The most important principle of meditation, of genuine religion, is precisely the present moment. Studying Kabbalah, the Tree of Life, astrology, Kundalini, tantra, alchemy, the eternal tarot, the scriptures, all this will amount to nothing if we do not comprehend the moment we are in.
The teachings are vastly complex. The terms we use, the knowledge we reference, is highly technical, sophisticated, profound. Yet, despite this complexity, this vastness, all this knowledge can be synthesized into a very simple point, which is awareness of the present.
True knowledge is experienced. It is experiential. It is found here and now, not in some distant future or by reflecting only upon the past. It is found in the moment.
All traditions, all meditative disciplines teach the doctrine of the moment, since this is the key for realization, knowledge of divinity, experience of the truth. Samael Aun Weor, in The Elimination of Satan's Tail wrote the following:
“To achieve the stillness and silence of the mind, it is necessary to know how to live from instant to instant, to know how to take advantage of each moment, to not live the moment in doses.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Elimination of Satan’s Tail
All traditions of meditation teach that the origin of suffering is a lack of awareness of who we are, how we behave, what we are doing now. We have to be reflective. In Gnosticism, in the writings of Samael Aun Weor, we learn that we must know who we are, where we come from, where we are at.
Let us examine ourselves. How conscious are we throughout the day? This is not a matter of possessing vitality in the morning when we wake up, in order to be physically active. Wakefulness, vigilance, attention, awakening, is a direct state of perception of this instant, the moment we find ourselves in. So, how aware are we throughout the day? Are we awake from moment to moment? Are we attentive to what we are doing here and now?
Are we examining ourselves in whatever stage or action we are involved in? Or do we think of other things? Do we daydream? Do we fantasize? Do we worry?
Whenever we think of other things: planning, expecting, day dreaming, remembering, instead of focusing our attention on where we are at, what we are doing, it means our consciousness is asleep. We are not awake. We are dreaming.
Imagine that you are washing dishes. If we are cleaning dishes in our kitchen, but thinking of our loved ones, our friends, our family, we ignore what we are doing. We forget what we are doing. And in this way, we cut ourselves. Perhaps with a knife because we are not attentive to what we are doing in the kitchen. This is a very simple example of a profound truth: that when we lack attention in moments of critical engagement with life, we hurt ourselves.
What happens with people when they drive their car and they don't pay attention to the road? People have ended up in accidents or have killed themselves, injured others, because they are not awake. They were on their cell phone, daydreaming, thinking of other things, not focused on what they were doing.
So, there are serious consequences when we don't pay attention, and this is our chronic state. We have no cognizance of where we are or what we do, and because we act unconsciously upon negative thoughts, negative feelings, negative impulses, we produce suffering. We harm ourselves and others spiritually. It is this lack of comprehension of our internal states that produces all the sorrow of humanity.
The origin of pain is the "I." It is our sense of self that acts mechanically, that always thinks and behaves in accordance to hypotheses, theories, opinions, beliefs. The mind does not know the truth, because it is the past. This sense of self, the ego, the "I," is memory, according to Samael Aun Weor.
The Sufis refer to the self, the ego, as nafs, nafas, which can mean “breath,” a type of energy which works upon the mind. It is the expression of our words when they are filled with hatred, with envy, with pride. Someone who is awake and aware does not rely on the ego, does not speak the utterances of desire. In that way we avoid pain.
This is the beginning and the end of religion. It is found in this moment. Because when we pay attention to the present, when we observe our thoughts, our feelings, our impulses, we can access states of being that truly are inaccessible or comprehensible for people who know nothing of the soul, who are identified with pride, with lust, with hatred, with vanity, etc.
We speak in these studies of self-observation and self-remembering. The Sufis referred to self-observation as inner accounting, muhasabah: to make an account of our defects so that by discovering our defects, they may become dead defects. We have to learn to see ourselves in the moment, not to think we are a certain way or to assume, but to perceive. This is how we study the book of our life.
We look, we introspect the examined. We observe our mind, our heart, and our impulses, our behaviors. This is the beginning of religion, and you can only find it here in this instant.
But self-observation is not enough. This must be combined with presence of God, remembrance of divinity. This is a profound state of awareness known as hudur in Arabic: the presence of God, the presence of divinity. This is accessed through muhadarah, awareness of the present.
Many Gnostic students write to us and ask us, how do I remember my divinity? How do I know that I am observing myself correctly? The question unveils the answer. Self-observation and remembrance are not intellectual exercises. They are found when we stop thinking, when we learn to look―to look from a space between thought, when we were not identified with an idea, with a concept. Remembrance of God is a quality, a crystal, pristine fountain of divine states. We know this state and we experience it, especially in a moment when we are in a crisis, when all the elements of the psyche are mixed, churning; when we are boiling with ordeals, because anyone on this path must face crises so that the ego comes to the surface. This is why the Quran states:
“And We shall test you until We know those among you who strive and those who are patient, and We shall test your proclamations.” ―Muhammad (47:31)
“And We will surely test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient…” ―Al-Baqarah, “The Cow” (2:155).
“Every soul will taste death. And We test you with evil and with good as trial; and to Us you will be returned.” ―Al-Anbiya “The Prophets” (21:35)
We face hardships so that the ego emerges, but the question remains, what desire or what will do we act upon? In a moment when we are criticized, lied to, spat upon, hated. What behavior do we enact?
This is not an intellectual exercise. It is a quality of mind. It is a decision we make in the moment. Do we respond with anger, with self-esteem, with resentment, with pride? Or do we choose a better way of behaving? Conscious love, compassion, forgiveness, serenity and wisdom is the way.
We achieve serenity and wisdom when we don't act on the mind. When in that crisis of being criticized or insulted, we remain calm. We don't allow our external behavior to manifest with anger, but on a deeper level, we learn to introspect and not act upon anger in the mind.
This is why meditation is essential. This is why the present moment is fundamental. We have to be aware of where we are at; who we are; what we are doing. Because, the gospel of the moment, the doctrine of the moment, is precisely defined and written in the book of our deeds.
When we choose virtuous action, especially in those moments when, really, our desires and our ego want to retaliate, we gain wisdom when we act ethically―when we comprehend that our pride, that our hatred, is wrong. And in that way, we remember God. We contemplate God. We realize that to act with anger is to be unethical. Is to be a demon; to be a failure. But to allow virtue to spontaneously flourish, to let intuitive action emerge from the presence of our heart, we find happiness and we avoid problems.
This is why Samael Aun Weor in The Elimination of Satan's Tail:
“Take everything from each moment, because each moment is a child of Gnosis, each moment is absolute, alive and significant. Momentariness is a special characteristic of the Gnostics. We love the philosophy of momentariness.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Elimination of Satan’s Tail
So when people ask this question: how do I self-observe? How do I self-remember? It shows that we are not being spontaneous. These principles are understood by looking in ourselves here and now. It is spontaneity. It is alive: the doctrine of Gnosis, knowledge. You only gain understanding by looking at yourself.
When we look to the intellect for answers, we vacillate, we hesitate, we make mistakes. In a moment, we may think in a crisis that a certain action will be best, and yet our heart tells us otherwise. And because we don't act upon the intuitions of our heart, we go along with the intellect and justify ourselves. Meanwhile, we feel remorse and realize later that we acted wrongly.
So instead of hesitating about what to do in those moments, we have to learn to follow our heart. It is a quality of the heart. Remembrance of God is in the heart, within the soul. This is what it means to live intuitively, to live with intelligence, because the intellect cannot solve problems. It can store information. It can theorize. It can conceptualize, but it cannot know an answer.
So we have to remember this presence, to learn what this presence is. It is the wisdom of our own conscience: our heart that tells us this is right, and this is wrong. The more we feed that conscience, the stronger it gets. The more we deny that conscience in the moment, the more we suffer.
This is why the Sufis taught, especially through the writings of Rumi, "My friend, the Sufi is the son of the present moment. To say ‘tomorrow’ is not our way."
Defining the Moment
Let us define what the present moment is.
In our tradition, we spend a lot of time talking about self-observation and self-remembering. We do so through analyzing the lines of life and being.
The line of life is time. It is birth, life, and death. It is mechanical. It is the events of our existence that repeat mechanically through recurrence. It is our daily experience from morning to evening. It is a repetition. It is a cycle which the Buddhists call samsara: cycling. And in this way, we travel through life from our birth to our death, but usually without any understanding.
The line of being is very different. These are the qualities of the soul, the qualities of consciousness. These are the superior states of being, which are elevated and known by the Tree of Life of the Kabbalah. This is a map of our soul, of our Being, of our identity. These are the superior qualities that the Sufis state in their doctrine, in manuals such as Kashf al-Mahjub, Revelation of the Mystery by Al-Hujwiri and also the states and stations the path mentioned by many masters such as Al-Qushayri and Abdullah Ansari of Herat, of whom I will be quoting today.
These are the states and stations in the path. Each sphere or sephiroth is a quality of being, which is many elements, many principles. And so, the states and stations of the path are mapped by the Hebraic Kabbalah in a very intuitive way.
Now, we will be exploring how those principles relate to this diagram extensively, but in synthesis we state, the superior states of being are the sephiroth, the Tree of Life, and the inferior states of being are the Tree of Zaqqum mentioned in the Qur’an. This is the tree of death: the inverted spheres, the Klipoth, the hell realms.
Heaven and hell are states of being, and yet there are also places in nature that we access when we are sleeping in the dreaming state.
The law of attraction determines our life. What we are psychologically attracts where we go in nature. We always follow the trajectory of our mental stream, our mind, our behaviors. Virtuous people associate with virtuous people. Demonic people with demonic people. Everybody likes to talk about in these times of the law of attraction, about getting what you want, fulfilling desire. And yet people fail to realize that while this is true―we associate with people at our level of being―it doesn't mean that we should follow just desire, egotism.
