In this course of meditation, we have been exploring what it means to communicate with divinity, with the divine, which as we have been emphasizing is not some anthropomorphic figure of an old man or a dignified lady in the clouds. Those are symbols, and religions teach us something psychological. Something conscious. And we in the science of meditation seek to communicate directly with the presence; the intelligence that has been represented within those traditions, within statues, or forms.
So we began this practice by invoking the energy of what is known as the Divine Mother, the divine feminine, who is the feminine aspect of our inner divinity, our Inner Being. So when we say that God is Being, we don't wish to point towards anthropomorphism, but instead to principles, energies, forces we find in nature and within our own body, which we seek to actualize, to activate, to stimulate.
In our process of giving these lectures we have been talking a lot about working with the divine feminine, being able to communicate directly with that intelligence in a very concrete and specific manner. When the different traditions of Judaism, Buddhism, or Islam speak about communicating face to face with the buddhas, with the angels, with the gods, those are symbols of how we can speak face to face in our meditations with that divine presence—but also in the science of dream yoga, in which our physical body goes to sleep and we as a consciousness enter the superior dimensions of nature, the dreamworld.
By working in meditation, we awaken from dreams, so that as a consciousness we can communicate with the divine and those dimensions, which people typically theorize and believe is just a projection of the brain, but really, when someone awakens consciousness profoundly and ceases to dream in that state, one really gets to understand that there is a whole other world available to us, which meditation teaches us how to access. Because we as a consciousness, as a soul, must learn to receive that guidance, that wisdom from our inner divinity.
Most people who approach religion, meditation, yoga, and when I say yoga, I mean real yoga, not just physical postures, but yug which in Sanskrit means “to unite” as a consciousness with the truth; when people approach religion, they typically want to have some type of experience, to know divinity directly for oneself—not based on any belief or theory, but on practice.
We all have issues and problems that we suffer with, that we struggle with, and we look for some type of guidance in our politicians, our media, our religious figures, our temple, our church, our synagogue, our mosque, and yet we find that people cannot really show us or give us answers to the real profound root of our sufferings in a fundamental way, because we may believe in one doctrine or not, and yet what we think doesn't matter, because how we behave, how we act consciously, determines our mind stream, our life.
So neither by believing in some religion is how one is going to find the solutions to one's deepest sufferings, but though meditation.
So to pray, according to the founder of the Gnostic tradition, Samael Aun Weor, is to speak with divinity. To have that connection. To interact as we are interacting here and now. Prayer for most people tends to be a very blind thing, where we repeat a certain prayer in a mechanical way; some Hail Mary, or Our Father, thinking that by repeating mechanically, repetitiously, that somehow we are going to receive some insight. But the truth is that that type of prayer doesn't work. It is superficial.
If we want to really talk with divinity, we have to be very specific in our methods, in how we concentrate our mind as we've been discussing in this course. To focus on one thing: a mantra, a secret sound, an image, a sculpture; visualizing it's details in our mind. Focusing on that one specific thing without letting the mind wander and get distracted, because if we sit to practice, we typically find that the mind wanders constantly. It thinks about other things.
We daydream about what we are going to do later, where we have been, who we talked with. And yet we may return into our practice thirty minutes later realizing, "I am supposed to be meditating. I'am supposed to be present." So that state of distraction shows us what we are psychologically moment by moment. Not when we just sit to close our eyes for half an hour or so, but in our daily life, we are constantly thinking and being distracted by what we are going to do, where we have been, and where we are going.
That distraction of the consciousness indicates that we are, as a psyche, asleep. We are not present. We are not mindful. We are not aware of what we are doing, what we are saying, what we are thinking, because if we are driving our car and thinking of our friends, our fiancé, our spouse; if we are at a lecture and if we are thinking of other things, we are not really listening to what's going on. We are not really seeing where we are at. It means that we as a consciousness are asleep. The mind wanders.
As we said in our previous lecture on the path of Conscious Judgment, the mind is a labyrinth, a maze, which the great hero Theseus goes into, in order to find the beast known as the minotaur, a symbol of our own egotism, which by learning to concentrate ourselves in meditation, we go into the mind. We cease being distracted and we learn to get to the core root of our suffering, which is psychological. It is a conditioning, as we have been explaining.
So the process of meditation is about, again, going into the mind, focusing the mind, being specific with our practice, being aware of what we are doing at all times, and when we learn to discipline our intellect, concentrate ourselves to be focused, moment by moment, day by day in every circumstance of life, we find that the practice of meditation opens up spontaneously. So if you find that you are distracted, you may have a certain longing to know God, the Being, the divine, and we go through certain prayers or rituals or practices. But if we are not mindful of what we are doing, it means that we are not going to have the results we want.
Because, to receive that insight from the divine means the mind has to be calm. We have to be concentrated on what we are doing. So the very beginning of meditative practice, the path of prayer, of communicating with the divine, occurs when the mind is in silence. When it is focused. When we command our attention to do one thing at the exclusion of everything else. That we don't let our mind wander. We don't waver. We don't begin a prayer in our practice and then forget what we are doing, and then realize "I should have been reciting this prayer with this practice," and then we remember.
So that is the beginning of any person who starts in meditation, because we see that the mind needs to be controlled, it needs to be harnessed. But, when we find that when the mind is calm and serene, we can start to receive knowledge, insight and this usually comes in the form of some type of spiritual experience.
As I said, you can awaken in dreams by learning to meditate in which you, as a consciousness, with a mind that is calm, can say and invoke your Inner God, your Inner Goddess, and say "My God, help me, teach me!" Because prayer, when it is focused with intention, and then we wait, that is when we receive insight. That is when the communication happens, because most people think that by reciting a hundred Hail Mary's, or Hari Krishna’s, or whatever a thousand times, that you are going to get some kind of result. The truth is that you can't if your mind is mechanical, if we just repeat things; we think things, we feel things, without any real knowledge or observance. No attention.
And so this lecture we called “Conscious Prayer” because in order to have that communication with your Being, you have to be conscious of what you are doing. And as I said earlier the path of meditation begins when we learn to concentrate.
So in this exercise, we were invoking the energy of the Divine Mother with a mantra Ram-IO. We learn to focus on that mantra to pronounce it. To immerse ourselves in the vibrations of that sound so that this energy saturates the consciousness, awakens it, develops our hidden potential. In that way, when you have energy, as we have been talking in this course and the Light of Consciousness lecture, when you have energy applied to action, then you can get results.
When the mind is not calm, if the lake of the intellect is churning with negativity, with anguish, with preoccupations about our job, not really focusing on what we need to focus on in our practice, it means that the images of the heavens cannot reflect in that lake. Your mind is a lake, but we typically tend to throw things into it. Stones, garbage, or whatever metaphor we want to use. Negativity. And that mind that is agitated, churning, can't help us to focus. We sit to practice, we look into the mind and we see that we are filled with a lot of memories, and anguish, and suffering.
When people realize this at the beginning of meditation, they typically tend to run away because they realize how monstrous the mind is. It's so chaotic and you realize, or think, “this practice is harming me.” The truth is we are just becoming aware of what is going on moment by moment and day by day. We are just not conscious of it.
And to help us with this process of learning to become conscious of our daily life, we learn to pray. It means to be focused and to be sincere. To be concentrated. If we, again, pronounce Hari Krishna multiple times, but we are not really invested with our heart, our longing to know the divine, and our concentration, there won't be any results. We can speak all we want but the answer won't come directly. So calm the mind is the beginning. The mind needs to be stable. We need to be concentrated and in that way the truth emerges spontaneously within our consciousness.
Durga, the Divine Mother, and Astral Forms
So we pictured here the Hindu representation of the Divine Mother known as Durga. There are many other forms of the divine feminine, such as Kali and, as we mentioned earlier, this divine feminine has been represented by Athena, amongst the Greeks, Miriam and Mary amongst the Hebrews and the Christians. It is interesting that you look at the word מִרְיָם Miriam in Hebrew, which means “to raise, to elevate” because the Divine Mother, your Inner Goddess is the one who can elevate you from psychological conditions and sufferings into the heights of the divine, the spiritual. And personally, if I am teaching you this, it is because this is something I have been working with for many years, where I have had experiences in the dream world, where I have been receiving insight from my Inner Goddess, who has been helping me so that I can be of help to others.
In dreams, this divine feminine can take form. So I said that the divine is formless, but is an energy, is a principle, is a force. That energy can materialize in the dream world in any symbol, any form, in order to teach you something psychologically about yourself. And then that way, when you are presented with this symbol, when you are asking your Inner Goddess, "My God or my Being, help me, teach me what I need to know"—you are meditating, you are focusing on that one question, you fall asleep. You wait. And then spontaneously, your consciousness can awaken in that state in which you ask that question again, “My God, help me, show me what I need to know about myself. About this problem that I am going through. What I need to do. What I need to change!”
And then the answer will come in a symbol. It will come in a some type of living drama, because the world of dreams, the astral plane, is a symbolic language. A symbolic world. Your Divine Mother will come to you in any form that is going to be concrete and conducive for teaching you something.
I remember one instance, I invoked my Divine Mother in the world of dreams and I asked her the question, "Please help me to understand what I need to work on. What I need to do!” She appeared. I was outside my house in the dream world, because in the astral plane, in that dimension, we see everything that we see physically, but with differences. It is a different dimension. A different type of materiality that is not physical. She came to me in a figure of a bear and in spiritual studies, we know that the bear is a symbol of egotism, of animalism, of desire, of defects, and of the secret psychological enemies we carry within that are fighting against this type of work—as we have been talking about with the many other myths in this course.
So she came to me with a radar in her hands that was showing a laser beam, or that beam that goes in a circle, so that you can find some kind of blip or dot of some type of aircraft that is present, and it was blank. And she said to me, “I can't find you!” And I woke up.
I was really filled with a lot of remorse because she was showing me, "I am trying to awaken your consciousness and you keep forgetting me. You keep forgetting My presence." Because your Divine Mother is with you, here and now. You don't need to have some type of samadhi or mystical experience out of the body, to really actualize the presence of your Inner Goddess within you. So she came to me, fortunately in a dream to show me: "I'm looking on my radar and I don't see you." Meaning, you are not paying attention. You are not awake. You are not concentrated in me in your daily life.
So in my daily life, I had been getting too distracted. Forgetting my own consciousness. Getting caught up in daydreaming, and worries, and thoughts, and not being focused about where I am at. So that is an example of conscious prayer, where by silencing the mind, you meditate, you go out of the body in the dream state, and then you ask the question, "Show me what I need to know." And often times through discipline, your Divine Mother will come to you in a way that is unexpected, where you may not even be able to get the question out of your mouth and suddenly the answer will show up and come to you. That is why Dante in his Divine Comedy stated that the Divine Mother or Virgin Mary, often provides the answer before we even ask it, because she is the power of love, of compassion within the depths of our psyche.
The Four Yogas
And so we in these studies learn to actualize that presence in different ways, specifically through what we call four types of yoga. The word yoga comes from the Sanskrit yug, “to reunite.” So when you learn to communicate with your inner God, your inner Goddess, face-to-face, you are performing union, because you receiving the direct Insight you longed for.
But, let us remember that the term yoga as is used today really has no meaning. People think that yoga is contorting the body, twisting it, or making it thin, so that one can attract the lust of other people. Instead real yoga is fourfold.
We have Karma Yoga relating to action, to service. We have Bhakti Yoga, related to devotion, the heart. We have Raja Yoga relating to powers, abilities, psychic capacities. We have Jnana Yoga, relating to knowledge.
So this lecture we will talk specifically about bhakti, devotion and what it really means. But you can't explain Bhakti Yoga without talking about the other constituents of spiritual practice.
Karma yoga relates to how you use your body, in a more superficial sense. How do we act with our physical body in daily life? Do we do so working at our job to benefit others, or do we use our body in ways that is selfish, where we are concerned more about our own welfare? How do we act? How do we behave? How do we think? How do we feel? And how do we express what is internal?
As we've been talking about in these lectures, we talked that psychologically, we carry many egotistical elements we call ego, "I,” me, myself, anger, pride, fear, vanity, lust—a whole conglomeration of defects, which are shells, conditions, which trap our full potential, which trap the consciousness and which in religions, they have been represented as demons—because these senses of self, these desires, are really demonic. They don't want to help others.
Anger does not want to help others. It wants to destroy. Likewise with fear. It debilitates. Many elements that drag us down into states of suffering. Those have been represented by monsters and figures in different religions, different traditions, different myths.
And so we have to examine our mind, our mind stream. What do we carry within? What is going on psychologically that makes us act in daily life? How do we behave towards others in life? Are we thinking about ourselves or do we really think about the benefit of others?
Now it is important that one learns to understand one's psychological state, because our psychological states shape our life. Where we are psychologically determines how we act, what we say; what we think determines how we behave and energetically when we learn to awaken our consciousness, we see that even our thoughts influence others, because it is a form of energy. It is a form of matter and it influences people. There is an interaction that is psychological, that is psychic, that relates to Raja Yoga. But Raja Yoga is actually much more profound than just psychic powers. It involves many things that we are going to talk about.
So karma, how do we act? In these studies if we really want to learn how to meditate, we have to learn what shapes and conditions us. What makes us suffer? But more importantly, how do we make others suffer with our egotism, our sense of self? When you learn to understand how anger is a destructive element, is an animal that needs to stop being fed, then you begin to experience what all the Greek myths have taught about the great heroes fighting against the monster, the medusa, the minotaur, the Kraken. Symbols of our own defects.
But when you learn to restrain the mind in a moment of anger, we learn to comprehend in ourselves and we look inside and we see that a certain element is a rising in us that wants to act negatively, but we don't feed that element. We restrain ourselves, because we know that this element will harm the other person if we speak what that element wants to speak, that ego, that sense of self.
When you restrain the mind, you empower your consciousness, and in those moments of great anger, you can invoke your Divine Mother. You simply pray, "My Goddess, help me to understand this anger that is boiling in me." And sometimes it could require us stepping away from the person. Other times, we may have transformation, where we realize and comprehend that we are not that anger, and then we can learn to respond with love. Instead of responding with anger, we serve the other person. We serve divinity in the other person, because all people have God within. Therefore we shouldn't disrespect anyone psychologically, mentally, physically.
When you learn to restrain the mind and act in positive ways, you are performing a form of bhakti, of religion. Because religion come from the Latin religare, which means “to reunite,” to bring people together and also to unite the soul with God, the Being. When you speak words of compassion towards your aggressor, towards someone who dislikes you, who treats you with disrespect, instead of reacting with anger, we see that element arise and we don't act on it. We choose conscious action. We serve the other person, and Samael Aun Weor, the founder of this tradition, states that one must learn to kiss the whip of the executioner, to kindly receive the unpleasant manifestations of our fellow men and women.
We understand that those people who are angry are suffering. We should not treat them with disrespect or anger, but with patience. In that way we are performing Karma Yoga. We are also showing devotion, because we are showing that we don't want to harm the other person, even in our thoughts. We show bhakti. We are showing that we want to perform religion, reunite people, not separate. Bhakti Yoga is how we devote ourselves in every action of our life with consciousness, with awareness.
Jnana Yoga relates to knowledge of the intellect. To study. To studying and having a certain knowledge of scripture, religion, teachings, psychology, whatever lectures we receive, in order to help Inspire us and also to train the mind to know the path and the steps, the principles of how to change, of how to practice meditation.
Bhakti relates to devotion, to the heart, your emotional qualities, your psychological states.
Notice we have in the lower three frames of yoga: Karma Yoga relating to your body, Bhakti Yoga relating to your heart, Jnana Yoga relating to your intellect.
In gnostic psychology, we call this the three brains. You have a center for intellect, the thought, the mind where thoughts emerge. Where thoughts originated and which is not a physical brain, but a psychological center, which the physical brain channels thought, because the soul is inhabiting the body like a car, like someone is driving it. The mind is a form of a vehicle, a brain, a machine; it processes certain energies which exists physically but also psychologically.
We have an emotional brain relating to sentiment, hate, love, passion, desire, which relates to the physical heart and it's nervous systems, but also to the energies of emotion, which is different from the intellect. That is something we learn to distinguish through meditation.
The body, represented by the entire spine, is the motor-instinctive-sexual brain, where we process movement, instincts, and our sexual impulses.
Karma Yoga relates to the body. Bhakti Yoga relate to the heart. Jnana Yoga relates to the mind.
Raja yoga is the balancing of all three. Raja means “royal yoga.” It is regal yoga, meaning, by learning to silence the mind, calm the heart, control the body, calm the body, we activate certain powers of the consciousness that make one into a king or a queen of oneself.
So Karma Yoga, we typically see is associated with performing good action, to benefit others so that in some way we benefit ourselves. As the Dalai Lama stated "if one can't really be selfless, at least be wisely selfish," meaning, at least don't harm the other person, but at the same time, you are doing that so that the person doesn't yell back at you, because that perpetuates suffering. It makes us suffer. In a more profound level, we learn to be selfless in our actions when we learn to comprehend our defects and to make conscious choices. To not act upon fear or resentment, or pride. In that way, we radiate naturally spontaneous joy peace, and that benefits humanity.
That is a form of service, sacrifice. We sacrifice our desires so that we can benefit others. This is the symbol of Jesus on the cross, where he was crucifying his own animal ego, his mind, and of course that is a very painful process, because we are very attached to our body, our emotions, our intellect. But he showed a profound will and love in those moments of being nailed to the cross. He said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do," because he was speaking from the consciousness.
So Raja Yoga is when you learn to silence the mind, calm the heart, calm the body, so that when you sit to meditate, the heart opens naturally and then we can begin to concentrate on a specific question we have, a practice we want to fulfill so that we can get insight.
The Elements of Bhakti Yoga
This is Swami Sivananda. A great yogi. A great master. He wrote some easy steps to yoga, some explanations about what devotion really is. It's importance. People who typically read these type of writings, they become inspired, but some people also look at it very superficially and don't really understand that bhakti, devotion, doesn't just occur when we go to Puja, perform japa, mantra recitation, perform certain rituals; but we show bhakti devotion with every interaction of life.
As the Dalai Lama stated or was asked the question, "What inspires you most?" He said, "Every person I come into contact with." Because, other people show him or show us ourselves. Sivananda explains that:
“Bhakti is the basis of religious life. Bhakti destroys Vasanas and egoism.” —Sivananda, Easy Steps to Yoga
Vasanas are latent animalistic tendencies in the mind.
So how does bhakti destroy vasanas? As I said, you are at your job, your boss criticizes you, or you have a conflict with a difficult client and they are provoking your anger, and then in that moment, you realize how destructive that element is. Those thoughts of revenge, of resentment, of pain, that its actions will cause harm and perpetuate suffering for us and for others. We restrain from the mind and we learn to speak with love. Not forced. Not veiled. But spontaneously.
That is something that comes to us with training and intuitively when the mind is silent, when you are relaxed, when you are paying attention to where you are at. You learn to say the right thing, do the right thing, think the right thing, at the right time. That is inner judgment, as we have been talking about previously.
So that is how you destroy egoism. You stop feeding the ego. You perform bhakti, devotion. Worshipping the God of that other person who is criticizing you. Saying, mentally, "I respect the divine within all beings, even within an ant or criminal." All beings have God within. The reason why the criminal acts as he or she does is because they are ignorant. Therefore “they don't deserve my anger; they deserve my compassion.”
You don't have to formulate this in your mind when you are having a conflict, instead the insight emerges and you realize the person is suffering. So why feel anger? And then you transform your own mind, and by acting with kindness, we transform the situation.
“A life without Bhakti, faith, love and devotion is a dreary waste.” —Sivananda, Easy Steps to Yoga
So what is faith? In our gnostic studies, we state that faith is conscious knowledge, not belief. To believe that something is true or false is irrelevant. To think that something is true or not doesn't mean anything. Instead faith is when you know something from experience, personally. Like having a conversation with your inner Divine Mother in the astral plane. So real bhakti is faith. Your heart becomes inflamed when you are communicating with your inner God and “to not have that is to be a dreary waste.” People who never discover that is a tragedy.
“Bhakti softens the heart and removes jealousy, hatred, lust, anger, egoism, pride and arrogance. It infuses joy, Divine ecstasy, Bliss, Peace and Knowledge.” —Sivananda, Easy Steps to Yoga
So what is ecstasy? Coming from the Latin exstatuo: “to stand outside oneself.” People often think that ecstasy is a spiritual experience, which means to be in some type of out-of-body experience. But you experience moments of standing outside of yourself when you learn to comprehend that you are not fear, that you are not those negative elements that make us suffer. But instead, you are something divine, consciously speaking. You step outside of yourself and you have a moment of perspective in which you see your subjective self and your objective self. And how you choose between the two determines your religious life, your spiritual life.
“All cares, worries, anxieties, fears, mental torments and tribulations entirely vanish. The devotee is freed from the Samsaric wheel of births and deaths.” —Sivananda, Easy Steps to Yoga
In Buddhism and Hinduism, samsara means cyclical existence, which people typically interpret to the multi-dimensionality of nature and its different levels and forms, which we discussed in relation to Kabbalah. But samsara literally means “cycling, repeating, habits.” So we learn to identify our negative habits and change them. We perform cessation of those causes of repetitive behaviors that produce suffering. Cessation in Sanskrit is Nirvana. So it isn't just a place, but a psychological way of being, in which you cease repeating behaviors that are detrimental for oneself.
And through bhakti, “He attains the Immortal Abode of everlasting Peace, Bliss and Knowledge.” —Sivananda, Easy Steps to Yoga
That everlasting abode, that immortal abode is not some other world in which some utopian existence is experienced. It's not by going to the astral plane or the mental plane or Nirvana or the different dimensions that we talked about in the Tree of Life, that one is going to find absolute peace, because all those dimensions are here and now with us. Our center of gravity tends to be in this physical body, but psychologically we have mind, emotion, energy, which are different levels of matter and experience.
Watchfulness is Prayer
All those aspects of the consciousness integrate within us in the here and now. That abode is not something foreign to you, but it's within your Being who is with you.
So how do we experience and know that immortal abode? It is through remembrance of the divine. It Is by being watchful. By learning to pay attention. We have an image of a Sufi in meditation and prayer who has in his right hand what some would call a rosary in the Christian tradition, which traditionally, such as in Hinduism, you would perform japa with the beads. You count the beads while reciting a mantra for each bead in order to train the mind.
So as we mentioned in the practice at the beginning of this lecture, we repeat a mantra in order to protect the mind, to train it, to cease being negative. Mantra means “mind protection.” Japa is when you are reciting a prayer in your mind, but not mechanically, instead consciously, with force, with devotion. And we have many mantras in our tradition, but also in many other religions. Amongst the Sufis it is Allah Hu Allah. Amongst the Hindus we have Hari Krishna and many other prayers, which are really effective, but if you repeat them mechanically, they are useless.
You have to be conscious of what you are doing. And sometimes in ancient traditions, they would train themselves reciting those prayers by counting beads. Repeating again and again a mantra to remember the presence of divinity within. To invoke energy in the mind, the heart, the body.
But the best act of worship, of prayer, is watchfulness. Watchfulness of the moment. It isn't by going to some spiritual place going to Tibet, going to a church or a mosque in which one is going to find communion with the divine. You find divinity by being watchful. The physical place doesn't matter so much. The best act of worship is when you are paying attention, self-observing.
We discussed in our previous lectures about the path of self-observation in which you as a consciousness are observing your three brains: your thoughts, your feelings, your body. Observing the impulses of the mind, the instincts, our sexual drives, our thoughts, our emotions. We become mindful. We observe ourselves like we are watching an actor in a film as if we are the director.
So this watchfulness, when you are paying attention, is precisely that greatest prayer we can enact, because if you are not aware as a consciousness, you cannot know divinity. You cannot perceive divinity here and now. Like I said in that experience, my Divine Mother said, "You are lost. Where are you?" And I felt panic, because She was showing me that “you are not worshipping Me. You are not remembering Me.” How do you remember divinity? When you are provoked with anger or negative elements, and then you realize what to do. How to act. How to behave. Not only just physically, but mentally you make choices. You have insight. Instead of responding with resentment or revenge, you transform the situation with love. This is the meaning of the following statement:
“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-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So what does it mean that the servant not look beyond his limit? So when we prefer perform Bhakti Yoga, we are serving divinity. We are also performing Karma Yoga, positive action. When we don't look beyond our limit, it means don't think about other things. Don't worry about other things. Be fully concentrated in what we are doing, because to be distracted in a moment of crisis can produce a tragedy. As Samael Aun Weor stated in Revolutionary Psychology, people who don't know how to transform negative internal psychological states, become victims of circumstances, and even a simple mistake or moment can bring one disgrace."
So don't look behind your limit. Don't think about other things. Don't associate with anything other than the present moment. Don't think about anything other than your Being. Be aware of your Inner God. That is a quality that you learn to become a familiar with practice.
So in the beginning we feel we are blind. We lack insight. We want to know divinity. We want to have some type of experience. We feel some longing, some inspiration. People say, “I can't meditate; I can't have an out-of-body experience; I haven't seen these things for myself…” and many people get filled with despair. They write to us. And one thing I always mention to them, is that “Well, what are your longings? What do you feel?” And they say, "I feel in my heart that this knowledge is very true and I have experienced certain things." “Okay, that is the next next step. Follow your longing, that intuition, that judgment, that inner hunch in your heart. The more you feed that, that spark will grow into a flame as you train yourself in meditation.” That is mindfulness.
I remember, personally, many years ago, before I found this knowledge, I was looking and looking and looking and not being satisfied with what I was finding. Then I realized what I was looking for was already within me. So mindfulness is the key. That is the greatest form of worship, because your body is a temple of God. The mind, the heart, can become a temple of the Being if we purify it. So in those moments of great crisis, moral and emotional suffering, when we learn not to look beyond our limit, meaning: don't wish for the situation to change, but actually change it.
Or if you can't change it, at least be conscious, because some situations we can't change. People are going to be what they are going to be. Sometimes you can't make those changes in them, so instead what you have to do is not harm them, and that of course becomes very difficult.
Like Odysseus, in the symbol of The Odyssey, he was tied to a ship mast when he was sailing next to the sirens. It is a symbol that relates to this teaching. Where the sirens were calling him and he was driven mad with passion, with frenzy, or even anger, wanting to jump overboard or sail the ship into the reefs and become shipwrecked. It is a symbol of how in those great moments of suffering and crisis, we have to tie ourselves to our mast. Control our mind. Use our will. Even though we are tempted by those different defects, or egos, or wills, as we have been discussing in this course, we learn to be firm, to be mindful.
That is a form of worship. Be mindful of what you are doing. Be awake. Don't daydream. When you learn to be in the present moment, you become conscious of the path itself.
The Lines of Life and Being
We use this glyph to talk about the intersection of the line of life with the line of being.
The line of life is simply our existence from our birth in the past, to our childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, old age, sickness, death, towards the future. The line of life is mechanical. Everybody experiences this. People go through life typically identified with their name, their language, their culture, their customs, their beliefs, their religion, their concepts, their philosophy, their politics; and yet, when those people go to the grave, those things don't go with them.
So that type of mentality that only believes that materialism is the only tangible, experiential thing are really mistaken, because we do have something intersecting with that line of life, which has to do with the line of being. Our level of consciousness.
Above we have superior levels of consciousness, which is represented by Jacob's Ladder in the Bible, in which the angels were ascending and descending in this vision that Jacob had in the Book of Genesis.
As above there are heavenly states of consciousness inhabited by beings like angels and prophets, you also have inferior states of consciousness, relating to negative ways of being, known as the hell realms, which again are symbols of something psychological. They are places too, but, what's important is to realize our psychological state, because what we are psychologically determines where in nature we gravitate.
If we are filled with envy, and lust, and pride, we naturally gravitate towards inferior states of being the hell realms, which is experienced in nightmares and dreams. But there are also heavenly states of being, heavenly states of consciousness.
People typically go through life totally not paying attention of where they are at, where they are going, what they are thinking. Most people only relate to external things, which is the mechanical line of life. But someone who learns to awaken consciousness in meditation ascends the vertical path moment by moment, instant by instant. That is the path of remembrance of divinity. When instead of responding with conditions of mind, we react or better said respond with cognizance, with light.
Knowledge belongs to the line of life, because intellectual knowledge, knowing how to have a job, a career, a business, is necessary, but it's not everything. Comprehension is something much more profound and is what concerns any person who studies meditation.
“Knowledge and comprehension are different. Knowledge is of the mind. Comprehension is of the heart.” —Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology
So what is comprehension? We know in a very basic level when you put your hand on a hot stove, you get burned and then you realize not to repeat that action. It is a very superficial form of comprehension, but real comprehension is when you understand the conditioning of the psyche and then you don't act on those elements. You comprehend how lust, how fear, how hatred, is negative and when you really comprehend how those elements are destructive, you resolve not to go back to them and not to perpetuate your suffering and making other people suffer too.
So comprehension is real prayer, because when you comprehend your situation, whatever circumstances of life present itself and how the mind is the source of suffering, we then dedicate ourselves to changing fundamentally. It is a profound form of prayer.
Question: Does the intersection of the line of life and line of being relate to the Christian cross and the cross of the four elements?
Instructor: It does relate to the cross, which is the crossing of the four elements, but also the cross of the present moment, because when Christ was crucified, He came to physically represent or symbolize something psychological too. The death of the animal mind, of egotism, is in the present moment, here and now, and also the rebirth, or resurrection, or experience of the divine happens on the cross in the present moment. But also there is more deeper significance as you know.
The Eightfold Steps of Yoga in the Song of the Lord
We'll talk about a few excerpts from the Bhagavad-Gita [“The Song of the Lord”], which teaches something profound about the nature of Bhakti Yoga, of conscious prayer.
So in the myth or in the scripture the Lord Krishna comes to Arjuna, who is a representation of the Christic energy. Christ is not a person, but a force, symbolized by the Greek Khrestos, meaning fire. That fire manifests within many prophets or masters who come to teach humanity something profound. Krishna was the embodiment of that light and represents that divine energy.
