The role of breath within every religion is profoundly significant. All traditions point towards the power of breathing, which is currently being studied, repackaged, and sold as novelties to new age consumers. The reality is that all meditative traditions from both East and West have emphasized the necessity of spiritual breathing, exercises for the awakening and development of the consciousness.
In many eastern philosophies and traditions, the yogis speak of pranayama: to yoke the life force, the vital winds within our lungs, within the air we breathe, with the specific and express purpose of developing concentration, willpower, and mystical states.
The Sufis are no exception. They not only emphasize how breath is essential to life, moment by moment, they also explain in a very beautiful system how divine powers and union with God is achieved through it. The reality is that they knew how our behaviors, our mind-stream, our moment to moment decisions, affect our speech. Our level of being is expressed in the quality of our words, our breath, our expression.
Speech is an expression. It is an amplification, a modification of energy. There are hurtful and infamous words, as well as words of comfort, reconciliation, motivational power. How we speak determines how we manifest our internal psychology. As the Buddha Shakyamuni taught, “Mind precedes phenomena. We become what we think.” But likewise, we become what we say. This is why within Sufism, these masters state how it is important to guard our breaths, our speech, through ethical conduct.
We have explained previously that this is Shariah, the law, which has nothing to do with punitive laws in Muslim countries. Instead, it relates to conscious ethics within the schools of Sufism, within any religion. Without ethical speech, without using our verb for the benefit of humanity, without being conscious of what we say, it is impossible to enter any spiritual path, known in Sufism as Tariqah, the way to the truth.
As James the Apostle stated, “The tongue is an unruly member,” which like the rudder of a ship, if it is not controlled, creates problems in humanity (James 3). And yet if we learn to guard our speech, our verb, our ways of speaking, we can uplift humanity. Our compassionate intention, magnified by our verb, harmonizes and reunites communities, produces happiness, produces contentment.
This is a fundamental reality within every single meditative tradition, especially Sufism and especially Gnosis. Our breath is essential to spiritual life, and how we use our expression determines our trajectory―where we manifest, where we go within nature. This is why within Sufism, they place such emphasis upon music, upon song, spiritual concert, such as sama in Arabic, the whirling dervishes of the great Mevlevi Sufis.
Vocal prayers―these are integral within that tradition―and they emphasize that our verb harmonizes every aspect of our psychology, if we use our speech for the benefit of others, if we use our breath with ethics, with concentration, with remembrance of the Being.
This is how we submit to God. This is how we communicate with God, because we have to be watchful of our breaths, the inhalation, the exhalation, our communication. All of this adds up. All of this accumulates forces and powers that determine our movement upon the lines of life and being, the present moment.
Mantras and sacred sounds are essential in every mystical tradition, especially in Sufism and Gnosis. If you want to learn more about how mantra, sacred verb, sacred sounds are a crux within our practice, a foundation, you can study The Spiritual Power of Sound, which we have as a lecture on our website under the course, Beginning Self-Transformation.
We can submit to divinity through our words when we recite prayers or mantras. Our speech can elevate our soul, and yet if we use it to curse, to speak vulgarities, to use degenerated language, we disconnect ourselves from the Being. We lose the thread, the continuity of remembrance in the present moment, and therefore we enter condemnation, suffering, and pain. However, by controlling our speech and using the breath for the Spirit, we learn to develop every aspect of our soul, the consciousness.
But how do we know this? When we are born, we take in vital air and life. We cry. The breath is intimately related with our life. We could not exist if we could not breathe. And just as when we are born, how breath enters the lungs for the first time, we cry out in our new existence. This breath initiates both physical and spiritual life.
Breath initiates life in every level. However, while all creatures within the lower elemental kingdoms―amongst animals and plants, utilize and process the breath at their level―there is a type of breath or substance within human and divine beings, within initiates: meditators who have refined themselves through spiritual breathing disciplines.
The Sufis proclaim how the breath is the ultimate medium of divine expression, and when we command it with fidelity to the Being, to the presence of God, Hudur in Arabic, this becomes a perfected instrument through which we master the esoteric work. This is very well known within the alchemical traditions, how we use mantras and breath within alchemy, within a marriage, within tantra in Buddhism.
Farid Ad-Din 'Attar stated:
Nothing is more difficult for the friends of God than guarding their breaths in moments of rapture. ―Farid Ad-Din 'Attar
There exists divine states of rapture: joy, plenitude, and illumination, resulting from the conscious use of breath. While it might seem difficult for us as beginners to control our tongue and cease speaking vulgarities, among the friends of God, the saints or prophets, the initiates and masters of meditation, there is nothing more difficult for them than to control their speech when experiencing mystical union.
But why is this? Speech is an act of creation. Our vocal cords and throat are a womb by which the sacred verb is gestated. The more refined our mystical states, the greater our responsibility and power. Vulgar words or incorrect speech, the expression of animal desire, during moments of remembrance and clarity in the heart, is dishonorable, disgraceful, because we are blaspheming in the presence of the Being. As the Qur'an teaches, truly, “We are closer to you than your jugular vein” (50:16). When we act inappropriately and speak negative words, we go against the will of the Being.
This is a reality that is only comprehensible to meditators, because when the Being is present in us, we feel and perceive a pristine luminosity, superlative awakened consciousness. And it only takes one moment to speak absurdities, to manifest the ego, to lose the bliss of that moment. This is why the Sufis always teach, "You must guard your breaths against God Most High." We have to be careful with our words, since they carry power to transform or condition our states.
The Definition of Breath
But what is the definition of breath according to the Arabic mystical tradition, the Sufis?
Inspiration, nafas―literally “breath,” also “breathing space” or ample room―is the refreshment of hearts by subtleties from the Unseen. ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
Notice that we spend a lot of time talking about the ego, animal desire, which the Sufis call nafs, the lower soul. Each ego is a breath. It is a modification of the energy of the consciousness. Each ego, each defect, vice or error, traps the Essence, our true soul or the consciousness. Each ego traps part of, really, what we are: the Essence that must be liberated, which we seek to free through our meditation practices, retrospection meditation, especially. We do so through comprehending and eliminating each ego because the ego is a shell. In Hebrew קְלִפָּה klipah, or the plural קְלִיפּוֹת Klipoth, the world of “shells,” is precisely our inner hell. The ego is hell. It is suffering. It is attachment, craving, aversion, ignorance.
So to free the soul, we have to achieve inspiration. We need to be inspired. This is the state of comprehension, of illumination. In our meditative discipline, we seek to self-observe ourselves from moment to moment, to see the ego in action within our three brains. We have to separate as the free liberated Essence, which is small and in a state of potentiality, in order to observe and activate it, to develop it. We do so by observing how the ego and our different egos, our nafs, manifest in our three brains. When we see the ego for what it is, within self-observation or inner accounting, muhasabah in Arabic, we gather data about ourselves. We begin to be inspired and understand that we are not anger. We are not pride. We are not lust, fear, vanity, gluttony, blasphemy. We are not these things, because we are freeing our Essence and we are perceiving and observing in ourselves that we are not these desires. We are not nafas, the lower soul, the ego.
Samael Aun Weor mentioned that the greatest joy of the Gnostic is the discovery of one of his or her defects. This is inspiration. We are inspired and feel joy that we are not desire. We are not this condition of mind, and therefore, we feel a great change in our level of being. This is the fundamentals of meditation. We have to gather data about our animal mind so that we can work upon its elimination.