Instead in our studies, we seek to change our level of being, our psychology in this instant, of where we are at. If we wish to access the Tree of Life, the heavenly dimensions, we do so by being in the moment―being present―which is why Al-Qushayri states the following in his book Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism:
“I heard Abu Ali al-Daqqaq say that the “now”―waqt―is that in which you are. If you are in the world, your “now” is this world. If you are in the next world (the higher dimensions of the Tree of Life), your “now” is the next world. If you are in joy, your “now” is joy. If you are in sorrow, your “now” is sorrow. He means by this that the present moment is that which has dominance over a person.” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
Many people wanted to experience the higher dimensions, the Tree of Life, astral projections, jinn experiences, awakened knowledge, but often what they fail to do is practice in their daily life: vigilance, to be aware of the present, because one who is awakening physically in their daily state―that is no longer acting mechanically―that introspection and vigilance occurs within the internal planes until the present moment dominates.
Usually the moment defines us, and not the other way around. We suffer mechanically through circumstances, never knowing how to change our reactions to life. It is only when we learn to be aware of this instant that we can transform our state and ascend to higher levels of being.
Samael Aun Weor mentions that the ability to originate new circumstances, to no longer be a slave to the line of life, following, repeatedly, mechanically, the process of birth, life, and death, and then on repeat, to return―the law of return, transmigration―we can escape the mechanism of life by following epigenesis, which is “the ability to originate new circumstances."
Because we usually repeat things moment-by-moment, primarily because we are not aware of the “now.” Situations, events, people, dramas, tragedies, comedies: these incessantly repeat. If we want to transform the situation, we have to be aware of this instant, our internal states. We have to be aware of the instant, our states in relation to external events, because this is the requirement for the moment.
Requirements for the Moment
The Sufis use the technical term 'waqt' to define the present. They explain that superior or inferior action always depends upon the present. Our state of mind and what we decide in the moment determines our trajectory. We have to be aware of the impressions of life and what we experience, but also our internal state.
Al-Qushayri states in his Principles of Sufism the following,
“Waqt (the present moment) may refer specifically to the time in which one is. Some people say that the present moment is between the two times, that is, the past and the future.” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So these constitute the line of life. We must decide to enact the qualities of the being or animal desires.
“And they say that the Sufi is the “son of his moment.” This means that he occupies himself immediately with whatever sort of devotion should come first in a given moment. He bases himself upon what is required of him at the time. It is said, “The dervish cares for neither the past nor the future of his moment: he cares for the moment in which he is.” And regarding this, “To be preoccupied with what escaped you in a moment that has passed is to waste a second moment.” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
Real devotion is remembrance of divinity in the present instant. It is only here and now. Now we can fulfill divine action, but if we are distracted, asleep, unconscious, we cannot respond ethically to the moment. So this is what Shari’ah is, the law, the instruction. The code of ethical conduct. We have to learn to be in the instant, to respond with ethics, with compassion, with wisdom. If we feel shame for having acted unethically, even if only in our mind, then we are distracted with the past. We must be present with our being and not be preoccupied with the past, to be conscious here and now. This is the essence of worship.
So people think that worship is something external. We always do so according to many mainstream religions, by attending a mosque, a church, synagogue, a temple. In reality, we have to learn to worship divinity in our actions. We do so by becoming aware of God.
The Governance of the Present
“The best act of worship is watchfulness of the moments. That is, that the servant not look beyond his limit, not contemplate anything other than his Lord, and not associate with anything other than his present moment.” ―Al-Wasiti, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
To not look beyond our limit means to follow our intuition: to not speculate “how I must act,” but know it in our heart.
Everybody struggles with the mind. The mind says one thing, the heart another. This is why Samael Aun Weor stated, "We must learn to think with the heart and feel with the head.” Intuition is an act of consciousness and plenitude, where the ego is not present.
Contemplation of God exists as we observe ourselves and no longer act upon the ego. We learn to speak and behave ethically, from a state of serenity, altruism, compassion, generosity. When we associate with anything other than the present, it means that we are unconscious. We are dreaming. We are thinking. We are associating other things with the present, meaning: we are driving our car, but we are associating in our mind with our job, thinking of our previous work day, or anticipating the future, or thinking of what a solution could be for a problem. These are beliefs, ideas, concepts, justifications. These elements cloud our perception of what we are doing in the moment.
The Muslims speak abundantly of not associating with anything other than God. The Qur’an speaks, many times, of “Far be He from that which they associate with Him!" Or: “Glory to Allah! He is free from the things they ascribe to Him!” (37:159).
So we included the calligraphy of Allah in Arabic in this slide to talk about the governance of the present, primarily because we have to learn to allow the Being to act through us. Of course, for some people this may seem like a very difficult endeavor, or better said, an impossible one. Many students ask us, how do I remember God? And we always answer very simply: Did your behavior produce suffering or happiness? What are the results in our midstream? The qualities of our mind?
Self-observation, inner-accounting, muhasabah, is when we take account of our defects, but remembrance of the presence of God, Hudur, is something qualitative; something psychological, spiritual. You learn to taste it by striving towards it again and again, by learning to overcome and not act upon the ego, as was mentioned by that quote from Al-Wasati.
“The best act of worship is watchfulness of the moment.” Don't look beyond your limit. Don't try to contemplate anything else than the present. If you are in this instant, don't think about some miraculous samadhi in the clouds when we can't even pay attention to tying our shoes. You learn to access those higher states by being aware of the most mundane things, which is not really so mundane if we are attentive. It is a quality of the new, alert novelty: when we see life in a new way.
The reality is that no one can teach you how to remember God. You do so through deep reflection on your internal states―by discriminating and analyzing in meditation the suffering of wrong action and the happiness of liberated action. When we learn to act without egotism, we are following our intuition, the voice of conscience, the heart doctrine. This is when we follow al-Haqq, the Truth, the Being.
The following quote is from the Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri.
“The Sufis also may use waqt to mean the power and direction of the Truth when it comes over them regardless of their own will. They say, “So-and-so is under the rule of the now,” (bi hukm il-waqt)―that is, he has surrendered himself without preference to whatever appears to him from the unknown.” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
What is the unknown? The Being, the Truth. As Samael Aun Weor mentions, it is the unknowable from moment to moment. God is infinite and his states are a perfect multiple unity. Divinity as a unity is perfect, is integral, but the qualities of divinity are infinite―described by qualities such as altruism, patience, diligence, compassion, love.
Real Islam is when we submit to the qualities of God in the moment, and knowing how to act rightly in a crisis, in the instant, which is intuitive action. It doesn't mean that we follow a reason in the intellect, necessarily, but following an ethical conduct: the voice of our conscience in our heart.
When Muslims pray to the East towards Mecca, towards the stone, the Kaaba of the alchemists―the stone of la baca: the sacred cow, or the stone of the masons, Yesod―they do so by bowing their head to the earth. This is a beautiful symbol of allowing the Being to control the mind.
We have to submit our head to the East, towards the divine, a symbol of learning to be present in the moment. So in terms of salat, ritual prayer, Muslims bow their head to the East. It signifies how we have to obey the commands of our intuition, even when it is painful for our ego. This is Islam [submission], and this is what leads to salam, peace. When we act upon our conscience and our heart, we find true peace and serenity. We resolve problems. We find solutions, but knowing how to find that answer is very difficult, especially in the moment, which is why we have to meditate.
We have to reflect upon our day and to understand how we behaved internally, externally. This is how we learn to govern the present moment more effectively, when those situations and events repeat, so that we can comprehend more. We have to learn to submit to the inner voice of our divine Being, whom only we can recognize. We have to follow our intuition, even if it makes our mind scream with pain. This is the path of crucifixion mentioned by Jesus. We have to accept our internal states and also question what we see so that we can act rightly.
“So-and-so is under the rule of the now,” (bi hukm il-waqt)―that is, he has surrendered himself without preference to whatever appears to him from the unknown.” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
This means that the mind is receptive. The heart is receptive. We are awake. We are vigilant. The mind is serene, so that in the waters of our psyche, the pure images of heaven can reflect. Therefore, we have no preference to what God gives us. We obey God. We become a vehicle of the divine. That is what it means to be governed in the present, by a profound state of samadhi, ecstasy, wujud, here and now.
To reach these states, we have to be practical meditators. We have to really sift through the mud of the mind, so that we gain more clarity day by day, year by year. This is a very important aspect of Sufism and meditation. To access intuitive states in the daily moment of our life, but also in our meditations, especially. You cannot have one without the other.
“This can apply only to circumstances where God Most High has given no order, and where there is no model in the Divine Ordinance that one is obliged to follow.” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
What this quote references is that some situations in life are more mundane. There is no crisis there. We are dealing with our daily obligations, our chores. It is not necessary that we receive a divine ordinance or command that we must follow in a particular ordeal.
Sometimes the Being, as we are in the process of self-realization, enters into us, but also retracts. It comes into my mind a story of the Master Samael Aun Weor, who even towards the end of his life, his last incarnation, before the advent of resurrection, he had no ego, but he went to go give a lecture in a large auditorium in South America where his Being entered him, according to one missionary. He was speaking with a lot of force, commanding and speaking to the audience and providing his teaching from the Logos Samael, the Martian Christ. And yet later, this missionary who told me the story went up to the Master Samael after the lecture, and saw that Samael Aun Weor was very calm and even childlike. He didn't have that Martian, powerful, commanding force that he exemplified in the lecture.
And this missionary explained, it is because during the lecture, the Being had to give a teaching, entering into him in the present moment and provided the knowledge that was so necessary for us. Then the Being retracts. This is known as absence and presence in Sufism, Ghaybah and Hudur, respectively.
Sometimes even at the very heights, the Being enters through us, but also retracts. But if we are serious about the work, eventually the Being will be fully present, always. That is achieved at the end of the Second Mountain as taught within our courses of initiation.
