficial. We might see a superficial, egotistical quality in one of the three brains, but then if we meditate on that quality and go deeper into it, we see that behind that there is a deeper suffering, a deeper pain. Each layer takes us deeper into the inner states of our psychology. With this meditation, we are going to really extract meaning from our lives that will really transform the whole way that we experience life.
 
Before applying Gnostic teachings to my daily life, I was so confused and suffering all of the time. Most of the time I did not think that there was any meaning to my suffering. I had a very nihilistic approach to life, that suffering is just meaningless, and life does not have any purpose. But little by little, by applying these teachings, I began to understand a really profound and magical significance to the things that happened to me, to the experiences I had, to my relationships with other people. I saw that within each one of those experiences, my inner God is giving me a profound lesson: the need to change, to improve myself, to grow as a spiritual being, and also destroy my ego, eliminating it through the power of my inner divinity, to be purified, to become a spiritually minded person who is in equilibrium with my inner divinity. Therefore, God can act through me in a harmonious way that helps others, instead of my ego acting through those four bodies of sin and causing pain for myself and other people around me. 
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​Conclusion

​There is a final verse from the Bible that I would like to share with all of you because it gives me a lot of strength through moments of tribulation, and I use this verse quite often for meditating, to set the right mindset when I reflect on something painful that has happened to me.
 
Paul of Tarsus wrote:
Therefore, we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. ―2 Corinthians 4:16-18
This process of self-observation and meditation helps us transform our mind from that carnal mind, we talked about in the first slide, to the spiritual mind. We can begin to see new aspects of life that we can never have witnessed before because our consciousness, as a faculty, as a sense, opens up new inner worlds to us. Our dreams at night become much more vivid and much more meaningful. The experiences that we have in dreams can also be analyzed in meditation just in the way that our physical experiences can be analyzed.
 
The symbols of our dreams can also enlighten us to learn how to experience the symbolic significance of things that happen to us in our life. That is why art, drama, and scripture are so valuable for us to learn spiritually. When we learn to interpret something spiritually, an opera, or a play, or a beautiful work of classical music, on a spiritual level, then that gives us the ability to apply that same method of spiritual, conscious analysis to our own daily life.
 
If you have any questions, I would be happy to take them now. You can type them in the chat if you need to, or we might be able to take those questions by unmuting you if you raise your hand.

​Questions and Answers

Question: Do you think dreams could be precognitive, or represent our insecurities and fears?
 
Instructor: That is a really wonderful question, because just as we experience life in an unconscious and mechanical way, we often experience dreams in that same way. So, yes, we do have a lot of egotistical dreams which are just showing us that we have some sort of emotional turmoil that we are experiencing, or that we are afraid of some situation. Maybe we have a dream in which we really see our envy, towards another person, in a symbolic way. That is why we need to interpret and dissect the meaning of these dreams through meditation, because if we just look at them in a superficial way, we are not going to see what egotistical qualities of ourselves that they are trying to reveal to us.
 
We also have dreams or visions that are very awakened, in which they have a much more spiritual and conscious significance to us and teach us profound wisdom from our inner divinity. It is also good to distinguish if this is an egotistical dream, which is just “my ego acting out.” It is valuable because it shows us an ego of ourselves that we need to see and analyze, recognizing its in there, in activity. But there are also valuable dreams that are much more profound. You can also become lucid in your dreams at night and ask your inner divinity to teach you and give you insight about something that you are struggling with. You will often be answered in a symbolic way, which is why we need meditation and the ability to extract the spiritual significance of those symbols.
 
Question: How do you cope with challenges remembering your dreams?
 
Instructor: Another great question. Yes, especially in the beginning, because we are very unbalanced and we are depleting a lot of energy from our three brains through out the day, then we do not have any vital energy left to be conscious in our dreams at night.
 
