<![CDATA[Chicago Gnosis - Transcriptions]]>Tue, 07 Jul 2020 09:28:44 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[Psychological Death]]>Tue, 07 Jul 2020 15:55:06 GMThttp://chicagognosis.org/transcriptions/psychological-death
This is a transcription of an audio lecture from Introduction to Gnostic Studies, originally given live at the Gnostic Academy of Chicago.

Maybe some of you may have heard of this concept before, of letting yourself die to attachment or desire. But what does it mean in practice? It can be a very lofty ideal, but sometimes it is hard to figure out exactly what is meant by that. We are going to go through some of the different teachings around this topic of psychological death, break it down a bit, and then we will finish up with a practical aspects of how we might hope to achieve this little by little in our daily lives.
 
I want to begin with a quote from Samael Aun Weor. He states in his book Tarot and Kabbalah:
 
“Intimate self-realization costs has a price, life itself.” ―Samael Aun a Weor, Tarot and Kabbalah
 
The intimate self-realization, which is related to the work of our soul and our spiritual development, costs life itself. What does that mean? Well, I am going to keep you waiting and I am not going to explain right now what it means, but we will come back to it a little later on, and should it keep it in mind as we talk about death, because of course, death is something that all of us should be very aware off.
 
All of us will die one day physically. Although this is unavoidable part of life, many times we try to avoid it, even if the news or in a media, we often see that images of death can be covered up: funerals, closed caskets. We have a society that tries to shield us from death and keep us focused on goals we want to attain from life: wealth or status, worldly success. Many times we are glad to avoid the topic of death, because we fear death, although we know it is inevitable. We have a strong fear of dying. Part of that has to do with a loss of all of those things that we cling to and hold.
 
Another part of it is fear of the unknown. What comes after death? We might have many beliefs about this or many ideas about this, but who truly remembers dying? Who truly knows and has experience what will happen to them after death?
 
We sometimes hear stories of saints or prophets or masters, who were crucified or burned alive or tortured and killed―many gruesome deaths―and yet we hear that throughout all of that they had a type of serenity and love, even for the ones who were harming them. So, why were they not afraid of death or even the pain associated with it? What was the difference between us, as common people, and those who have achieved the higher degree of self-development, spiritual development? What comes after death? 
 
Well, in this teaching we understand the law of karma, the law of cause and effect, and we know that whatever actions we sow in this lifetime, we will reap the effects of those actions, whether in this life or after this life. So what comes after death is entirely determined by what we do today, maybe what we have done yesterday―what we will do tomorrow and for the remaining days of our life. And yet, many times we find that it is hard to live by that principle. Although we know that we should be treating others well, perhaps it can be difficult. 

Genuine Faith

So, I want to begin our talk today with this quote from the Bible from the Book of James:
 
"What does it profit, my brothers, though a man say he has faith, and have not works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say to them, Depart in peace, be you warmed and filled; notwithstanding you give them not those things which are needful to the body; what does it profit? Even so faith, if it has not works, is dead, being alone.” ―James 2:14-17
 
I am going to begin this discussion today by thinking about: what do we put our faith in? We may say: "I have faith in God" or "I have faith in,” perhaps, something like “reincarnation or heaven or hell.” We may say we have faith in karma, and that we know if we do these good deeds today, that we will reap the benefit for them after this life comes to an end.
 
But does that faith produce works? Do we truly see that our actions reflect the things we claim to have faith in? Or is that faith merely a belief? And when push comes to shove, do we act in a way that we feel will get us the one up now?
 
Maybe we have to lie to get what we want in a certain situation, and even though we say we have faith and the truth, and we know that lying is bad and will cause us pain later on. Does our action reflect that we truly know that? Or is it merely a belief, because we see that faith, if its merely a belief, and does not reflect itself in our actions and in our works, is dead. It is dead faith.
 
We want living faith, because when we speak of faith in this tradition, we try to emphasize that it is different from mere belief, that faith is something that we know from direct experience, that we know so deeply, that no matter what anyone says, we will not be shaken. We would not have to react or argue with them. We will not doubt ourselves, because we would know that this is true, because we have lived it. We have experienced it directly. 
 
I will give you an example of something that most of us, if not all, have living faith in. Perhaps you burned yourself―whether it is on a hot tap or a fire. And maybe when you were a little kid, there was something hot around, and you accidentally burned yourself. Now, if you know nowadays that something is hot or you see a fire, no matter how many people tell you: "Oh, no no! Go ahead! Touch the hot stove!" or "stick your hand in the fire! Go ahead, and step into the fire!"―you will not do it. Maybe if your house is burning down and there is something very, very precious, you might risk it, but must of the time, if there is not a very good reason―no matter what anyone said to try to convince us―we would not touch that fire, because we know we would be burned. We know that from experience, and it is just not worth it to take someone's word for something. We already know it is true. 
 
In the same way we do not have to argue with people about whether or not grass is green, or the sky is blue, because we know these things. And even if somebody comes up to you and tells you: "No, the sky is neon green!"―you will just perhaps think "that's a little strange,” but you wouldn't have to waste your time in an argument or doubt yourself, because you can see that that is true. 
 
So, when we hear that prophets and saints, that Jesus and Buddha, Krishna, all these great masters have given us some message that divinity, that angels, that demons, hell and heaven, that these types of places and beings are real, it can be hard for us to have faith in that if we don't have an experience or remembrance, or we have not seen that directly. So it might feel that we have to just believe and take that person's word for it, that we have to trust that the saints and prophets, who preach these type of messages―they experienced it―and so we should take their word for it.
 
But the reason that Gnostic path is such a difficult one, is because we take nothing on mere belief. We truly have to test and investigate these teachings, the teachings from beautiful masters, beautiful spiritual teachers, and we have to test them and evaluate them in our own experience and in our own practice. And that takes more than just normal efforts. It takes super efforts. And, so, in this tradition we work very hard to do that.

The Reality of Death

I start with this sentiment about faith, because all of us know for a fact that we will die. We know that intellectually. Perhaps we’ve seen our loved ones die and that hit us with a lot of grief and, perhaps, made us think about our own mortality. But do we truly deeply comprehend the reality of death? Do we know it so deeply that we live our life truly knowing that this day could be our last? So that co-worker or friend, or family member, who you have a grudge against, and you know that: "OK, yeah, sure I should let that grudge go,” but still it eats away at you. Do you truly stop and think: "If I die tomorrow, would this grudge really matter to me? Would getting my revenge on this person really be that important? If I would have die tomorrow, wouldn't I wish instead that I felt love for them? That I have forgiven them?"
 
So, we have to question whether or not we deeply comprehend the reality of our inevitable death. Because if we did, perhaps we would be living quite differently. So, one practice is that at the end of each day is to contemplate your daily activities, to do that retrospection, meditation of everything that have said and done, thought and fell that day from the perspective if you were to die that night―and to think if you would have done something differently, because, hopefully, God willing, the next day will have another chance to try to do it differently. 

Death in the Tarot

There is Arcanum in the Tarot that is very commonly associated with death. The Arcanum of death is Arcanum 13. But as you noticed here in the Tarot card from the Gnostic, Eternal Tarot deck, Arcanum 13 is immortality.
 
So, there is a relationship there. Immortality has in its center the root "mort,” which relates to death. But "immortality" is to be able to overcome death, to be able to resist death. So even in this card, we see the rebirth―reaping the wheat, representing death. And we see young wheat that is growing in the period of, perhaps, youth and we see up above the flowers, representing birth and rebirth. 
 
As we think about this hierarch of the law, reaping the grains of wheat, Samael Aun Weor explains in his teaching that these grains of wheat―each little grain and the long grains and the short grains―represent vital energies, vital qualities that we have, vital values. 

We learned previously about the three brains. We have an intellectual brain, our intellectual center, which processes intellectual energy. We have an emotional brain, which processes emotional energy, and we have a motor-instinctive-sexual brain, which processes energy in those levels. And those three brains are mechanical. They are machines. And each of those brains run on a certain type of fuel, which we can think of as vital values. We can compare each one to, perhaps, an engine. And just like the engine in your car requires gasoline to run, each of these three brains requires vital values to be able to run. 
 
Now we have a kind of funny word to talk about―Bobbin-Kandelnosts, but whether or not you remember the word, it is important to know that at the beginning of our life, each of us are given a different number of vital values in each of our three brains, and that after the quantity of vital values has been used up, that that brain will no longer function properly.
 
If we use up all of our intellectual values, perhaps, we will have it illnesses of the mind, mental illnesses. If we do so with our emotional values, we might have disorders of the emotional center: depression, anxiety. And if we do so with our motor-instinctive-sexual center, we may have very difficult physical illnesses as well.
 
What is important to recognize is that conserving energy is very important. And when we have some states of Being, like pride, or envy, or anger, or lust, we use up a lot of those vital values. Whereas, where we have a calm disposition, when we are able to respond to life with genuine compassion and serenity, we do not use hardly as much energy, and we prolong our life by preserving those vital values.
 
So, the qualities that waste the most energy are egotistical. You might think that you have a problem at work and so you need to deal with that problem at work. But let's say that you are home from work, and there is nothing you can do to work on that problem right now, but you are spending all night or maybe your whole weekend worrying and thinking about, and trying to figure it out, and going back and forth, thinking the same thoughts over and over, and really getting anxious about it. This can waste a tremendous amount of energy. At the end of the day, you just to have to go to work and take and action. You just have to do what you can to solve the problem.
 
But we tend to think that we can use our intellectual brain to solve the problem. This is might be helpful for certain types of problems, but for many problems it is actually the wrong center be using to try to fix them. For example, in that case, perhaps, we need to use our motor center to act, to do something, to take care of it. We have to judge each situation on case by case basis. But we also need to be observing how we are responding to the different situations in our life and evaluating how much energy we are expending, and what are we truly gaining from that energy. We know that: "Yes, it takes energy" to be able to sit for half an hour or an hour to meditate. But what do we gain from an hour of meditation? 
 
I think that there is no one, who would truly say that they regret meditating. But perhaps we spend an hour yelling at the person that we are angry at and we might come to regret that later on.
 
So, thinking of these types of perspectives, when you review your daily activities, what are you truly getting out of it? Are you preserving your life force, your vital values? Or are you squandering it on things that, when the moment of death comes, will not have as much significance as you might feel they do in this moment? 

​Opposing the Ego

For that reason, we seek in the study to radically oppose our ego, our own sense of self. The things that we have planned for this life, that we want for this life, that are entirely egotistical, that are about our prestige, our success, our material wealth, all of these things. Yes, we need to be concerned with worldly affairs to certain degree, in order to live and to survive in this society, and to do our job, but when do we go overboard? When are being wasteful of those energies, and when are we actually using those energies in an appropriate amount to complete the daily tasks that we have to perform?

So that is why we seek annihilate our ego entirely. This work takes a very long time, but this is a work of this arcanum, because Arcanum 13 is related with Gospel of Judas Iscariot. And most of us will be familiar with the story of Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Christ. He sold Christ to the authorities for 30 coins of silver. Those 30 coins of silver can have many levels of meaning, but simply put, they might represent worldly desires: desires for wealth, desires for sensual pleasures, desires for power and fame, sensation.
 
So, do we sell our Intimate Christ for the worldly sensations, for the desires of our personality or our ego? Do we sell our spiritual life for worldly life? And when the moment of death comes, when everything that we have accumulated in this world, when life has taken away from us, what would we truly have left? What would we have invested into our soul, into the part of ourselves that will go on after death? 
 
So, let's look at what Samael Aun Weor has told us about this arcanum. He says that this Arcanum relates to our true identity:
 
“Common and ordinary people do not have a true identity, because only those phantoms of the pluralized “I” are expressed through them. Thus, after death each human is a legion.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Alchemy and Kabbalah in the Tarot
 
We talked before about ego in contrast with consciousness and personality. The ego we sometimes refer to as one, like we need to annihilate the entire ego, because it is an aggregate, but it is an aggregate of many different egos, many different desires. We might experience in any given moment that we desire multiple things. Maybe we want to go out and get some exercise today, but we are also really tired, and we just want to sit on the couch. In that moment we are pulled by two desires.
 
Or, perhaps, we want to scream at the person that has just criticized us, but at the same time another part of us troubles to have a kind reaction, to express compassion instead of anger.
 
Many times we feel this conflict. That is why Samael Aun Weor is pointing out here that common, ordinary people like us do not have a true identity. We have a plural life identity. We have all these little "I's" that in each moment are fighting for control of our machine, our human machine, fighting to drive the intellectual center in one direction, and the emotional center in another direction, and a physical center in another direction. So, we need to be aware of that, that many times we say: "Oh, yes, this is truly what I want, this is me. This is what is important to me and what I value. I value honesty!" But a little while later, just in a right situation pressure, we betray the things that we have said we value. We lie when we say that honesty is our policy, or any number of things. 
 
So, as much as we believe we may be good people, who would never do certain immoral actions or unethical steps, at the same time we have to realize that we don't truly know ourselves, that there are depths of our identity, in our subconsciousness, that would terrify us. We don't know what we are capable of in a given situation, when pressures are just right. We don't know what might emerge out of us, when we are truly frightened or when we are tempted by something more than what we can resist.
 
We have to recognize the part of ourselves that we are aware of, but also always are thriving to know our deeper self―things about ourselves that might emerge in our dreams or in our fantasies, and we are examining: "Who am I really?" Because everything that emerges in your mind has a relationship with you. It is a part of you. So, we might think some angry, hateful thought or a violent thought, and then we say: "Oh, but I am not a violent person. I would never do that!" But if it is a part of our mind, it is a part of us.
 
We are more than just our actions. We are more than just our thoughts, more than just our emotions, more than just our instincts. These people are complex.

Consciousness: Our True Identity

So, what is soul? Soul, which should be our true identity? Samael Aun Weor states:
 
"Whosoever incarnates their soul acquires true identity and thus already IS. Present humans are not self-realized beings.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Alchemy and Kabbalah in the Tarot
 
This points out to us that we have more to accomplish, that we are not in our most developed state. We try to state that people nowadays are the most evolved civilization that there has ever been on this planet, but when we look at the state of our world, when we read the newspapers and hear about all the violent acts that go on, we know that it cannot be true, that people cannot be living at their highest potential of spiritual development, compassion and wisdom, and virtue, and all those qualities that we see represented in saints and Christ-like figures. 
 
So those figures are divine because they are representations of their own inner divinity, of their own inner spirit. On that level our Being, our spirit, is perfect, and is perfect knowledge. It does not have to think, because it knows, because it is truth and beauty, and perfection, wisdom, love and virtue. It already is. But how do we reach a state in which that spirit is what is emanating from us? Physically, emotionally, mentally―in our words, in our deeds. 

Willpower and Desire

The next section here on willpower gives a very important clue onto a big obstacle that we might encounter:
 
"Present humans confuse the force of desire with willpower. We need to engender Christ-Will.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Alchemy and Kabbalah in the Tarot
 
Many times we had a desire that is so powerful that we felt we would do anything to pursue it. Maybe this was a desire for job or a new car, or certain partner. Any number of things, maybe even a desire for certain type of food. We take all kinds of actions and maybe we have violated our own ethics in order to be able to get what we wanted. All the time we thought we were fighting for "what I want,” that is "my will,” but truly from a spiritual perspective, in those moments, we were controlled by desire. We were not in control of that situation. The desire was driving us, that egotistical desire was driving our human machine. Perhaps, a desire was to get revenge on someone who has betrayed us and truly hurt us, and all the time we felt: "This is my will. My will is to get revenge and make this person feel the pain that they would make me feel.” All along we think we are doing our will, but afterwards, when the deed is done, and we see the suffering, and that we have a look in the mirror and know we have truly hurt someone that we once cared about, then we might question: "Was that really my will? Or was I being driven by a demonic force within myself? An egotistical force that now I wish I had never had that desire in the first place?”
 
So, we need to be analyzing our day every day, because we can catch things. We can see things. We can recognize a desire, and we can comprehend it before it drives us to take actions that are harmful for ourselves or for others. When we do that, when we meditate, when we pray, when we ask God to illuminate our mind, to help us to comprehend the truth, and what is the right action in those situations, we can begin to gain true willpower. Because our will should be united with the will of our inner divinity.
 
Our inner Spirit is the best part of each one of us. If every person could reflect their Spirit and perform the will of their Spirit, they would perform truly miraculous deeds. They would be a beacon of love and wisdom. So, we want to engender that―that Christ-will, the will of divinity within us, our own unique representation of divinity.
 
Many people might claim that they feel they are channeling the divine, and maybe in a moment they have a mystical experience that is truly beautiful and is divine. But can we sustain that state on a regular basis? Or is our willpower constantly overrun by different desires that are driving the car? 

The Relationship Between Life and Death

We need to ask ourselves: "Who do we live for? Do we live our lives for God? For the will our inner Spirit, to truly become the best that we are able to become under the guidance of our inner Father? Or do we live our life for an ego? For the worst parts of ourselves? The demonic parts of us, the vices that we carry within?”
 
Samael Aun Weor goes on to say that:
 
"Life and death are two phenomena of the same thing.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Alchemy and Kabbalah in the Tarot
 
In every moment that we are living in a certain way, there is another rout of possibilities that is dying. Every time we come to a fork in a road and we choose to go right, we are not going left. Right, simply put. When you make a decision, you are putting into motion a new chain of events, a new chain of a facts. And, so, when we act on a harmful quality, we are giving life to that harmful quality. We are feeding it our energy. We are letting it live and express itself through our body, through our heart, through our mind, through our words and actions. We are giving it more strength and vitality. But what dies as a consequence of that?
 
If I spent 75% of my day thinking about me, doing actions for me, pushing others aside, so that I can get at the front of the line, well―what is dying in the 75% of my day? What is dying, is the will of Being, the life of my own soul, the possibilities that my Spirit might have performed through me had I truly been awake, had I truly been mindful and at one, and in a state in which I could hear the will of my inner divinity, could feel that will, could be that will and perform it. 
 
Every time we make a decision or we say something, we are sowing the consequences. We are sowing the causes that we will reap different consequences. So, we need to be aware of that, when we go and we evaluate our life. 

We see here a butterfly, coming out of cocoon. What has to die for the butterfly to live? Well, we know. If we know a little bit about biology, we know that for the butterfly, the caterpillar has to die. A lot of us like to think that we are already butterflies and we are flying around and maybe we know so much about what there is to know, and we are really living life for a full potential. Some people like to think that. But the reality is we are actually closer to that of the caterpillar. We are very limited in our thoughts, in our emotions, in our physical abilities, in our spiritual abilities. We are not merely invisible. We truly cannot fly into the higher realms of existence, and experience and see the truth of reality in nature for ourselves. We have a very narrow ability to perceive. 
 
What happens of the caterpillar? Does it know what it takes to become a butterfly? What if the caterpillar refuses to die, refuses to build the cocoon, fights to death to preserve its existence as a caterpillar? Feels that being caterpillar is the height of all there is to be and it chooses instead to focus on getting fat, eating a lot of leaves, reaming the earth and never wants to fly? It will never know what potential it had.
 
This is the analogy here with the fool. We say that we have an Essence. We have a seed of the soul and we believe that that there is an ego and our personality in our physical body, that that is "who I am,” and that is all that we know of ourselves. So, to give up things that “I egotistically want, that maybe I spent many years wanting and worked for, a certain number of my bank accounts, a certain promotion at work, a certain type of spouse, to give that up―seems like giving up myself. What else would there be for me if I didn't have that?” Because we do not know what it would be like to truly experience possibilities of our soul and of our Spirit.
 
If we knew that, if we knew what it was to be the butterfly, which actually is used in many symbols to represent the soul, the psyche, if we knew what that was, we would be so glad to let that caterpillar go, because we have already experienced what the caterpillar is like. Now we want to know what it is to be a fully self-realized being.
 
But in order for our soul to live―the ego has to die. That is why life and death are part of the same thing. In every moment, in order for you to live, something has to die. Even if we are vegetarian, we have to kill plants in order for us to live. And in order for anything to live, for anything to be born, there must be death as well.
 
Jesus said the same thing in the Bible. In the Book of John he said:
 
"Truly I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a seed. But if it dies, it bares much fruit." ―John 12:24
 
So, we want to know what fruit we could bare if we are performing the will of our Being. Perhaps you had an experience where you have done a good deed, a truly selfless deed, and maybe something just came over to you in that moment and you put aside whatever else you were doing or worrying about to truly help someone who needed help. The consequences of that action were far greater than the act itself. Some of us are fortunate to have had that person come back to us at some point and share with us what a difference we made in their lives, but sometimes we never find out. Maybe, that kind word or that kind deed, was the only thing helping that person to keep going or the break that that person finally needed to get to the next stage of their life. Or maybe it was the example of kindness that gave that person faith in humanity, that gave that person faith in their own goodness.
 
There are many jaded people in the world today, unfortunately, very cynical, who believe that it is naive to believe in goodness or in these virtues of the spirit. Those people were have been hurt enough times to know that trusting people can sometimes cause pain. But trust is actually a quality of strength, because after that period of naivety, after that period of cynicism, we come to realize that regardless of getting hurt, what we do is a reflection of who we are. If we truly want to reflect on our life and on ourselves with self-respect, with dignity, with the piece and serenity, they come saying: "Hey, maybe I didn't always did a great job, but I truly know that I strived every day of my life to do the best that I could, to do the will of my inner divinity, to do what my conscience called upon me to do.” That brings the type of serenity that no matter what anybody else says about us, no matter how we are judged or persecuted by the world, or whatever criticism our loved ones might say, we know that we are truly striving for the best that we believe we are capable of―truly trying to follow the guidance of our inner divinity, to manifest greatness of self.
 
We have to realize that all these saints and prophets, and great beings, like Jesus, Krishna, Muhammad, Moses, Buddha, all of them were once people just like us, whether in that lifetime or previous lifetimes. All of them had to fight. Of course, yes, it was partially the grace of divine will that all of us have access to the mercy of divine will, but also it was a result of their own super-efforts, their tremendous discipline to work on themselves and to strive for the best of what they knew they were capable of in their heart, in their conscience.
 
Samael Aun Weor also says that: "When one dies to the cosmos, one is born for the Absolute."
 
The cosmos is representation of this material world, the realm of Samsara in Buddhism, the realm of cause and effect, in which we are chained to the wheel of suffering. The Absolute represents the unmanifested reality, the perfect divinity, nirvana in Buddhism, the part of us that is deeply within us right now that we can realize, that even in this body we can have access to the Absolute, to nirvana, to the state that is free from suffering, because it is, because it knows, because it is perfection and love, and wisdom. But we have to die to this world to be born into that world. 
 
And that is why Jesus also stated in the Book of Mathew:
 
"For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, and whoever will lose his life for my sake will find it." ―Matthew 16:25
 
Jesus is speaking there as a representation of the Christ, that is older divinity, that is universal. That is an energy and an intelligence that is beyond anyone person, but can manifest within us―you and me, if we work, if we eliminate our ego, if we die to what we feel right now is “my life and the things I want, the things that my personality and my culture, and my family says, I should do.” We give up those temporary pleasures, those temporary desires of this life, and we work to give up our life and dedicate our life and our daily actions and our words for the sake of our inner divinity.
 
We lose our life for the sake of God, our inner Spirit. Then we truly find our life, we find our soul, the potentials of reality that we can scarcely imagine in this moment. We begin to see another side of life, another side of ourselves that is much greater and what we currently experience. But if we desire merely to save our life, our property, our bank account, our prestige, our status, our success, then at the end of our life, when death comes, we will lose that and we will lose the opportunity we had to develop our soul as well.
 
That is why we have to work hard. This brings us back to that quote that I mentioned at the beginning: "Intimate self-realization costs. It has a price, life itself.” We have to work extremely hard on our mind. Each day we have to get better and better. Yes, we start where we are. We start with little actions, little changes, whatever we are capable of today. Then tomorrow we will be capable of a little more, but we have to be truly giving all that we can give in each moment, in each day―those moments when we are awake and catching ourselves, when we are tempted to choose, to not to give into temptation, but instead to pray in our heart: "God, guide me in this moment to do your will, to do the will of the best part of myself, my soul, my Spirit.” That is how we live, that is how we find our life. We give up our life in order to find eternal life, the life of our soul, our self-realization. 

The Psychological Work

We see in this image Perseus holding the head of Medusa. Medusa, if you are nor familiar with the myth, was the Gorgon, a mythical beast, and anyone who looked at her and saw her eyes, would turn into stone, would die. They would be immobilized, unable to act ever again. Perseus is the hero who finally conquered Medusa. This is related with the problem we have been talking about, about giving up the ego. How do we overcome our ego? Well, we can use the example of Perseus here. Perseus, in order to kill Medusa, had two tools in particular. He had others, but in particular, there are two tools that he had in the myth. 
 
One was the sword, the sword with which he was able to cut off her head. That sword is related with willpower. The sword is the symbol of our will, divine will, the power of the will of divinity. For if God wills something, it will be done. Nothing can stop our inner divinity. If we incarnate that will, we will be capable of much more than we are capable in our present egotistical form, because of that power of divinity. So, Perseus was demonstrating to us that it takes tremendous willpower, not tremendous desire. Desire is an obstacle we all face. We are replacing that desire with true willpower. 
 
He also had a shield that was very reflective. He was able to use this shield like a mirror to see around the corner, to see Medusa without looking directly into her eyes. And thus, he was able to avoid being killed by her, being turned to stone, and he was able to use her reflection to see what she was, to observe her and to kill her with the sword of his willpower. 
 
So, we know that we need willpower and we also know that we need reflection. That is the self-observation, self-reflection that we do. It is also meditation. We might be angry during the day. In that moment we see something in ourselves coming out. Or we might feel envy, and we feel that envy and we see somebody getting something good without us, and we feel really envious, and we say: "Oh, yeah. I see that. I wish I didn't feel envious, but I do.” So, we go home, and we use that shield, that meditative state, in which we are able to separate from our ego, to separate from ourselves and to reflect on it in a state of peace and serenity. We are able to observe that envy as though it were a separate person, as though its desires were not our desires, but were separate from us. In that state we can learn a lot about it. We can see for what it is. We can separate from it, and we can avoid being killed by it. We can avoid being turned to stone. That is how we can cut off its head with our own willpower. 

Renunciation

Perhaps that sounds a little bit too abstract for some of us, but I promise at the end here―we are moving into the last section―I will give a practical example. But I want to wrap up with renunciation, because renunciation is truly the method that we use to die psychologically. Renunciation is truly the way that we kill our ego.
 
What does it mean to renounce something? It means to give something up. Sometimes this is something precious to us, and when we renounce it and we give it up, it can be painful. But sometimes, if we have meditated on something, like our envy, or our pride, or our lust, or our anger, our greed―we meditated on it and we have seen how ugly it is, how much it really causes us suffering―every time I act on it, it causes me to suffer, and causes others to suffer. Then we go to renounce it on the altar of our inner divinity. We are happy to be rid of it!
 
That is a state of comprehension, that is when you truly know from your own deep comprehension, from your own meditation, your own direct experience that that action, that that state, that quality of mind and emotion, brings harm, brings pain, brings suffering. And, so, you want to renounce it. You invoke your Divine Mother and you pray to Her to help you to destroy that part of yourself, that ego―to free your soul, your Essence, your consciousness from that egotistical desire, and to destroy the desire and regain that energy, that willpower into your soul. 
 
Renunciation is the first of the Three Principle Paths in Buddhism, as taught by Tsong Khapa, the great Buddhist teacher. So, I am going to read you a little passage from the Three Principle Paths, which is a short scripture that Tsong Khapa wrote. 
 
"Without pure renunciation, there is no way to end
This striving for pleasant results in the ocean of life.
It is because of their hankering life as well that beings
Are fettered, so seek renunciation first." ―Tsong Khapa, Three Principal Paths
 
So, what does it mean "the striving for pleasant results in the ocean of life"?
 
Life has many experiences and many possibilities. We are striving for many pleasant results. None of us wants to experience suffering. None of us wants to experience old age or illness, or death. We want to experience happiness, and pleasure, and joy, and feeling looked up to and respected. We want those pleasant results, and so each day we devote a large portion of our life to pursuing those pleasant results, to pursue more money. Maybe we work at the job that we really do not feel good about. Maybe we do not even like our job, but we work there because we want more money. That is a pleasant result we are seeking, the feeling of security we get from having a lot of money or the feeling pride from having a lot of money. So, we devote how much of our time and our energy and our efforts to pursuing that, to striving for that.
 
Without renouncing that desire or any number of that desires that we have, there is no way that we can end that striving for pleasant results. As long as we hold on to that desire and we say: "Yeah, yeah, yeah, I want my Spirit to develop. I want to be self-realized, but also I want to be wealthy and I want to have a yard, and a big house, and a lot of people respecting me, and I want to be famous."
 
Whatever it is for us, maybe it is not such materialistic things. Maybe there are other desires we have that we want to achieve in our life. As long as we hold on to those, we are killing the potential of our soul, at least to the degree that we are holding on to these desires. That is why he stated: "It is because of their hankering life”―hankering after all the things that we want in life―that beings are fettered, that we are being chained up, that we are bound here. We are not able to achieve our full potential, that we are not able to experience those higher possibilities of the soul and the Spirit, to see the rest of life. It is because of our striving after pleasant results that we are the caterpillar instead of the butterfly. 
 
So, first we must seek renunciation. Without renouncing egotism, as it manifests in in our daily deeds, then we cannot begin on the path. We cannot achieve freedom and liberation from suffering. Tsong Khapa goes on to say:
 
"Leisure and fortune are hard to find, life is not long;
Think it constantly; stop desire for this life.
Think over and over how deeds and their fruits never fail,
And the cycle’s suffering: stop desire for the future.” ―Tsong Khapa, Three Principal Paths
 
So, he is talking exactly about we have been talking about. Death is inevitable, and we need to think about that constantly. In fact, in Buddhism there is a practice of meditating on one's death. Truly sitting and meditating on what it would be like if in this moment your body began to die, life began to fade from your organs, from your body, from your tissues and you began to be able to lose your last breath, and think about, perhaps, your funeral and the grieving relatives and all the things that you would leave behind. You realize that this is inevitable, that this actually will happen―maybe not in a way you have visualized in your meditation, but it will happen. How you are living your life reflects how you hope to feel at that moment of death―or other things before that moment change, because we do not know when it will come.
 
So, we have to think about how all the things that we invest our time into might be reaping fruit later on that we will only lose, because they are temporary. So that is how deeds and our fruits never fail. It is the teaching of karma. Whatever actions we take today, will have an effect even if we see in this lifetime. If we perform good deeds, we will see the fruits of those deeds someday.
He goes on to say:
 
“When you have meditated thus and feel not even
A moment’s wish for the good things of cyclic life,
(that is the cycle of Samsara, the cycle of suffering that keeps us bound here in this world)
And when you begin to think both night and day
Of achieving freedom, you have found renunciation.” ―Tsong Khapa, Three Principal Paths
 
So, we have to begin where we are at of course. We need to renounce what we can today and those things that we cannot renounce, we just need to observe them and study them more, until we learn about them and understand the true effects of what those are attaining for us. 
 
I had some rare moments when I thought something was bad and then by observing it and meditating for a while, I actually found that it was producing good effects for others and for me, but I have been beating myself up about it, because of some beliefs that I had. At the same time there were things that I believed were good deeds that I was doing to help others and later came to find were not actually the case. 

​A Practical Example of Renunciation 

So, here is where I deliver on my promise of giving you a practical example. Here at our level, how can we experience renunciation? How can we die psychologically? So, several years ago I was practicing self-observation during the day and retrospecting the entire day each night in meditation. I was assigned to a project to work on with two colleagues of mine. It was a group project and I was very excited about the topic that we working on, because it was a project that I actually had much previous experience in. So, I would see, I could feel that excitement in myself and that energy. I wanted to get work on this project. And when I sat down for the first meeting with my two colleagues and we talked about the topic of our project, I discovered that they were not so enthusiastic about it. They wished that they got assigned to different project and they didn't have the experience that I had in it. So, I thought: "Oh, well, if you guys aren't excited about it, I could really take on a lot of the work here. I have a lot of ideas about this. I have got a lot of experience in it. I am really excited about it. So, you can kick back and relax, and do not worry about it too much.” So here in this case I thought I was doing a good thing. 
 
Now, time went on and we continued to have meetings and I felt something was off. I could intuitively feel in those meetings that there was some distance between me and the other two. And there was one meeting that I remember, where we sat together, and I was pitching some ideas to them and they were shooting down my ideas. Then they began to talk about their ideas, and I realized from their discussion that they have been meeting together separately from me and discussing their own ideas. I felt this pain in my heart in that moment and I felt hurt, and I felt that they didn't appreciate me and the good things that I was trying to do. I went home that night and I was meditating on my day and I took some extra time to focus on that experience and to think: "Why was I so hurt in that moment?" And to observe it: "What did I feel? What was the look from their faces? How were they feeling?" Just to replay it as best as I could.
 
Suddenly I had an experience, where I saw the situation in the other person. I was not trying to do it. It just happened. In a meditative state, I was seeing it as if though from another person's perspective, and I was replaying and seeing all the things that I was saying. And I realized that from the very beginning, I have come into this project, although I thought I was doing something good, there was actually a desire for my own ideas, my own pride in my ideas and my experience, and what I had to contribute and the success I wanted to see for myself in this project. I had not seen that, because of course I was inside of that desire. But when I saw this in meditation from the perspective of  third person point of view, I actually saw that I was being quite arrogant and that I wasn't giving them the same appreciation of their ideas, that I have kind of written them off at the beginning, and  gone off on what I wanted to do. So, was it any surprise to me that they have felt that they had to meet on their own and come up with their ideas on their own, and push back against me, when I had out of arrogance not even listened or valued their perspectives? 
 
So, I felt very humble when I saw this. Although initially I felt hurt and angry at my two colleagues, after comprehending this in meditation, I actually felt embarrassed. I felt shame for the pride that I had shown and I had just honestly not seen it. But now that I saw it, I knew that I had to renounce it.
 
It was actually difficult for me despite having seen this and comprehended to a degree in meditation. It was difficult for me, but at the next meeting with them, I started off the meeting by apologizing, by admitting that I felt I hadn't really valued their opinions from the beginning, and that because I was so excited about the project, invested in my own ideas, I hadn't really listened to them enough. I apologized for that and said that I would like to work in a more collaborative fashion from now on. And for the rest of the project, what they will experience will be completely different.
 
I had to die in my pride. It was painful to renounce my pride. I was embarrassed of how I was, how I have been acting. I was also in those moments, when I had to apologize, still kind of feeling like: "Uh, I should not have to apologize to these people. They still did something wrong too!" So I had to renounce. I had to be humble. I had to give that up and die. I felt pain emotionally as I was dying.
 
But after I did that act, I reaped the benefits of what it was truly like to collaborate with others, what it was truly to like learn from them and share valuable ideas that I had, and to appreciate them and to see the way then. They came to the way to appreciate me as well. I had no regrets about having renounced my pride. So, as I was fortunate in that situation to see something in myself that I had not seen before, to see my life from the perspective of others―my actions from the perspective of others, and to let my pride in that moment die, to take the action that I felt the guidance of my conscience leading me to take, which was to apologize and to humble myself.
 
Additionally, I will add that not long after that I was hired for a new job and I went in to that job with a lot more humility. I listened to my colleagues and I valued their ideas and I supported their ideas, and I didn't just go into every meeting boasting about how great my ideas were and trying to get everybody to listen to me about how great I was, because from that experience I had truly learned something that had changed me on a deep enough level, that I would never go back and want to act the way that I had behaved before.
 
So that is a very practical example. I picked a very little example, but as small as that example is, and as insignificant as may seem, it had effects in my life. There have been bigger effects, bigger examples in my life that are a bit too personal to share, but each of us in our own way (whether big or small) can be analyzing our life like this, can be praying to our divinity to overcome our defects and sometimes, to lay the desire that we cling so tightly to on the altar of divinity, and to sacrifice that for our inner Spirit, can be painful. But the gifts are bestowed upon us―the potentials, the capabilities, the wisdom, the virtue, and the love that is bestowed upon us in degrees as a result of that action, are much much more valuable than anything we have lost in the process of sacrificing and renouncing. 

Conclusion

So, I conclude the lecture with one more quote, which I feel truly summarizes everything that we have talked about today in a very practical way. This quote comes from Dion Fortune:
 
“The personality and the things of the senses have to be sacrificed in order that the Higher Self may manifest; there can be no dispute on this point. All the Initiates have declared it to be so." ―Dion Fortune, The Training and Work of an Initiate
 
She is talking about all the great spiritual teachers, the initiates, have taught―that when you sacrifice the things of our physical senses, our personality, our egotism, in order that our higher self, our Spirit, our highest potential, can manifest. 
 
She goes on to state:
 
“We are inclined to think that, having sacrificed the personality, we shall be bereft of all things. This is because the mind of the West still clings to its habit of believing that the death of the body ends existence. So we believe sub-consciously that the death of personality ends enjoyment of the fullness of life." ―Dion Fortune, The Training and Work of an Initiate
 
Here she is talking about how whether or not believe that there is life after death, we actually live as though we feel that survival in this world is all there is. Our actions demonstrate where faith truly lies. 
 
We might state that: "Oh, yeah, it is good to be generous and to donate money,” but at the same time, another part of us truly takes actions to gather more money, because our faith is in the security of the world, the security of money, the security of material possession and status as well. So we believe that the death of our personality would end our enjoyment of the fullness of life, but we do not realize that our ego actually restricts our experience of the rest of existence―all of those states of consciousness that are beyond our current state of consciousness. As long as we remain trapped in ego, trapped in that cocoon, we will never achieve those higher states, the greater potentials that we are capable of. We never will become a butterfly, who can fly into the realms of the heavens and truly meet divinity face to face. 
 
And finally, she concludes:
 
"We forget that the merchant who sold all he had was able to purchase the Great Pearl. True, he had realized all his assets, but they were re-invested in something of far greater value. The Gospel story implies that he bore off the Pearl in triumph. So it is with us if we make the sacrifice of the things of the senses that permits of the incarnation of the Higher Self in the physical body." ―Dion Fortune, The Training and Work of an Initiate
 
So we sacrifice the things of this lifetime that we want and we desire egotistically "Just for me, just because I want it,” in order for our divinity to manifest in our physical body and to perform good deeds and great teachings for the benefit of humanity. Just in case you are not familiar with the parable of the Great Pearl that she references here, it is in the Gospel of Mathew that Jesus taught:
 
“Kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, who when he found one of great value, went away and sold everything he had, and bought it." ―Matthew 13:45-46
 
The Pearl of great value that Jesus is referring to here is our soul, is our spiritual life. It is of such great value that it is worth selling everything that we own. And that is why Dion Fortune mentions that "the merchant bore off the Pearl in triumph.” He did not sit around crying about all the things that he had to give up and renounce for the spiritual work. He went off so happy, because he truly knew and experienced the benefits for spiritual life, for his soul, the benefits that we was able to perform good works for others, for those he cared about, for the world, which is experiencing so much suffering. 

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<![CDATA[The Spiritual Seed]]>Thu, 02 Jul 2020 16:37:22 GMThttp://chicagognosis.org/transcriptions/the-spiritual-seed
This is a transcription of an audio lecture from Introduction to Gnostic Studies, originally given live at the Gnostic Academy of Chicago.

So welcome everybody to our introductory course on the studies of spirituality within all traditions.
 
In this type of study we emphasize that the human being, as he or she is now, has the potential to become something more, something greater, and profound. Contrary to conventional belief, that the human being as we are now is the epitome or the peak of potential, we state that this is a false assumption.
 
Every tradition in the world has taught or been delivered by all the messengers of divinity, no matter what the tradition. We study in this school all of the teachings of these different faiths, primarily because we want to look at the heart, the essence of spirituality, because it is universal. It is one intelligence; one type of understanding that expresses in accordance with the needs, the language, the culture, the qualities of the students, the time and place in which those teachings were given.
 
But if you really look at the heart of what yoga teaches, Buddhism teaches, Judeo-Christianity or whatever faith, we find that at the heart, there is a science by which one can achieve what people call religion. The word religion in Latin means “reunion,” religare. In the East, it is yoga, from the Sanskrit yug, “to reunite.” And all these traditions have taught that the human being is a seed, has potential to become something truly divine and magnanimous, beautiful.
 
Different religions called this seed consciousness. The Buddhists call it Buddhadhatu, the seed of a Buddha, an awakened one, a master.
 
The Christians and Muslims and Jews have called it soul, and there are many names for that quality of being in those faiths. In this study, we call it the Essence. It is the pure potential to reflect divinity, and this is something that we can experience for ourselves when we know the science of meditation and when we practice it.
 
We can develop that potential in ourselves and have the experience of what different traditions have called divinity. That knowledge amongst the Greeks was called gnosis, but not intellectual knowledge. A lot of people in the West, especially in academies, like to think that gnosis was isolated to the first Christians, but that experiential wisdom of knowing divinity has nothing to do with theory, with believing, with a concept. It is what we know by experiencing the awakening of our Essence.

They are very vivid experiences which have been allegorized in all the scriptures. You have Moses on Mount Sinai, you have Krishna, like in this image, manifesting all of his qualities to the meditator, known as Arjuna in the Bhagavad-Gita. You have many faiths, many stories. The Greek mysteries, the Buddhist teachings, they are all symbols of internal truths. It is not literally that Moses went on a physical mountain and saw God, that it was a physical experience. It is a spiritual and psychological experience, something we witness in meditation, inside.
 
We can verify these things for ourselves through experimentation, through practice and therefore we don't need to believe in anything, to follow an institution, a religion, a dogma, a belief system. We like to be very practical in this type of studies.
 
But of course, it is a very difficult thing to do. It is not easy to experience divinity, to conquer in ourselves the causes of suffering, to understand that which in our own life really conditions and makes us suffer, because there is a reason why we may not know God now or divinity or Brahma, Christ amongst the original Christians, which is not a person. It is a type of consciousness that is universal, which different traditions call by different names and have been symbolized by all the beautiful paintings of any tradition.
 
These are not literal people. These are qualities of being, and in this image we see the Lord Krishna who is the Hindu Christ, that divine consciousness that is not personal to just one individual, but is universal to all beings. We see that he is a child seated with one hand facing up, the other down, and he is surrounded by millions of figures. This is a beautiful painting about the experience of the meditator Arjuna who asked Krishna, “I want to see You in Your true form. Show me in my consciousness, in my meditations, what You are.” And then Krishna, or divinity, manifested in a form of images―not physical images, but images we can see in meditation or in dreams.
 
This is very beautiful experience that was depicted in this scripture. And you see that all these multitudes of figures represent all the universal qualities of divinity, which are inside: compassion, divine love, selflessness, patience, compassion. But to really develop these qualities in us is not easy. If it were easy, then all of humanity will be a very different state of being. This planet would be a very different place.
 
So this indicates to us that these qualities are not developed in a permanent sense, are not realized in our own daily life, and so in these studies we like to be very practical. We like to analyze certain methods of meditation that teach us how to have that experience, and how to develop and maintain that state. I am sure any one of us who studies any type of meditation or is attracted to religion or any type of faith, they really deep down want to have that experience. They want to escape suffering. 
 
This difficult path of meditation has been discussed in all religions. It is not easy to confront in oneself negative states like anger, resentment, pride, fear, laziness, lust, desire. All traditions teach that it is these negative qualities of mind that trap us. They enclose our potential in a static state. It is not active because in us, that potential is not active or developed. It has to be freed. It has to be worked upon very intentionally.
 
So in the beginning some people practice meditation and they may have an experience seemingly by accident, but the reality is that there are certain causes and conditions that brought about that state. One may not be aware of how and why. Some people call this spiritual awakening, insight. It happens. But if we want to be permanently established in that state, it is important to put forth the causes and the conditions that produce that reality in a permanent way. 
 
So this is called self-realization amongst the Hindus, the realization of our true identity, which is divine. It is the awakening of consciousness. But of course, developing that is challenging, primarily because of the difficulty of our own conditions of mind, which is why in the Bhagavad-Gita, chapter 7, verse 3 state:
 
"Among thousands of men (or women, practitioners) one perchance strives for perfection (to realize that perfect divinity inside. As Jesus of Nazareth stated, "Be perfect as your Father who is in heaven is perfect.") Even among those successful strivers (those who are really working to experience that truth) only one perchance knows me in essence."
 
So again, these are levels of consciousness. I believe even the 14th Dalai Lama stated that consciousness has the potential to expand to an infinite degree―so other levels of knowledge, levels of understanding.

This tradition or this statement has been paralleled in the Christian Gospel by Jesus, who was an incarnation of Christ. He manifested that divinity in himself, and with his life was allegorizing certain steps and stages about the spiritual path. 
 
He also said, "Enter by the narrow gate." Enter into the meditative path that awakens your full potential, your seed, your Essence of soul. "For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter it by are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to spiritual life, and those who find it are few." ―Matthew 7:13

Think of an analogy of a tree. A pine tree has thousands and thousands of seeds. How many of them actually become a full tree when they land on the Earth? You may have a handful, or one or two. A few. So spiritual development is no different than nature. Things happen progressively in steps, when the causes and conditions are ripe. In order for a seed to develop into a pine tree, it needs water. It needs appropriate soil. It needs sunlight. It needs the conditions that give birth to that full development of a tree.
 
But of course, many seeds are lost, and this is the sad reality. Our true potential is not a guarantee, that it will develop into something fully perfect and divine.
 
And this is very evident by the state of humanity today. We can look at the news and simply see the state of crisis in which people are afflicted: wars, violence, acts of destruction, which are truly horrendous. It is evident by the state of our culture and this planet that people are not developing the seed of their spirituality. It is a difficult fact to realize. It is very unpleasant. If that seed were fully manifested and developed, there would be no wars, because divinity is compassion. It is love. So it's evident that this seed of humanity is not generating into a tree. It is degenerating. It is not being developed. And so any person who looks at the news and feels that horror of what this planet is in, evidently feels inspired to want to know the reason why, and as well to escape that type of destruction, which is very prevalent.
 
And so how do we develop that seed? There are beautiful stories and many scriptures that can teach us about that development. The Bible is one of them, which is a very misunderstood text, read very literally, dogmatically. People don't understand that scriptures like the Bible are telling parables through stories. They represent principles and truths which are psychological, spiritual. We have a very famous statement in the Book of Matthew, chapter 13, verses 31 to 32 about the development of that perfect seed, how the seed of the human being can become a god, an angel, a buddha, a deva, a jinn―whatever name we want to give to that fully self-realized and perfected individual.
 
“Another parable put he forth unto them saying, the kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge and the branches thereof." ―Matthew 13:31-32
 
Individuals like Jesus or Krishna, Moses, were once like us, a seed. But because of certain discipline of mind and training, they became the individuals that we emulate, in which millions of people follow, who are inspired. We like to think in this culture or even for thousands of years that those were just exceptional people. It had nothing to do with people like us, that somehow they receive the grace of God and were able to have those experiences, which is true to a degree. But the reality is that they worked to become them.
 
They were once like us, people afflicted by fear and distress and anxiety and suffering. But because of their tremendous compassion and their work ethic, they were able to become enlightened beings. And like a tree, they can house through their teachings and their instructions, all of the birds of heaven, all the saints, all the students of meditation who really want to become like that. 
You have many myths and stories throughout the world that teach and allegorize, whether in art or religious scriptures, stories that all teach the same thing: that we are a seed. We could become like divinity into a fully developed Christmas tree. If you are familiar with the Christmas tradition or the Christian tradition, people like to decorate a pine tree with many stars and globes and luminous objects and a star the very top. It s a very ancient symbol of this concept. The soul became a fully developed master of meditation and has lights illuminating that tree. It is a symbol of what we can become, as performed on the Nativity of Christ, the birth of Jesus, who symbolizes the birth of divinity in our hearts through practice and specific methods.
 
There is a very ancient teaching in the Aztec and Mayan religions that also point towards this concept. Samael Aun Weor who is the founder of the modern Gnostic tradition of which we study, wrote in a book called The Great Rebellion:
 
“One codex of Anahuac states that, ‘The Gods created humans of wood, and after having created them, fused them with divinity.’ But later adds, ‘Not all humans achieve integration with divinity.’” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
 
So what does it mean that the gods made people made of wood? A very interesting concept which anthropologists like to laugh at and read literally, thinking these are very superficial people or ignorant people who believe that, literally, people were made of wood by the gods.
 
Unfortunately, that materialistic view point misses the point. There is something symbolic here. 

Even in art, amongst the Greco-Roman tradition, Renaissance art, European art, they reflected these concepts in their images. But people who are very materialistic like the thing that God is a person, physical. They don't understand that it is a representation of something spiritual and conscious, psychological. This is the creation of Adam in the Sistine Chapel: a beautiful symbol of the development of or creation of the soul.
Some of you may be familiar with a story called Pinocchio, which also hides this truth. It was written by Carlo Collodi, who was an Italian author, and wrote about the story of a wooden boy that wanted to become a human being. It is a symbol. His writing was intentionally veiled in the form of a children's tale so as to avoid persecution. He was writing for a very select group of people who are studying this type of knowledge that was at the time forbidden to unveil or convey, primarily because people would not understand it and would create problems, because this type of thinking goes against the grain of institutionalized dogma. We can only think of the inquisition as an example.
 
So “Pinocchio, Pinoccoli or Pinocchio is the Tuscan Florentine word for pine nut or pine seed.” It is a symbol of us. We are a seed in a potential state that may want or feel inspired to become a fully developed human being, a person of flesh and bone, a fully developed being, a spiritually enlightened one. 

​The Three Esoteric Sciences

There is a lot of teachings in that story which are very beautiful and profound, symbolic. And if we read it from the knowledge of three types of science, we can gain a lot of understanding.
 
Those three sciences are known in different cultures and traditions, which we study in synthesis here. The word esoteric means “secret, hidden,” that which has not been taught publicly. These esoteric sciences, while some aspects of these traditions have been conveyed to the public, they were never fully explained until very recently, through the effort of many authors throughout different traditions, such as the Western Esoteric Tradition: the Golden Dawn, Rosicrucianism, Theosophy of Blavatsky, Rudolf Steiner's writings, from Anthroposophy, and many other teachings.
 
We study these three sciences called Kabbalah, alchemy and psychology, in order to develop our full potential. Kabbalah, alchemy, in the Book of Genesis, in the Old Testament, are called the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. These are symbols, practical methods and ways of study that can awaken the seed and develop it. These are not literal trees in the Middle East, that people think a single man and a single woman existed in a garden in Mesopotamia many millennia ago. That is a very literal teaching or interpretation.
 
What people don't recognize is that these sciences permeate all of the language of the Bible, but because people have not been instructed about the symbolic nature of those types of teachings, they of course read it like a newspaper. They don't really see the real value and depth of that instruction.

​Kabbalah

קַבָּלָה Kabbalah is the Tree of Life. These Hebrew letters read from right to left. The word קבל kabel in Hebrew means “to receive.” You may have heard many Jews study Kabbalah in this time. Real Kabbalah, in its spiritual sense, is knowledge that we receive from divinity, from direct experience. We can study Kabbalah intellectually and read books, but it doesn't equate with the actual personal verification of meditation for ourselves.
 
Kabbalah is a beautiful teaching that is symbolic and helps us understand all the parables and stories of the Bible, because the Hebrew letters themselves represent numbers, which are spiritual. They represent things, qualities of consciousness, and these letters also represent qualities of soul, which we study very didactically in our courses of Kabbalah, which we have on our website chicagognosis.org, or you can study also on gnosticteachings.org.

Alchemy

We also have the science of alchemy, or the Arabic الكيمياء: Allah-Khemia. The word Al or El in Hebrew is God. Khemia is a Greek term meaning chemistry: to fuse or cast a metal. Many people have heard of alchemy as being a medieval superstition of people literally trying to transform lead into gold, out of greed, and there are people who were like that, who misinterpreted this tradition to think that they could actually accomplish this feat. But the real depth and knowledge, the spiritual symbol of alchemy, is transforming the lead of the personality, our own negative states of mind into the gold of the Spirit. It is also the work with energy, working with all the energies we have in our body, in our heart, in our mind, so that we can fuse like a metal with divinity. 

​Psychology

And then lastly we have psychology. This is the Greek (ψυχολογία psychologia) read from left to right. Psychology in these times is divorced from spirituality. People think psychology is simply the study of the mind, the brain. If you look at the original etymology, psychology is actually something very dynamic.
 
It comes from psyche, logos. Psyche is soul. It is consciousness. It is the essence of a person. It is not just the intellect, because truly in our depth, we are more than just a mind. We have a heart. We have a body. The consciousness is not just thinking. It is the ability to perceive, even beyond thought. So psyche and logos or logos, in its original term, means “word.” You may be familiar with the Book of John: "In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word was God." The Greek word is logos. “In the beginning was the Logos, the Logos was with God, and the Logos was God.” These are symbols or qualities of being.
 
So what is genuine psychology and it's real root? It is how the soul, psyche, through meditation, unites with logos. Very simple. It also has to do with studying the obstacles in our own mind that create conflict for us.
 
We develop the seed of our potential through these sciences, and we will explain about these three in synthesis today.

The Sexual Seed: The Synthesis of Spiritual Creation

So the word seed has a very interesting connotation. A seed is the sexual synthesis of any being, whether from plants, from animals, from human beings. That seed of a person, of a soul, can be developed, very intentionally, when we learn how to work with all the energies that we carry within―not just our heart or mind, but even our creative potential.
 
That seed, which is sexual, our creative sexual potential, can give birth to a human being. We know this. The seed of a man and a seed of woman can unite to create a child, but people do not know that that very same seed, that energy or power that can create a human being, can create the soul, can fully empower it, because it is the power of life.
 
It is the most powerful creative power a human being possesses. It is how all societies are run. People are born through the seed. They have life. And just as physically we can have life with this body, the generation of our physical temple, we can also learn to transform the sexual seed through specific practices, transform that seed into energy, because creative sexuality is a tremendous power and a powerful responsibility. It is a tremendous responsibility to give birth to a child. It is very serious. But even more so, to give birth to a child within us, our full spiritual development, is even a greater responsibility. It has more power.
 
We can do that by learning to work with our energies. Some people may be familiar with Buddhism, of tantra, spiritual union, sexual union of husband and wife, working to connect from a state of purity of mind in order to transform everything that they have into developing their spirituality. This is why all traditions and all religions have really fought and explain that marital union, the love between husband and wife―not in a legal sense or in terms of paperwork, but from a conscious standpoint―has tremendous power, tremendous responsibility. The Bible relates some of these teachings in a very symbolic way, which people have interpreted, again, literally, but we'll explain some of the alchemical significance of these lines. 
 
"Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made..." ―Galatians 3:16
 
If you are familiar with the Old Testament, Abraham is one of the patriarchs of Judaism, the founding fathers. His people, the Jews, were promised by divinity that they would receive help. This is the fundamental, literal meaning. But if you look at this in a symbolic way, there is something more interesting.
 
"He saith not, And to seeds, as of many." ― Galatians 3:16
 
Meaning: individual people, because every person is a seed. When they are child, they grow and become a human being.
 
"But as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ." ―Galatians 3:16

So what is that seed that is mentioned in the Book of Galatians? We could look at this image of a elderly man with a sun emanating from his genitalia, a book in his hand, a staff of power in his left. This is from the medieval tradition of alchemy. So many alchemists, who knew the science of uniting with divinity, taught their truths through art. They didn't explain this explicitly, because they would face many problems and persecutions, many scandals.
 
So they taught through art, and this is a very beautiful image representing an elderly man who is a symbol of our own inner divinity, the figure Jehovah amongst the Jews. He holds a book in his hand, referring to study, the need to study oneself, one's life. He also has a staff in his hand, representing a weapon, a type of will that is needed in order to achieve genuine religion. We have a sun emanating from his sexual organs because, just as the ancient people knew that the sun gives life to all things, they made the connection and knew that our own sexual seed is the power of generation.
 
The sun generates all life in every level. We could not exist on this planet without light, and so the ancients knew that this seed is a type of solar force. It is a solar energy. It is a power that can give life. And even Plato and many Greek masters knew that the ultimate divinity is the sun, the Platonic Logos. Or like Jesus, and the great paintings has a halo of light around his head, because he has used his own seed to transform that, and to develop the light of the saints. He is a Christmas tree with light, with spirituality.
 
There is a statement by Samael Aun Weor in the book The Great Rebellion. He states that:
 
“The Sun has deposited the seeds within the sexual glands of the intellectual animal in order to germinate a Human Being.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
 
Some people get offended when they hear this term. But if you look at the story of Pinocchio, he was a wooden boy. He wanted to become a real, fully developed human being made into the image of divinity. And what is an animal? It comes from the Latin anima; to animate, to have life. If we look at humanity, we find that all the violence and wars and bloodshed and poverty and affliction is not the result of our own humanity, but that which is animal in us: anger, violence, prostitution, hatred, lust, envy. These are qualities that are animalistic, instinctive, and we all possess those elements.
 
But unfortunately, it is a very difficult thing to see how our own states of mind are the cause of our suffering. These are animal qualities. And because we have the intellect, we can rationalize. We are anima, souls, with intellect. But an intellectual animal is any one of us who has the seed and who can develop into a perfectly enlightened being, like in this image.
 
And what is a real human being? You can look at the Sanskrit: hum-man. Hum means “spirit.” Man or manas means “mind.”  It is a mind that is united with hum, the spirit. And what is that Spirit? Like in the previous image, we saw Jehovah pointing his finger towards Adam, creating the soul, a symbol of creating the perfect being, not a literal history. That represents how the spiritual force of divinity is fully perfected in manifested in us. That is a real human being, hum-man, like Jesus, Buddha, Krishna. They fully manifested all the qualities of the Spirit in a perfect way. That is a real human being.
 
But when we are criticized and we respond with anger and say very negative things, it indicates to us that we have much from the animal kingdom inside. Science and popular culture likes to defend that which is animal. You see it in our television, in our movies, in our cinemas, in our sports, in our fighting for power, in our politics, in our religions. These are animal qualities: competition, fighting, debating, arguing, inflicting harm.
 
But a human being is beyond that. Has transformed the seed into something perfected and we can do that by working with our energies through the science of alchemy.
 
“Obviously, such seeds can develop or be ultimately lost.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
 
Going back to the quote of Jesus and the Book of Matthew or the gospel of Krishna.
 
“If we want those seeds to develop, it is essential to cooperate with the efforts that the Sun is making in order to create Humans.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion

We have other images in this graphic, a lion beneath the genitalia of this elderly figure. You may be familiar with the Christian tradition of the Lion of Judah. It is a symbol of the strength and power divinity. You have also figures below who are fighting, grappling each other with swords and weapons, doing acrobatic acts, playing games. That represents all of humanity, people who don't really take spirituality seriously, their conscious life seriously, because they choose to engage in frivolities and wars.
 
So what is the way to escape the circus of humanity, the chaos? It is by studying ourselves like in this open book, and using our staff, which is a symbol of willpower, of daily effort. 

The Seed of the Second Birth

Since we are explaining about the seed of generation, we find a very beautiful teaching in the story of Jesus talking to Nicodemus. It is very common knowledge amongst Christians, or the belief that one is born again through belief. This is from the old scriptures of the Gospels, a very famous teaching that is not very well understood.
 
“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” ―John 3:5
 
People commonly interpret this as baptism, a ceremony or ritual in the church that one has received the water of spirituality and is blessed and then is saved.
 
Unfortunately, this type of thinking does not really address the practical problems of our sufferings. We may believe in divinity, in an institution or a church. We may be inspired by our groups. This is all necessary and beautiful, but belief does not change suffering. We continue to suffer whether we think something is true or not. The way that one overcomes suffering is through action, through work. But in a more deeper level, this scripture hides something very interesting that relates to alchemy, spiritual birth, the birth of the soul.
 
That which is born of the flesh is flesh. Obviously people do not need to be taught how to generate a physical child. But that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit. Through the matrimony or union of man and woman, one can give birth to a physical child, but that which is born of the Spirit through the same union, can give birth to the Spirit.
 
But of course, there are very specific procedures involved. When the couple works in their marriage or their union―and when I mean marriage, I don't mean papers, but a real marital union is the union of two souls that love one another perfectly, that are selfless and working on themselves, fully investing all their energy and love and potential, not only for their own benefit, but for the benefit of others. So that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit.
 
Birth is a sexual problem. In order to give birth physically we need male-female. But Jesus was indicating symbolically how through the same connection, but done with purity and with specific methods, one can give birth to the soul, the Spirit. And this is symbolized in some of the Kabbalistic meaning, the language of this scripture, which if you see these letters:
 
“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born (ה) of water (מ) and of the Spirit (ש), he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” ―John 3:5
 
This is Hebrew. We can look at the meaning of these individual letters, transpose over certain aspects of his explanation. This letter is called ה Hei. It is related to birth. It is even shaped like a womb. The letter ה Hei refers to birth, genesis, the divine feminine. The next letter is water relating to מ Mem, and מ Mem has two forms. There is an open Mem (מ) and there is a closed Mem (ם). Sometimes in Hebrew, when a letter is at the end of a word or name, it takes on a different configuration, but it is the same letter, the same meaning. Now water is מ Mem. You have very famous references in the Bible to water: the water of life, the fountain of youth, the waters of Genesis, how the world was made and life came from the waters. 
 
Again, the book of Genesis is not literal, a literal history, but refers to the birth of the soul. Those waters are our own sexual fluids, the creative waters of life, which, when they are conserved and transformed, can generate a lot of power, to give strength to our spirituality and make us truly warriors, those who really work out of compassion for others and generate all the beautiful qualities of the soul.
 
So “except a man” or person “be born of water and Spirit,” and the word Spirit relates to this letter called ש Shin. ש Shin has three prongs and refers to fire, but not a literal fire. It's a spiritual force, a power. Remember that Moses saw the burning bush, that Tree of Life, the Being, the divine, our true nature, inflamed with fire and light. Or Krishna with all those figures and light emanating from him. It's fire. It is a type of energy. It is not a literal fire in the kitchen. It is a fire that gives birth and light and understanding to our life.
 
That fire is contained within our own waters, because obviously, when a couple engages sexually, they are inflamed. The organs are inflamed. There is energy circulating, and the Buddhists call this tantra. Tantra is Sanskrit for circuitry. This is the circuitry of God. That fire can be conserved and circulated throughout the body and the mind to give youth. That energy which can create a child can rejuvenate the body and the soul, create harmony in every level. So if one is not born of water and the Spirit, one cannot enter the kingdom of God. This is the meaning of “to be born again.” It is a pure marriage or union. And again, marriage has nothing to do with paperwork. It has to do with love.
 
So you look at these Hebrew letters and the science of Kabbalah teaches this very beautifully. These letters can be reorganized in different ways in order to spell different meanings. You use these three letters to spell השם Hashem, which in Judaism they say ברוך השם אדוני Baruch Hashem Adonai meaning: “Blessed be the Name of the Lord.” השם Hashem is a reference to the highest identity amongst the Kabbalists. You also take those letters and switch them around you spell משה Moshe, Moses. 

Moses is a figure in the Bible or was a real person, but can represent something psychological, spiritual. He frees the Jews from this bondage in Egypt, which are psychological parables that teach about freeing the soul from the bondage of suffering and returning all of the parts of our soul to the Promised Land.
 
So all this is very interconnected and very interesting, and there are many connections we can draw between this tradition and many others. I am just providing a very general example that highlights that this is a very intricate and beautiful teaching. Very dynamic, but very simple in synthesis.

Spiritual Birth is Not a Theory or Belief

And as I stated, birth is a sexual problem. It is born from the Genesis of two human beings, male-female. And Samael Aun Weor wrote in The Perfect Matrimony:
 
“A seed never germinates because of what a person believes or stops believing. An insect is never born because of what a human being thinks or stops thinking. A man is never born from the parchment of theory. This subject matter is sexual and in this, the angel is no exception.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony
 
“Unless be you be born again of water and Spirit, you cannot enter the kingdom of God."
 