So we have to learn to follow the commands of God when it is given to us through our heart through our emotional center, especially―our superior emotions, our intuition.
“For to neglect that to which you have been ordered, to make an order an object of surmise, and to be indifferent to your falling short of your duty, is to depart from the religion.” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So how often in our experience have we received an intuition that we speculated about? We knew the right thing, but we didn't do it, and only realized later with remorse that we failed do the do the right thing. This is what it means to speculate: to make an order from God a surmise―to let the intellect think and rationalize―every excuse to not do that thing, to not act intuitively, to not follow our heart. This is how we betray God.
This is emphasized in the story of Pilate who justified the execution of Jesus. He washed his hands clean. That is our intellect, a symbol of our mind. We speculate about an intuition we receive, and we don't do the right thing. And also “to be indifferent to falling short in our duty,” to not feel remorse, is to depart from religion.
So this is the path of demons. People who feel no remorse in this instant are disconnected. They are al-kafirin, “the unbelievers” mentioned in the Qur’an.
The Moment is a Sword
The moment is a sword. It depends upon our behaviors how we use that weapon. It defends the righteous and harms the wicked.
As I have been saying, our actions determine our life. In a moment, we could defend our virtue, our soul, our life, with a virtuous action, even in the worst circumstances―or we suffer spiritual death. We fall upon our own sword by acting with anger, perversity, wrath.
“One of the sayings of the Sufis is, “The moment is a sword.” That is, in just the way that a sword severs, the present moment shows forth the influence of God’s action, ending things and bringing them to be.” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
As we explained previously, states emerge, they sustain, they pass. Events also emerge, they sustain, and pass. Our divinity is the one who arranges, for the initiates, the path of the moment: the beginning and the end. Our decisions are either to follow God or our desires. They determine where we go. What happens to us.
“It is said, ‘The touch of the flat of a sword is temperate, but its blade cuts’―the one who treats it gently is safe and the one who treats it rudely is destroyed. Thus with the “now”: Whoever submits himself to its authority is saved and whoever resists it deteriorates and declines. They have recited about this:
“Like a sword, if you polish it, its touch is soothing
But its edge, if you are harsh to it, is harsh.”
―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
This is a beautiful teaching. If you polish your consciousness, with dhikr, remembrance of God, with meditation, with comprehension of the ego, the moment is soothing like a sword. It's touch is temperate, cool, but it's edge, if we are harsh in the moment by acting upon the moment, it is harsh. We cut ourselves. We feel pain.
“If the moment makes someone happy,
it is just a moment to him.
If it makes him miserable, it becomes something hateful.”
―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So this is very beautiful. Very simple. The one who treats it gently is safe and the one who treats it really is destroyed. “Thus with the now, whoever submits himself to its authority is saved and whoever resists it deteriorates and declines.”
Self-remembrance is not complicated. If it sounds complicated or we think it is difficult, it is because we are approaching it with our intellect. Happiness is a state of the soul. It is not an intellectual concept, although we have many terms and stories and anecdotes to relate these principles. A moment that makes us happy is one, really, in which we stop thinking, stop daydreaming, stop reminiscing about the past or thinking of the future, but learning to act here and now.
The Sword of the Seekers
"Remembering God with the heart is called the sword of the seekers. With it the seeker slays his enemies [egos, defects, nafs] and drives off [karmic] troubles that are headed for him." ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
It is by remembering God here and now, that we slay our enemies, which are the egos, the defects, or the nafs in Arabic―and, “drive off karmic troubles that are headed for us.” Meditation, astral projection, sacred rites of rejuvenation, runes, pranayama, alchemy: all these exercises are predicated on what we are doing here and now―how present we are when we practice.
Remembrance of God is a sword. Our states determine our life, and if we do not remember God, we act upon states of egotism. Again, God is not outside, but is inside. As the Quran teaches, "Truly We are closer to you than your jugular vein” (50:16).
By remembering that presence in us, we learn through practical life how to slay our enemies, our negative states, our defects as we are meditating, and drive off troubles that are headed for us, because if circumstances repeat, as karma and troubles emerge in our life that we have to resolve, if we respond or react with negativity, we exacerbate our pain. We complicate our issues. But if we act from serenity, we defend ourselves.
“Even if difficulty should overshadow the servant, his fleeing to God Most High in his heart immediately turns away from him the thing he hates.” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
Here we have an image of Saint Michael conquering the dragon, a symbol of how our soul can conquer our lower self. And notice that as he is wielding of this sword of justice, he is in a perfect state of equanimity. Remembrance of God is calm, is serene, is balanced. It is only through clear perception and serenity, awareness in the present, that we know how to act in the spontaneity of the moment.
Psychological States and External Events
Samael Aun Weor mentions in Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology, how the best method for overcoming suffering is an appropriate psychological state:
“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.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology
So perhaps at our job, with our friends, with our family, with our spouse, somebody approaches us with hatred, with anger, with violence. If we learn to act with an appropriate psychological state, we can disarm the situation, dismantle aggression, because serenity is a much more crushing force than anger. We can unveil the truth by acting with states of sincerity, with altruism, with integrity
"Wrong internal states convert us into defenseless victims of human perversity." ―Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology
So if we face a crisis and yet we act with ego, at our job, in our career, we become defenseless. We become weak. People and their ego overwhelm us. We become victims of life, unable to act and orient the ship of our existence. We become slaves of suffering.
"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
This means we are practicing retrospection meditation. We have to learn to comprehend the ego in the moment, observe ourselves instant by instant, moment by moment, acting upon Shari’ah, ethics. We must not identify with any event, because that wastes energy. We must not identify with external circumstances or our egotistical reactions, but to observe it like a movie so that we acquire data, information. And then later in the evening, or later in our day, we meditate upon what we saw and ask for comprehension and elimination of mistaken states from divinity.
"Unquestionably, each external event needs its appropriate fare, that is, its precise psychological state." ―Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology
Internal states must match external events. This is a very difficult concept to understand with the intellect, but it is something where we access and gain confidence in through meditation, reflection.
Every event needs its appropriate response. Impressions of life always enter us and we are always obligated to respond. We have to examine what states in us produce conflict, which are wrong, which are negative, but also to reflect on the virtues of the soul, to understand that which benefits oneself and others in a conscious way―in a spiritual way.
The Metaphysical Moment
This is the definition of the metaphysical moment as taught by Abdullah Ansari of Herat, who was a master from the Persian tradition of Sufism. He wrote in his Stations of the Sufi Path, a beautiful teaching about different levels of the moment as understood by levels of meditators, initiates.
God, the Most High, says, “Then did you come hither as ordained, O Moses!” (20:40). ―Abdullah Ansari of Herat, Stations of the Sufi Path
Moses was a prophet, but he also symbolizes the principle of liberated will: a consciousness that knows how to act here and now. And in the path of initiation, Moses is associated with the causal body: the body of will power within the sixth dimension, nirvana, the sphere of Tiphereth on the Tree of Life.
It is that type of will which is liberated that knows how to perform miracles, feats of magic, which is in the positive sense, the control of elements of nature, in accordance with the will of God. So while Muslims reject anything resembling magic or magical ceremony, the truth is that the prophets were all magicians. They represented for us the magic of the Being, the magic of a purified will.
So "Then did you come hither as ordained, O Moses!" (20:40).
Meaning, “You obeyed My command,” said the Being, because at that level of a master, one can receive direct knowledge and know what to do. In our level we tend to be very confused. We have an intuition in our heart, but because we don't listen to it. We tend to commit many errors and suffer the consequences.
Let us examine the different levels of the metaphysical moment, waqt:
“The metaphysical moment or time constitutes an instant in which nothing but God can be contained.” ―Abdullah Ansari of Herat, Stations of the Sufi Path
This has to do with being absorbed in divine states, in which we don't identify with anything but that state of bliss of divinity, whether in meditation or even in daily life, which we cultivate little by little.
“The people of the metaphysical moment are three groups. For one, the metaphysical moment is like a flash of lightning, for another, it is lasting, while for another, it is overwhelming.” ―Abdullah Ansari of Herat, Stations of the Sufi Path
These are degrees as indicated by the levels of Sufism, of instruction, of understanding.
There are introductory levels known as Shari’ah, the exoteric, the law of ethics, discipline, restraint of mind.
There is an intermediate path known as Tariqa, the mesoteric level. Tariqa can also refer to a Sufi school, and there are different Tariqas that provide the knowledge of Sufism.
Then there is an advanced knowledge or wisdom, Haqiqah / Marifah.
So for one, the metaphysical moment is like a flash of lightning for those in the introductory level. In the beginning of our path, we get insight, little by little, like a flash of lightning. We have moments of intuition and understanding, which are spontaneous. They emerge and they vanish quickly. However, we become inspired because we realize that we are perceiving God at our level, in a very basic way. This is the very beginnings of practice, which we cultivate through ethics, Shari'ah and meditation.
For the middle group, it is lasting, because for those who are really working seriously in Tariqa, a path or discipline, the mesoteric level, are making their intuitions and experiences much more consistent. Therefore the light lasts longer for them, because they are generating more light.
But for the advanced initiates, the Prophets, the Gods, the metaphysical moment is overwhelming, because that state is constant for them. This is the level of Beings like Prophet Muhammad, Moses, Jesus, Samael Aun Weor.
So obviously most of us will be in the introductory level. We gain insights here and there. We do so by learning to follow our intuition and our ethics as best we can, so that we can get more wisdom and light.
But the intermediate levels and the advanced levels are for those who are really practicing daily, seriously, for an extensive period of time.
The Three Degrees of the Moment
Abdullah Ansari of Herat also elaborates on these three stages and what they entail―from the introductory, the intermediate, and advanced levels.