So, if you have trouble remembering your dreams, I have a few suggestions. Of course, the first is that you really have to try and re-balance your three brains and not waste a lot of energy and vital energy throughout your day. Do not get overwhelmed emotionally or do activities that deplete you of energy, like unnecessarily theorizing and reading a lot of intellectual books. If you have a job and you have to do that, do what is necessary, but do not over deplete yourself. Do not watch a lot of television shows in which you waste a lot of emotional energy. Do physical activities that keep you healthy, but not too much physical exertion which will deplete the energy. That is all related to the first strategy: to save and preserve your vital force.
 
Secondly, there is a special kind of diet that you can have in which each morning. You take nuts―I like to use almonds, honey, and citrus fruit, like orange juice or oranges. A few things that are helpful before sleeping is a prayer to the maiden of our memories. This is found in the Gnostic Prayer Book by Glorian Publishing. The prayer to the maiden of our memories is from Samael Aun Weor’s teaching, and it is a prayer that will ask our inner divinity to take the maiden of our memories out of our physical body in order to remember everything that happens when we are asleep. Then in the morning when you wake up, you can use the mantra Raom Gaom...
​…over and over to remember your dreams. You can also recite this mantra mentally if you have a partner you might wake up by doing it physically. You do not want to move around a lot. You want to recite the mantra and allow the dreams to come back to you. That is Raom Gaom.
 
Finally, performing a retrospection meditation before you go to bed, where you review the events of your day, starting from that moment going back to the very moment that you woke up that day, or start from the moment you woke up to the present moment. In my experience, I find that has been so helpful. It activates my conscious memory. It awakens my consciousness, and it allows me to reflect in all of the events of my day, but it also strengthens my ability to remember my dreams that I have through out the night when I wake up to do the Raom Gaom mantra the next morning. So, those are some recommendations and strategies for remembering dreams.
 
Question: What realms do we experience nightmares in?
 
Instructor: Nightmares are in what we call the inferior astral plane. So, if you ever seen the image of the tree of life, there are many higher planes of existence above us that we experience consciously when we are having a real, conscious, divine, awakened vision, but most of the time, in those dreams we are in very egotistical states, like running away from a monster. Things like that are in the inverted astral plane and in this inferior astral plane is where all of our egoic qualities live. The things that we see in those realms are real, but they are subjective. They are things that are only real because of our ego. They are egoic states. Like I said, experiencing those lower dimensions of reality, the hell realms, the infernal realms, is valuable because it shows where we really are, where certain aspects of our consciousness are trapped in ego.
 
Question: I just had a question referring to the four bodies of sin. When in those bodies, when consciousness is taken from those bodies, and perceiving not with sin of those bodies, is that something? Is it a different body that is moving, extracting consciousness from those bodies, or is it something within the bodies themselves that it is not of sin? Or is it both? Are those perceptions outside the bodies of sin or within them?
 
Instructor: That is a great question. Thank you so much. So, in this case, it is actually another body, not a body of sin, but another body called the causal body which is the body of willpower. It is really our soul. So, that body is often acting through the four bodies of sin: physical, vital, astral, and mental. That body of willpower, when it becomes trapped in self-will, in ego, is perceiving everything in a self-centered way, but that self is a false self. It is an illusion. That is why we call them the bodies of sin because they are bodies in which we are able to sin against the will of God and to perform actions that are inharmonious. Sin, we can think of it not in the stigmatizing way, but as an action that is inharmonious with God’s will.
 
So, when we experience something consciously, as you mentioned in those higher levels of nature, we are able to go in our consciousness, not necessarily bringing our body of sin with us, but yes, sometimes we are experiencing, through our lunar astral body, something conscious. That body itself does not have to be a vehicle through which we are always experiencing things egotistically, but is a vehicle through which we might be able to go internally to a higher dimension, a higher astral plane, if our inner divinity wills it, to see something consciously.
 
Question: So, is it like the spirit is extracting, or purifying it?
 