So this is the highest level teaching given in Buddhism, in Christianity, in Sufism. The mystics of Islam talk a lot about the love of the soul with divinity, but unfortunately people like to extrapolate, and they don't see the connection that we show the highest love of divinity in one's relationship, which is sexual. We show our love not only just with words, but with connection, because that is how the circuitry of God exists, how the energy flow between male-female.

Liberation within Sex

So this is an image of Padmasambhava from the Buddhist tradition, who is showing the highest teachings of yoga tantra, where literally yoga is “union, reunion.” There is no greater power or reunion with divinity than in the sexual act, because men and women can create a child. They  can create life.
 
This is Padmasambhava with his consort, his wife, and he explained that in order to enter the highest teaching, individuals must be prepared through a lot of work in meditation on themselves, because the obvious difficulty of sexual connection is having that energy buildup and losing it. So the foundation of all traditions of meditation always taught chastity. Of course, this is a very misunderstood science today. People think of chastity simply meaning abstention from sex. But chastity has to do with purity. It means immaculate purity. So by conserving that power, one can transform it, raise it through the body, the different centers of energy in ourselves, in our mind, our psyche. And this is how spiritual birth occurs, by working with that energy. 
 
“Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remains in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” ―1 John 3:9
 
So the essential component is that the seed remains inside. That energy is never let out, whether it is to procreate a child or for simple animal pleasure. So it is a very specific procedure. That seed is never lost. Instead, it is transformed into energy through certain exercises and prayers. It is done with a tremendous sense of respect and love and purity and honor.

Mind and Perception

Lastly we will talk a little bit about psychology. So we mentioned a little bit about Kabbalah, the Hebrew letters. We also talked about the science of alchemy: fusing oneself with divinity, working with our most vital principles.
 
In these times, there is a predisposition to believe that we are the intellect. We are the mind. Because we think, we rationalize, we conceptualize. But we emphasized that the mind is not our genuine identity. It is not really the full essence of what we are, because we have perception even before thought. But in these times, people tend to identify very much with intellect, with thinking, with concepts and rationalization, because in the West, especially, that is the foundation of our culture. We are very intellectual people.
 
We do use the intellect for our spiritual studies and we need it. We need it to exist in this society, but it is not the sum total of what an individual is. Consciousness is very different from mind. Consciousness is the ability to perceive, to know, to understand. And we can understand things without having to think.
 
This is very evident by certain experiences of businessmen who go to meetings, as an example, and they think and they think, they think, trying to argue out a problem, to solve a solution. But many of them become tired and they can't figure out what they need to do for a certain proposal. They take a break for five minutes and don't think of anything, and suddenly, they may get an understanding. People come back to the meeting rejuvenated, energized. This is a concrete example that can reflect something in our spiritual life.
 
Understanding doesn't have to be intellectual, a concept, a way of thinking. The mind is not the sum total of what we are. If we put our hand on a hot stove, we burn our hand. We retract in pain, and only later do we have the thought, “That really hurt!” Instead, we had consciousness of the experience and we reacted. We understood the problem where we got injured. And then we thought later about, “Well, I shouldn't do that again.” This actually shows us that the intellect is the slowest aspect of a person. It's not the quickest. It is actually not the most divine either.  It is actually not divine at all. It is just a machine. An intellect can have understanding of concepts. It stores information and then it gives back. We can learn to use the mind in a spiritual way, in a conscious way, in an intuitive way.  But the intellect has also been used to feed qualities like anger and resentment. Anger has its own logic fear, its own logic, ways of thinking. 

And so these qualities of mind, again, are animalistic, which is allegorized in the story of Jesus riding on a donkey into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. He is representing, or what it is representing in that act, how our own inner divinity must conquer the mind and this is what we attempt and practice in our meditations. Don't think so much. Don't worry so much. Don't daydream. Don't fantasize, but just simply be aware and attentive.
 
As we begin our practices of meditation today, we were just doing relaxation: a very basic practice in which we just become aware of our body, because most times we go through our day unaware of even our breathing, or circulation. You may have found that when you are starting to concentrate on certain parts of the body, you may start to daydream or think about other things. It means that the mind is not in control, that the mind is riding us instead of we, ourselves, riding the donkey, because the mind is like a donkey. It is an animal. It can be tamed or it can be wild.
 
Anyone who begins to practice meditation realizes that the mind is very chaotic. It could be a very disconcerting realization to make, but it is not a means or a reason to stop practicing. It is just that we are learning about what our state of mind is. We are just not cognizant of that fact on a daily basis because we tend to be very unconscious, in a spiritual sense. We don't really are aware of the full totality of our life. 

So there is a concept of, “I think therefore I am.” This is from the famous French philosopher Descartes. So anyone of us who study philosophy at universities really takes a lot of time to emphasize that “I think therefore I am,” that the intellect is somehow our true identity. But according to Samael Aun Weor in his book Igneous Rose, he mentions that:
 
“The concept of Descartes,“I think, therefore I am,” is completely false, because the true Man is the Innermost, and the Innermost does not think, because He knows.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Igneous Rose
 
Our divinity sees and observes and understands all things. It is a state of consciousness.
 
“The mind thinks, not the Innermost (our innermost true self).
 
“In its current state of evolution, the human mind is the animal that we carry within.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Igneous Rose
 
So we can look at our own lives to see examples of this where the mind is animalistic. We can even look on the news. Again, people committing acts of violence which are really cruel, inhumane, we say, demonic.
 
“The Innermost does not need to think because He is omniscient.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Igneous Rose
 
He sees and understands all things.
 
We also have a quote from the Book of John:
 
“I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” ―John 14:6
 
Of course, people think that one has to believe in Jesus and that one is saved, because he is the way, the truth, and the life, but symbolically, Christ, divinity, was speaking through him, saying that only through your own inner divinity can you reach your inner true development, your potential. “No man cometh unto the Father,” which is a symbol of our own inner divinity, the Innermost, we can say, “but by me.”
 
Christ is an energy. Christ is the seed, a force, which can birth to our soul. So as we are talking about alchemy, we give birth to the soul through that energy when we learn to work with it.

The Story of Pinocchio

And lastly will conclude with a teaching from the story of Pinocchio, to kind of circle back. There is a very famous part of the story in which Pinocchio is going to school and the Blue Fairy, a symbol of the divine feminine, is teaching him, telling him go to school and learn. It is a symbol of how we go to a certain school or group or meditative school and learn this type of knowledge: how to transform ourselves.
 
That Blue Fairy, the divine feminine, has been called many names in different traditions, symbolized by Mother Mary, Athena amongst the Greeks, Kali, Durga amongst the Hindus, a symbol of our own creative forces that is feminine, inside, and which can help any meditator achieve genuine religion.
 
Pinocchio is going to school, and then he is confronted by a friend who says “Why go to school? Join me come to the Land of Play where we can play all day and never work.” And Pinocchio is tempted. He goes and eventually goes to this place, where eventually he is transformed into a donkey.
 
Of course, later, I believe, even in the film by Disney, which does a very good job of depicting this, in the book he gets out of that state eventually. He has to do a lot of work to reverse that, but it is a symbol of how in life, we come to any kind of school of meditation that teaches us how to change, and yet we then get distracted. Our friends say, “Come out to the bar and drink with me!” or “Come see this movie!” or “Let's go to the Land of Play” in a figurative sense: television or whatever distracts us from attempting the practice of meditation, so that we can be more introspective and spiritual, profound.
 
This is a type of work, because there are a lot of temptations in this society. Our Western society is a land of distraction: sports, media, television, news. We tend to saturate our whole life with all these things, which pull our attention away and makes us very distracted. And so he becomes a donkey, but eventually he gets out with the help of the blue fairy, his Divine Mother we can say. The Divine Mother in Hinduism is a symbol of our own Being, an aspect of our divinity.
 
Divinity is not just male. It is represented as a masculine projective force, but also is receptive and feminine. There is that duality there and we will talk more about that in our studies of Kabbalah (See The Divine Mother from Beginning Self-Transformation).
 
And so we have a teaching from the book Igneous Rose:
 
“The Innermost must flagellate the mind with the terrific whip of willpower.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Igneous Rose
 
Flagellation, again, is not literal here, but it is a recrimination. Meaning, we start to act in a mental state of anger in a certain situation or crisis, we want to react in a certain way. But in that moment, we use our will and our awareness, our attention, not to act on that type of behavior, so that we don't cause harm for ourselves or for others. It is a type of willpower. Again, if you look back at the image of the old man with a book in his hand and a staff, he has a staff in his hand and the sun in his genitalia. That staff is a symbol of will, which is why all the shepherds in the Bible had staffs, a symbol of willpower, spiritual willpower.
 
“The one who identifies with the mind falls into the abyss.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Igneous Rose
 
One who enters into greater states of suffering, not only just in some dystopian reality or hell realm, according to religion, official religion, but in our own existence. So there are different levels here. We can find that if we act on negative states of mind, we suffer. As the Buddha taught in the Dhammapada:
 
“Mind proceeds phenomena. We become what we think.” ―Buddha, Dhammapada
 
If we think wrong and harm and evil, then the result will be harm for ourselves and others. But if we enact the virtuous qualities of mind, positive qualities of mind, we reap the benefits, and other people obviously benefit too.
 
“The mind is a donkey upon which we must ride in order to enter into the heavenly Jerusalem.”  Samael Aun Weor, Igneous Rose
 
And the quote from Carlos Collodi from the book Pinocchio:
 
“Boys who do nothing but play end up turning into donkeys.” ―Carlos Collodi, Pinocchio
 
So what is a donkey? It is a stubborn animal. And you may find that in meditation that the body is stubborn. The mind is stubborn. We sit to adopt a posture or an asana and to relax, and yet we start thinking of other things. We start day dreaming of other things. The body wants to shift and move. We want to adjust ourselves. We feel tension or pain, but if we are always moving in our posture, we are not actually meditating. This is why a great Swami from the Hindu tradition of yoga, Swami Sivananda said, “Your asana, your posture, should be like a mountain, firm,” but relaxed. We don't move. And if you resolve in yourself in the beginning: “Don't move,” you'll find that your mind starts thinking over things or your body wants to move. You have an itch. You have a pain in your neck. You want to adjust yourself. That shows us that the body is like a donkey. It is an animal. You have to train it. The mind likewise. And sometimes even our emotions too. Negativity is animalistic.
 
So we hope to conclude with the fact that the soul can develop through these three sciences: alchemy, Kabbalah, and psychology, because that seed can become a tree of life when it is intentionally nourished and developed.
 
Do you have any questions?

​Questions and Answers

Question: Where would you put astrology in all this? 
 
Instructor: Sure. For those who are not familiar with astrology, it is the ancient science of the stars: astros-logos: astros, meaning heavens or stars, Logos meaning divinity. We can say that astrology permeates all three sciences―in the original sense or in the interpretations of astrology that there are 12 zodiacal signs that one is born in. According to Hindu tradition, one is born in a different zodiacal sign in each life, if you studied reincarnation and what those concepts entail.
 
But the zodiac has to do with certain influences in the mind, the heart, the personality, our spirituality too.  There are different levels of influences from nature and the cosmos that influence a person. Of course, astrology today is a caricature. It is very divorced from a lot of the ancient roots and sciences that these astrologers actually knew. Astrology in its real sense is astros-logos: how the soul unites with the divinity of the stars. Every star and every planet has its own intelligence, its own divinities. Real astrology is when, in a state of meditation, we can let the body go to sleep, and the consciousness can awaken in what is called the internal dimensions. Some people call it dreams, astral projection, dream yoga, out-of-body experiences. This is something that you can experience for yourself and provoke at will if you seriously practice this.

In that way, in those dimensions known as the Tree of Life, again, the Tree of Life is a symbol of different levels of dimensions of nature that are psychological, spiritual, internal. And you can have those experiences in which your body is abandoned and you as a soul, in those planes, some people call it the astral plane, world of dreams―and then in that state, with profound clarity and awareness, you can call upon divinity. This is symbolized by Moses talking to God on Mount Sinai.
 
What is a mountain? It is a symbol of climbing that Tree of Life in meditation. A very difficult path, but you can reach the peak, those higher levels of consciousness in those states, and then you can call upon for help in those vivid, conscious, illuminated dreams, lucid dreams, people call it. In that way, you can get help from all the divinities of the stars.
 
If I am telling you this is because this is what I do regularly in my own practices. We receive help. And anyone can do this, because we all have a seed that can develop into that potential. Astrology relates with Kabbalah because when we receive that wisdom from any divinity, help for our physical life, we are performing Kabbalah, kabel, “to receive.” But also we can learn to have those experiences more regularly by working in alchemy, which is the science of The Perfect Matrimony, a book written by Samael Aun Weor, who is one of the founders of this tradition that we study along with many of the books that we have.
 
Astrology is not just the study of charts or memorizing complicated glyphs and numbers, which can have very interesting correlations to our life or not, but more profoundly, real astrology is when we develop our seed through these methods, these three sciences, so that we can receive help from the stars, literally, from heaven. Heaven is not a physical place, but a state of consciousness. You can awaken in the dream state, no longer projecting your dreams, your mind into that dimension, but you can see things as they are. It is not a vague or an amorphous dimension, but it is a material world just manifested by different levels or laws of nature. It's not physical or material like this physical plane. It's something different.
 
But that's real astrology. You can talk with the divinity of the stars. We have a book available called Practical Astrology with the different practices that you can use for each of the zodiacal signs during certain times of the month, where you can experience these things for yourself, receive help from those different influences.
 
Any other questions?
 
So if you are interested, I invite you to see our websites chicagognosis.org. You also can visit gnosticteachings.org. You'll find a lot of resources that teach this science in a very profound way. We have many courses available. The books that we have for sale here are also available online. You can also read every book, every chapter online. But if you want a hard copy, you can always purchase from here too.
 
Everything that we teach here is practical. You don't have to believe in any of it. We don't recommend that you believe in any of it, but in a state of neutrality, experiment and practice and see the results. And as you see results in yourself, that develops what we call genuine faith. People in these times confuse faith and belief. Faith is real knowledge born from experience. When you know from conscious experience that putting your hand on a hot stove burns you, you have faith that if you put your hand on a hot stove, you are going to get burned. It's a concrete experience. But even with those mystical experiences that all the saints of the different traditions taught, you can have that faith too, and you'll know from a state of lucidity and consciousness what those realities are, and then you don't the believe in anything. Belief doesn't change anyone. So again, you are also free to take some flyers and pamphlets if you are interested. We have the books available too, but I thank you all for coming.

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<![CDATA[The Multiplicity of Self]]>Tue, 30 Jun 2020 21:26:17 GMThttp://chicagognosis.org/transcriptions/the-multiplicity-of-self
This is a transcription of an audio lecture from Introduction to Gnostic Studies, originally given live at the Gnostic Academy of Chicago.

The title of this lecture is “The Multiplicity of Self,” and truly today we are going to be talking about courage, because to seek true and profound self-knowledge, to face the complicated and frightening multiplicity within our own psyche, requires tremendous courage.
 
In this image we see the Greek hero Perseus holding the severed head of the Medusa, the Gorgon, the monster. And on the Medusa's head, her hair was turned into hundreds of little serpents, representing, psychologically speaking, the multiplicity within our own psyche. Terrifying, Medusa had the power to turn anyone who looked at her to stone, to petrify them, to make them unable to change or to grow, to kill them.
 
It could be frightening to see things within ourselves that terrify us, things that we would prefer to ignore, to pretend are not within ourselves. But as we seek on the Gnostic path, to reach our highest potential, we must become Heroes like Perseus, not necessarily heroes in the outside world braving all kinds of terrors or tremendous difficulties, but first, heroes within ourselves: to plunge into the depths of ourselves, to not be frightened of facing the reality of our situation, psychologically speaking.

Our Psychological Situation

When we think about our spiritual situation, we can imagine a scenario like this. Imagine that you are in a dark jungle, so black that you cannot see anything, and perhaps you hear frightening noises around you. But because you cannot see, because you do not know where you are, because you have amnesia and have forgotten who you are or how you arrived in this state, you begin to dream. Feeling helpless and feeling terrified, you begin to fantasize. Perhaps imagine that you are somewhere safe. Imagine an identity for yourself, one that is strong or glorious. Imagine a life that is very happy. And although, all the while while you are dreaming this dream, in reality you are sitting in the dark jungle with any terror that could come up and devour you in any moment. You cling to your dreams and your fantasies as the reality, because it would be too terrifying to look at the truth of your situation: to feel helpless, to have no idea how to get out of the jungle, to have no idea who you truly are or how you arrived in this state.
 
So this is a metaphor for our spiritual situation. Spiritually speaking, we know very little of our true self. We know very little of how we arrived in this current situation that we are in or where we are going, and perhaps, spiritually speaking, we are not going anywhere. If we are blind, if we have lost our connection to our inner divinity, how do we find our way out? That is why we need the courage to open our eyes, to pray, to seek answers. To be guided by our inner divinity out of our current situation, we must first see our reality, our spiritual reality.

Dreams vs. Reality

There is a quote by Gurdjieff I am going to read for you. He says:
 
“Man's possibilities are very great. You cannot even conceive a shadow of what man is capable of attaining. But nothing can be attained in sleep. In the consciousness of a sleeping man, his Illusions, his 'dreams' are mixed with reality. He lives in a subjective world and he can never escape from it. And this is the reason why he can never make use of all the powers he possesses and why he lives in only a small part of himself." ―G.I. Gurdjieff
 
We are asleep. We go about our days in a subjective world, subjective, meaning it does not have an objective truth, but rather is a production of our own perspective. And as we talked about in the previous lectures of this course, our perspective can be very flawed at times.
 
Let's say, for example, that you are at a work meeting, and your boss seems grumpy and makes a comment to you. You feel very certain that your boss is angry at you. So you spend the rest of your day avoiding your boss, hiding from him, or if you have to talk to him, trying to be very careful to make him like you, to make him think that you are doing a great job, and let's say that the next day you hear from a co-worker that, truly, your boss was angry because some other misfortune happened. He recently lost a relative. Someone he cared about died. And so you had spent the entire day in a fantasy, in a dream, terrified or stressed out doing all these actions to avoid your boss, to avoid that anger that you believed was there, when all the while it was a fantasy in your own head, a misperception of reality.
 
In this example, we can see many times, in many ways in our lives, sometimes our dreams are mixed with our reality because of our subjective state of perception. They can also have a more positive slant to them. Perhaps you are trying to be friends with a new group of people, and every time you are around them, you think that they like you. You are making all these great jokes and you are in your own mind really impressing these people. And then later on, you find out from one of them that the whole time they were very annoyed with you, that they were making fun of you behind your back. What kind of pain does that cause for us when we have dreamed and believed that reality is a certain way but when the facts are actually otherwise? 
 
And that is why, as painful as it may be, to break through the defense mechanism of our fantasy and to see our blind and helpless spiritual state, it is essential. It is crucial that we begin to work towards that, because when we awaken, as Gurdjieff says, our possibilities are very great. If we saw reality as it truly was and if we knew ourselves as we truly are, if we became aware of the wealth that is sleeping inside of us, inside of our consciousness, and we activated that, we would not even be able to conceive, currently, a shadow of what we would be capable of attaining. As as Gurdjieff says, because we are asleep, we can never make use of all the power we truly possess in our soul. We live only in a small part of ourselves.

​Mechanicity and True Action 

So we have to ask ourselves, if we are so asleep all the time, and we are going about our day according to fantasies or misperceptions of reality that we believe to be true, but that really have very little to do with our actual situation, what kind of willpower do we have?
 
This is a great philosophical debate. Do we have free will or is everything predetermined? Is everything destined to happen a certain way, or do we have a choice in things? 

Gurdjieff often talked of man as a machine, saying that the sleeping man, the man who is like all of us in our sleeping conscious state, is like a machine―that someone pushes the right button and you react without any freedom, without any control to change your reaction. Perhaps a sibling or an enemy taunts you in a certain way, criticizes a defect that you are very sensitive about, and you react instantaneously with anger or with embarrassment, and you have no conscious control over that. But even greater is our situation that many larger external forces, economic pressures, politics, our jobs or education, all kinds of external situations become the larger mechanism within which we are trapped without the freedom to do anything more than react to our external circumstances.
 
And so Gurdjieff describes this state talking about our lack of will, true free will. He says:
 
“Will is a sign of a being of a very high order of existence as compared with the being of an ordinary man. Only men who are in possession of such a being can do.” ―Gurdjieff, Views from the Real World
 
And by do, Gurdjieff means have a true independent action, an action that is of our own will and not merely reactionary to other forces and pressures. Gurdjieff continues:
 
“All other men are merely automata, put into action by external forces like machines or clockwork toys, acting as much and as long as the wound-up spring within them acts, and not capable of adding anything to its force.” ―Gurdjieff, Views from the Real World
 
So as I mentioned, these external forces can be pressures in our world, can be the people in our lives, can be our worldly situation. But further than that, we also have many forces that move us from within our own psyche, over which we have no control.
 
We can think of our psychological state as a multiplicity. A very basic and perhaps silly example is how many of us wish that we could be healthier, that we could be in shape. And we think that we will have a healthier diet and so we begin to maybe starve ourselves. We are only going to eat celery sticks, just a celery stick fast, and a couple hours later, or maybe if we have a lot of willpower, a few days later, we suddenly become starving. We see a chocolate cake or some really delicious food that is our favorite food, and we begin to gorge ourselves on that. And so while in one moment, we had the will, the desire, the sense of self that wanted to be skinnier or healthier. In the next moment we are possessed by a sense of self that is gluttonous, that desires the sensations of those tastes, those foods.
 
So which one is really us? Are we the self that wants to be healthy, or are we the self that wants to enjoy life and eat delicious foods? Are we the self that wants to go work out at the gym and become stronger? Or are we the self that likes to relax on the couch and watch TV all day?
 
If we see both of those desires within ourselves pulling us―one moment is one, the next moment is the opposite, the next moment it is some other drive―how do we know who is our true self from moment to moment?
 
As we slumber and shift ever between these states, between these different urges, we have the illusion of continuity. We have the illusion that there is one self always present there, when in reality, one moment we are so hungry and we are trying to get up so that we can go to the kitchen and prepare ourselves some food. But then in the next moment we are too tired. We just want to continue to lay in bed and not do anything.
 
So which one is the true self? How do we know what is our true will?
 
The founder of the Gnostic movement, Samael Aun Weor, wrote about this state of our existence. He said:
 
“Many thousands of different individuals, different persons, “I’s,” or people who quarrel amongst themselves, who fight amongst themselves for supremacy and who do not have order or concordance whatsoever, exist within each one of us.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology
 
So that is like the examples that I was just giving. There is “I” who is hungry. There is an “I” who wants to go on a diet. There is “I” who is tired. There is “I” who wants to exercise. There are all these different identities within ourselves, but they don't have an order. They don't have a structure or a concordance with one another. They are chaotic. They are constantly battling for control of our human machine, our mind, our heart, our body.
 
So it becomes very hard for us to move in a defined direction, to have a true individual, continuous will, because we are constantly being divided by many, many, many wills within ourselves. 
 
Samael Aun Weor continued:
 
“If we were conscious, if we were to awaken from so many dreams and fantasies, how different life would be...” ―Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology

So as Gurdjieff was talking about how our dreams are mixed with reality, and because our consciousness is asleep, we believe that we are perceiving reality. Let's say that you have a dream. You are asleep at night and you are dreaming that you are being pursued by a huge ferocious tiger. And in this dream you are seeking to escape. You are running. You are looking for a tree that you can climb to get away from this tiger. But in the next instant, you wake up, and you realize you are safe in your bed and the entire time it was a dream.
 
Well, what about that example from earlier about your boss being mad at you and you are running, and you are running away from your boss, but then the next day when you find out the truth, that your boss isn't mad at you? You wake up in your bed and you realize the whole thing was a dream. You were so frightened. You were so worried. But here you are just fine. There is no threat.
 
If we were conscious, if we perceived what in us is a dream, our life would be very different, because in reality there are true threats to our spiritual development, true threats that can cause us to become petrified, turned to stone, and unable to grow and develop spiritually. We cannot perceive them as long as we are living in a fantasy.
 
“Nonetheless, as if our misfortune was not enough, negative emotions, self-love and self-esteem fascinate us, hypnotize us, never allowing us to remember ourselves, to see ourselves exactly the way we are...” ―Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology
 
We have a skewed perception. We  talked about it in previous lectures that we become very egotistical, very egocentric―possessed by our self esteem, our self love, our sense of anger, our sense of pride, our lust, our greed, our vanity―and because of that we are pulled all the time as if by our own psychological strings.
 
We do not have control over ourselves. We may swear in one moment that we love someone. We love our spouse, and in the next moment our spouse does something to make us angry and we hate them. We become cold towards them. We begin to push them away or to treat them cruelly. We have no power there to continue to love our spouse. Which one is the true self, the love or the anger?
 
That is why we have a tragic situation. We cannot remember ourselves. We cannot see ourselves as we truly are, because in each moment, we are possessed by negative emotions that separate us from the true and innate happiness of the consciousness.

Individual Will

We need an individual will. We need the will of our inner divinity, our true will. Not the will of these temporary and transient egotistical desires. But so long as we believe that we already have an individual will, we cannot access and become aware of the will of our inner divinity.

The will that speaks and expresses itself to us through our conscience, which many of us have silenced through years of ignorance. Samael Aun Weor also talks about this situation. He says:
 
“We believe that we have one will, when in reality we possess many different wills. Each “I” has its own will. The tragic comedy of all this interior multiplicity is dreadful. The different internal wills clash against each other, they live in continuous conflict, and they act in different directions. If we had true individuality, if we were a unity instead of a multiplicity, then we would also have continuity of purpose, awakened consciousness, a particular, individual will.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology
 
We know of situations where perhaps we or someone else has worked for years to attain a certain job. They spent lots of money. They spent years studying, getting education, getting training. They worked very hard to fit the role of this job that they sought, and finally, perhaps they are successful and they get this career. And then a few months or a few years later, they are unhappy. They realize this isn't what they want to be doing. They want to be doing something else, and that is an example of this tragic comedy that is ridiculous and absurd: how we are pulled so strongly in one direction only to realize that that was a false self, a false desire.
 
We thought having this certain job would make us happy, only to realize, tragically, that we are still unhappy, that that was not actually the happiness that we were seeking. We think that when we have a nicer car than our neighbor, whom we envy, that then we will be happy. We get the car and then our other neighbor gets a nicer car than us and we are miserable. Our pride is wounded. Our envy is inflamed.
 
So we see that in all these dreams and fantasies that we chase in the external world, we never truly find contentment that we are seeking, and in fact, often only cause ourselves more suffering. But if we awoke our consciousness, our inner connection to divinity, and we followed the will of our inner divinity, then we would have true purpose, true volition, and true happiness that cannot be taken away, no matter what our external situation maybe.

Overcoming Multiplicity

We are going to do an exercise because it's very important that we become aware of this within ourselves. I have been giving many different examples of that multiplicity, and perhaps some of them might resonate, but to truly psychologically observe this within ourselves is very important, because we need to first of all have the courage to face ourselves and to face our psychological situation. Furthermore, use that courage and use that sincerity with ourselves as a weapon to gain more and more self-knowledge. 
 
As Gurdjieff says in the following quote:
 
“Try to understand that what you usually call “I” is not I; there are many “I’s” and each “I” has a different wish. Try to verify this. You wish to change, but which part of you has this wish? Many parts of you want many things, but only one part is real. It will be very useful for you to try to be sincere with yourself. Sincerity is the key which will open the door through which you will see your separate parts, and you will see something quite new. You must go on trying to be sincere. Each day you put on a mask, and you must take it off little by little.” ―Gurdjieff, Views from the Real World
 
What we want is to see directly in our own experience of life what is new, to comprehend things in ourselves that we had previously been blind to. We have many fantasies about ourselves: fantasies about our life, fantasies about other people in the world that we cling to, that we repeat. We think the same thoughts. We feel the same emotions. We have the same habits day after day after day. But when we awaken consciousness, we begin to perceive ourselves and reality in a new way, and that requires a lot of courage and a lot of sincerity. 

​Exercise

So in this exercise, we are going to use a technique of meditative self-observation that we learned about in previous lectures. It's going to be a little bit challenging and uncomfortable. But using our willpower, we are going to set this task for ourselves to be truly sincere and to see within ourselves something new.
 
So go ahead and close your eyes. And for a few minutes, we will enter into a meditative state. First, we will become aware of our physical center, the sexual-motor-instinctive brain, becoming aware of our physical body, relaxing and breathing deeply, noticing any physical sensations in our body, becoming aware of that, becoming conscious―concentrating, awake, alert, but relaxed.
 
Next, we will become aware of our emotional state, becoming aware of how we feel in this moment, whether it is positive, negative, or neutral―not judging it, just becoming aware.
 
And then moving into our intellectual center, becoming aware of our thoughts, becoming aware of any thoughts that are passing through our mind―not trying to change them, but just noticing them―breathing deeply, relaxing with each inhalation, and letting out any stress with each exhalation―beginning to enter into a relaxed and concentrated state, maintaining the alertness and the concentration of our consciousness.
 
Now we set a wish for ourselves, using our willpower, to recall one of the most painful moments of our lives, and as this memory comes into our concentration. We become aware of our heart, our emotions. We become aware of our body, our physical reactions. Become aware of our mind and our thoughts.
 
You may notice as you try to focus on something that is uncomfortable and painful, try to look at a painful corner of yourself, but there are many other wills that arise that resists it, that dislike it, that try to pull your concentration away, because we do not like to look at ourselves, to face our suffering. But this is necessary, if we can begin take a deep breath, to relax again, to let the memory go and to come back to this moment.
 
So hopefully in that exercise you observe something within yourself, a division of wills: that when you set an intention to truly look at yourself, other wills arose that did not want to look, that were afraid, that were angry, that were hurt, that wanted to distract themselves or avoid facing reality. But as Gurdjieff says:
 
“Sincerity is the key which will open the door through which you will see your separate parts, and you will see something quite new.” ―Gurdjieff, Views from the Real World
 
We cannot be afraid of ourselves, even the most painful things that we carry within us. We must be sincere each day. As our sincerity, our willpower, our courage, is the key to overcoming the multiplicity within ourselves.

​Christianity and the Multiplicity of Self

I am going to talk in the second part of this lecture now about different scriptural examples that encode this psychological teaching for us.
 
But we can see that his esoteric teaching has been present in traditions around the world for many hundreds of years, or thousands of years. In the Bible, there is a story of a madman who wandered around the tombs. And if we look at this as a metaphor for our own situation with all of our fantasies, with all of our ideas about ourselves and our delusions about our lives, we are the madman who is wandering around the tombs, because spiritually we are dead. Spiritually, we do not have life.
 
In the Bible, in the Book of Mark, we see here that Jesus went to this madman who is possessed by many demons and the madman said to Jesus, "What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God?"
 
When our conscience speaks to us, when our inner divinity comes to us, to show us the reality of our situation, to guide us, to show us what is, what is wrong, what we must do to awaken to overcome ourselves, do we accept that guidance? Or do we turn back to our delusions and say to God, “What have I to do with thee? What have I to do with my own inner Spirit?” If all of my time is invested in my worldly fantasies, in my idea of myself, my pride, my selfishness, my gluttony, my lust, my greed, my envy―what have I to do with God or with the Christ if that is my choice? To live in a fantasy and to avoid my spiritual reality? But Jesus, representing here the Cosmic Christ, the force of universal compassion and wisdom, says to the man before he heals him:
 
Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”
And he replied, “My name is Legion: for we are many.” ―Mark 5:9
 
The many that exist within this man, this madman who lives among the tombs, who represents us, is a multiplicity of false wills, sometimes demonic wills, animal wills, selfish, egotistical wills that have in their intention to harm others for our own benefit. They are false wills. They are a sense of self that we believe in a given moment is true―“Is who I am” in this moment, because “I feel angry. This is my true will and I will hurt the ones I love to avenge my anger”―when a little while later, we feel remorse. We realize that we were controlled in those moments by the demon of our anger, and that it was not truly the will of our soul. But now having hurt the ones we love we, must live with the consequences of having been possessed by a false “I,” a false self.
 
But as we see in this chapter of the Bible, Jesus has the power to heal this man of his demons, and he cast them out and cast them into pigs, which run into the waters and then drown. This is a deep esoteric symbol. We can simply say that when we turn to our own inner divinity, or own connection with a force of universal love and compassion, the Christ, and we asked to be healed, that we can overcome the multiplicity of ourselves.
 
But that takes the sincerity of realizing that, as we currently are, we are possessed by many demonic wills. We lack true individuality
 
Gurdjieff has another quote that has to do with breaking through this mechanicity, this defense mechanism, this multiplicity. He writes:
 
“All religions speak about death during this life on earth. Death must come before rebirth. But what must die? False confidence in one’s own knowledge, self-love and egoism. Our egoism must be broken.” ―Gurdjieff, Views from the Real World
 
That egoism that I was just describing, a sense of self that has nothing to do with divinity, that has nothing to do with our Spirit or our soul, that is false. That is multiple. That is divided. That believes that our anger is real, that our lust is real, that our envy is real, that our pride is real, and will even fight to the death to defend a sense of self that has no permanence, that has no continuity, that is here one moment and gone the next. This egoism must be broken, and can be broken by our sincerity, and by working with the force of Christ.
 
Gurdjieff continues:
 
“We must realize that we are very complicated machines, and so this process of breaking is bound to be a long and difficult task. Before real growth becomes possible, our personality must die.” ―Gurdjieff, Views from the Real World
 
If we want the growth of the soul, we have to invest energy into our soul. And if all of our energy is poured into a thousand different directions that have nothing to do with the growth of our soul, we will remain stagnant. We will remain fueling a false identity, a false personality. 
 
In order for our soul to be born again, for us to be reborn, our false self must die. This is something we have touched on in the previous lectures, which ties into this topic today as well.

​War in the Bhagavad-Gita

It is another example from the Hindu tradition, in the scripture of the Bhagavad-Gita, Krishna, who is a representation of Christ, the Hindu Christ, comes to the battlefield to help the hero of the story, Arjuna. Arjuna is a representation of our own human soul, the true willpower of our soul.
 
In this battle, Arjuna ask Krishna to pull his chariot in between the two armies, the army with whom he fights and the army whom he fights against. He looks on both sides of the battlefield and he sees, on both sides, people who were once or currently are his friends, his relatives, his children, his grandparents, his brother-in-laws. He sees his beloved friends and relatives, and he loses heart. He loses courage. He loses his strength, and he says to Krishna, "I cannot fight. It would be better for me to die than to kill these people whom I love. How can you ask me to fight this war?"
 
Now this is a psychological symbol for our situation. As we look on our spiritual battle field, at the army against whom we fight, the legion within our psychology, we see many beloved friends and relatives, psychologically speaking, that we are very attached to: our pride, that we are very attached to our gluttony or greed or envy or lust, our desires for the future, our desires for fame or for wealth or for a certain partner, certain security. We are so attached to them that we say, “I don't want to fight this spiritual battle. I want to continue on with the flow, even if it costs me the death of my soul. I don't have the strength to fight.”
 
But what does our inner Christ say in this beautiful scripture? Krishna gives Arjuna the teaching of Atman, the true Spirit, the inner-self that is not attached to fame or to disgrace, to gain or to loss. It is not attached to heat or cold, to happiness or sadness. The Spirit has eternal wisdom and love and a contentment that is beyond temporary pleasures of the world. Through this teaching, Arjuna gains direct knowledge of non-attachment and gains the strength and the courage to go to battle against his enemies, which as I stated earlier, psychologically speaking, are elements within ourselves that we are too attached to―that we believe are our cherished darlings, our family, our loved ones, but that ultimately come to steal from us the kingdom, the kingdom of our soul, our spiritual inheritance. They come to take away our lifetime, to take away our energy and our willpower so that we cannot fight for our soul, for our spiritual development, and fight according to the will of our inner God.

​Perseus and Medusa: The Essence Battles the Ego

Finally, we will return to the Greek mysteries, the myth that we began, the myth of Perseus and Medusa. So the Medusa, a Gorgon, was once a very beautiful woman, so beautiful that she became very vain and proud and egotistical, and as a result, incurred the wrath of the goddess and was turned into a hideous monster with hair full of serpents.
 
These many serpents represent the same symbol as the poisonous serpents in the desert that bit the Israelites, the many different desires within ourselves that bite us, that poison us, that causes us, spiritually, to become weak and to die, because they divide us from our true self, from our true inner divinity.
 
In order to protect the virtue of his mother from a lustful king, Perseus goes and fights to bring back the head of the Medusa. Medusa with her stare petrifies anyone who looks upon her. Many warriors have gone to fight her, and in looking upon her horrible, terrifying face, have been turned to stone and have perished.
 
Spiritually speaking, when we look at ourselves, we must not get identified. We must not get attached. We must look at ourselves with serenity with courage, look at ourselves from the perspective of our inner divinity who is not attached to any outcome, but can see reality as it truly is. So in order for Perseus to defeat Medusa, he is given by Athena a polished shield, a shield which allows him to see the reflection of Medusa and to kill her without looking directly upon her.
 
Symbolically, this represents our need to enter into a meditative state in which we are not identified, but can reflect on ourselves from a higher perspective. We can destroy our enemy, because when we sit to meditate, we can separate from egotistical desires and enter into communion with our inner divinity, which gives us strength to see reality. But as stated in the earlier example, when we are fused with a given desire, when in that moment we become so identified with our anger that we do horrible things, say horrible things to the ones that we love, then we are defeated. We are spiritually killed by our inner enemy, and that is why we need that separation: the polished shields of our own self-reflection.
 
As he cut off the head of the Gorgon, Perseus was given an adamantine sword by Zeus. Zeus was his father, because Perseus, like us, is half God, half mortal. Within us we have our soul, our Essence, the seed of a soul which is given to us by the Spirit, our spiritual identity, our inner divinity. But also within us, we have many mortal elements given to us by Mother Nature, our physical body and internal bodies and vehicles that were given to us by nature. And so we must work with the sword of willpower, which represents the willpower given to us by our inner Spirit, of our spiritual nature, to cut off the head of the beast, our psychological enemies.
 
Now after Perseus kills Medusa, he must put on the helm of Hades. Hades is the king, the lord of the underworld, and this helm of darkness allows Perseus to hide from the other enemies that come, the other Gorgons that come to destroy him when they find out that he has killed their sister. This represents the facing of ourselves and cutting off the head of Medusa is just the beginning of our battle, but what we have to use to protect ourselves for the further battles after that is the helm of darkness. Because when we have faced the darkness within ourselves, we received the gift of Hades, the gift of the lord of the underworld, that we can use to protect ourselves, because we know when we face the worst in ourselves, we have the courage and the ability to fight and conquer other forms of evil.

​Conclusion

So to summarize everything that we talked about here, we can look at what these symbols represent. When we are first courageous enough to admit that we have a multiplicity of wills and that we do not know our true individual will, the will of our inner God, when we become serious about our spiritual work in developing our soul, rather than chasing after many false fantasies and false desires that change moment by moment, that at the end of our life have brought us nothing, we instead face ourselves and we become serious about wanting to develop our soul.
 
We can use a method for self-transformation, that just as Perseus used the shield, we must have non-identified self-observation. This comes from self-observing ourselves throughout the day, as we talked about in the previous lectures, but also through meditation. Through developing our connection with our inner divinity, that can strengthen us to see what is our true self. Because when we know our true self, we are not so easily fooled by the multiplicity of false selves within our psyche.
 
At the end of each day, we retrospect. We perform a meditation in which we observe which elements were active throughout our day, so we can begin at the beginning of our day and replay it in our mind with non-identification, or we can start at the end of our day just before we sit to meditate, and replay the day backwards. But either way, observing how many multiple wills pulled us in different directions, how from one moment to the next our will was not continuous, and analyzing from an unidentified position, we question: what is the truth of those desires? If I pursue this anger, if I go and I take my vengeance and act on this anger, what will the outcome be? Will it bring me happiness? Will it bring me peace? In the long run, will it develop my soul? Or is it just an illusion? Is it a false desire? A false self that I must separate from.
 
The same is true with pride, with envy, and lust, gluttony, laziness. If we act on these defects, what will the outcome be? Will the outcome be spiritual growth? Will it be self-knowledge and wisdom? Universal compassion? Will the outcome be that true happiness of the soul?
Or will those only bring us temporary pleasures, that when we reach the end of life, will be lost?
 
For that type of meditation, we need sincerity. We need to be very sincere with ourselves and not allow our self-deception to fool us into wasting much time and energy chasing after fantasies, delusions that won't get us anywhere. And all of this work takes tremendous willpower. For that willpower, we need to conserve our energy, to be living ethically, to be honest with ourselves, to be honest with others, to be living in an upright way, to be acting according to what we know in our conscience to be right. Through those ethics we can conserve enough energy to have the willpower to observe ourselves day after day, to meditate and to truly seek the awakening of our consciousness.
 
And finally, it's very important that we use prayer, because this self-transformation is a tremendous feat. It is very difficult. It is symbolized by the heroes of the Greek myths and the heroes of the scriptures, because it requires a tremendous amount of willpower, a heroism that we must find in our own soul and develop. But always these heroes have the help and the guidance of the gods and of divinity. And that is why through prayer, we can gain that inner help, that inner guidance to show us, what is the truth? What is the reality of our situation?
And what is the will of our inner God?
 
Do you have any questions?

Questions and Answers

Question: When Gurdjieff says what is man capable of, what is he capable of, if we are going to do this work of eliminating ego? What happens for us?
 
Instructor: Many people wonder “Who would I be if I didn't have all these desires? What would I do? Would I just be nothing?” But when we look at great spiritual masters like Jesus, like Buddha, like Krishna, these are truly great solar identities, solar beings, profound, powerful. If we took an ordinary person and put them in a situation where they were all by themselves, this person would be helpless, would not have the ability in that jungle, like our earlier example, to find their way out or to survive. But if we took a master like Jesus who has power over nature, power over himself, truly channels the power of divinity, his potential is limitless on earth and in the higher dimensions of nature. So that is the ultimate goal that we seek. Whatever level we might reach, we seek to develop our spiritual potential to have power over ourselves first and over nature, and even spiritual power.
 
Question: So Gurdjieff talks a lot about genuine will. What would be an example of genuine willpower according to divinity?
 
Instructor:  We can think about the example of Jesus of Nazareth in the garden of Gethsemane. What does he say as he prays to God? This is before his crucifixion and he knows he is going to die and he prays to God, "Father, if it be thy will, take this cup of bitterness away from me, but not my will but thine be done." It is an example willpower. It is submission to divine will, that where our Spirit guides us, that we have the will of our inner God to do whatever is necessary, and that we are not controlled by fear or by any egotistical desire, but rather, we have true strength, continuity of purpose. We are awakened. We know what we must do and we have the will and the power to do it.
 
Question: So what does it mean to be conscious? Because this is a very difficult thing for students and for ourselves, is learning to understand what it means to be awake. So when we are awake, how do we really know? So I know it sounds like a kind of a catch-22, but what are the signs of being conscious in this work?
 
Instructor:  Well in that example or in that exercise where we were meditating, were you aware of your feelings? Were you aware of your physical body sitting in the chair? Were you aware of your thoughts? That simple awareness of physical sensations or emotional sensations or mental sensations is an example, is a taste of becoming conscious. Actually, throughout the day as we are walking around, we are often not even aware of our physical body. We are not aware of breath coming in and out of our body. And so on the most basic level, to be aware of your physical processes, becomes the first level of being conscious, and then as we become aware of our more profound psychological depths―our thoughts or emotions that were previously unconscious to us as we work more and more in meditation―then we are awakening more and more. We might even perceive things that are extrasensory, you know, develop spiritual senses like telepathy, clairvoyance, clairaudience, to be awakened when we are asleep at night, to be awakened in the astral plane. These are examples of awakening, but it happens degree by degree.
 
Question: So what does it mean to be asleep and hypnotized? Because I know we talked a lot about different identities and wills. How is it that our sense of self makes us dream or makes us unaware of ourselves or unaware of things?
 
Instructor: Well, I think I gave an example too of being, you know, having a misperception of a situation with our boss, right? Where we believe that our boss is angry, and so we go about our day acting according to that belief. Now the reality is that our boss is angry at us, was having a bad day, because of some other situation that we didn't know, but in this state, this subjective reality, the subjective world of our own psychological perspective, we believe it to be true. And so we are going about acting as though that is the reality when the reality is otherwise. And that is because we are sleep, because we think we are perceiving reality, but truly we are filtering reality through our own egotism, our own fear that our boss would be angry at us, for example.
 
It’s just like the dream with the tiger chasing us, that when we are asleep and we are having a dream, that a big tiger is after us, we believe it's true and we are running like mad and we are trying to find a tree. We are trying to escape, and then we wake up and we realized that was not reality, right? So that's an example of what it is to be asleep. And you know, there are many desires that we are chasing we believe are very real, that desire for that new car, that desire for that new partner, that desire for that new job. And as we chase them, we believe they are real, but perhaps a few months later, some other job comes up and you get that job instead, and so all that time that you invested thinking that, “Oh, in a year from now, I am going to have this job,” was wasted, because the reality ended up being different. The truth is, that life never goes according to our plans.
 
Question: When I see that certain egos come up in situations, such as insecurity or fear or uncertainty or doubt, despair, and becoming hypnotized by those thoughts is what keeps us asleep. So why do we have a multiplicity in us? Why is it that we have ended up the way we are?
 
Instructor: So because we―in past actions, both in this lifetime and in previous lifetimes―invested our energy into desires that had nothing to do with our inner divinity. We created a flow of energy that goes into multiple different directions. So let's say that, you know, in the past, in a past life when we had a stronger connection with our inner divinity, we were guided to perform one action. But because of some egotistical desire or fantasy, because of our pride, for example, we didn't want to do this action that would have humiliated us. So we chose to act in a prideful way.
 
Well, in that case, psychologically speaking, we strengthened our sense of pride. We strengthened that false self, and we did this many times, many different actions, many different directions, created a multiplicity of wills with our own energy, our own consciousness, our own conscious energy. And so in this lifetime, we carry the psychological consequences, the psychological bodies from those previous existence―existences that have a multiplicity of wills.
 
But because we have become so hypnotized, so asleep, like I said, spiritually speaking, we have amnesia. We have no idea how we got here. We don't even remember what we did yesterday or two weeks ago, let alone what we did in past lives. And so our situation is very confused and very asleep. But as we work with meditation and as we perform this profound psychological self-transformation and awaken ourselves and begin to perceive the depths of our psyche, we can become aware and awakened and remember our past lives and see for ourselves, directly, through our own experiences, our mystical experiences, the reality of our past lives and how we ended up in this situation now.
 
Question: So when we get rid of the ego, we develop the soul. How is it that by eliminating the ego, we develop our consciousness? How is our consciousness trapped in the ego, right? Can you tell us more about what that process is like?
 
Instructor: I am going to go back to this quote here by Gurdjieff, when he says the death must come before rebirth. And so we know that our egoism must be broken. The ego is all of those different “I’s.” So we can say actually that we have a legion of egos. Ego means “I” in Latin. Now, because we have our own psychology divided into these false senses of self, our energy and our attention and our awareness is divided in many different directions, so that we can't progress through life with a continuous direction and a sense of will. We can't work towards one aim, because one minute we want to go on the diet and become skinnier, and the next minute we are turned in another direction and we are eating that chocolate cake, right? But this is actually a much bigger problem for us when we perform meditation everyday and we see the reality of different egos that pull at us.
 
As we meditate and we begin to take our energy back, we begin to extract our consciousness from these false delusional selves, these delusional desires, and we bring our consciousness back into a center of gravity and we center ourselves, again―in our Spirit, in our soul, in our conscience and our connection to divine will within ourselves, our true individual will―then we can begin to die to the delusion and to be born to the reality of the soul, and see the spiritual realities that are much more profound than the false realities that we perceive now and that we believe to be true.
 
But so long as we believe the lie, well, then we cannot perceive the truth. So we must first perceive that the egos or the different “I’s” that manipulate us moment-to-moment are false and then die to them. Let them go―as Arjuna killed these beloved attachments that we have, because they are temporary, because they are false. Then all of that energy, that consciousness, that awareness, returns to our Spirit, to our soul, and so we can be born as a soul.
 
Question: Can an ego observe another ego? How does that work? I believe Samael Aun Weor talked a lot about that process.
 
Instructor: Well, some people develop an egotistical sense of self that is doing this work. You know, it may be a Gnostic “I’s” that sits and judges and condemns the other “I’s” and says, “This one is bad and this one is not good.” But eventually that person has to become aware that that Gnostic “I” is also a false self.
 
When we are sitting in a state of conscious meditation, free from conditioning, we see and perceive the reality directly. We gain comprehension that is not intellectual. When one is sitting, at the beginning perhaps, our analysis is a little bit intellectual because we start where we are at, and so we have to maybe begin just by intellectually pondering: “Well, was that desire to yell at my friend good or bad?” Or “Where is that going to take me if I continue to act on that desire?”
 
Perhaps in the beginning it is intellectual, but as we strengthen our connection with divinity and as we strengthen our consciousness through this work and awaken, then we have comprehension of ourselves. We perceive reality directly. We know the truth. And so we do not have to analyze in this egotistical way or this intellectual way, but merely sit to meditate, observe what we see, and we will know through direct spontaneous insight. Perhaps not in that moment of meditation, perhaps later, but as well as long as we are doing this work and we are making efforts, our inner divinity will guide us and will show us the truth. It is  very inspiring and doesn't require exertion. It comes naturally as a result of the effort to observe ourselves and to meditate. 

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<![CDATA[Consciousness, Ego, and Personality]]>Tue, 23 Jun 2020 14:46:58 GMThttp://chicagognosis.org/transcriptions/consciousness-ego-and-personalityThis is a transcription of an audio lecture from Introduction to Gnostic Studies, originally given live at the Gnostic Academy of Chicago.

So every time we meet here together, we talk about gnosis. What is gnosis? It is experiential knowledge, knowledge of divinity, but knowledge of divinity that begins with ourselves.
 
Consciousness, ego and personality are three elements of ourselves that we can understand.  And if we start with the basis of understanding this, then we gradually work into an understanding of which part of ourselves is the most divine, and how we can strengthen that part. 
 
Now, because this is a path of self-knowledge, we have been working with the practice of self-observation. Before we seek to understand beings that we cannot see, other dimensions, those types of mystical experiences, we seek to just understand our reality.  So with self-observation, we have begun by looking at our three brains. We talked before last time about how the three brains are three energetic centers. 

The body is like a machine that can receive all types of information. We can receive motor, instinctive, and sexual impulses in our body, and that is controlled by the motor-instinctive-sexual brain.
 
We can receive emotional sensations, things that we process usually in the middle region of our body. We can feel anger in our gut, or love, warmth in our chest. And that can be divided into superior or inferior emotions. All of us have emotional states that are very pleasant and happy, serenity, but most of the time, unfortunately, we are stuck in emotional states that are states of suffering, anger, depression, misery. So we can use the emotional center in two different ways, in a superior way or inferior way, depending on what we are resonating with.
 
In the same way, the third center we talked about, the intellectual brain, which corresponds with the physical brain, up here in our head, can be divided into superior thoughts or inferior thoughts.  Superior thoughts might be inspired works of genius, inventive types of creative thoughts, totally free from repetition and conditioning, while inferior thoughts might be of a more egotistical nature, selfish and repetitive.
 
If you have been working with self-observation, and observing not only external events but also your internal states of being, you might have noticed that the majority of our life is spent repeating thoughts that we have already thought, emotions that we have already felt before, actions and habits that we have already done, that life becomes a bit like a routine. And we don’t know how to escape this. Even if we are stuck in habits and emotions and thoughts that do not necessarily bring us any joy, we don’t know how we are supposed to step out of that.
 
We talked about how gnosis, self-knowledge, is the fourth path, the path of equilibrium, the path of awakening consciousness. Consciousness is separate from thoughts, separate from emotions, and separate from our instincts, impulses and body. Although consciousness gives us the chance to perceive all of those different types of sensations that we experience, that are a part of our life, we can awaken our consciousness separate from those sensations when we are in psychological equilibrium.
 
So we talked last time about looking at our lives, looking at if we are living in an imbalanced way, if there are times when we become too intellectual, getting carried away in theories and ideas. Times when we become too emotional, getting attached to sensations and emotional stimuli, dramas on TV, those kind of things, and not really thinking things through, not really putting things into practice. Or finally, we might be imbalanced in that we are a person that is always on the go or has a lot of instinctual habits, really identified with our physical body, but we’re not really thinking things through. We don’t have a lot of emotional depth.
 
By identifying that and working to correct our own imbalances, we can begin to activate a state of conscious awareness. We can begin to self-observe ourselves in a new way. 

Perception of Reality

So if you’ve been working with that practice over the last few weeks, then this question might be something that you are looking at in a new way. Do we perceive reality?
 
So most of us are going to assume, “Well, yeah, I’m not hallucinating. I see the room around me, and that’s reality, right?” But we want to go a little bit deeper than a superficial understanding of this question.
 
When working with practices to understand not just the external world and our habits and life the way that we usually understand it, but to perceive life in a more profound way, in a spiritual way, then we need to question reality, because is it reality, or is it our perception of reality?
 
To give you an example of this, pretty common, that most of us have had a first impression of somebody that was really great, and we thought that they were an amazing person, and then later on we found out that maybe they weren’t such a nice person after all. Or conversely, maybe somebody rubs you the wrong way, maybe the first time you meet, you think this guy is going to be a jerk, but then not so long later, you realize they are a pretty good person. Maybe they become one of your best friends.
 
So what is it there that tricks us? Why is it that we think we are perceiving the reality of someone or situation, but later on time proves that we actually haven’t seen it as it was?
 
A really poignant example of this is a betrayal. So all of us at one point in our life have been lied to, or betrayed by someone we trusted, and that can be a very traumatic experience for the soul. Because in an instant, you realize that someone you thought you trusted, you thought you knew, you thought you had a good understanding of their character, has said or done something that contradicts everything that you believe. You might go deeper into a state of doubt, questioning not only your relationship with that person but questioning yourself and what you did wrong, what you didn’t see to get yourself in that position. Questioning: is it just this one person that I didn’t understand, or is it all types of people that I don’t understand? Do I even have a grasp of life?
 
The doubt can be very distressing, but it is very important, because it shows the fundamental truth of our situation, which is that we are not really very cognizant of reality. We are actually in a state where we should feel a little bit of distress, because we need to figure out: “What is it that I am not seeing? And how do I move into that place where I can begin to see things as they are? So I don’t continue to follow an unconscious assumption about life and about people and about myself that puts me into a state of greater suffering.”
 
But most of the time after something like this happens, the pain is too great. So we run away from that doubt. We run away from ourselves. We push it down. We blame the other person or we get distracted with something else. Sometimes we run directly into the same situation with someone new and we end up repeating and continuing our suffering rather than learning from it.
 
Now with practices like self-observation and meditation, we are able to begin breaking that cycle. We are able to begin to understand what it was that we missed, that we didn’t perceive, to understand ourselves in a new way, and to step beyond our wrong assumption of reality into a better understanding of reality.  

The Consciousness

So the first of the three elements of ourselves we are going to look at today, that will help us to be comprehend reality, is consciousness. Now consciousness as commonly defined is “the quality or state of being aware and having mental faculties not dulled by sleep, faintness or stupor.” So that is, if you’re the boxer in the ring and you get knocked unconscious, then you wake back up and you are conscious again. You know, very simple, superficial understanding of what consciousness is, but we are seeking again to go deeper.
 
That consciousness is not just being physically awake or physically asleep. But most of the time, in an esoteric understanding of consciousness, we are asleep. We are not perceiving things as they are, but rather we are going through the motions of things only half aware of what’s happening, repeating our habits, repeating our routines, but not really being awake, not really perceiving the situation as it is.
 
So in Gnosticism, we define consciousness as the root of our perception of all phenomena. So as I mentioned earlier, consciousness is beyond our mind, beyond our thoughts, beyond our heart, beyond our emotions, beyond our body. It is through consciousness that we can perceive physical sensations and emotional sensations and intellectual thoughts, but consciousness is distinct from them.
 
When we really begin to work with consciousness, in an awakened way, we begin to strengthen that inner energy within ourselves. Consciousness is also understood as the Essence of the human soul. So an Essence is a synthesis, a seed of something. And in our tradition, we talk about how by working with consciousness by activating and awakening consciousness, we begin to develop the soul, to develop what is within us in a new way.
 
So one way to test our consciousness right now is: are you aware of your thumb on your right hand? Now you are, but you weren’t just a few minutes ago, maybe? Yeah! Right, well, and that is a good point. A lot of time our attention is focused on everything else that is going on. We are perceiving a very narrow bit of whatever is happening in the room. Right, so if we want to work with consciousness, to become more conscious, then we need to be always working to become more aware, to expand our consciousness in every moment.
 
Just like a muscle, the more that you use it, the more that you are able to perceive. However, if we are never working with consciousness, we are only perceiving a sliver of reality. In fact, we estimate that only about 3% of our consciousness is actually active. Whereas, if you looked at someone like a Buddha, who is totally awake and enlightened, you know they can perceive everything around them, everything within them, multiple dimensions of reality. That’s the ultimate goal we are striving for in our spiritual work, is to become awake, to be able to perceive things as they truly are, not just to perceive a narrow or a filtered view of reality.
 
From moment to moment, we can begin with a practice of just being aware of our body. It’s a great way to ground yourself. You know all the time we are walking around in our body, we are doing all kinds of things, but we are never aware of breathing or the way our eyes move around to look at things, right? Until suddenly we trip over something or we have this terrible pain in our back, then we are aware of our physical body. That is a good place to start, but, of course, with Gnosticism, we are seeking to go a little bit deeper even with that. We are seeking to become aware of the inner parts of our self, seeking to become aware of consciousness itself, our inner psychology, so we gain that self-knowledge. 

The Ego

But there is one barrier to becoming conscious, and that barrier is what we call ego. A common definition for ego is the self. In fact, the word is Latin for “I,” as in “me.” And another common definition we have for ego is an exaggerated sense of self-importance. So we can think of this with celebrities, right? They might walk into a room and demand certain things that other people wouldn’t ask for, that they might have a sense of themselves, that they are larger than life, even if physically we realize they have a physical body just like us. There might not actually be a physical difference in that person.
 
If you put them alone in the desert all by themselves, you know that sense of self isn’t going to save them, right? And yet we see that they have that exaggerated sense of self-importance. It might irritate us, in fact, that they move through life in that kind of way.
 
Now the trick is that all of us have that, not just celebrities, but we don’t catch it in ourselves as much because we haven’t trained ourselves to look for it. One of the fundamental practices of the gnostic is to train yourself to catch when your ego is getting carried away.
 
So in Gnosticism, the ego is a false self which filters our perception. It can also refer to a compilation of all kinds of egotistical desires that give us a sense of self. 
 
We might, for example, be somebody that really loves hamburgers, and so that is a sense of “my identity.” “I love hamburgers and I might drive two hours just to be able to get the best kind of hamburger that I want.” So I am feeding a false self. The truth is that if I never saw a hamburger again, I would not die. I would be able to survive just fine. But because I have developed this sense of identity attached with that sensation of eating a hamburger, then it seems really real to me and I will do all kinds of crazy things just to get what I want.
 
This is a silly example―right?―hamburgers, but we can think about it with ourselves. How much do we do, how much do we sacrifice, to have a job that we believe other people will respect? Or to drive a car or have clothes that show a certain sense of self? How much do we do to feed our own addictions, and I don’t just mean drugs and alcohol, but addictions to different kinds of sensations, like our emotional addictions to drama. How many hours might we spend watching dramatic television shows?
 
Yet all of that is kind of a construction in our own mind. It does not have much to do with reality. It’s a sense of self that we feed and we make real, a psychological sense of our self-image that we believe very much is real. We will argue with people to the death, sometimes, to defend our sense of pride, but physically does not actually have a reality, does not have much to do with just the regular physical sensations of our bodies. It is exaggerated.
 
Now there’s actually a study that is going on at Ohio State University’s medical center where they talk about mind-wandering. So if we think about the consciousness, pure and free from any egotistical self-interference, that is what they would call in their study, it is a neuroscientific study, they would call it “on-task thinking.” So they are able to see in the brain that the brain exhibits different activity when we are in on-task thinking. That is when you are perceiving something just as it is, without any thoughts. You are just totally awake and you are there.
 
In addition to that, there are two levels of mind-wandering. So when you are perceiving something, let us say you are sitting in a class and you are perceiving something. The professor is going to talk about some problems that are going to be on the next test, and then you start to have your own commentary about it. That is the first level of mind-wandering. That is a performance based mind-wandering. You might be thinking, “Oh no, he just said that and I missed what he said, and am I going get that wrong on the next test?” You are still half aware of what is going on, but there is this other level of being concerned about your own performance. So it can be when you are listening to somebody talk and in your mind, you are disagreeing with everything they say. Then that can be the first level of mind-wandering.
 
And then a deeper level of mind-wandering is when we are just totally somewhere else. You know we are sitting there in that class and we are thinking about how we need to get to the grocery store to pick up the ingredients for enchiladas, so when we get home we are going to cook dinner. We are totally not there at all.
 
One of the studies that actually came out of Harvard about mind-wandering found that over 50% of our lives we are mind-wandering. Now you can measure that in the brain, a different activity pattern in the brain. But that people who engage in mind-wandering less are actually happier than people who engage in more mind-wandering. I bring up this example because a lot of the time we are thinking about the things that we want. We are fantasizing about that hamburger, right? We are not just perceiving the situation as it is. We are not just perceiving the painting of the flowers for what it is, but we are perceiving with our own filter of, “Well, I don’t really like the colors that they chose here.”  Or, “Ooh, I really like the paint choice of that.” We are always bringing ourselves into situations rather than perceiving them with that pure consciousness, bright and awake. So before we say that is good or bad, it is just something to be aware of in ourselves, something that we want to observe. 

The Personality

The other element that we want to be able to observe and distinguish from ego and from consciousness is our personality.
 
We talked last time about how most of us believe who we are, is our identity in the world. You know, “My name, my age, my race, my culture, my job, my family,” that we believe all of those things are “who I am,” and we live our lives investing a lot of time into those things.
 
Commonly defined, the personality is “the totality of an individual’s behavioral and emotional characteristics.” And in psychology, we study personality as something that is relatively stable over time, that someone has a certain characteristic and that is just who they are and they are not going to change very much. So you will hear people who will maybe do something that really irritates other people. They will always defend it and say, “Well, that is just who I am. You need to accept me for who I am!” And sometimes the personality can become egotistical in that way. We can use different traits of our identity in the world to strengthen a sense of self, to make ourselves feel more real. 

When we look at personality in an esoteric way, we look at the root of personality, which is persona, in Latin meaning “mask.” And in Gnosticism, we consider the personality as just a mask, that it is not the truth of our identity, but rather one superficial part of our identity.
 
Personality is neither good nor bad, but it is the way in which we can interact in the world. So we can look at is as an interface with the external world, which allows us to communicate and function in a particular time period and location. So if you had the personality of someone from ancient China, you would never fit in here. You would not eat the same things. You would not wear the same clothing. You would not speak the same language. You would not have the same customs. It would be very hard for you to fit in the world.
 
So we need a personality. We need these characteristics we inherit from our family, we inherit from our culture, from society and education, in order to be able to survive in the world. But, are we able to also look a little bit deeper into what is going on behind the personality? What is driving the personality?
 
When we are moving through the world, it is not just the interface that is acting, but it is our own conscious energy, our own psychology, that is expressing through that. When you are feeling very kind towards someone and acting towards them in a very loving way, you might be using the same language, the same mannerisms, to be able to communicate with that person.  But it is a very different experience than when a few days later, you are furious with that person and you are shouting at them. You see there that distinction? The personality is the same. It allows us to connect with other people. But who do we have driving the car? That is the question.
 