For the introductory level, practitioners, “The moment that is like a flash of lightning is purifying, washing away defects.” ―Abdullah Ansari of Herat, Stations of the Sufi Path
In the beginning, we have to learn to wash away defects. We have to observe ourselves in the day and at night, or when we practice retrospection meditation: getting comprehension like a flash of lightning and purifying our psyche. For after comprehension comes annihilation, when working with the Divine Mother, Al-Baqarah, the sacred cow mentioned in the second surah of the Qur’an.
“The moment that is lasting is awe-inspiring and keeps one occupied.” ―Abdullah Ansari of Herat, Stations of the Sufi Path
So as we are working with the death of the ego, with Tariqa, our metaphysical moments are ecstasies. They become lasting, awe inspiring and keep us occupied. What does it mean to be occupied? It means that, whether physically or the internal planes, we are awake. We are busy. I have known missionaries in Gnosis, in our tradition, who have had many beautiful samadhis, many experiences, and personally when I have been in such states, I have been very occupied in what I have been experiencing in the astral plane, the mental plane, etc. This fills us with awe.
People who are unconscious and asleep are lazy. They are not occupied. They are unconscious. They go to bed for eight hours and wake up in the morning without awareness of what happened. This is the level of profound sleep, the path of ignorance. When we have those experiences we become filled with awe, but that light only emerges and sustains based on purification, Shari'ah, ethics.
"The moment that is overwhelming destroys and annihilates." ―Abdullah Ansari of Herat, Stations of the Sufi Path
So the moment of annihilation and destruction is of the self. This is the path of Haqiqah / Marifah, in which all sense of self is lost in the Being. This is the experience of the Truth in the highest degrees of the Tree of Life, the highest sephiroth of that diagram.
Let us examine the other requisites and degrees in the moment.
"The moment like a flash of lightning arises from contemplative reflection (fikrat)." ―Abdullah Ansari of Herat, Stations of the Sufi Path
For the beginner level, that flash of intuition and lightning comes about through self-observation in meditation, contemplative reflection, or serene reflection mentioned in the writings of Samael Aun Weor. We have to contemplate ourselves and reflect daily.
"The moment that is lasting arises from delight in divine remembrance and invocation." ―Abdullah Ansari of Herat, Stations of the Sufi Path
So what does it mean to feel delight in divine remembrance and invocation? It means that we have our true joy through the work, when we are consistent, when we are defined.
That wisdom lasts in us as we take delight in the Gnostic work, when we love the Gnostic esoteric work above all things, when we invoke God every instant of our life, asking for understanding―praying for wisdom, moment-by-moment, instant-by-instant.
"The moment that is overwhelming arises from the audition of spiritual vision." ―Abdullah Ansari of Herat, Stations of the Sufi Path
This is the level of Marifah / Haqiqah: Knowledge and Truth.
The moment that is overwhelming emerges from the audition of spiritual vision, from hearing and seeing the superior worlds, not only just from the lower sephiroth of the Tree of Life, but the top trinity and beyond. If you look at the Kabbalah, you remember that we have ten spheres―three trinities and then the lower sphere Malkuth, which is the physical body.
The levels of Sufism relate to the Tree of Life in these trinities.
The lower triangle, Yesod, Hod, and Netzach relate to our ethics (Shari’ah) because it is in those spheres where the ego manifests. They learn to control Netzach, our mind; Hod, our emotions; Yesod, our sexual energy. That is working with Shari'ah, the law, when we work with those elements consciously.
Tariqa, “the wisdom that lasts,” relates to the middle trinity: Chesed, Geburah, Tiphereth.
Chesed, the Being, the Spirit, the Innermost, Mercy; Geburah, divine consciousness; and Tiphereth, the human soul. This is the path of Tariqa, the heart, when we really remember God at that level.
And lastly, spiritual vision, which is the height: Haqiqah, the Truth and Marifah, Knowledge, relates to the top trinity of the Tree of Life. Al-Haqq can relate to Kether, Chokmah, Binah: supreme wisdom, intelligence, and the glory of divinity. But also Marifah, which is knowledge, relates with the sphere of Da’ath, alchemy, Allah-Khemia: to fuse with Allah.
If you are interested in learning more about how Sufism speaks about alchemy, you could study our lecture, Divine Love on chicagognosis.org, especially the course: The Sufi Path of Self Knowledge, from which is listed.
"The moment that is overwhelming arises from the audition of spiritual vision." ―Abdullah Ansari of Herat, Stations of the Sufi Path
Audition refers to hearing, and usually the Sufis speak about spiritual dance and listening to beautiful music with recitations of the Qur’an and other Sufi poetry.
This verse also has something much more profound related to it. What is spiritual audition? It has to do with, again recitation, the verb, with music: all that relates to the sphere of Da’ath on the Tree of Life, the hidden sephirah, which is the origin of spiritual vision: the science and mysteries of the perfect matrimony.
To reach those supreme heights of the spiritual moment, to know how to work with the highest degrees in the moment, obviously one has to be married. So that one becomes annihilated by the presence of God through alchemy, which we will explain progressively in this course, but also we have explained in other courses too on chicagognosis.org.
"That which is like a flash of lightning makes one oblivious to the world and illuminates one's recollection of the hereafter." ―Abdullah Ansari of Herat, Stations of the Sufi Path
So when we have intuitions and understandings, here and now, we reflect more on the course of our life. It illuminates our hopes and our understandings of where we would like to be―where we aspire to on the Tree of Life, which is the hereafter, the superior worlds. We become oblivious to the negativities and the ignorance of the world, and therefore, contemplate a higher truth: a higher reality from experience. That is the, again, Shari'ah, the path of the beginner, which leads us through the secret path, Tariqa, towards the heights, Haqiqah.
"The moment that is lasting will keep one engaged in itself rather than preoccupied with the hereafter, until the Truth becomes evident." ―Abdullah Ansari of Herat, Stations of the Sufi Path
What is interesting is for the beginners, we all want to go to heaven. We all want to go to the top of the Tree of Life, and we don't want to be down here. We don't want to be in the hell realms, so to speak. However, those who are really working with meditation, Tariqa, who are in “the moment that lasts,” when they are really awakening consciousness here and now, they'd rather be engaged in their work than preoccupied with the hereafter, because they understand from experience that to get to that point, they have to really work seriously―to be concerned with our daily life.
For as Samael Aun Weor mentioned, "Initiation is our own life, lived intensely, with rectitude and with love." These initiates who are really serious would rather be preoccupied with the death of the ego, engaged in the work itself, and not be preoccupied with salvation in some other world. They know that they have to get there by work, “until the Truth becomes evident.”
"The moment that is overwhelming eliminates the conditioned habits of the human state, so that the transcendent Truth alone abides." ―Abdullah Ansari of Herat, Stations of the Sufi Path
This is the path of Haqiqah / Marifah: those moments in which all the self is lost, annihilated, and only the Being is present in the soul.
These are the states of Prophets, the moments of our Prophet, which are very elevated. Of course, we can taste those levels if we are meditating, if we learn, first of all, to contemplate ourselves, here and now. Of course, the moment is always divided in different ways, according to the path of initiation, and according to a level of being. In order to explore this topic further, I invite you to ask questions.
Questions and Answers
Question: My question is, I would like to know what will be the best attitude for someone who is trying to stay alert. But, you know, its is going back and forth, back and forth, you know, so sometimes you know the feeling of discouragement wants to take it away. So what will be the best attitude for someone who is in that situation and would like to keep on going?
Instructor: That is a good question. Prayer is fundamental. Prayer is essential. When we feel weak and discouraged, we have to remember our experiences, when we acted virtuously, when we acted consciously for the benefit of others. We have to really reflect on our victories, things we have done well with, our virtues. It is not enough just to meditate on the death of the ego, but the contemplate right action. Because the more we see that we are capable of acting uprightly, the more we realize that we are capable of doing this work, that it can be done.
It is very easy in this knowledge to become pessimistic. Many people see the ego and become terrified at how vast and big it is―and get discouraged. But that is not an accurate depiction of our capacities for change. To really see how much work we have to do, it is important that we recognize that we do need a lot of work, but at the same time that shouldn't mean we become morbid, pessimistic, doubtful of our abilities.
The reality is, as we are having experiences internally, we gain flashes of lightning, inspirations, understandings, which keep pushing us to change. Of course, in the beginning those moments are like flashes of inspiration. They are not lasting yet. But in order to progress from the stage of Shari'ah to Tariqa, instead of going back and forth in our practice, we have to develop consistency, to really work regardless of whether or not we think we see results. Because the results will emerge spontaneously in our day to day, instant by instant life. Moment by moment. Little by little. And not to get discouraged, because of course, it is not easy to change, given the magnitude of our faults. But we also should not be one-sided and think with shame, "Oh I am such a negative bad person." But to realize we have the virtues of God inside. As small as that may be, remember that even David killed Goliath. The Essence, the soul, killed the giant.
I recommend meditating and praying and reflecting upon the virtues of your soul―taking the time to imagine and reflect on those moments in your life in which you acted virtuously, even when it was difficult to do so, because that gives us hope. Hope is important, to have hope in ourselves and divinity, in our abilities.
So it's necessary to be balanced in meditations, but also pray a lot for that help, because you gain help in the moment, when we pray, in those moments in which we are tested. When I have been in my current job, receiving a lot of difficulties, and I can feel my ego wanting to surge and act and affect the people I work with, I pray for a lot of help, for serenity. And I have been able to find through my meditations and my self-observations, not only the ego that I must work on, but also the virtuous qualities that I need to enact in those moments.
Meditation and self-observation, in the moment, go hand-in-hand. We deepen our understanding through prayer. To pray sincerely. Ask for your Divinity to help you. You don't need a formula in order to receive help or to ask for it, but simply with whatever longings you feel. You can ask, and I recommend take your question and your prayers to meditation, and then in that way, fall asleep, and examine your dreams for the answers. In that way, we gain experiences, more of those lightning flashes, so to speak, so that we continue to develop light.
It is not enough just to reflect on the bad. We have to reflect on the good in ourselves too, because that wouldn't be realistic.