Instructor: What we are talking about here is we experience everything through the consciousness. The consciousness for most of us is 97% ego. So when we experience something consciously through our body, a physical, astral, or a body of sin, 97% of the time we are often seeing though the filter of the ego. But there might be 3% of the time when we are able to experience that through a body of sin, like the astral body through the internal planes, or in the physical body in the physical life, 3% of the time our consciousness can be pure. It can see that exactly as it is.
 
The lunar bodies will eventually be dissolved by nature, and if we perform the entire Gnostic work, the three mountains, we create solar bodies to replace the lunar bodies. The lunar bodies are just temporary vehicles and are subject to the laws of nature. So, they cannot become internal vehicles. Yeah, in a sense, we purify those bodies of sin as we eliminate ego, but we are not so concerned with purifying the lunar astral body as we are concerned with purifying the consciousness itself, because the consciousness can then perceive through any body, astral, mental, causal, physical body, without ego.
 
Question: With meditation, do you seek guidance, like a prayer, or wait for the spirit to speak to you? Or both?
 
Instructor: Yeah, I always pray before I meditate. Sometimes you are just observing things as they are and then, as I stated, when you go into a deeper state of meditation, that is when you try to allow the mind to become blank and see if some new images or new insights appear to you. So, in that case, you can sit down, and you can pray: “Inner divinity, help me understand this situation.” Then observe. In the deepest state of relaxation, in the deepest state of meditation, you will receive that guidance, or hear. Most of the time I receive it through a visual image, a symbol that helps me to understand what my inner divinity wants me to know about that situation.
 
Question: Any advice for the instinctual center? There is not much information about it, but It helps to observe it.
 
Instructor: So, if we have an over imbalance where we are spending too much instinctual, physical, sexual energy, then we need to preform activities with the other brains, something emotional like listening to classical music, or something a little more intellectual like studying a scripture, bible study. That can help us to balance it.
 
Question: My over arching emotion right now, as I anticipate my dad’s death, is anger and judgment towards those who have not taken the COVID precautions we have been asked to. Are you saying meditate on that, and it will take me deeper and deeper into the lesson?
 
Instructor: Right. So, there is a lot of chaos happening in our world right now, and a lot of us feel upset about that right? Everything happening in the world right now can be meditated on. So, you can meditate on the COVID-19 pandemic. What I find more valuable is that you can meditate directly on your anger and judgment of those people. Most of the time we see pride. We see a sense of entitlement. Now, this is also related to a lot of pain and suffering that you feel about your dad’s passing. In this case, you might need to wait a little bit after the situation and until you have really developed this skill of equilibrium and meditation in order to go deeply into finding those answers.
 
Meditate on it a little bit every day and observe those emotions as they come up, like when you turn on the news and you feel that kind of anger. Observe that demand that other people be up to the standards that we want other people to live by. That can be something that helps us to go deeper into that understanding of our own ego.
 
Question: When observing emotions, when you are in a situation when you cannot meditate immediately, how do we meditate on it later? I find that my emotions and thoughts are different when I wait to meditate.
 
Instructor: Sometimes that is a good thing. If you are in a situation where so much is happening, where someone is yelling at you for example, that you cannot maintain your conscious equilibrium in that moment, you might be good to wait until your emotions calm down a little bit and then to observe it. Even when your thoughts and emotions are different when you meditate, just see what is there and try to really visualize very clearly that event, and it should bring out some of the emotions that you felt in that moment.
 
This is also about observing through our three brains simultaneously in meditation, as I talked about, because if we are meditating in a very intellectual way, then we are just thinking, “Oh, I remember I felt angry. I felt really annoyed with that person. I felt impatient…” That is really superficial. That is intellectual type of meditation. We really want to bring that feeling into our heart by replaying the scene on the screen of the memory and see that feeling in our heart.
 