But the beginning is, we have to take account of what we are, and for that, in order to give energy to the free consciousness, the Essence, we need energy. The soul or Essence is refreshed through working with the creative energy, the sexual energy.
Our breathing is profoundly and intimately related with sexuality. Our breathing is altered and impassioned during arousal. This is well-known. Now, within people who are filled with lust, couples who join sexually, their breathing becomes inflamed, erratic, quick, impassioned, uncontrolled, and because of their breath, their impassioned breathing, their creative energies begin to flow out of the body. They begin to become inflamed or excited to the point in which that energy is lost, is expelled.
In our studies of meditation and Gnosis, and within the most esoteric hearts of Sufism, they always teach that we have to conserve the sexual energy. You have to control the vital forces, because the semen is the matter that contains the fire and energy that is going to awaken you. Therefore, if your breathing is erratic, uncontrolled, the energies flow from inward to out. This is the opposite of our purposes in meditation. We have to learn to control our breath and the sexual energy, whether we are practicing as a single person or if we are married, especially if we are married, because there is more energy available to a couple, between husband and wife, man and woman.
If you control your breath through profound spiritual aspiration, the creative energy is harnessed. It is redirected. We use our conscious will, our concentration, through our breathing to make the energy flow from out to in, and therefore, not a single drop of that energy or matter is lost. It is this energy, precisely through breath, and these exercises of pranayama or alchemy, that help us to experience the subtle perceptions from the unknown. It is the “refreshment of hearts.”
What are these “subtleties of the unseen,” which Samael Aun Weor explains very beautifully throughout his works? These are visions and awakening from dreams, astral experiences, lucid cognizant experiences within the internal worlds, jinn science, samadhis, ecstasies, direct visions in which we speak to God. Sometimes these subtleties from the unseen are a form of lights, visions in meditation, the perception of energy flowing in us.
Comprehension, inspiration, unfolds through working with will power, by using our will to control our breath, so that we redirect energy. We make it flow inwards so that vital force regenerates our mind. It gives us power in the consciousness. Our soul, the Essence, becomes inspired. What does it mean to inspire, literally? It means to breathe, to take in the air, the spiritual potencies and life and vitality of God into our lungs, and this assimilates through our breathing and lungs within our blood, within our sexual system. When we inhale vital air, the life force is divinity, and when we combine them with spiritual longing, with conscious love, we aspire towards the heights of realization.
But there are levels of work with breath.
A person who receives inspirations is finer and clearer than a person who is open to mystical states. The person of the momentary inner experience is at the beginning, the inspired person is at the conclusion, and the person of states is between the two. ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
Beginning students often have internal experiences that can initiate or inspire them, to enter the path: Shariah, ethics. However, the reality is that such experiences are very fleeting. They are temporary. Through our meditative discipline, mystical states, conscious experiences, astral travels, become more developed, consistent, frequent and penetrative. This is Tariqah, the path, which sometimes can refer to a Sufi school, but also in general refers to the path that the master or the initiate travels within the desert, from oasis to oasis, from ordeal to ordeal within the wilderness of life, the hardships of existence.
Inspired initiates are those who have constant remembrance of divine realities: telepathy, intuition, out-of-body experiences, jinn science, astral projections, polyvoyance, omniscience, abilities common in elevated masters like Padmasambhava, Tsong Khapa, Prophet Muhammad, Samael Aun Weor. These are the adepts of حقيقة Haqiqah, the truth of معرفة Ma’rifah, knowledge, Gnosis.
The Highest Form of Worship
The Sufis emphasize how controlled breath is the ultimate form of worship. There are levels of practice within Sufism regarding breath work. So we mentioned a little bit about introductory, intermediate, and advanced levels of practice within any meditative tradition. In Sufism, this is Shariah, Tariqah, Haqiqah / Ma’rifah: truth and knowledge.
The states are means and inspirations are the end of progressive development. Moments belong to those who have hearts, states belong to those who possess a spirit (ruh), and inspirations belong to the people of inner being (sirr). The Sufis have said, “The best act of worship is to count the breaths along with God Glorified and Exalted." ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
This quote explains how the three degrees of any meditative tradition relate to the breath, relate to breathing exercises. In the introductory levels, Shariah, we work with counting our breath. This is a very common exercise within Buddhism known as anapana, within Sufism and within yoga. Now we have to remember that each degree of spiritual discipline works with breath in different ways, with greater expediency and impact within the higher levels. But in the beginning we have to learn to use our breath, to start with the basics, and this often comes with exercises of counting your breath, developing concentration, focusing on the inhalation, the retention, and the exhalation of air, and not forgetting what we are doing. Because the problem is that in the beginning, we could be focusing on such an exercise, trying to count to a hundred without forgetting our work, and yet we do forget. It means that our concentration is weak. We don't have enough will established to be consistent. But with practice and consistency, with dedication, we develop stamina.
Counting the breath, mental and verbal mantra recitation, pranayama, helps us to awaken here and now. Because if you are concentrated in the moment, focused on your breath and not forgetting what you are doing, that concentration and willpower will extend to your daily life in your interactions with humanity. This is what we want. We want to have firmness of will, to be able to direct our attention at one thing and not be distracted by anything, whether impressions from the external world or from our own mind―to not forget the Presence (Hudur) and our concentration upon God.
Mystical states belong to intermediary practitioners when they are consistent, when those states are prolonged, deepened, amplified, penetrative, frequent, when there is a continuity there, because in the beginning of our studies, we forget where we are and what we are doing, especially in the physical world, but also in the internal worlds. We may wake up in the astral plane for a moment, with a vision, and then immediately lose consciousness. This has to change. We have to be present moment by moment wherever we are, whether physically or in the astral world. We do this by working with breath and sexual energy.
People who have really established themselves are persistent in meditation and pranayama, yoking the breath. We get experiences and visions, but we have to be dedicated to chastity. We have to be dedicated to sexual purity, because this is the foundation: transforming the sexual energy. This is known as transmutation, to mutate or transform the brute matter of our semen through its conservation and sublimation into energy. This is the alchemical teachings of lead into gold. This is Allah-Khemia within the Middle East: to fuse and cast a metal, to purify the metals of the psyche and make it divine.
We have to transmute the sexual force. This is the meaning of the quote “how people who possess a Spirit,” “states belong to those who possess a Spirit (روح ruh)” or the Hebrew רוּחַ Ruach. The Spirit is “Hu,” as in the Sufi mantras, الله هو Allah Hu, الله هو الله Allah Hu Allah, signifying, “God is,” or “God, Just He!” There are many mantras sung by the Sufi initiates, which you can access online on YouTube. Very beautiful. It is a form of remembrance of God.
But what does it mean “to possess a Spirit?” We emphasize that the Spirit is not the soul, and this is where the study of Kabbalah becomes essential, whether in the Arabic traditions or in the Hebrew traditions, because Arabic and Hebrew shared the same roots. The Spirit is a form of breath, nafs, which is not tainted by ego. It is very pure, supra-divine, but also the Essence is a form of nafs. It is a soul. It is the Essence that is in potentiality that can learn to express the higher truths within. Then there is the egotistical nafs, the lower soul, because the ego is a form of breath. When we speak words of hatred, we feed that hatred, that lower animal egotistical defect, nafs. So there is a lot of diversity in these terms, a lot of dynamic range and we have to use our intuition and the study of Kabbalah, which we will emphasize towards the end, in order to reach clarification.
The Spirit, the soul, and the ego are very distinct. You have to meditate to understand the difference. The Spirit, especially, is not the soul. The Spirit is God, the Innermost, חסד Chesed in Kabbalah. The Spirit is. The soul, the Essence, is developed. It is acquired.