Question: I was wondering if you would say more on what you were saying about. If you are enjoying a moment, then you are enjoying. If you're sorrowful then you are in sorrow. Can you speak about the difference between questioning where you are in and examining where you are? Sometimes I feel like in examining where I am, I am sort of questioning it. But it masks as examination, but sometimes there's almost a doubt within, that examination.
Instructor: It is stated by the Sufis how the “now” is the instant. We can be occupied with states of happiness or sorrow, because even the soul, can also experience states of remorse, of regrets for wrong action, which is the different kind of pain than just the ego not being satisfied.
So examination in the strict sense has to do with looking with the consciousness here and now. One thing is the intellect labeling and doubting what we see. But unfortunately, because our intellect tends to be much more developed in us than our conscience, we have that center of gravity in the mind.
Examination is nothing to do with the intellect. As Samael Aun Weor mentions, the intellect can give itself the luxury of labeling a defect and passing it to other levels of the subconsciousness, or the unconsciousness, or infraconsciousness. Real examination has to do with seeing the mind for what it is through conscious perception [muhasabah: inner accounting]. But we can only do that by being alert to what is going on―really examining and seeing without judgment, without labeling, without repressing what the contents of our psychology are. Examination has nothing to do with saying “This is an ego, pride,” or “This is an ego, vanity,” etc., but really seeing its qualities.
Judgment―we have to reserve for later in meditation and judgment can only occur once we have fully seen an ego in action and have comprehended it in meditation, because in the moment we can see egos in our daily state, defects. However, meditation is needed to go deeper.
So, examination is twofold. Self-observation, first, is what gives us the food and the fuel for meditation. And then judgment is the comprehension we get as we are meditating―when we really understand why a certain defect behaves or acts a certain way. Where did it come from? What is its conditioning? This is the knowing “the how and the why of the mind” according to Samael Aun Weor.
This is examination. comprehension, understanding. But of course, in the beginning, it is difficult because self-observation is a faculty in us that is atrophied. We gain strength with it more and more as we discipline ourselves to pay attention, instant by instant, moment by moment.
"By degrees this object shaped itself to his sight. It was as that of a human head, covered with a dark veil, through which glared, with livid and demoniac fire, eyes that froze the marrow of his bones. Nothing else of the face was distinguishable—nothing but those intolerable eyes; but his terror, that even at the first seemed beyond nature to endure, was increased a thousandfold, when, after a pause, the Phantom glided slowly into the chamber. The cloud retreated from it as it advanced; the bright lamps grew wan, and flickered restlessly as at the breadth of its presence. Its form was veiled as the face, but the outline was that of a female; yet it moved not as move even the ghosts that simulate the living. It seemed rather to crawl as some vast misshapen reptile; and pausing at length it cowered beside the table which held the mystic volume, and again fixed its eyes through the filmy veil on the rash invoker." ―Zanoni, Edward Bulwer-Lytton
That passage is from a famous book called Zanoni by Edward Bulwer-Lytton, and this passage which describes the Guardian of the Threshold has inspired many spiritual seekers and mystics who themselves wish to enter into the most sacred secret teachings of all world religions, of the occult brotherhoods and the schools of mystery.
Each student knows, as they begin to work towards initiation, that there is a threshold in which they pass from their outer ordinary course of life into the inner worlds: the world of the soul. Sometimes this can be experienced in our dreams, or in astral projection, out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences, but we come at a certain point in our path, in our journey, where we realize that there is more than just the physical reality.
Now in order to cross that threshold as an individual of one's own will is very different from having this happen accidentally, or by chance. What we seek to do, as we develop our own soul, as we awaken internally and spiritually in order to bring that spiritual light into our physical life, is to invoke the Guardian of the Threshold.
The Guardian of the Threshold: A Reflection of the Ego
This terrifying being that was described in the book Zanoni is actually a part of our own self.
We see here in this first quote from Samuel Aun Weor, the founder of the modern Gnostic tradition, that:
“The first ordeal that the candidate has to face is the trial of the Guardian of the Threshold. This Guardian is the reflection of the ‘I,’ the intimate depths of the ‘I.’” —Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony
In many eastern religions, we learn that the self, the ego, is our biggest barrier to spiritual development, that if we become enmeshed in a deep sense of egotism, it becomes very hard to connect with other people, to connect with the truth and the realities of nature and existence.
What we see summarized here in this quote is that the Guardian, as terrifying as this beast may appear to be, is actually our own self. The prison of the self encloses our mind in a cage and conditions our vision of life, to be either angry, or sad, or happy, dependent on the way that we are wired mentally, psychologically.
If someone insults us, we have an instant reaction and that reaction is different from person to person. Some of your friends might laugh when other people make a joke about them. Whereas, maybe you have a friend who is more sensitive, who gets very angry and fired up if someone insults him. So we see that it is not necessarily the external shape of life, but rather our own conditioning that shapes the way that we respond to life. If we respond to life in a positive way, that is uplifting for us and for others, we will have a totally different quality of life than the person who is stuck in those negative ways of thinking and being and behaving.
Now for most of us, it is a mixture, where sometimes we can do really great things. We can be very happy, and at other times, seemingly beyond our control, we become trapped in a behavior or a feeling or a mood that we wish we could get out of, but we are stuck.
Working with one's own mind, seeing that conditioning, seeing one's own behavior for what it is, is facing one's Guardian of the Threshold. When we learn to really look at ourselves without seeing ourselves from our own subjective point of view, but seeing ourselves as an outsider might, from a higher point of view, we begin to separate from that identity that we have created. We begin to have some freedom of will and emotion and thought to act in new ways, to initiate a spiritual growth within us.
Rudolf Steiner also went on to describe about the Guardian of the Threshold:
“However horrible the form assumed by the Guardian, it is only the effect of the student's own past life, his own character risen out of him into independent existence.” —Rudolf Steiner, Knowledge of the Higher Worlds
So if we are awakening internally in dreams or in astral projections, we can actually see this figure, this terrifying beast. We must be able to face the Guardian of the Threshold without fear―to understand that its true nature is an illusion―an illusion created by us.
As Dion Fortune said:
“The ‘Facing of the Dweller on the Threshold’ is the confrontation with the entire past (of the individual) and calls for the full acceptance of that past and of all that has gone to make the individual what he now is.” —Dion Fortune, Applied Magic
In the Gnostic tradition, we learn about the law of recurrence―that we have multiple past lives in which we have oftentimes repeated the same mistakes and strengthened the same patterns of behavior, of thinking, and feeling. When we come to face the Guardian, it can project both the positive and the negative of all of our past deeds. It is in fact looking in a psychological mirror in the astral plane and seeing what in us we may be terrified to see. We may be afraid to see those moments in which we did actions that now we feel guilty about, or painful experiences, of loss and grief in past lives, that have now embodied themselves and take a form internally within us.
We have not just a physical body, but also an energetic vital body, an emotional body called the astral body, a mental body of all our thoughts, and a causal body of our will, and even higher bodies beyond that. But it is important to know these internal bodies' existence because within them is where we carry the defects, the forms, the structures of the mind, of the emotions, of behavior that come out instantaneously in us in the moment of action.
Go back to the example I gave of the person insulting someone. Let's say this person insults you and it is an insult that for some reason hurts you. It provokes an immediate response. Now maybe this response is to become cold and withdrawn. Maybe this response is to yell or to argue or to defend yourself. For each one of us, it might be different. Only we can know what our own response is, but we see from the moment, the experience when that insult struck us, that our mind transformed it in a certain way with an instant reaction to it―a response of feeling bad, of feeling angry, of feeling ashamed―whatever that feeling might be. What we are looking to do when we confront ourselves with the Guardian of the Threshold is to separate from the conditioned reactions―the conditioned way of being―the false self that we have created.
Facing the Guardian in the Internal Worlds
Now, it is said that when one encounters the Guardian of the Threshold in the astral plane in their first encounter, that he or she must be able to defeat the Guardian of the Threshold. This is not to destroy and eliminate in one moment. That is a long, long work to eliminate the Guardian of the Threshold. But the one who is not able to face his or her fear in order to defeat this Guardian of the Threshold, will then become enslaved to the Guardian of the Threshold. He or she will become a servant and a worshipper of this entity and they will then be enslaved to a false sense of egotism―they will lose control over every action, every thought, every emotion. They will all be determined by what that false egotistical self dictates.
If we want to work with the Guardian of the Threshold, we have to understand that this takes three different forms. In fact, Samael Aun Weor wrote in his books that the Guardian of the Threshold exists on the astral plane, on the mental plane, and also on the causal plane, and that at different points in our spiritual work in our initiation, we will have to confront each one of these.
The Three Traitors
We relate the Guardian of the Threshold to the three traitors. These three traitors are known in a variety of traditions.
In Buddhism, they can be the three daughters of Mara that came to tempt the Buddha Shakyamuni as he was meditating.
In Christianity we know them as Judas, Pilate, and Caiaphas―the three traitors that betrayed Christ.
There are three traitors in the masonic tradition that killed Hiram Abiff.
When we look at the first level the astral plane, we identify the demon of desire. The Guardian of the Threshold that we encounter on the astral plane will be related with our own desires, our own emotions. This is an emotional encounter. So the things in us that struggle, that want many varieties of experiences or sensations, that want pleasure but want to avoid pain, that is exactly what we need to encounter and be prepared to face with serenity, with stability—to recognize that all of those desires that are pulling at us from moment to moment are illusory. They are illusions.
This calls to mind a story that I was reading in a psychological journal about a patient who came to a therapist and complained that many times in her relationship with her husband, she felt pulled by opposite wills. There were some days where she felt like the good wife, and she loved her husband and wanted to do kind things for him and was happy to see him. Then there were other days where she felt like what she described as an evil witch, and when the witch came out, she hated her husband. She wanted to scream at him, to hurt him, and she couldn't understand why these two sides of her kept coming up. So she went to the therapist in order to discover what she could do to resolve this conflict of having opposing wills. How could she loved her husband and yet at the same time hate him?