Like I said, it is a delicate balance. It is very hard to maintain equilibrium, because that emotion, you will feel it come up again in your heart, and you do not want to fuel more energy into it. You just want to observe it. Let it pass, and then reflect on what you just observed on coming out again in your heart or in your instinct or in your mind. It is very difficult to maintain that balance, so do not be frustrated if you do not get it right away. It might take some time.
 
Comment: Some dreams are just projections of our fears...
 
Instructor: But they are also real, in a sense, because your ego has a form of matter. It is just not objectively real. It is not something created by divinity. You have used your energy to create a false identity, which is the ego. At night when you see a dream that you are filled with fear, that dream is showing you something real in your in subconscious mind, in your own ego. It is real. It has matter. But it is not permanent. It is not eternal, because the ego will be destroyed eventually, whether by nature or by us consciously, in collaboration with our inner divinity.
 
Question: Is there a method to identify if we are following our intuition versus ego?
 
Instructor: I am so glad that you brought this question, because I forgot to say something in my lecture which is exactly about this. So, another instructor stated that when we are in harmony in the three brains, when we feel that peace and we are observing something in our life, but we feel that the three brains are acting in harmony with one another, then we know that we are conscious. That is the consciousness. That is our intuition. That is our real conscious Being, our soul, that can be active in that moment.  
 
When we feel that the three brains are in complete disarray and acting in different ways―we want to run away, but also feeling a lot of fear and agitation, our mind is trying to reason, “What should I do next?” ― that kind of agitation in our three brains helps us to identify that we are in an ego. It is best in those moments, if we are able to, to calm down. Calm the three brains. Breathe deeply. Meditate if you can, and through that state of equilibrium, you will be able to observe that same situation without seeing it through the filter of ego.
 
Question: When we meditate on an ego that we observe during the day, is it good to feel conscious remorse and even be crying while praying to our Divine Mother for help in comprehension of the ego that we want to eliminate?
 
Instructor: Great question! I do not think it is necessarily good, but I think it is fine. It is ok to feel that conscious remorse and to cry deeply from our soul. That happens to me often when I meditate on painful situations, especially in ones which I did something evil towards another person. So, yes, it is a good quality of the soul to feel conscious remorse and to cry during meditation. That is fine.
 
Of course, pray to the Divine Mother for help and to comprehend that ego, because we deeply, really want to change. We do not want to continue hurting people and hurting ourselves through these kinds of egoistical actions. So, our Divine Mother, and that prayer to our Divine Mother to come and help us, is our strength. When I say inner divinity, I mean, Divine Mother, Divine Father. Pray to get them to help you. That is essential in meditation.
 
I am glad you all are asking these questions because I do want to emphasize prayer during meditation.
 
Question: Do these three brains correspond to the neocortex, mammalian, and reptilian brains?
 
Instructor: They have more of a relationship with the three nervous systems. Another instructor talks about how they relate to the central nervous system, the parasympathetic nervous system, and the sympathetic nervous system, etc.
 
Or If another instructor knows those three, feel free to chime in.
 
Another Instructor: We have the cerebral spinal system relating to the intellectual brain. We have the grand sympathetic system relating to the heart, and we have the parasympathetic system relating to our sexuality and our instincts.
 
We have to remember that these nervous systems are form of intelligence. As they process energies and forces, they help to create our experience, but they are also the channels by which the vital values can flow and whether our consciousness or ego can act. We need to remember, as the lecturer was explaining, to use these nervous systems well, we should be conscious of their processes.
 
So, our nervous systems have that correlation, and while some other people may refer to reptilian, mammalian brains… We use these three brains and nervous systems distinctively in this way. Most importantly, we need to remember that the brains themselves, the intellect, the emotions, and our motor-instinctive-sexuality, is merely a machine. It is a means of operating and existing. You can look at those resources online. We will give you some links.
 
Question: Can a person defeat all of their egos or can it take many lives to do so? What is the worst ego of them all?
 