Arjuna is, in our fundamental depth, willpower, human soul, human consciousness, and if you remember in the Mahabharata from which the Bhagavad-Gita is taken, Arjuna is in despair, because he is told by Krishna that he has to go to war against his family, his family members, his relatives. This is the same symbol that we talked about in the Book of Judges previously, in the lecture Conscious Judgment, where the people of Israel, symbolizing the forces of the soul, have to go against the ego, the armies of Sisera.
So there's a great battle that emerges in the soul when we begin this path, because our animalistic egotistical elements don't want to die, and so they fight for their life.
When Arjuna sees the vast armies of his former companions, his relatives who are against them, he feels despair. Who are those relatives? Fear, laziness, lust, pride, everything we are familiar with that we typically associate with ourselves. Then when we go against that, we realize there is a big battle about to happen and, of course, Arjuna feels despair. He's despondent. But that is when Krishna comes and teaches him what he needs to do in order to overcome his own mind.
He explains the path of Bhakti Yoga very beautifully in this chapter on the Yoga of Devotion, where he teaches him how to consciously pray, to receive help.
1. Arjuna said: “Those devotees who, ever steadfast, thus worship Thee and those also who worship the Imperishable and the Unmanifested which of them are better versed in Yoga?” ―Bhagavad-Gita, The Yoga of Devotion
Again, meaning union of the soul with the divine.
2. The Blessed Lord said: “Those who, fixing their minds on Me, worship Me, ever steadfast and endowed with supreme faith, these are the best in Yoga in My opinion.” ―Bhagavad-Gita, The Yoga of Devotion
So what does it mean to fix one's mind on the divine? It means to concentrate. To not think about other things. That is how you worship the divine. You receive insight. To be steadfast means to be consistent, meaning to adopt meditation and to practice it daily for it to have real effect.
3. “Those who worship the imperishable, the indefinable, the unmanifested, the omnipresent, the unthinkable, the eternal and the immovable, 4. Having restrained all the senses, even minded everywhere, intent on the welfare of all beings, verily they also come unto Me.” ―Bhagavad-Gita, The Yoga of Devotion
We mentioned previously in our lectures in this course about the Eightfold Path of Yoga taught by Patanjali, known as Ashtanga, meaning eight-limbed form of yoga. We have discussed these steps in depth. The first is Yama, meaning “restraint of mind,” and as we have been discussing in this lecture, one learns to restrain negative habits, egotism, desires, that is the first step of yoga. People who give in to their egotism, their desires, their anger, can never meditate, because the mind becomes a chaos and when you invest your energy into the ego, you feed the ego and make it fat. So the first step of yoga is restraint. Restrain the mind.
By restraining the mind we learn to follow Niyama, meaning “precepts.” Precepts have to do with codes of conduct, virtues, whichever religion stipulates in their own way. Don't kill, don't steal, don't lie, don't fornicate, don't commit adultery. These are not rules to repress people, but the teach us psychologically how to save energy, how to awaken consciousness.
The next step is Asana, your posture. As we said in our opening practice, your asana, your posture should be firm but relaxed. The body can't relax if the mind and the heart are in chaos, or agitated. If one wants to learn how to calm the body, the mind has to be calm, meaning: don't feed desire. You feed desire, you feed the ego, which is synonymous. The mind can't settle, because in a moment of anger, we lose energy. Or a moment of lust, we lose energy and that energy, which can be used for conscious development, is lost.
When the body is calm, you can begin practices of Pranayama, or work with mantra, energy. Pranayama means to “yoke the prana,” the energies of the body, and the mind, and the heart, and our sexuality. When you control your breathing with mantras or with certain interchangeable nostril breathing exercises, you learn to circulate energy so that the mind settles. So the practice we did at the beginning of this lecture, the mantra RAM-IO, helps to channel energy and focus it in the mind and the heart. Then when those energies are present, we learn to restrain our senses.
The senses become calm. This is known as Pratyahara. Pratyahara is when you restrain the senses and where you are focused fully within yourself. You begin to settle, you become calm. Pratyahara is like a lever that can produce the other steps of meditation, that are fundamental.
So these are things that we can't skip. They are not rules like something dogmatic to follow, but they are principles to apply consciously. With restraining the senses you don't get distracted by what is going on outside in the neighbor's house, the sounds that one hears. The mind becomes calm. That is when one becomes even-minded, concentrated. As stated in the fourth verse of the scripture, "To be even minded is to be concentrated." To be serene, meaning: whatever you are doing, do it with full attention. Don't think about other things. Don't get distracted.
With concentration we learn to focus on one object of focus for our practice in order to experience Dhyana, meaning meditation. Dharana is concentration. Dhyana is actual meditation. We state that meditation is not a practice. It is a state of being in which you receive knowledge.
So that experience I mentioned to you where I was talking to my Divine Mother, that was a form of meditation, but in the astral plane where I was receiving knowledge from my Inner Goddess, in that moment I understood, comprehended something profound about my dilemma. That is Samadhi, the next step. The eighth and final step which is comprehension, understanding. Samadhi is when you comprehend something profoundly without the influence of the mind, of the intellect, of the ego.
So notice that the Bhagavad-Gita teaches these steps of yoga in its verses.
If you wish to know and worship the Divine through prayer, one must be steadfast and with discipline, fix one's mind on that presence, which is not a physical entity, but force, a state of consciousness, a way of being. And, by learning to meditate or being concentrated all day, when you sit to practice, your mind is easily focused on one thing. You don't get distracted. You don't think about other things. You don't get lost in daydreams or worries. Because people who sit to practice for ten minutes and who are distracted all day, they don't get anywhere. But if you are concentrated on what you are doing at all moments of life, your life becomes your religion, your discipline, your practice.
So notice that we have the two armies presented before Krishna and Arjuna. It is obviously a very difficult thing to know in oneself to confront; that we have many egos and defects that need to be comprehended and eliminated. So in the path of conscious judgment, we talked extensively about comprehension. How to comprehend the mind, how to comprehend the ego.
Prayer and Self-Remembrance
The next step is learning to pray. To receive help from a superior force, from our Inner Goddess to aid us in those moments of great crisis and battle, when moment by moment, we are learning to face certain challenges and ordeals—certain situations that provoke elements that we never even suspected that we had, and by learning to be observant, we catch them.
We catch those defects in action. That is discovery, and when we learn to meditate on out faults, we learn to judge them. By comprehending them, we pray to our Divine Mother to eliminate.
We will be talking about this process towards the end of this lecture, but of course this produces a great struggle in oneself. Trying to comprehend the mind produces great suffering, because we recognize morally that we are responsible for all of our sufferings and faults, which are very overwhelming to face in the beginning especially. Which is why the Bhagavad-Gita states,
5. “Greater is their trouble whose minds are set on the Unmanifested; for the goal—the Unmanifested (the divine)—is very difficult for the embodied to reach. 6. But to those who worship Me (who are mindful, who are awake moment by moment), renouncing all actions in Me, regarding Me as the supreme goal, meditating on me with single-minded yoga (concentration), 7. To those whose minds are set on Me O Arjuna, verily I become ere long the savior out of the ocean of the mortal Samsara!” ―Bhagavad-Gita, The Yoga of Devotion
So what does it mean to renounce all actions “in Me,” in the divine? This is known as self-remembrance in our tradition—to remember the presence of your Inner God in those moments, particularly in which one is being challenged, confronted, criticized, lied about, gossiped, even attacked. You renounce all actions in the divine when you don't act egotistically, but remember the light of your presence, your Inner God, who comes to you like a light, an insight, an understanding in your mind and your heart. You learn to act on that impulse when it arrives spontaneously, intuitively.
"Fix thy mind on Me only, thy intellect in Me…” ―Bhagavad-Gita, The Yoga of Devotion
The word intellect in Sanskrit is Buddhi, which is a representation of the consciousness. When we think of intellect, we typically think of thought, so this is a bad translation. The original is Buddhi, which we are going to talk about in the next slide. Buddhi is the Divine Consciousness, Geburah (Deborah), judgment.
8. “Fix thy mind on Me only, thy intellect in Me, (then) thou shalt no doubt live in Me alone hereafter. 9. If thou art unable to fix thy mind steadily on Me, then by the Yoga of constant practice do thou seek to reach Me, O Arjuna!” ―Bhagavad-Gita, The Yoga of Devotion
Meaning: if your mind is still wandering and you are not able to concentrate, train yourself daily with simple practices. Take a candle or take an object to focus, like on a lit flame, and observe it. And as you are observing, observe your mind. Observe what you are observing, but also be aware of how you are seeing or perceiving. If your mind starts thinking about other things, just gently bring your attention back to the candle, and that will train you how to cease being distracted moment by moment. That can help empower your consciousness. That is part of some preliminary exercises one engages with when one prepares for meditation itself.
So by the yoga of constant practice, one can reach the divine, because consistency is key.
The Stages of Meditation and Prayer in the Tree of Life
We were talking about the Kabbalistic tree of life in our previous lectures. This image known in the Book of Genesis as the Tree of Life, is a symbol, a map of consciousness. These are different levels of perception, of matter and energy, and we have been talking extensively about these different degrees or sephiroth, modalities of being, in order to understand how to meditate.
In our practice we talked about the body known as Malkuth in Hebrew, represented as the “kingdom.” This is where we are. But, of course, above that are higher levels or modalities of energy and perception, which are not vertically situated in space, but instead, represent levels of being, ways of consciousness, ways of perceiving.
We have Yesod, relating to our vital energies, our creative energies, our sexual energy itself, which can give life to spiritual life, or even to a physical child, depending on how we use that energy, which is very well known in Buddhism as Tantra, and Hinduism as well.
We have the emotional sphere relating to Hod, meaning “splendor.” This is the emotions or astral body, the world of dreams. Yesod means “Foundation”—the foundation of our spiritual temple, because how we use our creative energy determines our spiritual life—energy that we activate through exercises like pranayama and mantra, which helps to settle the heart as well, Hod, the emotions.
To the right we have Netzach, meaning “victory,” the mind. When you conquer the mind, you become a Buddha, a victorious one, a master.
Above that though we have a more rarefied form of energy and perception known as Tiphereth, which means “beauty.” This is willpower. Willpower is simply the ability to act, but for most of us this will is conditioned to thought (Netzach), to emotions (Hod), to energy or sensations in the body, related with Yesod and Malkuth. Our will, which is at the very center of this glyph, is the very focal point of all action in our very being, so this is an image of who we are psychologically.
And the very center we have willpower, because it is through will is how we can access the higher levels of being or we can condition ourselves further. So when you learn to concentrate, you are using your will. To control thought, feeling, impulse, and the body. Notice that when we practice meditation or when we prepare ourselves, we relax the body. We also relax out energies. We have to relax our heart, relax our mind, and then we concentrate on one thing. So we have the five lower sephiroth represented in our discipline.
If we want to access the higher levels of being, we have to use our willpower, and willpower is concentration. Are you able to focus on one thing without thinking, or feeling, or being distracted by the body? Because when your mind is still, your emotions are calm, your energies are balanced—willpower becomes empowered. It allows you to experience the higher sephiroth known as Geburah, “Justice,” of which we spoke extensively in our previous lecture. This is Buddhi in Sanskrit, the divine consciousness.
To the right we have Chesed, meaning “Mercy,” our Inner God, our spirit, which in Hebrew is אל El, the Being.
Above that we have the trinity of Christianity: Kether, Chokmah, Binah (Crown, Wisdom, Intelligence), which is the highest form of energy in the cosmos, represented by the trinity among the Christians, as Osiris, Isis, and Horus among the Egyptians. Wotan, Baldor, Thor among the Nordics. You have Dharmakaya, Sambhogakaya, and Nirmanakaya in Buddhism.
Our Divine Mother is the feminine aspect of Binah, intelligence. She is Shakti, the wife of Shiva, the Holy Spirit, which is a force, not a person.
That energy is within our body. We have the energies of the Father in the brain, Kether. We have the energies of Christ, the son, Horus, in the heart. We have the power of the Holy Spirit in sex, the sexual organs. So that power which can give life to a child, if it's used well and harnessed, can give birth to the soul.
Those are very rarefied levels of consciousness, which we can access in meditation if we are concentrated, because if our will is not empowered, is not guided by the spirit and by our consciousness, if we are distracted by our thoughts, and our feelings, and our sensations, we can pray all we want, but we are not going to get the answers we want, because the mind has to be calm, the body has to be calm. The lower sephiroth have to be in control, to be still.
We have a quote from Hamlet, in which Claudius is confessing his crime to himself for having murdered his brother, which is a symbol of masonry and many other traditions of the death of the divine potential within us. Claudius is a representation of the ego, and he said something very profound in relation to this lecture that's relevant to state.
"My word fly up to heaven, my thoughts remain below. Words without thoughts never to Heaven go." ―Hamlet, 3.3.100-103)
So Shakespeare was an esotericist, a meditator. Your words can fly up to heaven. You can be asking and asking for insight, but if your concentration is down in your body, if you are moving your body, being irritated, if you are identified with thought or feeling, it means that those words will never reach the divine. Words without thoughts, without concentration, never reach the destination. Or better said, we never get the insights we want, because the mind is in chaos.
This is why Prophet Muhammad stated that “An hour of contemplation is better than a year of prayer.” Meaning, an hour of meditation, of experiencing your Inner God is better than going to mosque for a year and praying salat five times a day mechanically.
So people can do that if they like, but if it's mechanical, it doesn't serve any purpose, which brings into mind a saying by a Sufi master by the name of Bayazid Bastami, who talked about the real esoteric meaning of prayer. Muslims, when they pray, they pray towards the east, towards the Kaaba, which in alchemical or Kabbalistic teachings relate to the stone of the Freemasons. That stone, the Kaaba, is a symbol of the energies of Yesod, the foundations of our spiritual temple.
Notice that this sphere is at the very base of the whole Tree of Life and is at the very bottom. It is the foundation. How we use this energy, the creative energies of our body, determines our spiritual life.
People in the Muslim tradition have lost the meaning of this significance. They pray towards the stone in the Middle East but ignore that they have the stone in their own body. They don't use their energies consciously. You can pray all you want to the the East, towards Mecca, but the Sufi Master by Bayazid Bastami pointed out something very beautiful. He said:
“When you are separate from the Kaaba (Yesod), it is all right to turn toward it. But those who are in it can turn towards any direction that they wish." —Bayazid Bastami
Meaning, if you are actively using your energies wisely, you can access the whole Tree of Life. You go to any direction, because notice that there are ten spheres, ten sephiroth. These are the ten directions of Buddhism mentioned by the tantric scriptures. Ten modalities of energy. So if you learn to use that energy in yourself, you don't need to pray towards a stone. You can if it brings you reverence, but if you pray, be conscious of what you do, because those who don't learn to work with that energy can access the higher aspects of the Tree of Life, the consciousness.
The Path of Balance
So one must be even balanced in order to perform Raja Yoga, as well as Bhakti Yoga. As we have been stating, one must learn to calm the mind and to learn to be compassionate in all circumstances.
13. He who hates no creature, who is friendly and compassionate to all, who is free from attachment and egoism, balanced in pleasure and pain, and forgiving, 14. Ever content, steady in meditation, possessed of firm conviction (from having internal experiences), self controlled, with mind and intellect (Buddhi) dedicated to Me, he, My devotee, is dear to Me. 15. He by whom the world is not agitated and who cannot be agitated by the world, and who is freed from joy, envy, (or better said, egotistical joy, evil pleasures), fear and anxiety—He is dear to me. —Bhagavad-Gita, The Yoga of Devotion
So to not be agitated by the world, neither to agitate the world. Like the Christian saying, “Be in the world, but not of it.” Interact with others like as the Buddhist teach: a butterfly going from flower to flower, extracting the pollen, the knowledge, the insight one needs, transforming those situations, and leaving without harming the flower itself, the petals.
16. “He who is free from wants (who is not constantly occupied with one's bills or trying to sustain oneself in this life), pure, expert, unconcerned, and untroubled (meaning: an expert in meditation unconcerned as is stated in the Gospels)…” ―Bhagavad-Gita, The Yoga of Devotion
See the lilies of the field and the birds of the sky, how they toil not nor spin. Why worry about what raiment you shall have for yourself? What money, what sustenance, because your inner dvinity knows you need these things, so therefore have faith in your Inner God to give you what you need so long as we do our part.
16. “He who is free from wants, pure, expert (in meditation), unconcerned, and untroubled, renouncing all undertakings or commencements (meaning: to not act egotistically in any circumstance), he who is (thus) devoted to Me, is dear to Me.” ―Bhagavad-Gita, The Yoga of Devotion
And this has to do with the path of balance, not being identified, even with those qualities we think are good, psychologically speaking. We have many bad egos as we have been talking about. There are also many good egos, senses of self that know how to do good, like to give money, or to the be a member of some Church or Mosque or Masjid, or whatnot. But even the ego, the sense of self that thinks it does good, is subjective. Consciousness is something much more transcendental or profound.
17. “He who neither rejoices, nor hates, nor grieves, nor desires, renouncing good and evil (as philosophical concepts, but learning to act in the present moment consciously), and who is full of devotion, is dear to me. 18. He who is the same to foe and friend, and in honor and dishonor, who is the same as in cold and heat, and in pleasure and pain, who is free from attachment (identification, desire), 19. He to whom censure and praise are equal, who is silent (in the mind), content with anything, (even) homeless (meaning: not identified with having a house or a home but being not attached to the world even if one has a house or not), of a steady mind and full of devotion, that man is dear to Me (that meditator is dear to Me). 20. They verily who follow this immortal Dharma, (this doctrine or law), as described above, endowed with faith (conscious experience), regarding Me as their supreme goal, they, the devotees, are exceedingly dear to Me.” ―Bhagavad-Gita, The Yoga of Devotion
The Three Factors for Spiritual Revolution
Let us talk about the teachings of the Divine Mother we have been discussing. We have what is called three factors in order to achieve success in meditation and the spiritual path itself.
We have the path of birth. The path of death. The path of sacrifice.
Birth relates to chastity, which does not mean sexual abstention, but by learning to harness the energies of sexuality, the body, Yesod, the vital forces, one learns to take that energy and to empower one's meditation, because that energy which can create a child, if we conserve that force and transform it, it can awaken the soul in its full capacity.
We also have what is called the death of desire, sanctity, which is what we have been discussing in the path of judgment. To comprehend the sources of the ego, our defects, and to eliminate them, to annihilate them—so that by breaking those shells, we free consciousness like the genie from Aladdin's lamp—so that the soul can perform miracles, experiences, knowledge, powers in ourselves.
Sacrifice, to have charity. It doesn’t mean to just give money to the poor or what not—it can involve that. But you also sacrifice for others when you learn to perform your job with consciousness, with love, so that we don't harm others. These three factors we will be talking more in depth in future courses, but these three we find are synonymous, different aspects of one thing. If you want to awaken consciousness, we have to learn to use energy, to give birth to the soul. We have to learn to comprehend the sources of the ego, to die in those defects, and learn to serve others.
The Stages of Comprehension
So the stages of comprehension, which are fed by those three factors, involve the following. We discussed in our previous lecture the light of consciousness, the path of discovery, and in the path of conscious judgment, we talked about the second step, judgment. In this lecture. we are talking about execution, prayer.
So we have in this image the Divine Mother slaying a demon. She is the power of the Kundalini that can eliminate our conditions of mind, our defects, our egos, which she does through the creative energies of sexuality, harnessed within a matrimony or between man and woman, who can learn to use those energies as a couple to transform the mind.
So we find many interesting symbols in her hands, and the fact that she has multiple hands represented by Durga riding a lion, represents her ability, her omniscience, to act in all circumstances of life without conditions. To act in multiple ways.
With discovery, we find our defects—we observe ourselves moment by moment. We save energy. We serve others. We comprehend our faults in meditation through judgment and after we have comprehended our defects, we learn to execute them, or better said, the Divine Mother, the divine feminine, executes them through prayer.
We have been discussing how prayer is to speak with divinity, with the divine, face to face. The Divine Mother is the root energy at the base of our spine, but also in our heart. She is the energy that can liberate the soul. So we work with her daily in our gnostic studies in order to remove the obscurations of the mind, to comprehend ourselves, but also to invoke that divine power—to destroy the shells of the ego.
So again, we see Her riding a lion, which is very symbolic. That lion is a symbol of the lion of Judah among the Christians. Judea or י Yod, ה Hei, ו Vav, ד Daleth, ה Hei, which has the four sacred letters of the name of God: י Yod ה Hei ו Vav ה Hei, יהוה Jehovah. As we talked about in our previous lectures, יה Ya or י Yod ה Hei is the Father. ה Hei or הוה Havah is Eve, the divine feminine. Male-female. Man-woman. Because we have a Divine Father above and a Divine Mother above within our consciousness.
So יהוה Yod-Havah, Jehovah, is the power of male-female. And הוה Havah, or Adam-Eve we can say, and יהוה Ya-Havah is precisely the power of the divine feminine. הוה Havah, hidden within Durga, who is the power that can slay any ego, any defect, where we learn to pray to Her consciously.
Samael Aun Weor stated in Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology:
“Prayer in the psychological work is fundamental for the dissolution of the “I” (the ego, the myself). We need a power superior to the mind if indeed we want to disintegrate this or that “I” (whether it be pride, an ego of vanity, of fear, of lust).
“The mind by itself can never disintegrate any “I”; this is indisputable and irrefutable.
“To pray is to talk with God. We must appeal to God the Mother in the depths of our heart if we truly want to disintegrate “I’s” (egos, selves, conditions of mind). The one who does not love his or her Mother, the ungrateful child, will fail in the work upon himself.” —Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology
Meaning: those who forget after they have begun working on their mind, to continue working with Her.
So again, that experience comes to my mind where She told me, "Where are you? I can't find you on this radar." So, one must not forget one's Divine Mother when you begin this work. She is the power that can liberate the consciousness from the ego, the self.
She is the Virgin Mary, Miriam. As I said, the word מרים Miriam means “to raise,” and what else is the power that can raise us to the heights of the heavens except the Kundalini in the spine? She is the power of מרים Miriam, or מים Mayim, which in Hebrew means water. You have מ ם Mem repeated twice. The letter מ ם M in Hebrew and the letter ר R. Miriam. You have the word מים Mayim, which means “water” and the letter ראש Rosh means “head.” So those waters of the creative energy are in the base of your spine, in your sexual organs, which if you raise through certain practices up the spine to the mind, you can illuminate the intellect, produce the halo of the saints. She is the power that can raise us from suffering up the line of being.
Practical Advice for Psychological Work
Samael Aun Weor provides some advice about this:
"Make yourselves introversive. Direct your prayer within, seeking within your interior your Divine Lady. Thus with sincere supplications you shall be able to talk to Her. Beg Her to disintegrate the "I" that you have previously observed and judged. Comprehension and the discernment are fundamental." —Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology
Meaning: you have to see your egos in action. See what arose in your mind, in your heart, in your body at a certain instance of the day. Be specific. Be understanding of what defect you saw in action in each moment of your day. To discern is precisely the capacity to see, to discriminate, to understand.
“Nonetheless, something more is necessary if indeed what we want is to disintegrate the “myself” (the ego, the I).
“The mind can give onto itself the luxury of labeling any defect, passing it from one department to the other, exhibiting it, hiding it, etc. However, the mind can never fundamentally alter the defect.
“A special power superior to the mind is necessary, a fiery power that is capable of reducing any defect to ashes.
“Stella Maris, our Divine Mother, has that power. She is able to pulverize any psychological defect.” —Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology
Stella Maris is Virgin of the Sea, the waters. Those waters are precisely your energies in your body and those waters, if we learn to control them through breathing exercises, mantras, circulate those forces up the spine, they help to awaken faculties of the consciousness in their full potential.
She is the power that can liberate the soul, and she is also represented in the Tarot. We have been giving a course on the twenty-two arcana of the tarot and in the eleventh arcanum, which will be our next lecture, we find a virgin holding open the jaws of a lion.
It is interesting that in these images of the tarot, we find many symbols that relate to every religion. Notice that Durga rides upon a lion because that lion is the energy of Christ, Jehovah, whom we work with and dominate through the power of the divine feminine. So that lion, instead of attacking her, is pleasant, is tranquil. She opens the jaws of the lion, meaning, She controls those forces completely in us when we learn to meditate.
The transcendental axiom or statement of this arcanum, this law, this teaching, because the word arcanum means “law,” is the following:
“Joyful in hope, suffering and tribulation, be thou constant in thy prayer.”
So, as you are working and self-observation of your defects, learn to pray to your Inner Goddess. Ask for help, for insight. Ask her to help you control the jaws of the lion, which is your energies, because sometimes we have energy that wants to act in ways that we can't control, and we have to appeal to her deeply, to guide us. We won't talk about this arcanum in depth today, because we are giving whole course on this and this will be our next lecture.
Ways to Develop Devotion
Some ways that you can learn to develop Bhakti Yoga in yourself are through the following ways stipulated by Swami Sivananda in his book Easy Steps to Yoga.
We have Sravana, hearing the Lila of God. To hear the Lila of God means you develop devotion by hearing the teachings, by reading scripture and understanding its meaning.
How does it apply to your life practically? You can read any scripture that you have an affinity for and meditate on its meaning. How does it apply to certain circumstances in your life? Otherwise, it's just theory. You may read the Bhagavad-Gita, the Qur’an, the Old Testament; find scriptures that are explained that are meaningful to you. That is a form of devotion. We read scriptures that inspire us, that teach something profound about ourselves.
We have Kirtana, singing His praise. Kirtan is very common in schools of yoga where they have small concerts and they play many traditional Hindu songs, but there are many other forms of singing, of prayer, like amongst the Christians you have Cistercian monks and even classical music, we have choral pieces, which are very divine, very profound, that one can learn to be a part of, that inspires you.
Smarana, remembering His name. This typically has to do with reciting a mantra. So, you can relate to remember your inner divinity by reciting a prayer or mantra, moment-by-moment, mentally. You know RAM-IO, you can pronounce mentally in your mind and in your mind recite japa, prayer. Repeat that mantra, whatever mantra you resonate with, that gives you power in your consciousness.
Padasevana, worshiping his lotus feet. It literally means “service to the feet.” This has many beautiful meanings that are explained in the Judeo-Christian Bible by Jesus anointing the feet of his disciples before his passion. To wash one's feet with ointment, with oil, is a symbol. It is very profound. To have dreams of washing one's feet, which are filled with mud, with pure water, is a symbol of removing the impurities in the mind, because how you walk in your daily life is how you walk spiritually. You can't separate the two.
Most people think that life in the mosque and life at work are separate. They don't see the connection. But the truth is that your work is your religion. How you behave psychologically is your is your mysticism, your path. To wash the feet in waters of purity is a very beautiful Christian symbol related to baptism and transmutation, as we have been explaining in our courses, which you can find available explanations on our website. By worshiping His lotus feet is to purify the mind because when you purify your mind and your body by working with energy, you develop devotion. The heart becomes inflamed, inspired.
Archana is offerings. This is very well traditionally-understood as providing flowers or some kind of holy relics upon an altar, but a real offering is when you as a consciousness decide to restrain from certain habits, which are negative. Certain defects that you observed. You make an offering to the your Divine Being and say "I will renounce this ego that I have in me and offer my self with sacrifice." To receive those benefits. Then of course divinity always responds because when you work on the ego, you develop light. You illuminate the darkness; you develop light.
Vandana, prostration, can mean many forms of prayer, not only in Hinduism but also Buddhism and Islam. To prostrate is to surrender oneself, psychologically-speaking. In so many traditions, they involve prayers and prostrations, which we do too in this tradition, as well certain prayers we do on our knees or certain exercises we do on our knees as a form of reverence for the divine.
Dasya is service, as we have explained in great detail today, related to Karma Yoga. What are ways that you can help other human beings to benefit? It doesn't mean by having to give this type of knowledge, but instead refers to how we possess certain skills that can benefit other people. We have qualities that are intrinsic to our dispositions and which we have to offer. So, we have to find what it is that we are good at and that we can really give to others to be of benefit. When we do it with love, we are performing service, yoga, union, karma, Karma Yoga; therefore, we receive certain benefits, blessings from divinity, because in order to receive help, we have to give help according to our level.
Sakya is friendship, and has to do with associating with people who are like-minded. Meaning, people who are more elevated or spiritual, because obviously, sometimes we may be associated with certain people who are drunkards, drug addicts, and like attracts like, so to speak. If you want to be around better vibrations, you make friends with or associate with people who help inspire your spirituality. It is always good. That way when you are very confident about your level of being, you can help those who are less fortunate.
Lastly Atmanivedana, complete self-surrender, which has to do with when you recognize your ego and you don't give it what it wants. You surrender your consciousness to your Inner God. It is a psychological state of being to surrender one's mind, one's heart, one's body for one's divinity.
We are going to conclude this lecture with the following quote where Swami Sivananda states:
“Study the Gita, Ramayana, and Bhagavata. Have Satsanga. Visit holy places (Teertha-Yatra). Do Japa. Meditate. Sing His Name. You can develop Bhakti and have his Darsana (yogic discipline, such as Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, by following these steps).” —Swami Sivananda, Easy Steps to Yoga
Questions and Answers
Question: Is there any technique that can help with negative emotions?
Instructor: With negative emotions, especially, you could step aside for a minute or five minutes to have a break. Sit, relax, breathe. Inhale for six seconds, hold your breath for six seconds, exhale for six seconds. Then when your mind is calm, if you have even more time, do pranayama. Do transmutation of your energies by working with the breath and circulating that force, because that energy will help calm you, especially when you get overwhelmed by certain egos or defects and you feel like you are going to lose control. Like if you are very upset with someone or someone challenges you or does something very negative, it can be very difficult for transform that, so instead in order to avoid exacerbating the situation, step back for five minutes. Take a break, real quick if you can, somewhere isolated. Just breathe. Focus on your breath.