I would like to quote from Gurdjieff, something he said about personality and about our own inner self, the deeper psychological self that we are seeking to study here with esoteric knowledge. Gurdjieff says:
 
“We have nothing of our own; everything that we put in our pocket is not our own―and on the inside, we have nothing.” ―Gurdjieff, Views from the Real World
 
So we do not want to find ourselves in that situation, where we have lots of material possessions. Everything that we put in our pocket, or even psychologically, we have a sense of self that has been given to us, a name that has been given to us, an identity prescribed to us by the world, but internally we have nothing of ourselves. We have nothing of our soul, nothing that carries on, as we mentioned last time, that carries on after death.
 
We want to develop our soul, that Essence, that seed, into something that is strong and vibrant, shining with a lot of conscious awareness. So that when we come to the end of our life and we have to give up our status, we have to give up our reputation, our wealth, our possessions, even our physical body, there is something that survives, right?
 
So this is our situation as we are. We can look at ourselves. This is just a conceptualization, a framework by which we can look at ourselves and examine ourselves. But where did it come from? Have we always had a consciousness? Have we always had an ego? And have we always had a personality?
 
If we think back to childhood, the early years of childhood, there was something different there. Unfortunately, this is starting to change now a days. Children are much less happy, but for most of us we can recall those first years of our life were very happy, were characterized by a state of bliss. We were free from the types of worries that we have now. I have a four year old niece and the way that she goes and interacts with toys and games, she is totally bright and present. There’s a lot of pure consciousness there. But unfortunately as we start to get older, as we enter school, and then later on as we enter into puberty and different psychological stages of development, in which we become very self-conscious and very aware of ourselves, all of that begins to change.
 
The sense of self that we have becomes more developed, becomes stronger, and we are no longer able to just perceive life the way that a child does. Now, it is true that children do not have the intellectual understanding of life that adults have, but they do have a very awakened perception of life that is something we lose sight of.
 
Many times we become distracted. We have all those wrong ideas of life, all those perceptions of life, that we mentioned earlier, that end up actually not being a perception of reality. And so we have lost something that the child has that we can reclaim by working on our own psychology.
 
The founder of the Gnostic movement is Samael Aun Weor, and he gave us this quote in his book about the Fundamentals of Gnostic Education. He wrote:
 
"The revolutionary psychology of the Gnostic movements, in a clear and precise manner, makes an in-depth distinction between the ego and the Essence [consciousness]. Only the beauty of the Essence manifests through the child during the first three or four years of life. Then, the child is tender, sweet, and beautiful in all his psychological aspects. However, when the ego begins to control the tender personality of the child, then all the beauty of the Essence begins to disappear and the characteristic psychological defects of every human being bloom in its place.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Fundamentals of Gnostic Education
 
So we see that at a certain age, children start to throw temper tantrums. And what are those tantrums about? They want their way. They didn’t get what they wanted. “Billy is playing with a toy and I want the toy. And so I am going to scream and have a fit and become miserable about the toy.” As adults we might smile at this, “Oh, that’s so silly that he is so upset about this toy when we know that twenty minutes from now he is going to be completely thinking about something else and will have completely forgotten about the toy. So why is he investing all this energy, crying and screaming and getting so upset about, it when it is not a big deal?”
 
But, we do the same thing when it comes to our money, when it comes to our car. We get into a car accident. When it comes to losing something that has value to us, we will freak out. We will be in misery if a check gets lost in the mail. We lose it. We do not perceive ourselves in that same way. Perhaps this is something that, yeah, is going to be inconvenient for us, it is going to be causing a little bit of time or effort or energy for us. But in the long run of things, is it really worth becoming so upset? Becoming so frustrated about it? 

The Four Noble Truths

In part of Buddhism, they talk about the Four Noble Truths. Has anybody heard of those before?
 
The first is that life is suffering.
 
The second is that suffering is caused by desire, selfish desire, the false sense of self that we are talking about here. That “I want,” “I want reality to be a certain way that I want it to be, and if it is not that way then I am going to suffer and be miserable about it. And I will make everyone else miserable too.”
 
But the third is that there is a way to cease suffering.
 
And then the fourth is that the way to cease suffering is the eightfold path.
 
We talk a lot about Buddhism in the Gnostic studies, not in this particular topic that we are talking about today, but Gnosticism is on that same foundation. We invest a lot of energy in a false sense of self that is actually creating our misery. We think, “When I get that promotion then I’m going to be happy.” We desire that promotion and we work really hard. And maybe sometimes we are lucky and we get the promotion. But then we are not happy because we want something else. We want the next promotion, or “I am not getting the same credit the guy next to me is getting, so I’m not happy.”
 
We do not see that it is our own sense of self-importance that has crated our unhappiness. The important thing is not to change our physical life. It is not to renounce promotions or cars or clothing, you know. It is not the point. The point is our psychological relationship to life, that with this exaggerated sense of self, we are walking around expecting life to conform to the way we think it should be. We are actually not allowing ourselves to see life as it is. We are not allowing ourselves to be content with whatever is the experience of life: to be in tune with the experience of life, whether its happy or sad, whether it is raining outside or sunny―to just accept life as it is and continue to be, to be present, as an Essence, as a consciousness, as a soul, that gets to experience all the variety of life in its many manifestations.
 
Samael Aun Weor said something else about personality and Essence, to distinguish that for us. He wrote that we should:
 
"Understand: the human being is born with an Essence but not with a personality; thus, it is necessary to create the personality. Nevertheless, the personality and the Essence must be developed in a harmonious and balanced manner. [...] In the Essence, we have everything that we own; in the personality, we have everything that we borrowed. That is, in the Essence we have our innate qualities (our spiritual qualities, our soul), and in the personality we have the example of our elders, what we have learned at home, in school, and in the streets." ―Samael Aun Weor, Fundamentals of Gnostic Education
 
So we need both of these things. We need our personality. The personality gives us the chance to experience life and connect with others, to develop our soul through different types of experiences and learning. And we need the Essence, which allows us the conscious perception of those things.
 
We need the Essence to become active, because when the Essence is asleep we get into repetitive behaviors. We are just going around like a machine repeating everything by habit. When the Essence is awake, we are able to perceive life in a totally new way. 

Is the Ego Really Necessary?

We need a personality and Essence that are developed in balance, but do we need an ego? Do we need a big sense of self?
 
I have a comparison here for you. You can think of somebody with a big ego like a talk show host or a radio host―or a sports celebrity or sports talk person. Those people who make a living off of having a big ego, exaggerate their personality. They become, maybe, extremely politically-opinionated or they are very aware of pop culture and everything that is going on with current events. They are able to use their personality in a way that is creating a strong persona, so that more people will listen to them. They find that entertaining. They love the types of jokes that that person always makes.
 
And so we look at a talk show host that has a lot of egotism and a big sense of self feeding that personality. But is there another side to the coin where we can have a different type of self behind the personality? 

Solar or Divine Personalities

When we talk about great masters, when we talk about people like the Dalai Lama, or Leonardo de Vinci, or Buddha, or Jesus, we think of those people with what we term in Gnosticism as a solar personality, a personality that comes from the spirit within. So they are able to use the customs, the language, a physical cultural experience of life, but not to express a big sense of themselves, not to convince everybody that they are the smartest person and they know exactly what they are talking about and everybody should listen to them and follow them. They are able to just express divinity in a very bright, intelligent and pure way.  
We can compare someone like that to a light bulb, in that the energy, the light of divinity, or the spirit within them, is very bright, and when they clean off all the grime on the glass, when they make their personality just that glass, that is pure of any egotistical filtering, then that light can shine more brightly.
 
You see a lot of power in those types of people. But it is not a power that tyrannizes others. It is not a power that oppresses or makes others feel less than. It is a power that people are drawn to because it is a natural power from God. 

Balancing Essence and Personality

We mention that we need a balanced development, and I am going to read one more quote from Samael Aun Weor about that. 
 
“In practicality we have been able to verify when the personality has developed in an exaggerated manner at the expense of the Essence the outcome is a swindler, so that’s a cheat or a charlatan.  The observation and experience of many years have allowed us to comprehend that when the Essence is somehow developed without attending in the least to the harmonious cultivation of the personality, then the outcome is a mystic without intellect, without personality, of noble heart but inadaptable and incapable.”
 
"In practicality, we have been able to verify that when the personality is developed in an exaggerated manner at the expense of the Essence, the outcome is a swindler. The observation and experience of many years have allowed us to comprehend that when the Essence is somehow developed without attending in the least to the harmonious cultivation of the personality, then the outcome is a mystic without intellect, without personality―of noble heart, but inadaptable and incapable.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Fundamentals of Gnostic Education
 
So we talked last time about Fakirs, and I think Fakirs are a nice example here of the mystic without the personality developed. They might go off into the desert or into the woods and do all kinds of incredible feats of will power and renunciation, but are they able to come back into society and help others? Are they able to communicate? Do they have the skills necessary to be adaptable to different situations in life? They are developing a lot of Essence, their own Being, and that’s beautiful, but, unfortunately, it is a little bit out of balance.
 
In that first example, he is talking about a swindler, and we can think of con men, people that have that big personality, very charismatic, have a big sense of self, but do not have developed an ethical type of character. They do not have much consideration for their soul, for who they are inside, or for whom they hurt, so they do not have the ethics, the conscience of their actions.
 
We want a balance of both of these. We do not want to be too much a mystic without any ability to go and connect with others and to learn from life. But we do not want to be too much of someone invested in life and getting the most that we can squeeze out of it, hurting other people, without any development of the part of ourselves that is, hopefully, going to be immortal and survive after this life ends.
 
So Samael Aun Weor finished by saying:
 
“The harmonious development of personality and Essence brings as an outcome brilliant men and women." ―Samael Aun Weor, Fundamentals of Gnostic Education
 
So when we think of people like Mozart, Beethoven or Leonardo Da Vinci , Michelangelo, we can see that those were people that had a craft in the world, that really developed that to the highest pitch, but were also able to bring some aspect from their own creative consciousness, within their own spiritual soul, into the world through it, and gave us great works of art. And that is what we are striving for.
 
There is another quote from Gurdjieff that I want to share. Gurdjieff talks about the Essence and he talks about the personality, but he calls them knowledge and being. So the Essence would be the Being, that is that child who is just there, totally present to what is going on, bright and attentive. That sense of just being, being aware.  And the personality would be the knowledge that we gain from external life, what other people teach us, our education in school.
 
Gurdjieff says that:
 
“People understand what ‘knowledge’ means. And they understand the possibility of different levels of knowledge. They understand that knowledge may be lesser or greater, that is to say, of one quality or of another quality. But they do not understand this in relation to ‘being.’ ‘Being,’ for them, means simply ‘existence’ to which is opposed just ‘non-existence.’ They do not understand that being or existence may be of very different levels and categories.” ―Gurdjieff cited by P.D. Ouspensky, In Search of the Miraculous
 
So just in the way that we can go to school and we can develop our knowledge, our personality, we can learn a lot of things about the external world. We can develop the Being. We can develop our Essence, our soul. And that is what our spiritual practice is geared towards.  He says that being or existence may be of different levels, but some people exist in a state of misery, that their being is very low and they are suffering a lot. It is hard to get out of that state.
 
There are other people who exist on a high level of being. We talked about very extreme examples of people like saints, or buddhas, that have a lot of being, that emanate love and happiness even when they are burned alive at the stake, or persecuted.  Those people have a very elevated level of being to still express compassion. So how do we develop that?
 
It begins by working with first seeing ourselves through practices like self-observation and meditation, and little by little coming out of our state of suffering. If we cannot be happy in spite of our difficulties, then what is the use of our spiritual practice? We are coming to these studies because we want to change. We want to understand ourselves so that we know how to change. How do we receive the guidance of divinity within ourselves? Not from anybody outside of ourselves, but from within our own direct experience. So we do not have to rely on ideas or theories about the way that life is, what we have been taught in school, but that we know from our own heart, from our own soul, what life is, and how we can come out of our suffering, how we can change in those types of ways.
 
So how do we ascend to those higher levels of being? How do we develop ourselves consciously, spiritually?

The Purpose of Essence, Ego, and Personality

I am going to finish this lecture with a section about the purpose of these three elements. Now that we have come to look at consciousness, ego and personality, and distinguish them a bit, how do we make them useful for our own development?
 
Gnosis is the path to self-knowledge. Just in that way that during  our last talk we began to gain some self-knowledge about our habits, our predisposition, are we an overly intellectual person? Are we an overly emotional type of person? An overly physical instinctive type of person? In the same way, we should gain self-knowledge. We should train ourselves to be able to observe these elements of our own psyche.
 
So we talked about the Essence, that is the seed of the human soul, and how it can be developed through conscious works and upright efforts. If we are not becoming aware of ourselves from moment to moment, if we are not strengthening that muscle of the consciousness, then we are never going to develop it. We are not going to become aware of anything more than the little sliver which we are habitually always perceiving of life. 
 
We need to be sure to awaken ourselves in an upright way. So the more that we work with our conscious willpower, the greater the effects of our actions are going to be. We talked last time how if we are working with consciousness in an imbalanced way, strengthening our egotistical sense of self, or working with consciousness so that we can control other people and get them to do what we want them to do, then we are going to develop in an inharmonious way and we are actually going to increase our suffering.
 
When we are working in an ethical way, when we are seeking to bring ourselves out of suffering, to not cause suffering for others, to awaken in that way, through upright efforts, then we are strengthening the soul free of any ego. The ego is the false self, can be considered as an inner adversary, because it is trapping us in the conditioning of believing “I want this. I need to get this.” And then when we spend years of our lives trying to get the certain job that we wanted so badly, and we are there and we are not happy anymore, then we are stuck with this exaggerated sense of self and in a state of misery.
 
But how do we become conscious? We do what we need to do to survive. We go to work, we take care of our families, do those things, but without a big egotistical attachment to it.
 
We also talk in this tradition about how the ego actually is a result of past error from past lives. So this is a tradition that believes in reincarnation and teaches reincarnation, and that is a lot of our predispositions, that we think “That is just naturally who I am,” can actually be a result of past errors in past lives.
 
We will talk more about it in another talk, but the way that we learn from ourselves is by accepting the ordeals that life brings us. Life brings us a variety of situations, and in those situations, which can be painful ordeals, we are able to begin to see ourselves as we are. We have a friend that is always talking down to us, really irritating us, activating our pride. That friend is actually giving us a chance to see an element of self. Now I am not saying, “Be friends with people who are abusive and really mean to you.” That is not the point. So do not go to extremes. But that in different situations in life, if we are humiliated or angered, or we are really wanting something very badly that we cannot have, we are able to see that self in a new way, especially if we are self-observing.  And then if we are able to perceive that self in a deeper way, when we are meditating about what we have observed, we might be able to become free of it and be able to change. 
 
Now I will use an example from my own life here in a moment, but I want to finish here about the personality being the mask to the external world. So we need the personality. It is not a bad thing. We need the personality to go through life and encounter those ordeals, so that we can learn about ourselves internally, and so we can learn about how to help other people. It is important. In an example to make this all a little more concrete for you, how do you actually work with self-observation and meditation to understand these types of things? I will give an example from a couple of years ago when I was first working with these types of practices.
 
I was in school and I had been assigned to a group project with two other people, two other students. We were randomly assigned a topic for our project. So we did not get to choose it. But I was glad about the topic because, you know, with my personality speaking here, it was something that I had many years of experience with and I really liked. The other two students in my group had no experience with it and did not really care for the topic. So I thought in this moment that I was going to be really helpful and volunteer to do the majority of the work. So I said, “You guys don’t worry about it too much, I’m going to do most of this. I know all about it, so you guys can just take it easy.” But as time went on and we were trying to work together, I realized that they were pretty irritated with me and they were shutting me out, doing parts of the project without doing that in a collaborative way.
 
So I began to be frustrated. My pride got hurt. I was like, “Why are these people being so hostile to me? I’m just trying to be helpful here!” Since I had been self-observing, after one of the meetings in which I felt they were treating me very coldly, I was meditating on it, because I choose to meditate especially on the things that are causing me suffering, trying to understand “Why am I suffering, and how do I make a change here?”
 
I had a strange experience in meditation. It was the first time it happened to me, where as I was just replaying the scene as it had happened, you know, as I observed it in a balanced way, with my three brains in equilibrium, suddenly I saw it from a completely different perspective, as though it was in third person, the way that those persons would have seen me. Now originally, in my egotistical perspective, I thought I was great. I was being helpful. I was just trying to do the right things for these people. But when I saw it from the perspective of another, in this experience of meditation, I saw a lot of pride, that I was being a know it all. I was not having any appreciation for the fact that even if they did not have years of experience with this topic, they might want to engage with the project. They might have opinions or insight or things that are valuable. I was not able to see that because of the egotistical filter at the time.
 
When I saw it in meditation, my experience of that situation totally changed. Rather than being angry at them and resentful that they were not treating me with respect, I was humbled. I felt terrible that I had not been appreciating what they were going to contribute to the project, and so from that point on, I changed. I gave them way more opportunities to share. I talked less about me and all the things I know. The project ended up going much better from that point. It went very well.
 
This might seem like a silly example, but it is just one small example of many things that we are doing throughout our life―many things that we have no awareness of how other people are seeing us. We walk into a room and we think everybody is seeing us in a certain way. We might walk in and think, “Oh, I am gonna sound so smart and everybody is gonna think I look so great!” Maybe, conversely, we walk into a room and think, “Everybody here is gonna hate me! Everybody’s looking down on me. Nobody here values me!” And none of that is reality. It is this false sense of who we are. It is an image of what we carry around within ourselves, of what we think other people think about us.
 
But authentic self-observation with the consciousness allows us to begin to perceive ourselves in a real way, especially when we are coupling that with meditation and what we have observed. We are able to go a lot deeper. And you know, because of this little change, this little story where I saw my pride, I was able to walk away from that. Then after I finished school and I got a new job, I was much more of a team player. I didn’t walk into every staff meeting talking and gloating about all the things that I knew and how I was the best person. I was able to appreciate what my colleagues have and to learn a lot from other people.  If I had held on to that sense of pride I would not be able to learn.
 
And you know it is interesting that we see this a lot in other people. We all have that friend who is the one upper. “You went to NY last weekend? Well, I went to Paris, and I met with the Dalai Lama.” We know that person. We see that in other people and we know it is really irritating and we do not like it. We kind of roll our eyes, “Yeah, OK,” but why don’t we see that in ourselves? When we are in the lime light, when everyone is finally listening to us, we want to brag and get everybody to like us and think that we are great, maybe not in these exaggerated examples that I am giving, but in small ways, little ways.
 
We are not perceiving it most of the time, and we can see it in other people, because it shields us from seeing it in ourselves. We get frustrated and angry with other people. We project onto them and criticize their negative qualities because it is painful for us to see our own state. We need a really radical sense of sincerity and humility if we really want to be serious about achieving this type of self-knowledge in our own spiritual work.

Dolos, Prometheus, and Veritas (Truth)

So we can use myths in order to understand archetypes in ourselves. The Greek mysteries are very deep, and they give us a chance to understand psychological teachings. Sometimes people think that Greek myths are all about these gods in the past and pagan worship, and that they are literal figures. But if we use myths in a way to understand our own spiritual development and our own psychological processes, they can be very useful for us, here and now. Not in some ancient time, but here and now in our own psychological work.

“The myth of Dolos, spirit of deception. In Greek mythology, Dolos is the spirit of trickery and guile. He is also a master at cunning, deception, craftiness and treachery. He was the son of Gaia and Ether. The name Dolos is translated as “deception.” Dolos was also an apprentice of the Titan Prometheus. Dolos became known for his skill when he attempted to make a fraudulent happy statue of Veritas, in order to trick people into thinking they were seeing the real statue. He ran out of the clay he was using to create the statue and had to leave the feet unfinished as he quaked in fear as his master Prometheus looked over at his attempt of deceitfulness. To his surprise, Prometheus was rather amazed at the similarity between the statues, so Dolos then became a master at his crafty and tricky ways.” ―Excerpts from Wikipedia
 
The following account comes from Aesop’s Fables:
 
“Prometheus, that potter who gave shape to our new generation, decided one day to sculpt the form of Veritas [Aletheia, Truth], using all his skill so that she would be able to regulate people’s behaviour. As he was working, an unexpected summons from mighty Jupiter [Zeus] called him away. Prometheus left cunning Dolos (Trickery) in charge of his workshop, Dolos had recently become one of the god’s apprentices. Fired by ambition, Dolos (Trickery) used the time at his disposal to fashion with his sly fingers a figure of the same size and appearance as Veritas [Aletheia, Truth] with identical features. When he had almost completed the piece, which was truly remarkable, he ran out of clay to use for her feet. The master returned, so Dolos (Trickery) quickly sat down in his seat, quaking with fear. Prometheus was amazed at the similarity of the two statues and wanted it to seem as if all the credit were due to his own skill. Therefore, he put both statues in the kiln and when they had been thoroughly baked, he infused them both with life: sacred Veritas (Truth) walked with measured steps, while her unfinished twin stood stuck in her tracks. That forgery, that product of subterfuge, thus acquired the name of Mendacium [Pseudologos, Falsehood], and I readily agree with people who say that she has no feet: every once in a while something that is false can start off successfully, but with time Veritas (Truth) is sure to prevail.” ―Aesop, Fables 530 (from Phaedrus Appendix 5)
 
I want to talk more about this myth in our discussion so I’m going to break it down a little bit and then we will rap up and move into discussion. 
 
So let us talk about some of the symbols in this myth.  Hopefully you caught them. One of the main characters of the myth is Prometheus, who is actually teaching Dolos. Prometheus is a Greek word that means “forethought.” Prometheus is known for being a Titan that was very wise, who had the forethought of future things. He is credited with creating man from clay, like all of humankind he created.  And he stole fire, the creative power of the gods, to give to mankind, so that mankind would be able to develop beyond the animals, so that mankind would be able to progress and create all kinds of feats and inventions and new ways.
 
The next character is Dolos. Dolos is the spirit of deception. Dolos actually means “deception.” And in the story he crafts a statue that is so well constructed that he almost fools his master, Prometheus. He is a trickster known in many other stories for being able to fool even the gods and get the gods to make mistakes. And when we look at these two statues, they are also very important. So, one statue is Veritas, the Truth. Veritas means “truth” actually.
 
Prometheus is this great archetype related with our consciousness, but actually, a much more elevated aspect of our own spirit and Being then we are going to get into today. When he creates Truth, he does it in order to create a form which can regulate human behavior. So we can think of Truth as an archetype for the soul that is something given to us spiritually, but that we have to develop. We have to give it life in order for it to guide us in living in a true way, perceiving reality in a true way, performing those upright actions.
 
The other statue, which is created by deception, his apprentice, is Pseudologos, which means “lie.” And that would be what we have been talking about, the false self. Our own self-deception fuels our own creative power into creating a false self that does not have any feet, spiritually speaking, does not get us anywhere. And in the end, when we have given our life to both statues, we will be able to see, like Prometheus does, which one can walk and which one doesn’t get anywhere.
 
When we continue to fuel the false self, we are stuck in our tracks.  In the beginning, it looks really great. It might look the same even. That is the way it is with a lie. It starts off well, but then over time, the truth prevails. The truth comes out. We want to study our lives in a way where we can begin to discern between these two elements.
 
Now a little back story about Prometheus is that he had a brother. The brother’s name was Epimetheus, which means “hindsight.” Prometheus is an archetype of foresight and Epimetheus an archetype of hindsight, someone who learns from the past, is not able to predict what is going to happen next, is not able to act wisely and intelligently to take steps in a way that are positive. He is someone who makes lots of mistakes and has to learn from, unfortunately, the suffering from those mistakes. You can see a correlation there.  In this myth of Prometheus, it says:
 
"After the gods have moulded men and other living creatures with a mixture of clay and fire, the two brothers Epimetheus and Prometheus are called to complete the task and distribute among the newly born creatures all sorts of natural qualities. Epimetheus sets to work but, being unwise, distributes all the gifts of nature among the animals, leaving men naked and unprotected, unable to defend themselves and to survive in a hostile world. Prometheus then steals the fire of creative power from the workshop of Athena and Hephaistos and gives it to mankind." ―Olga Raggio, The Myth of Prometheus
 
So Epimetheus is a symbol here of our own lower qualities, our lower state of being.  He is giving all of the best forces that we have, our life, our energy, to those qualities of anger, of pride, of envy, of greed. He is giving it to the animal nature that we have within. And because of that the human part of us, the highest archetypes, as what we see as an ideal for humanity, human virtue, goodwill for others, love and wisdom and reason, there is no energy left for that. They are left naked and unprotected and unable to defend themselves in a hostile world. 
 
Prometheus is the other side of this. Prometheus steals that creative power from the gods, the consciousness, and gives it to mankind to develop, to progress, to make them higher than the animals. In our spiritual work, that is what we are seeking to do.  We are seeking to move from that level of being that is characterized by suffering, by repetition, animal types of desires. We are seeking to move into a human state that emanates love and reason and wisdom, that sees reality from a higher perspective.
 
So I kind of already talked about this but we can see that these archetypes and the great myths relate to ourselves.  Prometheus is being a creator of our life.  In the myth he breathes life into both statues and puts them into the kiln.  And in the same way we are taking our consciousness and we are breathing it into a false part of ourselves, with the false identity that we are clinging to and feeding with a lot of our time and energy.  And we are also breathing that life into pure parts of ourselves, our love, our creativity, all the things we have to offer the world. And by doing that we are able to, if we are aware, if we are self-observing and meditating, to perceive which one is reality, which one is helping us to rise out of suffering and which one is causing us to remain trapped in greater states of suffering. 
 
Two examples of the ego: we have Epimetheus, afterthought, hindsight, and we can have Dolos, which is our own self-deception, that intentionally or unintentionally we are deceiving ourselves a lot of the time to believing we are somebody that we are not. Sometimes it can be a good thing. We are believing ourselves to be somebody better than we are. We like to think that we have got it all figured out, we are the guy that is reliable and nobody else is as good as us.  Or sometimes we can have a self-deception that “I’m incompetent. I’ve got nothing to offer and nobody is going to listen to me,” and any variety in between there.
 
But we are not perceiving ourselves as we really are, so we need to train ourselves to awaken consciousness to be able to do so.
 
As I mentioned earlier, the two statues are representing aspects of our personality, that personality being driven by a false self-image. Is it something that we are feeding and we are developing our personality a lot for our own egotistical gain, for our own sense of self and getting what we want, feeding our desires?  Or is it a personality that embodies the truth, the divine archetype of our soul, that does not need any egotism, but can shine with a lot of radiance and power, to be able to live in a wise and compassionate way?
 
So I am going to finish here with two quotes from Samael Aun Weor. 
 
The first he talks about two consciousnesses, referring to these two statues that we just learned about. He says:
 
“…we must get to know, to be able to comprehend, that the human being is divided into two consciousnesses: the true and the false.
 
“When one comes to this world, one brings within the essence all the data (which is deposited by nature) that one needs for the inner Self-realization of the Being. But, what happens? One is put into schools where one receives a false education and much advice and precepts that are futile. In the end, one creates a false consciousness. The true consciousness within, with the deposited data that one needs to follow the footsteps, to follow the path, to arrive at the liberation of the Being, remains at the bottom, sadly categorized with the name of subconsciousness.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
 
He goes on to say:
 
“Therefore, we have to throw away all that constitutes our false consciousness in order to cause our true consciousness to emerge to the surface so that we can work with it. This shows us that in order to work psychologically, that is, in order to put the true wisdom into play, one needs to become a child, to become an infant, a baby, stripped of all theories.” ―Samael Aun a Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
 
So as a child we are talking about that state of cognizant awareness of life, perceiving things as they are, perceiving reality as it is, not as we wish it would be. Not a child in a naïve sense, but a child with the purity of the spirit and with the wisdom of experience. 
 
So that means that we need to begin to strip ourselves of some of the theories.  Sometimes we cling to our idea about life or the way that other people are, “what I need to do to get ahead,” all these theories might not actually have a basis in reality. They might be things we have been told by other people, things that sound good.  It is only by working with our own consciousness, our own self-observation, our own meditation and guidance from within, becoming a child of divinity, that we are able to grow psychologically and spiritually to increase our true self. But we need to be able to abandon our self-deception in order to do that. As long as we are clinging to our idea and believing that the way that “I am perceiving life right now is how it is and I’ve got it figured out,” we are never going to see it in a new way.  We are just going to keep repeating and living off of that.
 
So a question for us to finish with is, “What is false in us?”  Hopefully, as we have been talking and giving some examples, you have been able to think about yourself a little bit.  What we are going to close on with our discussion is considering, with a radical sincerity, with total honesty with ourselves, what it is that we have been investing our lives into, spiritually speaking, that does not have any spiritual significance? It is not to discard our duties to our family, to our jobs, to our society. It is not to run away from our responsibilities, but to use those as places in which we can self-observe, in which we can meditate on our life and use life as a school for our own spiritual development, to develop the truth of ourselves, to become those brilliant men and women that were mentioned earlier.
 
It is only first by seeing the lie that we are going to be able to renounce it. As long as you do not see the lie, or you believe that it is the truth, you will never be able to see beyond it. So we need to start by looking at ourselves, not at other people, not at anything else going on in the world. Until we can see ourselves, then we are not able to see anything else. We start with self-knowledge and then we grow in knowledge of other aspects of reality, the universe and divinity.
 
Do you have any questions?
 
Comment: I do have a comment on the last slide that you showed us, you must become a child… Jesus quote… to enter the kingdom of heaven you must become a little child…
 
Instructor: Yes, he says, “Verily I tell you, unless you change and become as children you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.”  It is in the Book of Mathew.  It is the same sentiment exactly, that when we are hoping to reach a higher level of being, we have to first become pure like a child.
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<![CDATA[The Three Brains]]>Mon, 22 Jun 2020 15:37:32 GMThttp://chicagognosis.org/transcriptions/the-three-brains
This is a transcription of an audio lecture from Beginning Self-Transformation, originally given live at the Gnostic Academy of Chicago:

Humanity is unaware of the complete potential of the human being. This is evident when we study religion, mystical traditions, meditation, primarily because we have beings and figures who manifested the greatest ideals of humanity: compassion, selflessness, wisdom, inner strength, patience, and faith. This is a type of knowledge and experience grounded in reality, not merely in belief or a theory, but from actually knowing through experience. This is the essence of Gnosticism, the Greek word γνῶσις gnosis: knowledge from experience, from one's first-hand account and direct perception of the truth.
 
So there are beings who fully manifested that truth. We call them avatars, prophets, masters, enlightened ones, buddhas, angels,  gods. These are all different names, different terms, that point towards one reality―that we have the potential to become like that: perfect, awake, aware of reality, and primarily, the origins of suffering, the origins of pain―why we go through life on repeat, mechanically, identified with all of “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,” to quote Hamlet.
 
For this course, we have been explaining and discussing, precisely, the means and the methods to overcome suffering, which of course relates to what we call mechanicity, the mechanics of nature. We spoke previously about the human machine: how our body is a transformer of energy, a transformer of food, air, water, but also vitamins, chemistry, principles, forces. Our human machine, when it is well, when it is balanced, knows how to maintain a state of homeostasis, of equilibrium, of health. When we get sick, when there is a break in the mechanics of that machine, we get ill and we suffer.
 
While this is a very specific example of our human organism, we also state that our thoughts, our feelings, and our will to act, are also mechanical―in most people. It is a machine. We tend to go through our day, repeating the same thoughts, repeating the same emotions, repeating the same actions without really comprehending how our own mind, our own thinking, our own ways of behaving, produce conflict.
 
The origin of suffering is psychological. It is internal. But sadly, many people do not ever question what the origin of suffering is. In most cases, we like to externalize: that yes, perhaps a system, a type of politics or machinery is imposing on us, and that can be true to a degree. But the manner by which we respond to life has greater force, greater impact, than anything.
 
When our human machine, our body, is in balance, we have health. But likewise, the mind and the heart, when they are imbalanced, when they are afflicted with negative emotions, with anger, with resentment, with anxiety, pain, fear, pride, lust, hatred, we become imbalanced beings. We are afflicted, and we go through life indulging in these negative habits, these qualities of mind, these conditions, which make us repetitive, mechanical, machines.
 
But there is a way out of suffering. This is what every religion teaches: how to cease being a machine, a mechanical being, so that those energies which come to us from nature, from our food, from the water we drink, the air we breathe, the impressions we take into our mind, those become transformed with consciousness, with attention, with awareness.
 
In that transformation, we have understanding of life. We don't go through life suffering, repeating the same mistakes, and not knowing the origin of pain. For example, perhaps at work a person insults us. The impression of that comment enters our mind and then there is a transformation that occurs in the moment. Suddenly, we have a surge of emotion, a surge of thought, that “This person insulted me.” It could be pride, but it also can be anger.
 
This is an egotistical reaction. It is a condition of mind that we typically do not question. We do not look at the origin of that process, of that mechanicity, of that machinery, so that, to that person, we respond, or better said, we react unconsciously, with anger or resentment, or criticism. And then suffering continues. This is the concept of samsara in Buddhism: cyclical existence, cycling, repetition, being on repeat, like a broken record.
 
But there is a way out of those types of situations and sufferings, to cease being mechanical. In the moment that person says a negative word, insults us, says something painful, but if we were awake, aware as a soul, as a consciousness, we can see and understand that the person who insults us is in suffering. They are afflicted with the disease which is ego, egotism, and a sense of self that is the origin of pain. By learning to understand the other person and the source of their pain―perhaps they have a tragedy in their life, a suffering, a conflict in their home―much of our own personal investment in that comment ceases, dissipates, is calmed.
 
In that way, we have peace. We have understanding. We have serenity, because if we are not aware of how our own mind reacts, and if we don't question our own reaction, we give in to that element. We call that ego, egotism, desire, negativity, conditions of mind. But in order to achieve that type of transformation, it requires a lot of intelligence, a lot of effort, a lot of will.
 
Precisely, it requires methods of transformation. There are techniques by which we can achieve that state moment by moment, day by day. But if we are content with our state, obviously we don't question where does our pain come from. This is why many people never approach a type of spirituality, or meditation or studying. But people who do, feel an inquietude, a longing to change, and that quality originates from our divine nature, which is Being, divinity, presence, which is not outside, but in the heart.
 
So the purpose of this lecture is to examine how to connect with divinity with precise methods, with intelligence, with wisdom, so that when we face specific conflicts in life, we transform them. We do so with understanding, with intelligence. We reduce our own negative reactions and transform them into comprehension, into peace. 

The Three Brains and Nervous Systems

The way that we examine this process is by examining what we call three brains.
 
As we began our meditation today, we talked about the human machine, the human body as a temple. Our body is a temple with three floors, and in some Buddhist artwork, you can see traditionally, especially in the map of the nine stages of meditative concentration, a Buddhist monk ascending up a winding path, leaving a pagoda with three floors. In those traditional paintings, this is a representation of the human machine. Three floors: thought, feeling, and action―thought relating with our head, emotions with our heart, and will with our spinal column. We call these three brains.
 
A brain traditionally is associated only with the intellect, the cranial vault, the cerebral matter, but in profound esoteric studies, a brain is defined by a type of machine. It is a processor of force, of action, of intelligence, of will. A brain processes, physically, nutrients, chemicals, molecules, processes, vitamins, foods, etc. A brain has its material component within different aspects of our body, but on a deeper level, a brain in esotericism refers to how we process thought, emotions, and will.

“The first brain is enclosed within the cranial vault (our head, our spinal column. (This is known as the cerebral spinal nervous system.). The second brain concretely corresponds to the central medulla, the dorsal spine with all of its nervous branches (This relates with the grand sympathetic nervous system, the heart, our emotional qualities, the nerves). The third brain is not located at some specific place nor is it related to a specific organ; indeed, the third brain is constituted by the sympathetic nervous plexuses and, in general, by all the specific nervous centers of the physical organism (This is known as the parasympathetic nervous system).” ―Samael Aun Weor, Fundamentals of Gnostic Education
 
So the nervous systems in our body is a type of fluidic, material component that helps the body to transmit information. But in us, this tends to be very mechanical, unconscious. We are not aware of the process, usually of thought. This is evident in our daily life.
 
In most cases we tend to think mechanically. We are washing dishes and we are thinking of something else. We are on the “L,” we are riding the train, we are thinking of other things, and then if we were to snap to attention, in the moment, we forget what we were even thinking about. The mind was wandering. Our thoughts were elsewhere. Likewise, with emotion, the emotional brain, the heart. We are processing emotions and feelings, and sometimes we may not be even aware of why we are sad, or upset, or angry, or anxious, but that we are compelled by this mood in the emotional center without knowing why. That means that we are profoundly asleep.
 
We don't know why we think what we do, why we feel what we do, and also in relation to the third brain: the motor-instinctive-sexual brain, which is the spine, the sexual organs and the base of our head, or base of our neck―we usually don't understand why we act in certain ways, and this could be evident by extreme cases such as in a crisis.
 
In a moment, we have to act, respond to a very serious situation, but perhaps we mistakenly behave in the wrong way. We make an error and later we reflect, “Why did I do that? Why did I act mistakenly in that instant?” We may feel remorse, pain.
 
So these three brains, these three machines: the intellectual brain, the emotional brain, the motor-instinctive-sexual brain, these are mechanical instruments that can process negative qualities of mind, or if these centers are pure, can reflect divinity. And this is the essence of why we study the three brains, why we study the nervous systems, because it tells us our level and quality of being.

​Equanimity within the Three Brains

I have been giving you examples of how our own egotism, our own negativities, our conditions of mind, misuse our thinking, our emotions and ways of acting. But we have to understand too that these three brains, these machines, are receptive when they are calm, through states and practices such as meditation.
 
In most people, our thoughts tend to be very chaotic, sometimes our life. Our emotions can be up and down depending on the situations of life, and our behaviors can be conditioned or negative depending on the degree of the person. If you examine yourself in meditation, you sit down and relax. You observe your mind. Observe your heart. Observe your body. What we usually find is a lot of chaos: thoughts all over the place, wandering. Emotions surging with pain. The body tense, sick, agitated, wanting to move. There is no stillness. This means that our three brains are imbalanced. They are not operating in an optimal way, and the way that you figure that out is by observing.
 
In our meditation, we were relaxing, looking. That means that our consciousness, our soul, our Essence, our buddha-nature, is actively looking inside at the origin of thought, the origin of feeling, the origin of will or impulse―not trying to repress the mind, the heart, the body; not trying to justify what we see either: to defeat it, to strengthen it, but looking. This is the key of awareness, which many teachers like Eckhart Tolle, many Buddhist philosophers, many Muslim, Christian, Jewish mystics all point towards. They all teach that we need to observe our human machine.
 
Observe the origin of our qualities of being, so that by looking at them, we can see. Is this thought correct? Is this emotion correct? Is this action correct? And so when you work to look inside, we start to awaken perception. This is the meaning of religion, to awaken consciousness, to awaken the soul, so that by first acquiring serenity of mind, heart, and body, we learn to access types of experiences, which are not normal, not accessible to the average lay person. These are mystical experiences. These are connections with the divine, because in the meditation, we are looking to calm the mind.
 
The mind, when it is clear like a lake, when there is no rippling of thought or agitation, likewise with the heart and the body, and when you physically fall asleep, let your body rest, but your consciousness is awake, you can experience states of being in the dream state, but not dreaming, not unconscious, but to be awake in that world, so that you want to communicate with what religions called divinity, whatever the name. That way, we acquire knowledge and intelligence, understanding, experience.
 
But to do that, we have to take care of our human machine, our nervous systems. Eat well. Drink good water. Take care of our body. Exercise. Meditate. Relax the body. Relax the mind. Relax the heart. Learn to observe and be aware throughout the day at what reactions emerge in us in a relation to certain situations. In that way, we transform our state. Also, learn to take in good impressions of life: exercise, sports, soothing music, activities that help to balance these centers so that they are calm; they are serene.

​Energy, Tantrism, and the Infinite

So this trinity is very important within many religions. We have an intellectual brain, we have an emotional brain, and we have a sexual brain, sometimes referred to as the brain of action, movement, instinct, which is synthesized in the base of our sexual organs, but also the spine.
 
In Buddhism they spend a lot of time talking about tantra, which simply means continuum, and as you see here in this image of a man and woman, you find the symbol of the holy eight, the infinite, in which all the forces of these centers or parts of our machine are circulating energy properly. The energies rise from the sexual glands, go to the heart, to the brain, likewise circulating back again to the heart, then the sexual glands.
 
In Buddhism, there is a plethora of scriptures and teachings relating to how we use energy. It is one of the most important aspects of that tradition, especially, one of the highest levels of teaching, because how we use our energy determines our health mentally, emotionally, physically. How we take care of these three brains determines everything, determines a state of mind that is conducive for meditation, but also awakening within internal states, which we call the dream state, the dream world.
 
The Dalai Lama spoke a lot about the importance of energy, how we use our energy, because if we invest our energy in negative thoughts, negative emotions, negative will, we deepen suffering. But likewise, if we learn to understand how these energies work through awakening, through meditation, we learn to process those forces in a conscious way.
 
“In the view of Tantra, the body's vital energies are the vehicles of the mind. When the vital energies are pure and subtle, one's state of mind will be accordingly affected. By transforming these bodily energies we transform the state of consciousness. (We awaken. We attain states of experience which are very profound). It is vital to understand and develop the conviction that consciousness has the potential to increase to an infinite degree.” ―The 14th Dalai Lama
 
This is paralleled in the teachings of the Christian Gospels, especially by a very famous verse in the Book of Mark, chapter 12 verses 28 to 34, in which a lawyer, I believe, asked Jesus of Nazareth, who is a great master of meditation, about what is the highest commandment. What is the highest teaching that one can follow to really obtain the meaning of religion? Which is from the Latin religare, “to reunite,” reunion with divinity. 

“Regarding the First Commandment, Jesus answered, ‘The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: Jehovah Elohim our God, Jehovah Elohim is one.’” ―Mark 12:29
 
So that term Jehovah Elohim is Hebrew. It refers to the teachings of Jewish mysticism called Kabbalah, which we study in this school and also in our courses. You may be familiar with what is called the Tree of Life, which is a map of the soul from the lowest levels of materiality to the highest. So that map is a means of understanding experiences in meditation.
 
As I said, you can awaken and dreams and you enter those dimensions when the physical body is asleep, so that you can converse in those worlds with your own divinity, which the mystics of Kabbalah call Jehovah Elohim: a beautiful name.
 
"And you shall love Jehovah Elohim your God with all of your heart, and with all of your soul, and with all your mind, and with all of your strength." ―Mark 12:30
 
So notice here, this excerpt is talking about the three brains. To love one's God with one's thoughts, one's emotions, ones will, one's energy. These are the three brains.
 
What does it mean to love God in that way? It means that when we are at work, and we are criticized and we feel anger boiling inside, wanting to react, to say something hurtful, negative, instead, we love divinity by being aware of that element and not acting on it, but having compassion, by acting ethically for the benefit of others. This is the sacrifice of one's negativity, and is the beginning of religion. We do not act on negative qualities because it harms others, but also in a basic way, it harms ourselves. We create problems. And by loving God―or loving, better said, our Being, our presence, that quality of mind that is compassion, selflessness, understanding―we deepen that and cultivate that quality.
 
“The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these.” ―Mark 12:31
 
So this is the essence of the Christian Gospel, “love thy neighbor as thyself.” If we feed anger, we don't love our neighbor, we instead love pain. And in that way we produce and contribute to all the sorrows of humanity. 

​The Path of Balance and Vital Currencies

So it's important that we understand that the three brains, in ancient cultures, were always cultivated, were always developed in a balanced way. For those of us here who have perhaps worked in education, might know that in the modern era there is a profound emphasis on the intellect at the exclusion of everything else. And this is a great problem with academic knowledge today. It does not take into consideration the need to balance everything: the emotions and our body in harmony. Usually there is too much emphasis placed on memorization, rote knowledge, intellect, but of course, the ancient societies and cultures knew that in order to really develop a balanced person, a happy person, all three brains must be cultivated, balanced, developed.
 
This is because each brain has its fuel, has its energy, and if you have studied teachings like that of Gurdjieff, the Fourth Way schools, they talk a lot about what is interestingly called Bobbin-Kandelnosts. This is a language from the internal worlds. It's a term that refers to vital currency, vital money―not material, but energy.

The intellectual brain has its currency, its energy, its fuel. Likewise the heart, the emotional brain. Likewise the spine, the body, our movement, our sexuality has a type of energy and fuel that it needs to operate effectively. When those values are abused or spent, then the car doesn't drive, doesn't operate well.
 
If the intellectual brain is abused, meaning, too much energy is being spent in the mind through too much intellectual activity, that produces mental imbalances, sicknesses, diseases such as schizophrenia, delusional disorders, qualities of mind that are very common in this humanity.
 
Likewise with the heart. If the emotions are churning with negative qualities, with anger, with resentment, people develop emotional sicknesses: depression, anxiety, fear, of which the medical profession is very aware of.
 
And likewise, the abuse of the motor brain, too much movement, too much exercise, that is out of balance―people become physically ill, paraplegic, incapacitated, in a wheelchair.
 
The ancient societies, whether of Greece, Rome, Chaldea, Babylon, these cultures knew in their heart, in their origins, that the three brains must be balanced, must be harmonized. Because if we waste our money, esoterically speaking, we spend too much money or vital values from our intellect, we become sick in the mind. Likewise, the heart and the body.
 
“The great law has wisely deposited within each of the three brains of the intellectual animal a definite capital of vital values (Bobbin-Kandelnosts).” ―Samael Aun Weor, Fundamentals of Gnostic Education
 
So we explained previously in this course how we are intellectual animals. The word animal comes from anima, meaning “soul,” to “animate,” to have life. And we know from the animal kingdom that they have behaviors such as competition, pride, resentment, anger, etc. Those belong to the animal kingdom. Because we have an intellect, we rationalize, we think, we are intellectual animals with the potential becoming truly human, a perfected being like Jesus, like Buddha, Moses, Krishna.
 
“Saving such capital prolongs life, whereas squandering such capital produces death.
 
“Even if this seems incredible, the truth is that―within each person―death is processed in thirds. It has already been demonstrated completely that every illness has its basis in one of the three brains.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Fundamentals of Gnostic Education
 
So we explain this how abusing the mind relates to mental illness, emotional illness, physical illness. 
 
“The basis of a fundamental education lies in the intelligent cultivation of the three brains. In the ancient mysteries of Babylon, Greece, India, Persia, Egypt, etc., students received direct, integral information for their three brains by means of precepts, dances, music, etc., intelligently combined.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Fundamentals of Gnostic Education
 
So it's not enough just to have a hodgepodge of activities, but better said, to be used with balance and harmony. This is the origin of ancient theater, Greek theater, even British theater. Or exercise, sports, competition, music, art, painting, sculpture, etc.
 
“The theaters of ancient times were part of education. Drama, comedy, and tragedy in combination with special mimicry, music, oral teaching, etc., served to place information within the three brains of each individual.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Fundamentals of Gnostic Education
 
This type of teaching used to be spiritual. The ancient schools of mysteries, of Gnosticism, from whatever continent, always taught a spiritual wisdom of how to awaken the soul from its state of slumber, from its ignorance. It did that in the form of art, music, sculpture, painting, poetry, etc.
 
Unfortunately in these times, much of our art, theater, dance, etc., has forgotten this, but the origins and reason why these media existed was to communicate something profound. And if you are interested in learning more of how these spiritual teachings were present in different traditions, you can look at chicagognosis.org. We have a whole course dedicated to Opera, called The Secret Teachings of Opera, in which we explain the symbolism of certain artwork to communicate these ideals, these principles.
 
“At that time, students did not abuse the thinking brain, since they knew how to intelligently use their three brains in a balanced way.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Fundamentals of Gnostic Education
 
So again, the human machine is made of thought, feeling, and will, impulse, instinct. We spoke previously about ego, egotism, desire, the mind. The word ego in Latin means “I.”
 
Of course in modern pop psychology, we like to think that someone who has a big ego is somebody who is very proud or likes to put themselves before others. But in esotericism, the word ego is more profound and in fact relates to everybody. The sense of self that says “me, myself, I: my feelings, my culture, my race, my identity, my sexuality, my beliefs, my theories, my politics―me, myself, I.” That is ego, the sense of self we have now―egotism, ego, the sense of identity we have―is conditioned, unfortunately, but there is a way to transform that mechanicity, those negative qualities into something creative, something intelligent, that is for the benefit of oneself and others.
 
The “I” operates through our three brains. Sometimes we refer to this as five centers as we explained in the previous lecture: the intellectual center, the emotional center, and then through the spinal column: the motor-instinctive-sexual centers.
 
Movement relates to our spine at the top, because if someone is injured at the top of the spine, they can't move. They can't act. They have no ability to operate well.
 
You have instinct at the base of the spine, which is related to our animal inheritance, our animal past. Animal qualities like pride, resentment, etc., survival instinct.
 
And then sexuality relating to our glands.

The Ego and the Five Inferior Centers 

So our ego, our “‘I’ exercises control over the five inferior centers of the human machine.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony
 
So as we stated, our own negativity, our conditions, our egotism, uses our thoughts, feelings, and will to operate. Of course, in those examples I provided you, when we react to life in a negative way, in a conditioned way, it is because of ego.
 
The ego is operating through our heart, through resentment, but also has thoughts. “This person wronged me,” and then the will to act, the will to behave, to respond with criticism. So notice that ego, each desire, each fault, has its own thinking, its own feeling, its own will, its own ways of behaving.
 
We also explained that the ego is not one. It is not an individual self, but it is multiple. Every defect: pride, resentment, anger, fear, lust, desire, is a multiplicity. It is a fracturing. This is very easy to see in ourselves if we are honest. In one moment, we may love somebody, in the next moment, we hate them. We like to attribute that quality to an individual identity. This is the failure of Western philosophy: to think that the self is unitary. This is a big mistake, which the Eastern religions and traditions understand is at fault, because in Buddhism, they always talk about some samskaras, kleshas, veils, conditions of mind, aggregates, defects.
 
Pride is a different ego. Fear is a different ego, hatred, etc. These are senses of self that don't have any order, and if you observe your mind, you pay attention, you can see that process in yourself. It is not pleasant to recognize that we are a multiplicity, but it explains many of our own contradictions. But of course, there is a way out, to acquire what we define as genuine individuality, which is sacred.
 
Real individuality is like that of a prophet, a self, a being that has no errors, no faults, no anger, no anger, no pride. They disintegrated the ego. And this is the meaning of the great religious battles within Christianity, Judaism, Islam―between God above and the devil below. This is not just about something external, but something psychological, because anger is a demon. Pride is a demon. Fear, resentment, the seven capital sins, whatever we want to refer to that as, is demonic. Therefore, we have to learn to eliminate those faults, comprehend them, so that we no longer go along with the mechanicity of life, suffering in those states. Because when you eliminate egotism, you extract the soul. You free the genie from Aladdin's lamp, in order to perform miracles in your state of mind.
 
Because when anger is eliminated, we develop sweetness and serenity. When lust is eliminated, we develop purity of body and mind. When pride is eliminated, we develop humility. When we annihilate anger too, we also develop compassion. So when the ego dies the soul is born. 
 
This is the Christian allegory of resurrection. When the impurities die, the soul is reborn. It is revitalized. It is new. So to get to that point, we study our three brains. We observe our thoughts, our feelings, and our will, to understand how they function.
 
“Whosoever wants to dissolve the ‘I’ must study its functionalism within the five inferior centers. We must not condemn the defects; we must not justify them either. What is important is to comprehend them.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony
 
So this is a type of spiritual work, or as different traditions state, a type of warfare, in which one confronts oneself. This is the meaning of jihad in Islam, the esoteric meaning. It does not mean to kill someone who is not of your faith, but psychologically, we confront the causes of our own suffering.
 
We must not repress what we see, neither justify them. One must comprehend these elements. It is not enough just to label something and push it away, to not look at that state. And of course, it is very difficult to do. It's very unpleasant, because the mind doesn't like to acknowledge its faults. This is well known within the counseling profession, psychology, in terms of repression, where clients do not like to look at the origin of their traumas, their pain, their suffering. This is the type of resistance in the mind not to see that.
 
Neither must we justify our faults.To say, “Well that person deserved my comments, my resentment, because they wronged me.” This is also a wrong state of mind. We have to comprehend how those elements function in us. This is comprehension. This is understanding, because when you comprehend an error, you can work towards its elimination, and then we have peace, understanding. This is a the method for awakening, direct perception, awareness. 
 
“It is urgent to comprehend the actions and reactions of the human machine. Each one of these five inferior centers has a whole set of extremely complicated actions and reactions.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony
 
This is very easy to see if you observe. For example, if you put your hand on a hot stove, you feel pain. You react. You pull your hand away instinctively. You move. And then you feel the emotions and the pain of that experience, where you feel anger, perhaps, followed by the thoughts that hurt: “I shouldn't do that.”
 
There are all sorts of complicated processes in this one moment in which our body moves. We feel. We think, but typically we don't observe that process. So the work of transformation is precisely beginning with awareness, self-observation: observing one's mind, emotions, etc., from a state of equanimity, of dispassion. Neither looking to judge, nor to label, nor to repress what we see, but simply gather data about our states of mind. And in that way we comprehend the origins of suffering. 
 
“The ‘I’ works with each one of these five inferior centers. Therefore, by deeply comprehending the whole mechanism of each one of these centers, we are on our way to dissolving the ‘I.’” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony
 
Or to use Christian terms, dissolving satan, the lower soul.

​The Different Paths of the Three Brains 

In the process of developing the three brains, we also talk a lot about different types of paths that existed. There have been paths in the world that had become firm traditions. 

Fakirism: The Path of Physicality

There are people who simply want to develop their body, the ability to overcome pain, pleasure, sensations, impulse, instinct. We call that fakirism, and you find a lot of these cults exist today, where people are only dedicated to the body, overcoming pain, such as walking on hot coals, simply because they want to prove that they can dominate the physical body.
 
But of course, the problem with this path is that it is extreme. It is unnecessary. It develops will, but it does not develop understanding. The ability to overcome pain is not the not the primary focus of real spirituality. So in fakirism, people lie in a bed of nails. There are people who, literally fakirs raising their hand for 15 years until they lost all nerves and feeling in their arm, so that they couldn't move it.
 
The point and the question is, why do that? What's the point? Because they felt that by controlling the motor-instinctive-sexual brain, the body, that somehow they were going to reach God, divinity. Of course, this is a mistake.
 
Fakirism is very limited, unnecessary. Spirituality is not predicated on overcoming pain, physically. It is not the whole gamut of self-transformation.

​Monasticism: The Path of Emotionality

Likewise, there is the path of emotionality, of monks, monasticism, emotion. There are people who feel that religion is only about developing the heart: praying, going to church, performing rituals. They feel that this is the only way to God, divinity, but also this is mistaken, because the emotional brain by itself is not enough.
 
We have to cultivate the body. We have to cultivate the mind. And so, these traditions, which originally were very sacred and developed all three brains at once, were balanced, but unfortunately, with time and traditions, things become habitualized, mechanical.
 
In most churches or synagogues or monasteries, they only develop the heart through prayer, which is good. It is beautiful to develop that and necessary, but to only do that one thing is not enough.

​Yoga: The Path of Intellectuality

And lastly we have the path of intellectuality, of yoga, when we talk about the three brains. This is the path of scriptural study, the intellect, because when you study meditation, you have to read about it. You have to learn from somebody what the steps are, what the principles are, what the path is. Many people feel that simply by reading books and studying with the intellect is enough. But unfortunately, this is also mistaken, because people who tend to read a lot at the exclusion of the heart and the body become imbalanced.
 
Becoming a giant library or walking library still can't resolve the problems of suffering, because having a lot of intellectual knowledge doesn't make one wise. Instead, knowledge that is applied to practice is wisdom, is essential.
 
These three paths related to the three brains. These are the lower paths that relate to spiritual traditions.

Energy and the Tree of Life

On the image here we have the Tree of Life, which is the Jewish mysticism, the Kabbalah. This is a map of different levels and gradations of energy, of materiality, of perception, and we use this glyph in this course and in these studies because they teach us about ourselves. It is a map of the soul of where we are and what we wish to achieve.
 
This image can be used to interpret any tradition, any religious cosmogony. It is associated typically with the science of numbers. So you notice that there are ten spheres here: three trinities and one sphere below at the bottom. If you are familiar with Christianity, we know that they are very identified with the Trinity itself, which we call Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Or to use Egyptian terms: Osiris, Horus, Isis. Amongst the Nordics: Wotan, Baldur, Thor.These are principles, not people. These are forces. These are energies that exists inside of us, which we can learn to cultivate if we know how.
 
Below that trinity we have seven spheres which are very important for our practical development. At the bottom, we have our physical body, physical energy.
 
We also have vital energy, creative energy, sexual energy.
 
We have emotional energy.
 
We have mental energy.
 
We have energy related to volition or will.
 
Then we have energy relating to consciousness, conscious perception.
 
And then we have the spirit, spiritual force.
 
The term spirit in strict esoteric language is Being, is divinity. It is the divine in us, the highest, or one of the highest forms of force, which we seek to practice and develop through our exercises that we have in this tradition.
 
It is important to remember that while we want to balance our three brains, while we want to use the energy as well, simply holding onto energy is not enough. Saving energy is not enough.
 
We talked a lot about in alchemical traditions, European traditions, how one must become hermetically sealed, according to hermetic philosophy. It is a very old tradition, which is depicted through symbols. Hermeticism means to not let out any energy at all, neither to waste energies of the mind, the body, or the heart.
 
What is important is that while we save energy, by not acting on ego, by performing spiritual action, compassionate action, we also learn to direct that energy with will, with perception, with understanding. That is the key.
 
Comprehend how the energies of thought work. Comprehend how the energies of emotion work. Comprehend how the energies of instinct, movement, and sexuality work. That is how we become a Tree of Life, a Christmas tree that is illuminated with perfection, because without energy there is no light, no force. 
 
We can say that our intellectual brain relates to mental energy, the sphere below, the fourth of the bottom. And of course, in strict Hebrew terms, these are called sephiroth, which means emanations, spheres. Sephirah is singular. So this sephirah, relating with the mind, is the fourth in the bottom. It is our intellectual brain.
 
We also have the emotional brain, relating to the left, the third sephirah from the bottom.
 
And likewise, we have movement related to our physical body.
 
We have instincts relating to our will, our impulses, our ability to act in life.
 
And we also have creative-sexual-energy. These constitute the motor-instinctive-sexual brain.
 
It is important to remember that yes, we must save energy, but we have to know how to use the three brains, which is why Samael Aun Weor, the founder of the modern Gnostic tradition states the following in The Great Rebellion:
 
“No matter how much we might increase our strictly mechanical energy, we will never awaken consciousness."  ―Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
 
So that means by controlling the body through fakirism, overcoming sensation, the body, movement, one does not awaken.
 
“No matter how much we might increase the vital forces within our own organism, we will never awaken consciousness." ―Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
 
That relates to vital breath and yoga. If you are familiar with yoga, they talk a lot about pranayama: interchangeable nostril breathing, in which you circulate vital force, prana, in Sanskrit meaning life: the life energy throughout your body, your mind, your heart. It is not enough just to work with that energy, to circulate it. It is important, but it is not the entirety of what one must do to obtain yoga.
 
“Many psychological processes take place within us without any intervention from the consciousness."  ―Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
 
This relates to emotion, the heart. So notice that consciousness is not the body. It is not physicality. People like to think superficially, in American culture and also abroad, that we are the body, that our appearance determines who we are, and sadly this is what many people believe. But the reality is that we are not the body, because we operate in the body. People often look at others and say, “I wish I could look as beautiful as that person.” It means that we are not the body, because we're thinking outside of that.
 
Neither are we the vital energies that we have within in us. We need vital energy to operate, to be awake physically. Sometimes in the morning, we have more energy, or in the evening we feel tired. That relates to our vital forces.
 
And likewise our emotions, our emotional energy. We tend to invest a lot of our identity into it. We tend to feel that we are really our emotions, whether it be anger, pride, resentment, etc. However, in strict spiritual terms, our emotions are not the consciousness, the soul. The soul is even deeper than those qualities.
 
So “Many psychological processes take place within us without any intervention from the consciousness.” This is something we have to discover for ourselves by observing our mind, our heart.
 
“However great the disciplines of the mind might be, mental energy can never achieve the awakening of the diverse functions of the consciousness.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
 
Meaning: reading a lot, studying a lot―having a lot of theory and knowledge in the mind. It is good. It is important, but it is not the totality of what we need to awaken the soul.
 
“Even if our willpower is multiplied infinitely, it can never bring about the awakening of the consciousness.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
 
So it is admirable that one has a lot of will in life, to survive and to thrive, but having will is not enough. Will has to be directed by our inner Spirit. As Jesus said, "Father if it is possible, take this cup of bitterness from me, but not my will, but Thine be done." So we have the will to go up towards higher states of being, or to go down. It depends on our actions. But even if we have a lot of willpower in life, it is not exclusive of the other spheres. Willpower is important, but even that must be directed and balanced, because notice that willpower, volitional energy, is at the very center. 

It is very important, because if you take this image of the tree, you put it in a human being, you find that the top trinity relates with the head, the middle trinity relate to the heart, the lower trinity relates with our thighs and our sexual glands. The lower sphere (Malkuth) relates to our feet.
 
Our willpower can also relate to our heart, our emotions, especially in a higher sense. And so volition determines where we go. How we behave and how we act with will determines everything. That is why it is a much more subtle and refined element and very difficult to pinpoint, but something we can experience. Our will can either follow our divinity, or negativity and egotism. So willpower is not enough. It has to be directed.
 
“All these types of energy are graded into different levels and dimensions, which have nothing to do with the consciousness.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
 
Which is the sixth sphere from the bottom to the top in the left pillar.
 
“Consciousness can only be awakened through conscious work and upright efforts.”  ―Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
 
So in our tradition we have a lot of practices that we use to develop the intellect, the emotions, and our body. We have yoga practices. We have sacred sounds or prayers, mantras. We have yogic positions. We have teachings of tantra, sexuality, marriage, matrimony, working with creative force, pranayama. We have exercises called the runes, which relate to the Nordic alphabet, in which we put our body into certain positions in accordance with the letters of the runic letters, in order to assimilate energy and force, to awaken the soul. We have meditative practices too, many. We use all these exercises in balance because they all take these forces and cultivate them in a conscious way.
 
Having a lot of energy is not enough in life. We can have a lot of vitality, will to act, a lot of energy in the mind, the heart, but we have to learn how to use that potential in a very intelligent way, which is the meaning of this quote.  It doesn't mean that we have to disregard these forces below the consciousness. It means that we know how to use them. Because remember the soul is like a person driving a car. These spheres, these energies relate to how our car operates, our body operates. A person can have a lot of fuel in their car, but they can be reckless with their attention and they can get into an accident. So if we know how to drive our car well, take care of the car, feed it good fuel, that is what we drive to our destination.

The Three Factors

All this is synthesized in the Passion of Jesus who came to represent, with his physical life, these principles. So one thing is the man of Jesus of Nazareth who existed, who taught humanity a very vital teaching, and one thing is what he symbolized. He represents a type of willpower, of conscious work, that is: the ability to overcome all suffering, as we saw in the Passion, of his Crucifixion. He was ridiculed, spat upon, mocked, humiliated, beaten, tortured, killed. And yet throughout that entire time, he only said “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” So he was very conscious, had no pride, no anger. And he was showing a type of work that overcomes adversity.
 