Instructor: Great question! So, for most of us it is going to take more than one lifetime to do this work, but it is possible if someone has tremendous willpower and is very dedicated to performing this work every day. A very serious person could eliminate all the egos in one lifetime. For this question I really recommend reading The Three Mountains, by Samael Aun Weor, which is available on Glorian.org, because that talks about eliminating all the egos in one lifetime.
 
What is the worst ego of them all? My initial answer to this is lust, because through lust we lose a lot of vital forces that are very sacred and are very necessary for us to continue eliminating more egos, to continue to develop the soul, and to develop solar bodies, also, to really connect with our inner divinity. Lust is very serious. It is a very difficult ego to tackle, but every day we should be working on lust. We should be eliminating that ego little by little, weakening it, so we can gain more conscious strength, because our vital sexual energy is directly related to our willpower. The more we lose that energy, the more willpower we need to keep up in this work. We lose a lot of energy through that.
 
Question: Can you speak a bit on actively participating in life or the human experience as a opposed to observing life, or the human experience as a watcher? ― meaning, some spiritual speakers speak of the spiritual realm that one becomes far removed from the human experience as a spiritual being.
 
Instructor: Yes, it makes sense. Great question. As I mentioned, most of the time we are fused with our physical life, that we do not have any kind of inner spiritual life that we are conscious of. That is the first step: to separate from the physical life enough that we have energy, and we become aware of our own psychology and what is happening inside of us instead of what is just happening outside of us through out the day. But you are right. Sometimes people try to use spirituality to escape from life. We are trying to use spirituality as a way to live our life more consciously, to perform God’s will in our lives.
 
So, I gave an example, grieving a loss of a family member, a loved one, and how, if in that moment we are unconscious of our inner state, we can very easily become overwhelmed by our selfish suffering, our anger, and our pain. That is very common, right? But if we become conscious of that pain inside of us and we observe whatever egos are reacting to the situation, then we are able to kind of eliminate that ego and maintain that balance. Then we can more meaningfully engage with the other people who are suffering in our life.
 
So, you see how we are using that conscious awareness of ourselves to be more invested in a spiritual way with other people. But this kind of spiritual mindedness versus carnal mindedness is that a spiritual minded person realizes that what happens in life is temporary, transient, and always changing. In that sense everything that happens to us is an illusion. That is not an excuse to do whatever you want because everything in life is an illusion and nothing lasts. But it is showing us that we need to act from a deeper, eternal place, a place of spiritual, conscious wisdom, in order to use this lifetime to perform actions that really develop our own soul and other people, and actions that will provide a lasting meaning, instead of actions that gather a bunch of wealth for us in one lifetime that we lose when we die.
 
Spiritual acts, virtuous actions, gather a kind of spiritual wealth for us that we never lose. We actively participate in life through good deeds that are part of our conscious states. So, when we are more conscious, when we are more awake, when we observe within us as well as what is happening outside of us, then we participate in life in a meaningful way that is in alignment with the will of our inner divinity. That is how we should actively participate in life, in ways that serve other people, and for the purpose that our inner God has for us in this lifetime, which we can only know as we go deeper and deeper into meditation and conscious awareness.
 
Question: How can one relate to what is called bi-polar and the three brains in relationship with someone who is diagnosed as bi-polar?
 
Instructor: Bi-polar is an emotional illness. We are born with psychological illnesses, or at the least pre-dispositioned to develop an illness at one point in our lives, because of actions that occurred in previous lifetimes. It could be that in this lifetime, someone might have overused their emotional brain and then they develop bi-polar, this really strong imbalance where the emotions are extremely manic and overwhelmingly happy. But in a way, it is not really reasonable when we relate it to their actual life, being overwhelmingly depressed and overcome with morbidity. That could be the result of abuse, overuse of the emotional brain, whether in this lifetime or in a previous lifetime. If we have bi-polar for example, and we are trying to regain balance, we need stability, in some cases that might require, depending on the severity of the condition of that person, some medication just to get to a point of stability. Then you can work one of the egos that produce those imbalances.
 
