Many new Gnostic students often write to us that they are overwhelmed by the breadth, depth, and profundity of the writings of Samael Aun Weor. There are simply so many spiritual exercises available that it becomes difficult to discern not just how to practice, but what, specifically in the context of a given day.
Gnosis is a path of balance. It is also personal, unique, and individual. While there are hundreds of techniques in our tradition, all of them establish and maintain serenity, awareness, and psychological equilibrium in accordance with students' idiosyncrasies. It would be impossible to apply all of the techniques in one's daily schedule, yet we can synthesize these practices into three categories, so that identifying and cultivating our own spiritual discipline becomes easier.
These three areas relate to three aspects of our basic psychological makeup:
Practicing Gnosis effectively depends upon a strong understanding of how our three brains (five centers) function: intellect, emotions, and action.
Gnosis provides numerous exercises to aid in balancing these three brains or centers of our human machine.
While most students are already familiar with studying gnosis intellectually, there are some helpful principles to consider when approaching a book, lecture, text, or initiatic work, so as to maximize one's leisure time for studying the doctrine.
Learning gnosis is not about memorization, but comprehension. Having the capacity to recite, word-for-word, the lines of any scripture, does not indicate that the student has deeply understood the practical importance of such verses.
It is necessary to study much and acquire knowledge, but it is also urgent to develop the spiritual Being within us.
Knowledge is of the intellect. While necessary in order to live in this physical world, knowledge by itself, divorced from practice and experience, is not only useless, but harmful. We can know many particulars of esoteric knowledge: astral projections, out of body experiences, jinn travels, awakened perceptions within the dream state, telepathy, the Tree of Life, Kabbalah, Alchemy, etc., and yet have no practical experience of these subjects for ourselves.
When knowledge overrides being, students and even so-called missionaries of this movement become "swindlers," possessing vast amounts of intellectual data, but no conscious development. Students often become swindled when their teachers, who profess such experiential wisdom, have no practical understanding of it for themselves, and therefore cannot offer any real guidance to orient their suffering disciples.
Comprehension is much different. It is conscious experience of the awakened soul, the Essence. Comprehension is when we know, directly, the significance of a particular passage or symbol. This relates to the profound functionalism of the heart center, the emotional brain.
Students who have a lot of experiences, but have no intellectual knowledge of the scriptures and teachings, easily get confused, and become, what Samael Aun Weor denominated, "stupid saints." Therefore, both knowledge and being are both important. What matters is that we balance the two in order to spark the fires of comprehension.
When we die, memory will not carry over from the grave into a new existence, in accordance with the doctrine of cosmic transmigration. If we wish to never forget what we study, we must experience it, since such knowledge then transforms into experiential wisdom of the superlative, awakened consciousness.
Balancing Intellectual Study
The question then becomes: "How do I study Gnosis? How do I take what I learn, intellectually, and make it conscious, so that, upon dying, I do not forget what I've read?"
Samael Aun Weor answered this beautifully in The Revolution of the Dialectic:
With practice, the experience or the direct living of any of the works that I have delivered to humanity, the practitioner will obviously achieve psychological emancipation.
When you meditate, take a verse from your reading and concentrate upon it. Ask your Innermost, your Divine Mother Kundalini, to help you comprehend the deep significance of this verse or passage.
You can recite the verse mentally if that helps you to concentrate in the beginning. You can also visualize the contents of the passage in your imagination.
Pray deeply to your internal God. To pray is to talk with divinity. You do not need formulas to speak with your physical parents, neither for your divine parents. Ask from the center of your heart about the meaning of the scripture or verse you are studying.
After asking your question, empty your mind. Clear your intellectual center and enter profound concentration. Do not let your mind wander or think of other things.
You might experience a chain of associative thinking, where the intellect tries to answer the question for you. Do not go along with it. Merely watch, vigilant in spiritual warfare, over the clouds of memories, anxieties, concepts, and thoughts that pass within the screen of your attention.
If your mind thinks of these things, do not repress them. Do not justify them either. Instead, be alert, vigilant, and watchful. See them as something separate from you, since you, as a consciousness, an Essence, is free and perceptive, examining and looking at the contents of the mind.