Perhaps in life we have our own passion to go through, our own crucifixion, which is very painful, where we face ordeals and circumstances that are very difficult. But by learning to develop compassion, eliminate mistaken states of mind, we balance our three brains.
 
In the Book of Matthew chapter 16 verse 24 you find the principles of the three brains represented.
 
“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, ‘If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.’” ―Matthew 16:24
 
We call these three factors of spiritual awakening.
 
Birth, which means give birth to the soul. Learn to conserve your energy, especially the creative sexual energy, and then learn to direct it with will. We do that through exercise of yoga, the perfect matrimony, pranayama, many exercises, to take that energy, and instead of expelling it, we learn to conserve it, transform it. It gives birth to the soul. It awakens the soul.
 
But also one must deny oneself, meaning: negate all the impure qualities of the heart, as we have been explaining extensively.

And also to follow him, or divinity. So it is important to remember that we are not predicating or pushing for the worship of the physical personality of Jesus. Instead, he represents what in Gnostic terms is called Christ, which is an energy. And if you look back at the Tree of Life, we refer to Christ as the top trinity, or more specifically the second sphere. Because above is the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit. Jesus of Nazareth came to embody that force in his life to teach us something practical. So the top trinity can be called Christ, Krestos, which means “fire” in Greek. It is the fire of life in our body, in our three brains, that gives us life and spirituality. If we use it for divinity, it transforms us.
 
“Any man will come after me, he must deny himself,” negate his negative emotions or her negative emotions, “take up the cross and follow” him or divinity, our inner divinity, our inner Spirit.
 
The cross is a very beautiful symbol, which of course is not understood at all today. While it is a symbol of sacrifice, it is also a symbol of sexual teachings, teachings of tantrism in Buddhism, teachings of genuine yoga, the highest spiritual teachings. Because the phallus is the vertical beam, the uterus is a horizontal beam. Together, when a husband and wife unite, or a couple unites, by training their mind, cultivating the energies of love, they awaken the full potential of the being.
 
This is very well known within Buddhism, the highest teachings. Or amongst the Sufis in Islam, Marifah. Amongst the Gnostics, it is Gnosis. Or amongst the Jews, Daath, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil―symbols―that teach these truths.
 
To follow divinity is to affirm God, affirm our Being, which means to work for the benefit of humanity, not for our own selfish desires, but for others, with compassion.
 
These are important principles. We are going to talk about these three factors in more depth later in this course.

And so the Gnostic path is the balance of those three, the three brains, the three paths: fakirism, monasticism, yoga. The Gnostic path is the union and balancing of all three. It is the harmony, the synthesis, which you find represented in this image of the Rosicrucian Cross. And the Rosicrucians were a very ancient Gnostic order that once had a lot of value in life and teaching, which we study.
 
Notice that in this image, you have a lot of symbols which are very abstract. You have astrology, relating to the planets. You have the Hebrew letters circulating around a rose of spirituality. You have pentagrams, and all these intricate symbols which simply point, in their synthesis, in their representation, towards forces in the heart and the mind and the body.
 
A pentagram is really a human being standing upright―hands out, feet out, head towards the heavens. It is a symbol of the perfect human being. Meaning: the head is following divinity. It is positive, but some people have misappropriated that symbol by turning it upside down, which is an inverted image. It means that one's reason is going down into negative states called hell realms. This is the black pentagram or the pentagram of the black sabbath, which is a different path, a very negative one, in which one develops one’s conditions of mind intentionally.
 
All the letters of Hebrew which are symbols of principles from Aleph, the first letter of Hebrew to Tav, the final letter. These are symbols. These are representations of forces, which we all find synthesized in the harmonization of what we call the cross, a symbol of a matrimony, because when husband and wife cross themselves physically, they awaken spiritual energy, especially. If they know how to cultivate that energy well, conserve it and keep it sacred, in truth, they become a perfect human being. This is the secret teachings of all ages, which is now being made public since the 1960's in the writings of Samael Aun Weor.
 
This is the path of Taoism, balance, harmony.
 
“The Tao Path includes three paths, and Tao itself is the fourth.  Much has been said about the four paths.  We Gnostics travel along the fourth path in full consciousness. During the sexual act, we transmute the brutal instincts of our physical body into willpower…” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony
 
So this is a term that is very interesting: transmutation, transformation. This is known as alchemy: taking the brute lead of our negativity and transforming it into the gold of the spirit. It is a symbol. It does not mean that people were actually in Europe trying to turn lead into gold. There were some people who did think it could happen, but it is a symbol. You transform your lust, your desires, into purity, perfection. And you can also transform the seminal matter, and by conserving it, we can transform it into spiritual force that gives birth to divinity in us. The brutal instincts or passions of the body become will, a strong will, a profound will. Also:
 
“…the passionate emotions of the Astral Body into love…” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony
 
And the astral body relates to the vehicle we operate with in dreams. So people often talk about lucid dreams, out-of-body experiences, awakening in dreams. That is a truth relating to, again, higher dimensions, which we access when we physically go to sleep. So the physical body rests and the soul travels mostly unconsciously in that realm, dreaming or projecting dreams, not being aware of what is around. So the emotions of this astral body become transformed into love:
 
“…and the mental impulses into comprehension.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony
 
So these are the three lower paths synthesized. We don't have to become fakirs, lying on a bed of nails, to develop will. Instead we have other practices which are much more expedient and useful.
 
“As Spirit, we perform the Great Work (which is religion, religare, reunion). This is how we travel along the four paths in practice. We do not need to become fakirs for the first path, neither monks for the second, nor scholars for the third. The path of the Perfect Matrimony permits us to travel the four paths during the sexual act itself.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony
 
Of course, this is a very high teaching, the highest ideals, because love is the greatest religion. A couple can learn to use all the energies they have, to “love thy God with all thy mind, all thy heart, all thy soul and all thy strength” (Matthew 22:37-39). Really, we get most of our strength from the sexual energy. It is what gives us life, and people who deplete their sexual energy excessively, they become weak.
 
The word virya in Sanskrit means “strength.” It is where where we get the word virility, virtue. The virtues of the soul blossom like a rose upon the cross of a marriage. So husband and wife can learn to use these forces to transform themselves and balance all three brains. But of course, we have many techniques and explanations about how to do that, which we will be talking about successively in our courses. But in synthesis, we want to state that by balancing our three brains and understanding the different traditions that have existed in the past in our humanity, we acquire understanding and harmony.

​Questions and Answers

Question: I do a lot of academic work and sometimes I do feel that kind of intellectual depletion, but then I am able to keep going through that. How does esotericism explain that second wind?
 
Instructor: Yes, so the second winds symptom relates to, basically, when you use too much energy in one brain, unfortunately that brain, because it is depleted, it has to get energy from somewhere. So what it does is that it steals energy from the other centers, and that gives one a second wind, which you feel revitalized, re-energized, you are able to get back into work to do whatever one is focused on.
 
But that type of high is, in reality, negative, because we were tired an hour ago, but then suddenly we have more energy and we become hyper-manic sometimes, where you feel like you have more energy, you have to keep working. That is because the mind, the intellect, is depleted, and it starts stealing fuel from the sexual center. The sexual energy is the most powerful. Literally, it is the ability to create a human being, to create life, but it is like rocket fuel. It belongs in its center, in its form of modality and operation. If you put rocket fuel into a car, the car will be destroyed, and so gradually people who abuse the intellect keep losing their energy, they start stealing energy from the sexual center until it finally, over time and successfully throughout their life or even other lifetimes, destroys the mind. 
 
Question: Does that work in another direction like, you know, if I deplete my sexual energy and steal energy from other centers in that way. Is that harmful too? 
 
Instructor: Yes, that is the reality too. If we lose the sexual energy and don't conserve it, that throws everything out of balance. And of course, this is the original sin mentioned the Bible―eating from the Tree of knowledge of Good and Evil―which has a lot of profound symbolism and hidden meanings, which we can explain. But in synthesis, if we deplete the energy that gives us life, it means that one is going to be weaker, spiritually speaking. And so that center will steal energy from the other centers.
 
But you have to think of the sexual energy like the foundation of everything that we are, because we come into existence through the sexual act, that force.
 
Now, you know the vital energy, we place a lot of emphasis on that part of in this teaching, because virya is the source of virility, virtue. That energy is literally the force that animates, and in this teaching, we talk a lot about how by conserving that energy, which can normally create a physical child. You take that same potential, and by circulating it through the vehicle of tantra―the continuum working throughout the different brains, like the image you saw with the man and woman with a symbol of the infinite―that revitalizes the mind, the heart, the body.
 
There is a lot more science coming out now. People have been studying the role of continence or chastity, which doesn't necessarily mean abstention from sex. It simply means using the sexual act in a significant, meaningful, loving relationship, with purity. Immaculate conception, sometimes people refer to in terms of the birth of Jesus. Again, another symbol. While the birth of Jesus was something physical, he represented something profound for us. We can give birth to the golden child of Christ through that very same energy. But of course, in order to do that, Mother Mary must be virgin. But the reality is that to be virgin does not mean to not have sex. It means to be pure in sex. So there is a very profound distinction there.
 
You know, Mother Mary is the matter, the mater, the matter of God, which is your body. Your body is a temple, which, when it is purified through practices, when it is made virgin and pure, it becomes holy, and then you can take that energy to create something else. That is what one wants by conserving it, transforming it.
 
We have a lot of material relating to this topic, especially. It's not my intention to talk about all the profound symbols of that path, but that is the essence of Taoism,  the Tao, the path of balance. By working with that energy that can create life, you balance all three brains. You perform a continuum of energy. Continuum is tantra, and if you study Buddhism, they talk a lot about tantric marriage, literally seeing deities in sexual union, but not with lust. With love. A very profound difference.
 
Any other questions?
 
Question: So it seems like, from what you’ve said, sexuality can be useful on the spiritual path rather than outright repression of it. That is what I get from many spiritual traditions, it seems.
 
Instructor: They avoid the sexual aspect of religion and unfortunately, that was castrated from Christianity. But Jesus said, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh. That which is born of the Spirit is Spirit” (John 3:6). You can create a child physically through the act that everybody knows, but through alchemy, to fuse oneself with God, one can in a marriage, cultivate that energy in a sacred way.
 
It is sad people reject that part of their teaching, which is in Judaism, Christianity, Islam, every tradition. So I invite you, if you are interested in learning more about the symbolism of those traditions, we have different texts available. You can read them here or purchase them here, but also you can go on gnosticteachings.org, which has a lot. All the books we have here, especially The Perfect Matrimonyyou can go online and read. It talks about all that. You know, we like to be very specific. That's the one part of religion that has been missing, is how to use that energy.
 
It has never been taught publicly because it wasn't allowed. It's such a volatile and powerful thing to use that energy, that it has been kept secret for millennia. But now we live in a very different era, in which this information is allowed to be given openly in accordance with divinity since the 60s, especially. The sexual revolution, interestingly enough. So I invite you to study that if you are interested. 
 
Question: (paraphrasing) That seems like that went from, when you were talking about the sexual revolution, like we are free from the repression, and it seems like you burned yourself out. I noticed that in myself. I grew up in a very conservative, church type of family... But then I was in the military and I had more choice than at home, and I discovered that there is this other side to it… Burned myself out as well.
 
Instructor: Exactly, and the thing is, that according to every tradition, sexuality is a door to liberation, but also the door to hell, because it is the most powerful element we carry. We can create life with it. It is the power of divinity to create, and so there are two ways to use that for us, which sadly, monasticism, it avoids. That tradition originally knew the sexual teachings and they practiced in secret with the nuns. A monk would train individually, doing energy exercises to learn to train themselves before they got married, and they were brought together with a nun. Monk and nun working together, but in secret, because it is such a scandalous thing for people to think about.
 
It is a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense according to Peter, the stone of the Gnostic Church; Patar in Latin. So that is the teaching that has been cut out, but now we teach openly because it is the essence of religion. Literally, man and woman uniting together is a form of union, religare. If they love each other and learn to conserve that power, they can turn water into wine, and that is the first miracle of Jesus at a wedding. Husband and wife, the waters of the creative energy, could become the wine of God in your spine, rising up. Some traditions call it Kundalini. Some people call it the fire of Pentecost. Beautiful symbols.
 
Another Instructor: So when you said that there are three ways, one is to not have sex at all, to repress it, one is an overindulgence where it is abused or lustful way, and then this middle path. You know of the Tao, which you are talking about with sexual alchemy, where the sexual act is engaged in, but in a way working with that energy consciously and in purity, and transforming that energy. So there is not just two ways, but there is a middle path. 
 
Instructor: Yes. Thanks for correcting me, because in that image I had of Jesus with the “deny yourself, pick up your cross, and follow me” quote, relates to this teaching. There are people who like to justify all the types of animal behavior that exist in relation to sex through pornography, sadomasochism, behaviors that are really degenerate and causes a lot of suffering for humanity. But then there are people who like to repress sex saying, “Oh, that's filthy. It's all disgusting. I want nothing to do with it.” Two extremes. Neither are right. Neither of them are the path of balance. To balance the three brains, one has to know how to use that energy in a sacred way, neither by justifying lust or repressing lust, but looking at it directly. 
 
Audience: Transforming lust into love.
 
Instructor: Transforming lust into chastity as well. Chasity mean purity. It doesn't mean abstention from sex. This is a confusion created by people who hate sexuality, because they, usually from lifetime to lifetime, they go to extremes: indulging in lust, repressing, indulging, repressing. This is the pendulum that keeps people hypnotized, but in reality, religion, the middle path, the path of genuine Tantric Buddhism, is by learning to take the sexual act and make it something sacred. It doesn't have to do with going to a church or synagogue or mosque, or believing in a tradition, or being repressive. It means enjoying the delights of love in a pure way. And that is something that is very difficult to do, but is gradually developed.
 
In Buddhism, this is emphasized in his life story, the story of Buddha, how he became an ascetic. He used to be a prince in a palace with many women. He had everything provided for him. He was lustful, indulging in desire, but then he realized the reality of suffering, that he will die one day. People are afflicted by old age, sickness, and death. Therefore, he decided to embark on the spiritual path. He became an ascetic, a fakir, going to the wilderness, meditating all day, living off only off a grain of rice, until he became emaciated and nearly dying. And he was in a lot of suffering, because he thought that this would take him to divinity, to his inner Buddha nature.
 
But then what happened was that he, I believe he was near a river, in which he heard someone playing a lyre, and then he realized: you can't make the strings too tight nor too loose in order to play music. You can't go to extremes: rejecting sex, indulging in sex. Instead, he realized that one has to use that sexual act in a different way, in a harmonious way. That is when a woman came up to him with a bowl of rice milk, and offered to rejuvenate him. When he drank that, he immediately became enlivened again. He no longer was emaciated. He became whole.
 
That is a symbol of a marriage: a woman offering him a bowl of milk made of rice. That grain is the sexual seed. It is the energy that is transformed and enlivening the soul. So he knew at that point, symbolically, as a teaching, that you can't repress sex. You can't justify it. You have to look at it in a balanced way, in a spiritual way: the path of balancing the three brains, because the rice milk―milk is a symbol of semen, of energy, how you take that energy, transform it, raise it up your spine to your mind, to your heart. That is how you balance your three centers or three brains.
 
So in Buddhism, there is that teaching. Very beautifully hidden. You find that in the life of Jesus, even Muhammad in Islam, many teachings relating to different prophets who represented this alchemical path.
 
We like to be balanced. It's not healthy to indulge in desire. You can look at humanity today. Prostitution rings, all sorts of, you know, filthy practices, which are really harmful. But it's not enough just to run away from it, and it's what people do in religion. They think religion has nothing to do with sex, that they can go to church, pray in the form of the cross and then they go home to the bedroom and act like demons. That is not religion. Religion is all three brains, and the original form of the cross, one points toward the head, the heart and to the sexual organs, and then raising it up to your left arm, to your right. Most Catholics, they do the head, the heart, left shoulder, right shoulder. They ignore the sexual glands.
 
Real religion is Father, Son, Holy Spirit. The Father, the energies of divinity, the Father in the head. The energies of the Christ, the Son are in the heart, the emotional brain. And the energies of the Holy Spirit is sex. So take the energy of sex, we do the head, the heart. When you gesticulate, then from sex you raise that energy up to your left shoulder over your heart and to your right shoulder. That is how the Gnostics perform the cross. This is what we do, because it symbolizes: take that energy, it descends from the Father, the Son, to the sexual glands, and then you consciously elevate it, bring it up for your will, relating to your left arm, in accordance with the Kabbalistic teachings, the lustful mind, bringing it to your heart and then your right arm which relates to your Spirit. So some symbology there that is very interesting.
 
Religion, yoga, is purely sexual. But of course, this topic offends many people because they either look at it with lust or as something to be repressed. But really, a marriage is one of the Holy Sacraments of the Gnostic Church and the Catholic Church too, but obviously, we try to go in more depth. 
 
Question: It always seems like a contradiction how in one point like you said, the church has castrated the teachings of Jesus: teaching that he was not married when a lot of the texts reference his relationship with Mary Magdalene, and how marriage can be elevated into such as high sacrament when they are preaching celibacy and these types of repressive teachings, and what seemed more power exertion to control people rather than the actual teachings that were originally presented. 
 
Instructor: Yes, and you find that in the Catholic Church, because the priests that do not work with the energy, they conserve it but they don't circulate it, they become very imbalanced, which is why you find, in any tradition really, people who practice celibacy, there are a lot of cases of homosexuality and molestation of children in the Catholic Church. There are documentaries, even on Netflix I believe, there is a few going―one going around, where these priests, because they don't know how to work with that energy, to cultivate it in a conscious way, that fire needs to act, but if it is not being directed spiritually or used to awaken the soul, it feeds desire.
 
Repressing doesn't resolve the problem. Pushing it away doesn't resolve the issues of lust or impurity. Instead, confronting it, take the energy, bear up the cross, deny yourself, deny your desires. That is the whole path. Monasticism only works with the heart, yoga with the intellect, and fakirism only with the physical body. But to be balanced, work with everything. Work with the creative energy. We have exercises to develop will and the heart through prayer. So balance is best, and unfortunately people don't know how to really approach sexuality in a balanced way. But obviously that is something that can be learned.
 
Question: That’s interesting because I mean, I read lot of things and have investigated orthodoxy for a period of time as well because of the greater depth of spirituality in orthodoxy. You will get a lot where they talk about the monk, the highest order of being: this is the one closest to Christ.
 
Instructor: Yeah, and it is in every tradition. Every tradition likes to say we have the knowledge and we have the way. We don't claim that we are special. We give teachings that are practical and are helpful, but people decide that on their own and can determine that on their own. 
 
Another Instructor: That is very Piscean. We talk in this tradition about the Aquarian Era, which began around the 60's and that now, teachings which used to be secret in the Piscean Age have become the era of open knowledge. The water of knowledge flowing. And so it used to be that people would go into these secret kind of schools, these mystery schools, and learn these types of teachings, as the instructor was pointing out here, about working individually as a monk or a nun, and then in secret, performing this sexual union. In ancient times that wasn't shown publicly, because it would have been scandalous, but in the Aquarian Era this knowledge became open, so no longer do we have to run off to the woods or the secret esoteric temple in the pyramids to learn this stuff. But you know many traditions cling to the way that it always used to be without the actual essence of that knowledge, the secret, the esoteric part of it still being alive in those traditions. Now, we have the shell and the forms and the empty kind of rituals, which seem beautiful and attractive to us, but always seem to be missing that fire which is, you know, Christ and the Holy Spirit―the living energy of religion which seems to have kind of disappeared from many traditions.
 
Comment: I mean I can sense it in the Mass that there is something to it in an energetic level. But then it's what do you after you leave and stuff....
 
Instructor: Exactly. Dion Fortune, who wrote a lot of esoteric books, stated that the reason why the Catholic Church has existed for so long is because it performs Mass in Latin, and those prayers in that language are very powerful, because Oatin is a sacred mantric language, one of languages of God amongst the many: Hebrew, the Nordic Runes, Sanskrit, Arabic, Chinese. Many languages have a powerful element that can invoke energy. So that serves like a conduit for those masses and prayers, in which divinity comes down from the superior worlds and is present there. But the problem becomes what to do with that energy, as you said, because those priests can attract and invoke God, but because their three brains are not circulating energy well, God can't enter into them, because if they don't work with the creative energy, they can't awaken.
 
If you remember that quote using the Tree of Life, “No matter how much we increase our strictly vital energy, it will never produce the awakening of the consciousness,” because saving energy and being celibate is not enough. You can save that energy, but if you don't direct it, it goes nowhere. And in fact that energy will be misused. It will be fortified or used to fortify desire.
Your three brains are a conduit. That is how you form tantra, the holy eight ∞ in your spine. And we talked a lot about the Caduceus of Mercury in medicine, but also a symbol of how from the sexual glands, there are energetic channels that rise up from the base of our spine and our sexual glands and crisscross up to the head in order to form the wings of the spirit. 
So if you are familiar with, amongst veterinarians or doctors, they have that symbol as a symbol of medicine of healing, usually with the symbol of the Rune Hagal amongst the Nordics, a vertical beam with a cross like a six pointed star. It is a symbol of the cross, how the energies of sexuality circulate in the true master. And then, the spine with the wings of the spirit, the wings of the angels open. So when your three brains are fully harmonized and the energy of the Holy Spirit or the Kundalini rises up in a marriage, it awakens our spiritual faculties. That becomes the wings of the angel. And that also balances the three brains.
 
You have to be balanced in order to work with that energy. But when the priests are praying, they are saying, “God come into us.” Divinity is present. People, even who have a very asleep consciousness can feel that, which is why people flock to religion. They feel God there. But then the question is, “Well, what next?” The question is, you can approach the temple but your body must become a temple. Your mind, your heart, your sexuality, must become pure, so that God can enter into you, and in that way, the inner priest, the inner magician, the inner God, officiates inside of you. It gives you happiness. It is a gradual process though.

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<![CDATA[Basics of Spiritual Defense]]>Tue, 02 Jun 2020 07:00:00 GMThttp://chicagognosis.org/transcriptions/basics-of-spiritual-defense
This is a transcription of an audio lecture from Spiritual Self-Defense, originally given live at the Gnostic Academy of Chicago:

Today's lecture is about spiritual self-defense, and it is the first in a course that will be ongoing, about how do we defend ourselves from the various challenges, obstacles, and attacks that we might face as we engage more seriously in our spiritual work.
 
The most important question I want to begin with is, what is black magic? For many of us who are new to this path, we hear it mentioned, and it might evoke some fear or uncertainty. So I want to clarify upfront a simple basic understanding of what we mean when we talk about black magic.
 
Yes, black magic does include demons and individuals who are in physical bodies out there, performing rituals and cultivating energy, whether through sexual practices or other rituals― that we don't teach in our school, specifically―in order to be able to gain more power over other people and in the internal worlds. However, to clarify, the power that those people are gaining is fortifying their ego, which means that they will have power in the internal dimensions of the inverted Tree of Life, what we call the hell realms, the infernal dimensions.
 
Our goal on the white path of initiation is to enter into the higher levels of consciousness, to enter into the divine and heavenly realms, and it is important to know that black magicians, as much power as they may have in the lower realms, do not have power in the higher realms in which the divine law reigns. Some say that in the hell realms, whatever is the divine law is inverted, meaning that what is against the law in the divine realms becomes “the law,” the mandatory law in the hell realms. So if fornication and adultery is against divine law, in the hell realms, it is mandatory that everyone must fornicate. Everyone must commit adultery. This is a basic example to give us an understanding.
 
Additionally, we have to realize that all of us on this path are trapped between the two realms. We have a bit of our consciousness which is free, which is longing for the divine, which is virtuous, with many beautiful spiritual qualities, and we also have a large percentage of our consciousness that is trapped in infernal psychological states. It is that part of our consciousness through which black magicians can manipulate and control us.
 
And so, whenever someone is trying to control the will of others, to steal energy from them, by getting them to lust after them, to envy them, to worship them, whenever a person is trying to dominate others, confuse others, manipulate others, or hurt others, this is black magic. As you can tell with that general explanation, many of us in many points in our lives have used black magic. We have used our mind and our cleverness in order to try to manipulate or harm others, but at the same time we have also tried to get others to lust after us or to be envious of us, to make others feel that we are better than them. These are all forms of black magic.
 
And so while yes, we are looking out for black initiates, individuals out there who have actually been initiated into black paths and are working with black tantra, magical forms of energy manipulation and control of the elements, in order to gain power and steal power from others, our biggest weakness, when it comes to self-defense, is that we ourselves are very egotistical and we are very easily controlled.
 
The Buddha Gautama said that “It is a man's own mind, not his enemy or foe, that lures him into evil ways.” About a year ago, I was watching the opera Parsifal, which many of us know from the books of Samael Aun Weor, specifically the book Parsifal Unveiled, and in the particular rendition that I was watching, there was a powerful scene when Parsifal, who represents the pure but foolish young initiate on a quest to save his Lord, has to enter into the kingdom of Klingsor, representing our egotistical foe. And Parsifal, once entering this kingdom, has to pass through a garden filled with beautiful and seductive women. Because of his purity of heart he is not seduced by these women and is able to enter into the chamber, in which he meets the temptress Kundry, and what happens from there, you'll have to watch the opera to learn the rest.
 
But as I watched the scene, it struck me that Parsifal did not need any weapons to defend himself from these beautiful and seductive women, because he in his mind was strong. If we have a fantasy in our own mind of a attractive man or woman, and then that person comes into our physical life and begins to try to seduce us, manipulate us, get our energy, or get us to lust after them, make us fall off the path, so to speak, we are very easily manipulated and able to fall in that case. But if in our mind we have already seen the truth of this person, we have no temptation towards lust for them, and then they come and approach us with the same lustful behaviors in an attempt to seduce us, we have nothing to fear, because it will be much more difficult in that case for them to be able to control us. Our best self-defense is cultivating the purity of mind, heart, and body that makes it impossible for any black magician to be able to manipulate us.
 
I think that this quote from Samael Aun Weor in his book Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology sums this example up perfectly. He wrote:
 
"The best weapon that a human being can use in life is a correct psychological state. One can disarm beasts and unmask traitors by means of appropriate internal states. Wrong internal states convert us into defenseless victims of human perversity. You must learn to face the most unpleasant events of practical life with an appropriate internal uprightness. You must not become identified with any event. Remember that everything passes away. You must learn to look at life like a movie; thus, you shall receive the benefits. You must not forget that if you do not eliminate mistaken internal states from your psyche, then events of no value could bring you disgrace." ―Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology
 
We need to know that in order to defend ourselves, our best weapon is to be conscious, to be awake in every moment, to be self-observing what is happening inside of us, and to be self-remembering our inner divinity, so that we behave with internal uprightness.
 
We behave according to our own conscience. This is not worrying about morality or what others will think of us, but knowing in our own heart we are doing what is right in God's eyes. And this is based on our own inner relationship with our own inner divinity that we cultivate through daily meditation and prayer. If you are meditating, you will have a better sense of what is a correct psychological state, because in certain moments in one's meditation practice, one can access this. What is my psychological state when I am, for a few moments, free of ego? And then when I sink back into an egotistical state, when I become identified with some defect, like pride or anger lust or envy, what is the change that I witnessed there? Because if I am self-observing, then I know if my consciousness is truly free and being guided by divinity, or if my consciousness is conditioned by a certain egotistical element in myself that I still need to further comprehend and eliminate.
 
If we break down this passage, which is filled with very deep wisdom, we see that it is possible for us to disarm beasts and unmask traitors by means of appropriate internal states. This means that if we are awakened, if we are self-observing, have our consciousness active and free of ego, we can see exactly how another person might be trying to manipulate or harm us. And rather than reacting with anger or with fear towards this person, we can become conscious internally of what is the correct response in order to protect ourselves, to guard ourselves in this situation. 
 
When we have wrong internal states, we become defenseless victims of human perversity. If we have truly meditated in this tradition for quite some time, we are aware of the depths of perversity within our own mind. How often we wish to harm or control or dominate other people? And so we must have compassion for the human perversity that exists in others and be aware of it.
 
The best way to protect ourselves is not to let our own lust or anger or pride seduce us into wrong behaviors. As I mentioned in the example before, if we see an attractive man or woman and we are cultivating a fantasy, a lustful fantasy of the day that they will come and talk to us or ask us out and we are really putting a lot of energy, conscious energy into that fantasy, it is our own mind which has already set the trap for us. And when that person shows up in our physical life and begins to talk to us, it does not take much effort on their part in order to have a profound level of control over us.
 
Many times in our lives, perhaps we have had our heart broken or we felt betrayed, and the other person may not even have willingly done so to us, but it was our own mental state which set us up for that scenario. We have to recognize that as a consequence of karma, we have many ties to other people and each of these will play themselves out, and we must accept that because we have done wrong in this lifetime and in previous lifetimes, we will suffer. But, if we suffer consciously, and if we take those situations of pain and we transform them into an opportunity to learn about our own inner defects, to cleanse ourselves internally, to respond with more love and strength of heart towards the difficulties of life and towards our problems with other people, we will truly become an initiate, a warrior on this path, which is what we need.
 
It's a very difficult work. It's a work of a lifetime and not something easily achieved and not easy to follow through with. That is why these temptations come along in order for us to go to battle, to prove whether we are going to be defined for the will of God or whether we are going to fall fulminated at the feet of our own inner egos and defects.
 
Temptations are a chance for us to purify ourselves. However, most of the time we become identified with an event. We look at other people at our life situation as very real and as something that demands for us to react to it with a lot of self-esteem. When other people come along and insult us, or when life is not going the way that we had desired, we get identified. We have a lot of pride that comes out and says, “I don't deserve this. These people shouldn't be talking about me like that. They are so much worse.” Or “this situation shouldn't be happening to me. I am great and I have done all this hard work,” etc., etc. This is becoming identified with an event, and we will suffer much more through that identification.
 
It is much better to take a step back, to calm down, go for a walk or do something that calms us down, and then enter into meditation. Separate from our identification with the event and reflect on it serenely, allowing God to show us not what is wrong with the other person or what is wrong with the situation, or how can I change other people and situations to make them more the way that I want them to be, but rather, “what is it in me that is incorrectly responding to this circumstance?”
 
By understanding ourselves, which is truly the only thing that we can change, we will be able to find more peace. We will be able to radically change inside, and as we change inside, we know that the outside world will begin to reflect more and more our inner level of being. This is a process of alchemy, of transmutation, radical transformation of oneself from darkness, unconsciousness, and egotism, into light, selflessness and consciousness, unity with divinity. That is what we are doing. We are taking a heavy base metal like lead and transforming it into the purified gold of the spirit. This is a long work.
 
Events of no value, such as an argument with someone, which in the moment feels very serious and very real and causes a lot of anger in us, can bring us a lot of disgrace if we respond with that anger. However, if we transform that state, we feel peace with the situation. We accept it. We express kindness or compassion for the other person involved, then that event passes away. Everything passes away, is what Samael Aun Weor is writing here. If we keep that in mind, no matter how much we burn in the moment, we can find a rope to hold onto, a continuity of consciousness so that we do not lose our integrity over an event of no value. 

​Chastity: God’s Covenant

Most importantly, in maintaining the purity of our state of mind and of our soul, is chastity. For anyone who has been in this doctrine for some time, you know that we speak repeatedly about chastity as the renunciation of orgasm and the practice of sexual magic with one spouse, or the practice of pranayama: to transmute one’s sexual energy in a pure way for single people.
 
Chastity is our covenant with God, and when we break that covenant, we lose the divine protection which that covenant grants us. It is a very serious covenant to make, and I recommend that when you make that choice to commit to chastity as part of your spiritual practice, as part of your life, that you don't go back on it―that you fight with all of your being to preserve that chastity, because when one falls, depending on the severity of the fall, the consequences are very severe.
 
So we have to be very serious about chastity, when we take that step, because it offers us a lot of protection. What chastity does is it strengthens our inner connection with our inner Father, what we call the Innermost, related with Chesed on the Tree of Life, in Kabbalah, and with our Divine Mother, both of whom want us very much to succeed. This doesn't mean that difficulties will never happen to us because, of course, we have karma, and because we need to face our karma in order to develop our soul and to become strong souls to purify ourselves. But it does mean that we will have the comfort of the Holy Spirit with us in those moments, because our sexual energy is our direct connection with the Holy Spirit. And when we are transmuting and raising that energy up the spine, and conserving it in our body without ever letting that energy out, we are creating a hermetic seal in which our connection with God becomes stronger and stronger, and is never broken.
 
Years ago when I first took this step, I was seeing in a vision, in meditation practice, God's covenant with Abraham, and I realized that this symbol is about our sexual chastity. If you are familiar with the story from the Bible, God makes a covenant with Abraham that his seed will be as numerous as the stars. And this covenant is made because Abraham, at the time named Abram, was lamenting that he was childless.
 
This is our situation. We want to give birth to the soul. We do not want to be just an Essence, just the seed of a soul. We want to give birth to that child, that Christ child within our own soul. And so we go to God and we pray, “Give us a chance to achieve this work,” which is very sacred, and God says to Abraham that he must perform a sacrifice, an animal sacrifice.
 
Abraham does so, cutting the animals in two. Sometimes this is known as the covenant of the pieces. For us, it is important to realize that the sacrifice of the animal is the sacrifice of our own ego, all of those drives that cause us to become identified with situations in life: lust, anger, hatred, pride, gluttony, greed―all of these animal defects in us which are constantly controlling us and causing us to perform wrong actions that create more and more problems for us and for others. This is what we must sever, and of course the greatest example of the animal instinct is lust.
 
When we commit to chastity and we are renouncing orgasm, we are severing our ties with that animal. We are taking the animal instinct and we are taming it through sexual magic, or through pranayama if you are a single person. And we are transforming that animal into knowledge, into the power of God, the willpower of God. And this work takes time.
 
Also, the covenant that God made with Abraham required that all of his children and Abraham himself becomes circumcised. Obviously, this is a symbol of chastity: the circumcision while, yes, it is performed literally and physically, is truly about circumcising our own mind, our own animal instinct, and becoming pure in the way that we approach sex and sexuality. This takes time, and I recognize that preserving chastity is a challenge for many people, but it is the most important front in which we begin to define ourselves.
 
That is why I have listed here that we must master self-control. If you are tempted in a moment to look at pornography or to engage in some lustful fantasy of a person, to engage in behaviors that you know are directly counterproductive to your spiritual work that you are attempting here, you have to develop ways to control yourself, most importantly to control the mind. We often describe the mind as a donkey which must be whipped and controlled. This does not mean to repress and to beat oneself up, but merely in the beginning, find a way to redirect your mind.
 
If you are at home and you have access to things that will feed your lust, get rid of them, or go for a walk or read a spiritual scripture. Find a way to control yourself, and later on when you have calmed down, enter into meditation, and without becoming identified with what you are meditating on, pray for your inner divinity to help you, to keep your covenant. If you cannot control your own mind, then of course you are at great risk for black magicians or demons to control you.
 
When we engage in orgasm, we are opening up the doorway into the infernal worlds, and we are allowing lots of negative atoms into our inner bodies. So energetically, emotionally, mentally, we are filling ourselves with toxins and weakening our ability to be strong in our chastity. That is why we have to be very serious on this point, and why I put it so early on in this lecture. This is really the foundation of our work, and this is the way that people are so commonly swayed into the black path.
 
In many of the schools of black magic, they preach virtue and godliness and purity, and many of the same things that we teach in this school, but the defining difference between a white path and a black path is the orgasm. Samael Aun Weor says that if you are ever awakened internally in the astral plane and you believe that the person, the master who is talking to you may be a black magician, to ask them what they think of chastity, what they think of renouncing the orgasm. And without fail, if the person says to you that orgasm is good or orgasm is okay, then you know that this is someone of the black path and you need to protect yourself.
 
We will get into ways of how you can protect yourself in an encounter like that in a few moments. But the seriousness of preserving chastity just cannot be overlooked. Temptations come along to force us to define ourselves. If you fail when you are facing a temptation, learn from it. All of us fail when facing temptations, but this is not an excuse to give up or to just continue in bad behaviors. If we fail, we should feel genuine remorse, and we should meditate seriously on that circumstance or that failure, praying to God with our whole heart, day after day, for comprehension, and really creating the circumstances in which that comprehension can come to us, by meditating and separating ourselves from bad influences.
 
Additionally, even when we can physically preserve our chastity and maintain that in our physical lives, sometimes we are attacked internally and we may be seduced, whether by men or women, in the internal planes. And this can cause us to lose our energy, what we refer to as wet dreams or nocturnal pollutions. This can happen for both men or women. 
So if you wake up and you know that you have experienced an orgasm or a wet dream, there is a remedy that you can make, the melon drink remedy. And I have a link to it in the resources that I mentioned earlier, also at the end of this presentation. So that link has a beautiful video which illustrates exactly how to make that melon drink, and to continue to make it until you are able to recover from that.
 
So if this happens and you lose your energy, continue to transmute, continue to practice pranayama everyday. Do runes every day if you feel that you have a very fiery sexual temperament. You may need to perform runes in addition to pranayama.
 
There is no limit on how much pranayama you can do. You can perform as much of it in a day as you need to. So if you are feeling particularly tempted, go outside. Go for a walk. Take a break. Come back and perform pranayama for as long as you need until you have calmed down. 

​Conjurations

Okay, so this bit about knowing the conjurations is really your homework. If I were to give you an assignment on how to protect yourself, it would be to begin today memorizing these conjurations.
 
Choose one. Pray it every night before you go to sleep, and whether you have written it down or you are reading it, the more that you pray it, the more familiar you will become with it. And just as you had to memorize things in school, some of these conjurations will be a little bit difficult to memorize at first, but it is possible. And truly, of all the ways to defend yourself, memorizing these conjurations is one of the easiest and most valuable to do.
 
Now the first one that I have listed here is not exactly a conjuration, but more a mantra for protection.  Klim Krishnaya Govindaya Gopijana Vallabhaya Swaha. There are videos related to all of these mantras and conjurations at the end in the resources section.
 
So as I mentioned before, I am not going to go in depth into every resource, but give you an overview of where you should be looking, and then you will be able to refer to the videos and the articles on these very powerful prayers, in order to understand the true depth and meaning of each one of them. 

Mantras of the Flaming Star 

Now, Klim Krishnaya Govindaya Gopijana Vallabhaya Swaha will project a pentagram, a flaming star, in the astral plane.
 
This is also a mantra that you can repeat in your head internally, mentally, whenever you are feeling threatened in the physical world. Sometimes during the day, I do not feel threatened by other individuals, but I feel that my own mind is becoming sleepy or perhaps angered by a situation, and so in order to conjure my own mind, I will use this mantra mentally. No one else knows that I am doing it, but it truly helps me to focus. I notice more brightness of consciousness coming in as I use this mantra. It is very helpful. 

So while it may sound a little complicated to memorize at first, it's one of the easier mantras that can really be helpful in many, many moments. 

​About Pronunciations

Additionally, with all of these mantras, which are often in other languages such as Hebrew or Latin, it is okay if you are mispronouncing them. Yes, the videos give us an opportunity to know how they should be pronounced, and there are some audio clips as well of one of the other instructors pronouncing them, but what is most important is the sincerity of your heart and prayer, your inner connection with divinity, your purity. So do not get caught up over whether or not you are mispronouncing it. There are some conjurations, which I realized I was slightly mispronouncing a word for some time and then I corrected it, but even before correcting that mispronunciation, they still brought a lot of force and power. So do not let the mispronunciation piece become a barrier for you.

​The Conjuration of the Four

Next is the Conjugation of the Four. This refers to the four elements, and this conjuration is used to reject all of the legions of demons, which can manipulate the elementals in order to attack us. And so this is usually the first conjuration that one would say before going to sleep at night. 

The Conjuration of the Seven

Additionally after completing the Conjuration of the Four, one would then say the Conjuration of the Seven. This conjuration invokes the seven archangels in order to reject the seven archdemons. And so, for demons which are more powerful and not able to be rejected with Conjuration of the Four, we can use the Conjugation of the Seven. 

​The Invocation of Solomon

And finally, the third prayer that one would use before going to sleep would be the Invocation of Solomon. So with these three, we can protect ourselves before we go to sleep and enter the astral plane. The Invocation of Solomon actually works with the entire Tree of Life to be able to draw the forces of God to protect us.

​Fons Alpha et Omega

In addition to these, one of my favorites is the Fons Alpha et Omega. This is actually a variety of mantras combined into one conjuration, and it is very powerful for rejecting negative forces. It also can help us to penetrate the meaning of a dream or a vision, so you can say it when you are sitting to meditate and asking for greater clarity on an experience that you have had. This conjuration can be used to mirror back the attack that someone has directed at you.
 
So we have heard it said that one who lives by the sword falls and dies by the sword. If an individual is directing harm towards you and you use the Fons Alpha et Omega, this actually will redirect that energy back at the creator of that conjuration. 

So in that sense, we must be very careful that we are not trying to use these prayers to harm anyone, but are keeping compassion for the ones who might be attacking us in our hearts whenever we are using them. 

Belilin

Finally there is a song that we can use before bed, which many like, which can invoke the Angel Aroch. So Belilin is a song which we must sing as we are falling asleep, and the Angel Aroch will come to protect us and be with us. 
All of these prayers that I mentioned in the slide are in a Gnostic Prayer Book, which is sold in the Gnostic Store on gnosticteachings.org. As well, I have linked the Gnostic Store and the Gnostic Prayer Book in the resources section of this lecture, so that if you want to find copies of these prayers and have them all in one place to be able to memorize them, you can do so through that book.
 
So we will use these conjurations a lot in protecting our home and our body, and that is why I felt it was important to assign it to all of you as homework, that you really need to be memorizing them one at a time. And if you only have one memorized, go ahead and start using it all the time when you are praying. If you are walking around through the day and you are trying to strengthen your self-awareness, you can repeat that conjuration in your own head to give you strength of consciousness and to reject your own ego, your own defects within.

Gnostic Pentagrams

Additionally, in our home we want to include pentagrams. So a pentagram can be drawn with a charcoal pencil, which is something that does not leave a permanent, lasting mark on the floor, if you are worried about that. We also have some wonderful pentagrams which are very affordably priced on the Gnostic Store as well. So I have linked the Gnostic Store in the resources section for those who would like to buy them.
 
A pentagram should be placed on one's altar, and I will talk a little bit more about the altar. In addition to the altar, we should have a pentagram above our bed where we sleep at night and we should also have a pentagram at the doorway of our bedroom. When you place a pentagram in a doorway, you want to put the two feet facing out of the door so that if you were to stand that pentagram up on its two feet, it would be standing in the doorway. If we mistakenly reverse that, then we would be summoning negative forces into the bedroom. So it's very important that when you place it on the floor, you have the two feet facing out of the bedroom and the top point facing into the bedroom to reject the negative forces.

In addition to this, we have clear pentagrams, which you can place in windows. Some people as well like to place a pentagram in front of the doorway to their home. So again, with the two feet facing out of the doorway and the top point facing into the home. You can cover it with a rug if you are not wanting any visitors to see it. Clearer pentagram stickers can also be great for your car if you want a little bit of extra protection there.
 
A lot of those are optional, but the three main ones that we stress that Samael Aun Weor indicated are to have a pentagram on your altar, in the doorway of your bedroom, and above your bed.

​Personal Space and Altar

Now I recognize that not everyone has their own personal space in which they can be displaying pentagrams. In which case I advise you to do what you can with all of the practices and techniques and strategies that I am giving in this lecture, and if it is something that is not possible for you because of your relationship with your roommates or significant other, then choose other ways to protect yourself. You don't need to do all of these. I advise all of them as best practice for those who are able, but of course, I recognize that not everyone will have the opportunity to do so, and that's okay.
 
If you do choose to draw the pentagram with charcoal, again, it's important that in the doorway, you have the two feet facing out of the door. 
 
In addition to the pentagram we would like to create an altar. An altar is a space where we can pray and meditate, do our conjurations at night and this is where we can cultivate a lot of spiritual force. We can do runes there and practices, whatever we feel is our sacred practice in order to strengthen our connection with divinity. 

It is great to have an altar. This can be a plain table. It doesn't have to be something elaborate, but it is a wonderful thing to do if you have the opportunity. So to give you a little more context on this altar, we are going to read directly from one of the resources that I linked.
 
Here are the Basic Elements for a Gnostic Altar:
 
“A Gnostic altar should be a table or stand of some kind covered with a fine cloth, usually white. Some even cover this with glass. While you can make the altar from anything humble and inexpensive, the best altar will be made from scented would such as cyprus, cedar, sandal, etc.” On the altar you should also include “a copy of the Gnostic Bible: The Pistis Sophia Unveiled” by Samael Aun Weor, and “representations of the four elements.”
 
So this could be “a continual light to represent the fire that always illuminates. Traditionally, this would be a candle or oil lamp, but in modern times (due to safety) you can use a small lamp or night light. However, during prayers, rituals, or meditations, candles can be safely and effectively used.” So this represents the element of fire.
 
For the element of water you can have “a bowl or a glass of water.” Keep this water clean. So you may need to refresh it over time.
 
To represent the air you can have “a feather,” and to represent the Earth, you can have flowers, a stone or something else of significance for you. Some people like to have a dish of soil.
 
In addition, on one's altar, we would include “a pentagram” as was already mentioned, and we would use “perfumes, incenses, or scented oils.”
 
I highly recommend that you use incense regularly. This draws a lot of positive forces into your home and it rejects negative forces. 

Essential Oils

So while we can of course use incense, if you are worried about the scent or you have a partner who does not enjoy the smell of incense, you can use essential oils. You can find a diffuser in which you can mix a few drops of essential oil with water and diffuse that scent through the home. Or you can of course put the essential oil directly on your skin in a small amount.
 
With essential oils, we recommend therapeutic grade. A lot of essential oils that are cheaper on the market have been diluted and are not pure qualities. So therapeutic grade is really the best that you can get when it comes to essential oils. 

​Beautiful Images and Sacred Environments

In addition, when we are trying to cultivate a spiritual atmosphere in our home, we want to have images, sacred images, like images of the Buddha, Christ, or any type of religious or spiritual master that really inspires you. This can be really powerful, and these of course can go on one's altar. You can put other sacred scriptures like the Qur’an, the Bible, the Sutras.
 
You can put sacred symbols like the cross or the menorah, and sometimes people like to include a symbolic blade, sword, or knife to represent the psychological work: to cut through the illusions of our own ego.
In addition, Samael Aun Weor wrote this about the home of Gnostic initiates:
 
“The home of Gnostic initiates must be full of beauty. The flowers that perfume the air with their aroma, beautiful sculptures, perfect order and cleanliness, make of each home a true Gnostic sanctuary.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony
 
This is from the Perfect Matrimony and in The Yellow Book, he again emphasized that:
 
“Flowers, perfumes, symbolic pictures, and beautiful music contribute to creating an environment filled with wisdom and love.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Yellow Book
 
When we talk about beautiful music, we are talking primarily about classical music that elevates the soul, not popular music of nowadays.

​Prayer to the Aloe

In addition to be able to protect one's home, there is a prayer that one can do with the aloe plant. Again, this prayer is written down in the Gnostic Prayer Book. I believe it is also in Igneous Rose.
 
So the prayer to the elemental fairy of the aloe vera plant is beneficial in order to protect against negative forces. Every Gnostic home should have an aloe plant. Use this prayer to invoke its assistance.
 
“Cross, thou art holy and divine. Sorcerers and witches withdraw from this home. Such persons who intend to arrive here, let it be known that I am with God. Sovereign God, set me free from treason and from ruination. Blessed be the most Holy Mary and the consecrated host.”
 
After you say the prayer, bless the aloe plant with the sign of the cross. 

​Elemental Magic of the Maguey

Similarly, there is a ritual for a maguey plant (Agave Americana) that is very powerful to cut one's ties with the Black Lodge and to be able to conjure or reject any forces from a direct attack, if you suspect that a person is attacking you internally, and that prayer can be found in the book The Divine Science: “White Magic and Black Magic” if you are interested in learning about that.

​Black Mustard Seeds

Mustard seeds can be used to protect us from psychic attacks. So you can purchase online small tiny jars with a cork to put in the top, and then mustard seeds are available again from the Gnostic Store. You fill four little jars with mustard seeds and you place them in the four corners of your home where they will be able to create a sort of force field in order to protect you from psychic attacks. This can be helpful if you feel that when you are sitting down to practice or as you are falling asleep, you are being attacked psychically. 

The Circle of Protection

And finally, the circle of protection is very powerful for protecting one's home and can be done every night before going to bed. If you are living in a home with other people, you can also perform the circle of protection directly around the room in which you sleep. If you get up in the middle of the night and you leave the circle for example to use the restroom, then come back in and draw the circle again before you go back to sleep.
 
So the circle of protection can be drawn by circling the room three times with a sword, which again is an item that some keep on their altar, a sword or a blade or with the sword of one's own imagination. So when I do this mantra, I will chant the mantra “Helion Melion Tetragrammaton” three times as I am imagining the fiery light circling around my room. 

This mantra along with that entire practice can also be found in the Gnostic Prayer Book which is linked at the end.

​Pentagram Medallions

Now to protect one's body, you can wear a pentagram. Pentagrams I have seen available in ring form and also in a form of a pendant, which you can wear around your neck. Those pentagrams have to be consecrated through a ritual that have linked again at the end in the resources, so you can find more information about that.
 
If you are interested in buying one of these metal pentagrams, we have some contact info for someone who makes them in seals of metals in the back of a gold pentagram, and you can contact us at help@chicagognosis.org if you are interested in that.
 
However, if you are not able to buy one of these nicer pentagrams, then you can go and buy a simple silver or gold pentagram, and that should be helpful as well.

​Sulfur Powder

In addition to wearing a pentagram, you can put sulfur in your shoes. If you are going to a place, for example a bar or restaurant for a work event or a family event that you feel you need to be present, then you can put sulfur in your shoes, and this will help to keep astral larvae off of you and negative influences so that you will be able to stay cleaner, psychically-speaking, throughout that day. And of course each day, you might want to put sulfur in your shoes, especially if you live in a big city.

​Spiritual Strength through Blessed Food and Drink 

The Eucharist is a very powerful ritual which can be performed using bread and grape juice, as symbolic wine, every day after you finish transmuting your energy. So if you are a couple, you can perform this ritual after sexual magic, and if you are a single person, you can also perform this ritual after you are transmuting with pranayama. This is extremely powerful in awakening your consciousness. This ritual is actually invoking atoms of Christ to come into your system and to protect you not only from forces outside of you, but also within you. I cannot recommend it highly enough, and so that as well as linked in the resources section of this.

​The Microcosmic Star

We have an excellent video which demonstrates how you can form the pentagram, also known as the microcosmic star, with your body to invoke the Holy Spirit, to reject negative forces. And this can help you to protect your physical body.

Juniper Berries

And finally, juniper berries are a way that we can protect ourselves from contagion. I think that in a time like this, this is particularly relevant. So one can chew on juniper berries after blessing the berries and praying that that they will protect one from any contagion. And so if you bless the berries each day, that's sufficient.

​Sage

Another great way to purify your home and your body is with a spiritual cleanse. The most common is a sage smudge. You can see it pictured here on the background of the slide. The sage smudge can be bought on the Gnostic Store, in any metaphysical book shop, and even Whole Foods sells sage. So it is pretty common and it's a good way to come home at the end of the night, after being out and about in the city or at work, and to be able to pray the Conjuration of the Four and the Conjuration of the Seven while you bathe yourself in the smoke of the sage. So you can light it, begin to pray and bathe yourself in that smoke by moving the sage smudge around your body. You can put out the sage smudge in a small bowl of sand and then you can use it again the next day.

​Camphor

Camphor is also an easy way to purify your environment. You can buy camphor incense sticks and you can burn them. This is a great purifying incense if you burn them around your home, whenever you feel that the energy is becoming a little bit too dense. 

​Rue, Sage, and Mugwort

A more powerful cleanse can be done with rue, sage, and mugwort. So these three herbs you can buy online or in a metaphysical bookshop. You would probably need to use a mortar and pestle to be able to grind them up into a powder. And from that point, you would use a charcoal censer, which is, usually in most cases, a small iron pot into which you can place a small hot burning charcoal. After a few minutes when the charcoal is heated up, you can place a little bit of the powder of the rue, sage, and mugwort mixture onto the charcoal. You can go around your home using the Conjugation of the Four and the Conjuration of the Seven, trying to move the smoke into the shape of a cross, in order to purify and bless your home.
 
I have heard it recommended that when you move into a new home, you can perform this cleanse for 14 days after moving in and then again every 14 days or every month, in order to keep the impurities out of your new home.

Burning Sulfur

You can also burn sulfur if you are leaving for a few days. This is one of the most powerful cleanses. However, it is very dangerous to breathe sulfur in. So if you do burn sulfur in your home, make sure that you are going to be away for at least the rest of the day, if not for a weekend, and to keep a window open so that some of that smoke can get out of the home. If you breathe sulfur in directly, it is toxic and can harm your lungs. So be very careful with that.
 
If you would like to use sulfur in another way, you can take a little bit of sulfur powder, mix it into your warm bath, and bathe your body into that sulfur bath and be able to purify your body in that way. 

​The Egg Cleanse

Additionally, there is an egg cleanse. What you can do is you can begin with one egg and you can use two or three if you feel that you have a lot of impurities to remove. You want to rub the egg around your body in circular motion. All the parts of your body: your head, your arms, or legs, etc. And as you are using this egg, you are praying to your elemental advocate to work with the element of the egg in order to suck all of the toxins and impurities out of your internal body, your astral body, your mental body, your vital body. And then that egg, which is very gelatinous, will actually suck up the toxins from those inner bodies, and you should throw the egg onto a fire to destroy those toxins and expel them.
 
Some Gnostics like to say that the louder that your egg explodes, the more toxins that you had within you, so that can be an interesting twist on that cleanse as well.
 
So as you might have noticed with many of these cleanses, you are going to be using the Conjuration of the Four and the Conjuration of the Seven. If you don't have those memorized you can try to use another conjuration as well.

​Relationships and Environments

In addition to all of these practical steps that we can take to protect ourselves, we should also be very aware of our relationships and our environments, and what types of elements we are inviting into our environments and into our relationships.
 
So, natural and religious sites can have a pure psychic atmosphere. This is what I find when I visit very old churches or temples. For those who were at the retreat in the Buddhist temple, I am sure you're aware of the very elevated conscious atmosphere of that place. Nature as well. Some say that God's temple is nature, so that can be a way to purify your mind, to purify your heart, to get away from the city for a little bit if you live in a crowded place, and to be able to invite some of those higher vibrations into your life. Being aware that those environments are positive and healing and can be good places to visit on a regular basis. 

Conversely, places like bars, clubs, cinemas, cemeteries, etc., attract astral larvae. So astral larvae, we say, are like little bugs that will latch onto you and suck away your energy. They are attracted to a lot of Gnostic students because we are conserving so much energy through our transmutation practice. You can say that on the astral plane, we are glowing like candles with the amount of energy that we are conserving, and that is why the more serious you are in your chastity and in your practice, you may attract certain attacks. If you go to places like this because you are unable to avoid them for some reason or other, put sulfur in your shoes and cleanse yourself with sage or another form of a cleanse soon as you get home, if possible. This is the best way to try to keep your inner bodies clean if you are exposed to those types of places. But if possible, just try to avoid them altogether.
 
Additionally, we do not recommend seeing spiritualists, such as mediums, people who communicate with the dead, hypnotists, fortune-tellers, and people of that ilk. These types of people, even if they have good intentions, are many times letting in negative forces. Channelers as well come to mind. So while these people may think that they are communicating with positive entities and beings, talking a lot about Jesus or positive energies and things like that, much of the time, they unfortunately are being manipulated by other entities that are not so kind―entities that actually want us to fortify our desire rather than to become free from desire and to guide ourselves internally with the guidance of our own inner divinity.
 
You don't want to put your own mind and consciousness under the influence of another person. So if you go to a hypnotist, that is exactly what you are doing. Hypnosis means sleep. So we don't want to go and give someone else control over our mind. We want to develop the strength of our own soul and consciousness so that we can go and investigate any questions that we have internally. With the help of our inner divinity, we can pray and beg to our Being to take us to find the answers that we need.
 
I do not recommend going to places like that because interacting with individuals like this may expose you to negative entities, which can come internally and attack you.
 
More commonly, you should use conjurations mentally if you feel attacked. So I mentioned before using the mantra Klim Krishnaya Govindaya Gopijana Vallabhaya Swaha, whenever I feel a little bit uneasy with my own ego manipulating me. But also, if you feel that someone else is trying to manipulate you, or confuse you, or dominate you, you can try to center yourself in your Being, and you can be able to use that conjuration to protect yourself.
 
It is really, really important that you are not using conjurations out of fear or anger. We should be trying to use these conjurations out of compassion for the ones who are attacking us.
 
People who are trying to control others many times think that they are doing what is right, that they are benefiting other people, and so we have to have compassion for their level of being and for the harm that they are causing. This individual who is attacking someone is cultivating a lot of bad karmic consequences, things that will come back to hurt them in the future. And so we have to really have compassion for them, and by protecting ourselves, we are actually preventing them from cultivating more negative consequences for themselves.
 
In addition, we should try to develop relationships with morally sound people. So these don't have to be necessarily spiritual people. I know many people often complain that they don't have enough spiritual friends who are into this. What is really important is that you have people in your life who are living with integrity, who are honest, hard-working, exemplifying virtues that you can learn from. This is excellent.
 
Sometimes people involved in spiritual movements can be some of the least virtuous people, so do not depend strictly on someone's point of view on spirituality to determine whether or not they are going to be a good influence on you. The best way to find out if someone is a good influence in your life is to meditate on the experiences that you have with them, and to see if they are someone who is really helping you to cultivate your own character and your own integrity, or if they are someone that is constantly dragging you into problems and negative states of being.
 
There is a careful distinction there. If somebody makes you angry, that does not necessarily mean they are a bad person. It could mean that you just need to see your anger and that person is really helping you to see your anger, which could be a good thing. So meditation will reveal the truth.
 
But especially, I cannot stress enough, that your intimate relationships with people, your romantic relationships, should be with people that you consider morally sound, ethical people, people who are living an ethical life style.
 
The choice to have a sexual relationship with someone, which is considered by the law and by nature as a marriage, whether or not we call it a marriage, is a powerful connection to that person, which will have ramifications for future lifetimes. So the quality of the person that you have a relationship with is really essential to determining the future lifetimes that you will have. So if you are serious about overcoming suffering and elevating your level of being and your consciousness, you may have to make some hard choices about who you choose not to have in your life. Sometimes this means that you have to love people from a distance. We may have friends whom we care for but whom we know are not particularly good influences on us. So if we have friends who are, perhaps, always inviting us to bars and clubs, we could invite them to do something like go for a hike in nature or do something that is less negative. Or we may just have to distance ourselves from them. This doesn't mean to lose compassion towards them, but rather just to create an environment that is more conducive for our spiritual work.
 
Obviously, this is a very personal decision and none of us can tell you how to cultivate your own relationships. This should be something that you are continually reflecting upon, meditating on, and asking for guidance from your inner divinity. Because it can be very difficult to lose relationships, but in the long run, if we have relationships that are really draining us energetically and bringing us into bad behaviors and we really don't want to live that way anymore, by changing our own level of being, by changing our behaviors, we can attract relationships that will guide us into the direction that we have consciously chosen to go.
 
So just be conscious of your environments that you are traveling into and be conscious of your relationships that you have with other people. It's important when you are thinking about protecting yourself.

​Our Greatest Enemy

Finally circling back to that original quote, our greatest enemy, our greatest danger to ourselves, is our own mind, is our own ego.
 
We need to create a lifestyle of spiritual protection. The conjurations, the incenses, and the mantras: these are great tools for us to use, but what is most important in determining the circumstances of our lives is our karma.
 
Karma is cause and effect. Whatever we do today, we will reap tomorrow. If you are practicing black magic, if you are going around trying to manipulate and confuse other people, trying to exert your own will on other people to get them to behave how you want them to, trying to dominate others to gain their respect, or force others to think the way that you think, even if it is about Gnosis or about spiritual topics, and you think that you are benefiting the other person, this is harmful. This is black magic.
 
We must respect the free will of all people. If we are abusing others, this is the number one sign that we ourselves will attract that type of manipulation from other nefarious entities.
 
So be careful about the way that you are living your life. Are you living ethically with remembrance of divinity? At the end of your day, ask yourself that question. “How did I live today? Did I remember my Divine Mother? Did I remember my Being? Did I live in a way with consciousness of what I was doing? Am I learning from my mistakes? Am I truly seeking to be virtuous and to sacrifice for others?”
 
This is the best protection we can ever have. When someone is angry at you, when they are insulting you, and when you take in those impressions and you transform those impressions into understanding of the pain and suffering of the other person, and you respond with sweetness, with kindness, and with love, you have protected yourself from that anger. And who knows, you may have radically transformed that situation into a very positive relationship with the other person.
 
So the best tool that we have is to be conscious, to be aware, to transform our situations. How do you respond to life's events? If life's events come at you and you have a lot of negativity about them, you have a lot of negativity about other people, then meditate on that.
 
Of course, we all need to start where we are at, and it is not good to just repress your negativity and pretend to be kind to everyone. You should act kindly to everyone, and then if you are feeling like being unkind, meditate on what is causing that. Is it anger? Is it jealousy? Is it lust? What is driving your response to life's events?
 
We should be less concerned and identified with what is going on outside of us and more concerned with what is happening inside of our psychological world. How are you feeling, thinking, and behaving towards other people?

​Conclusion

To conclude, I will say that we have a duty to protect ourselves. If we are really working on this path, it is because we believe that there is a way to really serve God and help humanity in the process. And so when other entities try to seduce us, to manipulate us, to attack us, we have a right to protect ourselves and we have a duty to protect ourselves, because the work that we are doing at this time is very important.
 
Many many people are suffering and the work that we are doing to become better human beings, to connect with divinity, to follow the will of God, the guidance that we are receiving internally, is very important, because as we see every day on the news, this planet is going through an intensifying period of suffering. So the more that we are doing to preserve our covenant with God and to work with the three factors to strengthen our consciousness, to live ethically, to follow the guidance of our own inner divinity, the better it will be for us, for everyone around us, and for humanity as a whole.
 
So take spiritual protection seriously, and do what you can, but most importantly, know that by purifying your own mind through daily meditation and following God's guidance and comprehension, that is the best protection that you can have.
 
At this point I will open it up for questions. 

​Questions and Answers

Question: Thank you for the lesson. My question is with the sulfur. When you take a bath and or when you put it in your shoes, can you use it in your shoes every day? 
 
Instructor: Yes. So what I what I usually do is, I put the sulfur directly in my shoe, and then I put a sock on. However, my husband puts it directly into the sock. I will say, though, if you wash your laundry, try to wash the sulfuric socks separate so that all your clothes don't end up smelling like sulfur. 
 
Question: Then, how much?
 
Instructor: I just use a pinch in my socks. When you take a sulfur bath, again, you can use again just a pinch. If you feel like you are quite dirty, then you might want to add a little bit more, but it doesn't take a lot. 
 
Question: Can you do that with your hands? You can just pinch it with your hands?
 
Instructor: Yes. To touch it with your skin is fine. You just don't want to burn it and breathe the smoke. That is when it's toxic. That's a great question. 
 
Question: So the first question is what is your advice or experience with salons, such as massages or waxing salons?
 
Instructor: Personally, I do find that it's challenging to find a place where you feel that it's a good person cutting your hair or touching your body, especially with massage. People can definitely steal energy through massage, through touching you. In general, if you feel that someone around you may be trying to steal energy from you, don't let them touch you. Especially don't let them touch your back, your spine. That can be a way that people, black magicians, can steal energy. So yes, you have to be cautious with this.
 