Question: It's something I never really noticed before until I started retrospecting.
Instructor: And most people, they had no idea because people who don't self-observe are not going to discover that. But now that you are seeing it, now you seeing, “This is my daily state” as we talked about in the lecture on the “Light of Consciousness.” You must look within to develop light. But of course, when you develop that light, the darkness wants to swallow that light. So it becomes a very painful circumstance.
Ways that you can deal with it is to transmute more when you get home. Work with your energies, and pranayama is an is an exercise in which you take the energies of your body and circulate them, such as breathing exercises or mantras. You transform the substance of your bodily energies into energy or force and that will help calm you.
Personally if I am at work and I am dealing with, you know, as I mentioned previously, had some very difficult clients that I work with. So, what I do is if I have been overwhelmed at times, at my break, I'll do a mantra in my mind, not aloud. I will be doing other things in my office or my room and I would be doing a mantra, such as: Klim Krishnaya Govindaya Gobijana Vallabhaya Swaha.
That mantra we have on the website gnosticteachings.org. You can look under the videos of how to pronounce that. It is a mantra in order to invoke Christ, to remove and reject negativity. Not only just from outside, but from within. So, I found that if I am getting angry, if I was getting angry at certain people, I had to step back and during my break, do this mantra. Totally changes everything.
Question: Where is it located?
Instructor: It is in The Perfect Matrimony and the chapter about the Gnostic Pentagram. It's very powerful. You are invoking Klim, Christ. Krishnaya, the Lord Krishna. Govindaya which Govinda relates to “cowherd,” I believe. The shepherd, or the one who leads the souls of the cows to light. Symbol of certain disciples, like sheep in the Bible, where they are led to light. That light enters into you and you can form the pentagram, which is a five-pointed star. When it is upright, it rejects negative forces. And not only just to reject people outside of you who are negative, but more importantly mentally, your internal states.
Question: What is the meaning behind Ham-Sah?
Instructor: Ham-Sah is a mantra for transmutation. Another exercise of working with the sexual energy, which when you conserve it, you sit in a comfortable place, you imagine your spinal column. We have the famous caduceus of mercury amongst the symbol of medicine, which represents how certain channels of energy rise from the testicles for men or the ovaries for women, up the spine in the form of two snakes, until reaching the head. In the middle you find two wings that open up. It's a symbol of how by working with energy and circulating it, you develop the wings of spirituality and with Ham Sah, you first close your eyes and pray to your Divine Mother. "My Goddess, help me to work with this energy in me because you are that energy. Help me to awaken you within my spine and to calm my mind. Circulate these forces in me!" And then you breathe and inhale through your nostrils, imagine the energy is rising like light up those two energetic channels at the spine, which are called in Hinduism by the name of Ida and Pingala. Masculine and feminine energy. Or in Taoism: Yin and Yang. Or in Hebrew Od and Obd. Adam and Eve. Male and female. A symbol of those forces.
When you are inhaling, you imagine these energies rising up the spine to your brain. you pronounce mentally the mantra. "Haaaaaaaaammmmmmm…" You don't verbalize it. You make it mental, and you prolong the inhalation, Ham, [pronounced as with an “Ah” sound] in order to send the energies from your sexual organs to your brain.
That Ham saturates the mind and fills the chalice of the brain and then as you are about to exhale, imagine that energy descending to the third eye through nadis or energetic channels in the face, down into the heart. Then you pronounce externally the mantra "Ssssaah!"
“Ham” is prolonged. We say it is solar, creative. That energy rises, is retained, prolonged because you want to force the energies to circulate up to the mind, or send it in that direction. So, you prolong Ham more profoundly. Samael Aun Weor states you send that energy to the heart with a very relaxed way, “Ssssaah!”
There's nothing to prolong there. I have heard some people pronounce “Sah” very prolonged, but personally, I don't see that in the instructions. Instead “Sah” should be very short and relaxed. “Ham” should be more prolonged because you are teaching your body to circulate those energies inward and upward to the spine, rather than expelling them outward as you know—because for most people that energy is not controlled. It goes out. People don't know how to conserve that energy.
But remember that She is Miriam. She is the waters of your sexuality, which when you conserve, she rises up your spine to your head. ראש Rosh. מרים Miriam. מ Mem means water in Hebrew. מ Mem is the waters in your brain and also ם (Final) Mem is the waters of your sexual organs [since there are two forms of Mem in Hebrew, opening מ Mem and ם Mem Sophit, or final Mem]. You connect the two by working with mantra.
Ham-Sah is one way you can do that. To work with Her. That is a very profound form of prayer, when you work with that energy daily, because that way She will really give you a lot of strength and insight. Because without energy we have no light. Without fire there is no light.
Meditation is the science of knowing oneself completely. It is the method by which we learn to comprehend and to judge ourselves.
Psychologically, as we've been explaining throughout this course, we carry many elements, conditions, many psychological qualities, which trap our potential, our consciousness.
As we've explained, the consciousness is simply the capacity to perceive, to know, to understand, and to comprehend. It is a psychological sense of seeing without the need to think, without the need to identify with negative emotion, neither any impulses of our most subconscious, unconscious, and even infraconscious nature—elements that reside within the most profound depths of our psyche, in which religions and different cosmogonies have called hell—which is not just a literal place. It is a symbol, and more importantly for us, it is of a psychological way of being, because whenever we are filled with affliction and suffering, we are in hell.
Hell is not a place, specifically in terms of what should really concern us. Instead, what we are psychologically determines where we vibrate within the laws of nature, simply, by cause and effect.
Certain actions produce suffering. Certain actions produce harmony. To be able to distinguish within ourselves psychological states that are beneficial from psychological states that are detrimental has been known in different traditions by many names. Some people have called it intuition: to know right from wrong. Not from some moral sense, but from the understanding that certain actions produce harm psychologically, produce suffering, while other actions produce the happiness and genuine contentment of our soul.
Intuition is the ability to know how to act in life—to promote actions that are beneficial and promote the happiness of others, as well as our own well-being. Some people have called this intuition by the voice of conscience. Conscience is the whisper in the heart that tells us certain behaviors produce suffering and that certain actions, whether it be at work, with our family, with our loved ones, create conflict.
Therefore, meditation is how we resolve conflict, how we silence the mind, not through force, by gagging it or by repressing it, but simply looking at it. Looking at your own mind and observing what qualities condition and shape our experience.
This is a psychological sense that typically, in humanity, is very atrophied, because people don't know how to use it. Specifically, people, when they sit in and pursue meditation as a science and as a method, very soon discover the true nature of the mind. We can sit for 10 minutes, 30 minutes, we introspect and then we realize that the body is agitated. It is impulsive. It wants to move. Likewise, the emotions may be surging with a flux of negativity, of suffering, of fear, and of panic. Likewise, the mind carries many memories which seem to surge, fluctuate, and move without any order. The mind is wild and anyone who enters meditation for the first time realizes, with great perplexity, in astonishment, that the mind that we thought we had was unitary, is really fractured.
It is fragmented, because every memory, thought, preoccupation and all these things which surge in the mind, really don't have any order. And of course, this is an overwhelming realization, that the mind is really a type of beast, that anger, the negative emotions, that conditioning of the psyche, is animalistic, and when a meditator discovers this, obviously, this is very painful—to discover the true nature of the mind, that it is conditioned within psychological states of suffering, in which all the different mythologies of the ancient traditions depicted in symbols—how the soul, the consciousness, must learn to overcome fear, hatred and pride in oneself.
It comes to memory the story of Theseus and the Minotaur. A Greek myth. How Theseus, the soul, must go into a labyrinth in order to discover at the very center what is known as the Minotaur, who is a mythological beast, half man and half bull. In truth, that is a symbol of qualities like hatred, of wrath, fear; which we as a consciousness must go into the maze to fight, to confront with serenity and with insight.
We go into the mind to discover the secret conditions which trap our energy, because if you remember in the myth, Theseus goes into the maze and this beast, half man and half bull, is still half human being, because the qualities of our consciousness, who we are in our depth, is truly trapped by animal desire. There is an essence of humanity in that element. But of course as we have been explaining in this course, egotistical qualities like hatred, pride, vanity, these are conditions that trap the energy of our psyche and make us vibrate at a very low level of being. A way of thinking and a way of acting.
Our consciousness is trapped in those conditions, in those elements, and the meditator, through the science of introspection, must learn to go into the mind and into the maze of that intellect in order to find the sources of our suffering—the cause of our suffering, of our egotism, and of our negativity.
When you sit to meditate you may find that you get distracted very easily and the mind wanders.There isn't much focus, because in the beginning we realize that the mind is a maze. It is a labyrinth. We get easily distracted. But the method by which we go into the mind and discover ourselves for who we really are, how we know what actions are positive and negative, we call in these studies: judgment,—the ability to discriminate, psychologically, what in us is good and what in us is negative.
When we learn to discriminate and judge what psychological states produce happiness or sorrow, we learn to live life with greater rectitude and with responsibility, for the happiness of others. Because when we work for the happiness of others and when we eliminate negative emotions, we radiate, naturally, purity and light for humanity, in which they, likewise, people trapped and conditioned with suffering, can learn how to change.
Some people call this faculty intuition, that is, to know what is right from wrong. Others call it conscience, the voice that says in our heart that certain qualities in the mind stream are not productive and not helpful. It is a quality that we develop in meditation through daily discipline.
Of course, one thing I will mention is that the voice of conscience has been represented in different ways. The story of Pinocchio, written by Carlos Collodi, is a story of a young puppet that wants to become a boy of flesh and blood. A human being. He has a helper by the name of Jiminy Cricket, who is a small figure that sits on his shoulder and tells him, “This is good and this is bad. Don't do this. Don't do that.” Not out of some dogmatic authoritarian sense that one should obey some commandment, some or some ordainment, or some type of law that is man-made.
In the story, Jiminy Cricket tends to be ignored and in the story Pinocchio gets into problems, but he genuinely yearns to become a human being. Of course in these studies, we emphasize that a true human being, a master of meditation, an angel, has no egotism and no defect, but rather is pure, someone who, like us, that had learned meditation and learned to go against the Minotaur, to comprehend it, and to understand it; and by the grace of the divine within him, to eliminate, so that condition is broken and the consciousness is freed, is pure and united with divinity.
Many myths teach this process of meditation in allegorical form, but here we've only mentioned a few from the Greek tradition, as well as the Italian literature for children. What is masked as a children's story is really something more profound.
In this lecture, we will talk about some symbols and some very well-known stories, particularly from the Judeo-Christian Bible, which if read literally, does not detail much except some kind of history, and which is not the point. The language of the Bible and many other teachings is symbolic and allegorical. It is not meant to be read literally, as you'll see from this lecture. We will look at a scripture known as the Book of Judges and talk about its meditative symbolism and also the path of meditation that leads through the maze of the mind and towards understanding, serenity.
The Path of Meditation
As we have been indicating:
“Internal meditation is a scientific system to receive information.
“When the wise submerges into meditation he searches for information.
“Meditation is the daily bread of the wise.” —Samael Aun Weor, Kundalini Yoga
What information do we seek? What we seek or what any genuine practitioner of meditation seeks in him or herself is to understand the causes of suffering. To understand why we are in pain, why we are afflicted, why we are so filled with grief and seemingly no control over the fate of ourselves and humanity.
The information we seek is how psychological conditions trap the energy of our soul, so that by comprehending them and seeing them in action, we learn to eliminate them. We learn to break those shells. This is the path of self-knowledge. A path of knowing who we really are, and of course, this takes great courage, to confront oneself, but to really take responsibility for our actions, psychologically, as symbolized in the many myths.
Of course meditation is a science and it is really effective when it is daily, for meditation to be effective, we have to learn to be consistent. Daily meditation unfolds like a flower, like a rose; something spontaneous, something natural, which really only helps us when we see the fruits and results of that discipline in ourselves and in our daily life.
Meditation is how we learn to not only confront ourselves and the negativities of the mind, but better said, to comprehend the beauty of the soul, the beauty of the consciousness, which when it is free of conditions, produces happiness, contentment, genuine faith, and knowledge of the divine—a type of love that is so profound that it overcomes all obstacles, overcomes all sufferings, and overcomes all ordeals. But of course, that sense of knowledge of oneself only develops when we sincerely adopt a daily discipline with this type of exercises, some of which we initiated this lecture, with a mantra, OM.
The mantra OM is an effective mantra for providing the soul with energy and with light, so that the consciousness learns to develop or to vibrate with a high level of energy. This helps to silence the mind and to be serene, because in the moments of serenity, of peace, we learn to see ourselves as we are and not as we think, or as we believe, but in actuality.
Knowledge and Being
One thing we emphasize in this teaching is the difference between knowledge and comprehension.
“Knowledge is of the mind. Comprehension is of the heart. ―Samael Aun Weor
This is from Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology by the founder of the modern Gnostic tradition, Samael Aun Weor. Why study knowledge and comprehension when we study meditation? We will seek to know ourselves and to learn to confront the conditioning of the mind.
This is because typically, people confuse knowledge, that is from the intellect, with experience. When you comprehend in yourself how certain actions produce harm and produce pain, we realize with great understanding that to perpetuate those habits and those behaviors will only lead one down a mistaken path. However, many people may know certain knowledge intellectually, in the mind, with reasoning, and yet, that intellectual knowledge will not produce change in a fundamental sense.
An alcoholic knows that alcohol is destructive for him or her, but yet continues to indulge in those behaviors. But somebody who comprehends that being alcoholic, to consume that element and to perpetuate that habit, is to be destroyed. To comprehend means to know with your full being and with your full presence, what is helpful and what is not helpful for oneself, for one's psychological well-being.
There are many people who read books on meditation and they have a lot of knowledge intellectually, but yet fail to have a sense of genuine contentment, of peace, of serenity, and of insight.
Comprehension is when you see in yourself how something is destructive. It is a psychological state, a way of being, a way of perceiving, and a way of thinking. When you comprehend that certain emotions are destructive, you realize with great astonishment and peace that you do not need to invest your energy in those elements which produce pain, not only for ourselves, but for others. You see with great gratitude and serenity that you do not need to suffer anymore because you realize how having created what we call ego or egotism, this negative sense of self, this sense of "I,” of me, of “who I am, what I want, what I crave, what I desire”; when we stop feeding that negative sense of self, we realize that we don't have to engage with suffering. We don't need to be in pain. It is not necessary.
Meditation leads us to this understanding. When we realize that by acquiring serenity of mind and no longer giving our energies to negative habits, which produce certain conflicts, we naturally arrive in the intrinsic nature or state of the soul, which is peace.
The mind settles like a lake. When the mind is serene, it can reflect through its waters the images of the heavens and the stars. Divinity can manifest and express through you, and through your heart.
When you learn to follow your intuition, about the sense of right and wrong, of certain habits that are negative, we then learn to feed the consciousness. We learn to free ourselves from conditions.
Intellectual knowledge doesn't change anyone. University, books, and lectures, do not produce any change if we don't learn to apply the techniques of meditation in our daily life—to acquire information about ourselves and to be willing to look in oneself and see, comprehend, and take responsibility for our own actions. Not to blame anyone else for our suffering.
There is no one else who created our anger. We created that element. We like to externalize, to blame others, and to judge others, but rarely do we like to judge ourselves. This is the difference between someone who really learns to meditate and somebody who follows some religion, some institution, or some politics. Someone wanting to blame the government, society, a way of thinking, a way of believing, when really the reason why there is so much conflict is because people don't know how to judge themselves. Conscience. To feed the conscience of how we are responsible for our own actions, how we have to take ownership of our own mind, our own psychological states, and to be willing to change them.
We study many religions in this tradition because we recognize the universality of meditation among many faiths. We study the essence of every religion. Not the institution, but the practices which produce change.
There is a saying from the oral tradition of Islam from Prophet Muhammad, who gave a very beautiful teaching and which is grossly misunderstood today, he stated, "An hour of contemplation is better than a year of prayer."
Adopting a posture or certain prayers and methods in a mechanical sense don't change anybody and doesn’t change anything. People go to mosques, to churches, to synagogues, and they continue to suffer. These people need to analyze and to be willing to reflect. What are we doing? What are our methods?
In this tradition we have many methods to teach how to meditate, how to contemplate oneself, and to free oneself from the mind. Prayer by itself, if it's mechanical, if we just say certain words without meaning, without concentration, they will have no effect. They have no impulse, or better said, impact on our psyche. But if we learn to contemplate the presence of divinity and to follow the voice of our inner conscience, inner judgment, then we learn to change.
I have been explaining just briefly about some stories which many people read literally and don't know how to interpret with understanding, from the sense of experience or meditative science. We have been talking about judgment. We have talked about some symbols within the Greek myths as well as Pinocchio, but a book that has been greatly misunderstood for millennia are the Judeo-Christian texts. We are just going to explore a couple verses from the Book of Judges because it is a map or teaching of meditation. I will explain some of the symbolism for you to emphasize the struggle that the soul faces with its lower desires, lower defects, and negative qualities, because it is good to recognize and see if we are struggling with meditation itself, to understand that there have been others who have already went through this process. As I said, these beings are known as buddhas, masters, and prophets.
Israel, the Soul, in the Book of Judges
The Bible, in the Book of Judges, talks about how the people of Israel are afflicted great suffering. The word ישראל Israel is an acrostic relating to the Egyptian Mysteries. Isis, the goddess of the Egyptian mysteries, the divine feminine and Ra, or Osiris-Ra, the solar entity known as the Father amongst the Christians, which is an energy, a force. אל El in Hebrew means God. If you want to use the Sanskrit equivalent, you say ॐ Om. אל El is ॐ Om and אל El among the Kabbalists, the mystics of Judaism, depict the Hebrew letter אל El within the heart, because your Being, your divinity, is in your heart and can fill your whole consciousness if we learn to connect through practice.
What happened to the people of Israel in this myth is that:
“…the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of יהוה Jehovah, when Ehud was dead.” –Judges 4:1
Again, who is this Israel?
The people of Israel who need to be freed from the Egyptians and many other people who constantly afflict them, the Philistines and groups of people who are trying to eliminate them. These people (Israelites) are the parts of our consciousness, our soul, which are trapped within anger, hatred, vanity, gluttony, laziness, sloth, fear, and pain, what we call ego, egotism, and desire. These parts of Israel or the people of Israel are the soul that has been fractured and conditioned in all these elements.
We need to learn how to free the consciousness from those conditions. We do so through meditation and through the help of our inner divine being, our spirit, our God, ॐ Om or אל El. The word יהוה Jehovah or Iod-Chavah is a representation of the highest form of divinity, which we will be exploring in relation to what is known as the Tree of Life, which is a symbolic map of consciousness and that meditators study in order to understand their experiences in meditation.
“The children of Israel did evil in the sight of Jehovah,” meaning: the soul invested its energy within wrong thinking, wrong feeling, and wrong acting. This happened when “Ehud was dead,” and the names in the Bible represents something symbolic, because the Hebrew word אֵהוּד Ehud comes from the Hebrew אֶחָֽד Echad, which means “unity.” The Jews speak abundantly about the unity of God through the Shema: שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ יְהוָה אֶחָֽד “Shema Yisrael Iod-Chavah Eloheinu Iod-Chavah Echad.” Or: “Hear O Israel, the Lord thy God, the Lord is One.” The reason why we are in suffering is because we are not in unity.
Examine your mind. In one moment, you may be inspired with love, but then the next moment towards the same person, we feel antagonism, hatred, then indifference, perhaps fear, resentment, and jealousy. There is no unity in the mind. The mind is constantly fluctuating. We like to assume that the sense of "I" that we worship is one. That all the thoughts, feelings, and impulses come from one's sense of self. But if you observe the mind, as we've been explaining in this course and in meditation, you see that there are different thoughts, feelings, and impulses which fluctuate. There is no order there. There is no unity there.
What we call ego is really a multiplicity: egos. Different "I’s,” myself, and desires which constantly fluctuate and take control of the mind, the heart, and the body to act.
When you learn meditation, you begin to see that this dynamic is something very real, but many have not experienced this yet. What we teach and advise is to learn to silence the mind and to look. Observe yourselves. What certain conditions do you think about, ways that you feel, and ways that you act in certain circumstances? Perhaps towards the same people, towards different people, towards strangers and observe. Examine your mind. Is there a sense of unity there or is there contradiction?
If we are honest, we see that we are walking contradictions. We are filled with afflictions, sufferings, pains, and ordeals and usually without our knowledge or understanding. This is why in the myth of Carlos Collodi (Pinocchio), he depicted us as a puppet, controlled by strings, and controlled by egos. Of course, this is a very unpleasant fact to realize in oneself, especially when you begin meditation. You see that the mind is in chaos. This is why many people run away from meditation because they realize how overwhelming the mind is and they become filled with fear. “When Ehud was dead,” when the unity of God was dead in us, that was when the soul became conditioned in suffering.
The Tree of Life: A Map of Meditation
We study this glyph in our tradition. This is known as the Kabbalah and this map has ten spheres, or what is known as ten sephiroth, which are levels of energy, matter, and consciousness, from the most rarefied and pure, divine, to the most material and dense.
This is a map that can explain our experiences in meditation and we will be explaining this graphic, with great detail, throughout our courses. Here I would like to introduce just a few concepts for you in order to understand meditation—also, the Book of Judges, because if you want to interpret what the Bible teaches, you need to know Kabbalah.
The word Kabbalah comes from the Hebrew word kabbel, which means “to receive,” to receive knowledge, not with the intellect or from a book, but from meditation. Remember the quote from the beginning of this lecture, "Meditation is a means of acquiring information." It is psychological and spiritual. When you want to understand yourself in meditation and after having certain mystical experiences, you can map your experiences based on this glyph or this dynamic.
This Tree of Life is not something literal, vertical in space, as if heavens are above your head or hell is below your feet. It refers to psychological qualities, which integrate, flow, and move within oneself in a very dynamic way. This is a map of our soul or consciousness.
Above we have what is known as the higher worlds or higher dimensions; higher levels of being, of perceiving, and of course the forces that come from the divine, from above, descend from this top trinity, to a middle trinity, and finally to what we call in Hebrew, Malkuth, which means “kingdom.” This is our physical body, our Earth. Our physical body is literally an amalgamation of forces which come from above, from the divine.
Above this physical body, of which we are all aware of, we have what is known as the vital body or vital energies, which is called Yesod in Hebrew. This is your vital energy. When you wake up in the morning and you go throughout your day, you may sense more or less vitality, an energy in yourself to act, to be, and to do. In the morning, you may have more energy. In the afternoon or in the evening you become tired. That relates to this vital force, which penetrates our physical body. Even though these spheres look like they are separate or static, they really integrate here and now in oneself.
Above our vital energies, we have what some traditions call the astral body and our emotions, which are known as Hod in Hebrew. Likewise, we have Netzach, which means “victory” and is related with our mind and our thoughts.
Notice that as we ascend this Tree of Life, we begin to sense, experience, and understand greater subtleties in our psychological constitution. The body is dense, but because our consciousness is also limited, this is typically all we sense or become aware of. But if we are more attentive, if we were observing ourselves, we sense that we have certain vital energy flowing in us from morning to evening. Likewise, with emotions and emotional states, moods, thoughts, and the mind.
In a more rarefied sense, we have what is called willpower, Tiphereth. Somebody who has a strong will, a strong urge or impulse to do certain occupations, jobs, or things, is working with Tiphereth, or willpower. But most of the time, if we examine ourselves and are honest, we tend to realize that our willpower is usually identified with our thinking, feeling, and our energies.
It is simply easy to reflect on our own experience of how most of the time, we go through our day preoccupied with certain day dreams, memories, emotional states, or vital forces that are in our inner constitution, as well as our physical body.
Above this willpower we have something more rarefied, which most people have no consciousness of.
When we sit to meditate, we may begin to sense our body as we relax it. Also our vital energies, by working with a mantra, as we worked with a mantra OM. We were working with the vital energy to saturate our heart and to send that energy circulating through our nervous system. By working with this energy known as Yesod, which is called the “foundation” of Kabbalah, we learn to ascend up this Tree of Life to higher levels of being.
This is why it is good before meditating to do a mantra and work with energy, so that the mind stabilizes. Notice that the heart and the mind become still when we work with that force. Of course, all this is only possible when we work with our willpower, Tiphereth—to have the will to sit still for a few minutes and to pronounce a mantra so that the body settles, the mind settles, and the heart settles. Likewise, the thing to remember is that willpower doesn't mean somebody who is aggressive. Real willpower is serene. Peaceful. There is no effort there.
In the beginning of meditation we struggle because the mind is in affliction. It is caught up in memories and daydreams, but when you learn to go deeper in meditation, or better said, when you develop your concentration, you realize that you require less effort to be still, and then naturally you sit with peace in one posture, and that is when the doorway to real meditation can begin.
Everything we are doing here is preliminary, but one thing I will mention about this Tree of Life in the relation to this lecture is that we have something divine within us, represented by the top five Sephiroth of this Tree of Life.
We have what is known as the consciousness, or Geburah in Hebrew, which means to “justice.” “Judgment.” This consciousness is beyond will; it is simply the ability to perceive, but that quality tends to be very conditioned in us and very limited.
Even beyond the consciousness, there is something more divine, known as Chesed, which means “mercy.” This is the Hebrew אל El. This is OM. Your Being. Your Spirit. That spirit is God. The Being is presence, understanding, and happiness without limits.
When people say that they are spiritual, what they really should say is that they have God incarnated, because to say that one is spiritual means to say that “I have the spirit within me and active.” Chesed is the spirit.
There are many confusions about what spirit is. People confuse spirit with soul. The spirit, God, is, but the soul, our willpower, is created. It has to be developed in meditation because the ability to focus our will on one thing is only developed through daily discipline.
Meditation is the daily bread of the wise, and in order to enter meditation, we have to be able to focus on one thing, such as a mantra or a sound and not get distracted. We tend to be distracted by our thinking, our emotions, and sensations of the body. If our body is moving in meditation, it means that we are not meditating.
Notice that this glyph is very profound and it's simple. It just takes a little familiarity. But even beyond this spirit, we have something even more divine, which is this top trinity. Our spirit, our Inner God, emanates from what is known as the Christian Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These are not people, but energies or forces within us which need to be incarnated or developed.
Some traditions have referred to this Trinity among the Nordics as Odin, or Wotan, Balder, and Thor. The Egyptians referred to it as Osiris, Horus, and Isis. The Buddhists use different names, Dharmakaya, Sambhogakaya, and Nirmanakaya. Every tradition uses these different definitions or terms for the same thing. This is the purest energy of the cosmos. This light governs all of existence from the atom, to a galaxy. We have that energy within us, which we can liberate the we use certain practices.
The word Jehovah in Hebrew relates to this second sephiroth on the Tree of Life known as Chokmah, which is wisdom. We have Kether, the Father, the “Crown” in Hebrew. Chokmah, meaning “wisdom, insight, and perception.” We then have Binah, meaning “intelligence.” Chokmah, in Hebrew in its sacred name is Jehovah, because each Sephirah has a Hebrew term associated with it.
That is the energy known as Christ amongst the gnostics and whom Jesus incarnated. He wasn't the only one who incarnated that light, but any meditator can if they know how.
I want to just emphasize that from the highest levels of existence, we have light which descends and slowly conditions itself until reaching this physical body and materializes. That energy, if it's conditioned within our anger, fears, and our resentments, becomes what is known as the hell realms, what is called in Hebrew, Klipoth. Klifah means “shell.” Klipoth means conditions or “shells” in Hebrew. Every ego or sense of "I," whether it be pride, resentment, gluttony, etc., is a shell that traps our consciousness.
Every myth of the great hero is about descending from this top trinity, down below to Malkuth and entering the maze, the hell realms, in order to confront one's egotism and desires. Then by eliminating those desires, we learn to free the consciousness that is trapped there and return it back to the light above with knowledge and understanding. One thing I will mention is that in the Greek myth of Theseus and the minotaur, he went into the maze and killed the beast, but the way that he got out of the maze was by using what it was called Ariadne's thread. In the myth, in order to not get lost in the maze and to find his way back, he had a thread with him, which he unrolled as he moved through the labyrinth until finding the minotaur, killing the animal, and then following the thread back out to the open sunlight.
Dante in his myth, The Divine Comedy, explains that the descent into the inferno is easy, but the return is hard. When you are meditating, you may see certain defects and desires, which you want to work on, but you have to follow your conscience to find your way out of the maze. Your judgment. Your consciousness. We will elaborate on how the light returns from these infernal regions back to the higher levels of being, of consciousness, because real yoga or religion, is about taking all that light that is trapped in conditions, and integrating it with the Being, the Divine. Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word Yug, that is, to “reunite.” Religion comes from the latin word, religare, which also means means to “reunite.”
That light becomes conditioned and more material, more dense and in greater states of suffering, the further it descends down this shadow of the Tree of Life until reaching the very bottom of existence. Again, these are symbols. They are different dimensions that exist that we can access in the dream state through meditation, but more importantly this refers to our daily state of being.
Kabbalah in the Book of Judges
“And יהוה Jehovah sold them into the hand of Jabin, king of כְּנַעַן Canaan, that reigned in חָצוֹר Hazor…” –Judges 4:2
I have included some Hebrew terms because this meaning is very deep. The word for light is אֹֽור Aur. “Let there be light and there was light.” What is that light? It is the awakened consciousness. Our soul, when it is pure, is light, harmony, peace, and it is contentment.
But that light, the light of Israel, of the divine, is trapped. That light, when it becomes inverted, becomes part of the negative psychological qualities we are familiar with. As a result of having misused our energies in our consciousness, that light is dislocated, disconnected from Jehovah, and then enters into these infernal states of being.
What is כְּנַעַן Canaan in the Bible? When the Bible talks about different lands, they were referring to Malkuth, when Egyptians enslaved the Israelites. Egypt is a symbol of the body, within which is contained our desires, because our ego and defects act through the body.