But what does it mean to possess a Spirit? Many people like to think they are spiritual, but they never had any astral experiences in which they actually spoke with their Spirit. We possess a Spirit when we have frequent contact with the Being through inner vision. Spirit is a type of breath. The Being, God, the Spirit, is a very refined, subtle, and spiritual breath, an energy, a force.
I remember many years ago, I woke up in the astral plane. I was seeking to receive teachings from my inner Spirit. So I intuitively felt a call telepathically to descend into the Earth, and after entering a cave within those underground regions, I was in the dark, and I felt the presence of my Being. I felt that terror and that love and longing, which are all very profound and subtle. But I heard my Being breathing. I heard an inhalation and exhalation, very deep, and I felt that terror of love and law that Samael Aun Weor explains many times in his books. My Being was teaching me, “I am breath. I am the Presence (Hudur),” which is a form of vital force, which in Arabic is an ا Alif and in Hebrew is א Aleph, the vital winds, which we can access and experience when we control our own physical and vital breath.
This is a form of inspiration, a divine ecstasy in which my ego was not there. These inspirations belong to the heights. The advanced practices of Haqiqah and Ma’rifah, truth or ecstasy, these are known amongst the alchemists through معرفة Ma’rifah, γνῶσις Gnosis, דַעַת Da’ath, alchemy.
The Sufis emphasize how we must enter our own internal worlds in order to extract wisdom and this is why we practice meditation.
And they have said, “God created the hearts and made them mines of the understanding of Him. After that He created the secret inner awarenesses and made them a place for declaring the Unity.” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
What is a mind filled with gold? It is the heart. It is within the heart that we can grasp and understand the nature of our spiritual reality, the Being. So I mentioned that example of an experience where I descended into the Earth and then, in that, metaphorical sense, I entered the mine where I received the teaching of gold from my Being.
It is our heart that can understand the significance of divine things, not the intellect. The intellect is a wild animal, which we control with our breath, with concentration, with willpower.
The doctrine of unity is essential to Sufism and Islam. Unity of divinity is experiential, and we can only declare this with conviction and knowledge through inner experiences.
What is the place of secret inner awarenesses? Samael Aun Weor stated that "God searches the nothingness in order to fill it." This is from The Aquarian Message. So serenity of mind is the basis of illumination. The absence of the ego is the plenitude of the consciousness, the soul. To reach this state, we must remember our Being, here and now. This is the thread or secret continuity of conscious experience―the voice of conscience, the voice of ethics. If we don't follow our inner judgment, following our intuition about how we must behave in life, following our heart, if we don't follow our subtle voice in our conscience, we become lost.
Our heart is the mine of gold. It is the thread that connects us with the Being, which is why the Sufis state:
Every breath that occurs without the guide of knowledge of God and the sign of Unity emerges from blind compulsion, and it is a dead thing. The one to whom it belongs is accountable for it. ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
Blind compulsion is of the ego. It is in our three brains. Without self-remembrance, without recalling the presence of our divinity, hudur, without being aware, muhadarah, here and now, without knowledge of that unitary state, that quality of our Being, our words become empty. They truly are vain. This is why in Ecclesiastes, you have the Hebrew term הֲבֵ֤ל הֲבָלִים֙ Habel Habelim:
Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities, all is vanity. ―Ecclesiastes 1:2
הֲבֵ֤ל Habel means “breath.” It is the word for Abel. In the Bible, Abel is a symbol of the soul, the Essence, that is killed by the lower soul, קַיִן Cain, nafs, nafas. And since we kill our soul by acting wrongly moment by moment, we suffer. So these are symbols. These are not literal, historical stories to simply document the past. They are a moral compass for our current, present moment.
We are killing our soul every instant when we speak gibberish, when we are filled with hate, when we lie. That is true vanity. We love ourselves too much at the cost of our soul. That is really the absurdity of the ego.
We are always accountable to the law. Inner judgment, גבורה Geburah in Kabbalah or in Arabic, الْدِّين Al-Din. Din means “religion” or “judgment.” It is the teaching of the Qur’an, the Judgment, the evaluation of humanity. That inner judgment, that inner religion, is inside. It is our conscience. It is our remorse. If we have lost that thread, it means we are very far from initiation. If we don't feel sorry for making mistakes, this doesn't mean we would become morbid, pessimistic, degenerate―people who are basically addicted to suffering, sadistic. It means that we have conscious sorrow and the regret that we made errors, so that we want to change them, so that we make the effort to revise our understanding, whether we made someone else suffer or whether or not we are suffering ourselves.
As beginners, we face this reality. We make a lot of mistakes. We say a lot of stupid things, perhaps in our daily life. We make errors. We struggle to remember God. But for Gnostics like Prophet Muhammad or Samael Aun Weor, they never forget the Being. Such masters have a profound intimacy with divinity, and the Being never leaves them, because they have perfected their work. It is a tremendous responsibility to have God within―to perfectly express and manifest the Innermost, which is why the Sufis state:
I heard Abu Ali al-Daqqaq say, “No ‘breathing space’ is granted to the gnostic because no indulgence can take place with him. But the lover in the early stages (muhibb) must necessarily have some ‘breathing space,’” since were there not a breath for him he would be ruined, because of his lack of capacity. ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
Again, this is a very deep teaching. This is not something that we are going to reach easily. It is something to understand and know and to work towards. A breathing space simply means a state in which the Being is not completely there. There are degrees and levels upon light. As the Surah of the Light in the Qur’an teaches "Light upon light” (24:35), levels upon levels of being.
The reality is that if God were to enter us without us being fully prepared, we would be annihilated, because that light is so profound. It is the power of a star, of a galaxy, of an infinite. The Being is a force that is tremendous, and therefore God enters and retracts when necessary.
In the beginner, they need time to learn to annihilate the ego, to adapt, because the ego and the Being are incompatible. If they had no room for himself or herself, they would be ruined, because they couldn't handle that energy. They are not capable. But if the ego is fully dead in you, the breath of God is fully manifest and therefore one can speak the words of truth like Mansur Al-Hallaj, which stated "Ana al-Haqq,” (أنا الحَقيقة) which means “I am the Truth!” Really, there was no Mansur there, because the personality in him was dead. There was only the Being. You can read about that in the book called The Narrow Way. It is at the end of that book in a chapter dedicated to this Muslim master (The Passion of Al-Hallaj).
God enters and retracts from the soul. There are states of presence and absence within the initiate. Much in the same way that when you inhale the air or when that air is present in you, it fills your lungs. But when you exhale, the breath is gone. The same with mystical states. This is why mystical states are so synonymous with breathing. They emerge and they pass. Only in those beings who are fully perfected in meditation, have that breath in them eternally. They are immortal.
Chastity: The Basis of Spiritual Breathing
Sublimation of the sexual energy is essential when we work with breath, known as pranayama or transmutation. This conserved energy is the basis by which breathing exercises function and work with efficacy. Spiritual insight is born through chastity. There is simply no way to avoid sexual purity, whether in Sufism or Gnosticism. Without conserving creative energy, the sexual force, and intentionally directing it through breathing exercises, there is no foundation by which to awaken conscious perception, spiritual insight, inner vision.
There are many people and students of religion who practice breathing exercises, but without chastity: conservation and transformation of the sexual energy. But why is this? Why is this damaging to the mind, to be expelling the energies and working with breath? Because it's like trying to pump fuel within an engine when there is no fuel, or like a pump that cannot work because there is no water there.