I have been able to kind of feel out different places and find places where I think the individual is, you know, at least a decent person, but if you go to a place and you feel very uncomfortable, then yes, you should probably not go back. I know my husband in particular doesn't advise massages. But let's say that you have an injury and massage therapy is going to be helpful for you, just look around to find someone that you don't get a bad feel from, is my advice. I know that's still a little vague, but really, the longer you have been practicing, you might have a better sense of people's energy.
 
Question: Would having a pentagram at my door prevent demonic or possessed persons from gaining entrance? There's an unusual smell that comes about once or twice a week now for a month. It comes with headaches and pain elsewhere, but it goes away when I do the conjurations. Could this be a spiritual attack?
 
Instructor: Yes, it could be a spiritual attack, especially if it's going away when you're doing conjurations. That can be a sign that there's some kind of entity or attack going on there. So, again, protecting your home in the ways that we talked about can be really important if this smell, this entity is coming into your home. Physically, a person may still be able to come into your home if they are a possessed person and you have a pentagram at the door. But energetically, it's going to prevent those demonic and possessed people from gaining entrance. 
 
Question: The sword. When you said to go in a circle. Does it matter the direction of the circle, you know in your room? 
 
Instructor: Yes, I would visualize the circle around the floor. You would want to go clockwise. So if you are visualizing that circle being drawn around the floor of your room, then you would mentally visualize that circle being drawn clockwise, or you would spin clockwise around the room. So turning towards your right around the room in that way.
 
Question: If you are using our imagination, do you point if you don't have a sword, or just your imagination is fine? Just envisioning a circle, is that what you do? 

Instructor: You can point. In fact, if you'd like to use the pentagram with your hand, what you can do is you raise your hand, you raise your thumb, index, and middle finger up, representing the three upward points of the star, and you would put your ring finger and your pinky finger facing downwards.
 
Using this pentagram, you can reach out and draw the circle as you would with a sword or a blade. However, if you are in a position where you can't physically draw that because maybe other people are in the room, then absolutely, you can imagine a point of light with your imagination, moving around the room and creating a flaming circle or a circle of light, circle of protection around the room. You don't need to physically point in that case.
 
Question: For egg cleanses, does it matter the source of the egg, for example a natural egg or a GMO egg?
 
Instructor: I would say with most things, we try to go with a more natural, organic egg. But in this case, whatever egg you are able to get a hold of should be okay.
 
Question: Is there a video on how to properly consecrate a pentagram? 
 
Instructor: No, there is not. So you simply have to read the article. The article here in Answers Regarding Home and Altar, that is going to list I think five or six different articles. For example, one about the Eucharist, one of them will be about pentagrams and how to consecrate a pentagram (See Chapter One of The Gnostic Bible: The Pistis Sophia Unveiled). We have also had that question on the forum, and so you can log into the forum and read about that question as well. And you know if there is a certain point about that that you are not sure, then you can also log on to the forum and check.
 
Question: If I am being attacked and I asked an elemental if it is an alignment with divine will to heal the attacker, is that considered black magic?
 
Instructor: No. We can do healing rituals. As long as we have a center of compassion, then any conjuration in a sense is a healing ritual. If we are considering someone who is attacking us and we are really trying to reject the negative forces in them, we are really conjuring their ego, not their soul, so to speak. So we are really trying to help them, but this again shouldn't be done in a way that has a lot of hate.
 
Question: I do not feel I have any enemies or anyone out to harm me that I am aware of. Should I still take all of these precautions? Also related, are there groups of black magicians who are attacking the general populace? If so, how common are these groups? 
 
Instructor: Okay, with the first question, I would say yes, and be conscious of if you notice a difference. If you take these precautions and you do notice that you feel a little bit more energized or more conscious of yourself, less susceptible to your own vices, then that could be a sign that there might have been some energy being drained away from you that you just weren't aware of.
 
In addition, the cleanses are good for everyone. I would say, try doing a sage cleanse at least, once a week, or some form of cleanse once a week if you can, because in our world, anywhere we go, we are probably picking up astral larvae. So it's good to do that to protect ourselves.
 
Are the groups of black magicians who are attacking the general populace? Yes. In fact, you know a common example of black magic is advertising, right? We are trying to get others to agree with our will. We want someone to buy our product, not because it will help them, but because we want their money. We see black magic all the time in cinema and on television and many places, when we see sexual degeneration or pornography, things like that. That is all tapping into the entire population's energy.
 
And so I think we can see that it's pretty abundant in our society. Right now the Black Lodge has a lot of power in the physical world. This isn't a need for us to suddenly be afraid and paranoid all the time, but to just be aware that the work that we do to keep ourselves pure―and to not try to manipulate and control others, and also to think for ourselves, to follow our own inner conscience, our own connection to divinity―is very important, because there are not many people in the world you can trust. Even Samael Aun Weor said, “Do not follow me. I am just a signpost.” What we are trying to teach in this tradition is really to be reliant on our own inner divinity. But in order to connect with one's inner divinity, we have to strengthen that connection through the practices and the steps that we have outlined in many courses.
 
Question: So are we not our own best pentagram? 
 
Instructor: So yes, the human body is the shape of the pentagram, and when we do the microcosmic star, which is linked spiritual protection with the microcosmic star right there, that video, you can see exactly how to make a pentagram with your own body.
 
Question: So now mentioning cemeteries?…
 
Instructor: This is an interesting question. So, sometimes cemeteries, because of the corpses and the decaying bodies, can attract a lot of astral larvae and negative influences. Certain groups do practices of black magic in cemeteries. They can just be not good places to hang out. However, of course, if we have a loved one in a cemetery and we would like to go see them and leave some flowers, you know, that is a very personal decision. I just mean maybe not hanging around in them, and using the sulfur in your shoes and purifying yourself afterwards, that can be a good practice.
 
Comment: I have had my job and been at work like usual, and things were changing, and I know people are suffering, and things kept escalating, and I kind of had this little emotional meltdown at work, because I started feeling like they are going to come and get me and try to force me to take a vaccine, you know, like I started really freaking out about it, and my sister's really into all the conspiracy theories. It is not that I don't believe it, but I generally don't let it get to me. But some people were laid off and then I was thinking, “Oh my God, this is really going!” I mean, this is really serious, you know. Not that I didn't think it was serious, but...
 
Instructor: It's hitting close to home now. 
 
Question: It's hitting close to home. Yes, that's true. And that's the one thing that sends me over the edge. I am just wondering, out of all the things that you mentioned, when you start spiraling out of control, like nothing does it for me better than the thought of like... can you imagine having a world where your vehicle or body to go back to divinity is, you know, ruined, because they are forcing you to take things that are toxic, that have mercury or aluminum, that can ruin your neurological functions? You know?
 
Instructor: Samael Aun Weor said certain vaccines destroy the internal bodies. So this is a popular question. We have been getting this on the forum lately. Our best advice on the vaccines question is, sometimes you have to accept a lesser evil over a greater evil. Ideally, none of us would want to take the vaccines that have been contaminated, but in many cases, it would be impossible for you to get a job, or you know, if there is a public health requirement for us to protect the community, we have to accept vaccines.
 
Regardless of our personal beliefs, we have to make a difficult choice there. Are we going to be able to support our livelihood depending on our profession? Are you able to avoid vaccines because your profession allows that or not? Because sometimes through our job, we do a lot of good for humanity, and it would be worse for us to kind of selfishly avoid the vaccine and then lose our opportunity to serve. But that doesn't mean that if we do choose to avoid vaccines that there aren't other ways that we can serve. It is a very personal choice, but that's our best advice we have given so far.
 
Comment: To me, this is like a frontal black magic attack if I have ever seen one. 
 
Instructor: It is a good point that you are bringing up here, because I think as as we see more and more of this, we see that sentiment going around in society. Many people are confused. “What am I supposed to believe, and especially with politics and things like that?” This goes back to the earlier question about, are there groups of black magicians really out there trying to attack the populace?
 
We can see that many of the structures in our society are centered around money, power, sex―all of these ways that people are continually manipulated, and in response to your question, I do not think that any situation or any crisis on this planet is unaffected by ego. The egos of people in power, the egos of people oppressed, the egos of everyone caught in the middle. So we have to be really conscious of ourselves, because while we go out there and we try to do the right thing, if we become consumed with negativity about what the people in power are doing, or all of these other horrible things that are going on, we become unable to help anyone. I, myself, am a pretty sensitive person, and there are many times when I weep at the state of humanity and how much pain and suffering is going on. And all of that we know has its root in ego. Until we can address the root of ego within ourselves, we will not be able to overcome ego as it manifests in our societies and in our civilization.
 
First we have to conquer ourselves, and that can be very difficult. Sometimes it's easier to point the finger and to get upset with the way that others are behaving, but it's most important and most useful to start changing ourselves. And then we will cultivate more power and more consciousness to be able to make a change in society.
 
I am by no means trying to blame anyone for getting upset with the way that things are in this planet. It is the worst on this planet that it has ever been, even in past root races like in Atlantis and Lemuria. It was never as bad as it is now. We have become extremely materialistic, turned against the true divinity so that even many religious institutions merely use divinity as a pawn for power, and they will be able to really take Christ and betray Christ in that way.
 
More than ever, it is important that we find a way to protect ourselves from our own negativity, from the negativity of the world, and each day be conscious of what good we can do, in what good we can bring to others. With any type of controversy where we feel divided, who draws the line and who is right?
 
God is right and God draws the line, and many times nature draws the line.
 
For us, like I said, it is most important that we focus on understanding in us what is causing our reaction to those situations, but it is best not to seek a physical person to tell you what is wrong and what is right. When it comes to making your everyday decisions, yes, we try to make our best educated guess, but in terms of misleading information in the world, no matter which side of that debate that you fall on, there is a lot of misinformation.
 
Even with the best intentions and the greatest intellectual knowledge, many people can really do a lot of harm, because they are rooted in a very materialistic view of the world and the way that things work. Science unfortunately has become dogmatic and quite separated from the spiritual aspect. And when we look just at the materialistic effects, the physical effects of certain things, we sometimes do not become aware of the internal, energetic, emotional, mental, and spiritual effects of those processes.
 
So I advise you whenever you have to make a personal decision based on a controversy, rather than watching hours of youtube videos or reading lots of news pages, or checking what your friends are writing on social media, the best thing to do is to meditate and ask your inner divinity to send you a dream or to send you a vision in meditation over the next few days to guide you on that.
 
Question: You answered my question a bit earlier, but you do have all this information going on like a circus, and all those things, but when you say you should go meditate on it and go to your inner divinity, then that is extremely difficult though, because you have like all these aggregates. You know, you are trying to kill that part of yourself. I find it is easier to write first and then go into meditation and try to make it a bit easier for myself, because when you do meditation, you are kind of just jumping right off a cliff. My issue right now would be like the mask issue. I believe my side of the view is right. So is it better like to sacrifice your point and just go with other people on it? Or how would you differentiate that?
 
Instructor: That's a great question. I am so glad that you asked, and of course, it is very difficult in the beginning. So you are talking about being able to write out your ideas, and I often do that. I have a spiritual journal where I write down what I am struggling with, and it helps me to kind of clear my mind and calm myself down, and see on paper the different elements in me that are getting frustrated or upset, and then entering meditation and reflecting on that. So that is a great idea.
 
Sometimes the noble thing to do is to sacrifice one's pride and to do what everyone else is doing. And sometimes the noble thing to do is to do what you know to be right in your heart and not go with the crowd. So, of course, my advice to you is that only you can know what to do, and none of us can give you advice whether about wearing a mask or any other issue. I feel that it is most important for us, the ethical integrity of our action, regardless of what we do. What is most important is the quality of our heart.
 
If we are doing something out of fear or out of pride, thinking we are smarter than others on either side, because everybody on one side says, “We are smarter than the people not wearing masks,” and then the people who are not wearing masks say, “We are smarter than the people who are wearing masks.” Regardless of which side we fall on, we have to recognize what is driving us. And that is something that we really only can find in meditation.
 
So again, neither me nor any other physical person, whether in the news or youtube or anywhere can tell you what is the right action for you. But I will say that sacrifice, when we talk about sacrifice in this tradition, sacrificing of one's own ego, is often painful. When Abraham went to the altar to sacrifice his son Isaac: can you imagine the tremendous psychological and emotional struggle that he was going through to do that? But he knew that that was what his inner God had commanded to him and he knew it to be right. Now, of course at the last moment, he was spared from making that sacrifice. When we sacrifice our own ego, in my experience, many times leading up to that action can be very stressful and painful and hard, but after the ego has been sacrificed, feeling joy and relief, and not understanding why that was so difficult.
 
To give a basic example, let's say you are really mad at someone, and you know from your meditation and in your heart that the right thing to do is to go and apologize to them for how you acted. But you are mad. And it would mean: sacrifice your anger and your pride and what you think the other person should do for you. If you went and apologized, all the way leading up to that apology, you might really be struggling with pushing yourself. That self-control that I mentioned early on in the lecture is to do what is right, to overcome the temptation to be angry and to be cruel to this other person, and to do what is right, to humble yourself and apologize. But after you have apologized and your friend smiles and hugs you and is happy, you see how that situation was really of no value, as Samael Aun Weor says in his quote, and that overcoming your anger is such a greater gift than any action could ever be.
 
Regardless of what physical actions we are taking, we need to be concerned with psychological integrity. For what motive are you doing that action? I am less concerned with what you do versus why you do it. If you are being driven by an ego, by a sense of self, which is a delusion and which is false, then that is probably a harmful action. But if you are being driven by your conscience, by your inner divinity, by doing what you know is right and beneficial for you and for others, then that is a positive action.
 
Question: What is astral larvae?
 
Instructor: Astral larvae, I kind of described it as a little energetic bug. And in fact, you can see them in the astral plane. They look like grubs and bugs, and they can basically attach to you, your astral body and suck energy out of you to feed themselves. So if you are in places that are filled with a lot of negativity, a lot of lust, a lot of greed, a lot of violence, these places would have a lot of these bugs sucking up the energy, because that is what they get drawn to. And in places like that, which we call filthy, energetically-filthy places, it is just a breeding ground for astral larvae.
 
Question: Since Gnostics strive to see objectively, can Gnostics be on different sides of an issue, like needing a vaccine, but also may be needing a vaccine for our livelihood? Who draws that line and who's right?
 
Instructor: Of course we can be on different sides of an issue, because as we are, we are striving to see objectively, but at this point we are caught between our own ego and our own confusion. It is said that when the gods want to punish humanity, they confuse them, and that is exactly what we see. We ourselves feel very confused. Our entire humanity is confused and arguing and fighting over many things, some things which don't really matter, some things which seem much more consequential.
 
But again, I want to refer back to this quote towards the beginning of the lecture. Remember that everything passes away. That's the heart of it, even as painful as the suffering and the level of suffering on this planet right now, it will pass away. What we want to do is make sure that as we are living our lives and moving through it, we are taking this opportunity to take what's beneficial from a human existence, and that, we can obtain by comprehending ourselves first. As we come to know ourselves, we will be able to then see more and more objectively the outside world. But as long as we are not aware of our own internal states, which can confuse and manipulate us―the illusions of our ego―then how can we cut through the illusions of the external world?
 
On any issue that you feel divided on, you can meditate. See what in you is trying to control you. Are you being controlled by fear that does not want the vaccine? By pride that says, “I am smarter and I am not going to fall for this trap”? Or conversely, are you being manipulated by fear that says, “I have to take this vaccine for my livelihood to be able to keep my job.” Much of the time it is fear. And so at the end of the day, what is going to be more important than whether we receive a vaccine or whether we don't receive a vaccine is going to be what have we done with the reaction that was created in us in response to that stimulus. So if the case is a vaccine or a certain take on what is going on with the coronavirus in our world right now, use that circumstance not to try to make judgments about what is the truth in the outside world, but use it as a circumstance to see “What is the truth of myself?” and “Can I use this as fuel for my own transmutation?”―to become a wiser and better individual.
 
As II mentioned before, as horrible things as the Black Lodge can do and is doing in our society and to us as individuals, what is much worse is our own state of slumber and delusion. And if we don't clean up our own mind, wake ourselves up, and get rid of the illusions that are keeping us hypnotized and asleep, then we are sheep on the way to the slaughter, so to speak, in terms of any attacks from the Black Lodge.
 
Question: I have two quick questions. The first is while you were talking, I felt inspired and I drew two pentagrams for myself for the bedroom and altar, and I was just wondering, because you specified how to have the pentagram at the at the bedroom door, is there a certain way to use it on the altar? How it should be positioned or to use it? 
 
Instructor: Yeah, that's a great question. I can't believe I missed that. Thank you so much. Of course, when we position the pentagram above our bed or on the altar, we might pin it to the wall against or upright above the altar for example, or prop it up on the altar. You want to make sure, again, that those two feet are facing down to the floor and that the top point is facing up to the ceiling. Okay?
 
Question: Okay. The other question was in the Gnostic Prayer Book, I sometimes look at the healing prayers and there is the exorcism of salt that is performed. Two things on that one, because you mentioned how with the sword you use your imagination and use the fiery sword in your room. I often use my imagination for the exorcism of salt and seems like that's okay. Do I need to go put salt in a tray and get the alcohol and do it physically? 
 
Instructor: It's best if you can do it physically. Of course, you know fire indoors can be challenging for some people. I myself bought a small bronze pan that was relatively inexpensive, where I can put a little bit of alcohol so that when I light the salt on fire that it doesn't get out of control. But of course, as I mentioned before, I recognize that not all of these things are possible for everyone, and when we do it with sincerity in our heart and our imagination, that's better than not doing the ritual at all, if you understand what I mean. 
 
Question: Is there a certain type of alcohol?
 
Instructor: I use rubbing alcohol. 
 
Audience: Okay, cool. Thank you. 
 
Instructor: Actually, this reminded me of another point. You know, with my first altar, I wanted to put up some pictures of sacred images, sacred masters that inspired me, and at the time being a very poor student, I actually went to the school library where I was able to print and print off those images and just tape them up to the wall. So if there are ways like that, that you can find a way to make your home personalized and inspiring for you, and really bringing divinity's presence into your home, that can be great. It doesn't have to be going all out and spending hundreds of dollars on these different steps that are mentioned. Just do what you can and bring your own soul into it, because the soul has a beauty and an art to it that the mind could never have.
 
Question: Is there a link to nicer pentagram necklaces? 
 
Instructor: No, unfortunately, but I will send you the email here: help@chicagognosis.org. Just email us and we will get that information to you if you are interested in the pentagram.

Resources and References

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<![CDATA[Transform Your Life]]>Fri, 29 May 2020 21:17:06 GMThttp://chicagognosis.org/transcriptions/transform-your-life
This is a transcription of an audio lecture from Beginning Self-Transformation, originally given live at the Gnostic Academy of Chicago:

This is the final lecture of our course on Beginning Self-Transformation. Here we will synthesize everything that we have learned through expedient and effective practices, and methods for lasting change, including a meditation and an exercise known in the Gnostic tradition as the transformation of impressions or retrospection meditation.
 
We have been discussing the importance and the principles for deep change, internal change. As you can see from this course, inner change is the direct result of comprehending how and why we perceive life, as well as intuitive, conscious action. This provides clarity, spiritual insight, profound wisdom. By understanding our psychology, we have a greater flexibility by which to work against limitations, conditions, personal obstacles.
 
But we will be clear, genuine psychology is not the study of the mind, the intellect, but is the relationship between psyche, the soul, the consciousness, with the Logos, divinity, the Being. We learn to relate to our Being through self-observation, self-remembrance, insight into karma, fulfilling superior action, enacting ethics, harnessing energy, mantra, imagination, intuition, etc. The reality is that all of our exercises help us to transform the manner by which we perceive ourselves, how we perceive existence, how we relate to humanity and the Being.
 
In Buddhism, it is stated that mistaken views are the most subtle psychological cause of suffering. It is the origin of a lot of pain: this egotistical sense of me, myself, “I.” Mistaken views do not refer to religion, with conflicting ideologies or political beliefs: being Catholic versus Protestant, Republican versus Democratic. Mistaken views, profound ignorance, is the lack of comprehension, cognizance of the fundamental nature of reality.
 
In the West, we typically like to think that ignorance means lacking education. However, the reality is even educated people are profoundly ignorant. This means to lack Gnosis. The prefix “I” signifies “without,” to have “no knowledge” of divinity, of conscious wisdom. It means to lack insight into our mind stream, how we are conditioned, how our psychological elements produce suffering. But how is this the case?
 
Despite our education, our erudition, our knowledge, our most venerated traditions, our experiences, we continue to suffer so much, whether from anger, pride, self-esteem, fear: which is the machinery of society, the gears by which every culture operates, grinding humanity with its tremendous pressure, its exertion, its slavery.
 
All of our defects have their own logic that we project onto life and the world. These are all the different political, religious, theoretical, scholarly ideologies, perceptions of life, which really do not have any practical basis of changing why and how we suffer. This is evident by examining humanity today, the state of the world. If people knew right view, awakened perception, supra-conscious imagination, people would be in happiness. We would not be in pain.
 
Right view, awakened consciousness, originates and is the cause for overcoming all condition. It is the enlightened perception of wisdom, which grants the practical meditator the means by which to tear the veil of the mysteries, to eliminate conditions, the defects of a mind, the animal ego. By refining and purifying our perception, we learn how to act with consciousness, with serenity, with love, which amplifies our happiness and the happiness of others. However, most people ignore that we really possess a psychology that is feasible to modify, to change. 

​The Definition of Transformation 

But when people talk about self-transformation, what does this really mean? What does this practically look like in action, in daily life? Let us examine the definition of transformation.
 
"Transformation: it means that one thing changes into another, different one. It is logical that all things are susceptible to change.” ―Samael Aun Weor, "The Transformation of Impressions”
 
External changes are easily perceptible, but few people in practice actually strive towards and achieve psychological transformations. Many spiritual movements, belief systems, self-help, and self-transformation, self-improvement philosophies teach that changes are possible. Many such ideologies and practices have a very beneficial focus, paradigms, outlooks, such as quitting smoking, losing weight, overcoming alcoholism or addiction. These schools have noble intentions, however, in reality, they tend to focus on altering the personality, not the Essence. In most cases, many people replace old habits with new habits, which can be just as conditioning, hypnotizing, superficial. 

We explained previously how our personality is developed in the first seven years of life, during childhood, and is modified throughout life experiences. It is the energetic interface of our language, our customs, eating habits, tastes: the way we interact with the exterior world. The personality, from the word persona, means “mask.” We cannot exist in this world without a personality. The problem is that we think the personality is our true identity, when in truth it is merely a mask. It is an interface we wear with each separate lifetime. This is why Samael Aun Weor stated, "The personality belongs to time and dies in time. It has no lasting reality."
 
The ego, the self, desire, this is precisely another major focus of many self-help, esoteric, spiritual schools. It is now a common belief and accepted practice in pretty much every spiritual movement to deify the ego, to fulfill desire, the “I,” to “get what you want,” worship the “I am” at all costs, even at the cost of your neighbor.
 
Yet as we have emphasized throughout this course, it is the ego that is the source of suffering. This is evident through self-examination, self-observation: looking at the facts. Yet when people really talk about change, no matter how noble their longings, their objectives, their efforts, in most cases they don't alter anything. They change their personality, their habits, but never the deep underlying psychological causes of suffering: the conditions of perception.
 
How do we know this? An alcoholic can make tremendous changes in his or her lifestyle: to no longer drink, to not indulge in intoxicants, yet the egos, the “I’s” of drunken revelry, of partying, of disease, of stupor, will continue to exist in the subconsciousness, the unconsciousness, and the infraconsciousness, without any serious internal introspection, examination, comprehension.
 
This is the only way that leads to annihilation of those faults. Because while a person may overcome those addictions in this life, if they die and are given another opportunity, they will return to repeat their existence, the same dramas, tragedies, comedies, failures.The ego repeats. This is known within the transmigration of souls, the doctrine sometimes denominated “reincarnation.” We call it return, because we don't choose to be here. We come here mechanically, unwillingly. And so those egos will continue to exist. The person may have stifled the beast to a degree, but so long as those aggregates, those defects of alcoholism, of addiction, have not been eliminated in meditation, it means that those egos still have the power to tempt.
 
Real lasting change, profound self-transformation occurs when we perform a true alchemy. We transform our egotistical states, the lead of the personality, into the gold of the Spirit, the awakened Essence. 

​The Path of Meditation

This is why meditation is the basis of self-transformation.
 
Samael Aun Weor wrote in The Great Rebellion:
 
"In life, the only thing of importance is a radical total and definitive change. The rest frankly is of no importance at all. Meditation is fundamental when we sincerely yearn for such a change."  ―Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
 
But why is meditation essential for real transformation? Why is it that people who don't meditate don't get anywhere, despite their convictions and their sincerity? Because it is impossible to explore our subconscious, unconscious, and infra-conscious tendencies while we are identified or interacting with the world.
 
Self-observation is the beginning, perceiving our defects throughout our multiple interactions in life. However, self-observation is not enough. It is necessary to abandon the physical body to introspect, to withdraw, and suspend the senses, to concentrate internally upon our divine conscious nature, to focus exclusively on comprehending our errors. The senses provide too much data. The senses provide too many distractions. If you think of it, if you are in a battle and you are surrounded by enemies, you can't really defend yourself effectively, if you are distracted by too many things, by too many people. You have to be very focused, but also aware: to be vigilant and perceptive, but also having the ethic and the concentration to focus on one enemy at a time as they come at you. Obviously in this example, we can be overwhelmed, and this is exactly what the work of the ego is like for people who are really meditating on their faults. It is impossible to annihilate all of our egos at once. We have to concentrate one upon one upon one.
 
Trying to catch ten hares at one time will result in catching none. We have to be methodical, introspective, very precise, logical, profound. We lack depth when we are distracted. It is better to go an inch wide and a mile deep, and not be scattered among so many different agendas. So our senses have too much information. We have to block them out, focus entirely on what is inside.
 
We need to go into the subterranean caverns of our Earth, the profundities of the ocean. These are symbols in the internal planes of the mind and our creative, energetic sexual waters. So just as a scuba diver needs equipment―oxygen to explore the bottom of the ocean―so too do we need energy, the breath, prana, pranayama, creative energy, mantra, to empower our perception and keep us spiritually alive, which is why we spent so much time in this course talking about mantras and energy, so that we can empower our work, so that we are focused, so that we are strong.

​Three Types of Fuel 

This is why in meditation we work with energy, pranayama, breathing exercises, so that we have strength and depth to our work. This is because we are a human machine.
 
We need fuel of different types. The intellectual humanoid is a factory with three floors. Each possesses unique nourishment and functions for the maintenance and the stability of our existence. If we want depth and understanding in our meditative discipline, we have to comprehend that there are three foods for a human machine.
 
  • Food related to the stomach.
  • Air related to the lungs.
  • Impressions related to the brain.
 
It is easy to see how food and air give us life. We can live a few days, perhaps almost a month without eating. Without air, most would die after a few minutes. However, there is a type of nourishment that we need each instant of our lives, without which we could not have being: that is impressions.
 
Our brain is a marvelous machine, a transmitter of biochemistry, energy, spiritual force, information. While our digestion and lungs can rest temporarily without food or air, our brain would cease to function, to maintain our entire being, our organism, our psychology, if it were not for impressions. 

​Impressions

But what are impressions?
 
From the Latin “impressio, impress, pressed in; from the verb imprimere, to imprint. It is an effect produced upon someone; a mark impressed on a surface by something.”
 
In conventional language, when we say that someone impressed us, we mean that our experience, our interrelations, our perception of that person, produced a pleasant response within us, made us feel good, comfortable, admiring, etc.
 
As we know from life, not all experiences or our impressions of others are pleasant, but unpleasant, negative, disturbing, averse. Experiences, perceptions, impressions constantly enter into us as information, giving us the capacity to interact with the world. Just as the term impression relates to effects produced upon us, it also refers to how existence imprints or presses upon our psyche in order for us to experience, to react, to respond.
 
The consciousness, when it is serene, stable, is like a lake, which is constantly reflecting images upon its surface. It is always mirroring, showing, reflecting reality: the outside conditions or elements of the world, such as the trees, the sky, the mountains, etc. We can say that the images, the impressions, enter our mind in the form of data, not the actual trees, mountains, sounds, etc. This is sensory data, that like a printing press, inscribes upon the pages of our awareness. Perceptions of our surroundings enter us through us through sights, sounds, tastes, smells, and touch. These are external impressions.
 
However, we also have internal impressions that emerge spontaneously in response or reaction to external stimuli.

Reactions of the Human Machine

This occurs in the form of our three brains, the five centers we have discussed at length. The reality is that even without external sensory perceptions, such as laying in an isolation tank, one is left with internal impressions, which is our thoughts, our feelings, and impulses. So if you are not familiar, an isolation tank is when you are in a chamber. People pay to go into a isolated area where they float above saltwater in the dark. They lay still, they relax, so that all sensory perceptions cease. One is left only with the mind, and the mind is a tremendous form or reality that has more grounding and more effect than any external experience.
 
We like to think that the world is outside, but really our mind is an entire world in itself, and we have to understand how the mind relates to impressions.
 
So the ego is precisely a reaction. It is a response within our three brains to the impressions of life.
 
Some impressions in life, perhaps when we have a dialogue with a friend or at a cafe or coffee shop having a discussion, we are producing intellectual reactions.
 
We are having discussions and are stimulated in our intellect within our human machine, but sometimes dialogue can turn into an argument, and this becomes a dysfunction or reaction of the emotional center or brain.
 
Other impressions, such as being attacked or burning your hand on a hot stove, produce a very quick reaction through instinct and movement. This is the reaction of the motor brain to this experience, whether it is frightening or painful.
 
So why explain all this? Why talk about the human machine again and again? The synthesis of self-transformation is our direct cognizance, our transformation of our reactions to life towards the impressions that enter us all the time.
 
Samael Aun Weor stated in his lecture “The Transformation of Impressions”:
 
"Life enters us, in our organism, in the form of mere impressions. One cannot really transform one's own life if one does not transform the impressions that reach one's mind." ―Samael Aun Weor, “The Transformation of Impressions”
 
The mind, the ego, always reacts, never stops talking, never ceases its commentary. It always chatters within the three brains, especially the intellectual center, but also manifests in our emotions and our impulses.
 
The ego is always reacting to life. It is a mechanical response in relation to external and even internal stimuli.
 
So spiritual transformation is about learning to transform our perception of life. We cease acting mechanically, egotistically. Such as, if somebody insults us, we do not react with anger, with self-esteem, with pride. We have to comprehend why we feel so invested in those insults. It is changing our perceptions of life that is the basis of this work. It is the foundation. 

​Personality: The Bad Secretary

However, as we are practicing seriously in Gnosis, we face a very difficult problem in relation to this work of transforming our perceptions, our impressions of life. It is precisely found in the personality.
 
While we need the personality to survive in this world, to know how to communicate, to work, to survive, by itself it causes many problems when it is not controlled by the Essence. So, language is not a bad thing. Whether you speak English, French, German, Swahili, whatever it is―the language is not so important as the psychological impetus behind the mask. The mask is not to blame for problems in society amongst different cultures, amongst different groups. It is because the ego, the monster, demon “I” acts through the personality, and because the personality does not know how to understand life at all.
 
We like to think that the personality is what created great civilizations: the cities of Chicago and New York. We like to think of how great personalities dominate the media, the news, comedy, sitcoms, and yet, the personality, while it can be very strong and it helps us to navigate the world to a degree, it is not the totality of what we are and what we need to focus on. In fact, it is the personality divorced of any conscious knowledge that is the origin of a lot of conflict, because the ego is the one that usually acts through the interface or mask of our personality.
 
Desire: anger, pride, fear, laziness, etc., these manifest through our language, our customs, our habits, our behaviors, which produce results. The personality, according to Samael Aun Weor, is like a very bad secretary who is really disorganized. Somebody like in this image who mismanages files, valuable information, is in a cluttered office, and this is exactly a representation of our senses and our three brains. The impressions of life usually enter us very spontaneously, without effort. Yet if we are not in self-observation, if we're not remembering ourselves, remembering the presence of your Being, the information of the senses are taken by the personality and they are mistranslated. 
 
How are the impressions of life, the data of our experience, mistranslated? The personality takes those impressions and, instead of sending them to the proper centers, sends them to different centers in a malfunctioning way. A clear awakened consciousness perceives the impressions of life and knows how to discriminate what is perceived: to understand the reality and importance of any phenomenon. But the personality, when it is hyperactive, when it is in control, it takes Impressions and confuses them. It muddles them.
 
Here is an example. A man is at his job working with a beautiful woman, whose friendliness and professionalism become misconstrued as some type of amorous advance. The man thinks the woman loves him. He misinterprets the impressions of the woman and therefore he makes a confession of love to her in interest. And this woman can be totally surprised, completely shocked, alarmed because she had no intention of approaching this man in that way, had no thought whatsoever. The man's personality took the impression of his coworker, that emotional sentiment that she exuded, the cordiality and friendship she showed, and sent it to the sexual center. So the man's personality took that information and sent it to the wrong place, and therefore he became stimulated in his desires. It provoked his lust with its too familiar romantic tinge.
 
Such confusion and the mistranslation of the facts is not the fault of the colleague, the woman in this case, but the man's personality, his subjective desires, the ego.
 
And if we are asleep, the personality constantly takes information and sends it all over the place. This is why people are so confused. They don't read people well. There are misunderstandings amongst co-workers, in politics, and religion, everywhere. It is because the personality is dominating the situation. People are disorganized as a psyche, and this has to change.
 
Intellectual humanoids do not transform impressions. They send data to the wrong centers of the human machine. That which would go to the emotional goes to the intellect. For example, perhaps two colleagues are speaking about an issue: a problem at their job. One approaches with emotions, which could be the right response, and yet the intellectual takes that information and butchers it. He does not understand his colleague. He cannot resonate at a level that is conducive for the benefit of the company.
 
People don't relate because they don't understand each other. This is the tower of Babel in the Bible, and the personality is greatly at fault because it is not controlled. The personality in reality must rest. It has to become passive. We have to calm the personality so that the Essence is activated through self-observation and self-remembrance. This method helps us to transform the impressions of life with wisdom, so that we don't perceive life in the wrong way. So that we don't realize later that we were mistaken. This is because information gets filtered to the personality, which is strengthened by the ego, the “I,” desire.

​Transforming Impressions

​This is how the Gnostic disciple transforms impressions.
 
"To transform the impressions of life is to transform oneself." ―Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
 
So what does that look like? Comprehension of impressions leaves no wake in the lake of the mind. It is like a stone enters the water but leaves no splash, no ripple, no disturbance. Each ego is a ripple, a disturbance, an anomaly, a reaction towards impressions that strike the mind like a stone in a lake.
 
The ego, the self, emerges as a result of impressions. It depends on those impressions to exist, to emerge, to appear. Impressions are its food. The food of vanity is praise. The food of lust is sexual desire, sexual impressions. This ego does not have intrinsic existence. It does not exist eternally in and of itself. It depends upon impressions in order to emerge, to sustain and feed, and then to vanish from our awareness.
 
Pride cannot exist without the circumstances of humiliation or applause. Guttony would have no foundation without the impressions and sensation of eating. The same as with all egos. Each ego is sustained, each self or “I” has its conditioning, its desires, its identity in the moment, in relation to something, through the specific impressions that enter our senses which strike the mind.
 
So what is the transformation of impressions? This work is about understanding how external impressions arrived from the periphery of our senses to the center of our psychology. We have to learn to understand this dynamic very well: how the ego reacts from the center to the periphery, how it relates to the impressions of life. It is in this manner that we really develop a thorough, complete analysis of the ego.
 
When we comprehend the limitations, the conditioning of our reactions, when we really understand how anger is foolish, how we should not respond with hatred to our loved ones because they hurt our pride, we no longer let our defects dominate. We do not follow the path of pain, repetition, cycling. We do not react to any circumstance. It does not mean that we do not respond, and this is very different. A response, in strict language, is when the consciousness is in action, when the personality is passive, when the ego is in control by the Essence.
 
Reaction is egotistical. It is mechanical. We go to a family gathering, they push our buttons, we push theirs, back and forth. Repeat. That is desire. And so we achieve a transformation of impressions when we no longer react to life in the same way, when we train ourselves to change the perceptions of the moment and to understand them.
 
This is really difficult, obviously, for those of us who have been studying for a long time, but it is learned through repeated practice. It is something we can learn and achieve if we practice each day, each moment, adapting to life through our understanding of our experience, understanding our internal impressions and how they react to the external impressions of life.
 
It is obvious that if somebody insults us, we usually react with anger, self-esteem, pride. There is a whole conglomeration of defects, a chain of associative reactions involved, which are very intricate and complex and interrelated. We have to study all of that: how that experience unfolds in our awareness, our attention. Yet if we are being insulted, when we comprehend that insults only have bearing in relation to our own psychological investment in those words, we can transform the impression, the situation.
 
Somebody says something hurtful and if we really comprehend the meaninglessness of that insult, whether it is true or not, it does not matter. But that it is empty, that we have a Being inside that is supra-divine, beyond our personality, our sentiments, our thoughts, our will, that is our true identity. So why be insulted if somebody criticizes us? If we invest ourselves in those comments, then obviously we feel wounded, but if we do not, such a transaction becomes canceled. There is no effect. It leaves no ripple in the mind, no disturbance. There is only serenity and even love for the aggressor. This type of response is selfless love. It is conscious understanding. It is wisdom. It is profound spiritual intelligence.
 
So what is another example of transforming impressions? A big one is lust. This is the big problem for everybody, without exception, in Gnosis. When a man sees a beautiful young woman, he typically identifies and lusts after her, even if only in the mind. However, to transform lust, the man needs to comprehend how this beautiful feminine form will eventually age and decay. This woman will become decrepit, old, unattractive.
 
Comprehending this goes a very long way, because it weakens the hold of lust on the mind, the desire that is attached to a sensation, to an idea, to an impression. We weaken the ego when we comprehend the impermanence of nature. We reduce the power that lust has on the mind when we really comprehend how desire is really stupid. It goes after things which are empty of real existence.
 
We have to first weaken the ego, reduce it slowly, and then annihilate it. This only occurs through very successive comprehensions.
 
So both men and women need to comprehend lust: how desire seeks to satiate itself on illusions. By recognizing in this example, how that woman will one day become old, perhaps ugly, according to the man, and if the man really understands that this woman will no longer be young, why be attached? This lust is fleeting. It is an illusion and it is profoundly degenerated.
 
Comprehension breaks the power of the ego. It allows us to see the enemy as it is.
 
So likewise, women need to train their eyes, and men too, to transform our impressions of the opposite sex of lustful images in the same way. We can visualize that one day this person will get old. Therefore, upon what grounds does lust stand? What does this lust want? When we really understand that this image of this person is not objective and real, that it is not eternal, then the sense of self that grasps at this impression becomes weakened. So why lust after that which is ephemeral? Which is fleeting? Which is impermanent? This is how we judge ourselves. It is how we follow upright conduct.
 
This produces a very high level of being, as well as helping us to raise the level being of others. 

​Interdependence, Selflessness, and Impermanence

So when we comprehend selfless, intuitive action in response to the different circumstances of life, it means we are following our inner judgment, our conscience: the sense of right and wrong. We develop serenity, stability, insight, wisdom, compassion. This is pure Mahayana: pure Tibetan, esoteric Buddhism. This is the law of interdependence: how our consciousness has no self, no ego, no “I.”
 
Interdependence teaches that no phenomena or internal and external impressions are separate. Nothing exists independently, intrinsically in, of, and for itself. Our mind and impressions coexist and affect each other in a very dynamic way.
 
So, because all impressions fluctuate, our mental states lack eternal existence. They depend upon different, transient, changing impressions in order to be realized, to emerge, to come into being and to fade from our attention when we change our mind. Or better said: when our mind changes us. Therefore, the self we grasp onto is empty. It lacks a foundation.
 
This is not to say that our experience of life does not have some validity. What happens is that we perceive life through a prism. It is a lens that distorts the reality of what we see. Each ego is a filter. It is a prism. It is a cage. It traps light. It is seeing of some degree, but of what quality is it? That is the question we have to ask. Each defect filters and traps the pure light of consciousness, the Essence. So therefore, this illusion of the self is very hypnotic. Hypnosis is the sleep of the soul. From the god Hypnos: sleep, unconsciousness, unawareness.
 
Each ego takes control of the human machine in order to assert its will, but it is only to be replaced by other egos: boisterous, quarrelsome, degenerated. Just because the intellect is in activity does not mean that the consciousness is, and so this is something we have talked about a lot.p, what awareness is, what cognizance is.
 
But let us be clear, emptiness of self within Buddhist and Gnostic doctrine has nothing to do with nihilism: the belief that nothing matters and that nothing is real. This is a very mistaken view that ignores karma, that there is cause and effect, that there are causes for superior ways of being and causes for negative ways of being.
 
So what interdependence teaches is how the illusion of a permanent self is sustained by impressions, which are transformed and perceive in their transient nature when we learn to observe our states, moment by moment. Only through observation do we realize that each psychological state is subjective. It is one of many thousands of egos that we have, that we need to eliminate. Such a reality of the doctrine of a pluralized self is only verified through self-observation, yet, it demonstrates that the self, the ego, lacks eternal existence. It is a conglomeration of factors. They lack stability and permanence. The egos are always fluctuating and changing according to the situation. Therefore, in Buddhist terms, this self is empty because it depends upon impressions for their reality, their existence. 

​Emptiness: Christ Consciousness and Compassion

But in reality, the Buddhist doctrine of emptiness is interdependence. It is the same doctrine of compassion through Christ.
 
Christ is not a person, but an energy. It is the universal wisdom of enlightened cognizance, the light of liberated, joyful emptiness, luminous and clear. In esoteric Buddhism, Christ is Avalokiteshvara, is Chenrezig, is Kuan Kin, is Amitabha, is Adi-Buddha: the pristine light of clarity, cognizant love, conscious wisdom, awakening. This light is known in Kabbalah as the אין סוף אור Ain Soph Aur, the Limitless Light in Hebrew. Christ is the light of conscious perception devoid of self, of me, of “I,” which when entering into the universe, manifests as three in order to create.
 
So we are going to look at these three forces in depth, how they create life within us, just as the three factors create life spiritually and bring death to desire, so that we can serve humanity. 
 
This light is known as כֶּתֶר Kether, חָכְמָה Chokmah, and בִּינָה Binah in Kabbalah: the Crown, Wisdom, and Intelligence of divinity. The Christians call these three forces Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but again, these are not persons, but aspects of one intelligence. Buddhism refers to these as a trikaya or bodies of the Buddha: Dharmakaya, Sambhogakaya and Nirmanakaya.
 
I will relate to you an excerpt from The Tibetan Book of the Dead by Padmasambava that explains this very beautifully.
 
“…in this intrinsic awareness, the three buddha-bodies are inseparable, and fully present as one:
 
Its emptiness and utter lack of inherent existence is the Buddha- body of Reality (Kether);
 
“The natural resonance and radiance of this emptiness is the Buddha- body of Perfect Resource (Chokmah);
 
And its unimpeded arising in any form whatsoever is the Buddha- body of Emanation (Binah).
 
These three, fully present as one, are the very essence of awareness itself.” ―Padmasambhava, The Tibetan Book of the Dead: Introduction to Awareness
 
So a body of the Buddha is an expression or vehicle of those principles, which are very elevated, but we can begin to experience these qualities in ourselves if we are really transforming impressions. 
 
The purpose of Gnosis is to incarnate, develop this light, Christ within, but to do that the ego must be dead.
 
The ego always demands pleasant impressions and reacts towards negative impressions. However, Christ, the Christic consciousness, is perfectly serene before slander, before persecution, before blame.
 
Are we like that? Are we serene before the insulter? Before the executioner who beats us with their whip? Are we willing to kiss the whip of our executioner? The people in our life that give us problems, that make us suffer, that bring out the most contradictory, condemnatory elements in our psyche?
 
Really to develop Christ within, we have to be willing to transform the most unpleasant situations with ethical uprightness, spiritual conduct, the right thing: ethics.
 
“We have to learn to receive with gladness the unpleasant manifestations of our fellow man." ― Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
 
This state is known as Christ-centrism. In Kabbalistic language, Christ’s center is everywhere and periphery is nowhere. Christ is everywhere, is absolute. There is no self or individual there. It is universal supra-individuality. It is a type of self or awareness that is devoid of “I,” of subjectivity. It is omniscient, omnipresent, conscious, everywhere. This is pure selflessness, awakened cognizance, Christ wisdom.
 
That sense of being that is within all creatures and therefore does not discriminate against anyone. Does not judge anyone. Christ is the divine absolute abstraction of cosmic space―the compassionate exchange of self with other. Through Christ-centrism, by comprehending how praise is fleeting, is illusory, is ephemeral, we understand the reactions of vanity in our own mind, our three brains.
 
We recognize that vanity, that sense of self-importance, which we defend to the death, is empty. It does not have real existence, has no substance, has no stability. When we realize how insignificant we really are in this universe, we really cancel this sense of self-importance, this vanity that says “I am. I am important. This is who I am. Therefore, everybody should love me.” Unfortunately, this is how everybody thinks.
 
They have to comprehend that this sense of self is illusory. And when you really understand through a great crisis, by transforming difficult impressions when people really persecute you, will you respond with love? When you comprehend that they too are suffering and they don't know why, we understand that our sense of self is not important. It lacks substance. It lacks cohesion. And it is that recognition of such emptiness, which is the pure, pristine light of consciousness. It does not identify with oneself, but feels love for all beings, because they are also trapped in pain.
 
This is insight. This is clarity. This perception naturally awakens the consciousness. It naturally awakens our compassion, which is spacious. It is a liberated. It is a spontaneously joyful moment, a recognition of emptiness. This is known as prajna in Buddhism, wisdom, or Christ.

​The Three Forces of Transformation

So three forces come into play when we transform impressions in the moment and in meditation. It relates to the top trinity of the Tree of Life. We have affirmation, negation, reconciliation.
 
Impressions always emerge, they sustain, and they pass within our experience in an unbroken chain. We are always experiencing impressions and their data moment-by-moment. Impressions always affirm themselves upon our attention, our awareness. They impress or imprint their data upon our psyche much in the same way that a film captures scenes and imagery and sounds. That film is our own consciousness, our own mind stream, and we have to study this film.
 
Samael Aun Weor mentions repeatedly how we have to study the film of our life, the  dramas, comedies, and tragedies, to watch it like a movie, to not be identified with all the scenes of that experience.
 
Impressions are always affirming themselves within us. When a person insults us, speaks vulgarities or criticism, we usually react with anger, with hurt self-esteem, with pride. This is the second principle: negation. It is the response, the reaction of the ego against impressions.
 
Unfortunately, most people in life go between these two extremes: affirming / denying, good / bad, yes / no. We find these binaries in social conflicts, in religious debates, in politics, in racism. This is the duality, the dualism of hypnosis. It is the swinging pendulum of good and bad that keeps us very unconscious, which makes us very uncritical of ourselves.
 
Someone praises us, we are gratified and we are vain. When we are insulted, we feel hatred. We are mechanical. We are predictable. We are machines.
 
If we wish to develop Christ within, to cease being a machine, we have to negate the ego. We have to observe the mind in relation to the impressions of life that arrive within our perception. We have to comprehend the words of the insulter and our relationship to it, our connection, and question, really, sincerely: “Why do I believe these words? What value do they have? Are these criticisms perhaps objective and right? If they are, I have nothing by which to be offended, since I can learn and grow as a person. Yet if it is wrong, why should I feel hurt and slandered if I am not guilty?”
 
Such an analysis is not intellectual, but comprehensive, cognizant, conscious. This is how we reconcile ourselves before the world when we work with the third force: reconciliation, synthesis, understanding.
 
True intelligence is knowing how to transform impressions and to respond with intelligence, with consciousness. This is Binah in Kabbalah, the Holy Spirit: the manifestation of comprehension in time and space, Nirmanakaya.

Reconciliation is knowing how to respond to a situation with intelligence: to not react to whatever diverse, unpleasant manifestations our fellow men are giving us, even when we feel that we are being crucified. And really, this is the path that Jesus taught with his flesh and  bones. As you see in this image, he is receiving the whips and scorns of his fellow man, but instead of responding with resentment, with hatred, with despair, he said, "Father, forgive them. They know not what they do." This state of serenity is profound. It is revolutionary.
 
This type of consciousness scares demons, terrifies them because they can't affect him, Christ. Denying ourselves is affirming Christ.
 
But feeding our desires is negating Christ. People who feed their anger in moments of crisis do not reconcile anything. Instead, they live within the law of retaliation, with the law of retribution: the dualism of aggressor and victim, which perpetuates violence, pain.
 
Denying ourselves is affirming Christ, reconciling us before the law of karma, because a superior action always washes away an inferior one. This is Christ-centrism.
 
But the ego is self-centrism. It is the opposite of the Christ principle. Whenever we identify with the ego, in our confusion, its periphery is everywhere in the senses and its center is nowhere. The feeling of identification, after we have been working in self-observation, is like being lost, losing energy. We become disoriented. We don't see the center of the ego, where it came from, how it fed, how it sustained and how it stole our vital forces. We get lost.
 
This is like muddying the waters of our mind. When we feed anger, those limpid waters of our psyche become agitated. They become chaotic like a hurricane, a tsunami, a storm.
 
With comprehension, images reflect on the surface with clarity, with a type of crispness and vitality that is only distinguishable to the one who meditates.
 
It is impossible to gain enough stability in life, in our ordeals, if we are not meditating, because there is just too much chaos. We need a third force, the synthesis, spiritual intelligence, understanding, to have a foundation under which we can stand and have ground, so that we have real understanding or better said, serenity, insight―a real foundation that is not shaken easily by crises.
 
So while the lake of the mind is serene within those who transform impressions, the ego on the other hand thrashes like a wild animal in the lake of the mind.
 
The ego is disturbance. This is very evident if we are blinded by anger. Samael Aun Weor mentioned in Igneous Rose that the greatest obstacle to developing clairvoyance, clear seeing, imagination, self-observation, is anger. And this is why Prophet Muhammad taught “The strongest among you is he who controls his anger.” Serenity and sweetness is the key to unlocking the mysteries.
 
When observing and comprehending the ego, we find that its center is in the three brains, because we do not let it project outwards into our senses and onto our experience. Through identification, we become blinded and we do not see the origin or how that defect took over. But when we are working with the transformation of impressions, as the Essence, we are learning to comprehend the insults or the ordeals of the moment and not allowing the ego to express outwardly.
 
This does not mean repression. It means comprehension. Comprehension is very different. We do not let the mind react, but not because we subject it and stifle it and gag it and shout to it to be silent, but because we look at it serenely and do not feed it our energy. This is the basis by which we can really go deep, to have a stability and foundation in ourselves where we don't go along with the flow.
 
When we eliminate self esteem, pride, selfishness, anger, we naturally irradiate serenity, compassion towards others. We no longer judge others. We learn to see the soul within humanity. We see the good in others, and this is a very profound sign that we are really changing.
 
As Samael Aun Weor states in The Revolution of the Dialectic:
 
“When one things differently and positively about people, it is a sign that one is changing. We need to cease being what we are in order to become what we are not. One has to become missing to oneself. The outcome of all this is the advent of someone who is not oneself." ―Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
 
There is a Sufi by the name of Mansur Al-Hallaj who is very famous for saying "I am the Truth,” (Ana 'l-Ḥaqq in Arabic), which means, basically, that he was God, because Al-Haqq is one of the sacred names of God in Islam, and that statement got him executed by the orthodoxy. Now what is interesting about this great master was that he had no ego in him, but only the Being was present who spoke through his lips.
 
In his poetry, he states "I have become lost to myself. I do not know who I am!” And this is a type of feeling which the consciousness can experience, which is very different from the ego, when the consciousness really begins to understand that real identity is in selflessness. But this is a very subtle point to understand and comprehend, because the ego, in its disconnection from the Being, can create a type of ephemerality, of vagueness, of fogginess, which is not what we are talking about.
 
States of the Being a very clear and crisp and based on facts. So this advent of someone who is not us means that we have to transcend, little by little, transform little by little. This is how we clarify our imagination and remove fantasies. We develop it through clarity, through crispness of mind, tranquility, conscious love, especially for our worst enemies, which is why Samael Aun Weor also stated, "We violate the law of the tranquil heart when we criticize others."

​The Mental Stomach

In the process of transforming Impressions and awakening consciousness, we begin to form what Samael Aun Weor calls a mental stomach.
 
Right now we are humanoid machines. We mechanically take in impressions, but do not transform them with consciousness, with understanding, which is why Samael Aun Weor, in The Revolution of the Dialectic stated:
 
“In the same manner that the digestive apparatus has a stomach in order to assimilate food, in the same manner that the respiratory system has lungs to assimilate oxygen, so too must a mental stomach be created by the mechanical human being." ―Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
 
The mental stomach must be created through meditation and alchemy. When we become skilled meditators, when we are transforming impressions daily, we digest nourishment from the diverse experiences and ordeals of life. This is why Samael Aun Weor stated that meditation is the daily bread of the Gnostics. It is the daily bread of the wise.
 
We have to learn to meditate on our different egos, to understand how they emerged, what fed them, what provoked them, what impressions they were after, why they have strength in our psyche, where they came from, what associates they have, what egos they tagged along with, how they function, why hey function. By extracting this type of knowledge, we sustain our spirituality.
 
Just as we need to chew on food, to break it down so that our stomach can assimilate vital nutrients, digest principles, so too do we need to contemplate the impressions of life, to create a mental stomach, meaning: we are creating a center of gravity in ourselves that is being more effective and developed and profound.
 
We need these nutrients in order to grow spiritually, because the mental stomach does not exist in humanoids, which is all of us.
 
So what happens to a person if they don't have a stomach? A person who cannot break down foods? What happens is that the person becomes constipated. In a psychological sense, intellectual humanoids who do not digest impressions become psychologically constipated. They are filled with refuse and trauma.
 
So traumas and conflicts can be resolved if we learn to go inside and create this apparatus, which is psychological. It is not an actual stomach, but it is based upon the question of “Who am I? Where do I come from? What are my psychological states? Who is this sense of self in a particular moment or in different moments? How do these identities and selves relate? How do they feed? What are their impressions? What is their nourishment? How can I transform these situations so that I no longer suffer in them?” It is in this way that we develop this type of inner digestion. 

Retrospection Meditation

The best method for that is retrospection meditation. We gave a practice on chicagognosis.org in our Gnostic Meditation course that explains in detail how to practice this exercise.
 
In synthesis, what it involves is that we enter a state of serenity. We withdraw our senses. We relax. We close our eyes to the external world. We work with pranayama or energy so that we have vital force by which to stabilize our concentration. After we have transmuted our sexual creative energy, created a flow of forces that produce stability, serenity, we then concentrate upon our day. We also visualize a particular event in our day that we want to understand, because in our self-observation, we, perhaps, have seen four or five egos in relation to an event.
 
It is good to remember all the events of our day, but with the retrospection meditation, we should focus on those events or one event, especially, in which we had certainly seen egos emerge that really need to be eliminated.
 
We have to concentrate upon those scenes. Imagine them with clarity. Do not add to or detract from what was seen, what was heard, what was thought, what was felt, but simply look at the facts. We review and pray to our Divine Mother Kundalini to help us have understanding, because She is intelligence in Kabbalah. She is Binah, understanding. We beg Her to help us understand the egos that act in a certain situation, because we want to eliminate them.
 
But first we have to see them. That is the first step. We have to transform the impressions in the moment, so that we understand and see those egos in action and do not act upon them. But the next step, which is much more profound, is to go home at the end of our day: we sit down. We pray. We relax. We introspect. We visualize. We relax.
 
We look at those egos and ask for comprehension for each one. We can spend 10-15 minutes or however long we can or need to on each ego. And once we have arrived at comprehension, we eliminate. We pray toward our Divine Mother to eradicate these faults.
 
I invite you to explore this lecture. It explains the system in great detail. This method is very transformative. And so this lecture on the transformation of Impressions is a beginning step for really practicing retrospection meditation. So that by understanding the principles, we can really go deep and start to make radical changes in ourselves.
 
I invite you to ask questions.

Questions and Answers

Question: What is the difference between the subconsciousness and the infraconsciousness?
 
Instructor: It is a good question. We explain the significance of the two in a lecture called “Imagination and Fantasy” in this course. Basically the subconsciousness is that which is beneath our awareness. It is just under the surface, and most of the time the egos we perceive in our work, in the physical world, are subconscious, because they are just beneath the radar of our awareness, typically. They are inferior or beneath our regular perceptions, unless we are looking.
 
Our subconscious has a lot to do with our memories, our habitsm things that we grew up with, early life experiences, which become deepened with repeated experiences. The subconsciousness is like a cave. It is the darkness just beneath the light of attention, and often times that type of element in our psyche can be very deep, but obviously there are deeper forms of egos that we have to work on.
 
The deepest is the infraconsciousness. That is the lowest hell realms of the psyche, where we have the most diabolic qualities of mind that we cannot even accept that we have, because they are so degenerated, and yet everybody has it. We experience those infraconscious states in nightmares, in hallucinations, drug-induced experiences, traumas, forms of violence that are very horrible. The infraconsciousness is so deep down in the psyche that we do not recognize or want to acknowledge that we have that. However, it influences everything.
 
There is also another type of psychological state, the unconsciousness, which is frustrated desire, which is even further down beneath the subconsciousness, but in terms of degrees, the subconsciousness, the unconsciousness, and the infraconsciousness are merely different stratifications of the ego. Some egos are very deep, some are in the surface, and obviously we work upon what we can see in our daily life.
 
Comment: Even though I concur with the meditation process for greater insight beyond our ego and learning not to respond and overreact during adversity and impulsivity, but to reflect and release for resolve, at the same token as I have learned over the course of several years, we coexist among narcissist and sociopaths. Although these encounters are yet moments of personal evolution, yet still, we need our ego not just to thrive but to survive certain encounters that are most detrimental.
 
Instructor: So I am not sure if that is phrased in terms of a question, but the reality is that we do not need the ego to live. In this society, which is based upon ego, obviously, if we are learning to vibrate at a different level of being, it becomes difficult for us, because we no longer resonate with all the interests or qualities of being of our neighbors. This can become a tremendous source of conflict for the student, especially in the beginning, where we are trying to raise our level of being and no longer vibrate with the culture around us, which is degenerated and degenerating.
 
But in reality, if we are working effectively with these methods, as we are raising our level of being, we can learn how to navigate the world with consciousness, with wisdom, because divinity knows how to relate to all beings regardless of distinction, regardless of their level of being.
 
Of course this is a learned skill. Obviously, we do not learn how to relate to the world easily unless we are meditating and changing internally, but it is possible. The ego does not need to exist in order to really make changes or to thrive or to survive. There was a comment made by a student to Samael Aun Weor who said, “I have a factory where I create pants, and if I eliminate the ego that creates pants and runs this factory, how will I survive?” And Samael Aun Weor stated that the wisdom enclosed within the consciousness that is trapped in those egos, “know how to make better pants than your ego ever will.”
 
So there is wisdom in the consciousness. The ego can only produce pain. This is the fundamental stipulation of every spiritual tradition, every meditative path.
 
Question: I still really struggle a lot with understanding or, what we use the term to say, comprehending some of my reactions and behaviors, and I'll just take for instance anger. I feel like there are like many levels and I think that's why it seems to always elude me. I know I have read some things where it says like if you pray to eliminate things before understanding them, that it can be detrimental too, because you haven't really taken it out by the root so speak.
 
But should one, should I, should any one of us take whatever situation and pray to eliminate it? Or first pray to understand it, and couldn't that possibly take years? Because if you keep having an experience where it comes up, doesn't it mean like you haven't really quite understood it yet if it comes up and again and again? I think that's the question. 
 
Instructor: Great question. There are levels of upon levels of understanding. The beauty of comprehension is that it is dynamic. It is organic and fluid. It is not a static thing, like one day you are going to understand this, and then, therefore, we are done. Comprehension unfolds in a very magical way when we are really practicing meditation each day, because we can understand a defect in a very superficial level, but as we are eliminating those faults to a degree, we are beginning to perceive more and more light, because we are extracting consciousness daily.
 
In that way, we strengthen our perception so that we can go deeper. And obviously, the deeper you go, the more results you get, but of course, we have to work with where we are at. You know, usually we start with the subconscious elements that we can perceive in this daily life as we are learning to awaken ourselves. And I would say that the fundamental quality of that perception is always something very new. So the way that you know that you are doing it is if every time you sit to meditate and observe yourself, you are seeing new qualities. There is a type of sharpness there and a type of nourishment to the soul when it understands that we are beginning to reflect more and more understanding of the daily reality of our subconsciousness in our experience.
 
Now another point that you had brought up about asking for annihilation of an ego that you have not fully comprehended. It is not bad to ask for annihilation, you know. We have to work with where we are at. If we see a defect in action and we want to eliminate, but based on what we have seen, we can pray for more understanding and we can also pray for elimination. Now the Divine Mother won't fully eliminate that ego unless the comprehension is total, because She knows that she cannot eliminate that aggregate without our help.
 
We have to rely on Her to help us go deeper. But also there is no risk or harm involved by asking Her, because you have to remember that She is the divine force of intelligence. She is Binah. She is the understanding of God, so She knows how to work with us very well. You know, it is up to us to really develop the training, to really sincerely go deeper and to eliminate. But of course, do not feel like you cannot ask for annihilation, because you feel like you do not know enough. Obviously, if there is something more there that you sense, obviously, go deeper. But based off what we perceive, we can ask for elimination at our level, because you have to think of the ego like an iceberg, and this is a common trope within psychology too, about the subconscious nature of the mind, because that which is beneath the surface is obviously a huge structure that's very complex and intricate. And we of course have to go underwater in order to really understand the depths. But of course, the more depth you understand, the more you can work upon. The thing to remember is that we have to develop clarity in our perception, meaning: we are seeing the new always in our daily work. That is how we know that we're really marching in the right direction, if that makes sense. 
 
Audience: Yeah. I am going to put it into practice and and understand it better. Thank you very much. 
 
Instructor: You are welcome.
 
Question: Can this practice have an impact on our dreams or is it common to receive comprehension in dreams after retrospection?
 
Instructor: They go hand-in-hand. Samael Aun Weor mentions that meditation unfolds the chakras of the astral body. So they can have a very profound effect, not only in our waking states, but also our internal states. So the more you awaken in dreams, the more understanding you have. And the more you meditate in retrospection, the more you begin to understand your dreams. They are really two sides of the same coin, two aspects of the same thing. I found that over the years, my understanding of my internal experiences has become much richer as a result of meditating, and that my meditations and recognizing comprehension is much more robust as a result of recognizing those same states within the astral plane. So they really go hand-in-hand.
 
Question: Why does meditation feel like hard work at times? Can you please expand on the annihilation of the ego of lust?
 
Instructor: Meditation is hard or feels hard because we have a lot of resistance in the mind. There is a force that the ego exerts upon our psyche as we are trying to introspect. So going back to the three forces: affirmation, negation, and reconciliation. We find these three principles related to that struggle. We affirm the work, we want to meditate, to initiate this path, and are working with the first principle.
 
However, the ego tries to deflect any type of introspection. It is very well known within psychology and counseling when a patient tries to ignore or to externalize blame for situations. Perhaps a person suffered a great trauma and committed the wrong action and is traumatized by it. And therefore the mind is so defensive that it has these barriers up and resists analysis, because the pain of confronting that is too great.
 
And so the ego is like that. The ego knows that we are going to annihilate it in this work, and therefore our own defects do not ignore the reality of the Gnostic path, that it will result in the death of the ego, and so it fights. The ego resists analysis. It pushes against our understanding. This is known as counter-transference within Gnostic psychology, Gnostic psychoanalysis. Because when we are analyzing our mind in meditation, the ego resists. It doesn't want to be seen, because it knows that if it is caught, it will be dead.
 