What is that inverted light? The Hebrew term for it is חָצוֹר Hazor [Hatzor] because it sounds like אֹֽור Aur, the light, but it is trapped in the lower spectrum of light. The higher spectrum of light is ultraviolet, but the most dense form is infrared. There is a spectrum and the Tree of Life represents this.
“And יהוה Jehovah sold them into the hand of Jabin, king of כְּנַעַן Canaan, that reigned in חָצוֹר Hazor…” (Judges 4:2), meaning: the soul was disconnected and trapped in this body. Trapped withinחָצוֹר Hazor or the inverted light that conditions the mind.
The captain of his host was סִיסְרָא Sisera. The sound סִיסְרָא Sisera or the name סִיסְרָא Sisera is a representation of what the Bible calls the serpent. There is a mantra amongst the gnostics, the letter S for "Sssssssss…" which we pronounce in order to work with what is known as the serpentine fire of Kundalini. This is the fire of the divine which is in our coccyx. You can do that mantra S or "Sssssssss" to make the energies rise up the spine to the brain.
Of course, there is a duality to that serpent as represented in the Bible. That serpent that healed the Israelites in the wilderness raised by Moses upon a staff, is a symbol of the Kundalini rising up the spine, if you are familiar with Hinduism. Of course, there is a tempting serpent in which that energy descends down and forms what is called the tail of the demons within the astral body of a human being. These are symbols, but also there are certain things that they represent that are psychological truths.
Therefore, סִיסְרָא Sisera is that negative crystallization of those energies, “which dwelt in חֲרֹשֶׁת הַגֹּויִֽם Haroshet-Goyim” (Judges 4:2), the land of the goyim.
What is goyim? It is a Hebrew term, which many Jews believe refers simply to people who don't follow Judaism. If you look at the word goyim, you hear the word ego backwards. What does it mean to be a goyim? It means to be like any one of us, even if we are Jewish, because to have desire and egotism is to be goyim. To be exiled from the heavenly kingdom of God, the Being.
To be a real Jew in an objective sense, is to have this light incarnated.
“And the children of Israel (the soul) cried unto יהוה Jehovah: for he had nine hundred chariots of iron; and twenty years he mightily oppressed the children of Israel.” –Judges 4:-3
Again, these are symbols. If you are interested in learning more about what the numbers mean in the Bible, I recommend you listen to our course we have been giving on the Eternal Tarot which is available on our website. We won't go into too much detail here, but the number nine is very symbolic. It represents again how we use our energies in the ninth sephirah of the Tree of Life.
Of course, that light and energy tends to be conditioned in us. We use our vitality in the wrong way with negative habits. We waste energy in many behaviors, which are not conducive for our spiritual well-being.
That twenty years is against symbolic, referring to the Kabbalah as we have been explaining.
The one who helps Israel in this process is known as Deborah.
“And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time…” –Judges 4:4
…and she was in the Bible represented as a great warrior and a prophetess who helped the Israelites in that narrative to achieve freedom against סִיסְרָא Sisera and his armies. Or better said the ego, his demons, and is legions.
Who is דְּבֹורָה Deborah?
“And she dwelt under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in mount Ephraim: and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment.” –Judges 4:5
What is judgment? It is Geburah. Justice. Our conscience. The sense of right and wrong. She dwells underneath a palm tree, represented by this mystical sphere known as Daath in the Kabbalah, and which means knowledge.
Some people have called it alchemy, the science of transmuting the base lead of the personality into the gold of the spirit by the work of energy. She dwells beneath that tree, meaning: works like Buddha did meditating under the Bodhi tree until he achieved enlightenment (if you are familiar with the Buddhist mythology).
Geburah, our soul, our divine consciousness, dwells beneath this palm tree between Ramah and Bethel, because this glyph is represented as three pillars: one on the left, one on the right, and one in the middle. Ramah is the left pillar of the Tree of Life, Bethel is the right, and the mountain Ephraim is represented by the center of this glyph, Tiphereth.
To have dreams in the internal worlds when you are meditating, if you experience seeing a mountain or climbing a mountain, it means you are entering the higher dimensions with your spiritual work. The mountain represents the path that leads from the valleys of Klipoth, the infernal world, up towards the world of heaven. It is called the "heavens" in the different mythologies.
The Israelites, in order to receive help from Deborah, had to climb the mountain, Ephraim and receive judgment. It is a symbol. It means that God doesn't come out of the clouds to give us some kind of magical experience, although that can happen, and it is very beautiful and necessary. However, to obtain comprehension of our faults, God doesn't come out of the clouds to give it to us. Instead we have to work and raise our level of being up within ourselves towards this higher sephiroth, Tiphereth, the mountain.
By learning to overcome our body, our energies, our emotions, and our mind with willpower in meditation—that is how you climb Ephraim, the mountain, to receive judgment. It is a symbol. If you want to reach comprehension in yourself, peace, and understanding, you have to raise your level of being.
This myth is also very beautiful and explains other things relating to many other mythologies, such as the teachings of the Kundalini in Hinduism. If you are familiar with the force of the Kundalini, it is the serpentine power of the divine feminine which rises up the spine from the base chakra, Muladhara. Then up the spine to the brain. In the Bible a mountain also represents the spinal column which one must climb.
The prophets must climb in order to receive the commandments of the divine, like Moses did on Mount Sinai. It is a symbol of how he raised the energies of the divine up his spine through certain practices in order to illuminate his intellect. If you see the halos of the saints in many myths, it is because those heroes, those masters, those prophets, worked with energy and illuminated the mind. They climbed the mountain and when they illuminated their crown chakra like Moses, Muhammed, or whatever prophet you want to refer to, that is when they were able to receive knowledge and understanding. Commandments from the Being. Direct experiences in meditation. The Bible and the Book of Judges refers to that force of the serpent as Barak.
"And she sent and called Barak the son of Abinoam out of (קֶּדֶשׁ) Kedesh in Naphtali, and said unto him, Hath not (יהוה) the LORD GOD of Israel commanded, saying, Go and draw toward (בְּהַר תָּבֹור) Mount Tabor, and take with thee ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and of the children of Zebulun.” –Judges 4:6
In the story you see that Deborah and Barak go to war against the armies of Sisera, as a symbol of the consciousness going into battle against our desires. How does our consciousness work against desire? By working with the Kundalini.
She says, "Go and draw towards Mount Tabor."
Again the mountain refers to the sephirah, the heart, Tiphereth. "Take with yourself ten thousand men," meaning the ten sephiroth and integrate all the parts of your Being within you in meditation in order to have command of yourself, in order to work against desire and against defects.
“And I will drawסִיסְרָא Sisera, the captain of Jabin's army, with his chariots and his multitude, unto thee to the river Kishon; and I will deliver him into thine hand.” –Judges 4:7
What is that river Kishon? These are your vital energies, because how you use your vitality, your vital forces in meditation, determines whether you will have that inner strength to work against your own defects.
But of course Deborah says, “I will fight against סִיסְרָא Sisera, which is "Sssssssss," the fire of our own divine energies that has been inverted and negative. It is the tempting serpent of Eden. It is a symbol of the misuse of our energies and which, by misusing that force, we were kicked out of bliss, Eden.
The word עֵדֶן Eden means “bliss.” It isn't a literal place in the Mesopotamia in the Middle East, but refers to the original state of the consciousness before it's conditioning.
In the myth סִיסְרָא Sisera is killed by a woman named יָעֵל Yael, and the name is very symbolic, because the word יה Ya, if you know Kabbalah, is י Iod ה Hei, reading it from right to left. Hebrew is written from right to left, representing the Father, known as Kether in the Kabbalah, the height of our Being, of our divinity. אל El is your spirit, your inner God.
This woman is literally the forces of the divine and the spirit within us who works in order to eliminate our defects. She is part of our conscience. In the myth, she takes a hammer and chisel and then pummels his head in order to kill him when he sleeps. But what first happened was that she brought סִיסְרָא Sisera into her tent or into a tent and brought him milk in order to put him to sleep. When he was asleep, she killed him.
These are symbols how when you work with vital energy, like with the mantra OM, or sacred sounds, the mind settles and become serene. Then from a state of serenity, you put your defects into an inactive state; your egotism and your desires, so that when the mind settles, you can learn to look inside in meditation and comprehend the causes of suffering. When you then see your own desires or certain defects you want to work on, you take the hammer of willpower and the chisel of understanding, and you slay it.
We mentioned in the previous lecture of this course how developing concentration, to focus on one thing, is willpower and is essential. The next step is developing insight, the ability to proceed images in the mind clearly. To see through the sense of observation of ourselves—self-observation and imagination: the ability to perceive psychic imagery.
In the Book of Judges (5:24-26), there is a song:
“Extolled above woman be Yael, extolled above woman in the tent. He asked for water. She gave him milk” which is the energies of our vital forces, referring to the creative energies of sexuality and which we will be talking about within tantrism and other teachings related to alchemy and the perfect matrimony. The work with the vital forces in you and the creative energies in you can be done by working with mantras such as OM. You circulate that force in you. It is like milk, which is nourishment for the soul.
As I said, silence the mind and then you can work on yourself.
"She brought him cream in a lordly dish. She stretched forth her hand to the nail, Her right hand to the workman's hammer, And she smote Sisera; she crushed his head, She crashed through and transfixed his temples.” –Judges 5:24-26
The word יָעֵל Yael signifies an “ibex, a goat.” And again, there are many symbols here. The sheep separating from the goats. In the Christian tradition, this is a symbol of how one is either purified as a lamb, following the teachings of the divine or Christ, and the goat, meaning a person with egotism. Of desires. יָעֵל Yael literally means “a goat,” a desert dwelling goat, because any one of us who begins meditation is filled with desires and defects.
Symbolically as in the Christian symbols, we are goats and by purifying the soul one becomes a sheep. Interesting etymology.
Conscience, Judgment, and the Symbolism of Deborah
How do we work with the force of conscience, of judgment, of Deborah? We work with mantras.
There's a song in the Book of Judges, which says:
“Awake, עוּר awake, דְּבֹורָה Deborah: עוּר awake, עוּר awake, דָּבַר utter a song: arise, בָּרָק Barak, and lead thy captivity captive, thou son of Abinoam.” –Judges 5:12
The word for awake in Hebrew is עוּר Ur, which is similar, etymologically to the word אֹֽור Aur, which means “light.”
“Awake, Deborah, awaken the consciousness, awake our soul” to its true nature, its peaceful nature, its serenity and its compassion. You do so by working with songs, which are mantras.
“Utter a song,” it says, דָּבַר Dabar in Hebrew. “To utter, to speak.”
The word דְּבֹורָה Deborah has these Hebrew letters, ד Dalet, ב Beth, ר Resh. De-Bur-Ah. If you want to work with your inner judgment, you can work with those sacred sounds to empower your soul and your concentration.
"Arise Barak," referring to the Kundalini, which rises in the spine. "Lead thy captivity captive," which means take control of your situations and learn to live with greater rectitude and love.
Who is this בָּרָק Barak? The Muslim tradition teaches some interesting symbols. In the Ascension of the Prophet Muhammad, he rode on a creature called الْبُرَاق Al-Buraq, which literally means “the lightning.” Where is that lightning? It is in your spine, or better said, it it contained in the Chakra Muladhara and needs to awaken. So, by riding that creature up the spine, the energies, and the forces, we ascend towards the heavens as symbolized in the Muslim myth. Barak is that energy or Al-Buraq, which helped Deborah fight against the afflictions of the mind.
We will be giving courses about the mystical teachings of Islam known as Sufism. We gave a course called the Sufi Path of Self-knowledge, which explains some of these interesting symbols in relation with the path of meditation.
Inner Self-Remembrance, Mantras, and Sacred Sounds
We will read a few excerpts from some Sufi scriptures, which are very valuable. In these teachings we study the path of remembrance of the divine. Meditation is about remembering our own inner divinity, by developing serenity and insight so that we learn to connect and strengthen our connection with that presence. We do so by following the voice of our inner judgment, our conscience, our heart, and our intuition, how certain behaviors are negative or harmful. The way that we can empower that remembrance is by working with the sacred sounds, as I have been mentioning.
The Sufis or the mystics of Islam, not to be confused with the orthodoxy, has some very interesting explanations about how to remember the divine. We work with mantras to strengthen that inner judgment and to be aware, mindfully, throughout our day in a state of attention.
If we want to learn to meditate, what is necessary is to learn to be observant all day. Meditation, when you sit to close your eyes and relax, is only an extension of your daily practice, your daily life. Learning to be mindful throughout the day and not being distracted in the mind is the beginning. If you are washing your dishes, don't think of other things. If you are driving your car, don't talk on the cellphone. Don't listen to the radio. Just drive. Don't think about what you are going to do later, but be mindful of where you are at. The reason why there are so many accidents is because people are asleep, consciously. They may be driving and physically active, but as a consciousness, they are distracted. Their mind is elsewhere. Their emotions are elsewhere. Their bodies are doing one thing but they are not really present in the body.
Remembrance is strengthened when we work with mantras, which is known as Dhikr amongst the Sufis.
“Remembrance is a powerful support on the path to God [the divine, the Being] (Glorious and Majestic). Indeed, it is the very foundation of this Sufi [or we can say, Gnostic] path. No one reaches God save by continual remembrance of Him. [Our inner OM. Our spirit.] There are two kinds of remembrance: that of the tongue and that of the heart. The servant attains perpetual remembrance of the heart by making vocal remembrance. It is remembrance of the heart, however, that yields true effect.” --Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
Meaning, to pronounce, verbally, certain mantras, but to do it with concentration, because if you vocalize but are not mindful what you are doing, there is no power there. We are distracted. Therefore:
“It is remembrance of the heart that yields true effect. When a person makes remembrance with his tongue and his heart simultaneously (with concentration), he attains perfection in his or her wayfaring.” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
To be focused. Concentration is important. If you want certain mantras to be effective and to produce greater depth of understanding and concentration, you have to invest everything you have into that practice. Don't think about other things. Let your mind be immersed in those vibrations. As I said, be like the bee that is immersed in the flower or the pollen as it is creating honey.
The Sufis also teach that it is good in the beginning to work with a mantra that helps to strengthen our heart, our conscience. However, many practitioners write to us through letters and correspondences; people and many students perform certain mantras, but still they don't feel like they have any results and experiences. The thing to think about with that is to revise what is the psychological state we are in when we engage in a practice.
As you start in this meditation, what is your mental states? What are your moods? What are your qualities? What are you feeling? What are you thinking now? Become aware of that, relax, breathe deep, and then begin a sacred mantra so that there is sweetness or genuine genuine power in that practice.
As the Sufis teach:
“A group of wayfarers complained to Abu Uthman, ‘We make vocal remembrance of God Most High, but we experience no sweetness in our hearts.’ He advised, ‘Give thanks to God most high for adorning you at least your limbs with obedience.’” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
Meaning: at least you are consistent, because some people begin a mantra one day and and don't finish it. Don't continue it. The thing to remember is, it's good to be diligent with one's practices.
Three Stages of Comprehension
In this course, we have been talking about three stages of comprehension. We talk a lot about discovery, self-observation, to see ourselves, to observe, to be mindful. By learning to observe ourselves like a director watching an actor, we begin to gain information or acquire knowledge of our conditioning of mind, so that by seeing it, we go home, we go to meditate, we go to judge our defects.
In the beginning we learn to gather data. What are the thoughts, feelings, and impulses we experience whenever we engage at work in the morning, with friends, our boss, our co-workers? Analyze, what are the qualities that are go on within us whenever we interact with other human beings? And, in that way you learn to discover your defects in action.
I recommend if you haven't heard those lectures yet, to do so. It will give greater context for this lecture, but we've been talking a lot about judgment, following our intuition, which is the path of meditation.
As you begin to discover yourself in action, finding defects that you never suspected you had, you take that information, that sense of remorse, that sense of responsibility, and go home, relax, meditate, silence the mind, and learn to ask for help from your inner being. Work with a mantra and power your heart with energy, and then pray and ask, "My divine Being, show me, help me to understand what I observed in myself today." Perhaps it was anger. Perhaps it was fear. Perhaps it was lust. A quality that you notice produces suffering in you and that you want to remove.
The next step is execution, which is prayer. When you comprehend a certain condition of mind, fully, then you can ask for its elimination within you by the help of your Divine Mother Kundalini, the divine feminine.
And as we have been discussing also in our courses of meditation, “The first stage of worship is silence” as Prophet Muhammad taught.
So silence of mind is generated when you learn to relax. Don't identify with your thinking, your feeling, your impulses, negativity, and negative emotions. Those things will sap you of your energy and will make you weak. So to have a mind that is in silence, a mind that is able to be intuitive, it is necessary to observe, relax, be aware. As I mentioned, when you are aware of yourself and you relax throughout the day, your body becomes less tense, your mind is relaxed. If you don't invest your negative qualities with so much energy, when you go home to meditate, you can sit in a minute and immediately enter meditation, easy, because your body is not tense, your mind is not tense. You are not depleted of energy.
So silence occurs naturally, spontaneously; when you fulfill the necessary requisites, meaning: follow your conscience. If we are investing our energy into psychological states that are harmful, the mind becomes a churning chaos, overwhelmed, an ocean that is in the middle of a storm, in the flux of tides, overwhelming the mind. But if you naturally observe it like you are in a helicopter viewing from the sky, you can observe the tides and gradually the storm will settle on its own, because you are not churning along with it, going on with the flow.
Silence occurs in levels. There are levels of introductory teaching relating to concentration or serenity, and there are more higher levels of serenity obtained by people who have entered meditation very deeply.
Abu Bakr al-Farisi mentioned in the scripture called Principles of Sufism, a very beautiful teaching:
"If one's homeland is not silence, he is talking to excess, even though he is silent with the tongue. Silence is not confined to the tongue but concerns the heart and all the limbs." ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
If we have sat to meditate, we may have found that even though our bodies are quiet, we here in the mind, we feel in the heart a constant commentary, a chatter—the mind wanting to label things, point at things, and explain things. The mind is like a monkey, attached, craving, always wanting to move. It indicates that the mind is not serene.
We are constantly grasping at the external world. The body wants to move. It is an animal that needs to be tamed. So silence doesn't occur just with the physical tongue, but mentally. If you don't want your mind to be overflowing with thoughts, observe. Don't invest your energy with it. Don't identify yourself with that. But serenity naturally occurs when you distance yourself from that internal chatter.
“Silence for the common people is with their tongues, but silence for the gnostics is with their hearts…” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
Meaning: those who really know the Being, the divine, do so because they even attained some type of internal silence and inner serenity in which they are not influenced by thinking so much, but instead are relaxed, at peace.
Yet there is “silence for lovers,” meaning prophets, “by restraining the stray thoughts that come into their innermost beings.” So that's a stage of serenity or concentration in which one sees a distraction in the mind before it even emerges. This is well discussed in our course on Gnostic Meditation on our website as well as the lecture called Calm Abiding: the Stages of Serenity.
But serenity occurs in levels and that inner serenity is natural and spontaneous, it is not forced. People think that concentration has to be something aggressive. That one has to be exerting some type of energy or force in order to meditate. But the reality is that serenity is natural, relaxed, spontaneous, at peace. Judgment occurs naturally when we are at peace; when the mind is silent. Comprehension emerges like a spark, an insight, that emerges in the mind when you are not looking for it. When you are simply concentrated, relaxed, at peace.
Exertion, Comprehension, and the Dialectic of Consciousness
"Comprehension replaces exertion when one tries to comprehend the truth intimately hidden in the secret depths of each problem. We do not need any exertion to comprehend each and every defect that we carry hidden within the different levels of the mind." ―Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
In our previous lecture, we talked about the dialectic of consciousness: how the consciousness, represented by Christ in this image, overcomes the mind—how to receive insights, intuition, understanding from the Being, represented by Jesus, and the devil on the right is a representation of our ego, the mind that points towards materialism, egotism, desires. That is the difference between a mind that is distracted and a mind that is concentrated.
And in this myth, Christ was tempted by the devil in the wilderness. It is a symbol of how we, in meditation, learn to overcome the distractions of the mind in order to overcome him. So I mentioned to you that in the Kabbalah, the word wisdom is simply the ability to perceive, to judge, to know.
We have an image of The Last Judgement, painted by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel. The word judgment relates etymologically to the word “wisdom.” Wisdom is the power of perception, of knowing, of seeing, which occurs spontaneously in us when we learn to look, to observe, and not to anticipate what we may see, but simply engaged in the act of looking, of seeing.
“The word wisdom is derived from vid, videre (to see) and from dom (judgment). Thus, wisdom alludes to that which one can see with the senses of the soul and of the Innermost; to the wise judgments which must be based on the ultra-sensorial perceptions and not simply on dogmatic intellectualism or vain professional sufficiency, which are already in declination and decrepitude.” —Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
So again, the intellect cannot know the truth. It can store knowledge, ideas, beliefs, concepts, and memories. Real wisdom is when you learn to see in yourself the causes of your suffering. It is the power of perception, of knowing. So we learn to develop light through meditation. Through seeing. Through observing ourselves. We gain genuine contentment, serenity, and happiness when we learn to experience is what perception is, what light is. The qualities of the Being. The qualities of our Inner God.
Spiritual Insight and Witnessing
The Sufis in the Qur’an also teach that this sense of understanding is represented by light, because light is the power of seeing. With light we know, we understand. So to have light in meditation means to have experiences.
You may have the experience when your mind is silent, in which your body falls asleep, and you as a consciousness enter into the dream state, the dream world, and experience the higher dimensions of that Tree of Life we have been looking at. You climb Mount Tabor or Mount Ephraim. You enter the higher regions of the divine in order to converse face-to-face with your Innermost God.
A person who has that experience in meditation is obviously very different from those who haven't, because with that type of experience comes conviction. What we call real faith—real judgment—because then by having that help from your Inner God, you learn to help others and to help yourself, more importantly, so that you can be of benefit.
“Concerning the saying of God Most High, ‘Or one who was dead—we have brought him to life’ (6:122), a Sufi said, ‘Someone who was dead of mind, but God Most High brought him to life with the light of insight, and set for him the light of divine manifestation and direct vision—he will not be like someone who walks, unconscious, with the people of unconsciousness.’” –Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
It is easy to see that, after having those experiences, we realize that humanity is really dead, spiritually. They lack genuine understanding, but with that understanding comes the determination to help them to experience that for themselves.
“It is said that when insight becomes sound, its possessor progresses to the level of contemplation (mushahadah) [meditation].” –Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
The Arabic is mushahadah, which relates to the Arabic saying of the declaration of faith, the Shahadah, "There is no god, but God and Muhammad is His Prophet."
Many people recite that intellectually, but have they meditated and experienced in higher dimensions, talking with their Inner Being, or Allah, or God, their El, their OM, their Spirit? The truth is that they don't, so are they really Muslim in the objective sense? You can say that they are not, because if you experience your divine Being in the higher dimensions, in meditation, then you bear witness. You say, "I see my God face to face.” Therefore, there is no god but God and Muhammad is His Prophet, or Krishna is His Prophet, or Buddha is His Prophet. Many teachers, one light.
Ascension to Higher Levels of Being
That process of seeing is inner judgment and the path of inner judgment is like a like a staircase. We discussed in our previous lectures about the levels of being; how the ascension to the path of genuine spirituality is like climbing a staircase and having a dream in the internal worlds, or your dreams themselves in meditation, that you are climbing a staircase, means that you are going to higher levels of being.
You are experiencing higher states of consciousness, and I believe that is from Alice in Wonderland climbing a staircase, or something symbolic of that nature, because the soul, we could say, is feminine, whether in a male body or masculine body, because the soul receives the forces from above. It is receptive and so:
Abu Said al-Kharraz said, “One who sees with the light of spiritual insight, sees with the light of the Truth.” –Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
…because when you see a problem, when you see a defect for what it is and you don't make excuses for it, or justify it, or repress it, but simply observe, you can comprehend it and that is how you arrive at judgment. Conscience.
In the beginning, we follow our hunch, our intuitions that certain psychological states are destructive and by learning to comprehend them deeper and deeper in meditation, we develop light.
“The very substance of his knowledge comes from God, unmixed with either negligence or forgetfulness.” –Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
The very substance of this knowledge comes from God, because your Being gives you that understanding, unmixed with either negligence or forgetfulness. Meaning: negligence is referring to begin meditation and then to stop, to be negligent and to not work.
This is a spiritual work and is very difficult, but it is rewarding because it provides the beauty of the soul within oneself.
And forgetfulness, meaning to not forget what you are doing. You sit to meditate. You have a specific practice. You are going to review your day. What you observed in yourself. Or take an object to meditate on like a candle, a stone, a picture, and you want to understand a certain scripture, or whatever it is you want to meditate on. You have to have the focus to the point that you don't forget what you are doing when you sit. If you forget what you are doing when you sit to meditate, it means that we are distracted, we are forgetful.
“Indeed, it is a judgment of Truth flowing from the tongue of a servant.” –Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
…because when you have that knowledge for yourself then it becomes crystallized in you.
We will conclude by stating that the way to develop meditative practice is by following our inner judgment, our inner conscience—again, that sense of right and wrong.
“The human being who allows that which is called self-judgement or inner-judgment to express itself in a spontaneous manner within, will be guided by the voice of the consciousness. Thus, he will march on the upright path.” –Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
Meaning: by learning to live with attentiveness and consciousness in our daily life, our work, our job, or career, we learn to do our work not only better, but we naturally help humanity and enter deeper states of awareness.
Questions and Answers
Question: How can we experience the divine when meditating?
Instructor: If you want to experience the divine through some type of samadhi in meditation, and the word samadhi means “ecstasy,” where your consciousness is liberated from its conditions so that it perceives without egotism in the higher worlds—to have a samadhi, I like to quote for you Rumi, a great Sufi poet. He said, "Finding love, the divine, is not by seeking it but instead looking for all the obstacles you place to obstruct it."
So that love is your inner God, your Spirit, OM, and if you want to know that Being in you, the way to develop that light and have those experiences is by working on your defects. Because remember the Bible says "Let there be light and there was light.” From the darkness, God spoke and said that verse. From the darkness of our ignorance, light emerges. You develop light by working on your egos, comprehending them, because when you eliminate your egos, you are extracting the genie from the bottle, and when you extract the genie from the bottle, like in the myth, you integrate those conscious qualities, and then you naturally are awake in the higher worlds when your body is asleep, physically, and you are traveling in the astral plane, the world of dreams. Your dream states.
If you learn to awaken consciousness physically in that way, then you have easier access when you are dreaming or when you are meditating. So samadhi occurs naturally when you remove the conditions that trap your consciousness, which is why even Friedrich Nietzsche who wrote in his Thus Spoke Zarathustra, an esoteric text which modeled this philosophy; he stated that "I love he who does not make any excuses for him or herself, but instead doesn’t reach for the stars first, but decides to descend in order to be a sacrifice."
So that in being a sacrifice, one can be of service, says the very beginning of that text. So symbolically, what he is talking about is: you want to experience heaven? We all want that. To see the stars of the divinity in the internal worlds. To reflect God in us. We want to go to heaven, but the reality is that we are trapped down here. We are trapped by our egotism, in the valley of Klipoth. But in order to get out to experience those dimensions, those realms, those realities, you have to climb the mountain. You do it by working with where you are at and not worrying about having experiences.
Many people read certain books such as by Samael Aun Weor, the founder of the modern Gnostic tradition, and get very inspired. You know, people read that, and they say, “I want to talk to my Inner God. I want to know my Being and many have that inspiration,” but in order to actualize the experience of your God, you have to work on what you can see here and now, because your Being will give you experiences as you are working to change yourself.
Personally, I remember many years ago before I found the Gnostic tradition, I was studying many schools of meditation and other teachings, and then I was going back and forth with certain places and things and scriptures and books, and what I decided was following my inner judgment, my conscience, about changing certain habits that I was engaging in that was destructive for myself. As I started to renounce those behaviors and not going back, comprehending how that behavior was wrong, I started to have experiences like I did when I was a teenager, in the dream world, and then in that way when of my body was asleep, I was awakened in the astral plane and I received certain teachings about my development.
I remember climbing a staircase and being led by a woman up the stairs, and that woman was my Divine Mother, my Being, my Divine Mother Kundalini was showing me, "you are ascending, you are ascending up this path, but be careful." She was warning me about certain things.
Question: I had a dream of a torch, and there was a, well, I was not scared though, kind of a grey wolf, and it was watching me in concentration.
Instructor: The torch is light. Developing insight. You have an experience of seeing fire or light, it means your consciousness. It is a symbol of that because consciousness is the ability to perceive, to see. A wolf, we have been talking about in Arcanum 5, the fifth card of the tarot in our website. That symbol of the wolf is a symbol of what we call Karma. Karma is a law that is governed by divineb as we have been explaining. I have had experiences of wolves too and the wolf, if it is attacking you, it means the law is against you, the Divine Law, because we committed some kind of wrong and we have to face the consequences. But, if it is calm, it means it is good. It means the law is at bay.
I know in the beginning of my path, I had certain situations postponed or withheld from me as a result of changing certain habits. But because I made those changes, they said okay, you know what you prevented this from happening and they showed me what would have happened to me if I had continued along that mistaken path.
So dreams are very symbolic. To interpret them literally is a mistake, but you learn how to interpret dreams by studying Kabbalah, which is the symbolic language of the divine.
I invite you to study some of the resources we have available and we will be getting more courses on meditation as well as practices you can use to develop your discipline, in order to cease suffering and develop genuine serenity. We gave a course on meditation on our website, which you can study. We will be giving more material of that name of that on Chicagognosis.org, especially, but I invite you to study some of the literature written by Samael Aun Weor, whose writings are the focus of this school, primarily because of their efficacy, their directness, and simplicity.