You know, how do we make sense of this? And yet many of us have experienced this type of situation where we may like someone. They are our friend, or we love our family, but then in the right moment, in the right circumstances, we feel anger towards them or hatred or resentment. We want to hurt them. Maybe we are envious of them and we recognize that tension, that conflict. There is something here that is not compatible. How can I care for this person and value the virtues of friendship, and at the same time want to betray them―sometimes even act or say things that betray them?
This is the conflict of the demon of desire, that there is a part of us that we don't control but that comes alive in certain circumstances and controls us by making us want to do evil things. This demon of desire is not somewhere outside of us, but lives within our own heart.
In the story of the woman going to the therapist, in order to resolve conflict, it was not just to push down the evil witch and repress it and ignore it and try to pretend that it had no power. Rather what she needed to do was to, in a space of reflection and contemplation, recognize the true nature behind that evil will, that evil desire to hurt her husband.
She had to comprehend her pain and also comprehend her love. What is it about her that makes her the good wife? To resolve the conflict between these two, she had to come to face herself and to understand that both of these are a part of her. When she can comprehend on the deepest level the truth of herself, it will eliminate the problem.
Those unconscious drives to act and to behave in an angry way can be satiated. They can be calmed and negated so that she can interact with her husband in harmony from her own free will, and not from a conditioned emotional response.
This example also touches on the other two levels of the demon of the mind and the demon of evil will. When we have an angry feeling towards someone or an envious feeling, we also have those thoughts associated with it, and it can be a mind that plans evil actions.
We can have the demon of the evil will because there is a part of us that wants to act―that has the will to crush others, to take power from others, to steal what someone else has that "I want."
Each of us in different degrees have our own psychological makeup. We have virtues in a certain amount, and we have defects and vices in a certain amount. As I mentioned in the example, the important part―as we come to recognize these three levels of evil will, evil desire, and evil thoughts within us―is not to repress them or to ignore them or to label them as bad, and then try to only do the other things, the good things―but rather, to meditate on them, to contemplate, to understand where these arose from.
Perhaps we will have a memory come up from childhood, and at first we do not realize how this is related to the situation we are currently in. We sit, we meditate on it a little longer. Maybe the next day we are going for a walk and suddenly we have that inspiration to see the connection there: “I felt this way as a child and now this person is making me relive that painful experience.”
As we become more developed as meditators, better able to leave the body, the physical body, we can even investigate in our past lives the traumas and the crimes that we have committed which have now shaped our karma in this life. Our physical body, our emotions, our mental state, even our environment, even our physical situation, is all shaped by the causes that we put into motion in past lives, which have now manifested into this existence.
So to face oneself, to understand oneself, and to no longer fear having to look at what is unpleasant and what is difficult in oneself, is how we truly come to defeat the Guardian of the Threshold and to then enter into the initiation of the soul.
It is important because the initiation of the soul can only happen if a person is able to separate themselves from the false ego. If one is still submerged and fully stuck within the ego, when they are meditating or when they are developing willpower, or spiritual powers, they will turn into a black magician. This is the term that we use: a person who is totally controlled by selfishness and the selfishness which is of a false ego.
So, we want to liberate ourselves from this to enter into the white initiation, in which we awaken the soul free of any ego―little by little, disintegrating the ego so that we can have the enlightenment of the flame of the spirit in our own heart.
Meditative Serenity and Discipline of Mind
Samael Aun Weor writes at length about facing the Guardian of the Mind in his book Igneous Rose. I'd like to highlight a few passages here because no matter what tradition we come from, we can learn to work on our own mind by using these passages. This is what our meditation after the lecture will be based on, this exact practice.
"The mind lives reacting against the impacts that come from the exterior world." —Samael Aun Weor, Igneous Rose
This simple sentence is a very powerful truth, that many of us who live mechanically on autopilot for much of our lives, have never really deeply contemplated.
If we are walking down the street and we see a dog. How do we respond to that? For some of us who grew up with dogs as pets, we might be happy. We might want to go and play with the dog. For other people who have been scared or traumatized or bit by a dog, they might want to run away from that dog. So the mind that we inhabit reacts against impacts that come from the exterior world.
Let's use this example, the dog is in the exterior world. The impression of the dog, the image of the dog, strikes our mind―then our mind reacts to that impression with thoughts, with feelings, with will, with actions. This is the entire process of our life and we go through this like a machine without transforming that consciously. Something happens, we see a certain person, and we don't really like that person. We feel a certain way. We try to get away from them. We see another person. We like them. We go up and we try to impress them. These are all coming images, coming in from the exterior world into our mind, which perceives them.
Now mind is not just the intellect here. It is in the Buddhist sense, the Being, the perception in which we are experiencing life. The body, our psychological body, carries us, and really, even if we were to close our eyes and go into a sensory deprivation tank, which are becoming popular nowadays, we would still have images. We would still have memories. We would still have thoughts emerging in the mind that we would react to. So, whether from within or from without, our entire experience of life is determined by how our mind responds to stimuli, whether internal or external.
So in the case of the dog, we have the external phenomenon of seeing that dog, and then we have our fear come up. Then maybe in response to our fear, which is an internal impression, we might feel embarrassed. "Oh I shouldn't be afraid! I'm an adult now. I shouldn't be afraid of dogs!" and that is a response to an internal impression.
To enter into meditation is to be able to calm down your perception: to become serene, bright and awake, concentrated, and to be able to perceive all of these processes as they happen without needing to control them―without needing to interrupt them―merely seeking to see them happen. It's great if during the day we are awake enough and we are meditative enough in our experience of life to do this, to digest the impressions of life in the moment that they come to us, but this can be challenging and that is why we do a retrospection meditation at the end of the day. We reflect on experiences that were particularly impactful for us, and we digest what was going on inside of us. We don't try to blame the situation or blame the other person. We don't even try to blame ourselves for feeling what we felt. We merely seek to see, to observe, and to understand.
Samael Aun Weor goes on:
"One must control these reactions of the mind by means of willpower.” —Samael Aun Weor, Igneous Rose
As we are progressing in our spiritual work, we will have moments in which we feel anger, we feel envy, we feel lust, and in those situations we have to apply a superior will to control ourselves, to control our mind.
If the mind is fantasizing and dreaming of an evil scheme, let's say, to get a promotion over your co-workers, something that involves lying or cheating and stealing, and our mind is beginning to play that fantasy, we have to apply our willpower and say “No! That is not the person I want to be. That is not the character I want to develop.” We need to be able to rein in and control the reaction of the mind and then, rather than going outward into that fantasy, we can turn our perception inward into the source of that fantasy. “What is it in me that wants this so badly? That is so attached to the sensation of getting a promotion, that I would be willing to compromise my character or to harm others? To do something unethical in order to achieve that sensation, that experience of life?”
“If one throws a rock into a lake, then one will see crystalline waves extending from the center to the periphery. The waves become the reaction of the water against the rock. If someone insults us, then we feel anger. This anger is a reaction to the words of the insulter." —Samael Aun Weor, Igneous Rose
Most of us live believing that we are the victim of circumstances. Other people should treat us better, should talk to us better. Life should be easier. We should have more things. When one wants to enter initiation, wants to face the Guardian of the Threshold, it is because one is finally taking responsibility for one's self.
One must understand that our entire experience of life is dictated by how our mind behaves. If we cannot control and rein in our mind with our willpower, we are likely to have a miserable life that is chaotic, that has a lot of negativity, in which we are constantly feeling that everything that we experience is beyond our control. However, the one who is able to take a loss or a defeat, and still finds serenity and peace and happiness within him or herself, that person is truly developing a level of freedom―a level of liberation of the consciousness―because he or she is free from that conditioned response to the stimulus.
He or she is able to control and to determine, "I am feeling anger right now. Let me go into a space of serenity." This is not to repress the anger under false happiness. This is to understand that the anger itself is a choice. It may have arisen spontaneously inside of us, but the choice to feed that anger and to continue is up to us.
Samael Aun Weor describes this process in more detail:
“We must subdue the senses and command the mind with the mighty whip of willpower. Our mind lives reacting against the impacts of the exterior world. The incessant reactions of the mind deliver pleasure and pain to us. Likes and dislikes are nothing more than the result of the reactions of the subjective mind.” —Samael Aun Weor, Igneous Rose
Pleasure and pain are determined by the quality of our mind.
We know that there are some people who love chocolate cake and other people who hate chocolate cake, so it is our subjective perception of mind, from our egotistical point of view, that determines how we are going to respond.
As Samael Aun Weor says:
“It is necessary to control these reactions of the subjective mind in order to pass beyond pleasure and pain. We must become serene and indifferent before praise and slander and before triumph and failure.” —Samael Aun Weor, Igneous Rose
This principle is taught in many religions: that in order to have true peace, true enlightenment and serenity, we have to go beyond these opposites of pleasure, pain, loss, gain, pride, and shame. We have to, in a sense, be indifferent to the different manifestations of life and of other people. We must feel peace regardless of what comes up before us.
However, this indifference is not a sort of apathy or death. It is rather an awakened bright experience of life. Without the conditioning of dislike and like, we are able to see things in the crystalline beauty that they possess, free of that cloudy filter of our own mind, and that experience of life, while it is beyond pleasure and pain, is in itself blissful. It is the ecstasy of samadhi that is talked about.
It is what we want to enter into and we can only do this by no longer fearing pleasure and pain, like and dislike. By being willing to apply our own willpower against our mind, even if our mind doesn't like it.
So maybe our mind wants to go eat ten tubs of ice cream. And then we say, “Well, I'm on this path of initiation and I don't want to feed that desire anymore.” So even though the mind argues and fights against us and wants that ice cream, we have the willpower. We developed the strength of will to tell the mind “No,” and to redirect it into a more positive activity.