Lust is especially the worst, or one of the worst egos, really. It is the origin of all the other defects: the misuse of sexual energy. And therefore, lust tries to disguise itself in many ways, whether as romance, as love… very sentimental ways. But we have to be very serious and understand how lust produces a lot of suffering, and has many subtleties, because lust will often even take on the robe of mysticism. This is why you find in certain religious groups, why gurus and teachers sleep with their students, and commit all sorts of degeneration and adultery. It is very sad, because lust has confused people.
 
So our lust is like that. It likes to love God, even believe in Christ, but it is Judas. Judas is an ego that loves divinity, loves religion, loves spirituality, but loves fornication more.
 
And so we have to recognize the subtleties of desire in ourselves. But of course, lust really presents an obstacle because it projects, basically, its desires upon our life. So the way to understand and overcome that counter-transference, that resistance of the ego of lust of the mind, is the third force, reconciliation. We do that when we comprehend and really look at the different structures the mind presents in its defense.
 
The way that you overcome the resistance of the mind is through a superior energy, which is why we have to work with transmutation, with chastity, because without chastity, we cannot have power to work on lust. It is impossible. I have spoken with a lot of different peoples or students in different groups, and many people who struggle with lust, who can't get over the physical foundation of chastity. It is difficult. But the reality is if you want comprehension, if we want understanding, we have to really master the science of energy.
 
So learn to transmute the energy, work with runes, sacred rites of rejuvenation, pranayama, alchemy, so that that third force, the Holy Spirit, reconciliation, can give us the power to penetrate the mind. And that way, by simply looking at desires, or what structures they present in our psyche, we could begin to understand the how and why of the mind. We no longer become hypnotized by it.
 
It is difficult, but work with energy, and work with psychoanalysis in yourself. Really practice some of the principles from the lecture we recommended, where you look at the mind and do not judge. Do not label. Do not evaluate. Just look at it. Introspect. See it for what it is, and suddenly understanding will emerge, as you are not identifying with those desires, with the resistance, in struggles of the intellect.
 
Question: I am unable to successfully transform impressions. Our attempts to respond with sweetness sometimes seems disingenuous to other people and ourselves. What is most necessary to remember in our actions with other people? Because it is tough to remember our divinity, have awareness of ourselves and other people at all the same time.
 
Instructor: The important thing to remember is that if we have remorse in our heart, if we are patient, if we are really determined to be successful in this path, we will be successful. What it takes is a type of super-effort. The thing to remember is that in those moments in which we are perhaps failing in transforming impressions, is to remember God, to pray.
 
This prayer does not have to be any type of formula, but it is simply the connection of our sincerity, and simply admitting to out Being, “My God, help me! I cannot transform this situation. It is killing me!” And personally, if I am teaching you this is because this is a reality for me. There were certain situations in my life that really, and even physically, could have killed me, and I prayed to my Being, “Help me to overcome this, to transform these impressions, this situation, to remember You!” Because I was facing ordeals at certain moments in my life where really, I could have been killed. I faced some pretty extreme karma, so to speak, but in those moments, I relied only on my Being and prayed, “Help me to have the humility to face myself.”
 
Humility and sincerity are the key to repentance. We have to remember, in most interactions with other people, that we have to be humble. Most of the time we like to assert ourselves upon others, to be proud. Now, we have to learn to receive the unpleasant situations of humanity, but to remember to be sincere―to really reflect, “What am I doing in myself that needs to change?” and to really have the humility to receive that wisdom and insight from our Being, and even from other people who can tell us exactly what the situation is. But we may not be looking at it because we are stubborn or proud.
 
Yes, it is very difficult to remember divinity, but divinity is always with us. We learn to recognize that state more and more if we are persistent. There is a reason why in the Sufi tradition they refer to this path as a holy war: to strive against the ego. It is not easy. It is a battle. But we have to remember what it is we want most. Do we want to be happy people because we are no longer afflicted with desire? Because we recognize how conscious states are superior? Or do we wish to cave in? So, the choice is ours.
 
Question: How not to be overwhelmed with the amount of work it takes to eliminate our egos?
 
Instructor: Personally, when I look at my own mind and I see how much I have to work on, I reflect on my Being. I pray to my God to help me remember His blessings and Her blessings in my life. Because the reality is that we cannot be one-sided.
 
Yes, we have ego. We have defects. We have faults. But that does not mean that this is all to us. We have to remember that yes, while we have faults, we also have virtues. We have to meditate on virtue, and this is something that many people ignore. A lot of people approach the transformation of impressions, thinking that we have to just focus on the ego. Obviously, that is an important step, but we also have to remember to meditate on our Being, the qualities of God, the mercy of God―to reflect on those qualities in our life and how we have really manifested, or seen or expressed, and tasted that state of compassion and selflessness and real conscious love.
 
When you really recognize how beautiful that psychological state is, you will fight to the death for it. You will not go down easily. You will not give up, because really the virtues of your Being are so vast and so worth the effort that it does not matter how painful it is, how difficult the cross is, but you carry it because you love humanity and you love your Being more than all things. So remember your Being.
 
Now if you have had experiences, in the astral plane, of your Being, that is even better, because you can meditate on those qualities in yourself and remember that positive strength and charge, that quality that you felt when you were before God. Of course, there is levels and degrees of this, but it is going to be personal for each one of us.
 
Question: You mentioned political involvement in the beginning of your lecture, which would encompass the ego. Are you suggesting that we refrain from involvement in politics?

Instructor: I would say not necessarily. There is one great master of Buddhism in the Gnostic tradition who is in politics, and it is the Dalai Lama. He is working with the ray of politics to help humanity. And obviously he is performing a great mission. So while I am saying to avoid egotistical, political, petty debates, it doesn't mean that we can't help in politics. Obviously, if that is something in our vocation and within our spiritual ray, our particular qualities of Being, that is something we need to pursue. We have to follow God above all things.
 
Question: Does having a bad secretary mean I cannot trust myself, thoughts, feelings, or instincts?
 
Instructor: We need a type of self-criticism, which is very deep, but also we need to have trust in positive states. We have to learn not to approach this type of self-criticism, or scalpel of putting our ego on the dissection table, with a type of one-sided morbidity, like we are working in a morgue. We are dealing with a lot of dead things, filled with refuse, and being very poisoned by the environment. This is how many people end up leaving Gnosis, because they do not meditate on the virtues of God.
 
So yes, you have to not trust your thoughts, your feelings, your instincts, the ego, but there are superior thoughts and superior emotions, which we can experience through the superior intellectual and superior emotional centers. We learn to develop more trust and confidence in our states when we follow inner judgment. We follow our conscience, and that is something that only you can learn in yourself. Nobody else can teach you how to do that. But when you learn that quality in yourself and you develop it more and more, it becomes the ark upon which you sail, no matter how stormy the ocean, your daily life. And that is a state that you have to recognize.
 
Now it comes to my memory the story of Doubting Thomas in the Bible, how, when everyone was ranting about how Jesus was risen from the dead, Thomas said, “I will not believe it unless I see him for myself.” And so a lot of people like to accuse this apostle with a type of skepticism, but the reality is that he is a type of conscious discrimination: how the Essence knows how to analyze and to test things without doubt, without skepticism, without pessimism. It is a type of analysis that only accepts what is verified through experience and is a type of confidence. It is stability of concentration and will that is very deep.
 
So learn to develop that by meditating on positive states. The thing to remember when you are transforming impressions and meditating on the transformation of impressions, we also have to remember what virtuous qualities we have enacted in the day as well, in our retrospections, because, yes, while the secretary of the personality is terrible, makes mistakes, it does not mean that we are making mistakes all day. We have to look at the positive actions we have enacted and to be honest and sincere, not trying to go one way or the other.
 
So we thank you for attending this course, and I look forward to providing and sharing with you more of this knowledge, which has helped myself in many ways and which I am greatly indebted to our teacher, Samael Aun Weor. I thank you all for coming.
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<![CDATA[The Divine Mother]]>Thu, 28 May 2020 12:59:12 GMThttp://chicagognosis.org/transcriptions/the-divine-mother
This is a transcription of an audio lecture from Beginning Self-Transformation, originally given live at the Gnostic Academy of Chicago:

Everything we have explained in this course of Beginning Self-Transformation is preliminary. The most essential principle for transforming and elevating our psyche is the divine feminine.
 
All religions bear a profound respect and veneration of the divine feminine, the Divine Mother. It is really the Abrahamic traditions that have lost sight of this and have adulterated the significance of Her presence in the spiritual work. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam reject any femininity in divinity as an effort to distance themselves, to define themselves against the so-called “pagan” religions.
 
The reality is that God, the Being, is not entirely masculine, but feminine as well. This is a profound fact, which confounds and scandalizes religious fanatics, people who are accustomed to a patriarchal anthropomorphism, who fail to recognize that God, the Being, is not a person, but a force, an energy.
 
Divinity is an intelligence. Divinity is within nature, and more importantly within our consciousness, with distinct qualities, principles, characteristics that can really be qualified, classified, and defined as masculine and feminine, yet, not in accordance with modern societal mores, beliefs, ideologies.
 
The reality is that divinity has masculine and feminine polarities of expression. Yet these principles are not merely limited to just physical gender. They constitute archetypes, forces, blueprints for creation, the expression of the Spirit.
 
We can say that the divine masculine is projectivity. It is symbolized by the positive polarity of electric charge. It is force, magnetism, assertion, willpower. It is the energy that initiates, which commands, that organizes and even impregnates, engenders, disciplines, and forces.
 
On the other hand, the divine feminine is receptivity. It is the negative polarity of electric charge. It is the force of conception, gestation, of nurturing, the sustenance that develops a child, the development of youth under the auspices of maternity.
 
All religions, every ancient tradition teaches, that the world's animals, human beings, and the Gods are the consequence of sexual union: the harmonization of masculine and feminine. Every single cosmogony teaches this: how masculine divinity cannot create, cannot develop, cannot manifest without the help of the feminine divine. Therefore, it is really ignorant to reject the divine feminine because of theological, theosophical, or vain beliefs.
 
The divine feminine is a cosmological reality, which we the Gnostics experience, which we develop through our meditations.
 
A masculine God cannot create anything without the feminine goddess, just as a man cannot have a child without a woman. As above, so below. The Father, our innermost God, unfolds Himself into the Divine Mother. She is the derivative expression of our innermost Being. Through Her, He is able to create life and create it in abundance. Through Her, divinity is able to sustain worlds, awaken the soul. As Gnostics, we never forget the worship and respect, the veneration of the Divine Mother, the divine feminine. Because just as we have a physical mother to whom we owe life, likewise, we must show respect and profound adoration for our Divine Mother Kundalini if we wish to change, because She is the force that awakens us. She is the one who elevates the soul, who brings us to spirituality, who provides us with astral experiences, profound samadhis, conscious experiences in the Tree of Life, the superior worlds of the Kabbalah. She is the one responsible for us because She is the one who raises us from suffering. Without Her, we would be lost in this work.
 
She is the one who initiates, who develops, and who completes this work, especially in relation to the disintegration of the ego.
 
So, today we are going to elaborate on who She is and Her unique role in the work, in this Gnostic path of self-transformation. 

Sacred Sexology

Yet, to do that, we need to comprehend and understand the principles of sacred sexology.
 
The reality is that just as a man and a woman are needed to create a physical child, both sexual polarities, material and energetic, are needed to create the soul. This is stipulated throughout the Gnostic writings of Samael Aun Weor. It is simple. It is not elaborate. God creates both physical and spiritual life through sex, but that depends upon our intention, our mental state, our behavior—whether it is pure or degenerate, conscious or egotistical.
 
Sex creates. It engenders. It develops. These principles are within every religion: how man and woman, husband and wife, can use the creative sexual energy in order to give birth to their spirituality. That creative energy is the Divine Mother, and therefore, She creates in us when we know how to use the polarities of sex, male-female.
 
As above, so below. It is a law. It is the Dharma, the sacred knowledge of alchemy.
 
We can believe whatever we want. But if we wish to create a child, a man needs a woman and a woman needs a man. To create a solar awakened consciousness in its full capacity, to realize our full potential as a perfected divine being, an angel, a man needs a woman and a woman needs a man, through conscious love and sexual cooperation.
 
This is because birth is a sexual problem. It is not a belief. And therefore, the birth of the angel, the inner human being, the second birth cited by Jesus, is no exception. Through what is known as tantra, alchemical union, the harmony of masculine and feminine sexes, that energy, which is usually expelled through desire, for procreation, can be converted, can be conserved, sublimated, transmuted, transformed, so that the charged sexual forces of man and woman create a synthesis. This is the child of God, the Son of Man in Christianity, the Christ child or Egyptian Horus, son of Osiris and Isis, the golden child of medieval alchemists, the Platonic Logos, the Kundalini Shakti power of the great yogis of Sahaja Maithuna, the Shekinah of the Kabbalists, the Brazen Serpent of Moses, which is a metallurgic amalgamation of copper—a symbol of Venus, the woman—and the metal tin, the planet Jupiter, or the man.
 
Both polarities, physical genders, are needed to create physical and spiritual life. However, we need to clarify. Gender is not a construct. It is not a concept, a morality, and accepted code of expectations in society imposed by patriarchy, by institutions—something to be rejected or deconstructed by subversive logic. Gender is a material reality. It is based upon our generative organs and the secondary sexual characteristics they attribute to our personality and expression.
 
While our physical sex bears specific characteristics to our terrestrial personality, the divine principles of the Father and Mother are archetypical. They are abstract. They are profound states of being. There are correlations between both sexes, but they are not rigid. We can say that the Divine Father is wisdom, instruction, paternity. The Divine Mother is love, elevation, subsistence. In a perfect matrimony, the man embodies the principles of the Divine Father and the woman embodies the principles of the Divine Mother in body, speech, and mind.
 
So what is the purpose of transformation as we have been explaining throughout this course? We seek to realize the true self. Who is the Divine Father and the Divine Mother? They are within us. They are our true identity, our Being. But we can only reach them through the three factors we explained in the previous lecture on the revolution of the consciousness.
 
While the Divine Father and Divine Mother are distinct in us, this is not to say that they don't share or embody the same principles, that there are rigid correlations here or correspondences. It is not the say that the Father does not characterize love, or the Divine Mother, wisdom. Knowing the nature of divine masculine and divine feminine is a profound matter of experience in the consciousness—to go beyond our culture's conceptions of sex, humanity’s subjective perceptions about gender, about gender roles in society. 

What matters in these studies is that we appreciate and work with our sexual energy, whether it is masculine or it is feminine. We do so through complementarity, to complement ourselves: a man for a woman and a woman for a man. But why?
 
If you look in this graphic, you see husband and wife holding hands and their sexual organs symbolized by two triangles. There are the ovaries of the woman and the testicles of the man, as well as the vagina of the woman and the phallus of the man. The sexual organs are a battery. It is the most profound form of energy we carry within. One gonad has a positive electric spiritual charge and another gonad has a negative receptive feminine charge. In order for electricity to flow, you need both a positive and a negative. This is the essence of tantra. For these energies to flow perfectly, masculine and feminine must reconcile. Notice that when you join these two triangles together, when the sexual organs of male-female join, you create the Star of David: the Seal of Solomon, the seal, the perfection of the solar man, a true master who has conquered the creative energies and has perfected him or herself.
 
The masculine and the feminine compliment. They help each other to arrive at a synthesis, to generate light of a spiritual conscious nature. So these principles are extremely beautiful. Ancient mythologies teach us very profound and beautiful truths, and to frame our discussion, we can find the principles and qualities of the Divine Father and the Divine Mother reflected in a beautiful poem by Victor Hugo. He is the author of Les Miserables, a very famous text, a humanist novel, relating to the French Revolution, and Samael Aun Weor quotes a poem of his in The Perfect Matrimony called “Man and Woman.” I will read it at length.
 
Man is the most elevated of creatures,
Woman the most sublime of ideals.
God made for man a throne; for woman an altar.
The throne exalts, the altar sanctifies.
Man is the brain,
Woman, the heart.
The brain creates light, the heart, love.
Light engenders, love resurrects.
Because of reason, Man is strong,
Because of tears, Woman is invincible.
Reason is convincing, tears, moving.
Man is capable of all heroism,
Woman of all martyrdom.
Heroism ennobles, martyrdom sublimates.
Man has supremacy,
Woman, preference.
Supremacy is strength, preference is the right.
Man is a genius,
Woman, an angel.
Genius is immeasurable, the angel indefinable. The aspiration of man is supreme glory. The aspiration of woman is extreme virtue.
Glory creates all that is great; virtue, all that is divine.
Man is a code,
Woman a gospel.
A code corrects; the gospel perfects.
Man thinks,
Woman dreams.
To think is to have a worm in the brain, to dream is to have a halo on the brow.
Man is an ocean,
Woman a lake.
The ocean has the adorning pearl, the lake, dazzling poetry.
Man is the flying eagle,
Woman, the singing nightingale.
To fly is to conquer space. To sing is to conquer the soul.
Man is a temple,
Woman a shrine.
Before the temple we discover ourselves, before the shrine we kneel.
In short, man is found where earth finishes,
Woman where heaven begins.
—Victor Hugo, “Man and Woman”
 
We speak about both Divine father and Divine Mother together to preface our focus on the role of the divine feminine. She is essential to the birth of our soul, and that we would not have existence without our mother. The same goes for our spirituality. 

​The Divine Mother in Different Myths

The eternal feminine exists in every religion. Both aspects of our Being have been represented throughout every religious tradition, without exception.
 
The Divine Mother is represented by a sacred cow. But why? We nourish our body with the milk of a female cow. In the same manner, we nourish our consciousness with the milk of wisdom, virtue, creative energy, transmutation, and the remembrance of our Divine Mother's presence.
 
Even milk as a substance resembles semen. It is the seminal energy, which nourishes our infancy and helps us to become a spiritual man or woman. The Divine Mother's love is so pervasive and so vast, that she has been represented by the sacred cow of Hinduism, within the Greek, Roman, and Egyptian Taurine mysteries, and the life of Gautama Buddha Shakyamuni and Krishna, both cowherds.
 
In Islam, the longest surah of the Quran is Al-Baqarah, “the Cow,” a symbol of divinity's power to resurrect the soul, because in that scripture Prophet Muhammad relates the magical and power, the influence of a cow whose leg can resurrect the dead. That is a symbol of the power of the divine feminine who raises us from the death of our spirit to the heights of realization.
 
In Islam, the Qur’an is sung. The power of the Divine Mother Cow is in the verb and in sex: the stone or Kaaba of the Muslims. How we speak, as we stated in the lecture “The Spiritual Power of Sound,” determines how we spend energy, either for liberating the soul or enslaving it—whether we produce beneficial action or bring about our own damnation, our own suffering.
 
To spell “the cow” in Spanish is La Baca. Baca backwards is Kaba. All of this synthesizes through the Kabbalah, the mysticism of Judaism, which we have been exploring: the Tree of Life. We worship our divinity, the sacred cow, through working with our creative energy, which is represented by the blackened stone of the Kaaba.
 
We need to purify this stone to make it whitened, pure. We do this through eliminating the ego. So even in Islam, which in its exoteric form strictly denies any femininity in divinity, teaches an esoteric doctrine which is known and practiced secretly by the Sufis. Therefore, people who say that God is only masculine are really half atheist, because they reject the creative maternal feminine principle of divinity in themselves.
 
We have Isis above. We have Miriam, Mary, holding the Christ child. We have Athena, great matron and defender of the solar Greek heroes. And we have Durga, slayer of demons within Hinduism. These images represent a few of the infinite forms of our Divine Mother Kundalini, because She takes on any form to teach us something practical in ourselves. Every religion and culture has expressed that principle in different artwork, paintings, statues, architecture, and forms. 
 
But why make these points? Why do we draw upon so many correlations in religion? We study all the mythologies and religions of the world out of love for Divine Mother. She is our own Being. She is the root of our most divine expression. She is the mediator for us between hell and heaven, the inferior worlds and the superior states of consciousness. She is the one responsible for elevating us out of suffering.
 
Athena rescued Odysseus in the great poem of Homer. The Virgin Mary raised the Christ child so that he could perform his mission. And Durga brought balance to humanity, restored the kingdoms of the Gods when slaying the buffalo demon within the Hindu mythologies. And Isis restores the dead Osiris, the divine principle the Father in us, to bring back together his parts, which were quartered and drawn by the demons Seth. These are beautiful symbols about how the Divine Mother integrates the psyche, how she liberates us and performs religion, reunion.
 
We have to learn to work with our Divine Mother, instant by instant, moment by moment. There is no progress without love for our Divine Mother, because She is the one who gives us strength, who gives us courage to face ourselves, to self-observe, and to not run away from what we see. She is compassion for all beings, even demons or people we do not like. She is virtue and all the most elevated qualities of the Soul and our Being.
 
She is the superior aspect of us, and sadly, despite this fact, many of us do not know Her or recognize Her presence. The reality is that we forget who She is whenever we identify with anger, with pride, with lust, gluttony, laziness, greed, envy, the ego. We have to learn to restrain the mind, as we are emphasizing again and again, because when we restrain our mind with intelligence, with remorse, with comprehension, our Divine Mother is present with us. We are remembering Her because She is perfection.
 
She is profound equanimity—deepens serenity—the resilience of virtue. She is virtuous action. She can only work through us when we establish an altar for Her in our heart.
 
So examine your heart. What do you find inside there? Observe it. Look at yourself. Not with physical eyes, but with the sense of imagination, of perception. What do you see? Do you see love of humanity there? Do you see selflessness? Do you see conscious love for one's spouse, for one's family, for one's enemies? Or are we filled with hatred, with wrath, with violence, with despair?
 
Many Gnostics write to us asking, “How do I experience my Divine Mother?” as if she is far away. The reality is that She is, to quote the Qur’an, “closer to you than your jugular vein” (50:16). She is within our psyche, but we do not recognize Her presence if we are not looking, if we are not awake, if we are not perceptive about what is going on externally and internally.
 
Some people think that to experience the Divine Mother is only through an astral experience, in some tremendous samadhi in the clouds. There is a reality to this. But more importantly, the Divine Mother appears to us in dreams, in different forms, to teach us something about our life, about our physical behavior. For an example of this, I will relate my own experience.
 
Very recently my wife and I went traveling out of the city of Chicago to go hiking. We wanted to get away from people and this situation with COVID-19. And we realized that we would have less exposure going out into nature than being in the city, so we arranged to travel a couple hours outside of Chicago, and in our trip we were driving to a Starbucks. There was a huge line of cars waiting to go to the drive-through, and I was driving and at that moment I had cut off a person who was in line, who was angry at me. And he said some things which were not pleasant.
 
That morning before we left our home, I had an astral experience in which I was driving my car in the dark. It was 4 a.m. in the astral plane and I was driving along a major road in the city of Chicago. Suddenly I stopped, intuitively, in the middle of the street, because there were no cars present, and I saw my physical mother in the dream approach the driver's side window and with a lot of love, she gestured for me to step out of the car and to let her take the wheel. I did. I went into the passenger seat, and then she drove the car and that was the end of the dream.
 
I knew when I woke up physically that this was something prophetic. Something would happen in relation with my Divine Mother. So physically, when we are in the Starbucks line and the person I cut off was angry and spoke negatively towards me, I suddenly felt egos of anger, self-esteem, pride and anger and violence emerge from my psyche. And I was really surprised, because I have been observing myself and I never knew that I had these defects in this situation. So my wife who was in the passenger side of the car said, “Let me take the wheel because I can see that this is getting dangerous for you.” So I got out of the car physically. She took the wheel and I sat in the passenger seat and started to breathe deeply, and pray to my Divine Mother. I was begging Her, “Please help me to comprehend this rage that is emerging in my psyche and is threatening to take over!”
 
I breathed very profoundly, inhaling, with all my capacity in my lungs, holding the breath for 10 seconds and exhaling for 10 seconds, and just introspecting in me, asking my Divine Mother “Help me to have serenity, to understand the culprits in my mind!” And suddenly, I gained comprehension, and I realized and remembered the dream I had that morning. My Divine Mother figuratively was driving my car, which is my three brains. By relaxing and praying, going into my mind, going into my heart, I was able to relax and let my Divine Mother take control of my psychological car. After my meditation, I comprehended a lot. I understood those defects that emerged, which I later prayed for annihilation.
 
This is a very beautiful teaching, very simple. I know we like to think of having experiences with our Divine Mother in the highest degrees of initiation, the highest sephiroth or spheres of the Tree of Life, but in reality, she comes down to us. She teaches us how to live so that we do not commit insanities, because I was really angry. I was really surprised by how angry I was and so I was begging my Being to help me control this animal and she gave me strength.
 
But of course, remembrance of our Divine Mother is a learned skill. We have to work very hard. We have to recite mantras. We have to breathe deeply. We have to do pranayamas, transmutation, energy exercises, whether in our mind or out loud, so we can feel Her presence; so we can recognize Her. We do so by observing from our pineal gland and our heart.
 
The pineal gland is the seat of perception within our brain. It is where our Essence sees from its energetic and conscious seat. It is the focal point of perception. We have to self-observe our three brains, looking into our intellect, our emotions, and our motor brain through this perspective, in a spiritual conscious way. But we must not only observe to see and gather data about the ego in the three brains, but we have to remember the presence of our Divine Mother within our pineal gland, within our heart: the seat of our soul. We also experience intuition, prescience, presentiment, premonitions in the heart: the altar and temple of the inner goddess Kundalini.
 
In the example I provided, I was observing from my pineal gland into my three brains to understand the thoughts, the feelings, and the will of anger, of self-esteem, of pride, of wrath. Because each ego has three brains. It has its own ways of thinking, feeling, and doing. I was looking at that in myself and praying, “Help me to separate from this Divine Mother! Help me to comprehend so You can eliminate!” And I immediately, intuitively felt Her presence: a beautiful quality of serenity, of strength. 

She is a tremendous force. She does not use exertion of any kind. Instead, She opens the jaws of the beast with perfect equanimity, and equanimity is the most profound strength. So we have to feel Her in our mind and our heart. How can a child forget its mother? In the same way, we have to recognize Her presence, Her identity in us again and again. She is the voice of conscience. She is the voice of right action, such as in the experience I provided. I knew the right thing to do, but my mind was really trying to destroy my life, and I fought with my mind, and I would not have been able to relax if I did not have Her, my Divine Mother—and also, the Divine Mother of my wife, who expressed in that moment and saved me, helped me to rectify the situation.
 
So let your Divine Mother drive your car. Let her drive your soul, your Being—even if it means that you need to recollect yourself—whether you need to breathe deeply, do mantras, do prayer, walk out in nature. Take time to develop that stability of mind, to deepen your serenity. Because that is how you connect with Her, not through agitation, not through exertion, but through comprehension.

The Divine Mother and the Tree of Life

As we explained, the Tree of Life is a map of the consciousness. It is a map of the Being. From the most elevated spheres or סְפִירוֹת sephiroth, the plural Hebrew term for “emanations,” to the most dense and material at the bottom.
 
This is a distinct and clear map for meditation and our internal experiences, which can clarify our understanding of where we are at in our work and where we must go.
 
The sephiroth also reflect different expressions of the Divine Mother.
 
So as I stated, the Divine Mother is universal. She is formless. She is an energy, and yet She can manifest within the different spheres or sephiroth in order to help us. And Samael Aun Weor, the founder of the modern Gnostic tradition, provided five distinct unfoldments or expressions of Devi Kundalini that we need to understand and which we can relate to the Tree of Life.
 
At the top of the tree, above Kether, the Father, the Crown, you have the Absolute, which in Hebrew is  אין Ain, אין סוף Ain Soph, אין סוף אוֹר Ain Soph Aur: the Nothing, the Limitless, and the Limitless Light.
 
In the Absolute, in Ain Soph, the Divine Mother is the Unmanifested Prakriti.
 
When the Divine Mother unfolds and expresses within the universe, within creation, we find that she manifests as Binah, intelligence, the Holy Spirit. She is the chaste Diana, Isis in Egypt, Tonantzin amongst the Aztecs, Maria, Miriam, Mary in Christianity, or better said, the mantra RAM-IO, a profound Mantra to invoke our Divine Mother Binah, intelligence. So these sephiroth are different qualities of consciousness. They are different modalities and expression of the divine. 
 
We also have something very important in relation to the death of the ego, which can relate to the sphere of Geburah, Justice, the severity of God. This is the Divine Mother Death. The Divine Mother Death relates to the justice of the Being, who punishes the ego and annihilates it. She is represented as the terrible Hecate amongst the Greeks, Persephone, Coatlicue, Queen of the infernos and death, the terror of love and law. She is the terror of the ego and the love of divine law, of order, of equilibrium, of karma. So in our former lectures on Karma, we explained how the divine hierarchies are managed by divine beings, with intelligence, with love. Knowing that law and loving that law is how we gain balance, and the Divine Mother Death removes the impurities so that we can be balanced, harmonious beings, integrated beings.
 
We also have the special individual Mother Nature relating to Malkuth, the physical body, who is the originator and architect, the creator of our physical organism. Our body is an amalgamation of many elements. Mother Nature relates to our body as well as our environment and our body is dependent upon Mother Nature outside, but our internal Divine Mother Nature relates to our physicality, our body, which we need to sanctify.
 
And lastly, the Elemental Enchantress to whom we owe every vital impulse, every instinct, relating to Yesod, the sexual creative energy, the foundation of our spirituality 
 
Let us explain each aspect of the Divine Mother in more depth. 

​The Unmanifested Prakriti (Ain Soph)

The Unmanifested Prakriti, the Ain Soph, is the nothing, the limitless. Prakriti signifies nature. Mula in Sanskrit indicates “root,” as in the “root of something,” such as phenomena, consciousness, experiences.
 
We find mula in our root chakra, Muladhara, which signifies the “root place,” the root chakra. We use the term Mulaprakriti to refer to the Ain Soph, the abstract absolute space, the root nature of our consciousness, which is cosmic and eternal, a profound form of space. The Divine Mother has no form, but that energy takes on form within the astral plane in order to teach us, the Essence, important things.
 
Samael Aun Weor also refers to the Divine Mother Prakriti as the Unmanifested Kundalini. This is understandable when we comprehend how the Divine Mother above and the heavenly cosmic space, the Mulaprakriti, is reflected in our Muladhara Chakra. So that cosmic space, that force, that energy, when it manifests into the universe, it becomes the Tree of Life, the different sephiroth, becoming more dense and material as it descends into different unfoldments or dimensions.
 
The Ain Soph is beyond any universe. It is within the abstract space, the cosmic consciousness, the selflessness of perfect Seity.  The Divine Mother above, Mulaprakriti, is the same energy that descends and becomes the serpent in our Muladhara Chakra. 

Even Ricard Wagner in his Ring Cycle [The Ring of the Nibelungen] which is an Opera tetralogy, depicts the Goddess Urda, the mysterious Ain Soph, or Devi Kundalini, with the same musical motif, the theme song, as the sword Nothung: the weapon of the great solar hero Sigmund, which is the Essence, the soul, who wields the Kundalini, the sword Nothung, in order to battle his enemy, Hunding, a symbol of the ego.
 
Nothung, no-tung, reminds us of “nothing,” the Nothing, the space, the Abstract Absolute Space: Ain Soph.  And we have explained in other lectures and courses that the Ain Soph is a star, a supra atomic point, the synthesis of our real Being. It is a light that shines within that space with perfection. It is known as the Glorian, the origin of universes. So this Mulaprakriti, is the womb of the Nothing, which is not understandable to the intellect, but is comprehended through experience.
 
It is the origin of worlds, suns, galaxies, the infinites. All cosmic units are sustained, are born, are gestated, and they are destroyed and absorbed again throughout the great cosmic rhythms of activity and repose, known in Hinduism as Mahamanvantaras and Mahapralayas. These are “great” cosmic days and nights, respectively (for Maha signifies “great”): periods when universes emerged from the Ain Soph, and when it is time, those universes return back to the Nothing, to enter a period of absorption and repose.
 
This is the significance of many Qur’anic verses. "You came from Him and unto Him you shall return." Even the Arabic name Allah hides many mysteries. The syllable “Al” means “the,” the indefinite article. And “La” can mean “No,” negation. Allah traditionally represents or translates as “The God,” but literally is “The No,” the Nothing—that which is not related to anything in existence, because it is unmanifested. This is why in Islam there are no statues or figures representing Allah, because you cannot anthropomorphize space. You cannot characterize the divine feminine in Her most abstract reality.
 
The Unmanifested Divine Mother never enters the universe without taking form, so that we can comprehend and receive insight in our work. The universe emerges from her universality. She is absolute, cosmic, perfect. Her center is everywhere and Her periphery, Her circumference, is nowhere. She is the source that we aspire to. She is perfect liberty, a state of being that is so vast and expansive that it terrifies the ego. 

And so “the Nothing,” “the No,” the Unmanifested Divine Mother is the complete negation of our self, because in that selflessness, one becomes the universe, the stars, the planets, the gods. It is cosmic, absolute, eternal. She is the starry heavens or Egyptian Nut in that respective mythology, who shelters the heroes and the gods, those masters of meditation who have perfected themselves.

​Involution: The Descent of Divine Force

In the universe, when the light of divinity manifests and expresses, that unitary light of the Ain Soph, descends and particularizes, individualizes. The top trinity of the Tree of Life relates to the trinitarian unfoldment: an expression of the Being in the most rarefied and subtle levels. Our unique consciousness, our divine Being, is a perfect unity. Yet to create life, She expresses, or that light expresses as three principles, since the law of three is how everything is created.
 
These are forces, qualities, principles, archetypes. They are blueprints of any universe. They are not three people that constitute one anthropomorphic God. These three creative forces are known as Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in Christianity. Every religion reflects these principles but in different ways. It is one light that can express as three, so as to gestate worlds and human beings.
 
So going back to that description of the principles of sex, man is the affirming, positive force; woman is negating, receptive force. And together they provoke and promote the synthesis, reconciliation, which is the birth of the solar Christic consciousness.
 
That synthesis is בִּינָה Binah, the intelligence of God in Hebrew. So our particular, individual Divine Mother is the intelligence of divinity, because She is the synthesis of all universal wisdom, which governs creation in every level. She is the spouse of Shiva in Hinduism, known as Shakti. Or, Brahma and Sarasvati in Hinduism—or to define its equivalent in the Bible, you have Abraham and Sarah. Brahma-Abraham and Sarasvati-Sarah in the Bible. These are all symbols that reflect truths that we need to experience.
 
The reality is that in accordance with Gnostic Kabbalah, Binah is dual, because Binah is reflective of masculine and feminine principles. Because remember that when you have affirmation and negation, masculine-feminine, positive-negative, you produce the synthesis. And in the terms of having a child, the synthesis of a husband and wife, the child reflects the qualities and characteristics of its parents. So you find both principles there, but of course, manifested as a boy or a girl. But it takes the qualities of both male-female, father-mother, in order to create something beyond itself.
 
Binah, the synthesis is dual. It is masculine-feminine, Father-Mother. In Hebrew, it is known as אב Abba and אם אלהים Aima Elohim in Hebrew. The sacred name of God, of Binah, is יהוה אלהים Jehovah Elohim. אלהים Elohim is a synthetic word. אל El in Hebrew is God. אלה Eloah in Hebrew is Goddess. ים Iod-Mem or the letters “-im” is a masculine plural ending. אלהים Elohim truly signifies “Gods and Goddesses.” 

Our particular, individual Divine Mother is Diana, the huntress, as we see in this image. 

She is the Virgin Mary, Miriam or Mar-IO or Ram-IO, which is a powerful mantra, as I stated, of working with the divine feminine. מרים Miriam in Hebrew means to raise. She is the wife of the masculine aspect of the Holy Spirit, because the trinity is Father, Son, Holy Spirit—three forces as one light. We can receive profound instruction from our own intelligence, the Divine Mother in Binah. She takes on forms within the astral plane to teach us like in the example I provided.

​The Divine Mother Death (Geburah)

But let us also talk about the Divine Mother Death relating to Geburah, the justice and severity of God.
 
This aspect of the Divine Mother is perhaps the most important. It is referenced constantly throughout the writings of Samael Aun Weor. Divine Mother Death is responsible for annihilating the ego. She is Kali, as we see here. She dances upon those couples who know how to harness the sexual fire of alchemy. Meaning: man and wife use their sexual energy, conserve it, and direct it towards the death of desire to liberate the soul.
 
So of course, this image is terrifying. She has a necklace of many heads, representative of all the egos she has slain in the initiate whom she stands upon. She is the power of the serpent Kundalini, which you find coiled around the left arm of the man whom she has conquered. Of course, that symbol relates to the left pillar of the Tree of Life or the serpent Ida, the energetic feminine current that rises from our sexual gonad up to our head, which is the contrast of pingala, the solar electric sexual serpent that rises from the other gonad to the brain within the vital body.
 
The Divine Mother Death, despite her fearsome appearance, should not be feared. She is the liberator of our soul. She pulverizes the ego. She extracts the Essence through successive profound comprehensions. So She only decapitates those ego we have fully comprehended in our meditations. If we are single, we can pray to her using the mantra KRIM, prolonged such as this:

We imagine those defects we have comprehended and that She decapitates them, impales them, disintegrates the egos we wish to remove. If we are married, we can have more force by which to annihilate those egos. But if we are single, we can still work with the Divine Mother Death.
 
So this is very beautiful topic because Kali, the Divine Mother Death, is the power of sex, that which creates the soul and destroys the ego. She is the slayer of demons. She is Athena, who in the Greek myth of The Odyssey helps Odysseus return home in order to battle the many suitors who have tried to take his wife Penelope. In the Greek myth, Odysseus invented the Trojan horse during the Trojan War, conquered the city, and when trying to return home, he was lost for 20 years. And so, many men thought he was dead and tried to marry his wife, who remained faithful to him: a symbol of the soul waiting for the reunion of Odysseus, the solar man, the initiate.
 
When he returns home finally, he finds that his whole island has been ransacked by suitors—all these figures and people trying to marry his wife and eat off his land. But Athena warns him saying, “You must disguise yourself and discover your enemies. You must find out who is your friend and who is your foe.” And so she disguised him with magic as a beggar that he, in this form, went around trying to investigate these people. Finally, in a great battle scene at the end, he reveals himself and with the help of Athena, with the help of Kali, kills all of those infidels.
 
This is not a literal history. It is a symbol of working against the ego. And so Odysseus conquered and returned to his home, but only with the help of the Divine Mother Death. So She is very important in the work and we could talk about more of the practices involved in working with this force, this liberatory energy.

​Divine Mother Nature (Malkuth)

We have the Divine Mother Nature who is the creator, sustainer, and maintainer of our physicality. Divine Mother Nature helps us in jinn science, in magic, in theurgy, in the act of placing our physical body into the fourth dimension. This is jinn science.
 
She is the lever, Divine Mother Nature, or fulcrum of Archimedes who said, "Give me a lever of support and I will move the universe." So, jinn science, unlike astral projection, is when you, in a sleepy state, meditate upon your Divine Mother Nature, the originator of your physical body, so that she can take you in your physical body into the internal planes. So rather than leaving your body behind, you enter the fourth dimension, traveling in hyperspace.
 
This is the significance of many myths in different world traditions where monks, priests, prophets, masters, were seen flying, traveling through the air, passing through walls, appearing and disappearing, levitating. Every world tradition and religion teaches these symbols or these truths, which are not in fact a symbol, but how through tremendous discipline and work with the Divine Mother Nature, one could conquer the fourth dimension, enter those states. 

The most memorable of them all that comes to mind, to my memory is the Prophet Muhammad, who was meditating at the stone of Kaaba, Mecca, in which he fell asleep and was taken with his physical body upon a mystical creature called Al-Buraq, which had the form or body of a donkey, the wings of a great bird, the tail of a peacock, and the face of a woman.
 
If you are familiar with the Egyptian sphinx, with the paws of a lion, the hooves of a bull, the wings of an eagle, and the face of a man, or a woman better said, you find that the Egyptian sphinx is paralleled in the ascension of Prophet Muhammad. And that is a symbol of Divine Mother Nature. She is the one who organizes the elements in our psyche and in our body. The fire of our heart, our emotions; the air of our thoughts; the waters of our sexuality; and the earth of our body.
 
This is a feat that we can accomplish in ourselves if we work with jinn science. And we have practices that we are going to relate in some resources we have available online.

​Elemental Enchantress (Yesod)

We have the Elemental Enchantress relating to Yesod, our vital energies. She is known as the Eemental Instinctual Female Magi. She is our Divine Mother that works with Yesod. We can invoke Her and work with Her to perform sexual magic, which is alchemy, which is tantra, transmutation.
 
Samael Aun Weor mentioned in The Three Mountains how he saw his Elemental Enchantress in the form of a pygmy, the form of a fairy: a beautiful elemental soul. So all the elements have soul, including minerals, plants, animals, and the Divine Elemental Enchantress, our Divine Mother. This aspect of our Divine Mother works with the creatures of nature and She is the sexual force. She aids us in becoming elemental in nature: purified, simple. She also helps us to enter back into Eden. עֵדֶן Eden is a Hebrew word that means “bliss.” It is the state of the soul that we lost when we created desire, by disobeying the commandments of our Being.
 
This female magi helps us return to Eden, which we do so through alchemy, sexual knowledge, transmutation. She helps us with different forms of magic such as ceremonial magic, relating to the astral body, Hod on the Tree of Life, the emotions. She also helps us with elemental magic relating to Netzach, the mind, the souls of plants. And She helps us with sexual magic, Yesod.
 
Magic is the ability of the consciousness to exert will upon nature, to influence it. It doesn't mean that we pull rabbits out of hats. It means that we control all of the components of our psyche.
 
The elementals of nature, in relating to the plant kingdom, never left Eden. Those souls that enter the animal kingdom eventually lose Eden in themselves because of desire, the animal method of procreation. This is why in Gnosis we work with plants. We work with plant magic. We command the souls of plants to vibrate with our level of being and to elevate ourselves, but also to help humanity, because every plant in nature is a mechanism that can reflect divine force. All plants have their purposes. This is very well known in different forms of medicine: Ayurveda, holistic forms of treatments. But in Gnosis, we study plant magic, because it is extremely effective for influencing humanity in a conscious and beneficial way.
 
I invite you to reflect upon some of the resources we have available in order to learn to work with our Divine Mother. Pretty much all the books of Samael Aun Weor teach us how to work with Devi Kundalini. You can learn about jinn science, especially in The Yellow Book. But alchemy is covered extensively in The Perfect Matrimony, The Mystery of the Golden Flower.
 
At this point in time, I would like to invite you to ask questions. 

Questions and Answers

Question: If we have had experiences when our Divine Mother will not see us in the astral plane, does that mean that we have too much lust?
 
Instructor: I think that might depend on the person, but in my experience when my Divine Mother has not been able to find me it is because I am too asleep. I had an experience, also a long time ago, in which my Divine Mother approached me with a radar in her hand, and She said with a lot of concern, pointing towards the screen, “I can't find you!” So usually in radar, you see a green line that goes around the circumference, the radius spins like a wheel, and there is a little blip that will appear when you find some kind of naval ship or aircraft or whatever. So my Divine Mother was showing me this symbol and saying, “I can't find you” because I wasn't being awake enough.
 
So obviously it could be in relation to lust, because obviously any ego puts us to sleep. But most especially if we give in to lust, desire, fornication. It could mean that we are very asleep, because we waste the energies that are going to awaken us.
 
Question: Is the word Devi relating to the word divine?
 
Instructor: Yes, there is that their connotation. Devi also relates to deva, goddess, such as the devas of nature, the great elemental queens who govern the plant kingdoms, all those divine intelligences of the physical and internal worlds.
 
Question: Is the Innermost, inner Being, both the Divine Mother and the Divine Father?
 
Instructor: In Kabbalah, strictly speaking, the Innermost, our Being, is the Divine Father, known as חֶסֶד Chesed in Hebrew. Chesed is the seventh sephirah from the bottom to the middle of the diagram. Chesed means “Mercy” and he is the spirit, the immortal spark of divinity in us. The Innermost is a child of the Divine Mother, Binah, the Holy Spirit. So in very intuitive logic, we can say that Osiris and Isis in Egyptian mythology represent Father-Mother within Binah, masculine-feminine, and their synthesis or child is Horus—Horus, the light, because in Hebrew אוֺר Aur means “light.” Horus is the gold of the spirit, because even in spanish, oros means “gold.” So the Spirit, Chesed, emerges from Binah, the Holy Spirit.
 
Question: Is it possible that our Divine Mother is guiding us, but we are unaware of it?
 
Instructor: Absolutely! I would say in reality that, in our work, She is with us all the time, but we just don't see Her. We are not aware of Her because we are not paying attention. The way that you figure that out is by awakening in meditation and also learning to remember that presence in yourself, moment by moment. Obviously astral experiences can help us to have more clarity, because then we recognize the same intuitive principle or feeling. That premonition we have in dreams is the exact reflection of our daily life. That is something that gives us faith. We start to see more and more that our Divine Mother is really with us all the time, but we are just stubborn. We don't recognize Her presence because we don't pay attention. In the example I provided of my Divine Mother getting in my car, you know, I didn't even realize what was happening, even when physically I got out of my car and got into the passenger seat. And hen immediately afterward, I understood the symbolism of that experience, and the same quality that I had in the dream related to what I was going through in that ordeal physically. That gave me a lot of inspiration, a lot of joy, even when my mind was terrible. So She is with us all the time, but we have to learn to recognize Her.
 
Question: Can you please elaborate on this prayer? “Be thou O Hadit, my secret, the Gnostic mystery of my Being, the central point of my connection, my heart itself, and bloom on my fertile lips made Verb!” Also, what is the significance and the best time to use this prayer?
 
Instructor: So who is Hadit? Hadit in Egyptian mythology can relate to the Holy Spirit, who is our “secret,” the thread, the intelligent intuitive guidance of our conscience, “the Gnostic mystery of our Being,” who is infinitely profound and “the central point of our connection.” So remember that when you are self-remembering and self-observing, you have to remember the connection of your spirit within your pineal gland and your heart. Self-remembrance is a thread that you have to hold on to. It is the thread of Ariadne in the Greek mysteries, when I believe Theseus went into the labyrinth to fight the Minotaur, and it was a vast labyrinth in the caves of that underground kingdom, so that he could find his way back because the thread would point to him where he came from. That central thread or point is our Divine Mother, because we have to remember the thread of our experiences: the continuity of our self-remembrance, our mindfulness, the state of self-remembrance and being moment by moment.
 
That is our heart. It is what gives us life, following our intuition, not our intellect, but our heart. In that way She can bloom our lips made fertile, made verb. To be fertile in lips is to be transmuting your sexual energy. Our speech is empowered by the sexual creative force, and She manifests in our words when we are intuitive, when we reflect on Her qualities in our daily life moment by moment. We can use this prayer anytime we meditate. It is especially wonderful in sexual alchemy when you remember the presence of your Divine Mother, when you approach the forge in which the Kundalini is tempered and awakened.
 
Question: When we take a spouse, are we unifying the divine and masculine energies in a way that affects or breaks the heart of the Divine Mother, when we realize that we are not in the right marriage? Are we affecting these divine forces?
 
Instructor: Obviously, adultery is a very painful thing, but also, being that we are asleep, we do make mistakes. Anytime we mix sexual energy with people of the opposite sex, we adulterate our consciousness and we weaken our conscience. So knowing who your partner should be or whom you should be with, the thing to remember is that we have to make good choices, to not get in those situations, to not jump into relationships without prudence, without testing our grounds.
 
But also, the thing to remember is that if one is in a committed relationship and one feels that doubt, that pain, or that sentiment or feeling that one is in a wrong relationship, one should really meditate profoundly, because any type of sexual connection is very serious, is very profound. It creates a type of signature in the astral plane, a type of marriage of forces which we can't ignore, which is eternal. I would say, anytime we disobey our Divine Mother, especially in sex, yes, we make Her suffer a lot. We have made our Divine Mother suffer tremendously by having so many partners and not waiting for the one person to work with in accordance with our karma or with the law. So that is a very delicate thing to discriminate and understand and it is always going to be very personal. While I can't give you a thorough answer in terms of who is the right partner for you, obviously, that is something you have to spend a lot of time reflecting on. So yes, we do affect our divine forces when we enter a sexual relationship without love, because love is what regenerates the soul, not lust.
 
Question: Why is Ram-IO such an important mantra? Especially in relation with masculine and feminine energies?
 
Instructor: Mary in Hebrew is Miriam. You spell Mary backwards, you have RAM-IO. RAM or the RAM, is a symbol of Christ: the sexual creative fire that anoints the initiates, which particularizes and develops the pure unity of the soul. Mar or mer in French means “sea,” the sea of IO, or the ram of IO, the child of the Divine Mother. RAM-IO is an important Mantra because it works with Christ, the solar energies, and with our waters. It transmutes, we could say, or invokes very high forces in us, because mar or mer is the sea from which the solar gods emerge. And IO, if you studied Greek mythology, has many representations as a beautiful feminine figure, whom I believe Zeus pursued out of desire and love. Many kabbalistic symbols there, which you can study on our websites, but in synthesis RAM-IO is important because it is a seed mantra: IO, that works with the Divine Mother.
 
Question: You said that our Divine Mother can manifest in other ways besides in our dreams. Does this mean that she can take form in other people from time to time when facing ordeals? Can you elaborate on that?
 
Instructor: The answer is yes. Samael Aun Weor mentioned many times and asks this question: How many times has your Divine Mother appeared unto you, O disciple, without you even knowing it, even physically? In the example I provided where I was in the car at Starbucks, my wife was expressing her Divine Mother and even my Divine Mother too, because She is universal, in order to guide me and say, “Let me take the wheel.” My Divine Mother and the Divine Mother of my wife was acting physically, so she became the vehicle of expression of that, so that I could face the ordeal and pass it, to comprehend it. She can take form in other people and manifests anywhere, everywhere, at any time, because she is universal. She is space, but she can appear and manifest in any human being that is either prepared or has enough space to reflect that principle.
 
Question: Is there any prayer to the Divine Mother that you prefer during sexual magic?
 
Instructor: Well, that is obviously going to be personal to each one of us. Obviously if you are practicing in alchemy, you and your partner—or if your spouse is not into Gnosis—that is something that you will have to gauge in yourself; but obviously, if both partners are practicing in alchemy, they should work and could work with other mantras that help with different functions, such as Kandil Bandil Rrrrr: the mantra to awaken the Kundalini. Or, IAO to transmute the sexual energy. 
Or to annihilate the ego, Krim, to invoke the Divine Mother Death. So I invite you to experiment if you are married. Try the different mantras to see what helps you most at a given time, because different mantras have different purposes.
 
Question: Please discuss the origin of the reference to Mother Nature. And what is your perspective on why certain religions dismiss the significance of the Divine Mother and or cast blame like the Adam and Eve story?
 
Instructor: So, Mother Nature is the originator of our body. Even the word in Latin, mater, meaning mother, is the matter of our body. So the spirit, the divine masculine, impregnates matter in order to give birth to Christ; the pure virgin matter or mother who represents the body that is purified through transmutation, so as to give birth to a perfect soul, the Christ, the Son of Man. So these are symbols that represent different degrees and steps in the path of initiation, which you can read about in the course The Path of Initiation on gnosticteachings.org, but also what you can study in our course on Chicago Gnosis called The Secret Path of Initiation.
 
As for why religions dismiss the significance of the Divine Mother, it is because religions degenerate with time. And those who are in power were men. Therefore, those men decided to make religion reflect their tastes. So that is why many beautiful traditions, which are very rich and profound and even feminist, in a sense that the divine feminine is respected, those aspects of those traditions were gutted out, because it did not, or better said, it was a basis of interpretation for persecuting and discriminating against women, which is sad. But when you know Kabbalah, you don't get confused, and do not let any type of patriarchal narrative or dogmatic patriarchy influence our readings.
 
Question: Could you elaborate on the Kali Ma? Is this an aspect of Kali?
 
Instructor: Kali Ma, or better said Kali, is the goddess of death. And Kali is dual. In heaven above She is the Divine Mother Death who eliminates desire, the ego. But if we fornicate, if we adulterate, if we expel the creative energies, then that force of Kali produces the death the soul through Kali Ma, the queen of the infernos. She becomes the tail of the demons, the inverted serpent Kundabuffer.
 
So there are two ways to die: through initiation or through the second death. The ego must be eliminated either way. But if you wish to acquire development in our spirit, we work with the Divine Mother Death in the positive sense, removing the ego here and now in meditation, through alchemy, so that we can ascend the Tree of Life. But those people who don't want to eliminate the ego on their own, let themselves be swallowed by nature, meaning by hell, so that they are recycled and disintegrated by the devolving serpent Kali Ma, the inverted aspect of the Divine Mother Death in hell.
 
Question: What can we do to be good children to our Divine Mother? How do we take care of Her?
 
Instructor: We are a good child when we perform the three factors with fidelity. Comprehend the ego, eliminate it, act virtuously, and serve humanity. That is how we earn graces from our Divine Mother Kundalini, and we take care of Her when we are chaste. If we are not saving our sexual energy, we are abusing the Divine Mother, committing a crime. So take care of Her by conserving your sexual energy, transmuting it through many beautiful exercises such as pranayama, runes, sacred rites of rejuvenation, meditation. Take care of Her by working on your mind, eliminating desire.
 
Question: Is our personal Divine Mother or Father working in collaboration with other people's Divine Mothers and Fathers in order to put us in the situations we need for a development?
 
Instructor: The answer is yes. Obviously divinity is at a level that is omniscient. All of the divine beings of the Absolute in the Tree of Life, those who have already done the work in past lives, obviously those monads are developed and know how to work in an intelligent manner. But our Divine Father and Divine Mother, even at a level of a beginner, works with the law, works with karma, negotiates karma for us and works with other solar divinities in order to help us. So all of that is determined with intelligence, because Binah is the intelligence of all the divinities in the universe. So that universal intelligence is pervasive, is cosmic. So, that wisdom is universal, not particular, within in one person only, but is manifested in many masters.
 
Question: I have had experiences with my Divine Mother in lucid dreams. I have also had experiences in this three-dimensional world that reminded me of my Divine Mother. Can our personal Divine Mother work through others or precipitate in the three-dimensional world, or is this a different aspect of the Divine Mother?
 
Instructor: So yes, the Divine Mother, our individual Being, Binah, can work through other people. Like in that example of being in the car at Starbucks, my wife, like in the dream I had that morning, said “Let me take the wheel.” So my Divine Mother and her Divine Mother were working together to help me get out of a mess, to help me not make a mistake. So I am deeply indebted to my Being. And the Divine Mother can manifest physically in a material form. But that is usually performed through certain exercises of invocation and high magic which you can read about in Esoteric Medicine and Practical Magic.
 
Question: Do these personal Divine Parents have their Divine Mother and Father?
 
Instructor: We can say that the Tree of Life describes the different hierarchies of being. Our inner Father is Chesed, the spirit, the Innermost In Kabbalah. His Divine Father and Mother is Binah, the Holy Spirit. And so, whether or not Binah has a father and mother, we could say in a very profound sense, yes, because the trinity of the top of the Kabbalistic Tree of Life emanates from the Ain Soph. Samael Aun Weor even mentions that the Ain Soph is Father and Mother, in profound synthesis. So there are levels of hierarchy of light, which is why the Qur’an states in Surah Al-Nur, "Light upon light!” Levels of Being—different unfoldments of one perfection.
 
Question: Can you speak about the secret path of the heart? How can someone who is highly intellectual begin to open their heart? Is it essential to return to childhood trauma? As a man, I find it difficult to cry sometimes and show emotion. What can I do to heal? Is crying necessary? I am often encouraged to by my loved ones. What are your thoughts?
 
Instructor: The secret path of the heart unfolds through sincerity. Usually with our intellect, we like to justify or repress our psychological state, to not look at the reality and the facts even if it is very traumatic. We know from counseling and trauma that early childhood trauma has an energetic impact, conditions the psyche. And because it is so painful to look at that event, the mind defends itself and represses or hides that experience within the subconsciousness. And I would say yes, in reality, to understand trauma and overcome it, one has to cry, because there is a tension in the psyche that is so painful and so enmeshed that it manipulates all of our actions in our conscious mind, usually without our awareness. But in order to really confront our defects and those traumas, we have to really be willing to break apart, whether it is from remorse, or whether from comprehension, because Samael Aun Weor mentions that in the work of the death of the ego and the work upon trauma, if we really understand our defects in depth, we will cry, because it is painful.
 
So it's necessary. We have a course on Chicago Gnosis that is going to elaborate more and more upon how to work practically with trauma. It is called Spiritual and Mental Health. We have one lecture up there already where you can learn from some professional as well as spiritual advice, about how to work practically with facing these types of conditions and the ways to heal. So there are many practices that explain how to do that.
 
Question: If we have an experience in nature particularly with animals, which aspect of the Divine Mother is that? Nature or Enchantress, or both?
 
Instructor: I would say both, because animals belong to nature, but really, animal nature is defined by instinct: the Elemental Enchantress. So it is important not to think of the Divine Mother as separate from these different aspects. They are really expressions and unfoldments of one light, our divine feminine nature. So there are different principles that manifest in different ways in accordance with the sephiroth and the internal bodies, but all of it interrelates and connects with each other.
 
Question: Are there specific practices or mantras that coincide with each vice? If so, can you list one routine for each one?
 
Instructor: I wouldn't say that we have separate mantras or practices necessarily for different defects. Really the best practice to comprehend and eliminate our vices is retrospection meditation. But there are exercises that help to gain enough stability and concentration and serenity by which to work effectively in retrospection. For example, if your heart is afflicted with anger, it is good to work with the mantra O, to saturate the heart with positive force. Or if we are afflicted with lust, we can transmit our sexual energy so that we have enough control and stability by which to approach lust in our mind. So I wouldn't say there's a practice for each of the seven vices, we could say, but you do find throughout the literature of Samael Aun Weor different practices to help treat anger. For example, like I related about the Starbucks experience: I was doing deep breathing to control my anger. That is something that the master gives in the book Introduction to Gnosis: the lessons he provides there, so that you can let anger subside so that you can work on the mind, which is what I was doing in that experience.
 
Question: If we experience the ordeal of Direne and failed, will this mistake cause our Divine Mother and Father to renounce us for the rest of this lifetime?
 
Instructor: That really depends. That depends upon the magnitude of the fault. How much energy is invested in lust. Obviously, if one fails the ordeal of Direne and commits adultery, obviously, there is going to be a lot to repair, if that can be repaired at all, in terms of a relational standpoint with one's spouse. Because if divinity asks you to work with one partner and we betray our spouse, obviously, there is going to be a lot of karma involved that it is going to be more difficult to unfold. Whether or not that will be forgiven is something particular to each case, because karma is very intricate and particular to each person. That is something that only your Divine Mother and Divine Father could show you from experience.
 
Question: I have had many experiences in my time on this path, often times when the experiences begin, my mind truly struggles to understand, how it is possible, or whether I am worthy to experience these things? What could be done to help this?
 
Instructor: Well, the solution is: reflect on your heart and your sincerity. Sincerity is the virtue that opens the door to experience. When we truly repent of our errors, not because we want to have samadhis or experiences out of craving and desire, but because we want to change our behavior, when we change our ethical behavior and conduct, we start to see results in our daily life. That is when we become worthy to receive very high initiations or experiences. It is something that has to be earned.
 
Now all of us without exception feel despair at times, where we feel the pain and realization that we are so afflicted with ego that we don't know what to do. And this is a trial and trauma of the soul, a great drama or path of difficulty every one of us has to face. All of us have our own cross to bear, but the reality is that there is forgiveness in the law and it is possible. But we have to really earn it, and that means suffering a lot to the extreme, if necessary. Because when we go through pain and hardship, and feel that this work may be beyond our reach, and we realize that if we don't change, that we are going to suffer more, then we work regardless of the result. We do it because of love, without attachment to the fruit of our deeds. It is when you act in this way, without expectation, and practice in this way without expectation, that is when we really start to receive help internally. We gain experiences. So it is possible.
 
Personally, from my past lives, I do not deserve to be helped. I have committed terrible crimes, and I remember them with lucidity. So it is painful, and I have had to really weep a lot and pray for my Divine Mother to help, because without Her we are lost. But it is precisely at that breaking point in which she enters as light, and we have to be willing to receive that intelligence, primarily by facing extreme hardship. We face and overcome defeatism by meditating on those egos that complain that say, “I can't do this work. I am not good enough. I'm not worthy.” Your Divine Mother knows best, so rely on Her judgment, not on doubt. Doubt is one thing. Despair and morbidity is one thing, but remorse is something else. So all doors are closed to the unworthy except the door of repentance, and we show repentance by our deeds, our actions.
 
Question: Can you speak about how to use the rune Yr and how that works with our Divine Mother when working in sexual alchemy?

Instructor: So the rune Yr is the opposite of the rune Man, and if you are familiar with the hippie symbol of peace, it is the rune Yr. The rune Man  is upright and Man is a representation of the masculine sexual force. So when you join those two runes together, Yr and Man, you form the rune Hagal, and Hagal is a swastika, the cross in motion. And that cross in motion works profoundly when we are married, working in alchemy.
 
So, about different prayers you can do, mantras associated with the rune Yr. I believe you mentioned some of them: "Terrifying king of the sea, thou who has the keys of the floodgates of heaven and who does, can find the subterranean waters within the cavern of the earth. " There are some beautiful prayers that relate to different teachings, but in simple forms, you work with the rune Yr and Man together when you are working in alchemy, because man and woman together form the six pointed star, the cross in motion. We do it by considering the sexual force and circulating it through mantra.
 
Question: How is the mantra KRIM used for help with breaking down food? Does this transmute the sexual energy from the food? 
 
Instructor: The mantra KRIM is the force of destruction. It breaks down elements to extract the synthesis. So in the same way that you break down food when you masticate, eat the food and break down the material so that you can extract its nutrients, the mantra KRIM also helps us to annihilate the ego. So it takes the sexual power and directs it towards the annihilation of the self.
 
Question: Hey, good evening. I wanted to ask you about that experience that you told us about at the Starbucks. And I understand like how you said, that you became aware of your anger, but I was kind of wondering, if you could or would share how or explain a little bit about how for you specifically, you had some comprehension? Because, a lot of times I am aware of a lot of things in myself, but I don't comprehend them and I don't understand, kind of, what it is to comprehend them. But I wish I could give you an example right now of what I mean, but I just was wondering if you could explain a little bit about how that felt to you, like to comprehend that moment?
 
Instructor: Great question. Comprehension is a spark. It is really a profound state of being in which we say, “Aha!” in the sense, like, “I finally see something I never saw before!” It is alert novelty. Comprehension is a type of energy that is like a lightning bolt. It shocks the consciousness, not in a detrimental way, but in an elevating way. When we comprehend an ego, we are liberated in the moment, because we see how that fault operates and conditions us. When you comprehend an ego, you are extracting the essence trapped in it, and then through prayer, the Divine Mother can eliminate it.
 
So in the example I gave you about being at Starbucks, what happened was that when my wife took the car, the wheel, when I got in the passenger seat, I suddenly understood in an instant, with a great shock, that I am going through exactly what I dreamed about this morning. And it was a really brilliant moment of lucidity, of clarity, and inspiration, because when we comprehend our dreams and how they relate to physical life, you feel inspired. So while I was struggling against my own mind to control it, I realized that I was being helped in this ordeal. And in that way, I felt enough peace and serenity to continue working on my mind in that instant because, you know, I knew that my Divine Mother was with me.
 
That is an understanding and a confidence you develop through alert novelty: being aware of the instant, but also paying attention to your dreams and reflecting on their meaning. And sometimes, the comprehension emerges without thinking about it. You do not plan it or expect it. It just suddenly comes to you when your mind is clear, when you are observing. When your imaginative screen of awareness, your intellect is at peace, you can reflect the insight in your superior intellectual center. It just comes to you. But we have to be receptive as an intellect and active as a consciousness as we explained in our former lecture, if that makes sense.
 