In relation to some other schools, many people tend to get lost in intellectual knowledge. So, I have been explaining a lot of about the Kabbalah lot because it is very rich and complex, but it is very simple when you boil it down. It refers to: how do you meditate? How do you control the mind? How do you learn about yourself? You do so by becoming serene. Observing yourself. So, if you haven't heard the previous lectures in this course, I recommend you study them.
We talked about discovery, judgment, execution. Discover your defects. Work on what you can perceive in yourself, that you can change and then when you gather data about yourself, you learn to judge those habits. You ask for guidance insight. You ask my Being, my God, show me what I need to change in myself. Help me to see my errors. Help me to understand this anger that I witness in myself and my work. How can I change that?
And if you concentrate on that question, relax, wait. When the mind is serene, suddenly insight comes like an experience. Sometimes insight emerges as a type of "aha!" moment. We certainly understand that condition, and then you realize that you you are liberated from that element, to a degree, and at that moment you ask for help. You ask, “My Divine Mother, my inner Goddess,” as we have explained in this course, “help me to eliminate this desire,” and in many cases that ego doesn't get eliminated right away, but gradually. So, you will see progress day by day and you know that there is change occurring when you reach the same situation in your life, same people, same circumstances, because things repeat mechanically; you don't react like you did. Then you don't have to perpetuate a certain dynamic of "an eye for an eye, tooth for tooth," where you get mad at someone or they get mad at you, and there is an aggression that builds up and pain for everyone.
I know that in the case of my new job that I have been working at, I had to work with very difficult people, very challenging, and I know that one thing: I have been working on is my inner judgment. Finding the right psychological state to engage with, in order to help the people I am working with. So, what happened was I have been meditating and training day by day asking my Inner God, "show me what I need to do. How do I act with these people, in this situation, in this circumstance." I have been finding and I have been getting insight where working on certain defects of mine where I have been going to work facing the same people, and when I have been treated disrespectfully, respond with love. With patience. Patience and love are much more crushing forces than anger, because when you respond with anger, the other person is going to retaliate in the same way and the cycle repeats.
But if you are patient with that person, kind, and naturally appears in you spontaneously, without force, without expectation, suddenly you realize that those people who are your enemies become your friends. And you change everything and then you stop suffering. You stop making the other person suffer. That is judgment. When you see in yourself what needs to change and then you work on it day by day. But that occurs when we comprehend our psychological states. It doesn't occur overnight, and many times we have to struggle and suffer a lot with mistakes, until we get it, and then when you get it right, the situation is transformed.
You notice that people always want to change things externally. Change the job, change the work environment, get a new job, do something else. But, we tend to carry the psychological disease with us of suffering—wanting everyone to change but us. I have had people say to me or certain people I worked ask, "How did you manage to change the situation?" I had my boss ask me that. She said, “I don't know what your secret is.” I just kept silent because some things you don't talk about with an employer. I can't tell my employer that I worked on my ego with my Divine Mother [laughter from audience], you know, some people will think I'm nuts but they see it, they see the results and they feel the results and they say, "this is is amazing." They say, "how did you do it this well?" I did mention I teach meditation and yoga, and that is a very easy answer for people to understand and they say, "OK, it's good."
But you know, if you make a you make the changes you need to change, then the pieces externally will situate themselves and then you won't have to feel depleted and worried about going to work, or doing certain things, or being with certain people. You don't try to change the other person with force, with coercion, but instead, you change your psychological habits. That is how you walk the path of judgment.
As I quoted Samael Aun Weor at the end of this lecture, "Inner judgment is what lead you on the upright path." Meaning: you don't suffer so much, unnecessarily. Meditation will unfold naturally for you when you see how it applies to your life, because if you don't see how it will benefit you, that is why people leave. People stop practicing meditation because they don't see results. The question is not the technique, it is the mind. How effective are the methods if we're using any method? But also, when the method is effective, what is our application of it? What is our daily discipline? How is it applying to our life? Because if our spirituality doesn't apply when we go to work, or talk with friends, or in the bedroom, or whatnot; if our spirituality is divorced from every aspect of our life, it isn't spiritual. It is just an excuse we tell ourselves, because we continue to engage in negative habits. So, if you want to learn how to meditate, I recommend you study some of our other resources we have available on our website Chicagognosis.org. We gave a few courses, one of them, which is very introductory like this is known as The Sufi Path of Self-Knowledge, but also Gnostic Meditation.
Thank you for coming.
We have been discussing the nature of consciousness in the past few weeks, specifically how it applies to the science of meditation—the practice of introspection, of knowing oneself. We explained that consciousness is a form of light, of perceiving, of understanding, and of knowing, qualified by the virtues of the soul mentioned in every religion: contentment, peace, understanding, as well as altruism, generosity, and genuine knowledge of the divine mysteries.
We are explaining how consciousness can be developed and can be expanded. Those virtuous qualities that are intrinsic to our true nature could be developed if we work intentionally in a day-to-day discipline and a moment-to-moment effort. The science of meditation is precisely the means by which we learn to comprehend the obstacles within our psyche which create suffering for ourselves.
We talked about the conditioning elements of fear, resentment, hatred, pride and that these conditions trap the essence of who we are: our consciousness, our soul. Meditation is precisely how we learned to go in, to our mind, to see our faults, to eliminate resentment, which has made many lives bitter. Envy, greed, fear—those psychological conditions trap the energy of our perception and make us vibrate at a very low level of being.
It is easy to analyze and see that we carry many of these psychological conditions inside of us, and which make us vibrate and suffer within low states of consciousness and inferior states of being. We explained how the body, our physicality, needs food. It needs nourishment. It needs water. It needs food. It needs air. Likewise, the consciousness needs a type of nourishment in order for it to grow intentionally. Because consciousness as it is needs to be exercised; it needs to be trained. And, if we are honest, we can see that by a few minutes of reflection and of examining our mind, we find that we are distracted with memories, daydreams, and thoughts—thinking about what we are going to do later in the day or what we did. Never being present within our body and within our mind. Where we are at and what we are doing.
Just as the body needs food and nourishment, likewise the consciousness needs its food. That food of the soul is precisely comprehending what produces our pain, our suffering; that which afflicts us most and which makes us miserable. Any person who approaches meditation or religion wants to understand how to see suffering and how to cease being in pain.
We talked about the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism. The first truth is that in life, there is suffering. The second also that there are causes to suffering. But the third truth: that there exists a means to cease suffering, and that path in the fourth truth is meditation.
Samael Aun Weor, the founder of the modern classic tradition stated that meditation is the daily bread of the wise, precisely because the food of our consciousness, that which is going to feed us and give us a genuine sense of peace, is by reflecting within and understanding the cages we have built. That is: the conditions we have put around ourselves.
Of course, this is not an easy reflection to make because when we discover that inside of us, we carry many elements which are difficult and painful. When we truly comprehend that anger, fear, desire, and lust, these horrify the psyche. In truth, these elements make us realize very profoundly that we carry many elements that can qualify us as demonic. Because a being that is perfect, that has no fault, no blemish, no sense of "I,” of “what I want, of what I crave,” these beings have been known by the name of masters, Buddhas, angels, and prophets—regardless of what religion or language they spoke. In their heart, they all taught how to meditate, how to understand the conditions that make us suffer, so that by comprehending them, we can break those shells.
And by breaking anger, resentment, gluttony, and laziness, we free that part of our consciousness which we put in that place. Just as the genie from Aladdin's lamp, when the shell is broken, we produce the miracles of the soul, the beauty of the consciousness, and the beauty of understanding. Comprehension is precisely when we as a consciousness understand what ego is and what the sense of self is. Me: “what I want, what I crave, and what I desire” from moment to moment and day by day. Comprehension is the understanding that this sense of self, such as my thoughts, my heritage, my language, my race, my beliefs; the sense of self is a form of suffering that grasps at the exterior world wanting to satisfy desire. That is a condition and a cage, because when the consciousness is purified and free of conditions, it is at peace.
It doesn't mean that by eliminating desire we are like zombies, or dead people without any feeling, because in truth, the consciousness, when it is freed of anger, it vibrates with love for humanity. With love for divinity. When we eliminate lust and sexual desire, we develop the virtues of chastity. A purity which does not mean abstention from sex, but approaches one's spouse with a sense of beauty, of harmony, of true love, and compassion. It takes great heroism to look in ourselves and to see that we are the only ones responsible for creating our suffering. It takes tremendous courage precisely because we take responsibility for our actions.
Psychological War in the Myth of Perseus and Medusa
As you see in this image, we have Perseus with the head of Medusa. Perseus is a myth of how the consciousness must go to war against negativity and affliction. He is precisely our soul, like David and Goliath, and many other myths that teach about the battle that is waged in the soul for its redemption. Perseus is holding the head of the Gorgon, the Medusa. She is a representation of our own negativity, our ego, and our sense of self that we feed.
If you remember the myth, Medusa has a head of many snakes. Many vipers, which are a representation of the multiplicity of desire, of our defects. The seven capital sins as well as the legion of defects that we carry within are each represented by a serpent and that head. To look directly into the eyes of the medusa, in the myth, turns men into stone. Many people think about this myth literally, but the real meaning is that when we identify our consciousness with any desire and with any defect, we become petrified. We become conditioned and shelled, because obviously, when we are in a moment of anger with a loved one, a boss, or a co-worker, and we vibrate with anger, resentment, and hatred, then all of our energy is going into that desire which only wants to harm.
There is nothing rational about anger, even though many people in our current day and age justify it. It is a negative quality, a demonic quality and that energy that is trapped in anger makes us very poor people, psychologically. Very weak. When we look at that anger, in the moment of observation we can see that we are burning with that fire. However, there is a path that leads out of that type of negativity, and that precisely is represented in the myth of Perseus.
Now, he knew that by looking directly into the eyes of Medusa, he would become stone, and that is a representation of our habits. Day by day we have certain habits we indulge in. Some good and some bad. But meditation is a means, self-reflection is a means, by which we learn to comprehend the Medusa and not to identify ourselves with that anger, with that fear, and with that problem.
The way he (Perseus) overcomes that animality in himself is by using his shield. He uses the reflection of the shield to see the image of the Gorgon, the beast. Then with his sword, he decapitates it. These are symbols. These are stories that teach a psychological truth, precisely because that shield, the reflection in the mirror of that armor, is precisely the act of observing. To see our ego and our defect without getting carried away by it. Without investing our energy into that element.
This is a struggle that we face moment by moment, in which certain defects emerge. We are observing ourselves and becoming aware of certain thoughts, certain emotions, and certain negativities; we are focusing all our energy and power inside to look at what is going on psychologically. As we explained in our previous lecture: “The Light of Consciousness,” that is the path of self-observation. Observing one's psyche, one's mind, one's emotional states, and one's impulses in the body to act. That act of introspection is light and understanding. We experience genuine joy when we realize that we are not anger and that if we don't give that anger what it wants, then we free energy and we can become strong. As Muhammad said in a famous oral tradition of Islam, "The strongest among you is he who controls his anger."
The Significance of Dialectics
This is the path of the dialectic of consciousness. This self-reflection is precisely the path of the revolution of our dialectic. You could say it is a way of thinking.
This term has been used in the Greek mysteries founded by Plato and perpetuated by Aristotle. Dialectic means discussion and reasoning by dialogue as a method to resolve disagreements and reveal the truth. The word dialectic has many interesting etymological meanings, which can help us understand this topic more deeply. It is from the old French dialectique of the 12th century, or Latin dialectica, from the Greek: dialektike, the art of philosophical discussion or discourse.
The word dialectic was usually associated with the word dialogue. The word "dia," the prefix, simply means “thoroughly, from side to side” which intensifies logos, logic, understanding. What is dialogue or dialectic? It is the ability to understand with the reasoning of the consciousness. The understanding of the soul. The word "dia" means “from side to side” and dialogos refers to how we develop the power of divinity inside. Logos. The Bible says, "In the beginning was the Word (Logos). The Word was with God (Logos). And the Word was God (Logos)” (John 1:1).
That mantra we did at the beginning of this exercise, the mantra INRI, is a mantra to invoke the Lord, the divine. The Logoic energy emerges from the cosmos into our mind so that we can develop a type of reasoning that is superior, because our anger has its reasoning, its logic, and its concepts. It thinks a certain way, it feels a certain way, and wants to act in a certain way at the detriment of our neighbor.
However, dialogue or dialectic is “to stand; to move side to side” and not be limited by once's thought—to not be identified with those egotistical elements.
Also, this is what we are doing with these types of lectures; we are seeking to understand what is consciousness by learning to have a dialogue and to learn.
Traditionally, the word dialectic in academia has been associated with presenting a thesis, then presenting an antithesis in order to arrive at a synthesis: the unification or the superior meaning.
The ego has a sense of logic, a type of logic such as the feelings of resentment. "He hurt me." "He betrayed me." Or a desire that says "I need to satisfy my desire." "I want to be with that person.” Or fear, the logic of "I need to pay my bills." "I need to please my boss so I don't get fired." "I need to do this this and that to take care of my needs." That is a form of logic. But if we examine and look inside with the consciousness, we see that logic comes from a condition and negativity. And if we give our energy to that thought, that feeling, that impulse, then we are staring into the eyes of Medusa. We become petrified in that element.
With self-observation, the work of the spiritual warrior, the meditator uses the shield, the reflection in the mirror, which is self-observation; looking at the psyche in order to use the sword of insight, of wisdom, of spirituality, and of supreme spiritual methods in order to decapitate that element. In this type of dialectic with ourselves, we are expanding our logic. Meaning, our understanding of who we are as a consciousness, precisely by moving “from side to side; thoroughly,” to go thoroughly into the mind. But, also not being limited by any type of ego or any type of self, which is negative. This is how we arrive at a truth, a synthesis, and an understanding which is the nature of consciousness.
Now, what is interesting is that certain philosophers talked about the limits of the intellect of logic and of reasoning. In these studies, we do not denounce understanding and intelligence, but instead we denounce the subjective logic of hatred, of pain, and of desire.
Emmanuel Kant gave a very interesting understanding about the nature of the logic of the mind, which is the logic of the ego, the intellect. He explained what is known as the antinomies of reason, that you can have, which in terms of philosophical studies are two completely different arguments. One is saying that there is God. The other that there is no God. You can then present your evidence for both reasons and both could be valid according to logic.
The reason I bring this up is because Emmanuel Kant pointed out the limitations of the intellect. The limitations of the mind—that the mind can think and theorize and believe what it wants, especially about who we are psychologically, and yet there is no change. Likewise, many schools and movements have many beliefs about what consciousness is. What is not consciousness? What is God? Does God exist? Some say yes and some say no. You have a thesis and antithesis. This is the nature of the mind, the intellect. It does not know the truth, the divine. However, by understanding with our perception who we are psychologically, we can understand whether there is divinity or not.
Those who have experiences in meditation and have broken free from the limitations of the mind, develop the dialectic of the consciousness—the logic of the consciousness, which is an understanding that is devoid of desire, of “thinking that I'm thinking, of feeling that I'm feeling.” Of just acting and reacting to life mechanically.
By arriving at that synthesis, we have genuine peace. We understand from experience the limitations of the mind and then we understand from meditation how forms of logic perpetuate sarcasm, as we see on TV shows: anger, violence, resentment; all these defects show about that type of reasoning that people worship.
You see that in this current age, in this society, we worship Medusa. It is enough to look at the television, news and to see humanity; people's dialectic and reasoning is egotistical and is negative. However, by seeing that and recognizing it, we can do something to change.
However, that revolution of our thinking occurs through meditation: by understanding that thinking is not going to resolve anything. Instead, understanding will. Comprehension will. These are qualities of consciousness, of seeing or perceiving, because the intellect can only justify. It can say "I know that I have anger and fear and pain and resentment and all these things," and yet we continue to engage in those habits and behaviors that perpetuate our suffering. This is why we talk about dialectic, reasoning, and logic.
We have many excuses and beliefs about who we are. Many ideas. And yet, those are all egotistical. If we look inside and we are observing as a consciousness; what our thinking is, what our ways of behaving are, then we develop a superior type of understanding which is the focus of this lecture.
The Revolution of the Dialectic and the Present Era
This type of observation of oneself is the type of revolution and we see it here in this image from the Ghent Altarpiece. This is the Virgin Mary reading a book. That book is our own life. We have many chapters, many passages, and many defects that we must study to see, to perceive, and to comprehend so that by comprehending them we can go beyond those limitations.
As I explained, we are living in very degenerate times. I believe on the news this morning, there was a terrorist attack in London and there are many issues that are occurring with our humanity, which are very discouraging. However, by learning to meditate on ourselves and to transform those elements that produce such violence, we can help to be a more effective change for others.
This type of work is a revolution of our thinking; it means to go beyond thought. In our practice we began observing ourselves and becoming aware of our thinking; the memories, the daydreams, and the thoughts which tend to surge like clouds. They emerge, they sustain up on the screen of our awareness, and then they pass. This type of work is about deepening that attention in order to take the consciousness that is trapped in ego, defects, and desires, so that the whole consciousness can be integrated.
Samael Aun Weor, wrote in The Revolution of the Dialectic:
“In these decrepit and degenerate times, a revolution of the dialectic, a self-dialectic, and a new education are necessary."
We talked about the meaning of dialectics and here we see that a self-dialectic precisely means that knowledge we acquire about ourselves through observation and perception. We do not need to read any book, any scripture, or any other teaching in order to understand who we are fundamentally. However, those types of writings such as the scriptures of Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Hinduism are helpful or beneficial.
It comes to my mind a very famous philosopher and thinker by the name of Krishnamurti who was a very profound master with a lot of light. He studied Buddhism, but you find that his explanations and his understanding were not based on book knowledge. It was based on what he observed in himself and how he liberated his consciousness. He had self-dialectic, self-understanding, and self-comprehension which he was able to share with others in a very profound way.
Therefore, we need a new education; meaning, methods and means that are going to aid us in breaking the shells of our conditions.
“In the age of the revolution of the dialectic, the art of reasoning must be handled directly by our inner Being in order for it to be methodical and just.” —Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
This type of revolution is not by going to the exterior world and trying to change things through policies, through politics, and all these external matters, which we've seen from history and experience don't do anything. But if we want to cease suffering, we have to look inside and change what we can perceive.
The Being is the Gnostic term we use in this school to refer to our divinity. Our inner God. This is not some anthropomorphic old man in the clouds with a beard and long hair who sits in the cloud of tyranny dispensing lightning bolts to this poor humanity. The Being is not anthropomorphic, but is energy and is light. And, that Being is precisely our true nature and our true self. But, not egotistical or subjective.
“…the art of reasoning, the mind, must be controlled and handled by our inner Being in order for our mind to be just,” because our mind and our thoughts affect other people. If we are observant, we can see that certain thinking, certain ideas, or certain habits affect other people at work or are at home. Our thinking shapes our life, and therefore, that mind must be controlled and disciplined through meditation so that it can be serene in a natural equanimous state. This is “an art of objective reasoning” that “will provide a pedagogical and integral change.”
In this lecture, we are talking about objective reasoning, which means understanding without having to think about something; we simply know. That is the distinction between thoughts and comprehension. Pedagogy has to do with the way we instruct others by our example, through our ethics and our way of being.
“All the actions of our life must be the outcome of an equation and an exact formula in order for the possibilities of the mind and the functionalism of understanding to surge forth.” ―Samael Aun a Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
This inner divinity is called the Being.
Comprehension of Reality: The Perfect Expression of the Being
We have been explaining in our recent lectures on the Tarot, which related to divine principles, numbers, and mathematics; which is a topic of another discussion. However, we can see that in a moment of observation, in which we truly let our inner God act through us, His actions are mathematical; Her compassion is precise in all our interactions of life. It is like a formula or formulaic. It is precise and definite. Those qualities are well mentioned in certain schools of meditation which we study.
In this image we have Christ being tempted by the devil, which is a symbol of something psychological. How we as a consciousness, who must unite with the divine energy known as Christ, is opposing the mind represented by the devil. People believe in these figures as something external, but what is more interesting is that they represent something psychological for us.
In that exercise (the mantra INRI) we are invoking the Christic energy into the mind precisely so that we can overcome the temptations of our egotism, the logic of hatred, of sarcasm, and of fear. Christ is a form of understanding our mind, which is superior, and in this dialogue between him and the devil in the desert, it represents something we all experience when we genuinely attempt meditation. We face that temptation of the mind wanting to distract us and to give us what we want or desire—filling the mind with certain elements which surge and then churn constantly.
But as this parable or this myth teaches us, by working with energy and by being serene, concentrated, and not being identified with the mind, obviously, the devil in the myth is false because I believe the lines from the gospels was "tempt not the Lord thy God." Meaning the soul has been united and identified with the divine so the mind becomes still. The devil falls in the myth down a precipice or down a tower. It represents how the mind is conquered and is serene.
This also represents how our concepts of life do not equate with the reality of life. Our concepts, meaning our thinking, tends to be very limited. We can rationalize all we want about meditation and divinity, but what gives us true comfort and knowledge is our own experience, which is the dialectic of consciousness.
As Samael Aun Weor wrote in The Great Rebellion:
“Awakened consciousness allows us to experience reality directly. Unfortunately, the intellectual animal mistakenly called a human being, fascinated by the formulating power of dialectical logic has forgotten about the dialectic of the consciousness. Unquestionably, the power to formulate logical concepts certainly becomes terribly poor. From thesis we go on to antithesis. After discussion to synthesis. But the latter remains in itself an intellectual concept which can never coincide with the reality."
How does this apply to us? Obviously, this is related to schools, philosophical movements, religions, and ways of thinking. We can think all we want and believe what we want. But does that necessarily change our way of being? How we act? Whether our actions are truly beneficial, limited, or detrimental for humanity?
We can think all we want about who we are. We tend to have many concepts and beliefs. “This is my race, my religion, my family, and my school that I grew up in. My university diploma.” These are concepts and ideas. But what is the reality of our state of being? Do we truly understand the origins of our defects? Of laziness, of despair; and the whole conglomeration of errors? Because by understanding the root, psychologically, of those conditions, we can change them.
“The dialectic of consciousness is more direct, thereby permitting us to experience the reality of any phenomenon in and of itself.” —Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
Those who learn to meditate obviously learn to have certain mystical experiences which are mentioned in the different religions. Some people refer to this as astral projection or dream yoga in which the consciousness, free of the physical body, experiences the realities of the dream world or the fifth dimension. This is all very beautifully mapped out in what is known in the Kabbalah as the Tree of Life.
We can investigate any phenomena in nature. We put the body at rest. We relax and we silence the mind. We observe ourselves and we concentrate on our inner divinity, begging Him or begging Her, to give us that wisdom we seek. Therefore, we focus on projecting into the astral dimension and with certain disciplines, practices, and exercises that we utilize, the body goes to rest and we enter those dimensions. We can investigate and see things that are beyond the physical senses.
Personally, if I am teaching you this, it is because I have been doing this for years. I want to help my students experience the realities of the consciousness. It is not just limited to physical matter. You can experience dimensions that are not material in the physical sense, in which the religions called heavens. Also, you can investigate the infra-dimensions, or what is known as hell or hell realms because one thing we mentioned is that your state of consciousness, your level of being, and your state of mind determines if you vibrate within superior laws or inferior laws. It is simple cause and effect. Therefore, by learning to meditate and eliminate conditions of the mind, we vibrate at higher levels of being and higher laws, so that we can naturally investigate the phenomena of nature. Anything. That is the beauty of the consciousness because it has the capacity to expand to an infinite degree as the 14th Dalai Lama has instructed us.
“Intellectual delusion is fascinating and we want to force all natural phenomena to coincide with our dialectical logic.” —Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
People believe many things, again intellectually, about the universe, the solar system, and our nature. We want everything to fit into our theories, our ideas, our beliefs, and our habits. More importantly for us, this has to do with our own understanding of who we are. This is the most profound form of delusion. We think we are a certain way and yet the reality is in certain situations, we keep provoking conflicts.
We can all think of examples of this. We think a certain way. We have a certain opinion. We have a disagreement with a friend or a stranger and we want to force everything we are perceiving about our neighbor in our logic. “That person doesn't like me, or that person is resentful,” or that person is this, this, and that. Yet, the very qualities that we attribute to other human beings and other persons are precisely the qualities we carry within.
Therefore, we tend to live in delusion. We don't understand the sources of our problems; where our defects come from and where our habits originated. We tend to go through life very hypnotized and identified with external phenomena. Becoming fascinated by a new job, house, car, or whatever it may be. We want to fit everything into our logic about who we think we are. However, real courage occurs when we as the consciousness learn to face the mind and not to be tempted by it. We look at the mind and just see it for what it is.
Where do our thoughts come from? Our feelings, our impulses? Simply look at it and don't judge one way or the other, but observe. That is how you gain information about that type of psychological phenomena inside. That is why:
“The dialectic of consciousness is based on true life experiences and not on mere subjective rationalism.” —Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
That dialectic of consciousness is when we experience by fact. The reality is that our mind tends to be fractured and is split, but by observing that fact we gain strength because we see that we are not the mind; we are something more profound.
A master by the name of Ibn ‘Arabi, who practiced Sufism, which is the mystical aspect of Islam—he was considered one of the greatest teachers of that tradition. He wrote a very interesting excerpt from a book called Divine Governance of the Human Kingdom. It builds off from what I just mentioned to you about the science of dream yoga or awakening in the internal worlds, when your physical body is asleep, but you use your consciousness or are acting and moving in a different dimension.
Typically, people who go to sleep at night are knocked out for eight hours and then wake up in the morning. They may have some memories of dreams that are usually nothing. That's a barometer for how conscious we are. If your consciousness is very awake and is disciplined in meditation, you can converse in those dimensions with the angels and with the Buddhas. With the masters like Jesus, Buddha, etc.
In this quote he also talks about the nature of perception and how it is not intellectual. Renee Descartes’ theory that "I think therefore I am" is wrong. To think is not to be. When thinking about our friend, coworkers, or our spouse when we are driving our car, we are not paying attention at what we are doing. We are not being in the present moment and it means we are asleep. The consciousness is not active. It is lost in thinking and daydreams.
“We think we see with our eyes. The information, the influences of perception are due to our senses, while the real influence, that is, the meaning of things, the power behind what sees and what is seen can be reached neither by the senses nor by deduction, analysis, comparison, contrasts, and associations made through intellectual theories. The invisible world can only be penetrated by the eye or mind of the heart.” —Ibn ‘Arabi, Divine Governance of the Human Kingdom
Knowledge is of the intellect, but Being, divinity, consciousness is more of the heart. Understanding is at the core of our of our Being and of our emotional center, because when you truly intuit and know something profoundly, it is ingrained in you and it is permanent. The mind can wander and think what it wants, but when you know something from fact and from experience, that is unshakable. Such as, having an experience in the astral plane where you are talking face-to-face with a master.
Personally, I have done that many times where I have been speaking with the founder of the Gnostic tradition, Samael Aun Weor, as well as certain initiates who have been helping me. Especially, because I am trying to teach others how to experience that and therefore it is not a theory for me. I don't believe in anything. I don't believe in it. It's something I do as a consciousness, because I'm meditating daily and training my mind so that I can continue to get guidance about how to live my life.
The invisible world, the higher dimensions are known by the qualities of the heart; your ethics. By eliminating anger, lust, hatred, and fear you expand consciousness. You inflame your heart as represented by the sacred image of Jesus. His heart was constructed by a crown of thorns. This is a very famous icon in Christian thought and the thing is that it is a symbol of how we have to wear our own crown of thorns, which is obviously a symbol of restraining the mind and negative qualities in the heart. It is a type of willpower one needs.
When you sit to meditate, willpower is needed because we find that the mind wanders, and it gets distracted. It won’t stay on one thing for a long time in the beginning, but with practice and by going through a type of conflict in oneself, one learns to inflame the heart with understanding and that occurs by restraining the mind and not giving it what it wants. Again, saving your energies mentally, emotionally, and physically.
“The invisible world can only be penetrated by the eye or the mind of the heart” because the consciousness awakens by working with energy. As we emphasized in the beginning of our practice, this mantra INRI helps to fill us with fire and with power. With energy and by saving energy mentally, emotionally, and physically, we expand consciousness.
“Indeed, the reality of this visible world also can only be seen by the eye and mind of the heart.” —Ibn ‘Arabi, Divine Governance of the Human Kingdom
Again, if we want to understand the source of our problems in our daily existence, meditation is a means and a method to understand ourselves.
Spiritual Practice and Experience
Some of you who have been to my lectures previously see that I like to use a lot of different scriptures and writings. This is a tradition that I very much have a lot of respect for compared to the Orthodox extremist beliefs. This is a scripture from a book of Sufism, which is a mystical teaching of Islam. This tradition, of course, is very degenerated today. It has been abused of its original meaning, but if we look at some of the symbols and principles of this tradition, we can extract knowledge for our benefit and we emphasize in our school that all religions have one source, whether they have deviated from that is another thing.
This is a scripture called Principles of Sufism. This is a writing by Al-Qushayri, who is a great Sufi master and who inspired Rumi. If you are familiar with the poet Rumi, his power evidently came from studying this other master. One thing that is mentioned in this scripture is very important about the need for a type of spiritual discipline because true experience and the ability to have those types of experiences in the internal worlds is dependent upon our practice. It is a very practical method.
Samael Aun Weor wrote the following:
“It is completely impossible to experience the Being, the Innermost, the Reality [the Divine], without becoming true technical and scientific masters of that mysterious science called meditation. It is completely impossible to experience the Being, the Innermost, the Reality without having reached the true mastery of the quietude and silence of the mind." —Samael Aun Weor, The Spiritual Power of Sound.
The Sufis corroborate what he says, meaning that through daily discipline one can experience the divine and can expand awareness. Al-Jurayri said:
"Whoever does not establish awe of duty and vigilance in his relationship to the divine will not arrive at disclosure of the unseen or contemplation of the divine." ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
What is this awe of duty? It has to do with our daily meditative practice—to feel a sense of awe and reverence every time we sit to reflect on ourselves because we understand that through this exercise, we are going to come closer to our inner Being, our true nature. Also, to feel that sense of urgency that we need to change and therefore we need to act.