This is a silly example with the ice cream, but in many experiences of life, we really don't control ourselves. We really let ourselves run amok. When we really study the cause and effect of our own life, the karma of our own lifetime, and we look at how certain behaviors created certain effects in our life, then we see that we no longer want to just allow our mind to run wild. We want to consciously and intelligently direct our response to life, our reaction to life. We need a lot of willpower to do that and in the beginning, we are weak, but, little by little on this path, we develop that.
He goes on:
“All the tempests of our existence are nothing more than the result of the reactions of the subjective mind before the impacts that come from the exterior world. A clairvoyant examination permits us to comprehend that the reactions of the mind come from a nuclear center. This nuclear center of the subjective mind is the Guardian of the Threshold of the mind.” —Samael Aun Weor, Igneous Rose
I mentioned a few moments ago that we might see our mind going off on a fantasy or on the negative circle of worry or anxiety, negative thinking, and we want to redirect our attention. Instead of going outward into that negative thinking, we want to turn our attention around and go inward into this nuclear center. That is where the Guardian of the Threshold of the mind is. So when we turn our perception within and we look within ourselves, we see the seeds of evil will that actually cause us to respond to life with unhappiness, with anger, with negativity.
“The Guardian of the Threshold of the mind is similar to the smoke of the flame. The Guardian of the Threshold of the mind is a terrible demonic creature. It lives by reacting against the exterior world with waves of pleasure and pain, with waves of likes and dislikes, and with waves of hatred, envy, greed, slander, selfishness, etc. We have created this guardian on our own, with all the evil of our subjective mind. There is the need to carefully separate the smoke from the flames.” —Samael Aun Weor, Igneous Rose
What we want to awaken within us is the flame of our consciousness, our soul, our inner spirit. We want that bright lucidity, that bliss and that peace that is perceptive of everything. When we awaken that inner perception, we see the smoke of our mind for what it is. All of these waves, all of these reactions, these emotions, these thoughts, even our behaviors become smoke from our inner center. If we are able to calm ourselves, to rest in the center, we can respond to life intelligently, acting in positive ways—in ways that we have consciously decided to respond to life, rather than responding to life unconsciously, according to our behavior, our trained behavior.
As he says, we have created this Guardian on our own. Now we may not remember when we created that. Many of us don't remember what we ate for breakfast last week, you know, or where we were two weeks ago at this time. Many of us, many more of us, don't remember anything of our past lives. That is why it's very important to go deep within our own Being, to the part of ourselves that is eternal―to understand where these seeds, whether positive or negative, arise. That is facing the Guardian of the Threshold.
It is to take responsibility for “Who I am―my positive qualities and my negative qualities―to take responsibility for the way that I think, the way that I feel, and the way that I behaved. If I am behaving in a way that I don't agree with, I can use superior will, the will of my inner spirit, to overcome that negativity―not to repress it with the mind or with another quality that is embarrassed or ashamed of it, or doesn't like to see that I am bad, but to recognize that this is what it is―not good or bad―just the way that it is. By seeing it, by being the flame within the smoke, I have the choice of whether or not I would like to change that.”
This is deep state of meditation, to really get to the roots of these things, and I want to end with an excerpt from a Buddhist texts called the Treatise on the Six Yogas of Niguma, who is often related as either the sister or the consort of Naropa, if you are familiar with that teacher.
The scripture states:
“If we do not know how to meditate
On the illusory nature of whatever appears,
How can we ever apply the opponent forces?
How can we overcome negativities
Merely by trying to avoid them?
By recognizing their illusory nature,
Liberation arises of itself.” ―Treatise on the Six Yogas of Niguma
As I mentioned, many of us don't remember what we did in the past. Perhaps there is a person where, from the moment you met them, you dislike them, but you don't remember why. You don't remember if maybe in a past life you knew them, and they betrayed you or they hurt you. The things that make us upset in this moment―in this present life; the things that make us unhappy or angry―are illusory.
Our reaction to them is entirely a fantasy of our own mind. It exists only in the mind, as I have described in these examples. Some people perceive one situation with happiness when other people perceive it with fear or anger. So if we are able to see that the mind is our experience of life, the way that we experience life is fully rooted in the mind, and the way that the mind is responding to external phenomena, then we have that power to control our experience of life.
Everything in our mind is an illusion. It is just a reflection of the external world that has been manipulated by the conditioning of our mind, of our emotions, of our will, and so when we perceive that “the way that I see this person that I dislike is actually just an Illusion in my mind that I have created―I am not even really seeing the person anymore―I am seeing a mental representation of them that I, myself, am projecting and that I myself hate or dislike”—then we have the power to get rid of the illusion itself. Maybe for the first time we meet that person and interact with them as they are, an entirely new being that we have never experienced before: to see them with the lucidity and the peace and the serenity of the soul; to see them as they truly are; not to have that mental image of them as an enemy that filters every interaction that we have with them.
That is what Niguma is pointing to here. When we recognize the illusory nature of our negativity, that it is something self-produced and can be self-erased, liberation from suffering arises of itself. So we must first know how to meditate on the negative experiences of life that we are having, to turn our perception in meditation away from blaming or analyzing the external phenomenon, and inward, into analyzing what is happening within us in our reaction to those phenomenon. Finally we see that our reaction truly is an illusion. Truly it is something that we create, and we have control over. We can begin to enter degree by degree into the liberation of our consciousness from the false self of ego.
Questions and Answers
Question: It’s kind of a question, kind of a comment. So, one thing I noticed about myself is, well, trying to take that attitude of right action, and living more selflessly and trying to help people when possible. But you know, it's not really the first reaction. I’ve noticed the right thing to do, but maybe I’m still missing that. I am selfish for whatever reasons. And because I want to take this attitude of right action, I will force myself with the will, I guess, to do it. It’s kind of the attitude I am taking about it, is: “Fake it till you make it.” I am wondering if this is the right approach.
Instructor: That is a great question, because many of us do this and that actually sounds like what is described here, that if we have a negative reaction, we should try to almost override it with a more positive reaction, whether that is what we feel or not now.
In meditation, if we analyze this type of situation, we will see that there are two wills to analyze. So, we can't determine that one is bad right away. If we are feeling selfish and lazy that day, that's the first will that in meditation we will analyze. What was going on there? Why was I feeling that way? What happened that made me feel that way?
Then we have another will which says, “Well, actually I'm trying to be kind to people,” and that might be the one that actually expressed itself in the situation, but again, there is another will.
We are doing that because truly, all of us, all people, have a connection to divinity within them that wants to do what is good―that wants to help people. If that is what is expressing and dominating the lower will, then great, but sometimes if it's just pride or a sense of self—selfishness that is now expressing by wanting to help others—then that's okay. We just need to see it for what it is.
So in any situation in life, whether we have the will power to restrain negative behavior and try to do something that we feel is a little better, or whether we express that negativity right away, or whether we're doing something positive right from the get-go, there is always a lesson to learn when we take it into meditation. Even if we are behaving positively, we may go into meditation and see some beautiful virtue or truth of our own divine nature, or we might go into meditation and see that what seemed positive was really self-serving. Who knows? It's really up to us and in each situation. It can be different. That's a good question. Something that I know I have experienced, and I am sure many others do.
Question: Does comprehension liberate the soul?
Instructor: When one sees that their enemy is actually an illusion in their own mind, what is there to fight against anymore? For some of us, our enemy is existence itself. Our complaints against existence: “Why am I not smarter, or richer, or better looking or whatever? Why is my life not easier? Why are people not kinder to me?” All of that we comprehend at its roots is some illusion. We can see that there is nothing to struggle against anymore and we can find peace and what it is to be a conscious being. To experience life with lucidity and happiness. But as long as we are filtering our genuine perception of life through selfish desires, likes and dislikes, pleasure and pain, we are disrupting the quality of our life.
Question: If I feel anything negative, that is because I have a secret will or entity that I’m not aware of?
Instructor: That is pretty close. If we experience something negative, yes, in this teaching we are saying if we experience something negative, it is because there is something within us that is negative. Now it's not that I want it to be negative or that I want this experience to go badly. But we have an entity inside of us that perhaps...
Let's use envy as an example. So, envy doesn't want to have a negative experience. Envy wants to get something good for oneself that another person has. So if this person has the job position that I want, I have a secret will inside of me that wants to get this person in trouble so I can have that job. I think this will bring me happiness, right? I think when I have that job, then I'm going to feel happy, but truly in meditation, if I go and I analyze that will, and I really come to understand that other person's situation and my situation, I will see that that will does not produce happiness.
All of us are seeking happiness, right? We are seeking pleasure or the things that we like, but we often do not realize that in its root, it is it is a will that produces unhappiness, ultimately. Maybe in the short term, we tell a lie, and we get some praise and people like us, but in the long term people realize “We can't trust her! She is a liar,” and we lose the good things that we had.
So meditation and going deep is what is most important. Not to see the mind and judge it and say, “Oh that's bad… that's bad!" Just to see the mind and go deeper into the mind and deeper, because when we comprehend it, we don't need to intellectually judge it. When we comprehend it, we see it fully from its roots. It can dissolve.
If you see a coiled rope in the closet and it's dark, at first you think it's a snake. Maybe you jump, you are afraid, but when you turn on the light and you go deeper into the closet, you see that it's a rope. Your fear is gone, right? But when it was dark, when it was unexamined, when it was too sudden, you thought it was a snake, and you responded. Your reality of your mind is that this is a snake. So really just to go deeper and deeper is what we need, that illumination.
Question: You talked extensively about the three traitors, especially the demon of desire, and how we are conflicted between like and dislike, pleasure and pain. What about the demon of the mind and will? And how the mind justifies itself? So in the example you gave about envy, how I want the job that this co-worker has and the excuses that we tell ourselves to get what we want. Also, how is that process experienced in us and how does evil will fit into that as well?