Question: Yeah, so comprehension doesn't necessarily mean that you understand why you are doing what you are doing. It's just more that you kind of are just very conscious of the moment and the choices and the ability to take control again or something like that? Or to make different choices? You know what I mean?
 
Instructor: Yes, there are levels of comprehension. So in that moment, I understood that I needed to get into the passenger seat and to meditate right there, so that I can go deeper and understand those egos that acted. So I knew in the moment that I had to continue being serene and then, when I was really concentrated, I understood four egos that I needed to eliminate. So, light upon light, level upon level, if that answers your question. 
 
Audience: Yes. Thank you. 
 
Instructor: You're welcome.
 
Question: Thank you for the lecture. I was wondering about... So I am looking at Deuteronomy 11. This is the part where Moses is recalling, asking the Israelites to recall everything that has happened as they go into the land of Canaan or into the new lands, and this happens many times. I am just going to use one verse. This happens many times throughout this whole section. “You must love the Lord your God and always obey his Commandments, decrees, regulations, and requirements to create regulations and commands.” When “you mentioned his requirements,” is this an interpretation of the Bible where “his” has been... that's not what the Hebrew meant, or is this referring to Chesed, which is a masculine aspect? Because of many “He” and “His”  in this section. 
 
Instructor: Yeah. I am not entirely familiar about the Hebrew in that passage, but if you go into the actual Hebrew transliteration, you will find more answers. You know, this is the value of knowing Kabbalah, so that when you look at the original Hebrew script, you can interpret what names of God are being used. So obviously, אל El  in Hebrew is Chesed, the spirit, and there are degrees of expression of divinity, which are mapped out by the different Hebrew sacred names of God, which we study in our courses of Kabbalah. So if you are familiar with that you can go through those verses and see what name of God is being used. So every time you see God mentioned in English, you should look towards the original language to see what sacred name of divinity is really being referenced here, to get more clarity. If that make sense. 
 
Audience: Here in a paragraph it's like "He" is mentioned like five, six times. In actuality this could be five different references that go beyond just the word "He." 
 
Instructor: Yeah, that is why we have to know what the Hebrew is telling us, because that original script is going to give us the most depth of understanding. So you have to really meditate and judge what you are reading from the original. 
 
Audience: Okay. Thank you. 
 
Instructor: You're welcome.

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<![CDATA[Consciousness and Our Multidimensional Universe]]>Fri, 15 May 2020 07:00:00 GMThttp://chicagognosis.org/transcriptions/consciousness-and-our-multidimensional-universe
This is a transcription of an audio lecture from Anthropology and Cosmology, originally given live at the Gnostic Academy of Chicago:
 
Today we are going to discuss the nature of occult laws, the nature of spirituality as a scientific method, and the importance of studying esoteric science in conjunction with conventional science. We are going to discuss specifically how this science pertains to our spiritual development. We are going to talk about the nature of consciousness and the nature of occult investigation into the very mysteries of life and death: the way to verify from our own experience the nature of divinity, and particularly the foundations of this scientific method.
 
So Gnosis, as we have explained before, is a Greek term, meaning “knowledge.” The word science comes from the word scientia, which means “knowledge.” But this type of knowledge is very direct, and pertains to what we can verify with what we call the consciousness, which is a term that is very superficially used in these times, and very common. But as will be evident in this lecture, few rarely comprehend the real magnitude and the real depth of what it means to awaken the consciousness.
 
When talking about occult science to people, they hear the term occult and they think this is something satanic and evil, or something bad. The word occult comes from the Latin cultare, which means “to cultivate.” Occult means the hidden. So in an occult science, we cultivate that which is unseen, and just as there are methods and procedures for verifying the causes and laws behind physical phenomena, likewise do we ascertain that there is a method, a science for comprehending the noumena behind phenomena.
 
Phenomena is appearance, literally speaking. Pneuma is “spirit” in Greek, and noumena refers to the highest state of awakening spiritually. Noumena in Immanuel Kant's philosophy was expressed as “the truth,” things in themselves. So this science pertains to how we directly verify, through our own experience, what religion teaches.
 
As part of this lecture, we are going to discuss the nature of Ether, which is very famously postulated within physics as well as occult science, and even many different traditions. We are going to explain how the Ether, as a substance and energy, can assist us in the awakening of consciousness.
 
Alongside this, we will talk about the nature of parallel universes. The science of consciousness is about experiencing the different realms, known as heavens, known as Nirvana, known as Jannah in Arabic. And fundamentally, we are going to discuss the science of spiritual perception. What does it mean to perceive and how can we perceive the truths contained within religion? 

Science and Religion: The Synthesis of Conscious Investigation

So his Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama states in his book The Universe in a Single Atom, the need for practitioners of science, official science, to study the mystical teachings of Buddhism or religion, which explain many of the phenomena that quantum mechanics or mechanics physicists are discovering now. He explains in this book that it is necessary and develop an occult methodology.
 
“In order for the study of consciousness to be complete, we need a methodology that would account not only for what is occurring at the neurological and biochemical levels but also for the subjective experience of consciousness itself.  Even when combined, neuroscience and behavioral psychology do not shed enough light on the subjective experience…” ―The Dalai Lama, The Universe in a Single Atom
 
Meaning what we can verify through our own consciousness.
 
“[Neuroscience and Behavioral Psychology combined] do not shed enough light on the subjective experience, as both approaches still place primary importance on the objective, third-person perspective.  Contemplative traditions on the whole have historically emphasized subjective, first-person investigation of the nature and functions of consciousness, by training the mind to focus in a disciplined way on its own internal states.”  ―The Dalai Lama, The Universe in a Single Atom
 
This is precisely the demarcation between conventional science and occult science. The conventional physicists and scientists only verify things based on physical matter. They do not investigate what is the activating principles behind matter, because they ignore, unfortunately, that the only way to verify occult phenomena, or noumena, we need to awaken our consciousness, and this relies on a very specific type of work in which we discipline our own mind, in order to truly awaken our spiritual capacities and to verify what religions have taught us.

The Brain, Mind, and Consciousness

Many people think that the mind is the brain. Many scientists affirm that we are just a functionalism [or epiphenomenon] of our brain, ignoring that the mind itself and the consciousness are something that is separate that can inhabit the body or can dis-inhabit the body, as is explained in the science of dream yoga, astral projection, out of body experiences.
 
Neural science cannot explain many of these occult phenomena and many of these scientists stubbornly reject that there is even the capacity or possibility to experience God, to verify what God is, to know our inner divinity directly. Unfortunately, it is this type of fanaticism and dogmatism in the scientific realm which is blinding many individuals from the study of spirituality, but fortunately due to some recent discoveries, such as in quantum mechanics, the study of subatomic particles, they are discovering that even light has consciousness, that light makes choices. This is a strong revelation on the part of conventional science, that even the smallest particles of matter have a type of awareness. This is something that has been affirmed by the teachings of Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, many of the ancient esoteric traditions.
 
It is precisely the fact that we do not rely exclusively on physical means but occult methods that many scientists simply scorn and reject any possibility of investigation, which is sad, precisely because they fail to enact the very scientific methods that they have vowed to verify, to test. But sadly, like a new priesthood, they are blindly enamored by their own ideas and fail to even want to question themselves. It is precisely this type of discrimination and questioning of our own nature that leads us on the path or to the path that leads to that direct realization of Christ, of Buddha, of Allah.
 
Even Albert Einstein, the great scientist, who was very spiritual in his heart, and as may be evident from the quote will be citing, he knew a little bit about this teaching. He states that it is important for any system or methodology to be effective, it has to be verifiable. But also, the fact that any method that is divorced from any type of experiential knowledge is empty of content, empty of real significance or meaning. He also states that it is important that to verify things for oneself in order for a system to be valid, whEther conventional but in our case, esoteric, hidden.
 
“There are two ways of regarding concepts, both of which are necessary to understanding.  The first is that of logical analysis. It answers the question, How do concepts and judgments depend on each other?  In answering it we are on comparatively safe ground. It is the security by which we are so much impressed in mathematics. But this security is purchased at the price of emptiness of content.” ―Albert Einstein, The World As I See It: “The Problem of Space, Ether, and the Field in Physics”
 
Meaning: it is just recognizing numbers and knowing relationships, but how does it apply to our physical life or even spiritual life?
 
“Concepts can only acquire content (meaning significance or impact) when they are connected, however indirectly, with sensible experience. (So concepts can only acquire content when they are connected with sensible experience). But no logical investigation can reveal this connection; it can only be experienced. And yet it is this connection that determines the cognitive value of systems of concepts.” ―Albert Einstein, The World As I See It: “The Problem of Space, Ether, and the Field in Physics”
 
Here he is saying that it is not enough just to have theories, but to test it and to verify it. The same thing with occult science. We begin with a theory. We begin with beliefs. We practice. We verify through experience. This is why Jesus said "Blessed are those who believe and yet who do not see," because by practicing we can verify these things.
 
A system is worthless if it is not verified, if it does not apply to experience. Here, Albert Einstein in his book The World As I See It, the chapter I quoted from, “The Problem of Space, Ether, and the Field in Physics,” he explains that one needs to verify with sensible experience. Here we are talking about occult experience, mystical experience. 

Conflicts Between Conventional and Esoteric Science

It is important to note that mysticism is a science. The word mysticism comes from the Greek myein, which means “to close one’s eyes” physically, but by closing one’s physical eyes, one learns to proceed with spiritual senses, which is the nature of our intimate divine consciousness. It is unfortunate that many reject outright the capacity to experience different dimensions, different states of being, matter, energy, consciousness. It is this lack of investigation, which is really the emptiness of the physical sciences, which many have been divorced from any spiritual principles. But fortunately, there are many scientists who are realizing that, due to their findings, such as with light making conscious decisions, that they need to rely on more spiritual principles to explain these phenomena.
 
It is the tendency in the scientific world to ostracize and condemn anyone who rejects their theories or beliefs. As I said, this is a new priesthood, in which there is an indomitable, dogmatic institution that says “We are the distributors of knowledge, and then you have to receive what we tell you.”
 
I would like to quote for you, in relation to this topic, a saying by a great Yogi or a great initiate by the name of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky. She wrote a text called The Secret Doctrine and she explains in this quote what it is to really investigate occult science and the need to verify things for ourselves, to not take things at face value, but to experiment, to investigate, because this really entails the scientific method. As I mentioned earlier, we are going to talk about the Ether, and she quotes a little bit about this mysterious substance, which, as we will explain, is what can provoke the awakening of our spiritual perception.
 
Blavatsky states:

“The present writer, claiming no great scientific education, but only a tolerable acquaintance with modern theories, and a better one with Occult Sciences, picks up weapons against the detractors of the esoteric teaching in the very arsenal of modern Science. The glaring contradictions, the mutually-destructive hypotheses of world-renowned Scientists, their mutual accusations, denunciations and disputes, show plainly that, whether accepted or not, the Occult theories have as much right to a hearing as any of the so-called learned and academical hypotheses. Thus whether the followers of the Royal Society choose to accept Ether as a continuous or a discontinuous fluid matters little, and is indifferent to the present purpose. It simply points to one certainty: Official Science knows nothing to this day of the constitution of Ether. Let Science call it matter, if it likes; only neither as akâsa nor as the sacred Æther of the Greeks, is it to be found in any of the states of matter known to modern physics. It is matter on quite another plane of perception and being, and it can neither be analyzed by scientific apparatus, appreciated, nor even conceived by “scientific imagination,” unless the possessors thereof study the Occult Sciences.” ―H. P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, Book I, Part III, Chapter III: “An Lumen Sit Corpus, Nec Non?”

So, exactly reiterating what Albert Einstein stated: that we cannot really appreciate the meaning of studying phenomena if the theory does not apply to our cognizant experience, and by verifying through testing, studying, and approaching it. It cannot be analyzed just by scientific apparatus, physical means. We need superior means, but if we ignore our very capacity to experience God, if we reject it with, “Oh, it's not possible," and then we shut the door for ourselves to really knowing what God is. And so, this type of science cannot be conceived by scientific imagination unless, as Blavatsky states, it is occupied under the occult sciences. 
 
We are going to talk later about imagination. Imagination is the capacity to perceive images, whether on the physical level or in the spiritual level, such as in dreams or when we meditate―seeing images or places or people or things. This is occult imagination: the capacity to perceive phenomena on a psychic and spiritual level.
 
We need to comprehend the importance of developing an open mind, the necessity of investigating information in a scientific manner: one of which we do not have bias, where we do not allow our preconceived notions to infect our understanding. This requires that we have an attitude that is open and that we patiently study and contemplate the different religious traditions, as well as what they imply and what they entail.

Learning How to Listen

​This is the teaching of Buddhism, in relation to the bowl of the Buddha, which is a fundamental teaching within esoteric science.
 
We see here the Buddha with this bowl open waiting to receive knowledge. Saffron robes, his golden colored robes, signifies knowledge within esotericism. If we awaken within the internal planes, if we have an experience with Beings with saffron robes of Buddha, or if we have an experience with the color yellow or orange, it pertains to the mind, the nature of the consciousness.
 
Buddha here is teaching us, in this image, that if we wish to comprehend the higher teachings, we need to have a mind that is receptive: to learn how to receive knowledge and not to instantly compare; to not theorize; to not speculate, but to receive information and to comprehend it. This is the teaching that Jesus gave, the fact that one has to pour new wine in new wineskins, but not to mix it with old wine or old wineskins. Because by pouring the new wine into an old wineskin, the old widescreen will break. This refers to adopting a new type of mind, a different type of mentality in which we can investigate things openly.
 
We need a new attitude. We need to be open like a child, seeing the world for the first time and not instantly wanting to compare or label or debate or argue. Instead, we need a mind that can receive information in order to test it, not to think “This is going to work,” not to say “This is not going to work,” but to adopt the scientific method, the attitude that, "Well, I have my theory about how where this teaching will lead me, but I will be open to whatever occur”―to test, to verify, to experiment, and to see from experience whether it is true or not.
 
We say that when listening to a teaching, that the bowl itself, the mind may have three faults.
 
A vessel might have the following three faults:

  1. being upside down; or
  2. though held right up, being dirty
  3. though clean, having a leaky bottom.
 
This is a teaching given by Tsong Khapa. He was a great Buddhist master. He wrote this in The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, known as the Lam Rim Chen Mo
 
“[…] there is no great purpose in your hearing the teachings if you (1) do not pay attention; or, (2) though paying attention, misunderstand what is heard or listen with a bad motivation such as attachment; or, (3) though lacking these faults, do not solidify the words and meanings taken in at the time of hearing but let them fade due to forgetting them and so forth. Therefore, free yourself from all of these faults.” ―Tsong Khapa, The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment: Volume I
 
So the same thing when we approach occult science, as in the teachings of Buddhism, because we say that Gnosis in itself was manifest in the heart of Buddhism. But as well as Islam, Judaism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, etc.
 
We're going to explain some Buddhist principles in relation to occult science, because by understanding the nature of the consciousness, we study the nature of our perception, which relates to Buddhism but also the esoteric teaching. When acquiring new knowledge, it means to approach the study of reality with an open mind. 

The Fourth Dimension

When we talk about the nature of cosmological laws, we talked about what is known as the fourth dimension. We are going to discuss the nature of Ether. We will discuss different natures of perception. And we are going to discuss the requisites for comprehending these laws in ourselves. So the 14th Dalai Lama continues in the same book, I mentioned The Universe in a Single Atom, and in relation to the study that Einstein provided and the study of the nature of space-time, the 4th dimension which is essential to the study of consciousness:
 
“As I understand it, the most important implication of Einstein’s theory of relativity is that notions of space, time, and mass cannot be seen as absolutes, existing in themselves as permanent, unchanging substances or entities. Space is not an independent, three-dimensional domain, and time is not a separate entity; rather they co-exist as a four-dimensional continuum of “space-time.”  In a nutshell, Einstein’s special theory of relativity implies that, while the speed of light is invariable, there is no absolute, privileged frame of reference and everything, including space and time, is ultimately relative. This is truly a remarkable revelation.” ―H.H. The 14th Dalai Lama, The Universe in a Single Atom, Chapter 3: “Emptiness, Relativity, and Quantum Physics”
 
When we talk about consciousness, we need to talk about space and time, because the study of the nature of our experience will lead us to the awakening to superior dimensions of nature. This study that the nature of consciousness is relative and that the different dimensions of nature are relative as well, in relation to our perception of them, is a very profound esoteric statement that is affirmed by Buddhism.
 
So as the Dalai Lama states:
 
“In the Buddhist philosophical world, the concept of time as relative is not alien. Before the second century C.E., the Sautranika school argued against the notion of time as absolute. Dividing the temporal process into the past, present, and future, the Sautranikas demonstrated the interdependence of the three and argued for the untenability of any notion of independently real past, present, and future. They showed that time cannot be conceived as an intrinsically real entity existing independently of temporal phenomena but must be understood as a set of relations among temporal phenomena.” ―H.H. The 14th Dalai Lama, The Universe in a Single Atom, Chapter 3: “Emptiness, Relativity, and Quantum Physics”
 
This is important to understanding our perception. How do we relate to the physical world? Even understanding, how do we perceive? Understanding our relative position of the nature of our universe, because it is this mistake of feeling that oneself is independent of this existence―that is a great delusion. When we perceive that our own mistaken senses of self are relative to us and illusory, we can begin to awaken to a much superior way of life.
 
“Apart from the temporal phenomena upon which we construct the concept of time, there is no real time that is somehow the grand vessel in which things and events occur, an absolute that has an existence of its own.” ―H.H. The 14th Dalai Lama, The Universe in a Single Atom, Chapter 3: “Emptiness, Relativity, and Quantum Physics”
 
So we examine the nature of our relationships to impressions of life from the scientific perspective. We seek to verify and comprehend our own perceptions, our own relationship to the impressions of life, which in truth is multi-dimensional in nature. 

Space-Time: The Fourth Coordinate

We are going to discuss the fourth dimension specifically, next, and how it pertains to our conscious perception.
 
Previously we showed the image of what is known as the Bhavachakra in Buddhism. This image represents the illusory nature of phenomena divided into six realms. We have a course specifically dedicated to the subject on our website [Bhavachakra on Gnostic Teachings], but we mentioned the Bhavachakra in brief because it explains aspects of our consciousness that we need to understand.
All beings who dwell within these six realms, which are symbolic in nature, dwell within suffering, within mistaken notions of self-hood or grasping and aversion to suffering: a psychological attachment that keeps them rotating within the wheel. If you are familiar with Carl Orff, there is a classical composition Carmina Burana, which is where we have the famous piece “O Fortuna.” We find that this cycle or rotation within different realms of suffering, different ways of perceiving, are mistaken notions of self that create suffering.
 
We study, briefly, the Bhavachakra because in order to awaken to our genuine spiritual nature, we seek to transcend this wheel. This can only come about by questioning our own perceptions, by learning to perceive our mind as we were practicing earlier, as a separate entity, and that we, as a consciousness, are something separate and distinct.
 
Those who have freed themselves from the wheel of suffering are known as bodhisattvas. They have escaped the dualistic mentation of the mind and they have transcended to a superior region. You see them in the top corners of the image.
 
This science of consciousness that we are explaining pertains to understanding our different modes of perception and the nature of what we call space and time, the fourth dimension. Because by understanding space and time, we understand ourselves to a deeper degree. Now people in conventional science have, at least within the past century, affirmed the existence of a fourth coordinate. We studied the nature of the 4th dimension in relation to our consciousness, because it pertains to how we perceive or the illusions of what we perceive.
So first off we have this image. We have an eye with a clock which we are going to explain. Sand is representing the chronometric aspect of time. So when we talk about the fourth dimension, we talk about two aspects of our perception in this region, because it is this illusion of time, of thinking of the future, worrying about the past, which keeps us hypnotized and not recognizing our current state of being. 
 
So to quote Samael Aun Weor, the founder of the modern Gnostic tradition, in his book Cosmic teachings of a Lama:
 
“Length, width, and height are―without any possible doubt (even if these are of a Cartesian type)―the three Euclidean aspects of this three-dimensional world within which, for good or for bad, we live. It is evident that it would be absurd to exclude the fourth factor from our postulations.
 
“Thus, considering time as the fourth dimension, it intrinsically contains two fundamental properties, namely: temporal and spatial.
 
“It is positive, authentic, and undeniable that the chronometric aspect of life is exclusively the unstable surface of the spatial depth.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Cosmic Teachings of a Lama
 
In discussing consciousness, we talk about these two factors. The chronometric aspect of time is the illusion that there is a morning and an afternoon, an evening, a day. Or a five o'clock, or afternoon, or twelve o'clock at night. This illusion of time that we commonly experience and sense, that is the chronometric aspect of our perception.
 
But we also have what is known as the spatial depth of our perception, which could only be developed if we learn to awaken our consciousness, our spiritual capacities. We have this image of the eye with the clock to represent the spatial depth of the fourth dimension.
 
It is important to study the fourth dimension because when we comprehend ourselves, we are learning to perceive our own multi-dimensional nature. We are learning to perceive how we are not just a three dimensional being with length, width, and height. We have actually a much more profound and deeper constitution than is admitted by conventional science. We have our emotions and our mind, which are more real to us than anything else. In fact, we always try to make the physical world concur to our own desires, the way we think and feel. We want our external world and universe to coincide with our concepts, beliefs, our emotions, our attitudes, our cravings. If we want coffee, we make an effort to fulfill our needs. It is not just a physical instinct, but it is an emotional craving. Or in our mind, we have a belief about a certain system or teaching and we strongly affirm it against another person we argue with.
 
Therefore, this is indicating that the mind and the emotions in themselves are more real to us than anything physical. Even the way we physically live is completely contingent upon our thoughts and our feelings and our psychological constitution. Even the way we perceive the illusions of time and our own sense of self depends entirely on how we perceive. It depends entirely upon this question: what is it that we perceive and how do we know?
 
Our multi-dimensional nature is verified even by the existence that we have thought-feeling―if we observe ourselves and analyze: where does it come from? Where do we receive thoughts? Where do emotions emerge? The truth is these elements of our constitution belong to different dimensions of nature, which interpenetrate our physical plane.
 
We are going to be explaining in relation to the Kabbalah, which is known as the Hebrew Tree of Life: a map of the multi-dimensional nature of our consciousness.
 
If we wish to understand the nature of our perception, if we wish to understand the mysteries of life and death, we need to overcome this illusion of time: that there is a tomorrow or that there was a yesterday. The truth is there is only this moment. Our sense of time is dependent upon physical factors and therefore our relationships, obligations family, career, job, physical objects, like home or property, our relationship to all these things create this illusion of what we call time.
 
If we wish to comprehend the more higher spiritual principles, we need to understand the nature of our own illusions of time: to observe here and now; to not think of the future or the or the past, but to be aware of the present moment. And this is, we are going to explain, starts to develop what we know is the spatial depth, which is the ability of the consciousness to perceive physical phenomena in a new way, in a more encompassing way. Even in this physical plane we have many illusions. 
 
Samael Aun Weor states in The Doomed Aryan Race [now published as The Narrow Way] in relation to the nature of our three dimensions as well as the fourth dimension:
 
“A line is the print that a dot leaves while moving through space. A plane is the print that a line leaves while moving through space. A solid is the print that a plane leaves while moving through space.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Narrow Way
 
These are our three dimensions, and typically all we perceive are just length, width, and height, in terms of our physical senses: our sight, our capacity to hear, etc. We rarely recognize or are able to perceive the vital depth of a person. This is known as clairvoyance: by learning to perceive energy of people, the chakras. 
 
Clairvoyance in French literally means “clear vision.” Do not think that only a few people have this capacity, or that they are gifted. In fact, we all have the potential to develop these faculties, if we are sincere that our inner Being, our inner God can guide us to awakening what we call the spatial depth, which is clairvoyance.
 
When we learn to awaken our own divine perception, we could begin to perceive life in a new way. All of us have to some degree. If we are approaching this science, we have experienced something to a degree of this type of phenomena, in which we were shocked―in which, in a given moment, we question, “Why am I even here? What am I doing here? Who am I as a person? Where am I going?” Meaning spiritually. “If I die what will happen?” When we question what it is we know and we analyze what is it that we want to know, we begin to awaken.
 
When we learn to develop that, when we follow that hunch, that yearning, we approach the science that leads us towards the development of that capacity within us. We develop the spatial sense, clairvoyance, spiritual perception. We begin to perceive different phenomena. 
 
Samael Aun Weor continues:
 
“A hypersolid is the print that a solid leaves while moving through space..." ―Samael Aun Weor, The Narrow Way
 
So we are talking about points, lines, and planes, and that when they move through space, they create the different dimensions. When a physical object, when a solid of three dimensions moves through space, it creates what is known as a hyper solid.
 
Samael Aun Weor states:
 
“…it is the fourth dimension of any given body.
 
“Hypersolids, hypervolume, and hyperspace are only perceptible with the awakening of the consciousness.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Narrow Way
 
So that which people call auras, seeing imagery within the internal dimensions, such as in dream yoga, awakening in the astral plane, speaking to angels, conversing with the Gods: that is conscious perception. Perceiving physical life in a totally new manner, pertains to the awakening of perception and the perception of hyper solids, hyper volume. Because, the hyper solid of a person is simply the vital aura, the energy of a person―what we call the Ether of a person. 

The Four States of Consciousness

When talking about the nature of Ether and energies, and how to use energy to awaken consciousness, we need to emphasize that there are really four states of consciousness in this science. If we wish to comprehend the nature of time, if we wish to develop our clairvoyance to perceive the heavenly beings within the superior dimensions when we dream, we need to comprehend that there are four states of consciousness of perception.

Eikasia

​We use Greek terms from Plato who knew this science in depth. He was a Gnostic initiate. We have Eikasia (Εἰκασία). Eikasia simply means ironically, “imagination.” This is very interesting. We emphasize that Eikasia is ssleep without dreams: to be asleep as a consciousness and to not even have dreams.
 
We typically associate this state with being physically asleep and eight hours passing by in the night, and then we wake up and not remember anything. This is one level of meaning to this state of consciousness. But even more directly, if we look at the literal translation, Eikasia means “imagination.” It means perception. It is a type of perception, such as we have now, meaning, we physically we have our sight, our hearing, our touch, etc., and yet we fail to recognize the inherent, intrinsic reality contained within any impression that we receive.
 
We fail to understand that the nature of any given impression of life is illusory. We simply see appearances. We do not really directly see within a person. So we are having a conversation with an individual. Unless we are really awakened spiritually, we do not perceive their thoughts. But we have a general sense of emotion, of experience. Eikasia literally means “imagination,” and it means the type of perception we all have. We are physically awake, but spiritually speaking, we are asleep. We are not aware of our energies, our divine potential on a clairvoyant level, on an observant level. Humanity is caught within this state of Eikasia. People think they are awake, physically, yes, but spiritually no. To be spiritually awake is to perceive the vital forces that animate nature, to see life in a new way, not to be caught up in thought, intellect, theories, debate, which is precisely the second state of consciousness.

Pistis

πίστης Pistis, in Greek, literally means “belief.” It means sleep with dreams.
 
So what is a belief? It is but a dream, an idea, a concept that has not been verified. Many human beings on this globe have many theories, spiritual or scientific, and yet which are not grounded in the actual experience of the truth, that have not been verified through one's own cognizance.
 
Pistis is to dream. If we physically go to sleep and we have dreams, that is Pistis. We are not aware that we are dreaming. We are not aware that we are receiving images on a psychic level within the dream state. Therefore, these are illusory. This is illusion.
 
Eikasia, again, is sleep without dreams, and when we are physically awake, it does not mean that we are spiritually awake. It means that our physical senses are active, but our own consciousness is asleep. It is in a potential state. It is not developed. That can only be developed by learning to learn how to work with energy known as the Ether, as we will explain, and learning to direct our attention.

Dianoia

​So precisely the state of awakened consciousness is διάνοια Dianoia. Dianoia signifies “revision of belief” and we call this the state of awakening. So do not mistake that being physically awake that one is spiritually awake, because we can be physically asleep and we can be awake in the superior dimensions of nature, known as astral projection or out of body experiences. Or one can be physically awake and yet asleep as a consciousness, or better said, one could be physically asleep and psychologically asleep.
 
Do not think that consciousness simply means physical activity, or that in our state we possess consciousness. Yes, we perceive phenomena. We perceive images, sensations, thought, emotion; but it does not necessarily mean that we comprehend those phenomena as they exist within ourselves.
 
As you might have noticed from the practice we did at the beginning before the lecture, we were sitting to observe our own mind, as if the mind itself is an actor and that we are a director. If we have seen that our own thoughts come and go without any control on our part, if we can experience that emotions come and go without any direction of our will, it means that we are not in control of our mind. It means that we perceive life, but we do not comprehend it.
 
It is precisely this foundation that we seek to emphasize. Consciousness does not literally mean being physically awake. The consciousness is part of the Being, of God, that needs to be developed. So Eikasia means “sleep.” We are here present, but the question is whether we are paying attention, if we are awake as a spirit, as a psyche.
 
Pistis is sleep with dreams. Meaning: anytime we have an idea, a preoccupation, a memory, we are driving our car but thinking about other things. We are planning our day when we are drinking coffee. Or conceptualizing, theorizing, believing. This is Pistis. These are fluctuating states of experience that do not signify that we as a consciousness, of the part of God, are really awake, vigilant, active, being aware of the thoughts, feelings, emotions, sensations, perceptions, comprehending them all in this instant.
 
That is Dianoia, because noia or nous means “mind.” Dia means “side to side.” So Dianoia means “to stand aside from the mind” and to look at it for what it is, that it is a machine. It can store information. It can conceptualize. It can rationalize. it can compare things, but it cannot know God. And sadly, Immanuel Kant, a great German philosopher, was rejected because he stated this: that the mind cannot know the truth, and many philosophers were angry with him. They said, “What are you talking about?” Because they use the intellect to try to explain spiritual phenomena. 
 
Dianoia a means “to stand aside from the mind” and see it for what it is. But besides this type of perception there is something superior which we call νους Nous. 

Nous

Nous is illuminated awakened consciousness. It is one thing to stand aside from the mind and see it for what it is, to comprehend that it is like a separate entity in itself. It is another thing for that consciousness to unite with God and to be one with God, to perceive oneself as God, when the Being is fully manifested in that consciousness. This is known in the East among the yogis as samadhi, as experiences in which the consciousness is like a drop of water lost in the ocean of divinity. 

Question: What is a yogi? 
 
Instructor: Yogi is a person who practices yoga. This teaching is essentially yoga in itself. We are learning to understand the mind and to control our own mind, so that we can attain union, which is the meaning of yoga. Yug, the Sanskrit word “to reunite,” so that we could reunite with God.
 
Question: Is this the Indian language?
 
Instructor: Sanskrit. The Eastern language. 
 
Nous pertains to experiencing the consciousness of God, which is very elevated and which we can only really experience through meditation, which is the fundamental teaching or practice of this tradition.
 
If you are familiar with Plato's teaching, he talked about the Allegory of the Cave in his book The Republic. He describes as a group of men or people living in a cave, in which there is a wall, and individuals are chained by their necks in their legs and their arms to that wall facing the darkness. Behind the wall there is a fire, and individuals are carrying clay pottery on their heads and their arms past the light, and it is casting shadows on the wall. 
 
Now the individuals who only see darkness in that cave is Eikasia. They sleep. They have no dreams. They see no imagery. Meaning, they do not perceive even psychic imagery, such as if we go to sleep physically and eight hours go by and we don't remember anything. This exemplifies the fact that if this is our common state of being. It means that we are like the prisoner in the cave, unable to see even images.
 
Another of those who see images on the wall, those are dreams, false illusions. Any belief, thought, concept, idea in itself, is an image. It is fleeting. It passes on the screen of the mind. It disappears. That is all we see.
 
Fortunately in the allegory, we have an individual who is freed from his confines: taken, turned around to face the light, the fire in the cave, and is immediately blinded by that light. But when his eyes adjust, he realizes his surroundings and that the clay pottery that was before the light of the fire is projecting its images on the wall. He realizes that what he previously perceived was an illusion. This is Dianoia. He stands outside himself to the side of his mind and says, “Now I see that what I perceived before my ways of thinking, my ways of feeling, my ways of behaving, all that is illusory―and that my perception of these things is in itself something superficial.”
 
But again, the story does not end there. It is not enough just to see the fire in the cave. That is Dianoia. Socrates was a teacher of Plato. Socrates says in Plato's teaching that this individual has to be forced out of the cave, dragged against his will. This is us when we are really beginning to study this type of science and if we are beginning to awaken our consciousness. We have to be dragged out. ​​

Divinity takes us by the cuff, pulls us out of the cave, and gives us the experience where emerging from the mountainside, one sees the stars. Even at this point, the person's eyes are weak and dim. It cannot perceive the light as it is. Then for the first time in this individual’s life who's been in the cave he sees the sun, the sunrise for the first time.
 
We know from Christian teachings that Christ is the sun, the solar logos, the fire, the flame of life that animates all beings. So, he sees that light for the first time and is blinded by that luminosity, and it takes them weeks to adjust to that light. And then he realizes when he is in freedom, that he feels such pity for people who are in the cave because they don't understand what freedom is.
 
That experience of the sun for the first time is Nous. To be united with God is Nous. It is the consciousness illuminated by the spirit, by our Buddha, by Allah, by Christ: different names for that energy, that force. We are like that in the cave. We perceive thought, feeling, emotion, sensations, but we do not really comprehend how these in themselves are phenomena. They are constantly changing like the images on the wall of the cave. By learning to work with our energy, precisely the Ether which we are going to be discussing, we can generate our own fire, which is represented by the fire in the cave. In order to perceive light, we need fire.

The Tree of Life: Our Multidimensional Nature

In spiritual studies, we talked about the need to work with energy. We talked about the need to develop spiritual forces. The nature of energy is described in this image. This glyph is known in Kabbalah as the Tree of Life.
 
This is one of the trees that was mentioned in the Garden of Eden, in the Book of Genesis. This tree represents a map of consciousness, from the highest realms of the Being, of God, to the lowest levels of matter, energy, and consciousness.
 
We basically have ten spheres or סְפִירוֹת sephiroth [the Hebrew term for emanations].
 
Above we have Christ, the trinity above: Father, Son, Holy Spirit.
 
Below we have the different manifestations of that light which descends, down into matter and energy. through past periods of cosmic evolution, which is a different topic. But in this image, it explains the multi-dimensional nature of our Being.
 
We all have God within. We all have a spark, a flame that unites us with the source of all creation, which above is known as the Absolute.
 
Here we have at the top trinity. Notice we have three trinities. The top trinity is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In Hebrew, it is known as כֶּתֶר Kether, חָכְמָה Chokmah, and בִּינָה Binah. Below that we have another trinity, which is the trinity of the Spirit: God, our own particular God within. חֶסֶד Chesed, גְּבוּרָה Geburah, תִּפְאֶרֶת Tiphereth: we have the Spirit, the consciousness, and what is known as the soul or human soul.
 
Below that we have to the right, mind, נצח Netzach. To the left we have emotions, הוד Hod. Beneath that we have יְסוֹד Yesod, which is vital energy, the foundation of all spiritual practice. Then below that we have מלכות Malkuth, which is the physical body.
 
Notice even in this diagram the mind, the emotions, and the vitality are just the bottom of the real human being. They are not the totality. We have other aspects of being that we need to awaken to.
 
When we talk about the multi-dimensional nature of our constitution, we talk about this glyph, because all of us have Christ within. All of us have our own spirit, that if we unite with in meditation, we can become one with that consciousness―that state of being which is to see the light of day for the first time, like in the Allegory of the Cave.
 
We say that this glyph is divided into different dimensions. Here we are talking about the fourth dimension. We look in this image, this this glyph is divided into seven dimensions. The bottom we have our three-dimensional world Malkuth, the physical body. The fourth dimension is known as Yesod, the vital body. 
 
When we talk about bodies and energy, we are talking about vehicles which exist within more subtle levels of nature, of matter, energy, and consciousness that we can access when we know how to awaken in dreams. The way we do that is precisely working with the Ether, known as our vitality, what gives us strength, which gives us the capacity to perceive life in this physical plane.
 
The physical body Malkuth is just an instrument of the vital body. If you are familiar with the Kirlian camera, Russian scientists developed this camera that can photograph the aura of living things. Even minerals have vital depth, vital energy. It is this energy that is going to grant us the capacity to ascend, up this tree. It is the Ether, the light, which illuminates the different spheres, which form the Christmas tree. So that tree is the Tree of Life, fully illuminated by the Ether of our body, of our energies, which, when we work with that energy, it illuminates and creates the Christmas tree, the Christ-Mass-tree, which is a harmony or reunion with the Christ force. 
Question: Do you view that as a ladder then?
 
Instructor: Yes, we even talk about in the Bible, Jacob's ladder.
 
Question: So we all start at the bottom per say and then we can experientially work up? 
 
Instructor: Yes, this is the process of initiation, which is another lecture.
 
Question: Is that why they put lights on the Christmas tree?
 
Instructor: Because that represents the human being, fully illuminated, the different sephiroth to the star, which is the really the goal that we seek, our own inner Being at the heights. 
 
So, again, we talk about seven dimensions. The Christ known as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Above they relate to the seventh dimension. This light is the zero dimension. It is the first emanation or light that emerges from that source we call the Absolute.
 
Time does not exist in the source of divinity, the Absolute. However, that energy, that light known as Christ, descends and enters the different levels of matter, energy, and perception. 
 
Beneath that we have the sixth dimension, which is where we find the Spirit, the consciousness, and our human soul. This is known as Nirvana among the Buddhists. Nirvana literally means “cessation,” and it means that in order to acquire that state, one needs to acquire the cessation of suffering, a mind that is serene so that one can experience those realms only by controlling the mind. 
 
Beneath that we have two sephiroth, two spheres. We have on the right Netzach, which is mind, intellect. On the left we have Hod, emotions, the astral vehicle. The mind and the emotions constitute the fifth dimension, which is beneath Nirvana.
 
The fifth dimension is where we go to dream. We typically travel in what some call the astral body or the mental body, which are vehicles or lunar vehicles. Nature gives us certain vehicle so that we can exist with thought and feeling in those realms.
 
Beneath that we have Yesod, the fourth dimension, which we equate with space and time as well as the Ether. 
 
Question: Yesod is the fourth dimension? 
 
Instructor: Yes, and in Al-Qur’an, the teaching given by Prophet Muhammad, he said that paradise is a land of milk and honey. So, this is the fourth dimension that he was talking about. Many of the saints who acquire beatitude and sanctification in their life, they enter into paradise, which is Yesod, a voluptuous and blissful state.
 
Then beneath that we have Malkuth, the physical plane.
 
I am going to explain to you just a little bit about from the teachings of Samael Aun Weor, the nature of these different dimensions.
 
“We have been told that the fourth dimension is time (in its exclusively temporal aspect).
 
“We have been informed that the fifth dimension is eternity. Without a doubt, the sixth dimension is beyond time and eternity.
 
“The absolute zero exists in dimensional subject matters. The zero dimension is pure Spirit; this is a seventh dimension.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Narrow Way
 
As I mentioned it is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit above.
 
“The intellectual beast…” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Narrow Way
 
…and this sounds very harsh, but the truth is all of us are, we could say animals with intellect. The word animal comes from anima, which means “soul.” So we are souls with intellect, and if we are constantly identified with negativity and anger and pride and passion, it means that we were bestial in a sense, negative, and we use our intellect and create many problems for ourselves.
 
“The intellectual beast is bottled up in Euclidean geometry because he has never awakened his consciousness. The consciousness that slumbers is content with Euclid’s tri-dimensional geometry.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Narrow Way
 
Meaning: just isosceles triangles and other shapes relating to the physical plane, ignoring that there is a higher mathematics, a higher type of teaching.
 
“One-dimensional creatures only possess sensations of pleasure and pain, likes and dislikes, such as for example, the snail.
 
“Bi-dimensional creatures such as dogs, cats and horses, etc., possess sensations and representations.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Narrow Way
 
They not only feel pain of good and bad, pleasure and displeasure, they also see representations; images such as the person, the master, etc.
 
“The tri-dimensional biped (mistakenly called a human being) [and we will elaborate on this point] possesses sensations, representations, and concepts.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Narrow Way
 
We talk about the human being made into the image of God. People think the image of God is the physical body, and they are mistaken, because this image is psychological and spiritual. To be made in the image of God is to be a mind united with the spirit, because the word mind in Sanskrit is manas, man. The spirit is hum in Sanskrit. The breath, the wind, that floated above the face of the waters in the Book of Genesis, that inner spirit needs to work with our energies known as Ether, in order to create the image of God within.
A human being is just that: a Christmas tree fully illuminated, because if we take this image and put it on the person, we find it matches with the physical body with the highest aspects of God in the brain. We have the spirit in the heart, and they have our vital energies or forces within sexuality.
 
“The spatial sense can never be developed without the awakening of the consciousness.
 
“The spatial sense includes, in an absolute manner, the five senses and many other senses that physiologists absolutely ignore.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Narrow Way
 
This is precisely our goal in these studies, to become what the Bible calls a human being. What is a being is the Christ, the inner Buddha, our spirit within. A hum-man is a mind that obeys God within. So, it is psychological. It is not physical. When we talk about the nature of Ethers, we will explain why.
 
The fourth dimension precisely is the foundation that leads us towards the path of spiritual development. The Ether in itself is a mysterious substance that was pondered about by physicists, and there has been much speculation about the nature of this substance. They talked about space-time as taught by Einstein, but many really failed to understand that this Ether is what can grant us the capacity to experience the spiritual realms. 
 
Notice how even going back to this image, this Tree of Life is centered on this sephirot Yesod, known as Ether, known as energy. It gives our vitality in our body.
 
It is the second to bottom in the very center. It is right above Malkuth. We have here Yesod and then Malkuth below. So, our foundation of the entire Tree of Life, of the unity with God, is precisely by knowing how to work with this energy called Ether. More specifically we call it the sexual force. The sexual energy.
 
Question: Why is the bottom upside down?
 
Instructor: It is a good question. That is known as hell. In Kabbalah, it is called קְלִיפּוֹת Klipoth, which literally translates as “shells.” It is the inverted aspect of the Tree of Life. Just as there is heaven, there is hell. Hell refers to our own pride, anger, negativity, vanity, laziness, gluttony, our defects. It is the shadow of the tree that we need to eliminate if we want to illuminate our Christmas tree, meaning our own inner Being, our own higher constitution.
 
Question: Is that why the different areas, sephiroth, are? Like gluttony, vanity...
 
Instructor: Not specifically. You cannot correlate necessarily each of the nine inverted sephiroth with a specific defect. Instead, there are astrological influences that Master Samael explains in books like Hell, Devil and Karma, in which he describes how different planetary influences govern the different spheres of hell, but that's another topic, because hell in itself is not just a place in the internal dimensions where people suffer. There is a place, but instead it more importantly refers to our psychological states.
 
Question: Being in a physical body, that is almost like being in hell itself?
 
Instructor: We can say that, yes, and our body needs to be purified and become a house for God, like symbolized by the Virgin Mary. Mary represents the physical body, the matter, the mother, that needs to be purified in order to incarnate Christ. The way that we work with that is by working with the Ether. 

Ether: The Sexual Energy

We are going to explain more about this energy and how it applies to our spiritual development. I like to actually quote for you Albert Einstein again from the same book The World As I See it. This is from a chapter of “The Problem of Space, Ether, and the Field in Physics,” explaining how many scientists are debating this concept of space-time, and what is this Ether that is so essential to physics.
 
“The mechanical properties of the Ether were at first a mystery. Then came H. A. Lorentz’s great discovery. All the phenomena of electro-magnetism then known could be explained on the basis of two assumptions: that Ether is firmly fixed in space―that is to say, unable to move at all, and that electricity is firmly lodged in the mobile elementary particles. Today his discovery may be expressed as follows: ―Physical space and the Ether are only different terms for the same thing; fields are physical conditions of space. For if no particular state of motion belongs to the Ether, there does not seem to be any ground for introducing it as an entity with a special sort alongside space.” ―Albert Einstein, The World As I See It: The Problem of Space, Ether, and the Field in Physics
 
There is this big great debate about the nature of Ether and whether it is a different substance from space or if it is one with space. So we talk about, especially in these teachings, how in order to develop our spatial sense, our capacity to perceive life in a completely different manner, we need to work with that energy, that Ether, which is precisely within our sexual organs. It is a vital energy that gives us life.
 
We have our parents. They copulate it and now we have a physical body. That energy also has the potential to create spiritually if we know how to use it correctly. 
 
So here Einstein is explaining that, you know, they are trying to resolve this issue of how does electromagnetism work? How do forces manifest and act through matter? Precisely, the answer is to the Ether, known as the fourth dimension.
 
Question: You are saying that there is a direct link between Ether and our sexual organs?
 
Instructor: Yes.
 
Question: That is where the capacity is to see these forces behind nature?...
 
Instructor: Yes, precisely so. This substance known as Ether, which permeates every atom of our physical body, grants our body the capacity to transmit electricity, energy, forces, biochemistry, such as the different processes of digestion, of excretion, of many processes in our physical body which we take for granted.
 
Our life depends on the health of our vital body. When a person dies, it means that the vital body has lost its energies and it basically separates from the physical body or disintegrates. If the physical body never had its vital depth, meaning, those Ethers or energies present in the body, we would die. Our very life, even our lifespan depends on how we use our energies, whether mental, emotional, or sexual. Remember we talked about the mind, we talked about the emotions, and we are talking about Yesod now, the foundation of spiritual practice as the Ether.
This Ether also manifests again in different ways. We have it not only in our sexual organs as the vital foundation of life. We also have it within space. It is a substance that permeates all of nature. It allows for the spiritual forces of God to manifest physically. So just as we have it within our body, we have it within the cosmos. As represented by this glyph or this image.
 
Many people have debated about the nature of Ether from different religions, different traditions, trying to explain what it is. Many having very conflicting and contrary opinions about it. But we explained in synthesis that the Ether as we know it is in our sexual organs. It is a condensation of spiritual forces that come from even from the galaxies, from the stars, from the highest realms of the Tree of Life as we mentioned. This Ether, as we are going to explain, enters into our body and manifest in different ways, the different ways that we can work with this energy in order to awaken our consciousness.
 
I would like to quote again from Blavatsky from The Secret Doctrine. She states:
 
“The septenary gradation, and the innumerable subdivisions and differences, made by the ancients between the powers of Ether collectively, from its outward fringe of effects, with which our Science is so familiar, up to the “Imponderable Substance,” once admitted as the “Ether of Space,” now about to be rejected…”  ―H. P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, Book I, Part II, Chapter III: “Primordial Substance and Divine Thought”
 
Meaning: people used to think it was a separate substance from space, ignoring that the cosmos, the space, is one with that energy, and through the condensation of forces on the Tree of Life that enters into our body, enters our sexual organs. Then it is a matter of returning that energy inward and upward towards the source. Not only physically, but within our different levels of our constitution represented by that tree.
 
This “Imponderable Substance,” once admitted as the “Ether of Space,” now about to be rejected, has been a vexing riddle for every branch of knowledge. The mythologists and symbologists of our day, confused by this incomprehensible glorification, on the one hand, and degradation on the other, of the same deified entity and in the same religious systems, are often driven to the most ludicrous mistakes.” ―H. P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, Book I, Part II, Chapter III: “Primordial Substance and Divine Thought”
 
So many people they think this substance Ether mentioned in religion is basically the abode of hell to some. So Blavatsky states:
 
“The Church, firm as a rock in each and all of her early errors of interpretation, has made of Ether the abode of her Satanic legions.” ―H. P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, Book I, Part II, Chapter III: “Primordial Substance and Divine Thought”
 
There is a lot of misconceptions about Ether. They think it is some kind of physical chemical to put someone to sleep or it is some demonic substance that it channels evil forces. The truth is Ether, in itself, in its most unmodified original substance, which we seek to work within ourselves, is known as the Divine Mother Space.
We see in this image, in a Hindu depiction of the Divine Mother, and from Her emerges three figures Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. These are just different terms for the Holy Trinity of Christianity: Brahma the father, Vishnu the Son, the Christ, and Shiva the Holy Spirit. These are energies, not people, but forces.
 
So the Divine Mother is the space that we find in the universe, which is the habitat of that energy known as Ether, the sacred force. The Hindus give it a different name. They call it Prakriti. They say Prakriti, this energy, is the Divine Mother. When we talk about the Virgin Mary, we are addressing that divinity, which cannot be conceptualized with images necessarily.
 
Question: Is that the same as prana?
 
Instructor: Yes, prana is another term. We say prana is a life force. A lot of these terms are really synonymous. They indicate aspect of the same force.
 
The reason we study this cosmological perspective in relation to the science of consciousness is because by working with these energies, divine forces, we can awaken to superior levels of experience. Prakriti means “nature,” literally, from Sanskrit. We can also call her Mulaprakriti at the same time. Mula means “root.” She is the root of nature, which is the space.
 
Remember in the Book of Genesis, “the spirit of God hovered above the face of the waters.” Or it says in Hebrew, the רוח אלהים Ruach Elohim hovered above the face of the waters, the face of the deep, meaning the space, and then God said “Let there be light, and there was light.” So working with the waters is precisely how God created the light within. 
 
Although there is a cosmological relationship to this myth, more importantly it refers to how we develop psychologically, spiritually. The waters are precisely those Ethers, the vital forces of nature, which we have in our sexual glands, and when we know how to work with our inner Being, the Spirit, the Ruach Elohim, God can create light within. God can awaken the consciousness.
 
Again, that light is developed by working with those waters known as Ether. Some call it Akash. It has different names, and we find it precisely within our sexual glands, because if you are familiar with Hinduism, the yogis, they teach the base chakra, the base of the spine is known as Muladhara. It is the abode of Prakriti, they say. It is the abode of the Divine Mother. So relating to Hinduism, the energies of God, the Divine Mother force known as Kundalini, She is Prakriti within us that can awaken and ascend up our spinal column when we know how to work with those energies, known as Ether. Or, we could say Akash, another term for that.
 
Question: How do you exactly work with those energies, so as to activate them?
 
Instructor: To awaken sparks of that force, one can work with mantra, but specifically we refer to the necessity for what we call scientific chastity.
 
People think chastity simply means to abstain from sex. It really means purity within sex. If one is single, one can practice exercises of pranayama. We have them available in our literature [see the lecture Pranayama and Sexual Transmutation], but also mantras help stimulate that energy in order to channel those forces and we can awaken sparks of that fire.
 
The only way to fully awaken the Kundalini is precisely in a matrimony, which we could not explain in depth today, but it is the union of man and woman, sexually speaking, in which the most powerful forces of God, the fires of creation, can give birth to the spirit. As Jesus said, "that which is born of the flesh is flesh." Meaning: if one copulates in the normal fashion, one can give birth to a child, a physical child. “But that which is born of the spirit.” In the same sexual act, we can develop the spirit if we conserve that energy and we don't expel it, meaning: to not reach the orgasm, specifically.
 
Question: When a woman is having her cycle or time of the month, it is dangerous to work with the pranayama, right? 
 
Instructor: Women, when they are in their menstruation cycle, should not mantralize, should not transmute. Just to meditate, because it is a natural process in the female body that needs to expel negative substances from the body. It is a natural process for women because the feminine body is more receptive and receives energies and needs to purify every month. During that process, women should only meditate. Do not mantralize. Do not transmute.
 
Question: Not even mantralize?
 
Instructor: You can, but physically the vocalization is a special creation that occurs when physically mantralizing.  So, not to do pranayama, not to do that, but to pray. One can pray, one can meditate during those times, because the body needs to clean itself basically. 
 
So Prakriti is precisely within that chakra known as Muladhara. Dara means “foundation.” Mula means “root.” As I mentioned with some of the exercises, we seek to awaken that fire. So that fire, like in the Allegory of the Cave, can illuminate us, so that we can leave the mountain, leave the cave, and ascend to the highest realms basically speaking.
 
Question: Is the Kundalini force both within the sexual organs and the root of the spine?
 
Instructor: The Kundalini is a serpent fire that is coiled three and a half times in the Muladhara Chakra. It is at the base of the spine. But we have that energy active in our sexual organs basically, and so when we know how to work with the Divine Mother, we can awaken our consciousness. So again, this energy is in space, but we also find this energy within our sexual glands. 
 
Samael Aun Weor states in one of his books of astrology,
 
"Prakriti, the Divine Mother, is the primordial substance of nature. Several substances, different elements and sub-elements exist within the universe, but all of these are different manifestations of a single substance. The Great Mother, the Prakriti, the Primordial Matter, is the Pure Akasha contained within the entire space.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Practical Astrology: The Esoteric Treatise of Hermetic Astrology
 
We sometimes say Akasha. We sometimes say Ether. Really they are synonymous.
 
“[...] Millions and billions of universes are being born and dying within the bosom of the Prakriti. Every cosmos is born from the Prakriti and is dissolved within the Prakriti. Every world is a ball of fire that becomes ignited and extinguished in the bosom of Prakriti. Everything is born from the Prakriti; everything returns to the Prakriti. She is the Great Mother." ―Samael Aun Weor, Practical Astrology: The Esoteric Treatise of Hermetic Astrology
 
So just as we have Divine Mother space, we also have the Divine Mother as a serpentine fire within our coccyx.  
Again, we have another image of space representing the forces of nature, divine nature.
 
Question: How does one activate the Merkabah?
 
Instructor: The Merkabah, which is a chariot of the initiates, is a representation of what we call the solar bodies. These are vehicles that can express the energies of Christ here and now. Christ knows that if it tried to incarnate within a person who did not have those vehicles within, that person would be obliterated.
 
Question: Even if they are spiritually awake? 
 
Instructor: Even if one develops the consciousness, one is at another point to walk the path of initiation to create what we call the solar bodies. So many people, they talk about the astral body, mental body, but the truth is that as we are now, we typically possess what are called lunar vehicles: vehicles that we inhabit when we dream, that were given to us by nature. But we need to create a superior type of vehicle, which is only possible through alchemy or the perfect matrimony.
 
Question: Merkabah is activated... Is that the same effect as the Kundalini?
 
Instructor: When we awaken the Kundalini and develop it up the spinal medulla, not only within the physical body, but the vital body, the astral body, the mental body, the bodies above, that creates what we call solar bodies. So, the Kundalini force, the Divine Mother can create those vehicles of soul. 
 
Question: Even though they are one, but they are still different?
 
Instructor: We could say they are different aspects of ourselves, just in the same way that our thoughts are dealing with our emotions and our body. We have the distinctions, but usually they interpenetrate in such a way that we don't know the difference, but that's why we need to awaken ourselves consciously so that we can differentiate between thought, feeling, emotion, sensation, etc.
 
Question: And the Kundalini expands your consciousness?
 
Instructor: It can give us greater capacities for awakening. Yes.
 
Question: The Merkabah does the same thing?
 
Instructor: The Merkabah: having solar bodies, can give oneself capacities to experience superior dimensions. The Merkabah are the solar bodies, the vehicles that can take us up to God.
 
The way that we develop those vehicles is precisely by working with this primordial root matter. We call it Ether. We call it Akasha. We call it Prakriti.  And so, this energy is really the root of all cosmogonies, not only in the physical universe that we know of, but also even in our internal universe. We need to create our own spiritual, we could say world, from the chaos. That chaos is precisely in reference to our own energies in our body that are untamed, and also our mind, because like it says in the Book of Genesis "and the world was without form and void and darkness was on the face of the deep." That darkness is our own mind. But if we know how to work with the energies―we call Akasha, we call Ether, by working with the breath,  the spirit that floated above the waters, working with our breath, with mantra, with pranayama, or working in alchemy in a marriage―those energies can create our inner universe.
 
“What is the primordial Chaos but Æther?  Not the modern Ether; not such as is recognized now, but such as was known to the ancient philosophers long before the time of Moses; but Æther, with all its mysterious and occult properties, containing in itself the germs of universal creation. Upper Æther or Akâsa, is the celestial virgin and mother of every existing form and being, from whose bosom, as soon as “incubated” by the Divine Spirit [the Ruach Elohim as I mentioned], are called into existence: Matter and Life, Force and Action. Æther is the Aditi of the Hindus, and it is Akâsa.  Electricity, magnetism, heat, light, and chemical action are so little understood even now that fresh facts are constantly widening the range of our knowledge. Who knows where ends the power of this protean giant―Æther; or whence its mysterious origin? Who, we mean, that denies the spirit that works in it, and evolves out of it all visible forms?” ―H. P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, Book I, Part II, Chapter III: “Primordial Substance and Divine Thought”
 
As I mentioned to you, this energy has created the universe: the worlds, the stars, and we precisely carry the same power within our sexual glands. So as Mulaprakriti in nature, we find as the Hindus teach us, the Prakriti is in the base of our spine and our sexual organs, which when we know how to work with the different practices of the tradition, we can awaken that fire and therefore illuminate our Christmas tree. We could say our spinal medulla as well, because if we take the Tree of Life and you put it on a person, the middle column refers to the spine, because the spine of a person is the Tree of Life. Without that one cannot exist. The spine also refers to willpower. Like we say, if this person has no spine, basically it is a kind of rude condemnation of another person.
 
Question: When you say illumination, you mean enlightenment right? 
 
Instructor: Yes. 
 
Question: Does the Merkabah, the Kabbalah bring the same effects as that?
 
Instructor: Merkabah is just a vehicle. It can transmit higher energies. Now, if one has those bodies, one has an extra benefit to be able to transmit more force, but what is necessary is to still, discipline the mind. So, it is a medium that can help. It is not an end in itself. 

The Elements of Nature

When we talk about the Ether or Akash, we talk about how it relates to our physical body as well. We are discussing the nature of this energy within the cosmos, but also within our physicality. This Ether, Akash, is what manifests in this physical plane as the different elements that we experience.
 
We have Sanskrit terms. When the Akash modifies itself to manifest in the physical world, Akash, when it is petrified, when it becomes solid, it forms the Earth, known as Prithvi.
 
When that Ether condenses as a fluidic substance, it becomes the water, Apas.
 
When the Akash is in an igneous, flaming state, it becomes Tejas, which is fire.
 
When it becomes like fluidic and gaseous, it becomes Vayu, air.
 
This is just one level in terms of nature. We have these principles known as tattvas, modifications of that force, Ether, within nature. Also, importantly, we have these forces in our body, which we need to work with to help us, we could say, awaken our consciousness.
 
These elements relate to different aspects of our body, of our psychology.
 
Prithvi relates to the physical body, is our Earth.
 
Apas, the waters, pertain to our seminal fluid, any fluids in our body, that help with the process of the endocrine system, the nervous systems.
 
The waters that circulate in our body, as in our blood, which is a vehicle of fire, Tejas. The fire relates to heat, even combustion in our body. Many processes like catabolic and metabolic states, breaking down of waste in our body, etc.
 
We also have Vayu related to our breath, which gives us life in every instant.
 
The Akash precisely pertains to a fire that permeates all of that, all these elements within our body, but most precisely within sexuality.
 
We say that the Kundalini is Akash: that mysterious fire of the Divine Mother is Akash. She is the fire of creation. 
 
Question: Those are Hindu words, right?
 
Instructor: Yes, we could say Sanskrit, more precisely, but you know, it's not my intention to go much more in depth, but we state that in order to preserve the health of our physical body, we need to consume elements that are beneficial for our psyche, basically. So different foods have different condensation of these forces. Grains have a lot of Prithvi, meaning Earth, or legumes, beans, things of that nature. It is good to consume elements from these different forces, the tattvas, to help balance our psychology, to create a more harmonious energy in our body. 
 
We have Apas, which we find in fish, specifically, because the fish of the sea, they channel the waters of the earth and the cosmos. The energies that enter the planet and enter the waters and strengthen those animals, the fish. So, it's good to consume fish in balance in order to consume that element Apas, which helps us to control the waters of our body.
 
Just as the Prithvi, consuming grains in moderation, helps to strengthen our body, we have Tejas, which we find in red meat which, as you know, red meat has what we call fire, because it is energy. It is good to eat in moderation. But if one is vegetarian, that is acceptable. But if one wants to have a little bit more fire, particularly for work in alchemy, the perfect matrimony, one can consume red meat in moderation. Usually, no more than a palm full or the size of one's palm once a week, typically, we say.
 
Then Vayu we find within grape juice. Not alcohol, but it is better to drink grape juice, the non-alcoholic element. This is represented by the eucharist. 
 
We consume these elements in our diet because it helps to give us strong energies. Our diet helps feed our spirituality basically, and so in studying the science of consciousness, we study that all these forces manifest in our bodies so as to take advantage of them. Those who are lacking a certain elements should learn to harmonize the body by consuming in a balanced way, these different elements. It is these elements that we consume, the air we breathe, the food we eat, whether grains, meat, fish, legumes, grains, etc., that is going to be transformed in our body precisely as what we call the seminal energy.
 
This energy has the capacity to awaken ourselves spiritually. It is represented as the Tree of Knowledge in the Book of Genesis, that forbidden tree that was commanded of Adam and Eve not to eat, meaning: not to indulge in the passions of sexuality, but to know how to use that force wisely, which we explain is in relation to the doctrine of chastity, purity.
 
So precisely our sexual energies are the Akash, and that energy awakens in us when we know how to work with mantras, vocalizations, exercises like pranayama, working inter-nostril breathing, activating those energies through prayer, meditation, and work with breath, because just as the breath the spirit of God hovered above the waters, so too must we work with our own breath―breathing with sacred sound―in order to activate those forces.

The Four Ethers

Lastly, we are going to just explain in brief how the Ether can be divided also into four, in relation to our psychological processes, as well as physical.
 
We talked about how the Ether manifests as the four elements, but also we are going to explain these four ethers as they are explained in the Bible.The Bible talks about the four rivers of Eden. These are what we call the four Ethers. So those four rivers are Chidekel (the Tigris), Pishon, Gihon, and Phirat (the Euphrates) in the Bible. They represent what we call the four Ethers. This is also another way of looking of how the Ether manages our organism: how the Ether in itself can help us to understand our psychology.
 
So we have the Chemical Ether:
 
“The Chemical Ether is related with all the processes of organic assimilation and nourishment.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Sexology: The Basis of Endocrinology and Criminology
 
All of our physical processes in our body, digestion, consumption the breaking down of fats, production of bile, biochemistry in our body, is related to the Chemical Ether.
 
“The Ether of Life is related with the reproduction processes of the race.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Sexology: The Basis of Endocrinology and Criminology
 
This is the energy that gives life through procreation and creates a child, but we have also two superior ethers related to our perception. They are known as the Luminous Ether and the Reflecting Ether.
 
“The Luminous Ether is related with the processes of sensorial perception.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Sexology: The Basis of Endocrinology and Criminology
 
How we perceive physically depends on the health of this Ether, which is luminous.
 
“The Reflecting Ether is intimately related with the faculties of memory, imagination, willpower, etc., etc.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Sexology: The Basis of Endocrinology and Criminology
 
So Luminous Ether pertains to our physical perception, but Reflecting Ether pertains to our spiritual perception. As I have been mentioning, these ethers and forces, they help us to channel the consciousness. They help us to manifest consciousness, and we mentioned in passing, some exercises that one can use to work with that force in order to awaken the consciousness.
 
When talking about these four Ethers, if you are familiar with Merkabah, Max Heindel, another occultist, he explained that two superior Ethers need to be separated from the inferior Ethers. This is the meaning of the Bible when God said “Let the waters be divided into a heaven and to the lower firmament.” These two Ethers are separated, or purified or elevated, especially within a matrimony, by working with one's partner, connecting sexually with love, purity, and devotion to God, and never wasting that force, never expelling it through the orgasm, specifically. The Luminous Ether and the Reflecting Ether are strengthened and they help to form what is known as the vital body, or the beginning of the Merkabah, we could say.
 