It signifies to feel that inquietude, that disturbance in the heart that pushes us to want to know what religion teaches—to experience it, because through vigilance, observing ourselves, becoming aware of ourselves, and not letting the consciousness go to sleep, we in turn develop a relationship with our inner divinity, our own innermost God. That is personal for each one of us. It is very profound.
Vigilance: meaning that in a vigil you don't sleep. Instead you pray all night. You don't let your body go to rest but perform some types of austerities. This is one public level of meaning, but real vigilance is when you are driving your car, but you are not thinking about other things. You are doing what you are doing and being attentive. By developing vigilance and awe of duty, we obtain real knowledge. By daily discipline is how we truly train our mind to be serene, to be calm, to be peaceful; because those who don't will not arrive at disclosure of the unseen.
This has to do with having experiences in meditation, but also in dream yoga. To disclose the unseen also has another translation, which says "to unveil." When you unveil the mysteries, you are meditating and your body is at peace, your mind is calm, and then you receive an experience like a lightning bolt. It can be an image, a sound, a scene in which you are a living spectator and a participant. It could be a dream experience where you are seeing yourself doing certain actions or having certain types of interactions that are symbolic. That is unveiling, or tearing the veil of the mysteries; to see from the internal dimensions certain qualities of consciousness.
However, it is not enough just to unveil or to have those experiences. It is important to understand what they are teaching you, because your inner divinity will teach you in meditation through experiences and certain symbols that apply to your life and spiritual work.
Many people in this day and age are very fascinated with dream symbology and want to get certain books to teach them. "I had a dream about this and this. I want to read it and look at what it means." In this tradition, we don't rely on those types of books because the real method of understanding our dreams and experiences comes by meditating. When you meditate and you read scriptures and understand certain symbols, it is easy to interpret things. But relying on other people's opinions is not a guarantee that you can read about in certain books. I found more effective for my own practices to not read any book, but just go and meditate on the experience until the understanding surges forth.
When we have the experiences, we learn to understand what they mean. As the kabbalists teach, "A dream not interpreted is like a letter not read” (Berachot 55b). Therefore, contemplating the meaning of our experiences is known as Mushahada in Arabic. This is the word “witnessing, to witness.” If you are familiar with Islam, they do the Shahidah, which is the declaration of their faith in the public level: “There is no god but God, and Muhammad is His Prophet.”
People recite that many times, but do they really understand what it means is another thing. When you say that you have witnessed God, it means that you have been meditating. Then you as a consciousness have had the experience of uniting with your Being. You are witnessing the ecstasy of your soul united with that truth and that purity. That is to be a witness, to perceive, and to be awake. It doesn't mean just thinking that I believe in this tradition or I believe in Jesus or I believe in Samael Aun Weor, thinking that belief is going to guarantee anything. Instead it is about having the experience. That is witnessing. When you have those experiences your heart becomes inflamed precisely because you have seen the truth for yourself and you know that you are not alone.
The Four States of Consciousness
We talk about four states of consciousness in this tradition. From the Greek mysteries and in the spirit of this doctrine, of the dialectic of consciousness, we have been talking a bit about the Greeks in terms of their language and etymology.
We can say there are four types of dialectic or four types of being. We have Eikasia, which is profound sleep. We have Pistis which is sleep with dreams. Now we have Dianoia or awakened consciousness, followed by Nous or spiritually illuminated consciousness.
Humanity tends to be stuck in the first two forms of consciousness, which is sleep or sleep with dreams. People in these times believe that they are awake. We tend to have this belief that we are conscious. When you practice meditation and if you analyze your eight hours of sleep at night, whether you are awake or not in the dream world, then that is a barometer for how weak we are. Typically, we tend to be sleeping for eight hours and there is nothing. That is sleep. That is Eikasia.
Pistis, which is sleep with dreams, has to do with not only the dreams we experienced at night, but in our daily states.
As I mentioned to you, when you are at work or you are washing your dishes, but thinking of other things, this means we are dreaming. We are not awake. We are not aware of what we are doing, which is going mechanically with our habits and our actions.
I like to relate to you some of the etymology of these Greek words because Eikasia, Pistis, Dianoia, and Nous; they are Greek words, but they have a lot of meaning if you really break them down.
Eikasia (εἰκασία) literally means “imagination.” It means “images” from the Greek εικόνων eikonon. I mentioned to you that we tend to be asleep or that we are asleep physically as a consciousness. Physically our body is active, but if the mind is wandering and if we are not aware of what is going on, it means that we are experiencing sleep without dreams. This is a very barbaric form of consciousness that is very negative. All the violence that you see on television, the wars, and the bloodshed; that is Eikasia—to be unconscious, because someone who is awakened spiritually would never dare to harm another human being. They would never inflict violence.
Eikasia means “imagination” and the word imagination simply means to perceive images, and is a representation of what we are going through now. We perceive images in life physically and yet we are not aware of what we are seeing. We are not questioning what we see. We just go with the flow. This is very easy to see, when at the end of your day, you reflect and try to remember what you did at certain points in the day. If you can't remember those certain periods of time in which you got up that morning and you were driving a car and don't remember where you drove or what you did, that is being asleep. We have gaps in our memory. We say, "I don't remember what happened." What you are thinking, what you are doing, and what you are feeling; that is Eikasia, or unconsciousness.
Πίστις Pistis is a little different and it is not much better. This is sleep with dreams. From the Greek Πιστεύω Pisteuo, meaning “to trust, to have confidence, faithfulness, to be reliable, and to assure.”
Pistis simply means belief or faith, but in the subjective sense. As I have been explaining, to believe that by following Jesus one is saved is superficial. We also believe and trust many things. We put our faith and our confidence on many things that are not reliable, whether institutions, traditions, religions, etc.
But we also experience Pistis. We dream when we are thinking, acting, and doing other things but not being aware of where we are at. We then put our trust into our thinking, our feelings, and our impulses; we invest our energy. That is Pistis.
Dianoia (διάνοια) is much different. It means the awakened state of consciousness. The word "diá" means “thoroughly, from side to side” which intensifies "noiéō" or "noús," which means “mind.” Dianoia is when you step out of the cage of your intellect and when you perceive that you are not the mind. You engage your mind thoroughly and examine it. As a consciousness, you are evaluating yourself and your habits in meditation and throughout the day through self-observation. This is to be awake—to not identify with any phenomena outside or inside but to be conscious.
Nous (νοῦν) is much superior. This is to be spiritually illuminated. It is not only when you are not identified with your mind, but you as a consciousness unite with your inner God, your Being: who you are in your essence, fundamentally.
These four states are represented by the Allegory of the Cave of Plato. Obviously, the cave represents the darkness of the mind and in this myth, the allegory of philosophy is such that a certain person was chained with other prisoners in a cave. Then this person was released by some Guru or master and taken out in order to experience the stars, the landscape, the mountains, and nature. To see the sunrise for the first time. In condensed form, it is a symbol of how we escape the darkness of our intellect, our subconsciousness and desires in order to experience illumination, your true nature, and your Being.
Obviously, this is the goal, and you can have that experience by daily discipline and meditation where you are not only awake as a consciousness, but you experience what your inner divinity is, which is plenitude, happiness, and contentment.
But in order to get to that point, we learn to examine our psychological states. As I have been indicating, interactions with humanity and with other human beings is our psychological training, because in those moments of interaction we learn to see the conditions that truly shape us and limit us. By learning to be observant of our psychological states and our interactions with humanity, we learn to understand and discover our secret faults and errors. It also gives us the opportunity to develop virtue: real conscious and beautiful action in which our soul and our divinity expresses through us. We become vehicles of enlightenment.
Internal States and External Events
People who want to separate from life, due to despair or whatever qualities from external events, do so because they feel so lost in suffering. They demonstrate their incapacity to live. Meditation is precisely the means by which we learn to live more consciously with rectitude and with ethics.
“When one wants to separate the external events of life from the internal states of consciousness, one demonstrates concretely his incapacity of existing in a dignified manner. Those who learn how to consciously combine external events with internal states march on the path of success.” —Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology
So instead of blaming our job, the politicians, or whomever, we take responsibility for our own suffering, because if we didn't have anger, we wouldn't suffer. Likewise, with pride and all these elements.
In learning to develop virtue, we help humanity and help ourselves. Our psychological state determines our life, which is well-known within Sufism. The Sufis talk about three types of blessing or three types of principles which are at the heart of understanding ourselves and of meditation. They referred to that tradition known as Islam, which means “submission” in Arabic. Does it mean to physically adhere to some type of tradition? To say, “I believe in Muhammad and there was only one God” and to pray five times a day? That's very superficial and habitual.
Meditation is something more profound. When you submit to God, your divinity, it means that you no longer perform harmful actions.
People complain and we have had many letters written to us. A missionary was asking us, "I don't experience God. I haven't seen my inner Being. I don't know what the truth is. I want to know how." I always reply to them and ask, “How do you behave with other people?” Not only with them, but psychologically, because when you examine your internal states and if you find corruption, negativity, and desire, that is the problem.
In those moments of observation, you get light and your divinity will show you what your ego is that you must work on the most. It presents itself and when you see it and catch it in the moment, you say "Aha!" and you feel joy. That is the greatest joy of the meditator, because you see a defect and then you say, "Now I know what this defect is and I am going to meditate on it so it is going to be eliminated." That is how you change your internal states so that you learn to vibrate with higher laws, and therefore, when you relate to other human beings, you help them rise to a higher level of being, a higher level virtue.
The Three Blessings of the Sufis
That is Islam: when you submit to God. It doesn't mean you bow to the east, but instead it means that in the moment, you refrain from harmful action, harmful thinking, and harmful feeling. You no longer let your sufferings dictate your life. You also have Iman, which means faith, and as I mentioned to you, the word Pistis also means faith. However, real faith in the true sense doesn't mean belief, to think, or feel something is true, without experience or evidence. Real faith is when you have the knowledge and experience of the divine in your consciousness, and therefore you know that there is no theory there. It is very clear. Lastly, there is Ihsan, which is a word that relates to the Arabic name Hassan, which means beauty. Ihsan means beautiful action. To act beautifully is to let your Being express through you, in which you become the vehicle and the means by which your inner Christ or your inner Buddha is manifest.
How does this relate to our internal states? Our psychological states, as I mentioned, fluctuate. They change, they churn, and by learning to be observant, we understand how our psychological states shape our existence.
“When Al-Junayd was asked about the Gnostic, he replied, ‘the color of the water is the color of its container.’ That is, the nature of the Gnostic, (one who knows in meditation and who experiences the truth) is always determined by the nature of his state in a given moment.” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
Moment by moment, we learn to observe ourselves and that is always something changing and dynamic. It is nothing static, because the truth is the unknowable from moment to moment. As I have been mentioning to you, meditation is the means by which we overcome the intellect and to use it in its right place. To use it well.
Comprehension and Imagination
This is from Igneous Rose by Samael Aun Weor, where he explains what the dialectic of consciousness is, the understanding of the soul. The reasoning faculty is not something to be discarded completely, but to be utilized well with comprehension and with understanding:
“We must extract only the golden fruit from reasoning. The golden fruit of reasoning is comprehension (to know without having to think about it, to understand). Comprehension and imagination must replace reasoning." —Samael Aun We Comprehension or, Igneous Rose
Comprehension is that spark or hunch, that understanding, of the causes of suffering. Imagination, as I indicated, is perception, to see not only physical imagery, but psychic imagery, something that is internal, such as internal states, because when you develop your observation of yourself, you learn to see and taste the different qualities and the nature of our psychological elements.
“Imagination and comprehension are the foundation of the superior faculties of the understanding.” —Samael Aun a Weor, Igneous Rose
When we learn to meditate, we develop two factors in ourselves. Comprehension is a result of having a serene mind. That is, when your intellect is no longer churning with so many negative elements and the imagination is when we use our consciousness and we can see clearly.
If the lake of the mind is serene, you can then perceive and reflect the images of the divine, the sky, and the heavens in that lake. That lake is your mind. If it is churning and if it is rippling with violence, anger, and prejudice, then the mind is agitated. You can't see clearly. Obviously, we have a day of work and we are full of anger. We feel negative. We can't see clearly, psychologically. We are engaged in and constricted by that negativity. But through observation of the mind, naturally you are not acting on the ego and your defects, then the mind settles and you develop equanimity. That is when the images in meditation start to reflect. When your body is still and relaxed, your mind is calm after a day of self-observation and of reflection.
Then as you are relaxing and approaching the state of slumber, images appear that reflect within our psyche as experiences. That is imagination: the capacity to perceive experiences that are not of a physical type, but of a spiritual type. Imagination and comprehension are the true faculties of our understanding: serenity and insight.
The Sufis elaborate on this point very beautifully about the nature of insight, the nature of consciousness. Someone who has developed light inside of themselves has insight. To have insight into the nature of any experience, psychologically speaking or even physically, depends on the depth of our consciousness. That is, the ability to penetrate into the mind. Because as we are now, we tend to be lost in Eikasia or Pistis, which is sleep. But someone who develops light is awakening consciousness and understanding.
As the Sufis teach:
“‘Or one who was dead whom we gave new life and a light with which he can walk among men, can he be like one who is in the depths of darkness from which he will never emerge?’ (6:122) One of the Sufis said that God’s words means,“One whose intellect had died and so God gave him new life by the light of insight and whom God gave the light of manifestation and witnessing, he is not like one who walks among the people of negligence in his negligence.
“It is said, ‘If a man’s insight is sound, he ascends to the station of witnessing.’” —Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
This is talking about people who have light and those who don't. What does it mean to have insight, understanding, and comprehension? When we have those experiences, we become filled with inspiration, peace, and happiness. Therefore, we learn to engage life in a much more dynamic way. But, to be negligent refers to all of humanity, or people who don't understand what meditation is. Or, if they do practice it, they may do it once in a while, but not consistently. Negligence means to not elect. To not act. The purpose of consciousness is to act, to behave in an upright and conscious way.
“Those whose intellect have died,” meaning that they are no longer limited by the mind; they use the mind in its service. Those are the people who have insight, who developed witnessing, who can say that “I believe in God, that there is no god but God,” because they had the experience in meditation.
Those who are witnessing the truth are not like those who don't. It is a very clear distinction. It is also said that if a man's insight, his perception, and imagination is sound, he then ascends to the station of witnessing: a technical term referring to leaving the physical body behind, and in the higher dimensions, you unite with your Being, which we will be explaining in the courses of Kabbalah specifically.
In meditation we learn to focus on one thing and not let the mind get distracted. That is the beginning. We develop serenity, we learn to concentrate, and don't get distracted. Remember what you are doing. The next step is to develop our capacities for perceiving imagery, which we do through exercises like taking a mandala or sacred painting, and trying to reconstruct that image in your mind, so that you can see it with your imagination.
If I asked you to think of a cup of water, the image emerges in our mind. We can think about it. We can see it not with physical senses, but psychological ones. That act of being able to perceive imagery is imagination. Some people have called it clairvoyance. That is a very fancy term meant to confuse people that made people think that they don't have the ability to be conscious. That is a mistake. Instead, we all have the capacity to imagine and to perceive.
When you learn to silence the mind, then you can focus on perceiving more clearly and profoundly, because when the lake of the mind is calm, you can see into the depths of your psyche. That is imagination. In our practice of meditation, we learn to silence the mind and then afterwards, we try to perceive deeply with our consciousness, an image, a stone, or try to understand scripture.
With many things, we can develop our consciousness. There are many purposes of meditation, but most importantly, we learn to comprehend what we perceived in ourselves during the day. Imagination is the ability to go deep into the mind to understand and perceive all those defects we caught in action, on a moment-to-moment basis. Those who develop profound insight are able to go very deep into the mind.
“Abu Hassan Ibn Mansur declared: ‘The one possessing insight hits his target with the first arrow he looses. He never turns to interpretation, speculation, or supposition.’” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
Someone who has profound imagination developed, in a simple and single practice, goes and silences the mind. He focuses on that thing without having to rationalize about that object of meditation. For example, you take a scene in your day, maybe at work with your boss in which you had a certain conversation that provoked a lot of negativity inside of you. You saw perhaps anger, fear, pride, vanity, and all those elements surged in that moment. Then you caught it and you saw it in yourself. Then at home, what you would do is relax your body and relax your mind, reviewing your imagination on what you went through in that experience. Try to see ego, each defect in that instant, or in those moments at work.
Someone whose imagination is very profound will not be thinking about "Well, I'm not sure what this element is," or maybe trying to rationalize about what we are focusing on. Someone who is concentrating is trying to imagine him or herself and that scene in the day. One doesn't refer to speculation. Don't think or try to speculate about what you saw. Simply look at the facts. What did you perceive in yourself? What did you capture?
Don't try to interpret it one way or the other, but just look. The act of looking is the act of understanding, because when you don't rationalize about what you're trying to meditate on, the insight emerges spontaneously and profoundly. It's magic. It comes into your mind and suddenly you say "Aha! I understood that anger and that moment. Now by praying to my inner divinity I can learn to eliminate that fault.”
Certainty of Inner Spiritual Experiences
“It is also said (and this refers to different levels of meditators), the insight of the seekers is speculation that brings about certainty. The insight of the gnostics is a certainty that brings about inner-realization.” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
We are all seekers here. We're beginning meditators. We may have certain hunches or intuitions about certain religions, traditions, or about ourselves. Things that we want to know more about. However, there is a higher level of being. We seek to prove in our current level of being certain truths contained in religion. But somebody who is a gnostic, someone who really awakens a lot of consciousness, they have experiences, and when they return to their physical body after an experience of dream yoga, they look in the physical world for evidence to confirm and validate what they experienced.
I give you an example of what this phenomenon is. I remember many years ago when I first started gnosis, I was meditating and I had an experience in the dream world where I was shown ten faces. Two rows, five images each. I saw mine at the very bottom right. I saw the other faces there and they were very powerful and divine. Especially what was most notable to me was an old man with a very profound countenance—very strong and all these images were from the Nordic mythology. Different characters like Wotan, Father of the Gods.
I remember looking in certain books to find out "What did I just experience? What did I just go through?" Then someone introduced me to the Kabbalah, which is Jewish mysticism. It is a map of ten spheres. Those ten pictures were really the Kabbalah. I had an experience and then I read about it in a book later. The Kabbalah, if you're not familiar, is a map of consciousness from lower levels of experience (matter, energy, and perception) all the way to the highest. The most rarefied and most divine. I saw my Being and all those aspects, the ten spheres. I was at the very bottom, meaning the physical body. I had that experience and then I was looking in the books, I was trying to validate "What did I just go through?" Then I read about it, which gave me more faith, especially things that give you a lot of certainty about this knowledge. Our inner divinity is the one who has to create a psychological space within us.
Inner Judgment in Meditation
This is an image of The Last Judgement of Christ judging humanity. It is a symbol. One important symbol is that it relates to our daily meditative discipline. We have to judge ourselves.
We have to judge our faults. First see them and then when you are meditating, concentrate on a certain event in your day. Try to perceive and understand and see the root causes of your afflictions. By developing comprehension of each fault that you witnessed, you ask for your inner divinity to eliminate and to judge.
Our inner Being is the one who gives us a sense of order in our psychological house, because I said to you, we tend to be afflicted by multifarious elements. The egotism of our desires is precisely the "I," the “me”, and the “myself.”
“We must clarify that a radical difference exists between the ego and the Being. The ‘I,’ (the sense of self we grasp onto), can never establish an order in psychological matters, as, in itself, it is the result of disorder. Only the Being (the divine), has the power to establish order in our psyche. The Being is the Being and the reason for the Being to be, is to be the Being himself.” —Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
This is light, presence, intelligence, wisdom, cognizance, order in the work of self-observation and judgment. In eliminating our psychic aggregates, meaning our defects and our desires:
“Order in the work of self-observation, judgment, and elimination of our psychic aggregates gradually becomes evident through the judicious sense of psychological self-observation.” —Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
The path of meditation is very specific and very methodical. First, we observe ourselves and get data about our defects. When we see them in a certain experience of life we go home and we meditate. We judge them. We ask for comprehension and understanding. By comprehending them, we pray to our inner divinity to eliminate and that is how by breaking the shells of the ego, we extract consciousness so that the soul is unified with God, with the Being.
The Divine Mother and Elimination of Defects
The one who helps establish this order in us is known in the Greek myths as Athena. She is known as Minerva amongst the Romans. She is the feminine aspect of divinity inside of us, represented in Hinduism as Durga, Kali. She is also known as the Virgin Miriam in Christianity. The word Miriam in Hebrew literally means to raise, to elevate. She is that part of our divinity that elevates us from the depths of despair and our demonic qualities to the very heights.
We work with her every day in our meditation disciplines here. She is the one who helps to eliminate. Notice on her shield, she has the Medusa whose head has been decapitated, because she is the force of divinity in us, that power that gives birth to the divine in us who eliminates.
She is the warrior who aided Odysseus in the Greek poems. If you remember from The Odyssey, he returns home from the battle of Troy after twenty years of being at sea in order to find that his home has been invaded by suitors trying to marry his wife. They have taken all his food, his crops, his money, and his wealth. They squandered it. That is a symbol of how we have been exiled from our own inner divinity. When we return home, we find that our house is a mess with all these defects. These suitors trying to marry Penelope, his soul, his consciousness. They are trying to take everything from him, so who helps him is Athena. Athena is the one who gives that hero the means and the method in order to kill the suitors. It is a very beautiful poem. I won't spoil it if you haven't read it, but it has a very beautiful teaching. This defines for us the path of illumination.
Athena is our inner divine Goddess who is really part of our consciousness. And she is the one who helps us from the very beginning of the path all the way to the end. There is an order to how we eliminate defects. She is the one who establishes that path in us.
“As we progress in our inner work, we can verify for ourselves an interesting order in the system of elimination. One is astonished when one discovers that there is an order in the work related to the elimination of the multiple psychic aggregates that personify our errors.” —Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
The word aggregate means “pile, heap, or conglomeration.” Each defect is an aggregate which traps our consciousness.
“What is most interesting about all this is that such an order in the elimination of defects comes about gradually and is processed according to the dialectic of consciousness. The dialectic of reasoning will never surpass the formative work of the dialectic of consciousness.” —Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
This has to do with our daily discipline in which we are learning about ourselves, acquiring more wisdom, and knowledge, whereby we understand certain defects emerge in certain situations and we work on them gradually—day by day until by comprehension and profound works, our defects become pulverized. Eliminated. They become smaller and weaker, because we are comprehending them until finally the Divine Mother can decapitate them.
“The dialectic of reasoning will never surpass the formidable work of the dialectic of consciousness.” —Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
The dialectic of consciousness is your work in which you are comprehending yourself more and more until finally the ego is dead.
“In time, the facts show us that the psychological order in the work of eliminating defects is established by our own profound inner Being.” —Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
From the very beginning of the path to the very end of self-realization of enlightenment, this is guided every step and every moment by our divinity.
The Gnostic Esoteric Work
As I mentioned to you, she works in three ways. In the Gnostic esoteric work, the Greek word gnosis means knowledge, self-wisdom, and understanding is divided into three sections.
Here you see an image here of Durga, from Hinduism, slaying a demon, a monster. She is riding upon a Lion of Judah, which reminds us of the Judeo-Christian tradition. Or יהודה Jehudah, יהוה Iod Hei Vav Hei, Jehovah. We can also say Yeshua, which is a representation of what we call Christ, which is an energy.
She is slaying this element, which is psychological. We have discovery, judgment, and execution. First, we observe ourselves. We gather knowledge about our faults. Then in meditation we reflect in the screen of our imagination what we experienced and what we saw. Therefore, didactically by focusing on each defect we learned to comprehend them. Execution refers to prayer. We pray to our inner Divinity to eliminate because we cannot eliminate defects on our own. We need our inner Being who is the source of order and of knowledge.
Lastly one thing we will mention is something that is pertinent to the discussion of this dialectic of consciousness. This is self-understanding. It is important to reflect on what we were years ago. Reflect on who we were. The ways we thought, felt, and acted before we were led and inspired to approach this kind of study, what is known in this teaching as psychological photographs.
When we begin this work, we learn to transform our psyche gradually and then we reflect after a time upon what we were in the past, in terms of a psychological image. Of who we were before we sought to study any type of knowledge of this type. It is useful as Samael Aun Weor writes in The Great Rebellion to reflect on oneself constantly and to analyze: What are we doing successfully? What are we doing that is wrong?
“The establishment of the consecutive order in the different parts of the work, related to this extremely serious subject of eliminating the psychic aggregates, allows us to generate a work memory. This is quite interesting and even extremely useful in the question of more inner development.” —Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
Work memory has to do with understanding the process by which we are working psychologically. This is something that is developed by practice. We develop a type of understanding and comprehension of who we were before we began this work and what we have become now.
"This work memory can certainly give us distinct psychological photographs of the different stages of our past. As a whole, it will bring to our imagination a vivid and even repugnant imprint of what we were before beginning the radical psycho-transforming work. There is no doubt that we would never wish to return to that horrifying image, that vivid representation of what we once were. From this point, such psychological photography is useful as a means of confrontation between a transformed present and a regressive, stale, clumsy, and unfortunate past. The work memory is always recorded on the basis of successive psychological events registered by the center of psychological self-observation." ―Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
Again, this myth of Perseus teaches us many things, because by using the reflection of our consciousness in the shield, which is the armor of the soul, we learn to work gradually little by little on our faults so that by reflecting on this process, we develop more stamina, awareness, and more inspiration.
Questions and Answers
Question: Why should we lose our anger? Confront it, I understand. Why should we lose it? I think it’s a highly good thing for us. It gives us persistence. It helps us to escape slavery to the conditions we are in. I really find when someone talks about it as a negative thing. I think there are certain things I don’t understand or that they are wrong.
Instructor: Anger is a negative emotion. In its true sense is a frustrated desire. It wants something from the external world or from a reality that it can't get. Now, there are certain psychological states such as indignation, or a sense of moral and social righteousness, where something has been committed and it is wrong. Naturally, we feel a sense of indignation and that this is horrible and that we don't want that to exist. That type of sentiment is natural. It is a conscious quality where we feel that truly we see the state of humanity and we feel a sense of urgency—the consciousness that really is indignant, that is a sense of severity that says this is wrong. That this should not be tolerated.
But anger is a psychological element and it is something different. Anger is a negative emotion that wants to harm others, but even when people are committing harm the best way to resolve that is not by responding with anger, but instead severity. The consciousness is not complacent with wrong. When there is harm committed, naturally we can say that we should channel the forces of judgment from the Being, because divinity or God is not complacent with wrong. There is both mercy and justice in divinity. They find their balance within our heart.
So naturally feeling a sense of indignation towards what has been going on in the media or on the world is natural and we should feel driven to want to change that. But doing it with negative emotions, especially when we see how that ego acts and relates to others, it tends to exacerbate the condition rather than resolve it.
Instead, you can learn to be patient. Not in the sense that you are just tolerating the wrong and letting it continue, but instead you put your foot down and don't allow it. That is judgment. It is a conscious quality. Love does not necessarily mean complacency with wrong, because when you eliminate anger, you develop true love, which knows how to judge, how to act, how to behave, and how to help others. Not to perpetuate that mistake. That is real judgment.
Comment: To help answer her question better, what was it that Christ felt when he flipped over the table of the money lenders?
Instructor: Good, that is an example of the severity of the consciousness, of divinity. God isn't just some figure that punishes humanity blindly nor is God stupidly compassionate, you can say, or complacent with wrong. When Jesus was throwing the tables of the money lenders in the Bible, it refers to how we as a consciousness have to go against the moneylenders in our psyche. This is a symbol because those money lenders that have prostituted the temple of God is psychological. It is inside of us.
Audience: He didn't do it out of anger...
Instructor: He wasn't angry, but he was demonstrating something psychological as a parable. It is something symbolic. Now psychologically we have to go into our temple which is our mind and to get rid of the money lenders, that is, those defects that have taken our temple of God are in our psyche and have polluted it. We have to confront it.
Question: What role does fear play with our relationship with God?
Instructor: The word awe is a quality of the consciousness. With the Bible it is referred to as fear of God but it has been misinterpreted to mean something egotistical, like the fear that we typically feel is negative. It really debilitates conscious action. The word awe of duty, if you look at the Judeo-Christian tradition or the Hebrew Bible, you find the word fear of God known as Pehad, which means awe. To feel awe in reverence.
The word awe is something of the consciousness that feels respect for the divine and its power and respects that divinity within him or herself, because you feel awe of duty when you refrain from negative action and negative ways of being. You realize and you remember that your inner divinity is with you moment by moment. Is with you and is a part of you. To act in negative ways is to infringe on that relationship with your inner Being. That is why one feels an awe, a reverence, because if we are about to get into an argument with someone or do something violent or negative, and we refrain from acting that way, we are practicing awe of duty. The divine is peace, compassion, understanding and to not be observant of divinity in us, our mind stream, and our actions produces suffering.
One thing I'll mention is that the Being is with us here and now. Your inner divinity is always present, but the problem is that we don't have consciousness of that. As the Qur’an teaches, "Truly we are closer to you than your jugular vein." This is the divine speaking into the words of that prophet. Divinity is with us here and now and when we feel awe of duty, it means that we are not acting negatively in certain situations so that we learn to deepen our connection with the truth.
Any final questions or comments?
Comment: Just one comment about a point you brought up earlier. It’s one of the names of Geburah, which is that sphere of justice, representing that whole, left pillar of the tree; and it’s sometimes the destruction, the waging war against everything that holds us back from the inner divinity.