Your body and your psyche is a beautiful laboratory. It is a marvelous machine that has a specific function, purpose, and intention. It is a cosmos in itself. It is a miniature universe. It is a microcosm of the macrocosm. Our breath works much in the same way that the pistons of an engine function in a car. There is movement and there is direction. There is energy in ourselves when we work with breath. But our breath is only a medium in which we can direct energy, and without the storehouse of sexual creative power, we cannot draw upon anything to illuminate the psyche. Breathing exercises without sexual energy do not produce awakening. It is simple. Breath combined with creative energy is synonymous with light. It is the conduit, the means to energize the Essence. When the Essence has fuel, when that sexual energy is conserved, we can create something really divine. Our vision like in this image becomes cosmic. We perceive things. We develop insight, perceptions, because that energy has to create something. You can create a child physically with it, or you can use it for a very different purpose, a spiritual purpose, and this is what we teach in this tradition. When the Essence has fuel, when it is purified with clean energy, when the vital centers or channels of our internal physiology are flowing with sexual force, we have light.
The Spiritual Light of Breath
This is why the Sufis state very clearly:
If someone’s share of this light is more perfect, his vision is wiser and his judgment based on his insight is more truer. Do you not see how the breathing of the Spirit into Adam made it necessary for the angels to prostrate before him? For the Most High said, "I formed him and I breathed into him of My Spirit, so fall down before him in prostration" (15:29). ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
This is how we create a true hum-man, spiritual human being. हुं Hum is Spirit in Sanskrit, or the Arabic هُوَ Hu. It even relates with the Chinese mantra Wu, which we use in our practices in Gnosticism in order to silence the mind.
Let us examine the following quote:
Abu-l-Hasan al-Nuri was asked, “What is the origin of spiritual insight in the one who has it?” He answered, “It comes from the saying of the Most High, ‘And I breathed into him (Adam) of My Spirit’ (15:29).” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
This image of the creation of Adam is central not only within Judeo-Christianity, but within Islam and Sufism. The Qur’an often emphasizes the following:
And certainly did We create man from an extract of clay. Then We placed him as a sperm-drop in a firm lodging. Then We made the sperm-drop into a clinging clot, and We made the clot into a lump [of flesh], and We made [from] the lump, bones, and We covered the bones with flesh; then We developed him into another creation. So blessed is Allah, the best of creators. ―Al-Muminun, “The Believers,” Qur’an 23:12-14
A lot of people read that quote within the Muslim tradition and think it only has to do with physical creation, when in reality it is about the creation of the soul. الخليق Al-Khaliq: the Creator in Arabic, best manifests as الودود Al-Wadud: the Loving.
Where else is the ability of God to create a true human being than through the sexual force, through sexual love?
That energy can create spiritual realities in us. We call this solar bodies within esotericism. These are the wedding garments of the soul mentioned in the Bible (Matthew 22). This is libās al-taqwā in Arabic, “the garments of reverence” of the Qur’an:
O Children of Adam! We have indeed sent down upon you raiment to cover your nakedness, and rich adornment. But the raiment of reverence, that is better. This is among the signs of God, that haply they may remember. ―Al-A’rāf 26
But the reality is that we like to think we are human beings, true masters of the world, and yet we are animal in reality. This is evidenced by our behaviors. We do not engage in the sexuality of humans, spiritual beings, because in animal behavior is involved anger, pride, lust: the expulsion of the sexual energy to procreate in an animal way, behaviors like vanity, selfishness, greed, etc. To become human, we must renounce animality, which is orgasm, desire.
Chastity is the sexuality of angels. This does not mean abstention from sex. It means purity in sex, whether we are single or married. This is why when Adam was created, mentioned in the Qur’an, the angels prostrated. However, the reality is that nobody likes chastity, which is why also in the Qur’an, Iblis, the Devil, refuses to bow. So this is why religions and Sufism have degenerated, because people ignore the role of chastity. You cannot create life spiritually, you cannot reach inspiration without that force. It is simple.
The creative energy has the potential to develop the Essence. When a married couple who practices meditation, male-female, man and woman, use their sexual polarity in combination with the opposite, they have the power to create as a god. So whether you are married or single, you can work with your breath. Obviously, alchemy is much more intensive and requires study and practice and a lot of wisdom, which is why you can read books like The Perfect Matrimony and The Mystery of the Golden Flower by Samael Aun Weor. But individual practitioners can learn to transform sexual energy through breathing. If you are trained in chastity, you become prepared for the perfect matrimony: to consciously utilize the breath during the sexual act so that the sexual act is transformed. It is sanctified. It is purified.
Obviously, married couples have more energy to work with, but single people can make great progress through breathing exercises and chastity. This is how, as represented by the name Hasan Al-Nuri, we develop the beauty of the soul. We have to remember that names are kabbalistic in Arabic. حَسَن Hasan reminds of إحسان ʾiḥsān: beautiful action, תִּפְאֶרֶת Tiphereth in Hebrew, the human Essence. نوري Nuri is the light, the Being. What is the most beautiful action to develop light? It is sexual purity. This is how light enters into us as the Being breathes the Spirit into us.
Inner Vision and Knowledge of God
Let's examine a few more quotes:
This statement by Abu-l-Hasan al-Nuri is somewhat difficult, so be careful with it. In this mention of the breathing of the Spirit he was aiming to correct those who say that souls are uncreated. The situation is not as it might occur to the hearts of the weak. ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
This is also an essential point in Gnosis. The soul is created. It is not uncreated. The soul is created but the Spirit is. Visions develop as we learn to acquire Essence, or as Jesus taught "with patience possess ye your Souls” (Luke 21:19).
That to which this breathing (and union and separation) are properly attributed is liable to influence and alteration, which are signs of the transitoriness of created things. ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
Breath is inhaled, is retained, and is exhaled. The soul can develop in us through that breath, and therefore it is transitory. It is transient. It is impermanent. Only through the complete work of initiation is the soul perfected, where the soul becomes a choir so that the Spirit reflects within it.
Yet God Glorious and Exalted has chosen the believers for perceptions and lights through which they come to possess insight. In essence, these are forms of the knowledge of God. This is the import of the Prophet’s saying, “The believer sees by the light of God”―that is, by a knowledge and inner vision for which God Most High has specially chosen him and by means of which He has distinguished him from others like him. To call these kinds of knowledge and perceptions “lights” is not an innovation, and to describe that process as “breathing” is not reaching far afield. What is intended is one’s created nature. ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So as a result of pranayama, transmutation, we could perceive astral visions, experiences, samadhis, lights, sounds, etc. We produce the foundation, the matrix, the womb, the conduit for light to emerge.
The Three Types of Breath
In Sufism, there are three types of breath as we have already mentioned, but we are going to elaborate on what each entails. There is a Sufi initiate by the name of Abdullah Ansari of Herat, who wrote a book called Stations of the Sufi Path, in which he explains some of these principles very beautifully. We previously mentioned the present moment or the metaphysical moment, and in this instant, we are working with breath or learning about breath.
When we study these three types of breath within Sufism, in the Qur’an, within Hebraic Kabbalah as well, we are examining three schools in meditation: introductory, intermediate, and advanced. That structure of Shariah, Tariqah, and Haqiqah / Ma’rifah relate to these principles very beautifully. There is a correlation there which we will touch upon.
Abdullah Ansari of Herat states:
From the field of the Metaphysical Moment the field of Breath is born. God, the Most High, says, ‘When he recovered his senses he said: Glory be to You!’ (7:143).