If we have a less severe case, we might be able to meditate on those egos directly and see what it is causing us to become overwhelmingly emotional. This could be related with egos of pride in a lot of cases.
 
Question/Clarification: We know what is good for the emotional brain, intellectual, sexual brain, but for the instinctual body, reactions with fear, etc., it is not very clear how to transform it.
 
Instructor: So, there may be some kinds of martial arts like Aikido, in which you can develop instinct, in the body, in a way that is really a spiritual practice. A lot of ancient martial arts, or ancient dance as well, could be really good for developing the instinctual center, especially with martial arts, because the instinct is very active in the moment when you are reacting to somebody’s attacks.
 
Question: What exactly is the Guardian of the Threshold? Is this a demon or our egos?
 
Instructor: It is the full embodiment of our egos. There is a whole lecture on The Guardian of the Threshold that I gave recently. The Guardian of the Threshold is the embodiment of all of our egos, every deed that we have done, every emotion we have felt, and every ego that we have developed, embodied into one gigantic beast that we may see in an astral experience, when we begin this work very seriously, and that we need to conquer. Even though we cannot eliminate our ego in one fell swoop, we can subdue our ego enough that we develop some conscious equilibrium in which to work. That conscious equilibrium is really necessary to start eliminating the egos one by one. That is a process, but as I talked about, this all begins with attention.
 
If you feel that you are not getting that equilibrium, look at how you are losing energy throughout the day. What are you doing each day that is using up instinctual energy, motor energy, sexual energy, emotional and mental energy? What are you doing through out the day that could be wasting all of those energies? What can you change in your daily behaviors to save some energy?  Also, work on developing attention with the practice that I mentioned earlier.
 
Question: How do we comprehend and stay conscious when someone has extremes swings of emotions?
 
Instructor: Just in the same way we have to comprehend and stay conscious in any, very overwhelming situation. So, if you can imagine being at a place where there is a fire, and you are stuck in the building near the fire,  in that moment, your instincts are going to take over your whole body and you are probably not going to maintain conscious awareness. I hope you will. At least maintain your consciousness physically. In that moment, you just will not have the bandwidth. You will not have the capacity of conscious stability or conscious energy to maintain that. It is the same way when we are dealing with a person who really has extreme swings of emotion. We may just not have the capacity of conscious stability cultivated yet or developed yet in order to really stay conscious with them in that moment. That is why it is a gradual process.
 
Start with the little things first. Start with a small situation, and if you need to, you can walk away from this person, if possible, when they are getting too overwhelming for you, and go meditate on exactly what you are experiencing in that moment, with that person, right away if possible. Over time, you are going to be able to stay more conscious in more overwhelming, or stimulating situations, right?
 
So, we should continue to just keep developing more and more over time, and not expect that right away we are going to be to do this. It is a long process, and it involves what I just talked about today. Keep meditating on it day after day, on what egos are coming out during that situation with that person, because those egos are what are putting you to sleep, consciously speaking, so that you are not able to maintain your equilibrium when you are interacting with them.
 
Question: Is there a good example of what it looks like what one should be feeling, thinking, and acting like to be in balance with the three brains?
 
Instructor: The most powerful example we think about the crucifixion of Jesus. He was, of course, suffering tremendously there. But he was conscious. In the Catholic tradition, there are these Stations of the Cross where you see these different acts that Jesus did while he was carrying the cross and heading to his crucifixion, and in each one of those acts, you see a tremendous amount of conscious wisdom and compassion for the people around him. So, if we are acting in a way really filled with love for the people around us, feel very awake, and we are able to really do actions that sacrifice for other people, then that is an example that we would know when we are acting consciously and not through ego.
 
Study the crucifixion of Jesus the Christ if you want the best example for what it looks like when one is conscious and acting in balance with the three brains.
 
It looks like that was the last question. Thank you everybody for attending and we look forward to seeing you at the next lecture!
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