Instructor: Geburah is the quality of the divine consciousness as we teach in this tradition and mercy is the Spirit known as Chesed in Kabbalah. If you go to our website, we are going to be on the tenth lecture [of The Eternal Tarot of Alchemy and Kabbalah] pretty soon and it talks about the Tree of Life and death. Geburah is that sense of conscience that says this is right and this is wrong. It is severe in enacting that type of discipline. The way that we get that strength in ourselves is by meditating. Because the power of Geburah and judgment occurs spontaneously in us when we are willing to reflect and look within us to see: what are our faults? What do we need to change? By extracting the consciousness from those elements we develop true judgment and true mercy.
We began this exercise by observing ourselves, observing our thinking, observing our emotional states, as well as the body. This active, clear seeing, observation, is the entrance way into meditation. It is the unfoldment, the means, the method. Meditation is precisely the science of perceiving clearly without obscuration, without conditioning.
If we are honest, when we sit for five minutes, or even ten, twenty, half an hour, if we look within ourselves, what we typically perceive is a conglomeration of different thoughts, different emotions, different memories, which seem to surge and to churn without control, without any order, without any coherence.
So, meditation is the science of expanding that attention, developing it―this awareness of oneself, and this understanding of all the factors that make up who we are psychologically―in terms of our thoughts, our emotions, our impulses to act. Meditation is about understanding these elements, where they originate from, how they emerge, sustain and pass from the screen of our awareness, our attention.
Consciousness is simply the ability to look, to see, not with physical senses, but psychological ones―to understand that we are not thought, that we are not emotion, that we are not the impulses of the body, instincts. Looking within, we learn to see that we are composed of many elements that meditation helps us to understand and to comprehend. Because the science of awakening consciousness is the science of freeing oneself from conditions, from elements that shape and limit our attention, our perception.
The consciousness is simply the ability to observe, to pay attention, to remember what one is doing. If you sit for five minutes and find that the mind is wondering, thinking of other things, being distracted, that means that our consciousness is not strengthened enough, developed. It is not potent enough to remain focused. And, if we are observing ourselves in those five minutes of meditation, we tend to understand or can see that this is the psychological state of our being, on a moment-to-moment basis, day by day.
We tend to live life in a very identified fashion, a very mechanical fashion, reacting to the circumstances of life, impulsively, because if you look within those five minutes of meditation, simply blocking out the senses, looking inside to what is within, that is a barometer for how conscious we really are throughout our daily experience. Because by shutting up the senses, introspecting within, we get a glimpse of what our daily state of life is like in a more objective sense, in a more clear sense.
Meditation is not simply about sitting for five minutes, ten minutes, becoming relaxed, although that is the introduction, the beginning of awakening perception. Instead, it has to do with understanding the conditions that shape our daily state, which make us suffer, to understand what are the psychological obstacles within the mind, within our heart, that condition us, conditions our ways of seeing, of being, of understanding.
There are many factors that make up who we are, but in a subjective sense. If you really go deep and develop this practice further, learning to observe as a consciousness within oneself, one sees that one is not thought, because thoughts emerge, they sustain upon the screen of our awareness, they pass away, like memories, like clouds. Likewise, emotions. Moods emerge, sustain, pass away. Likewise, the sensations of the body, an itch, a scratch, something that irritates. These likewise emerge, sustain, pass away on the screen of our experience.
These factors are really impermanent. There is nothing stable about them. And yet, if we are developing our observation of ourselves, we can realize that that which is eternal, that which is divine, is the consciousness. The act of looking, the act of seeing oneself as one is, is light, understanding.
Meditation is about developing that perception of oneself because consciousness is light, the ability to perceive―beyond any conditioning, beyond any limitations, beyond any belief. Few people recognize that our psychology is something that is feasible to modify, to change. It is possible to change one’s state of suffering on a day-by-day basis, to transform one’s mind.
This is something that Buddhism explains beautifully in the Four Noble Truths.
One: that in life there is suffering.
Second: suffering has causes.
Third: the causes of suffering can cease.
And lastly, there is a path away to cease suffering.
Those psychological states in our daily life, such as anger, fear, resentment, pride, vanity, these elements are conditions. They are not the true nature of consciousness, who we really, fundamentally are in our depth. The problem is that due to mistaken action, we have conditioned our psyche.
We may like to blame other people for our suffering: maybe at our job, our friends, our coworkers, one’s spouse, one’s loved ones. But the fact is that regardless of the impressions of life that emerge, enter within us such as someone insults us, says something negative―we are responsible for our own psychological states: the elements of pride, resentment, anger, fear, frustration. These elements are something that we created, and which are not our true self. They are not our true identity.
Meditation is about learning to develop and break away the conditions of the soul, consciousness. So that we are radiantly absorbed in our own true nature, which is light, which is happiness, contentment. The problem is that we have psychologically conditioned ourselves. We have put a cage around who we are, because anger, fear, hatred, egotism, these are elements that we created and that we are responsible for changing.
But the first step of any practice is simply looking within, to recognize the First Noble Truth that in life there is suffering. But also that there are causes, which are psychological. And the fact of observation helps us to see within ourselves what those states are, what those elements are. What are those cages that trap and limit us which make us vibrate at a low level of being, of behaving? So, every religion teaches how to break those shells in their fundamental heart. Whether in these time that teaching is being disseminated is another thing. But all religions, we teach, in their very root essence, explain the science of meditation, how to observe oneself, how to understand why we suffer, and to understand those cages that we created, so that we can, by seeing them, eliminate them, by the grace of divinity. Because as Buddha Shakyamuni, his title of buddha simply means “awakened one, cognizant one,” stated that our life is shaped by our mental states, our psychological way of being.
We tend to like to look at the exterior, that it is the exterior world that makes us suffer. But the science of meditation, introspection, teaches us to see where those causes of suffering exist, so that by understanding them they may cease.
Preceded by mind are phenomena, led by mind, formed by mind. If with mind polluted one speaks or acts, then pain follows, as a wheel follows the draft ox’s foot. Preceded by mind are phenomena, led by mind, formed by mind. If with mind pure one speaks or acts, then ease follows, as an ever-present shadow. –Buddha, The Dhammapada
The Eastern doctrines teach the law of karma, which simply means “cause and effect.” How do our actions produce happiness? How do our actions produce suffering? And understanding the basis of this law of cause and effect we can change, and thereby, we learn to change the state of humanity as it is. Because any fundamental revolution of a spiritual type does not occur as a result of focusing on the exterior, but by becoming psychologically united in oneself, integral―not being dispersed or distracted by the psychological elements of anger, resentment, ego.
These psychological states determine our life. If we speak with anger in a certain situation, we suffer the consequences, produce problems, difficulties, ordeals. But if we learn to change our way of being, our level of consciousness, we learn to respond to life with a sense of rectitude, with purity. Because the mind, with our thinking, our ways of feeling, and our ways of acting, as it is, tends to be egotistical, focused on “me, myself, what I want, what I crave, what I desire, what I want to do”―and usually at the expense of other people.
The mind with these conditions, its factors of limitation, are precisely a form of pollution. It is the negativity, the conditioning of the psyche. Anger is a polluted emotion, a negative mental state. Likewise, the different religious explanations, such as the seven deadly sins of Christianity, or the ten non-meritorious actions of Buddhism. These all refer to negative states of being which, if we comprehend them at their root, we can then awaken and free our consciousness from those conditions.
As I said, consciousness is light, the ability to perceive beyond thought, beyond feeling, beyond impulse. It is the ability to observe, to be attentive. Now, when I say the consciousness is beyond thought, it is beyond emotion, it is beyond impulse, this does not mean that the consciousness is without feeling or understanding. Because the consciousness, when it is radiantly absorbed within its true nature, is pure, is happiness, serenity, content. These are the virtues of the soul mentioned in different religious cosmogonies and traditions.
But typically, egotism, hatred, fear, these elements constitute our daily state of suffering, and refer to the darkness in the book of Genesis on the first day. So, the Bible teaches that the Earth was formless and void, and the darkness was upon the face of the deep, of the abyss. People literally interpret this to mean some type of physical creation story. But it is something psychological.
That darkness is us, our mind. When we look within, if we observe our problems, our daily experience, when we look within, we tend to see an abyss, very dark, without divinity. But if we remember, as taught within the religious scriptures, which we interpret in a symbolic manner, there is the ability and the hope to transform one’s psyche. Because, as the book of Genesis in Hebrew, בראשית Bereshit speaks of, it says, “Elohim said: ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.”
So in terms of divinity, they were not referring to some old man in the clouds with a beard, but as a presence, as a consciousness, as omniscience, pure happiness, a way of being. And really, in our fundamental heart, we have God within, the Being, the presence of divinity within us, as a light. We as a consciousness emanated from that source.
But due to our mistakes, our consciousness entered into states of conditioning, as I mentioned, creating egotism. So, by certain exercises of meditation that we perform and practice, we learn to awaken consciousness, awaken light, so that divinity in us can say: “Let there be light. Let there be consciousness, understanding of the causes of suffering in oneself.” So that by irradiating that light within oneself, one can change. One can eliminate that problem, that pain. As Samael Aun Weor, the founder of the modern Gnostic tradition wrote in The Great Rebellion:
“Consciousness is the light which the unconscious does not perceive. A blind person does not perceive physical solar light either, but it does exist by itself. We need to open ourselves so that the light of consciousness can penetrate the terrible darkness of the me, myself, the ‘I.’” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
Meaning our egotism, our desires, our passions, our negativity―that sense of me, myself, “what I want, what I crave.” It is ego, because in Latin the word ego means “I.” Sadly, we have invested our energy into that sense of identity, which is negative, and we have forgotten what the light of pure divinity is.
We tend to live in an unconscious state. This is what Buddhism teaches, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Sufism. Darkness being on the face of the deep is our unconscious state of being, which is remediated by receiving the light of divinity, precisely through the work of meditation, of Genesis as practiced and symbolized in the scripture.
“Now we can better understand the meaning of John’s words when he said in the Gospel: ‘And the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not’” (John 1:5).” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
Light is perception, knowing, understanding, serenity. States of suffering and egotism is the darkness of the myself, the ego.
Atma Bodha: The Path of Self-Knowledge
The scripture known as Atma Bodha meaning “self-knowledge,” from Atman Bodhi, or “self-wisdom, self-knowledge” written by Shankaracharya, gives some beautiful verses about this science of light, of understanding oneself. And it explains how, it is only by learning to look within oneself, through direct active observing, that one can change. Because, to know that you are seated on this chair is one thing, but to observe where we are at, be aware of what we are doing―driving a car, fulfilling our obligations―that is a very different psychological quality. It is very distinct.
Knowledge is of the intellect, the mind, thought. Comprehension or understanding is of the heart, the consciousness, the soul. It explains that consciousness can only be developed through active seeing. He composed this scripture for people who are very disciplined about their practice. So, this scripture was originally for people who are meditating for hours daily. That is a means of breaking the conditions of the mind, for people who are very dedicated. But even if we are new to meditation, these words are very valuable:
“I am composing the ATMA-BODHA, this treatise of the Knowledge of the Self, for those who have purified themselves by austerities.” ―Atma Bodha 1:1
Meaning practices of meditation, denying the self, what it wants, denying the ego, denying anger by not speaking words of harm, denying fear by being in remembrance of divinity; likewise, denying lust, desire, by abstention of certain habits and behaviors, which are harmful. So, this is for those who are purifying themselves by austerities.
“…and are peaceful in heart and calm…” ―Atma Bodha 1:1
Many people who sit to meditate, who can remain focused throughout an entire practice, cannot be distracted, who have serenity and concentration. The ability to focus on one thing without distraction is true serenity.
“…who are free from cravings [egotistical desires] and are desirous of liberation.” ―Atma Bodha 1:1
Meaning: the complete emancipation of the consciousness from conditions.
“Just as the fire is the direct cause for cooking, so knowledge, and not any other form of discipline, is the direct cause of liberation; for liberation cannot be attained without knowledge.” ―Atma Bodha 1:2
So, what is this knowledge? It has nothing to do with books, with reading from a scripture, or simply limiting oneself to lecture. Instead, this is direct knowledge, knowing oneself, conscious wisdom, which the Greeks have called Gnosis, the Sufis called Marif’ah in Arabic, the Kabbalists of Israel have called Da’ath.
“Action cannot destroy ignorance…” ―Atma Bodha 1:3
This word ignorance, people in the West tend to think it has to do with people who do not read, who are not educated. But if you look at the etymology of this word, you find the word Gnosis in Greek, knowledge. The prefix i means “without.” So, “to be without knowledge, to be ignorant,” is precisely the state of our being, here and now―to suffer in life without understanding the psychological causes of that pain―without understanding how anger in ourselves, these elements, these conditions trap us. That is what it means to be ignorant, to not have light, to be asleep as a consciousness―to constantly react to life, day by day, repetitively, mechanically, going along in the same track of behavior until the day we die. That is a very profound form of ignorance, because nothing is changed, fundamentally. The way that we can fundamentally learn to live life with a sense of spirituality, of remembrance of God, is precisely by learning to observe ourselves. Because we commit many actions, which are negative, which are egotistical. As the scripture states:
“Action cannot destroy ignorance,for it is not in conflict with or opposed to ignorance.” ―Atma Bodha 1:3
Because our egos, our sense of “I, myself,” our defects, these act in ways that are detrimental, harmful. So, action, cause and effect does not necessarily guarantee one will behave, or work in a conscious way, responding to life and others with purity, with rectitude, and with compassion.
“Knowledge [self-knowledge, self-observation of oneself] destroys ignorance as light destroys deep darkness.” –Atma Bodha 1:3
So, again this knowledge is, when in a moment of interaction with our friends or family, we are observant. Someone says something very negative and, in that moment, we observe the fires of anger emerging, resentment, etc. But if we learn to observe that element, how that conditions us in that instant, we learn to free ourselves from that condition, and therefore experience liberation, peace. That is self-knowledge.
Every religion in the beginning of any meditative practice emphasize the need for ethics, learning to act in ways that are going to be beneficial for others, so that we do not harm ourselves, harm others. These are the religious stipulations of different traditions. Do not kill. Do not steal. Do not lie. Do not commit adultery. Do not fornicate. Do not be negative. Do not be harmful to others. Because the ways that we act psychologically attract energy, and if we act on negativity, we waste energy.
So, energy is very important for awakening consciousness. Obviously, we need energy to be physically awake, day by day. But we rarely tend to see how egotism and negative psychological qualities, waste energy. If we act upon anger, we find that we are depleted or wasted. So, with what can we awaken consciousness?
Every religion teaches: “Restrain the mind. Do not act on negativity, because you waste energy that way.” You need energy to awaken consciousness. Because light cannot exist without fire. So, that fire represents the energies of the body, the heart, the mind, which we need to conserve. So that with that energy, that fire we can generate consciousness.
Christ: The Light of Perception
So, we see here the seven candles being lit by a woman of the Jewish faith. The Sabbath is a very beautiful tradition. In that practice, the woman lights the altar with her family. If you are familiar with Judaism, the woman of the household, takes her hands, and passes over the candleflame, and over the eyes, then head. It is a symbol of how we must purify our perception.
We do that by observing ourselves, becoming aware of ourselves, and also refraining from negative thought, negative feeling, negative action. When our spiritual eyes are awakened and opened, we learn to live life with greater joy and contentment.
That light of consciousness has been given different names in different religions. In the Christian faith, the light of divinity is known as Khristos, which in Greek means “fire,” from the Greek god of fire. It also means “anointed one,” the Christ, which has many beautiful traditions and meanings behind it, but, as we know, we do not have the time to explain today. But that light of divinity is not limited to one person, but is manifested in different prophets and teachers―whether Buddha, Jesus, Krishna, Moses, Mohammed―many religious teachers, missionaries, prophets.
Jesus gave a very beautiful teaching about the light of consciousness, about the path of purifying and breaking the shells of egotism, fear, etc. He explains in the Book of Matthew, chapter 6, verses 22-23, something very profound, which if you look at the original Greek, has many more meanings than what is commonly translated in English. You may be familiar if you have grown up in a Christian household, the following teaching:
“The eye is the illumination of the soma (literally: body, but could indicate soul or self).” ―Matthew 6:22
If you look at the Greek, you find there are more meanings than just a reference to physical sight, and the physical body. That is not the meaning of what he is teaching. He is teaching that the eyes, the illumination of the self, because soma can mean solar consciousness. How we perceive determines our life. How do we see? How do we act, interact with every human being, of which we come into contact.
“If thine eye be singular (aplous: clear, simple, uncomplicated, pure), thy whole self (sōma) will be full of light.” ―Matthew 6:22
We can observe ourselves in meditation and reflect on our daily states. We find that we tend to be very complicated. We are not simple. To be simple does not mean to be stupid. It just means to be pure, a consciousness and mind that is integrated. It is not caught in distractions, daydreams, memories, fears. Instead, it refers to having an attention and a consciousness that is so focused and directed to one thing, that it learns to receive information about that thing.
There are many meditative practices such as meditating on God, the Being, the divine, so that when the mind is in silence, it is pure. When the mind is not complicated, fragmented in many elements, that consciousness can experience the divine, the truth. So, to be clear and simple, uncomplicated, pure refers to psychological states that are holy, divine, referring to being awareness, contentment, presence, awareness.
“Yet if thine eye be impure (ponēros), thy whole self (sōma) shall be full of darkness. Therefore, if the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” ―Matthew 6:23
Many Christians interpret it simply referred to having one eye that is singular and that one can see. Well, they have many more interpretations too. But in terms of consciosuness, it refers to our level of being, our way of being.
“Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness. If thy whole body [or self, soma] therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light.” ―Luke 11:35-36
The Light of Presence: Being Here and Now
That light is attention, awareness, connection with the Being, with divinity. This dynamic is represented by the following graphic. So, to have light, to be aware, to be awake is to be constantly in the present moment; to not be distracted; to be here and now; to be in the body as a consciousness; to not be driving a car thinking about our fiancé, or spouse, or friends; to not be washing the dishes and be thinking about other things, but to be doing what we are doing, being aware; not thinking about other things; not planning other things; not being consumed by anguish, by what someone really said to us in the day, at work.
Light is precisely that active, directed attention, being in oneself, and not thinking about other things―when we are focused on one thing. So, I know in this day and age, we like to think of ourselves as multitaskers, but the problem is that we tend to be distracted. This type of behavior is one that justifies the fragmentation of the consciousness. Because you are thinking about other things and not paying attention to what you are doing, it means we are not awake. It means that we, as a consciousness, are asleep, that we are in darkness.
We see in this graphic a representation of this dynamic. We have two lines that intersect: one horizontal, one vertical. The horizontal line is the line of life, represented by our birth, our childhood, our adolescence, our college years or young adult years, maturity, old age, death. This is the line of mechanicity―simply going through life, hoping things will be better will change, fundamentally―that we will receive some kind of joy by getting a new job, a spouse, the new car, the new home, and many of the things that are idolized by our material culture, especially in North America.
But this is another line, that is much more meaningful, and which concerns any practitioner of meditation. It is the vertical path, known as the line of being.
These two lines intersect in this moment. The line of being which ascends towards the heights refers to states of consciousness, ways of perception, which are not conditioned, which are liberated from the negative elements we have been discussing, the conditions. But also, you find that this vertical line descends―and that refers to the states of egotism.
This path above in religion refers to heavens or Nirvana. So, when people talk about heaven or Nirvana, they usually think of some place in the clouds, as some type of afterlife that is above of oneself. But they fail to recognize that, really, heaven is a psychological way of being, a state of perception. Because the word Nirvana means “cessation,” to cease suffering.
If we want to experience what religion has called heaven as well, higher dimensions, awakened states of perception in the dream world, being out of the body through an astral projection, being awake in that state, we have to cease suffering―because the consciousness needs to vibrate at that level of nature, because everything obeys laws, cause and effect. If you want to experience the divine, you need to vibrate at that level of being, by removing the conditions of the consciousness. But, if we do not remove those conditions, then we identify with those problems or sufferings. We invest our energy into those problems, into those defects, and then we strengthen the conditions that trap us.
This is the vertical path. And this vertical path, and in this present moment, we have a choice to make, psychologically: to remember what we are doing; to be listening; to be attentive; to be paying attention; to be driving a car, not thinking about other things, being focused on what we are doing. That refers to the path of the vertical. Because if we are actively observing ourselves, being awake, being aware, we then learn to access higher ways of being, levels of being, the virtues of the soul. But again, we can choose to identify with our own negativity, our egotism: that “me, the myself,” the I, the ego.
Shakespeare, who is an esotericist, demonstrated in his soliloquy of Hamlet this dilemma that people face or that we face when we are initiating this type of work of meditation:
“To be, or not to be, that is the question― Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous Fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them?”
–Hamlet, Act III, scene I, ll. 57-61
So, to be or not to be? If you are familiar with this play, Hamlet is trying to decide what he is going to do to get revenge over the death of his father, the King Hamlet, who was killed by his brother Claudius. Hamlet’s father, the King Hamlet, was killed by his brother, or Hamlet’s uncle, Claudius.
To be conscious or not to be conscious―to be aware or not to be aware―that is the question. Whether we go through life identifying with every single difficulty we face, suffering mechanically, the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles―by learning to look within oneself and to understand the sources of our problems and by opposing them, by observing them in meditation, by learning to comprehend their roots―we end them.
This light of life, and light of Being, also refers to how we interact with the physical world, precisely because people gravitate towards other groups or religions, beliefs, philosophies, ideas based on their level of being. So, it is easy to see that. A prostitute will be with other prostitutes; a lawyer, with other lawyers; a student, with other students; a spiritual person, with other spiritual people. This is very commonly known as the law of attraction.
What we are psychologically attracts different circumstances in life. So, what we are psychologically determines the type of quality of life that we have. Whether it is materialistic or spiritual, or whatnot. So, Samael Aun Weor the founder of this tradition, he wrote in the book Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology:
“Nobody can deny the fact that there are different social levels. There are churchgoing people, people in brothels, farmers, businessmen, etc. In a like manner, there are different Levels of Being. Whatever we are internally, munificent or mean, generous or miserly, violent or peaceful, chaste or lustful, attracts the various circumstances of life.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology
Someone who changes within his interior, will learn to vibrate with higher levels of divinity, with Being. We likewise come into contact with those people or initiates, those beings who have done the same work before, or who are in the process of doing this meditative path that we teach in this school. So, the religions often talk about angels, archangels, gods, Elohim, buddhas. These are beings and people who were once like us, who were afflicted by many issues. And yet, by comprehending the root causes of their problems, learned to ascend the vertical path, which if you are familiar with the Bible, this is represented by Jacob’s ladder.
Jacob put himself to sleep by resting his head on a stone and had a vision of angels ascending and descending, referring to how different beings can either ascend towards higher heights of divinity or can descend into suffering. When we learn to change, as we learn to practice meditation, we can experience many things. If you are familiar with the science of dream yoga, known as the awakening of consciousness in dreams, you may have the experiences where physically, your body is asleep, but you, as a consciousness, are in the astral plane, the world of dreams. And there, in that dimension―instead of dreaming things mechanically and then returning to the physical body without any memories, or with some vague memories of dreams―we instead learn to perceive that dimension as it is.
Therefore, we can learn to perform works of magic, which is to invoke those divine beings, the buddhas, the angels, the masters, so that they can teach us, for you to vibrate at that level of being, that type of dimension. And personally if I am teaching this to you is because I do that. I have many experiences because of learning meditation, where I have been helped and I am being helped. So, this is why I seek to teach others how to the same. Because, by learning to ascend to a higher level of being, we learn to work and to be in communion with the angels, who are again perfect beings, who were once like us, buddhas, masters, who overcame their own sufferings.
The Prodigal Son
So, the story in the Bible of the prodigal son teaches something very profound as well. Because in this story, which is a parable, a symbolic tale, not a literal teaching, there is a young man who took his father’s wealth and left his kingdom, travelled far away and wasted his money on vain pleasures, prostitution, let us say drugs and many other distractions that people in present time are very addicted to. But there came a remorse in this man’s heart when he recognized that his actions were making him suffer, were giving him pain. He understood that in order to change he had to return to his father, back in his home country.
So, he returned, and his father came out along with his other two brothers who greeted him with a lot of joy. And the same, from Samael Aun Weor, about this tale: “There is more joy for someone who repents than a thousand just people who have no need for repentance.”
So, again, repentance means recognition of the causes of suffering. It does not mean some moral dogma that one says: “I’m a bad person,” and one flagellates oneself. This is a very morbid mentality that many people adopt. But remorse is simply recognizing, psychologically, how we are at fault, in circumstances that pertain to our daily life. And by learning to change them, to observe them, in action, to observe the mind, the emotions, the body, in every interaction of life, we generate light. We learn to create more happiness for others, which guarantees our success.
The prodigal son was a person which represents any one of us who experiences and recognizes the need to change and to make some type of effort to learn about oneself. That father in this parable refers to divinity, which is a Christian appellation, referring to “Our Father Who art in Heaven,” which is not some old man in the clouds, as I said, but, the Being, the divine, a presence, light. So, Samael Aun Weor states in Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology some questions that help to frame this discussion:
“What is our moral level? Or better said, what is our Level of Being? The repetition of all our miseries, scenes, misfortunes, and mishaps will last as long as the Level of our Being does not radically change. All things, all circumstances that occur outside ourselves on the stage of this world, are exclusively the reflection of what we carry within.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology some
When we see violence in television, we see exploitation. We see degeneration. If we are observing ourselves and learning to see ourselves with consciousness, we will find with great discomfort that we contain these elements, that we are ignorant of, that we are not aware of. I believe that Mother Teresa was asked: “Why are you so compassionate? Why do you work so much and suffer so much for other people and help them materially?” She said something like: “Because I’m looking myself and I realize I have a Hitler in me, therefore I want atone for that”―that negativity, that ego, our self, that sense of “I” that produces pain.
So, the exterior is simply a mirror to looking within ourselves. Daily interactions with others is the means, the method by which we learn to see ourselves, to discover ourselves, to see hidden defects, which we never assume that we have or could imagine having.
“With good reason then, we can solemnly declare that the “exterior is the reflection of the interior.” When someone changes internally―and if that change is radical―then circumstances, life, and the external also change.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology
This type of work is a revolution. That does not mean to fight against some political party outside oneself, but to go against that current of degeneration we carry within and to transform ourselves through perception, through awakening consciousness, by eliminating lust, pride, anger, gluttony, greed, and all those defects which we carry within.
That path of the revolution has been taught within Islam, which sadly, that tradition has terribly degenerated, become very negative. The word for striving, to strive against oneself, to go against that current of egotism in one’s psyche is known by the Arabic term mujahadah, which is where you get the word Jihad. Now, people who in these times talk about this, they think it refers to killing people physically if they do not follow one’s beliefs, one’s ideas.
But it is a symbolic teaching: how we act to strive against ourselves, to not act upon our defects, to not give our defects what they want, the energy of our consciousness.
This word mujahadah has been translated as Jihad, which literally means “to strive, to make effort,” to go against the flow. Now, people have translated this to mean “holy war,” but in truth, in the original Arabic, Jihad does not mean “holy war.” These are other words in Arabic for war such as haribun, khisam, sarie, eada, qatal, waghaa. Jihad is not one of them. Actually, that term (holy war) comes from the Christian appellation of the Crusades, which was translated later into Arabic.
But the important thing is you remember that when you are observing yourselves in the day and you are attentive, you are interacting with your boss at work, you may see certain elements emerge, like some type of resistance, negativity, doubt, anger, whatever element we have in our relationships with others, in life. We may be criticized by our boss and we feel fear emerge, negativity, pride: a whole conglomeration of faults and defects, which surge in a few instants, but for observing we can see them and their sources.
When you do not act upon that type of negativity, you are striving against yourself. You are performing a holy war, meaning the war for divinity, so that the presence and light of consciousness can emanate within you without those faults, without those conditions.
So, there is a saying from a book called Principles of Sufism, which is the mystical or esoteric interpretation of Islam―just as the Gnostics interpret the Bible and the Christian Doctrine in a symbolic way. This from the Hadith, which is an oral tradition talking about life of the Prophet Muhammed, who again is a figure who is grossly misunderstood today. We will be giving courses about this topic in the future. But in synthesis, we find some teachings that we are given, that relate to our topic today.
Abu-l Husayn Ali bin Ahmad bin Abdan reported... that Abu Said al-Khudri said that a man went to the Prophet and said, "O Prophet of God, advise me." He said, "'Be wary of God [the Being] for in it is gathered all good.' (3:102). Take upon yourself war for God's sake, for it is the monasticism of the Muslim.” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
Meaning: someone that submits to divinity, which is an appellation. Really refers to people who are meditating or seeking to comprehend and develop light. Now, whether one calls oneself Muslim because they follow certain exoteric traditions, as well, is one thing, but to submit to divinity is profound. We do it through our actions.
“Take upon yourself the remembrance of God, for it is a light for you.” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
To be wary of God means to be aware, to be awake, to pay attention, moment by moment, because how we use our energy determines our life. If you give in to fear, and anger, and all of these defects, you are investing your own demonic qualities, negative qualities.
When religions talk about demons, devils, and source of negative beings, they all refer to all the negative elements we carry within. So, the word in Hebrew is שטן Shaitan, which is why we are saying. Shaitan means “adversary,” because in a moment of anger, we do not remember God. We speak harm. We think harm. That anger concentrates all our attention on what it wants. We feed that element. So, that type of emotion is really crazy, because it cannot produce any good. That type of emotion only wants to harm, create suffering for others. If we are observing, we find that in that element we are suffering very intensely. We are vibrating at a low level of being.
As stated by Prophet Muhammed: “The greatest among you is he who controls his anger.”
One thing I like to relate to when talking about this very controversial topic of holy war is a saying that was given after he was defending himself in a battle. He was fighting physically. Many people were trying to kill him and, in different religions, call them black magicians, sorcerers, devils, demons: people who were very intentionally seeking to develop and strengthen the conditioning of the psyche, who have certain abilities and powers through the ego, trough the self or “I.” So, there were many people who were trying to physically kill him. So, he was instructed: “Defend yourself, physically.” That is one meaning of Jihad, to strive against others, as a defense, to protect oneself.