So in this excerpt these three types of breath relate to adepts, not beginners. Although there is a correlation between the meditative schools of Shariah, Tariqah, and Haqiqah / Ma’rifah. In synthesis, this is ethics, meditation or ecstasy, and the highest, spiritual reality.
The breath of a master of the present moment is not tarnished by ego. We have to aspire to this height. We do so by learning to understand the stages of this path and also the different qualities of the soul.
The Three Souls in the Qur’an
There are three types of soul within the Qur’an. If you have studied Kabbalah in depth, you'll be familiar with Nephesh, Ruach, Neshamah.
So we have been talking a lot about the carnal soul, Nephesh, animality, the ego. Our egotistical breath or soul is passionate, filled with hate, with lust, with desire. We have to transform the lower soul by judging ourselves. We have to blame ourselves. We have to evaluate our psyche through the soul known as Ruach or Ruh in Arabic, Spirit.
The blaming soul, the thinking-emotional soul is that part of our Essence, our consciousness, that evaluates the ego, which critiques, dissects, understands and takes into account the different aggregates of the mind, the different vices and errors of the pluralized "I." This type of blaming has nothing to do with becoming a morbid or pessimistic person. Instead, it has to do with how we judge our lower animal nature so that we could become like the soul at peace, the spiritual soul: a purified, perfected Essence united with Geburah, which is our inner judgment, our divine soul.
The Qur’an speaks about these three souls in different verses:
From Surah 12 verse 53, we learn about the carnal soul.
Yet I do not absolve my own carnal soul (in Arabic, Nafs al-Ammara), For the carnal soul, indeed, prompts men to evil except in as much as my Lord has mercy. Indeed, my Lord is All-Forgiving, All-Merciful. ―Qur’an 12:53
The blaming soul is known in Surah 75 verse 2:
And I swear by the self-blaming soul, the self-reproaching soul. ―Qur’an 75:2
And I believe this is in relation to the certainties of resurrection, the heights of the path.
Lastly the soul at peace from Surah 89 verses 27 to 28:
Oh, soul at peace, return to your Lord, content and contenting. ―Qur’an 89:27-28
It's important to know these three souls especially as we practice meditation, because we are working to blame ourselves or blame the animal in us, so that we can reach peace.
The Penitent Plaint, Infatuated Cry, and Shout of Ecstasy
So let us return to Abdullah Ansari of Herat's statement:
The penitent plaint dispels demons, absolves sin and opens the heart. ―Abdullah Ansari of Herat, Stations of the Sufi Path
This relates to a meditator’s work against the carnal animal soul, our ego. Prayers in sincerity, mantras and invocations, sacred sounds and recitations, when they are performed consciously, purify the mind and reject tenebrous forces. This is why we do prayers like the Conjuration of the Four, the Conjuration of the Seven, and the Invocation of Solomon. These mantras are prayers which you can perform before you meditate, helping to dispel demons, helping us to absolve ourselves from sin. It means to reach a state of mind that is opened and prepared for meditation. We open the heart when we use our breath in this way. You can study a lecture given on our website called Basics of Spiritual Defense, in which these prayers are explained and referenced.
So it is good to pray and conjure, to defend our home, to prepare environment for meditation, so that we can transmute, but also you can perform these prayers before we practice alchemy. This establishes a good energetic environment in which we can practice effectively, with safety. This master continues:
The infatuated cry of the attracted person purges the love for the world, sweeps material causality away, and causes one to become oblivious of creation. ―Abdullah Ansari of Herat, Stations of the Sufi Path
This relates to the work with the blaming soul, in which we are judging ourselves―Ruach, the thinking-emotional soul. This blaming soul teaches us to renounce worldliness, to renounce egotism, to renounce attachment to negative things. It sweeps away material causality in the sense that our negative behaviors, our egos, which perpetuate addiction, suffering, and confusion, are removed. We blame ourselves through inner accounting, retrospection, meditation, as we explained in our last lecture and our course on Gnostic Meditation.
How do we become oblivious of creation? We sit on our home. We relax our body. We work with breathing exercises to transmute our sexual energy. We suspend our senses. We concentrate within. We go into our internal worlds to gather information. Without breath and transmutation, we cannot fully relax the body or achieve stillness and quietude of mind. So in this type of meditation, we abandon the world. We become oblivious to the world. We ignore material causality. We become attracted to spiritual things, attracted to the breath of God, so that we reach that luminosity and concentration, that joyfulness of Essence and Being that inspires us, so that we can go deep and begin to work on our mind.
Lastly, this is very profound:
The shout of ecstasy of the raptured pierces the soul, sets the heart athirst and burns away the veils. ―Abdullah Ansari of Herat, Stations of the Sufi Path
So the soul shouts with joy when experiencing states without ego. We feel that luminosity and amplification of the Essence. This occurs in the internal worlds, when we tear away the veils of the conditioned mind which prevent us from communicating with the Being. These are astral visions, astral samadhis, and even beyond. These experiences with God set us on fire, spiritually. Our longings are fulfilled and they are increased at the same time. We can aspire towards more light.
Conclusion: Ham-Sah Transmutation
Lastly we will conclude with a statement by Samael Aun Weor and a practice you can use to help you experience these internal states, some of which we have mentioned. He states in a lecture called The Transmutation of Sexual Energy: Part IV:
…there is a profound relation between one’s sexual forces and one’s breathing, so that when both are duly combined and harmonized, they bring about fundamental changes in one’s physical and psychological anatomy. ―Samael Aun Weor, “The Transmutation of Sexual Energy: Part IV”
On the right we have the Caduceus of Mercury, a famous symbol within medicine. It is a structure in our back. The middle of this diagram is the spine, in which two energetic serpents or currents, vital energies, positive and negative, flow from the sexual organs up to the brain. These wings are the wings of our spirituality that blossom within our spinal column, and that allow us to have internal visions.
We have to work with that energy of sex that rises from our left and right gonads, whether the testicles or the ovaries. Both masculine and feminine forces, positive and negative, solar and lunar energy, rise from the organs of sex up to our mind, and we even have currents that run from our brain to our heart.
A very simple practice you can do is Ham-Sah, as explained in the lecture by Samael Aun Weor that we have referenced here. You sit in a quiet place. You relax. You let your body settle. You suspend your senses. As you are praying to your inner, divine Being, your Innermost, your Divine Mother, Al-Buraq within Islam and Sufism, you pray and ask that this energy can rise within you to illuminate your mind. When you inhale your breath to your nostrils, you imagine, in your mind's eye, the creative energies as light rising from your sexual organs, up the spine, in the form of this image of the caduceus. Imagine this energy circulating in the form of two entwined serpents like the holy eight within Kabbalah, and that this energy and light illuminates the mind. You want to mantralize internally, silently, HAM, prolonged like this:
You do this silently in your mind, when you are inhaling and bringing the energy to your intellect, your brain, and then, imagine that energy descending into your heart with the mantra: Sah!
This mantra Sah, you pronounce externally, vocally. Ham is internal and silent, prolonged. Sah is short, vocal, and exhaled. It is gentle. It is short. You want to pronounce Ham prolonged and internally, in relation to your inhalation, so that you bring the energy from sex to your brain and that you retain it, profoundly. Let that energy soak within your mind, illuminating you, giving you vitality and force, and then, exhale to the heart: SAH!
You do this because our energy is normally―because of our bad behaviors―flowing from inward to outward. You want to reverse this flow by making your emphasis on Ham, to bring the energies inward and up, but you also want to bring them to your heart through Sah.