These energies and forces explain many of our physiological processes, but also, when we talk about these forces, we emphasize that they aid us towards awakening spiritually. We have practices of meditation, of concentration, which are strengthened when we know how to work with these forces within us.
 
Audience: People who have true astral projection, it is mandatory that they separate the higher ethers from the lowers...The lower Ethers must remain in the physical body and your spiritual practices...
 
Instructor: Those higher ethers pertain to our perception and can illuminate us within the internal planes. So if we want to have experiences out of the body, working in the dream state, it is necessary to work with that vital energy. We do it through mantra, pranayama, some of our yoga practice. One thing Heindel mentioned that was a bit incomplete was that he said that in order to create the so called To Soma Psuchikón, the bodies of the psyche, one needs to just separate the ethers. That is one step. There is a deeper process that we have mentioned elsewhere in which one creates these spiritual bodies, but that is another topic in itself. 
 
But the ethers are important. We talked about many things, space and time, how our illusions of perception are based on the misperception of our psychological states, but in order to access the higher regions of spirituality, we must learn to conserve our energies and work with them through a spiritual practice, specifically. That energy is what is going to allow us to perceive. Without fire, we do not have that power, the energy. We cannot perceive light. Only from fire comes light, as represented in the myth of the cave by Plato.

Questions and Answers

Question: Merkabah… you ever hear of Drunvalo Melchizedek?
 
Instructor: Someone who calls himself Melchizedek?
 
Question: Drunvalo Melchizedek. He has a school called School of Remembering, and he teaches how to remember, how to activate the Merkabah. Do you know anything about that?
 
Instructor: Precisely we talked about the perfect matrimony in order to develop these vehicles of the soul. The Merkabah is literally a chariot that Ezekiel was taken on in order to experience the highest realms. So those are what we call solar vehicles, which we emphasize are only created in the sexual act. But not in the common way, because as Jesus of Nazareth taught, “You must be born again of water and spirit.”
 
Water is the Ether or Akash, that substance in our body that we can give birth to the spirit―born of the wind and the spirit. The wind is working with our breath, with mantras such as in the perfect matrimony. When uniting with our partner, one is sexually connected and never spills that force. Otherwise if one ejaculates that energy in the orgasm, one is expelled from Eden.
 
As mentioned in the Hebraic myth, Eden is a Hebrew word that means “bliss.” The ultimate bliss between a man and a woman is, sexually speaking, when they are united. But if they do not know how to control that serpent, that fire that is awakened in them, if they expel it, that serpent goes down and forms what we call the tail of Satan. But if that serpent is tamed, that sexual passion is controlled and transformed, it rises up the spinal medulla only in accordance with moral rectitude, work in the heart, controlling and annihilating anger, pride, vanity. The Divine Mother is that fire, that Kundalini force that can create the solar bodies, the Merkabah, but only if we are working on ourselves, meaning: we are meditating and trying to comprehend our faults. Otherwise, we take that energy we feed it to our desires, and that is bad.
 
Question: Does this presume that you have to use some type of force over that energy to negate, again, the erotic element involved? It is common in sex. You have to neutralize that to make sure there is no ejaculation and to keep it spiritual. This could be a test in itself. 
 
Instructor: We call that energy Lucifer. People think it is some guy in a red suit with a pitchfork who is living in a kingdom of brimstone and fire. Lucifer literally means luci ferrus, “bearer of light.” The fire is that serpent, that sexual power, which is very tempting to indulge, in that pleasure, and to waste it. But the Lord in the Garden of Eden said, “Do not eat of that fruit,” meaning, do not culminate in the animal orgasm, symbolically speaking. Otherwise, you'll be  ejected from Eden.
 
That energy, if we conserve it, if we control it and dominate it, it will rise like in Moses' serpent upon a staff. That staff is the spinal column. When that serpent rises inwardly and upwardly, it forms, it illuminates the Tree of Life, out body, our psyche. That creates the Christmas tree. When Moses, representing the willpower of an of an initiate, who is dominating the sexual energy, he can then go to Egypt and try to free his people.
 
It is not just physically a group of people in the Middle East that existed. Instead, it refers to the parts of our soul that are trapped in ego, in suffering. That energy has the power to create or destroy. 
 
Question: You mentioned willpower, which you also said has to do with the heart, Tiphereth, is that correct? 
 
Instructor: Yes, Tiphereth in the Kabbalah is the heart, the human soul. 
 
Question: When you are saying matrimony, are you meaning a man and a woman married, or two partners in love? 
 
Instructor: I am saying in terms of what a real matrimony is, and this is a good question. Samael Aun Weor stated that a real matrimony is decided between the two Beings of the couple and that a marriage only consists when a couple is in love and they live in a legitimately constituted home. Some people have tried to interpret this as: you have physical papers that you are married. But elsewhere he stated, you know, this contrivance of physical papers and marriage papers and all that conflict and all that difficulty, is really superficial and meaningless.
 
When a man and woman unite sexually, when they love each other, that is marriage. They are united sexually through that bond. That energy is so powerful that it unites them through eternity. Therefore, the one who decides the married couple is really God within. If we have our partner and we are living together, but we are not necessarily married and have papers, that is not important. What is important is that the Being within us has decided that this is our partner and that we work with her. A real matrimony is dependent upon the will of God, not on papers. 
 
Question: So you are talking about partnerships. Not necessarily a man and a woman being married with papers. 
 
Instructor: When we talk about matrimony, we mean sexual connection. To be sexually connected is to be married. That is a bond that cannot be broken. It is very serious. If we have a partner and we want to work with this energy, it is what can unite us with God.  As taught by Jesus, the cross is the path of the cross, basically. The phallus is the vertical beam. The uterus is a horizontal beam. It is through that energy in which we can die to our most horrible defects, which is symbolized by the Passion of Jesus bearing his cross and suffering what he did. So that's another topic, but matrimony is really when two beings love each other fully, even if they don't have physical papers―that they're married. What is important is that one has love. If there is no love, then papers mean nothing. Papers are a necessity in these times, you know, for tax purposes, but at the same time, it is not the most essential thing.
 
Are there any other questions or comments?
 
Question: You said that with Merkabah you can experience higher realms of consciousness, right? Does the Kundalini does that as well? 
 
Instructor: They are related. So, the solar bodies are precisely when that sexual fire rises up the spinal column to the brain and then to the heart. So when that fire is fully active and manifest within that given body, whether the physical body, the vital body, the astral body, the mental body, or the causal body, that forms the Merkabah. The Merkabah is the vehicle of the soul. In order to express God fully, we need to develop those vehicles through precisely that work with these ethers that we mentioned. So that energy is what creates those vehicles through which God can act, and is literally the fire that illuminates that tree. So that body has fire only because of the Kundalini and that fire creates those vehicles. So that is what the Merkabah is
 
Question: That is why you said Christ cannot incarnate in you without those vehicles. 
 
Instructor: As I said, if the Being were to try to incarnate without the person having the vehicles, the person would be obliterated because the Being is the power of a galaxy, of a solar system, of a star. That is the power of Christ. It is that force which, if we want to manifest that, we need to work with that energy precisely.
 
Question: I wanted to talk about clairvoyance because that is something that I am trying to develop too, and I remember a particular time, it must have been a couple of years ago, but I notice that I kind of had the power to read those closest to me. Like their thoughts, and there was a particular time, this was when I was younger, when I was experimenting with hallucinogens and stuff like that in order to see different types of perspective. I remember a time my friend and I were on LSD and I looked him, and his face was melting, and I was a little freaked out and then he told me like a couple seconds later. He's like, it feels like my face is melting, and that really freaked me out, because I think for a split second I was in his mind and I was seeing something that, you know, I was seeing something before he even said something, and that kind of freaked me out. Now was that a kind of moment of clairvoyance, to be able to see or to hear someone else's thoughts?
 
Instructor:  We call that in that sense, but because of the involvement of drugs, we call it negative clairvoyance. It is a type of perception, but it is channeled through the mind, through desire. So, we do not suggest the consumption of drugs in any manner, but those substances awakened negative perception. So, like we talked about Eikasia, meaning the lowest state of consciousness, meaning just: sleep without dreams―there are those who take drugs and they awaken their consciousness trapped in the darkness, so to speak.
 
It is a type of Eikasia meaning “imagination.” You are perceiving images, but it is from unconsciousness. It is a type of perception, like animals that see at night, who are accustomed to that type of perception. We say that is negative and that is actually the type of perspective that demons have. Angels have positive clairvoyance. They see things objectively. They see the realities of the different dimensions without confusion and without any obstruction to their perception, but a demon learns the see precisely by using drugs and by alcohol or fornication, especially―the abuse of the sexual energy. They develop power in the mind to see in the mind and so it is another topic in itself, but it explains those types of perception. It is a perception that you have through the mind, but a negative one.
 
Question: But this is perceived through the pineal gland, right?
 
Instructor: We say the clairvoyance relates specifically to what we call the pituitary gland in between the eyebrows. As we mentioned a little bit ago about the physical body, our organs play an intimate role in our own internal chemistry, but also the working of spiritual forces. The endocrine system plays a role in terms of how we can perceive forces. So if we develop our heart we can learn to astral travel. If we develop the pituitary gland between the eyebrows, that can help develop clairvoyance. We have different glands like the thyroid related with throat and can help with we call clairaudience: learning to hear psychic sounds, such as in dreams or out of the body. So that gland relates to clairvoyance specifically. 
 
Question: So it’s the pituitary gland that is related to clairvoyance, but is the pineal gland more of a received?
 
Instructor: The pineal gland is a transmitter. When we transmit thought, which is a vibration, it comes from the pineal gland. We receive through the solar plexus. People call it telepathy or transience, the ability to communicate through energy. The brain is the transmitter, the pineal gland. The solar plexus is the receiver of a thought or vibration.
 
Audience: So people on the left hand path, when they want to get you over and over, they go for the solar plexus apparently. That is what you feel when they try to weaken you. There are people who can drain you.
 
Instructor: The solar plexus is where we store energy. It is like our sun basically. A good healthy intestinal tract goes a long way in spiritual studies. It may sound interesting. What does spirituality have to do with the body? But as we have been mentioning, the forces in our body can help us awaken spiritually, so the solar plexus has a lot of those solar energies, which we attempt to use in our practices.
 
Question: You spoke of the fourth dimension. What is that, in the astral plane?
 
Instructor: The astral plane is the fifth dimension. Yes, the fifth dimension is the mind, Netzach and Hod, the heart. The fourth dimension is the vital energy. Above that we have mental and emotional energy, or mental and emotional matter.
 
It is important to clarify, since some people, when they hear of astral projection, they think it is something vague. In fact, the internal planes are as material as the physical plane. They have a type of sustenance or matter or forces, which are tangible. The thing is we do not perceive that because we do not work with our energies, basically, but if we learn to work with transmutation, using our vital energies, the ethers, we can awaken the Luminous and Reflective Ethers, and they can expand in our consciousness, so that we can perceive these things. But the fifth dimension is the astral plane. Above that is the spirit, and Christ is the seventh dimension, beyond.
 
Audience: One more thing I wanted to bring up about the pineal gland. I remember the first time I came here, I was talking about how the presence of fluoride in water and food is, over time, has calcified that pineal gland. So, I did some research and I recently bought this thing. I am not sure you guys are familiar with the site Infowars. It has a site that has alternative news media, you know related to the government exposing the kind of things that goes on, but this thing actually works really well. It is fluoride shields. Its got like a bunch of organic things in here. Its got organic tamarind, zeolites, fulvic acid, shilajit, and organic cilantro, but this has honestly helped me when I try to meditate. Sometimes I cannot focus because I feel like there are too many thoughts. So with the calcified pineal gland, since you said, that is where your thoughts are associated, since it is calcified, it would also mean that it would be harder for you meditate because of all the other thoughts that are in your mind and you can't really think about your one true self because of the calcified pineal gland. 
 
Instructor: I would say that a healthy body is a healthy mind, but do not get so worried about, “I can't meditate because my pineal gland is calcified.” If you feel like you have suffered damage to your pineal gland, and most of us have, I do not know so much about the substances you are mentioning, but I do know that when you work with transmutation of your sexual energies, and you raise that energy, inward and upward to the brain, it illuminates the mind, and there are some studies, based on Kellogg, we have available on our website, that explain how the hormones of our body are intimately related with our sexual energy, our sexual matter.
 
So, we conserve the semen, the seminal matter, and transform it into energy, those transform into hormones and can nourish the pineal gland and regenerate the brain. So the greatest composers, artists, musicians, philosophers, they had illuminated minds, meaning that their brain was seminized we could say. Their semen was cerebralized.
 
There is an intimate relationship between the waters of sex and the waters of the brain. This is the meaning of this mysterious name מִרְיָם Miriam, because the letter מ M [in Hebrew] signifies water. Miriam is the Divine Mother, water below and water above in the brain: the two firmaments mentioned in Genesis. So, if you have a healthy body, you have a healthy mind.  We all suffer some problems in our bodies because of past mistakes, but the thing is to take advantage of what we have now, and not to fret over it, but to work with that energy within the body called the Kundalini force or sexual energy.
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<![CDATA[How to Conquer Heaven]]>Sun, 10 May 2020 20:45:08 GMThttp://chicagognosis.org/transcriptions/how-to-conquer-heaven
This is a transcription of an audio lecture from Beginning Self-Transformation, originally given live at the Gnostic Academy of Chicago:
 
The path of Gnosis is a path of revolution. This revolution has nothing to do with physical war, argumentation, debates, or overthrowing the government. The type of revolution we seek to fulfill is not against any external system: no political party, no religion, no particular philosophy. This is a profound, intimate matter of how we transform ourselves: the internal psychological causes of suffering.
 
As we are now, we are afflicted beings filled with tremendous suffering. We are very complicated, filled with confusion, despair. The status quo, the accepted beliefs of numerous religions, institutions, dogmas, do not produce radical change.
 
What matters is a transformation of our psychological states. This is the result of the practice of meditation.
 
The me, myself, the “I,” is the origin of suffering. This is the fundamental basis of every religion. If we wish to reach heaven, to rise to a superior level of being, it is essential to renounce and eliminate the ego. No matter how noble our aspirations, our intentions, our beliefs, our accepted codes of morality, conduct, beliefs, theories―none of these matter if we continue to indulge in thoughts and feelings of hatred, resentment, pride, morbidity, negativity, that multiplicity of selves, defects, egos that we have discussed in this course.
 
In truth, the Essence, the soul, must wage a holy war. This is the spiritual significance, the esoteric meaning of a very misunderstood doctrine known as jihad, from the Arabic Mujahidah. It means to strive. It is the striving against our defects, not against people of different faiths.
 
We strive against our ego when we self-observe. When we contemplate each defect’s thoughts, feelings, impulses, when we restrain and transform negative ways of being through serenity and comprehension, when we face terrible ordeals, circumstances, obstacles, crises, sufferings, we must transform all of it with equanimity. This is how we balance the scales of the law, as we explained previously in the lecture on Karma.
 
No prophet ever taught that the path to divinity is a matter of accepting a doctrine with the mind or sentiments. That is a novelty invented by people who seek evasions, those who do not want to annihilate the ego, desire.
 
In truth, redemption is a matter of revolution, going against the psychological current of desire in the mind, in ourselves. Look at humanity! The incredible suffering, the affliction, the misery. If people knew the path out of suffering, there would be no addiction, chaos, confusion. Despite the fact that people's minds and hearts are sick, diseased, deteriorating, filled with ego, with conditions, we all like to believe that we walk upon the path of salvation and success. 
 
The time has arrived to analyze the facts, to examine the reality of this crisis, this global dilemma, which is the result of the degeneration of values, the loss of the spirit, the complete moral bankruptcy of both East and West.
 
We have to examine our minds. Remember that Immanuel Kant stated, "The interior is the reflection of the exterior," and vice versa. So, let us look at ourselves and be honest, to see whether we do not have within that which we blame in others.
 
Are we free of anger? Are we free of lust? Are we free of pride, selfishness, greed, vanity, laziness, pessimism? If we are not, then we are afflicted with ego.
 
And here is the reality that no one likes to accept: the ego cannot enter heaven. People think they can worship and believe in a religion, and yet they continue to lie, to fornicate, to adulterate, steal, and even kill―even if only in the mind. That is the ironic part. We think we can do whatever we want in the mind and that there are no consequences.
 
Yet Jesus stated in the Book of Matthew:
 
"You have heard that it was said by them of old time, thou shalt not commit adultery; but I say unto you that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." ―Matthew 5:27-28
 
This is because such desires thrive within the subconsciousness. They are not visible on the surface. But regardless of this fact, we have to go into the mind to eliminate, because as stated in 1 Corinthians:
 
"Be not deceived, neither fornicators nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God." ―1 Corinthians 6:9-10
 
No one can enter the superior world with desire. If we wish to enter the great mysteries of our inner Being, we must no longer vibrate with degeneration: to not generate, to not create the spirit inside. We must eliminate the ego.
 
As Jesus stated in the Book of Matthew:
 
"Enter ye in at the strait gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction; and many there be which go in thereat. Because straight is the gate and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." ―Matthew 7:13-14
 
As Samael Aun Weor states, "The opium of theories is worse than death." Because with physical death we have the opportunity, possibly, to acquire a new vessel according with the law of transmigration of souls. And yet, to be diluted by theories, to waste our time, is to not develop anything, so that we lose this precious opportunity, this body that we have.
 
And so humanity believes in divinity, yet it does not know the truth, the Being, from experience, from having personal Gnosis.

​Revolution, Salvation, and Conscious Faith

It is the weakness of the modern religious and spiritual mindset to conflate belief with action. The Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, pay special attention to the role of belief in religious matters, that through adherence to a moral code, a belief system, that one is saved.
 
Salvation is not a matter of belief, of thinking or feeling a particular tradition is true. Salvation is the result of conscious works and voluntary sufferings.
 
The consciousness must be activated, not the mind. The mind, intellectualism, theories, do not originate lasting psychological change. Believing in one religion one day and rejecting it the next does not transform our situation. It does not change our level of being, how we relate to the world. It does not change the problem of suffering, of having desire, affliction. Only activating the consciousness provides real change. 
 
As stated by James in the Bible: "Faith without works is dead."
 
We can believe what we want. We can accept any religious philosophical doctrine with our intellect. We can belong to a particular group, a religious organization, an institution, yet that does not guarantee anything. It does not redeem the problem of suffering. It does not guarantee reunion, religion, religare (in Latin) with the Being.
 
Examine the reality. People have believed in God for thousands of years, and yet such beliefs in ideas, dogmas, codes, do not transform the daily problem of the ego. The ego, the “me,” “myself,” the “I,” is the originator of pain. And it is the ego that creates beliefs, ideologies, concepts, arguments, theses, antitheses, metaphysical speculations, etc.
 
It is the mind that speculates about what it does not know. It deals with abstractions and divine principles in the memory. It does not know anything about the data stored in the mind. The intellect simply is a receptacle of information, whether from the senses or from rationality.
 
The intellect cannot know the Being. It is the awakened Essence, the Inner Mind, that knows through Gnosis, direct experience.
 
So, we can believe in God, but it does not mean we know the divine. The mind can never know anything about reality, the Being, the divine, because the ego is subjective. Even in this definition of “me,” “myself,” “I,” it does not know the universality of Being: the ontological nature of our true identity, which is universal, cosmic.
 
God, as an anthropomorphic representation of man's concepts, its projections, does not exist. This is why Friedrich Nietzsche, the author of Thus Spoke Zarathustra, very wisely stated, “God is dead.” That God does not have any objective reality. It is a construct, and instead of knowing the truth, humanity warships concepts, intellectualism, debates.
 
We do not like to use the term God so much in these studies, because there is too much baggage associated with this term. Instead, we always refer to divinity as the Being, to consciousness, to divine experience. Divinity as we have stated, is the Being, the presence, a form of consciousness, which goes very far beyond our concepts of good and evil―beyond the body, sentiments and mind. The Being constitutes states of internal reality, the plenitude, the supreme joyfulness of Being: the liberated. 
 
Liberation is a state of mind. It is not a concept, but it has to be developed. These states of consciousness, these supra-conscious states, these levels of being, can only be developed through work―not through ideas, not through concepts, not through beliefs―no matter how reverent, how ancient, how profound the tradition. Because belief in divinity is passive. It does not require any effort on our part to believe in a religion or to accept a doctrine with a mind.
 
However, faith, conscious faith is profoundly different. It necessitates a tremendous conscious activity. It requires incredible intentionality. It is founded upon great ethical disciplines and psychological work upon our most intimate defects, errors.
 
In Gnostic terms, faith is the direct conscious apprehension of mystical truths through the awakened experiences of the soul. We call these astral travels, out of body journeys, jinn states, profound meditations. Gnosis, as the conscious mystical experience of the truth, is synonymous with real faith.
 
Faith is what we perceive from experience, not what we think. But to have that faith, that conscious knowledge, that Gnosis, we have to work, to strive, to fight incredible, heroic battles against the ego.
 
Gnostic soteriology, the doctrine of salvation, is very distinct from the beliefs and interpretations of scholars: the intellectuals who read, but do not know, whom Samael Aun Weor calls “learned ignoramuses”―people who are very intelligent with the intellect, but who have no conscious wisdom because they are asleep.
 
We can study Gnosticism as a purely scholastic endeavor without a profound practical basis: the actual effort to meditate. We achieve salvation, entrance to the heavenly worlds, the Tree of Life, through the death of desire, which is synonymous with ego―not by satisfying our pride, our vanity, by memorizing scriptures or religious texts. To annihilate the ego requires tremendous sacrifice, profound ethics, incredible purity. In truth, it is a psychological revolution.

Myth, Idolatry, and Modern Culture

The difficulties of reaching heaven, the Being, have been symbolized by all of the great wars in every single mythology and religion―the conflict between gods and demons, which is not exclusively external, but internal.
 
Ancient mythologies are not superstition. They are symbols. They are practical teachings of psychology. Each myth, each sculpture, statue, artwork, embodies spiritual and psychological principles, truths, archetypes, about the spiritual path, the psychological rebellion of the Gnostics.
 
Truly, it is the disgrace of modern archaeology and scholarship to assume that the ancient civilizations were stupid―worshipping literal statues, idols. Such assumptions demonstrate a profound ignorance of the path, and it reveals the arrogance of modern science, which is the new priesthood. They assume that they are wiser than the previous civilizations.
 
The reality is that our modern society is idolatrous. People in America and the East, everywhere, worship idols, false gods, which are, in truth, concepts, beliefs, negative psychological states, animal desire. Idolatry is present through our modern fascination with extortion, manipulation, and violence against others. We gorge on television shows based on sarcasm, based on rape, based on lust, deception, blood and crime. We venerate criminals as heroes. We respect anger. We defend intolerance. We follow religions that teach us to like some people and hate others, to kill in the name of God, to tolerate and applaud behaviors that go against conscience. We deify the ego and have the audacity to blame God for the state of humanity in the world.
 
Regardless of anyone's beliefs, their religion, humanity worships degeneration. The evidence is everywhere: violence, prostitution, slavery. Our culture, from the Latin “cultare,” cultivation, is pure idolatry. It truly is a satanic cult. It does not refer to venerating statues of false gods from so-called “Pagan” religions. It is to worship the petrified crystallizations of the ego, because remember, the ego is a shell. It traps the Consciousness. And we need to liberate the consciousness by removing the shells, which in Hebrew is Klipoth, hell. 
 
The ego is hell: anger, pride, self-esteem, vanity, lust, sexual gratification, these are states of suffering. These are all the things that modern culture tells us to worship, but in reality, this is completely negative.
 
In relation to the symbolism of religious mythology, Satan is a name or term that scandalizes, amuses, terrifies many people. This term is actually Hebrew. שטן Shaitan means adversary. The adversary of the Being is not anyone external. It is our own ego, our desires that we have to fight against.
 
Sadly, despite the beliefs of very devout Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, etc., people never question how their own internal states produce conflict, suffering for themselves and for others. People fear the myth of Satan but not the reality of their own Satan, the mind. Instead of worrying about entering the afterlife, we should be more concerned with making a paradise on Earth, not a hell. We do so through our deeds.
 
"For by their fruits, you will know them." ―Matthew 7:20
 
In truth, we all like to think we are advanced, that we are holy people. We may love spirituality, religion, esotericism, mysticism, divine philosophy, yet the fact is, for most people, they love fornication and adultery more. The fundamental requisite of religion is chastity, but because people love lust, they love the orgasm, they discard this aspect of their tradition, which is symbolized in every faith. And because of this, they think they can enter heaven, but they cannot.
 
Neither fornicators, nor adulterers shall enter. Desire, the ego, can never enter heaven. And so, this type of mentality is symbolized by Judas, who betrayed Christ. He represents for us an ego that loves scripture, loves divinity, loves Gnosis, loves spirituality, loves Christ, but betrays the Being to fulfill desire. 
 
This is why every single religion has degenerated from the original teaching, the Gnosis of the prophets. Time and again, great luminaries or divine messengers come to humanity so as to provide the doctrine of how to conquer heaven, how to earn the right to be redeemed. This is the path of revolution. However, rather than revolting against their own ego, humanity fights to defend the ego to the death.
 
People have rebelled against divinity and over time, because of this, the original teachings become distorted so that it can satisfy desire. The Gnostic teachings, when given by the Prophets, resembles nothing today because people, rather than working on themselves, attempt to make religions palatable to the ego.
 
This is why Jesus warned of the leaven of the pharisees who take the Christic teaching and adulterate it. They fill it with yeast, so that the original bread of wisdom, that could feed the soul, inflates. It is symbol of trying to make the teachings different, acceptable to the masses to satisfy spiritual gluttony.
 
It is really strange: humanity both idolizes and persecutes the masters. People follow religions and yet they crucify, kill, torture, and poison the initiates. Isn't this absurd? This paradox. It is because people love desire and they hate purity.
 
All genuine spiritual teachings are hated by humanity because it is a revolution against every person's cherished beliefs and corrupted sense of self. People hate the Gnostic doctrine because it is a war against idolatry. 
We have to break the idols of the mind, those statues, those petrified conditions of egotism―that which keeps us in pain. But of course, with this, it is a lot of sacrifice. It takes tremendous self-reflection, sincerity, to not justify, to not evade the facts, to not repress what we see, but have the courage of Perseus to face the Medusa, to go to war against the Gorgon, the beast in our mind that we have created.
 
And remember, we have to not identify with the animal, because in the myth, those heroes who looked into the eyes of Medusa, became stone. They became trapped. By feeding desire, we become conditioned further. The way to escape or to conquer that beast is with the shield and looking at the reflection within, so that by seeing the image of the Medusa, one can confront it.
 
This is self-reflection. This is imagination. This is the awakened insight of the consciousness, and with the sword of comprehension, we decapitate the beast. This is how we overcome idols, the monster we have fed and nourished for many years.
 
By eliminating the ego, we vibrate in harmony with the superior levels of being. Yet, how many people are willing to do this? “To grab the bull by the horns,” says Samael Aun Weor. Instead, as you see in the Gospels and in the Book of Revelations, people worship the beast: the Antichrist, which is not a person. It is the ego, and the Antichrist is everywhere.
 
This is why John Milton, the great Gnostic poet, wrote in Paradise Lost:
 
“The mind is its own place, and in it self
Can make a Heav'n of Hell, a Hell of Heav'n.”
John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book I, ll. 254-255
 
The facts of our situation present themselves, yet we ignore them because the magnitude of suffering on this planet is staggering. No one likes the means to acquire heaven. We like the concept, but we do not like the work. This is the reality for most people. But if we are sincere about change, we will do so, not only for our own benefit, but for others.

The Heavens of the Tree of Life

And so modern society has divorced itself from the divine, the superior laws, the Tree of Life.
 
This is a map of superior states of being. We have been discussing Klipoth, the hell realms, the inverted tree: the shadow of the Tree of Life, the world of the ego beneath this main diagram in blue.
 
The goal of our Gnostic studies is to free the Essence, which is trapped in ego, the lower states of consciousness through tremendous inner revolution. 

As a result of involution, which is the complication, the unfoldment of spirit within matter, we descended from the unknowable divine, the Absolute―which in Hebrew is אין Ain, אין סוף Ain Soph, אין סוף אוֹר Ain Soph Aur―down these different modalities of being. This was with the expressed purpose of gaining wisdom and experience.
 
The Essence or the soul, the Buddhata, the seed of our Buddha nature, must self-realize, develop these 10 spheres and ascend up, back from the world of matter, to the spirit. We do this by working with these סְפִירוֹת sephiroth, which in Hebrew means “emanations, unfoldments.”
 
Why is this called the Tree of Life? Because it is how we have genuine reality, spiritual life. These spheres represent qualities of being, states of consciousness, as well as different levels of matter, energy, and perception―from the most rarefied at the top, to the most dense and crude below.
 
We are in Malkuth, the Kingdom, the physical body, the physical world.
 
Descent into matter was a mechanical process. It did not take any effort on our part. But now we have a very serious choice to make. Do we ascend this diagram through successive works of meditation, eliminating defects, developing divine knowledge? Or do we descend into greater states of conditioning, egotism, suffering? 

The forces of mechanical nature want to swallow us. Nature gives us life and takes it away. It is a machine, a mechanism. Through evolving processes, we have our conception, our gestation, our birth, life and development. But through devolution, we get old, we get sick, we decay, and we finally die―perhaps to repeat the process again, but without any cognizance.
 
This is known, as I had mentioned, as the Transmigration of Souls, which is a lecture you can study in our course on Anthropology and Cosmology.
 
This dynamic is very easy to grasp in our concepts, but from experience, people fail to understand what heaven and hell is.
 
When we feel happiness, altruism, compassion, conscious love―do we not feel lighter? More free? More spacious? Expansive?
 
When we feel wrath, hatred, fear, distrust, agony, envy, lust―do we not feel heavy and burdened? Weighed down in terrible pain?
 
The Tree of Life is the heavens, elevated qualities of being, like conscious love, like empathy, intelligence, wisdom, mercy. These are very high levels of being, which the soul can reach only when it learns to tune in at that vibration. But for that, we have to overcome the density of the mind.
 
It is a habit to feed anger, pride, resentment, gluttony. We have to go against this. To go against the mechanical. To confront mechanicity. To cease being a machine that constantly reacts to life, but without any intelligent effort. We escape these cycles of existence with profound intentionality and intelligent action.
 
So, all meditative traditions teach us that freedom is experienced when the ego is gone. And so, the annihilation of the ego is the origin of happiness. It is known as Nirvana, cessation of suffering. It is liberation. It is Moksha, self-realization, salvation, whatever name we want to give to that union with the Being.
 
As stated by a Sufi Master, Abu Sai’d,
 
“Wherever the delusion of your selfhood appears―there’s hell. Wherever “you” aren’t―that’s heaven.” –Abū Sa’īd in Ibn Munawwar
 
The Essence, the soul, belongs to the Being. You want to experience heaven, those blissful states, remove the ego, because the ego is the obstacle. The Essence, the soul, does not belong in hell. However, the reality is that we are there, not because of God, not because of religion, but because of us. Our will. What we chose.
 
In Paradise Lost, the greatest epic poem in English, Milton depicted the fall from heaven, how we fell, how we were expelled from paradise, a state of mind―not because of the Being, but because we chose to. We went against the laws of nature. And the law is the law, according to Karma. And because we broke the law, the divine levels of being, we brought ourselves into pain.
 
We suffer all the time because we rebelled against the Being. We do it all the time. We enjoy it. And our modern culture will teach us how to worship and feed that mentality.
 
But, you can look at the results. Look at the society we are in. This is the facts. What we need now is a revolution in our psyche.
 
We have a lot of energy directed in wrong behavior. It pushes us along a trajectory that is truly terrifying. If you awaken in the astral plane, and personally I have had the experience of asking my divinity to show me where I am going, especially since discovering the techniques in this tradition, I have been able to see what my fate will be if I do not eliminate anger, pride, etc. It is very disastrous. There are consequences to our actions.
 
So, if you think about it, if we spent most of our life feeding desire, it is going to take a lot more effort to counteract that, to go against the flow, so that we can change our trajectory, in the same manner that we are driving towards the edge of a cliff very fast. You need to hit the brakes hard so that you stop. You might skid for a little while, but depending on how well your brakes are operating, the situation could be tragic. 

And so, we need effort to change. We want to do this because we wish to ascend back to Pleroma, the heavens of the Gnostics, to redeem Sophia before the Archons, the hierarchies of the divine law, to balance our karma. But of course, every revolution is dangerous. It is terrifying. It is tremendous. We have to remember that, revolution of this type has tremendous consequences, because the physical body will go to the grave, but the soul, where it will go in nature depends on our cultivation of mind. 
 
And so if we wish to return to our divine origins, to our source of happiness, our own consciousness, we have to examine ourselves, to confront ourselves. 
 
This is why the Bible also explains:
 
“The kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force.” ―Matthew 11:12
 
This does not mean to approach the heavenly beings, the superior states of consciousness with agitation, with exertion. This type of super effort that we perform in ourselves is a work of equanimity, of serenity of mind, of concentration, of clarified imagination, self-observation, self-remembrance.
 
Obviously, murderers do not go to Heaven. But the warrior who renounces his or her defects and who conquers him or herself and eliminates anger, obviously radiates with peace, with sweetness. Only the humble can enter those regions.
 
So in your work of self-observation, how difficult is it to see and not act on anger, resentment, pride, fear, and most especially lust? How many of us in our studies have been successful in comprehending and eliminating self-esteem? Eliminating laziness? Gluttony?
 
The truth is that this work is very difficult. It is not easy to want to see contradiction in ourselves, to remove impurities through meditation. And it takes a lot of effort and a lot of suffering, voluntary suffering, to take responsibility for our mistakes. But people never like to question their “I.” They like to identify, to fortify, to feed the ego. It is easy. And because people like this, they want to be comforted by spirituality. They want to be told that if you simply believe in Jesus you are going to go to heaven. And yet the reality is that this is a war against ourselves.
 
But this does not mean we are morbid, pessimistic, self-flagellating people, that we harm ourselves, that we become depressed, angry, with ourselves. The reality is that we work on those defects with the purity of the consciousness, with the serenity and insight of a stable, serene Essence.
They say in martial arts, such as an Aikido, that if you want to subdue an enemy who comes at you aggressively, you have to be very serene. And the beauty of that art, philosophically speaking, comes from Zen Buddhism, and it relates to how if someone attacks you with a lot of aggression, you don't return it with violence, but you learn to redirect that energy back at them. And so, the only person that is hurting themselves is the aggressor. It is often considered a self-defensive art.
 
And so, the same philosophy applies to this principle. Perfect Zen, dhyana, meditative states, is a state of peace. You cannot conquer the mind if you are identified and filled with fear. Instead we have to be very diligent in being awake, remembering our Being. It is a state of peace. So that when those egos of fear, and violence, and hatred, and anger emerge, you can control it. But it takes effort. It takes tremendous calm: non-identification. But because this is very difficult, people don't like these studies.
 
Genuine spirituality is not comfortable. It is very frightening. It is not accepted by the multitudes because it is challenging. It means we have to renounce our beliefs, our identity, our religion, our mystical speculations. It is a result of great tribulation and sacrifice, the death of the ego and the painful labors and birth pangs of genuine virtue. 
 
Christ, the cosmic intelligence speaking through Jesus of Nazareth stated:
 
“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” ―Matthew 10:34

The Three Factors for Spiritual Revolution

All religions teach three factors for spiritual evolution, the awakening of the consciousness.
 
  • Birth: the creation of the soul and virtues through purity
  • Death: the elimination of impurity, animal desire, ego, defects
  • Sacrifice: selfless service and beneficial action for others
 
This is synthesized by a statement of the Buddha:
 
“Commit not a single unwholesome action, cultivate a wealth of virtue, tame this mind of ours; this is the teaching of all the buddhas.” ―Buddha
 
So these three factors are within every religion in different forms. In the Gnostic teachings, we elaborate on these methods for acquiring birth, death, and sacrifice.
 
For those who have been reading the writings of Samael Aun Weor, we see that they are vast. They always encompass these three factors in a variety of ways.
 
Many mantras such as O, OM awaken consciousness. You can read the many books provided on gnosticteachings.org, which have hundreds of mantras, sacred sounds [Such as The Divine Science]. We have works of pranayama [Kundalini Yoga and The Yellow Book], Sacred Rites of Rejuvenation, The Magic of the Runes, alchemy [The Perfect Matrimony and The Mystery of the Golden Flower], transmutation: all of these work with energy.
 
Birth is about harnessing energy with purity, with a liberated free will, so that it gives birth and empowers the consciousness, the soul.
 
We also learn to direct energy towards the disintegration of the animal ego. We do so especially through Retrospection Meditation. We prepare for this type of meditation by developing serenity and insight. Or, concentration, imagination, which we have been explaining in this course.
 
And then we sacrifice for humanity, in accordance with our skills, our character, our dispositions, our abilities. And also, more importantly our level of being. This requires that we take all that energy we accumulate through birth, through chastity: virtues, purity of mind, and from the death of desire, and we direct that energy of compassion to others. We seek to elevate the level of being of others.
 
Each factor cannot be separated. They complement the others. You cannot have birth without death. Neither death without sacrifice. When virtue is born such as chastity, it is because lust is dead. And we can only achieve the death of lust if we sacrifice our habits, our mental states.
 
We will talk about these three factors in synthesis.

​Baptism: The Birth of the Soul

The birth of the soul is symbolized by the Baptism of Christ, especially in the River Jordan. ירדן Jordan in the Hebrew means “descender.” It is literally the descent of spiritual energy from the top of the Tree of Life down into our body. Our body is a Tree of Life, or better said, our spinal medulla is the Tree of Life. It allows us to have existence. So this force of divinity, the pure waters of life, descend from the top of the Tree of Life, from our brain, down into our sexual organs. The energy and spiritual force of creation is condensed and materialized in our semen, whether we are male or female.
 
We have either sperm or ovum. This is the matter that contains the creative Genesis of every planet, of every divine being, of every cosmos. So, that River Jordan, that pure waters of life, descends from the heavenly realms and becomes our seminal matter. And because that force is now materialized, the Gnostic learns to conserve those waters and transform them. This is known as the power of sublimation.
 
We call that transmutation, to mutate, to change the form of the sexual matter into energy. Sublimation is the act of changing semen into subtle energy. We make it sublime, heavenly, divine. We accomplish this through many exercises in our tradition: mantras, pranayama, and especially alchemy.
 
Alchemy is the medieval science of metals, metallurgy. It means “to fuse oneself with God,” the Being. In synthesis, we transform the base metal or lead of the ego, the conditions of mind, into the gold of genuine spirituality, the awakened consciousness, the virtues of the soul.
 
So to work with the sexual waters is symbolized by baptism. We save and conserve and direct that energy from sex to the brain. This gives birth to the soul. So, Christ was baptized in the River Jordan, the Hebrew term for “descender.” So now that these forces have descended into us in the form of creative potential, we now have to raise it up within us. These waters must flow inward and upward, so that we are baptized by the sexual energy. We fill the mind with light, with power, with creative genius, spiritual force.
 
Remember that Joshua in the Bible, the Hebrew יהשוה Yeshua, is the same name as Jesus, made the waters of the Jordan to change course. He caused it to flow in the opposite direction with the help of God, the Being.
 
Yet, the tendency in most people is to expel the sexual energy, to give birth to a child. But through this spiritual path, we conserve the sexual energy and make it change its regular course, so that it flows within us as a regenerative fountain of eternal youth. This is how Jesus received the Word, the Christ principle, the Cosmic Being, through baptism. It is a profound symbol of birth, mystical birth, mystical consciousness.
 
So, the creative energy purifies the psyche in the same way that you take a shower to be cleansed. We use the creative sexual energy by transmuting it. We purify the mind, the consciousness. It gives birth to virtues. No flower could blossom without the waters of life. The same thing with chakras, the virtues of the soul, which are represented in the internal planes by beautiful flowers, immaculate roses. So, we have to learn to take this energy to empower our spirituality so that we can work on the ego.
 
This is why chastity is the ultimate revolution. Without this foundation, we have no power. We cannot work. We become stagnant. And once we are saving sexual energy, strengthening our essence, we have to direct ourselves towards purification, which is symbolized by the crucifixion of Christ.

​The Passion and Crucifixion: Death of the Ego

Christ lived. He is a historical person, but more importantly for us, he lived his life according to principles. He represented an archetype known as Christ, so as to provide a very beautiful teaching for us. While his Baptism represents the factor of birth, his Passion and Crucifixion represents the death of the ego.
 
He demonstrated with his life and his Passion, the principal, the ultimate paradigm for eliminating the ego. It is very simple, but it is the most difficult thing to do. When he was persecuted, tortured, mocked, spat upon, betrayed, assassinated, he only showed compassion for his enemies. He said, "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).
 
No anger. No frustration that he did not get his morning tea or whatever silly things we fight about in our small existence. We cannot even handle a sly comment, a sarcastic joke, yet, Christ was murdered, and in that process, he demonstrated only the most profound love, the most profound respect for his enemies.
 
It is this selflessness that is fundamental. Without it, we cannot eliminate the ego. The ego always wants to preserve itself. The mind always protests, cannot handle anything. But the ego can be controlled, can be eliminated, if the Essence works, through the help of the Being by submitting to superior laws.
 
So, Christ the Being, is serene before insult. Are we able to do this? Someone criticizes you? Are you able to respect that person even in your mind? The reality is that the ego always retaliates, whether with words or in chatter, in the mind. Therefore, if we wish to eliminate the ego, we have to deny our desires. 

​Sacrifice: Christ’s Ministry and Selfless Service

This is a profound form of sacrifice. This is the final factor which signifies fulfillment of our duties when we benefit humanity, when we serve humanity.
 
This term, sacrifice, relates to “sacred office,” our divine obligations. People think that sacrifice has something to do with slaughtering animals or people. In different religious cults, sacrifice of animals was symbolic: the act of removing the animal nature from ourselves. But this teaching degenerated when it became literal.
 
Real sacrifice signifies that, in accordance with the qualities of our Being, our character, our skills, we fulfill our duties to humanity and genuinely help others. We work to elevate the level of being of humanity. This can come in the form of teaching Gnosis. This is what many Gnostics assume: that to really sacrifice for humanity, you need to teach, but that is not the case.
 
All of us have skills that no one else has, that nobody can imitate. And we have to discover what that vocation is. It is a very secret thing, which you have to explore in a meditation, and to receive insight from astral experiences. We have to learn what type of work we are good at and what genuinely helps other people.
 
It could be providing, working, earning money for a spiritual school. Tithes and donations are very common, very basic structure and dynamic at every religious institution, but it is not the only way to sacrifice. Perhaps our sacrifice is to provide some type of service: a job, a marriage, cleaning a temple, providing books. Only we could determine that role from our Being, from our particular situation.
 
Real sacrifice, generosity, represented by the ministry of Christ, is the light that provides life and meaning. It gives us purpose. When you find your vocation, the way that you can sacrifice for humanity, it is the life and blood of your Being. Without it, you cannot exist.
 
For example, Beethoven. He loved his mission so much, being a master of Major Mysteries, a master musician, that even when he became deaf, he still composed. He received experiences and ecstasies in the astral plane and fought to compose and articulate that knowledge for humanity. He composed the Ninth Symphony when he was completely deaf. He could not hear his music, at least physically. Internally, he could hear his music. But obviously, he suffered a lot. That is profound form of love and sacrifice where he gave up his pain and his self-pity to give humanity a gift that is truly incomprehensible.
 
If you want to know more about the symbolism of such art, you can study our tarot course on chicagognosis.org: The Eternal Tarot of Alchemy and Kabbalah, especially Arcanum 9, relating to the Ninth Symphony, but also The Secret Teachings of Opera.
 
So whatever vocation we find, that we experience, that we practice, we do it with selflessness, with love, with humility, with tolerance of others. And of course, it always involves some type of pain, suffering. This is voluntary suffering. This is part of the conscious work we need to fulfill. So often times, we might fear to help other people. We may be selfish. We may want to sustain ourselves to protect ourselves, protect our pride.
 
But the law of Christ is reciprocity. It is giving. By giving we receive. By helping we are helped. That is the law. Oftentimes, the best gifts come when we really do not want to do them. We feel tremendous resistance in the mind: pride, the humiliation that we do not want to lower ourselves to another person, to serve them, and yet by doing so we become the most honored. Humility is the gateway to heaven, not pride. Pride led to the fall for many of those angels like in Paradise Lost, but humility is the door, the gateway.
 
I would like to read you some verses from Kahlil Gibran's poem The Prophet, which illustrate these points:
 
You give but little when you give of your possessions.
It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.
For what are your possessions but things you keep and guard for fear you may need them tomorrow?
And tomorrow, what shall tomorrow bring to the overprudent dog burying bones in the trackless sand as he follows the pilgrims to the holy city?
And what is fear of need but need itself?
Is not dread of thirst when your well is full, the thirst that is unquenchable?
 
There are those who give little of the much which they have―and they give it for recognition and their hidden desire makes their gifts unwholesome.
And there are those who have little and give it all.
These are the believers in life and the bounty of life, and their coffer is never empty.
There are those who give with joy, and that joy is their reward.
 
And there are those who give with pain, and that pain is their baptism.
And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue;
They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space.
Through the hands of such as these God speaks, and from behind their eyes He smiles upon the earth.
―Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet, “On Giving”
 
So the last example, learning to give without attachment, without expectation of reward, out of the fountain of generosity, that is the law of Christ, superior action, superior Being. This opens the door to redemption. Therefore, to receive inner experiences, to be compensated for our work, we have to sacrifice, but with selflessness. Not with expectation. Not with, “What am I going to get in return?” but because we wish to genuinely help others. This is the path of wisdom. This is comprehension of the divine law. 

​Conclusion

We will conclude with a verse from the Book of Matthew, which synthesizes these principles.
 
"Then said Jesus unto his disciples, if any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” ―Matthew 16:24
 
These are the three factors in synthesis. We have to deny ourselves: Holy negation, renounce the ego.
 
We must also take up the cross of reconciliation. This is the path of alchemy, which we explained in books like The Perfect MatrimonyThe Mystery of the Golden Flower, and many books of tantric Buddhism, esoteric Christianity. The cross is a sexual symbol: the vertical phallus and the horizontal uterus. When those energies are harnessed in a matrimony, we conquer heaven. We redeem ourselves. We crucify our ego, and we explained in many lectures and courses how we can work upon the ego with the sexual energy in the act itself, performed with purity and love.
 
Lastly, we have to follow Christ. It is to affirm the law. It is sacrifice for others. In that way, we radically transform our situation.
 
I invite you to reflect on these principles and to practice them, because it is only through experience, through exercising our Essence, by working with the Gnostic discipline, that we can experience these things for ourselves.
 
At this point we're going to open up the floor to questions.

​Questions and Answers

Question: What is the difference between desire and the ego? Is there a difference?
 
Instructor: In strict esoteric language, there is no difference. This sense of self that wants, that craves, that fights for its desires, is ego.
 
It is the ego which says, “I want, I crave, I need.” “I want this, I want that,” is desire. Now, there are many poets within the Sufi tradition, especially, even Christian mysticism, that speak of desire for God, desire for the truth. And that is a little different. Semantically speaking, one thing is longing for divinity, and desire, to be very specific, is the ego, because 97 percent of our consciousness is trapped in the mind, in the ego. But to desire God, obviously in a poetic sense, we can say it is a longing for the truth. And that is a characteristic and quality of the Essence, of the consciousness, which is very different.
 
Question: Thank you for the lecture first. So three things: First was I was wondering if you could speak on... I have a little confusion with... you are mentioning how mechanical nature who wants to swallow us. And I have also heard in another lecture that nature does not care about our spirituality. Then there is this Divine Mother Nature and an aspect, as I understand, an aspect of God. So, I wrote things like, does this have to do with reaping what you sow? Or nature will allow us to use her according to... it is like the freedom of choice. I have some confusion over like Divine Mother Nature who loves us and then there is this mechanical nature that does not care. I get confused about that. I wonder if you could speak on that. 
 
Instructor: Great question. There are two forms of nature. We have mechanical nature, which is the governance of all of the evolving and devolving processes in Malkuth, the physical world, the kingdom. All of the forces of mechanical nature operate in accordance with compensation: kill or be killed; eat or be eaten. This is very obvious within the animal kingdom, where you find that type of behavior, but also you find it in the humanoid kingdom, the intellectual animal, mistakenly called human being.
 
Our society and culture is based on animal desire. While we have the intellect, the reality is that human beings, or better said humanoids, continue to behave as animals, with the exception that we rationalize. We justify what we do, you know. We have the logic of hatred, of racism, of violence, and many excuses we tell ourselves as a country or society that condone certain behaviors, which belong to generation, animality.
 
Our ego belongs to mechanical nature. We received those instinctual elements when we enter the animal kingdom, through the process of transmigration. And for those of you who are not familiar with this concept, you can study in more depth the lecture called Transmigration of Souls on chigagognosis.org, in the Anthropology and Cosmology course. But in synthesis, mechanical nature governs society. It governs evolution and devolution, birth and death, life and corruption, etc.
 
But there is a different type of nature which is divine, which belongs to divinity. We call that Divine Mother Nature. That is the natural qualities, the expressions of the Being, relating to the Divine Mother, which will be the topic of our next lecture. Divine Mother Nature belongs to the Essence, the soul, the consciousness, which operates with very different laws beyond the concepts of good and bad, evolution, devolution.
 
The struggle that we face in this path is precisely in the work of the Essence going against mechanicity. We have two conflicting natures in ourselves, and I believe Paul of Tarsus explained that conflict very beautifully in his doctrine, in the New Testament, where he says, "that which I would not do, I do. And that which I do and what I would not want to do, I do anyways." “There is a constant war in my members,” he says, a battle between the ego and what it considers natural, and then the Essence, which tries to follow a superior law. And this is precisely the war mentioned in all the mythologies and cosmogonies of every religion. So these two natures are distinct, and to know the difference we have to be meditating, if that touches upon your question.
 
Question: Yes, so then the second question I have… thank you. The second question I have is when you were saying Christ went with his cross in serenity, like was able to forgive as he was being tortured and I was just wondering: does that have to do with his experience in the Garden and sweating blood, like preparing for that which was to come? Was there a science to... he saw it, went through it in a way in advance so, therefore, was able to have that serenity, because the two seem very linked?
 
Instructor: Yes, a master at that level is very elevated. He had foreknowledge of what would happen to him. And in fact, he organized the drama so that he would be captured. It's a very subtle teaching in which he knew that he would be assassinated, but out of sacrifice for humanity, and by the commands of his Being, he knew that he had a live that drama physically to represent a cosmic, spiritual, psychological drama, something that every initiate must enter through on their own in their different ways.
 
It does not mean that when we enter Gnosis that we are going to be crucified like Jesus. We all face our own difficulties and struggles in life, which are particular to each one of us. This is discussed in our courses on initiation. But Jesus was very awakened, even at the time before his Passion, he had no ego. He was already dead. So, he was preparing for the culmination of the spiritual work, which is resurrection. So, he knew exactly what he needed to do. And of course, even at that level, he suffered a lot, because as he said in the Garden of Gethsemane, "Abba, Father, if it be possible, take this cup of bitterness from me, but not my will, but Thine be done" (Luke 22:42).
 
That is a form of sacrifice. And of course, the greatest sacrifices always involve a lot of struggle. But we can see the result of Christ's teaching, especially in its original form. I am not necessarily promoting the beliefs of standard Christianity that is accepted today, because those teachings have been lost, have been diluted or sterilized, but in the esoteric heart of his life, he performed a drama that is incredible―really, is amazing. But, he knew what he had to do. He was very aware of what his path was and we can gain insights like that at our level if we are really meditating deeply and having those experiences, where we know exactly what will happen to us in the path, so that we are prepared. And of course, Jesus was prepared, otherwise, he could not have handled the ordeal. 
 
Audience: Yeah, as you were saying, he was going beyond good and evil, yet it does not mean that suffering is all over, that the sacrifice is done, because, as you were saying, he was already dead to egos He was already there in a way but he still had to suffer and sacrifice. 
 
Instructor: Yes, and many masters who achieve the path, who finished and resurrect, even they must perform sacrifices: continue working with the three factors as they are entering very high stages of development in the Absolute. I hope that answers your question. 
 
Question: Yeah. I was wondering if you had a suggestion because over the last few days. I have been experiencing a form of noticing identity in senses, especially like sight and what this sometimes results in is an experience of feeling as I sit. As if I am like falling, like kind of falling, like things are falling away, like there is a sense of like non-identity. I guess you could call it profound, but it's rather terrifying, as if things are everything I sense.
 
It's just like an illusion and I have noticed that first there is kind of a terror that comes like, “Nope, don't want to go there,” and then there is also another thing that comes up like, “No, I want to go there,” but it is like a desire and so I have been trying to find a way where I am not going to get away from it, but I don't want to like indulge into either.
 
I have been thinking about Klim Krishnaya Govindaya Gopijana Vallabhaya Swaha: the aspect of five [the Gnostic Pentagram] because it is five senses. I was wondering if you had a suggestion or a certain mantra or something that may encourage to not indulge in it, but not to deny it and to allow it, as it seems to be something that has been popping up. 
 
Instructor: Good question. That type of psychological state is conflicted. There is the sense of self that says, “I want to experience this,” and then there is the ego that says, “I don't.” Having a dichotomy in the mind is precisely the battle of the antitheses, the struggle of the intellect.
 
My suggestion is that when you experience inner conflict, breathe deeply, inhale through your nostrils, profoundly hold your breath naturaly, in a relaxed way, and exhale, focus on your breath, and also examine the mind.
 
Do not try to judge it. Do not try to label it, but look at it. See it for what it is. You know, there are all these thoughts and conflicted wills and memories and states of agitation, which you have to separate from. You have to look at it like you are a director in a film observing an actor. When we identify with either states, we become the state: we become obscured. And therefore, we are thinking that we are thinking and feeling that we are feeling, but in the subjectivity of the ego.
 
I recommend, especially when you are practicing meditation or preparing for it, take a lot of time to relax, and especially work with energy, as we explained in the former lectures. Take time to work with pranayama, mantra, sexual transmutation, because that energy is going to empower your perception, so that you have the strength necessary to look at what is going on. And rather than try to expect what you are going to see, just keep an open attitude.
 
The way that we do so is when we are relaxed. We are not expecting anything, looking forward to anything, or trying necessarily to analyze what we are seeing, the conflict in ourselves. When you simply look, the answers will start to unfold themselves and lead you to new understandings. This is a faculty of intuition: to comprehend without having to think, and that skill only develops more and more when you are consistent. So, I recommend try some mantras, try some transmutation, circulate energy in yourself so that you can relax and so that you have the serenity and stability to really discriminate what you see. I hope that answers your question. 
 
Audience: Yeah. What you are saying is that if even if there is a dissolution of the senses, even if you are moving away, there is a sensation that comes with that can be identified with. That there is a sensation in letting go of senses that that is a further need to be not identified with, so thank you. That is very helpful, the director of the film idea. Thank you.
 
Question: It seems like I have enough impediments and vices and afflictions and desires even with no distraction that, you know, just deciding, “Okay, I don't want to be gluttonous about watching TV this weekend or that kind of stuff.” That is going to take a long time, all the various ways that I overindulged my senses, maybe not to some people's standard, but really I see it in myself. So, I would say that it is there, prevalent, a basic thing that needs to be worked on, and you know struggle with, and it is not easy. Because I can say the same thing every day, “I am going to do this” and then inevitably I fail at something that I am trying to not do, let us say even having the desire to think something negative.
 
I am so slow now that I can see everything pretty well, like I can watch myself a lot, but the changing of myself is the part that is hard. I guess I am just wondering, does that fall under the of a form of sacrifice when one is able to really conquer those things, moment by moment, all the time, even though the easiest thing is to just think that negative thing or to watch those five shows in a row, or whatever it is, you know? There are so many different things that we do to be asleep. 
 
Instructor: Absolutely. There are levels of sacrifice. Sometimes sacrifice can involve changing our habits and our behaviors when relating to people, primarily because it is a sacrifice and a compassionate act to be a good person, to not give our mind or self-esteem what it wants. For example, if we are in a conflict at work, it is a sacrifice to the other people in our community to act with serenity and compassion. It is a matter of sacrificing our own will so that we can benefit others.
 
But of course, there are degrees to this, levels to this, primarily because to have the greatest effect, we need to be generating the most energy and eliminating the most impurity as we can, so that we become a conduit, a vessel that can express divinity with greater perfection.
 
All three factors go hand in hand. You cannot have one without the others. So, in order for our sacrifices to be really beneficial, we have to die to something. Something has to die in us.
 
But also, we have to give birth to virtue. Something has to be created from that action. But something has to be put away. And understanding this dynamic is very subtle and very intricate, very beautiful and profound. You learn it by performing it, especially through moment to moment self-observation, self-remembrance, work upon yourself. You know, we learn how to sacrifice ourselves when we are in remembrance of the presence of God, but also, we are restraining our negative habits, our negative qualities of being.
 
So, even in terms of sacrificing other habits, you know, it is always good to dedicate more time to meditation. That can be a type of sacrifice for ourselves and eventually becomes a sacrifice for others if we are really developing our understanding. If that makes sense. 
 
Question: Yeah, it makes sense. It does make sense. I have one other little thing and that is, I am really enjoying this cup of tea. It is almost like, should I be enjoying it? It is this weird thing like we are looking forward to it. Is that where I am not having equanimity? 
Maybe it is just the same. It is really just desire, you know? 
 
Instructor: Certainly. Now, as students of this tradition, when we say that we must eliminate desire, the ego, it does not mean that we do not enjoy life. It does not mean that we do not enjoy a cup of tea or appreciate a sunrise. In fact, it means that we are more vigilant and awake, more sensitive, more in tune with reality, Therefore we enjoy life with a greater equanimity, understanding, and appreciation. The ego is attached to the object of its desires, whereas with the consciousness, we can enjoy things, but it doesn't mean that we are attached. It is a very subtle difference.
 
Question: When we are transmuting as a couple, should we be moving our energy up our spine or does it do it automatically?
 
Instructor: When practicing alchemy, everything is intentional. We must be intentional with everything. So when we are sexually connected, we have the energy present, the vital forces of Yesod in hyperactivity, and if we wish to redirect those energies, we have to use your willpower. So, there is a type of will involved, consciously speaking, in which we have to first conserve the energy. Do not release it, and learn to redirect it up the spine with concentration, with imagination, with love.
 
That is the most important thing, is that we show love for our partner and respect for that force, respect for the divine in our spouse. We cannot unintentionally transmute, mechanically. The energies want to go out according to animal, mechanical nature, but the type of Divine Mother Nature that we are developing is in relation to redirecting that force with willpower. So, we have to develop Christ's will in ourselves and to intentionally bring that energy upward, inward. It does not happen automatically. If it did happen automatically, then you would have in this humanity a self-realized race, but the truth is that transmutation is an intentional revolution. It requires specific conscious efforts.
 
Question: What if external circumstances are affecting my meditation practices? In the lecture you say change within, but it is difficult without good meditation.
 
Instructor: It is a good point to make that we may not be having a conducive environment in which to meditate. One of the stipulations and basis for meditation, according to Tsong Khapa, the author of the Lam Rim, or The Great Treatise on the Stages to the Path of Enlightenment, is that we have a good home. It does not mean that it has to be perfect. It only means that we have enough stability in our home life that we have a space by which we can practice.
 
Obviously, people who are in a war zone have a very difficult time meditating, but speaking from general experience, working with North American students and living in North America, we tend to have a lot of luxuries that we take for granted. This is just a common experience. Now, a lot of times, the obstacles that people face in their beginning stages of meditation have to do with a lack of concentration and relaxation. So, obviously if our home life is a disaster, meaning we have a very difficult home environment: perhaps living with other people who are shouting or fighting all the time, maybe in a bad neighborhood, there is violence occurring on the street, whatever it may be, we have to work with where we are at.
 
They say that the greatest meditators know how to transform adversity, difficult situations, no matter what. So regardless of whether there is noise across the street or there are gunshots sounding throughout the neighborhood, we can learn to take those distractions, to ignore them, and to develop our concentration. So, meditation becomes profound if we exert a lot of discipline in ourselves. And if we learn to take advantage of adversities and learn to develop our meditative practice, despite our environment, our concentration will be much stronger than those who never have that type of obstacle to face.
 
I believe even Dion Fortune wrote that one is not really an initiate if they cannot meditate on a train, in a public place, with perfect equipoise. Primarily because even when there are a lot of noises, people sitting around and talking, if one can maintain one's vigilance and inner introspection, one is going to have a very profound will, and will be able to obtain results consistently.
 
Question: During the transmigration of the soul, does the Essence always return to the humanoid kingdom once it has been obtained, or does the Essence return to the lower animal kingdom or the lower animals in the animal kingdom to suffer before the next rebirth?
 
Instructor: Devolution within animal bodies occurs when the humanoid, the intellectual soul, has lost all opportunities. That person who has utilized their 108 existences but has not desired or worked towards the self-realization of the Being, must descend into animal bodies. They will not be able to go back up, at least at that type of condition, because when someone is devolving, they no longer have control. They are being redirected and pulled by the forces of the Earth down towards the interior in accordance with the processes of devolution. So, in short, such a person who is entering animal bodies is not going to be given a humanoid body again, because they already lost their chance and their opportunity. If you would like to learn more, again, I recommend those lectures we referenced.
 
Question: How do we accept when a family member is doing something wrong, such as following a bad habit? I had an astral event where I said angry words and disappointment to her; is that my desire for them to be different? It is painful to see that. Can I take this pain as a sacrifice and accept it?
 
Instructor: This is a very good question. It raises a very deep concern for us, primarily because the virtue of the Gnostic Church is tolerance. We have to have compassion and acceptance of others, their free will. It does not mean that we keep silent and it does not mean that we do not communicate our concerns. But whether we do it with resentment, with anger, or with generosity, is different. So it's good to communicate our feelings to others, especially when we really love our family members and we see themselves harming themselves.
 
You know, obviously, if there are physical violence involved, it is important to get the professionals involved. But one thing is being zealous and angry at that person, preaching hellfire, damnation, and not really communicating to them a sense of love―that is different. So in one sense, it could be a desire for the other person to be different, where we want them to be a certain way. And obviously that is an egotistical sentiment. It is coercion. Compassion and conscious love respects others, regardless, and accepts them for who they are. But, it does not mean we do not say anything, that we do not communicate our genuine concerns.
 
So it obviously can be a sacrifice to endure that pain and to show them love as a result, and not resentment. Or, it can also be a sacrifice to teach them how to change and have the patience to do so. That could be a sacrifice as well.
 
Question: Just to confirm, the three factors happen independently or simultaneously, and is it a continuous process throughout life?
 
Instructor: The three factors happen together. They are a synthesis. They complement and contribute to each other. So, when we act virtuously, we are restraining the ego. We are sacrificing our ego to show compassion to our neighbor, or a person perhaps who insulted us. In that example, someone could be criticizing us, and we feel resentment and pain, but instead of retaliating with hatred, we sacrifice our feeling and act virtuously towards that person. And therefore, we give birth or creation of new circumstances.
 
In that way, we can transform an enemy into a friend. We sacrifice our pride, humble ourselves, and in turn, create a new situation. And in that way, we also die to the old, in order to give birth to the new.
 
So, in that principle, all three factors have to work together. You cannot have one without the other. This is why in certain groups within the Gnostic tradition, there are people who focus sometimes exclusively on death, or serving others and sacrifice, and maybe people forget to work with birth. In most cases, a lot of people tend to forget death: how to die to the ego. Death of desire is really important, but the other factors are essential too. We need all three to work together.
 
Thank you all for coming.
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