Instructor: Okay, there's a lot of in that question so I am going to do my best. So, if we look at the three traitors again, the demon of desire in Christianity is represented as Judas. Our desire loves Christ, love spirituality, loves all the positive things about virtues and helping humanity, but at the end of the day, when that moment comes, Judas sells Jesus for thirty silver coins. These silver coins represent material wealth, sensational experiences, so physical pleasure. Even though we say with our heart, “I love the good things. I love divinity,” with our actions in certain moments, we can sell, we can betray our own inner divinity. So that is the demon of desire.
The demon of the mind in Christianity is represented by Pontius Pilate. He sentences Jesus to death, and he washes his hands and says, “It wasn't my fault. Don't blame me. I wasn't the one who set him up!” So the mind decides, “Okay, I am going to do this behavior. I am going to try to steal this other person's job,” but it will come up with excuses so that mentally we feel okay about it. For example, “Really, I am doing my company a favor because she is not good at that job and I will be better at that job.” The mind can create its own fantasy to justify why what it is doing is a good deed, but it is all just a trick of the mind.
The demon of our mind, which hypnotizes us and puts us into an illusion so that we believe we are doing what is right, when all along what is really behind it is the demon of evil will, which in Christianity is Caiaphas, the high priest who is plotting behind the scenes to kill Jesus. So while we see that Judas is the one that sold him, that Pontius Pilate is the one who passed the sentence, really the most powerful of all is the one that is our will, that behind-the-scenes is arranging things, is moving the mind into position, is moving the emotions into position, in order to enact its will.
It is this will that is ultimately evil. Good and evil are terms we don't want to get too caught up in, because it's not a dichotomy of good and evil, but we say that it is a selfish will. An egotistical will. A will that is based on an identity that doesn't actually have a natural reality. It is a psychological identity that we as a consciousness have produced, but is false. Our true self is our inner divinity and our inner Spirit. So when we sacrifice evil will and evil mind, evil desire, the flame of our inner spirit is able to express, and when we are one with our inner divinity, we feel true bliss. We experience life with peace and with joy, but we have to renounce these three traitors that exist within ourselves in order to experience that more and more.
Another Instructor: Also, in The Perfect Matrimony, Samael Aun Weor mentions how this Guardian is really three, whom we must face within the astral plane, the mental plane, the causal plane. So, we have to face this guardian in the astral plane in the beginning. Especially towards the beginning of our studies, where we are tested in our resolve to see whether or not we will continue in this path. And if we conquer that demon, the Guardian of the astral plane, we can then enter higher stages of initiation, which are symbolized, allegorized by the science of Kabbalah, which we talked about previously in the recent lecture: What is Initiation?
So we have to face a Guardian in the mental plane next, which is another figure, as our lecturer described, that reflects all the mind that we have. We also have to conquer ourselves in the mental plane, because we have our emotional desires or own interior Judas whom we have to conquer, and by conquering in this struggle of the self internally, we enter into higher degrees.
So first, Guardian of the Threshold in astral plane, relating to our emotions followed by the Guardian of the Threshold in the mental plane, our mind. Then we may have the experience of facing a Guardian in the sixth dimension, relating to will. In Kabbalah, we call that Tiphereth, which is really where we face the extremity of our egotistical will, which is represented by Caiaphas.
And so we can correlate Judas, Pilate, Caiaphas to those elements.
Instructor: A Western esotericist did mention the variety of the Guardians of the mind. Guardians at different levels. Steiner called it the Lesser Guardian, the first one that we encounter, but as I was going on with this longer discourse, that would be what Steiner would call the Greater Guardian: the Guardian of the Mind that we encounter that is at a further stage of development. That is why it requires so much willpower and stability in meditation to be able to conquer.
Are there any other questions?
Another Instructor: I know some people also think that, especially from reading The Perfect Matrimony from Samael Aun Weor, where he describes these three guardians, followed by the four ordeals of the elements, that one has to face the guardian first before entering into the elements, which I know is an interpretation of some schools, but could you talk about the relationship of the ordeals of the elements and the Guardians themselves?
Instructor: So as I said, the Guardian of the Threshold, ultimately whether it is our emotions or our mind or our will, is about facing ourselves, and seeing ourselves from a distinct point of view, from a point of view that is not enmeshed in our subjective perspective.
There are four elements and many times when we are facing the Guardian of the Threshold, these different ordeals of the elements, come to us whether in physical life or internally. They can come in any variety, any order.
But the first that I'll mention is that the ordeal of the air. This often has to do with the loss of stability, the loss of something that we love. The ordeal of air tests our ability to have non-attachment―that even when we experience tremendous loss or defeat or our situation in life becomes too unstable, that we don't go crazy―that we don't let our mind react and scream. Instead, we keep our serenity. We recognize that everything passes away. Everything is transient. So, what brings us stability today will eventually pass, and yet something new will come to give us new stability. If one can hold one's peace through this type of ordeal, then one is able to change the shape of his or her psychology to make it more balanced: a stronger identity that doesn't respond out of conditioning, but has a degree of willpower and self-control.
The same goes for the other three ordeals. The ordeal of water has to do with tremendous emotional upheaval. So if this is being overwhelmed emotionally by, you know, a new social situation. Are we able to adapt, to be flexible, to develop that part of ourselves, or do we merely react to that situation and feel overwhelmed and give up? The ones who give up fail this ordeal.
There is the ordeal of earth which tests our perseverance. Our ability to keep going in spite of difficult obstacles. To keep pushing through, developing our will power even when the tremendous pressure is resisting us.
Finally, the ordeal fire in which we are criticized or slandered, or certain emotional qualities within us inflamed us and we need to learn how to respond to different situations with the correct temperature. If we are insulted, how do we respond to the slanderer with sweetness, with patience, with the correct temperature of our heart?
So all of these four ordeals are part of our mind, our will, and our emotions, and therefore they are related to the three guardians: the Guardian of the astral plane, of the mental plane, and of the causal plane.
[Editor’s Note: The instructor, during the post-lecture meditation, read the following chapter from Igneous Rose to students as a guided meditation. One can take these verses, or any teachings from Samael Aun Weor, the masters of the White Lodge, etc., in order to reflect upon their content in meditation so as to arrive at deeper comprehension. This chapter, especially, holds tremendous wisdom for those who seek to understand and overcome the Guardian of the Threshold]:
The Guardian of the Mind
1. The mind lives reacting against the impacts that come from the exterior world. One must control these reactions of the mind by means of willpower.
2. If one throws a rock into a lake, then one will see crystalline waves extending from the center to the periphery. The waves become the reaction of the water against the rock.
3. If someone insults us, then we feel anger. This anger is a reaction to the words of the insulter.
4. A pornographic image offends our external senses. The mind then reacts as the lake in the given example, with waves of animal passion that extend from the center to the periphery.
5. We must subdue the senses and command the mind with the mighty whip of willpower.
6. Our mind lives reacting against the impacts of the exterior world.
7. The incessant reactions of the mind deliver pleasure and pain to us.
8. Likes and dislikes are nothing more than the result of the reactions of the subjective mind.
9. It is necessary to control these reactions of the subjective mind in order to pass beyond pleasure and pain.
10. We must become serene and indifferent before praise and slander and before triumph and failure.
11. All the tempests of our existence are nothing more than the result of the reactions of the subjective mind before the impacts that come from the exterior world.
12. A clairvoyant examination permits us to comprehend that the reactions of the mind come from a nuclear center.
13. This nuclear center of the subjective mind is the Guardian of the Threshold of the mind.
14. The Guardian of the Threshold of the mind is similar to the smoke of the flame.
15. The Guardian of the Threshold of the mind is a terrible demonic creature. It lives by reacting against the exterior world with waves of pleasure and pain, with waves of likes and dislikes, and with waves of hatred, envy, greed, slander, selfishness, etc.
16. We have created this guardian on our own, with all the evil of our subjective mind.
17. There is the need to carefully separate the smoke from the flames.
18. It is urgent to deprive ourselves of the Guardian of the Threshold of the mind in order to become liberated from our animal past.
19. After opening his igneous wings, the arhat must now pass the ordeal of the Guardian of the Threshold of the mental world.
20. Have courage, oh warrior, oh fighter. This is a supreme moment.
21. Take your igneous sword from its sheath and thrust yourself intrepidly towards the Guardian of the Threshold of the mind.
22. Now you will be free. Now your mind will be under the complete control of the Innermost.
23. When you were longing to be a Chela, you then passed the first ordeal of the Guardian of the Threshold. Now you face the ordeal of the great worldly Guardian of the Threshold.
24. Now you, as a master, have to encounter the Guardian of the mind. Defeat him, and your mind will be free from the external senses.
25. The external wings are opened within the blazing fire of the mind. The tenebrous ones of the world of the mind attack you within the blazing flames. Defeat them, oh arhat!
26. Control your mind with the whip of willpower.
27. When the mind pursues you with perverse representations of hatred or passion, envy or selfishness, etc., speak to the mind as follows:
28. “Mental body, I do not accept this representation. Take it away from me. I do not accept this from you. You must obey me, because I am your lord.”
29. The Innermost can control the mind, but only by means of willpower. There is no other way.
30. Let us affirm our Being.
31. “I am not the body. I am not desire. I am not the mind. I am not the willpower. I am not the consciousness. I am not the intelligence.
32. “I am the Innermost.
33. “I will break all the chains of the world. I am the living God. I am the Being. I am life. I am the bread of life. I am the wine.”
34. When we affirm the majesty of the Being, the igneous roses of our objective mind glow within the blazing universal fire.
35. When the Guardian of the Threshold of the mind is defeated and flees, the three enigmas of time are broken. Our mind then sparkles with the flames within the great rhythms of the fire. —Samael Aun Weor, Igneous Rose
The Gnostic Academy of Chicago
Free online courses, lectures, podcasts, and transcriptions.