The mantra Ham is solar, is elevated. It is prolonged. But the mantra Sah is short, lunar, and directed to the heart.
I have even seen YouTube videos of Sufis performing Ham-Sah when doing dances. So this practice is not only within the Gnostic tradition, but has been practiced by initiates for centuries, millennia. It is a very ancient work.
Now there are some variations within the Sufi tradition where they pronounce mantras such as الله هو Allah Hu. The mantra ال Al is masculine, solar, relating to the serpent Pingala. Pingala is the solar positive serpent on this Caduceus of Mercury. لا La is feminine, the lunar energies of Ida, the left serpent on this diagram of the spine. Solar and lunar, positive and negative, form الله Allah: the God, and then هو Hu, the Spirit rises within our spinal column when we awaken sparks of the divine fire Kundalini.
As a single practitioner, you can perform this practice to wake sparks of Kundalini, the Spirit. This can grant you experiences and insights, but obviously married couples will have much more light when performing Ham-Sah if they are sexually connected. In the Sufi tradition also, they turn their head from right to left when they pronounce لا إله إلا الله La Ilaha ila Allah (“There is no god but God,” or الله هو Allah Hu, الله هو Allah Hu, because ال Al is masculine relating to the right, and then they turn their heads to the left relating to لا La. Together, this forms الله Allah. And to the breath, they are working with Spirit, هو Hu. So the Caduceus of Mercury is referenced in that practice, but also many initiates are practicing Ham-Sah. Very beautiful and profound.
So at this point I invite you to ask questions. You are welcome to type them into the chat box and towards the end, we could even take some questions via unmuting people.
Questions and Answers
Question: You mentioned there is a difference between the Spirit and the soul. How does the consciousness play into this? Can you elaborate?
Instructor: So the Spirit is the Innermost, the Being, our inner God, and the soul is our Essence, the consciousness. We have to learn to develop the consciousness and to create it. So that quote we mentioned from one of the Sufi masters explains how the soul is a created or a transitory thing. It has to be developed and perfected, initiated and expanded. The Spirit already exists. He is immutable and divine, and the reality is that in order to know the Spirit we have to first develop soul.
The soul is like a mirror. When you polish the mirror through dhikr, remembrance of God, you can reflect the perfect image of the Spirit in you. So consciousness has to be developed and purified. I believe Rumi even said that we are like a mirror, and yet, how could we develop purity if we resist every rub? Because our mirror, our consciousness is egotistical, filled with impurities, with mud, with obscurations. Those rubs or polishings of the heart have to do with our practices, but also difficulties in life in which we are confronted with our own egos, that we must observe and comprehend and work upon. In this way, we begin to polish our heart so that we can reflect divinity more and more.
Question: What would you recommend to improve consistency and daily practice against the ego?
Instructor: Personally when I have struggled against my own mind, I take time to study scripture. I like to balance my meditations with study of the doctrine. We have to be inspired in our work, and sometimes we become clouded and even negligent. We don't do what we need to do. Sometimes we don't work effectively, daily, upon the ego, because we are too morbid or sad or negative. This is why Samael Aun Weor mentioned that “when you feel a lack of inspiration, when you suffer in your work, when you struggle against your mind, when you have doubt and confusion, study my books. Study my writings.”
I also like to read the Qur’an to be reminded of what I must do. You know, you can read any scripture, really, that inspires you and hits you within your Essence, because that is the language of God.
Some people have a predisposition towards certain religions and traditions. Obviously, the best thing is to read writings from Samael Aun Weor, because he is the most clear. But you know, we have to really drink the wisdom of many traditions. For me, I like to read the Qur’an when I struggle or if I feel like I am vacillating or vegetating, becoming stagnant. It is a scripture that has a lot of power, speaks with a lot of force, to remind us of what we must do, what we must change.
You can also listen to good music, especially music that really reflects divine principles, and you know, we have given a course called The Secret Teachings of Opera. One of my favorite operas is Turandot, in which you see the whole drama of initiation portrayed with a lot of force and beauty. Watching those operas and listening to divine concert, say the Sufis, is essential to the life of any initiate. You know, that music can really inspire you when you understand the message.
Question: Breathing seems to calm the mind, but when caught up in an argument, I forget to breathe. In the midst of an attack, what practices do you recommend?
Instructor: It's an excellent question. Samael Aun Weor answered this question in one of his books, Introduction to Gnosis. In one of his chapters [see Lesson One] he explains how if you are overwhelmed in a fit of anger, if you are filled with rage, if you become tense, breathe. Inhale and relax. Inhale through your nostrils count to six. Hold your breath for six seconds, and then exhale for six seconds. Obviously, if you are in an argument, you can take a moment to say, “Look, I need to take a break for a little bit” and to be polite and say, “I need to step away for a few minutes. Please give me some time,” so that we don't seem offensive to the person we are speaking to, because arguments and heated debates are the result of ego.
Samael Aun Weor said that debates are satanic, because people are fortifying the carnal soul, Nephesh, the animal mind. Just take a minute to just breathe. You know, obviously that is the first step. If you forget to breathe, remember to breathe. That is the first half of the battle, remembering to do what you need to do, and inhale―count the six, hold for six seconds, exhale for six seconds. If you are breathing really profoundly and you are relaxing, closing your eyes if you can, sitting down is best, your anger will subside. I have used this many times. It's a very effective work. Then you can go back to your colleague or friend or family member who you are arguing with and you can approach that situation with clarity, not with rage.
Question: Is it expected that students will ebb and flow continuously from experiences or cognizance of God?
Instructor: Yes, this path is a process. We develop experiences gradually. Sometimes there are periods of light and there are periods of darkness. This is paralleled in Hindu cosmology and an even Gnostic cosmology when we talk about Mahamanvantaras and Mahapralayas, cosmic days or great cosmic days and great cosmic nights, because the breath of creation flows, is always in fluctuation, is never static. The same way, our experiences come with greater lucidity and penetration, but also consistency during periods of activity. But sometimes we have to face what is known as the dark night of the soul in which we don't see anything.
This is a necessary test for the disciple, a very painful one, which Beethoven composed and reflected upon in his Moonlight Sonata―very beautiful piece of music that reflects the sorrow of the initiate when under the moonlight, the darkness of the night. But of course, the sun emerges victoriously if we conquer those dark periods. Light returns. So there is always a flow of forces in us. So the necessary thing is to be patient, to wait and to pray, to be consistent, to continue practicing.
Question: I have learned a breathing exercise where you breathe in with the nostrils, hold the breath, then exhale through the mouth. Is this a form of pranayama other than Ham-Sah?
Instructor: Yes. Samael Aun Weor mentioned that practice in one of his books―a very simple exercise. You can imagine the energy is rising into your mind, and then when you exhale, sending it to your heart. But you want to breathe in through your nostrils. Hold the breath and retain the energy, and then exhale through your mouth. There are a lot of different forms of pranayama, and that is a very simple one.
But I recommend that if you are practicing a particular form of pranayama that you do so with fidelity to the instructions. This is just a general guideline for anyone practicing these exercises, because I know sometimes practitioners will like to mix pranayamas―for example―the Egyptian Christic Pranayama in The Yellow Book with other exercises. The important thing to remember is that each pranayama has its function. So the one that you mentioned is very simple, it doesn't involve a lot, but it is very effective. The same with any pranayama exercise in the books of Samael Aun Weor. So be true to the instructions, and you'll get the results you want.