If you persist with this exercise, if you do not forget what you are doing, and while provoking a state of drowsiness and slumber with alert cognition, you will suddenly experience flashes of insight. This is known as imaginative knowledge. This can emerge as scenes, living dramas, internal experiences, whereby you are both a spectator and participant. You may perceive new symbols that inspire your consciousness, which is the arena of inspired knowledge. When you deeply comprehend the significance of such visions, you have successfully entered into the field of intuitive knowledge.
These three forms of knowledge are the three obligatory steps to initiation. To learn more about this process, you can study the following lecture: Imagination, Inspiration, Intuition.
Meditation: Developing Comprehension and the Emotional Brain
Meditation is not only useful for comprehending scriptures, but for understanding our own psychology.
The most important aspect of meditation for achieving psychological change is comprehension and death of the ego.
Without the elimination of desire, the pluralized ego, the "I" on a daily basis, we will not be able to effectively awaken our consciousness or experience the internal realities of the higher dimensions through dream yoga.
When defects like avarice, laziness, lust, pride, anger, envy, and gluttony are annihilated, we develop their corresponding virtues: altruism, diligence, chastity, humility, conscious love, philanthropy, and temperance.
Contrary to popular belief among certain Gnostic groups, meditation on the death of the ego is the most important practice we can engage with, not alchemy. Alchemy is important for entering the higher degrees of the spiritual path, yet without a practical foundation in comprehending and dying to the ego, then no amount of alchemical work will avail us.
Samael Aun Weor wrote of these dangers quite often, that a person who practices alchemy but does not die to the self transforms him or herself into a hasnamuss (an abortion of the Cosmic Mother) with a double center of gravity.
Therefore, you should learn to practice psychoanalytical meditation (retrospection meditation on the death of desire) as the most essential component of your discipline.
However, to learn retrospective meditation, the student needs to develop serenity (concentration) first. Below are some valuable resources for how to begin approaching the technique of psychoanalytical meditation:
Energy Work and Selfless Service
While meditation is important, it is impossible to access deeper states of serenity, consciousness, and awakening without the use of creative energy.
This is a fundamental aspect of the Gnostic teachings that is not found in mainstream spiritual writings. Without knowing how to properly transform and direct creative force, primarily the sexual energy, then the consciousness or soul will have no fuel to have spiritual experience.
Just as light cannot emerge without proper circuitry, or a lamp without well-sustained oil, the spiritual student cannot positively awaken the light of their consciousness without the assistance of transmutation.
Our tradition has innumerable exercises for transforming and transmuting the seminal matter, or elevating the sexual force. Transmutation means "to carry over through mutation," to "transform" the substance of the semen into energy.
As an essential point, students who have not dedicated themselves to conserving and transmuting their sexual energy daily cannot achieve any progress. The vast majority of students' complaints, that they cannot meditate or experience divinity, is due to a lack of chastity (sexual purity, not to be confused with sexual abstention).
Not only must we save energy, but we must consciously direct it. We do so through selfless service, finding ways to help humanity with our unique skills, talents, and dispositions.
When we learn how to support and benefit the spirituality of others, we accelerate and catalyze our own spiritual development.
Learn ways to serve humanity!
Exercises for Awakening Spiritual Energy
The following resources will also teach you how to work with the creative energy. The two most essential are pranayama (for singles) and alchemy (for married couples).
However, we have included many other exercises to help you, which you can pick and choose in accordance with your needs. Select what works best for you in your situation.
Pranayama for Single Practitioners
Alchemy Techniques for Married Couples
Mantras and Prayers for Protection
Spiritual Rituals for Strength and Healing
Sacred Rites of Rejuvenation
The Synthesis of Spiritual Balance and Practice
Remember that to find balance in your own work, you will need a combination of all three aspects below:
In synthesis, these constitute three factors for the revolution of the consciousness.
The Gnostic Academy of Chicago
Gnostic articles on practical spirituality: the science, mysticism, art, and philosophy of conscious living.