Question: Is the blaming soul Sophia, trapped like Master Samael says in his book The Gnostic Bible: The Pistis Sophia Unveiled?
Instructor: There is a relationship there. Sophia means “wisdom.” Pistis Sophia is the power or wisdom power of the liberated soul. In this path in which Sophia rises to the Pleroma, to the heavenly states that she had lost, she has to repent. So remember in that scripture and even the commentary that Master Samael gives, it is explained how Sophia needs to repent, I believe thirteen times. This is the blaming soul in action, in which we have to confront ourselves and take responsibility for the carnal soul, for the animal, because once you have killed the animal in you, the ego or lion-faced powers that try to steal the light of Sophia, you can begin to extract light and to drive the forces of the left and the right, positive-negative, male-female, Adam-Eve, Pingala and Ida, solar and lunar. A lot of beautiful relationships there.
Question: Where can we read about the dark night of the soul? Is that an entire lifetime?
Instructor: In relation to the dark night of the soul, there are periods in which we have to face a lot of darkness, a lot of uncertainty, a lot of pain. For some beings it can be many years, others, months and sometimes even longer. You know, it comes to mind some particular people such as Tchaikovsky or Beethoven. These masters depicted in their music very profound states of suffering that they encountered because they were great initiates, especially in the past and that they had fallen.
Sometimes these periods extend over many years, and the only way to emerge victoriously from them is with patience. It is with serenity. It comes to mind actually The Three Mountains by Samael Aun Weor where he talks about a few points in his own path and his experience in which he suffered a lot because he made mistakes, even times where he was cut off from astral experiences because he needed to pay karma. So that is one text that comes to mind that you can think about. You can also look at our glossary on Glorian.org regarding the spiritual night.
Question: Have you any tips for overcoming an overactive mind? It seems when I am mindful in a day, I can almost guarantee that the next day some things may happen that would stimulate my mind and I would constantly be replaying things in my mind or just overthinking.
Instructor: Overcoming an overactive mind requires not repressing it, neither feeding it. We have to learn the path of balance. Breathing exercises like pranayama are great for having energy to calm the mind. Runes are exceptional, deep prayer in which we concentrate fully on our inner God to ask for illumination.
Personally, I like to do mantras if my mind becomes agitated. You can mentally pronounce those mantras or prayers. Many in our tradition are very beautiful, such as O AO Kakof Na Khonsa:
This is an Egyptian mantra relating to the Divine Mother―the serpent Kundalini, Isis. Or Om Masi Padme Hum:
Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Swaha, which you have to pronounce prolong, each syllable, very long such as this:
That mantra is exceptional for silencing the mind. Chant it mentally if you are active in the day, but if you are at home, you can pronounce it out loud. It is a very powerful mantra for silencing the mind in a genuine, conscious way.
Question: Is the Jesus prayer made use of in the Gnostic tradition? There seems to be some alignments between Eastern Orthodoxy, Sufism, and Gnosticism. It seems of all the mainstream Christian religions, that Eastern Orthodoxy would be the closest especially and their understandings of the Theosis and the Jesus prayer as the path towards that communion with God.
Instructor: We have many prayers that we use, you know, the Jesus prayer and many other prayers from different traditions. They are all valid. We use a lot of prayers from many faiths in our own daily discipline in accordance with our needs and disposition. So if that's something that resonates with you, you can use it.
Obviously we have certain prayers and mantras that we use more than others, such as the Conjurations of the Four, the Seven, the Invocation of Solomon, and many others that are really effective for specific purposes. But in terms of prayers, ways of communicating with God, those are as infinite as the different cultures that have existed in the world. They are as diverse as all the different religions our humanity has received. They are all very beautiful and necessary. Work with those prayers that resonate with you and that inspire your heart.
You can also look at glorian.org as well as a book called A Gnostic Prayer Book, which we have available on glorian.org, the store, where you can access and see many prayers from different faiths, whether from Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Sufism, etc.
Question: When married, what is the best way to prepare to enter alchemy? Are there specific mantras or processes which must be or are preferred for the practice?
Instructor: The best way to prepare for alchemy is to be chaste when you are single, to spend a lot of time practicing the three factors. If you are not trained in your own body to transmute, when you are married and without that training of knowing how to circulate those forces, it is going to be very difficult. It's difficult enough when you practice for many years as a single person and then you finally meet your spouse.
Prepare your body, your mind, and your heart through pranayama, Ham-Sah, and transmutation, primarily because the body is acculturated to fornication. We have to retrain it to work properly, to transmute the energies and make them flow from outward to inward.
You are best prepared for alchemy when you annihilate lust. Obviously, there are going to be degrees in this, and nobody is perfect in the beginning, especially when you are beginning with alchemy. However, the more chastity you have established in yourself through the death of desire, by learning to circulate energy in you, and learning to act compassionately for humanity, the better prepared you will be for the rites of marriage. If you really want to protect and defend your love for your spouse and to really make it strong and prepared for when you do meet your partner, develop conscious love here and now, altruism or Bodhichitta in Buddhism.
You can use any mantras to help you with that process. We have many mantras for transmutation. I suggest you work with those that best help you and your needs, whether they are certain runes like Olin, the seven vowels, the mantra S, Ham-Sah, Egyptian Christic Pranayama, and retrospection meditation, especially. Meditate on the death of your ego. Annihilate your ego, because the more selfless you are and developed you are in your level of being, the more love that you can give to your partner when you do meet that person, the more you can receive.
Question: Would you speak on the relationship between breath and mantra when the mantra is internal versus out loud?
Instructor: Some initiates like Swami Sivananda explained that there is more power in silent mantras, primarily because when you are mantralizing internally, silently in your mind, you are making your mental body, your astral body, to vibrate. It's like working from the inside out. But there is also a necessity in our path and process to work from the outside in, and relating to our body and our internal physiology as well.
When we work with pranayama and breath, we are training our physical body to obey, to obey our Being, to obey our Spirit, because unfortunately, most of us, really everybody, has a long history with fornication. That is the common trend, and we need to learn to train our body to transmute. The best way to do it is through pranayama. Now as you are working to circulate energies in your body, make them flow from outward to inward through your breath, you begin to establish a conduit that makes it easier to access deeper internal states. In this way, internal mantras become very effective.
Now both are necessary. It's good to pronounce mantras out loud, to vocalize, to pray, to charge our physical body with energy such as with the runes. This is very essential. But also we have to learn to train our mind internally. So I suggest that you combine both internal and external breathwork, mantra recitation. Work from the inside out and the outside in, so to speak. This is a very comprehensive way to practice. Now, some instructors have mentioned that we have to be practicing mantras or pronouncing mantras moment by moment, each day. Now, obviously if you are in a crowded area or at work, you are not going to be able to pronounce mantras out loud without drawing attention to yourself. So you can just pronounce those prayers and mantras mentally, and they will have strong effect―if not even more than if you are vocalizing, because it requires a lot of concentration and willpower to be present in that state.
Question: Does breathing just out of the left or right nostril symbolize lunar or solar breath?
Instructor: That is a good question. Now in relation to breathing exercises, especially pranayama or interchangeable nostril breathing, the yogis of India have associated certain energetic currents relating to your left or right nostril. Now, for men and women this is reversed.
The left side of the body is relating to the lunar energies and the right side to the solar energies in relation to men. But in women, this is reversed, and so breathing through your left or right nostrils activates those different gonads, whether male or female, testicle or ovary. You can read a little bit more about that breathing science, especially in the book Kundalini Yoga by Samael Aun Weor, where he explains a lot of these principles in a lot of detail.
Question: I saw a flaming three in my mind's eye once. What can that mean?
Instructor: Numbers are kabbalistic. They are symbolic. They relate to principles and forces in nature. We gave a course called The Eternal Tarot of Alchemy and Kabbalah, which explain the principles of the sacred tarot, and the number three relates with creation, spiritual and physical, and obviously fire can relate to illumination, the sexual energy that is inflaming the third eye and creating that force. I advise you to study that course if you really wish to understand the meaning of numbers, how they apply to our physical life.
Question: Can you explain Al-Qushayri's quote: “A person who receives inspiration is finer and clearer than a person who is open to mystical states”? Are there dangers trying to interrupt inspiration?
Instructor: So in relation to the three schools of meditation within Sufism, or three stages of meditation within esoteric Islam, you find that the intermediate path is relating to people with mystical states, who have experiences, and inspiration is finer and clearer because it is the culmination of the path. It is the highest stages: Ma’rifah / Haqiqah, knowledge and truth. Now, those inspired states and samadhis are very refined and clear, because there is no ego there, and therefore, we become deeply inspired by what we perceive. In that state there is more understanding, because you realize and comprehend the meaning of the messages you receive in the internal planes.
Now, a person who is open to mystical states has some different meanings to that. Obviously, there could be positive and negative states, and oftentimes, what many people call mystical states in this day and age, oftentimes, is a result of degeneration. Some people like to mix meditation with drugs. Or people who are very imbalanced mentally may have experiences, but not from the consciousness, but rather in the hell realms. We can have mystical states as we are developing our meditative practices and working with the three factors of the revolution of the consciousness, with chastity and transmutation. Of course, those will be positive and gradual, because there are deeper insights that we receive more consistently and frequently the more we work with these practices, and don't mix these exercises with impure things such as drugs or alcohol or psychedelics, which we are strictly against.
But obviously, a person who is developing more and more, is consistent with their practices, will fluctuate between objective and subjective states. This is primarily because awakening is gradual. Nothing in nature takes leaps. Our practices develop the soul much in the same way that a tree grows from a sprout. It doesn't occur overnight. It doesn't appear instantaneously. It happens gradually over time. But obviously towards the end, we have greater clarity because we have less ego. So there are degrees and degrees of light there, even mentioned the Qur’an: "Light upon light” (24:35).
Question: I had a question on the Solfeggio frequency. So when we are doing, intoning mantras, and intonations, is there a linkage with the Solfeggio frequencies? I have been reading up on certain frequencies, that they have certain impacts on you know, the physical body and also spiritual bodies, and then the second part of that question is that there are several apps out there that actually, we can actually use those frequencies. Would you recommend using any of those things or is that something that shouldn't be used?
Instructor: There is also a lot of talk in spiritual movements about certain vibrations and sounds. Even Samael Aun Weor mentions in some of his books how certain mantras have to be performed at a certain tone. But whether or not they have the specificity of certain hertz or specific wavelengths of frequency or vibration, that might be a little bit too specific than what is necessary, because I think some people might try to go into too much depth with something that is actually very simple.
Mantras can be intoned in certain ways, and the important thing is that you will learn those intonations and ways of expressing those mantras, such as from recordings from instructors or people who have experience with those practices themselves. You can learn more about that in the lecture called The Spiritual Power of Sound in our course called Beginning Self-Transformation. We talked about in detail what the six components of mantra recitations are. You know, we don't the time to explain all those in depth here, but part of it is intonation, which it's important, because some mantras have a certain song to them―ways that they were expressed by the guru who taught them. When you sing a note a certain way and intonation, you invoke energy. So, in that sense, it is important, but not necessary to get into hertz and specific mathematical frequencies. It is much simpler than that.
Audience: Okay. Thank you.
Instructor: You're welcome.
Question: When fire burns or a plant grows, they interact with the air. Are they breathing on their level? One could say that the breath is in the skin in all organs. It seems like it would be good to both practice controlling that which is within us and breathing from the context that all things are breathing and we are merely a part of that.
Instructor: Yes, and this gets into many of the metaphysical aspects of Hinduism and even Sufism, especially, how the breath of God creates all existence and creates all things. All creatures in nature within the different elemental kingdoms breathe. Even minerals breathe and the earth itself breathes energy. Obviously with plants and animals and humanoids, this is much more complex, where we have lungs and organs and cells that allow us to take in oxygen. But with the minerals, they too are a form of breath. They circulate the electromagnetism of the earth, different parts of the globe. So all that is very important, especially.
It is important that we learn to develop our breath, our practices with pranayama in a spiritual sense, because notice that in accordance with evolution of souls, transmigration of souls, we gain greater complexity and abilities to assimilate, transmit, and retain that force in different ways. So obviously a plant is more complex than a mineral. But animals also are more complex than plants, and humanoids are even more complex machines than animals.
But we have to remember that through this evolution of breath, breathing and energy, that the humanoid is not the end. There instead is a spiritual illuminated way of being, and that the true human uses breath like a God, and this is where we digress from many movements in the world today, which basically deify animal desire. People are teaching that you can use your breath and your voice to communicate anger and hatred and violence. So instead, we learn to use the breath for spiritual purposes through prayer, through mantra.
And yes, our skin does assimilate air and many organisms can assimilate energies through the skin. This is why alchemy is so interesting, because the sense of touch is the most sensitive organ or sensitive faculty of the human being. In alchemy, we have to learn to control our touch, our sight, our hearing, our smell, our taste. We have to be a master of our human machine. So yes, while all things are breathing life, they do so on their level, whether mineral, plant, animal, humanoid. But in accordance with the human kingdom of the masters, the angels, we have to learn to breathe as a God, to transmute the sexual energy as an Elohim. So there are degrees. There are levels.
Question: Have you ever known anyone who is practicing chastity and meditation, etc., but seems to be degenerating rather than progressing? It seems I am getting less and less conscious as time goes on even though I am trying. There are external things interrupting me though.
Instructor: Some people, really all people, struggle in their own way. We all try to apply the teachings at our degree, with chastity, especially in meditation, and if we feel that we are regressing and not progressing, we have to re-evaluate what we are doing.
For some people, it can be as fundamental as not conserving the sexual energy, even if only in the mind. Because some people can be practicing sexual abstention, not letting out the sexual force at all, and yet can be experiencing lustful dreams or lustful states of mind in which that energy is being misdirected. So if we feel that we are not progressing, we have to be sincere―and everybody goes through this―where we feel that we are not really going forward. The solution is to take time to reflect on our practice, to evaluate what is it that we are doing well and what is it that we are weak in.
Obviously, if there are external things that are interrupting your practice, that is something you need to take into consideration, because if you feel that there are certain influences in your life that are bringing you down, it is important to renounce them, to not give them space in your life, whether it be certain people that could be draining you, perhaps, bad environments, negative relationships, certain behaviors. Even if not just fornication, there are ways that we waste energy, and if you have no energy, it is impossible to change.
So be sincere. We all have to be sincere in this path, to take the time to always reflect on what we are doing with efficacy and what we are failing in, so that we can, with a state of remorse and comprehension, change those things that we can and to celebrate those victories that we do have. It is unrealistic just to focus on the negative. I know a lot of people sometimes get very overwhelmed by the ego and like to concentrate on the negative at the exclusion of reality. So reflect on your virtues, but also take the time to figure out what things in your life must change.
So I thank you all for coming!
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