Now, his Companions were speaking with him after one of these battles, I think it was Badr. And the Prophet told them: “Can you tell me what are the two forms of war?” And they said: “No. Please, instruct us.” One of them, he said, is war against others, to defend yourself, meaning from demons, black magicians, sorcerers, people trying to harm you. But there is a greater holy war, a greater striving. And they asked him, “Well, what is that?” And he said: ”War against your desires, against yourself.”
So, take upon yourself the remembrance of God, be awake, be here moment by moment. Pay attention, for that is a light for you, which bring us into the discussion of what remembrance is, awareness is.
Many people follow certain doctrines of religion, a belief system in which they pray, such as in Islam, five times a day or in Judaism they perform the Sabbath. Christians go to church. These are very mechanical ways of being, interpretations and beliefs that, by attending a group, by doing a certain mantra, by doing this or that, following certain strictures or code of conduct, one is going to be in worship. But really, as the Sufis teach, “The best act of worship is watchfulness of the moments,” the remembrance of divinity, to develop light.
As I mentioned to you, if you are at work or in a job and you face some criticism from one’s boss, we develop light and we are worshipping divinity when we are aware of ourselves or present, and that, we do not give in to those negative qualities, which are going to create problems economically or socially, or whatnot.
“The best act of worship is watchfulness of the moments [to be aware, to have light, to be observing oneself. And to learn to act in operate ways]. That is, that the servant not look beyond his limit, not contemplate anything than his Lord [the Being, the presence of God], and not associate with anything other than this present moment.” ―Al-Wasiti, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
What does it mean to not look beyond one’s limit? It refers to very elevated levels of being, states of consciousness, in which your inner divinity enters in you and gives you certain consciousness and experiences, blessings, bliss, which do not come from you, but come from your being: the light, the divine, which is very well described in the schools of Sufism.
Unless one learns to receive the presence of divinity in oneself, and to not transgress its limit, and to do what one is ordered to do, by your own Being, your own inner divinity―so, one must contemplate nothing but one’s Lord―meaning: “Don’t think about other things when you’re doing something.” Do not get distracted. And do not associate with anything than the present moment.
As I mentioned to you, we tend to be distracted by many things. We associate with things other than divinity, such as the negative egos or qualities we have been discussing, defects. Islam, a tradition that has been greatly abused and misunderstood, practices tawhid: known as the doctrine of unity. If your familiar with that tradition, they say: “There is no god but God.” There is only one God. God is one. That light is one.
If we look in ourselves, we have many elements which are disparate, fractured, egotistical―all those elements we discussed: ego, fear, pride, gluttony. Those all are separate defects which have their own autonomy, which clashes and fight against one another. If we are observing ourselves, we can see this.
The doctrine of unity is the doctrine of taking the consciousness that is trapped in all these elements and uniting it with the Being, with the divine. That is the meaning of religion. Because the Latin religare means “to re-unite.” The same as the Sanskrit yoga, from the Sanskrit yuj [pronunced “yug”], “to unite.”
If we identify ourselves with our defects, we are practicing what is known as shirk, idolatry. Because when we give in to these elements, we are not remembering God. We are not remembering the divine. We are not remembering the Being.
So that is a form of idol worship. People think that idol worship has to do with worshipping a statue, which is why people in the Middle East make a big deal of others worshipping statues and they fought with them. That is not the meaning. The meaning is that anger, hatred, wrath, these are elements that are idols in the mind―stones, conditions which have trapped our consciousness and which we need to eliminate―to break those shells so that the light can perform unity, can unite, the consciousness can return to God. We give in to our defects when we are distracted, which tends to be our psychological state of day.
We associate with things other than God refers to the consequences of idolatry, to worship things not related with divinity, to be identified with those things, to be distracted. This path of meditation teaches one to unite all the parts of the soul, so that there is unity.
A very old scripture known as the Laws of Manu explains that by renouncing desire, one learns to achieve liberation, freedom of the soul. But by giving into desire, again this law of cause and effect, in action, we strengthen the cage as I have been explaining.
“Through the attachment of his organs (to sensual pleasure) [such as the acts of lust] a man doubtlessly will incur guilt; but if he keep them under complete control, he will obtain success (in gaining all his aims).” ―Laws of Manu 2:93
So, this is a very deep topic relating to how we use energy, especially the creative energy, which is known as the sexual energy itself, which certain traditions teach how to conserve that light, that energy, which is a form of fire, and to transform it. Through meditative discipline, one uses that energy to awaken consciousness. But by losing energy one depletes oneself of the very fire that can awaken the soul and develop it fully. The scripture also teaches:
“Desire is never extinguished by the enjoyment of desired objects; it only grows stronger like a fire (fed) with clarified butter.” ―Laws of Manu 2:94
In this culture we like to think that by expressing our anger, we somehow reach some type of nullification of desire, by giving into our desires, giving ourselves what we want, what we feel that we deserve, that we will find peace. But it is that active craving which is precisely the source of original suffering. So, by feeding those desires, those defects, one feeds and conditions oneself further―feeds the fires of passion, which makes one suffer.
Light and the Tree of Life
We have been talking about the nature of consciousness and how one must be mindful moment by moment, day by day. I also mentioned that one must learn to conserve energy. We have also talked about understanding different levels of energy, which are graded in different dimensions and aspects of consciousness, represented by a Jewish glyph known as the Tree of Life.
This image is a map of consciousness. It also refers to different levels of perception and different dimensions, which basically refers to who we are, here and now. So, this Tree of Life is a symbol in the book of Genesis of the complete human being.
These are different levels of matter, energy and consciousness. By learning to understand the different forms of energy in ourselves, we can learn to awaken consciousness. To learn to comprehend these energies in us, we can then use these energies in us for our spiritual development.
“It is not possible to increase consciousness by exclusively physical or mechanical procedures. Undoubtedly, the consciousness can only awaken through conscious work and voluntary suffering.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
So, this word, voluntary suffering creates a lot of tension in many people. But it refers to a type of effort in oneself, as I have been explaining, in which we willingly learn to take responsibility for actions, our mind stream, our conditioning. To work consciously refers to observing oneself, learning to become aware of what traps us, what makes us limited, what harms us, psychologically. Voluntary suffering means to make that effort, to go against oneself.
Obviously the term voluntary suffering is in oneself, when one realizes the causes of suffering in the psyche. Because it is a very painful experience to understand that we are responsible for our state of being, our way of being, our life. So, one voluntarily suffers by going against the desires of the self, by learning to awaken the consciousness free of conditions, to develop that light. That light is develop by working with energy, by empowering the consciousness through exercises, working with energy.
“Within us there are various types of energy which we must understand.
“First, mechanical energy…”
…relating to this bottom sphere of the Tree of Life, which in Hebrew refers to the word Malkuth, which means “Kingdom.” This is our physical body.
“Second, vital energy;”
So, our physical body has energy relating to the mechanics of our chemistry, our physiology, metabolism, catabolism, which intimately relates to vital energy, which in Hebrew is known as Yesod, meaning “Foundation.” Our work is the foundation of Yesod, working with that energy, the creative energies of God.
“Third, the energy of the psyche;”
In the third sephirah or sphere of this Tree of Life, we find the energy of the psyche known in Hebrew as Hod.
“Fourth, mental energy;”
We also have mental energy relating to the mind.
“Fifth, energy of the will;
“Sixth, energy of the consciousness…”
…which deeply concerns us. And:
“Seventh, the energy of the pure spirit…” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
…which is the Being, the inner God within us.
It is important to analyze ourselves and to understand how these different forms of energy work. When we wake up in the morning, we have a certain limit or certain amount of mechanical energy, the ability to function in this body before needing to rest again. And so, finally we reach the end of our life and the body goes to the grave.
We also have vital energy which is essential. This vital energy animates the physical body. It gives it life. It is the creative energy, especially the sexual energy, which invigorates and is the source of our life, of our genesis. And so, this vital energy, as I explained, animates the body and when we physically go to sleep, this vital energy helps to regenerate the physical body when we rest, so that when we wake up in the morning, we are repleted so that we can function throughout the day.
The term astral projection refers to when the consciousness or the psyche leaves the physical body behind and the vital energies in order to enter the world of dreams, known as the world of Hod in Kabbalah, this Tree of life. We enter the dream world as a consciousness, as the physical body needs to rest and get recharged by the vital body, the vital energies.
Again, these bodies refer to different levels of matter and different dimensions, which exist here and now. They are within us, present.
As I said, this fourth sphere is the mind, the mental energy. And, it is easy to see all of this in ourselves, here and now, how all of these factors integrate our present. We have a physical body, which we are in now that we are aware of. We may be sensitive to certain amount of vital energy, being able to pay attention or to be awake, to be able to do certain physical activities. We also may be aware of our emotions, the energies of the psyche on this glyph. And likewise, we have thoughts, ideas, memories, conceptions, beliefs, concepts. That is the mind, mental energy.
In the mediation we practice, we are becoming aware of these elements. So, that is the lower aspect of ourselves, of who we fundamentally are, these four lower spheres.
Below that, you have what is known as the hell realms, which is the ego, the “I,” and the “myself,” the conditioning of the soul. Above that we have the higher levels of being. So, we are in Malkuth, with the possibility of ascending the vertical path, which is this Tree of Life, this diagram, which is not something vertical in space, but refers to qualities of being, as I have been explaining.
If we are observing ourselves and we really reflect on the nature of our mind, we may find that we discover something more subtle, which is known as the willpower. We know that certain people have a certain will, the ability to direct themselves with a lot of effort, a lot of strength. That is willpower, energy of will, volition. But willpower depends on something else above.
So, these spheres penetrate one another. They relate to one another and integrate in beings that are fully developed, spiritually, but in us these elements tend to be disorganized, distracted. We have this sphere of consciousness referring to the divine qualities of the soul and then the energies of the Spirit, which is our inner Being, our inner divinity.
These energies are important to see in oneself. We may sense our body. We have certain energies available vitally. Emotionally, we have certain moods. Mentally, we have certain thoughts. Beyond that is will, which is more subtle as I said, which has to do with the ability to pay attention, to direct oneself, to concentrate. If you want to see a litmus test of how much willpower you have when you sit for mediation, see how long you stay focused, not forgetting what you are doing.
When meditating on a scripture or a lecture, or an image, focusing on the breath, becoming aware of the breath, known as anapana in Sanskrit, you find that if you get distracted easily and cannot focus your attention on the purpose of the practice, it means that the willpower is not strong enough, needs to be developed.
Willpower is concentration: the ability to focus on one thing without distraction, and beyond that is consciousness, which is the ability to understand, to comprehend what one is meditating on, through insight, which emerges in the psyche like a spark, a flash, an intuition, an understanding. That understanding emanates from the Spirit, which is our inner divinity, our Being, which most people have no cognizance of, no experience with―but which we can interact face to face in the world of dreams, through the symbols of dreams.
Above that we have the Trinity, which is the Christian Father, Son, Holy Spirit, which is a trinity of forces, energies, states of consciousness which are very high, very developed. So, this does not refer to people. It refers to states of being.
Why study energy in relation to consciousness? Because we do need to work with these lower aspects of ourselves, to conserve those energies so that we can develop our consciousness, to have them in control. But strictly working with one form of energy or another does not develop the consciousness. We have to work with everything. That makes up who we are.
In different traditions, there are different practices that are given usually at the exclusion of developing the other types of consciousness. Some schools focus on the mind, developing book knowledge, study of the intellect through yoga or certain forms of yoga, not just physical calisthenics.
You also have monks who practice and work with the heart, who develop the emotions, who do a lot of prayer, usually at the exclusion of other aspects of the psyche like willpower, the mind, etc.
There are those who learn to work with willpower as well, who strive to control the physical body like fakirs. So, if you are familiar to fakirism, it refers to certain practitioners who learn to train the body so well―for instance, there is one man who raised his hand up and never put it down. He wanted to test his willpower, and lost all feeling in his arm and the nerves were dead. He wanted to show through his will that he could control his body, thinking that this is a path that is going to take him to divinity. But sadly that is very foolish, obviously. People who are educated know better.
So, exclusively developing the mind, the emotions or willpower cannot awaken the consciousness exclusively, the soul.
Samael Aun Weor states in The Great Rebellion:
“No matter how much we might increase our strictly mechanical energy, we will never awaken consciousness. No matter how much we might increase the vital forces within our own organism, we will never awaken consciousness.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
This refers to people specially in the West. They consume a lot coffee, try to have more energy, more vital force. Just having that vital force is not going to awaken the soul, develop the consciousness. Likewise, simply doing exercises of pranayama or energy work, mantras, sacred sounds, circulating energy―that by itself is not going to be enough, but there is more to it, to develop the light of consciousness.
“Many psychological processes take place within us without any intervention from the consciousness.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
Meaning, we have many emotions and moods, which fluctuate and change, and sustain and process themselves within us. But this does not mean that one is awake, one is conscious.
This is very easy to see if you really examine and observe yourself. In one moment of the day, you may have a certain mood, but in the next day you have a different one. So, these are fluctuations. There is no permanence there. But being conscious means to understand these elements, fully.
“However great the disciplines of the mind might be, mental energy can never achieve the awakening of the diverse functions of the consciousness.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
There are many people who think that by developing the intellect, they are developing self-knowledge, conscious knowledge. And people who develop the intellect too much, obviously get sick mentally, because they waste energy in the intellect. People who deplete mental energy become sick, mentally. They develop illnesses like schizophrenia, mental diseases.
Likewise, people who abuse the emotional energy like actors and actresses. They develop illnesses relating to the heart, depression, things like that.
There are people who abuse the energies of the vital force, Yesod and Malkuth, the physical body, like sport players and boxers. Usually, they deplete their energy so much that physically they are debilitated. They cannot walk.
So, you get to see that using these energies are important to conserve them, not to waste them. Because we do need these energies in harmony, to be balanced. But this quote is explaining that simply working with one of these elements alone is not going to awaken the soul, the light of divinity.
“Even if our willpower is multiplied infinitely [like the case of the fakir who had his hand raised for ten years, fifteen years, never put it down], it can never bring about the awakening of the consciousness.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
Because having a lot of will is good, is admirable, but willpower needs to be directed. Because if you see in this graphic, our willpower, our concentration is one aspect of ourselves. It is at the very center of the Tree of Life, this graphic. It does emphasize the importance or the need of concentration. Because in meditation, if we are distracted for however long we sit to perform an exercise, it means our willpower is scattered. We need to unify our will, concentrate it, focus on one thing without thinking about it, without feeling anticipation, worry or anxiety over it. We should not be identified with the energies of the physicality, as well as the vital energies.
“All these types of energy are graded into different levels and dimensions, which have nothing to do with the consciousness.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
So, why talk about energy in relation to the light and perception? Because you do need energy to awaken, but in balance. As I said, simply developing the mind, the will, the heart is like going to the gym and only working on your right bicep, doing exercises. So, that your body becomes huge and the right side of your body becomes huge, but everything else is weak. This is how certain people develop themselves in the world, in relation to different traditions.
“Consciousness can only be awakened through conscious work and upright efforts.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
The consciousness is this sphere of Tree of Life known as Geburah, “Justice.” It is interesting that the word for Justice in Hebrew is related to this sphere of consciousness. Because how you act with awareness is how you obey the law of divinity, how you fulfill justice, meaning: to act with comprehension, with awareness of oneself―to respect the will of other beings; to be compassionate; to not give into one’s egotism so that one does not affect other human beings. That is a righteous person, a Tzadik in Hebrew, a just person: someone who knows how to act consciously for the benefit of others.
But of course, that involves directing the willpower towards any action, using the mind, the emotions, the vital forces of the physical body. Notice that this verticality represents gradations of energy, from more dense to more rarified, more subtle. What this represents is that the forces from above, from the divine, descend in a metaphorical sense, become more concrete in us. Obviously being in Malkuth, this physical body, which we tend to be very identified with very material things, but if we work with meditation, we begin to sense these different forces in us and how they work.
So, consciousness is above will. Consciousness, as I said, is the ability to understand, to comprehend anything that we meditate on, anything that we focus on. But of course, consciousness has to direct will. We have to be aware as a consciousness and whatever willpower you have to develop in concentration, you direct to anything that you want to understand.
These two factors are very important in meditation: consciousness and willpower. Or the ability to perceive and the ability to focus oneself. So, the consciousness only awakens through learning to direct attention. And by learning to direct attention, you learn to understand how these energies work. But if you just focus on energy, like many schools in these times discuss, it becomes very limited.
The Energy of the Divine Mother
We need to understand energy in our context. The most profound type of energy of divinity that we work with is known in Hinduism as the Divine Mother. So, different traditions teach that we have a divine masculine and a divine feminine aspect of consciousness, which exist within the profundities of our heart. Divinity is an energy, is a force which is not limited to any particular time, place or culture. But this is a universal force. And we work with the Divine Mother to work with that energy so that force can break the shells of the ego, of the “me,” of the “myself,” the “I.”
In meditation, we work very diligently with Her, with the divine feminine. Because without Her we cannot change. She is the origin of light, the origin of consciousness. She is the very power of the soul that can liberate us from suffering. She is known as Durga in Hinduism, Virgin Mary among the Christians. She is Athena, the warrior goddess who helps us to wage Jihad, striving against our defects. We work with it every day, and when we are in remembrance of God, we are remembering Her, Her presence, Her light, Her force.
In this myth that we have quoted here, we see that She is the most intense, primordial, pure and divine energy which manifests from the Divine Father, Brahma. So, She is energy that is above consciousness and spirit. She is Binah, the Holy Spirit, the feminine aspect of the Holy Ghost, which again is a term for the powers of the Divine Mother, the creative energies.
I would like to relate to you, in conclusion of this lecture, this beautiful myth that discusses what Durga is and why we must work with Her. She is the energy of the consciousness in its heights, in its most profound sense. She is the power of universal compassion of all the gods, of all the buddhas, the angels, the masters. She is universal and She is the intensity of the wrath of divinity that fights against the ego, which in this myth She was created in order to defend and fight against a demon who has the shape of a bull, an ox. So, this is a beautiful myth talking about the wars that the soul goes through, psychologically in relation to this work of the ego and our defects.
So, I will like to read this for you in its totality. I will precurse this by saying that what happened in this myth is that this demon was taking power from the gods, was stealing the power of the gods. And what happens is that the gods are powerless to defend themselves against this demon, which is gigantic, a reference to the ego, our defects, which have usurped the rightful place of the divine in us.
When Viṣṇu, the husband of Lakṣmī, and the great lord Ṡiva heard the speech of Brahmā [who basically told them and directed them to create Durga], their angry faces became so monstrous that one could not look upon them. From Viṣṇu’s mouth [referring to Christ, Chokmah in Kabbalah], that blazed with extreme anger, his great energy came forth, and similarly from Śambhuand from the Creator, and from the bodies of Indra and all the other gods the cruel energies came forth and they all became one. The great mass of their united energies seemed to all the multitudes of gods like a blazing mountain that pervaded all the regions of the sky with flames. Then from the combination of these energies a certain woman appeared: her head appeared from the energy of Ṡiva, her two arms from the energy of Viṣṇu, her two feet from the energy of Brahmā, and her waist from the energy of Indra; her hair was made from Yama’s energy [the lord of death], her two breasts from the moon’s energy [referring to Yesod, the creative force] her thighs from the energy of Varuṇa, her hips from the earth’s energy [Malkuth], her toes from the sun’s energy [referring to the Trinity on the top of the Tree of Life]; her fingers were formed by the energy of the Vasus, her nose of Kubera’s energy, her rows of teeth from the energy of the nine Prajāpatis [referring to the ninth sephirah of the Tree of Life above]; her two eyes arose from the energy of the Oblation-bearer; the two twilights became her two brows , and her ears were made from the energy of the wind; and from the incredibly fierce energies of the other gods other limbs were made for the woman who was the supremely radiant Durgā, more dangerous than all the gods and demons.” ―Hindu Myths
So, the Qur’an teaches that one should fear divinity more than any demon, any black magician, because that energy is very profound. It is the power of life and the power to kill, to annihilate desire, the ego. So, to develop light we must work upon our defects.
Questions and Answers
Do you have any questions?
Question: In your own opinion, when dealing with our defects, I will just give an example of a behavior. Would you say that we don’t have to be around negative people, should we just not be around them? Or should it be something where we should test ourselves? You know you hear that often, well, it is like, you should be able to deal with anyone. I feel that peace and in control of my anger. Yet as I started to do this war, then I wanted to be around other people less because I just see, I guess I saw in myself, I still see in me negative things. I don’t need to be around them more, I can be around you guys instead.
Instructor: The thing is with that is your level of being attracts your life. So, when we learn to transmute the energies of sex, to be chaste, and to circulate the energies and work on the defects, you become more attracted to higher levels of being, which attracts different people―which is good. On the other hand, it may be an obligation for us, depends, to teach those who are in a lower level of being how to go higher, which, that’s a personal choice, and really the divine chooses if that initiate will do that.
But you teach others how to be better by example. But in other cases, there are people who are very negative, who are very destructive. And if you are around them, they infect you. You don’t have to choose that influence. It’s good to choose influences, bringing people who, or be with people who are going to raise your level of being, who appear to be more spiritual. But you may have the obligation to be with certain people who are going to be what they are going to be, and yet you must do it. That is known as karma.
We do have many choices too, whom we associate with, because, as Samael Aun Weor stated: “Negative emotions are more infectious than any disease, any microbe...” If you are with people who are very negative, that are going to infect you―why choose that? If you have a choice, do not choose it. But if you have to be with certain people because of work or whatever, then you have to transform the situation. But to avoid certain people doesn’t mean that we don’t love them, that we don’t have compassion for them. It means that, because they’re negative, we want to help them. And helping them can mean not associating.
So, I think Nietzsche wrote in his book Thus Spoke Zarathustra: “To some people you may not give your hand, only a paw, and I desire that your paw also have claws.” So, you got to learn how to negotiate with certain people, you know, how to work with them in a way that’s going to be beneficial. So, if you don’t want to infect your level of being, being with certain people who maybe drink, smoke, fornicate or whatever, you don’t have to be with them. You can avoid them. Personally, I don’t go and associate with people like that. I mean, I have certain coworkers that have tried to invite me to drink, but I don’t. You know, I avoid that. I know that type of influence is going to condition myself more.
Question: What about the concept of desiring not to desire?
Instructor: That’s a very subtle thing too. You know, because when we’re studying this type of knowledge, we develop many egos, senses of self, Gnostic egos that want to do the work. Certain beliefs and ideas, or certain senses of self and desire that covet not being covetous―that is a line that Samael Aun Weor gave.
You have to observe that and constantly analyze: “What’s going on in me, psychologically? What do I need to change? And how will I be sincere?” That is what develops light―if you look inside and do not assume one way or the other that you are in a certain way, but you look at it. That is why Samael Aun Weor dedicated a whole book, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology, simply to self-observation. It is a very simple book, but deep, because the act of looking is the act of meditation: seeing oneself without analyzing with the intellect, without thinking―not using the energies of the mind, or the heart, or the body, but just perceiving.
That is how we become just people, learning to obey the divine law, the law of karma in a superior sense. But if you feel that you are going to waste certain energy being with certain people, you do not have to make that choice. In fact, many traditions, whether Christian, Sufi, Muslim, Jewish, would follow the monastic lifestyle, going to a mosque or to a certain place of refuge, in Buddhism, etc., to avoid other people like that. That is the basic meaning of it, to live a monastic life, to avoid a worldly life of materialism.
Comment: Being in this world, but not of it…
Instructor: That is another thing, because those people, monks would practice in secrecy, in silence, usually go on a retreat for years, without speaking, and meditating on themselves. But, it is good to do that.
Comment: St. Thomas Aquinas talked about that, how becoming silent would aid him.
Instructor: The basic training, the purpose of that was so that one could avoid negative influences and focus solely on the spiritual work. But another thing is many people want to leave the world and go to a retreat to avoid the negativities of others.
In a more profound level, there is a Sufi master by the name of Ibn ‘Arabi, who said, “The reason why I go on retreat is not to avoid negative people, but to help prevent myself from being negative towards other people.” Very different mindset―more focused on the internal work. And then, you finish retreat. You go home, and you are more energized.
So, in the retreats we do in this organization, we work with many exercises of energy to charge our batteries, so to speak. We also meditate and learn to direct that energy consciously in meditation. And so, many come home and learn to continue our work physically, so that we have more focus and we are more energized.
The purpose of this lecture was to talk about self-observation and working with energy especially. Because if we have no energy, you waste it through thinking, feeling, impulses, and acting in wrong ways, you cannot develop light, consciousness in a full sense.
Question: Is it not true that this is also consistent with contemporary neuroscience? In other words, if images are taken of the brain, people with spiritual development will catch fire in certain parts of their brain as opposed to other persons who are “not there”?
Instructor: So, that is a good question because the thing is in this work of creative energy, working with the foundation of the Kabbalah, Yesod, your brain changes, physically. Your brain chemistry changes. Because you’re using the very energy of life, that can create a child, to rejuvenate the mind, the brain. Physically your brain, as Samael Aun Weor said, becomes seminized, and your semen becomes cerebrized.
We’ve talked many times about the relationship between sex and the brain. People who deplete their sexual energy have no force to rejuvenate the mind. They cannot concentrate. They cannot sit still in meditation. They are constantly distracted because they’re indulging in craving.
Now, figures like Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, Lizst, many composers and artists who were initiates were able to create the works that they did because their physical brain was highly active. As a scientist said, we use a small fraction of our brain now. If you do this work, you learn to use your whole brain, physically. You are charging your physical matter with the energies of Yesod. And that helps to channel the light of consciousness more directly, so that you have more power.
People who abuse the sexual energy, like I said, their brains become depleted. They physically get sick. They develop illnesses like schizophrenia, like I said. Likewise, the heart. If there is no energy in the heart, one gets sick emotionally. If one is physically abusing the energies related to instinct, willpower, you get sick in your physical body, many conditions. When you are working in this path, you’re finding balance in all of our energy, so that your light is more profound, with more equanimity. And that helps through your meditation, right? Because again, no energy, no light, no force.
And so, concentration is more profound, more focused with application. So, I mentioned that quote from the Master Samael, who talks about different levels of energy. He is saying more exclusively that none of that really matters if you are not directing your attention day by day. Every day, you stay home, you meditate on the mind, you develop concentration and then you really meditate on the ego, on the “I,” the self.
Retrospect your day. Review it in your imagination: what you said, what you did, what you thought, what you felt, how you acted. Remember everything that you went through in the day and you observed. Then, focus on one scene in what you saw certain egos emerge, certain defects. Concentrate and ask your Divine Mother to help you understand those elements and work maybe five, ten minutes or however much you need on each defect. Or say, work on three or four or whatever you saw. And then ask for comprehension. Ask your Divine Mother: “Help me to understand these demons I created so that I can be free of them, so I can be purified of them.”
Question: So, are you bringing, imagining, that scenario up? Because when I meditate, I empty the mind. So, you’re bringing, imagining the scenario up from the beginning and then all of a sudden, just allow your higher self, or the Divine Mother, to come in? I am kind of confused. Are you supposed to focus on that? So, let’s say there was a scenario where I saw anger. Am I focusing on that scenario throughout the entire meditation? Or am I eventually just clearing my mind?
Instructor: Good question. So, the procedure is, in the beginning, clear your mind. This is known by the eight limbs of Ashtanga Yoga, meaning the eight steps of meditation, which if you go on the website you’ll see a course on Gnostic Meditation that we gave, which I’m going to sum up here.
So, the first two stages of meditation are Yama and Niyama. Yama means to “restrain, to yoke” the mind. In the beginning, act ethically. Do not feed anger. Do not feed lust. Do not feed your defects, because if you do, you waste your energy―the energy you can use to meditate and silence the mind. Niyama means “precepts,” referring to codes of conduct and virtues that you follow: compassion, kindness, mercy, which you enact in your daily life, in your own interactions with all human beings, other people.
After that, you can develop Asana, which is posture. Because if your mind is still and quiet and you are saving your energy, you are able to relax more profoundly. But if you give in to violence and hatred and anger, that agitates the mind so much that psychologically, and physically, you are tense. That is why every religion teaches: “Be moral, be ethical. Analyze your level of being: how you behave in certain circumstances with certain people. What are your secret motives? And when you understand and see that in yourself, refrain from acting in that way, behaving in that way.”
First physically. Restrain the tongue. Do not say those things. And then, the real battle begins, the real work begins when you are analyzing the internal tongue. The mind comments on everything that you are doing when you’re talking to your coworker or friend. For example: in my job I have some professional development meetings and they’re talking, teaching many valuable things, but I’m finding my mind, even though I meditate, my mind is talking, talking, talking… Making comments or saying, “I would have said that better.” Really stupid thoughts.
But real silence is not by physically closing your mouth and not speaking, but psychologically. What is the internal chatter that we go through? The commentary of that director in our head that is labeling everything that everyone in us is doing, nonstop. So, the way that you stop it is not by repressing it or by giving into it, but looking at it. That is the beginning of inner peace. Look at what your mind is doing. Just see it. Do not judge. And then you find that, like an old, managed classroom, the kids will start showing their true selves. They act up, but you look at them, as a kind of superficial example. But you get data about yourself by observing them. And that active observation begins to raise your level of being, precisely when you restrain the mind from acting negatively.
So physically, one thing. Do not act on that negative emotion. But mentally, you must understand the qualities that are cursing and swearing and whatnot, in the head, when certain circumstances arise. When you learn to train your physical actions, your body that way, then you learn to relax mentally, emotionally. That is why you can sit to practice, with your first step, with your asana, your posture.
As I said, if you’re identified all day, wasting energy, the body will be agitated. You want to scratch it. You want to move. When you practice, your asana should be so firm that you do not move. Do not move your body. When your asana, which if you really stick to one prior practice―maybe Western style, and full lotus, half lotus on the floor, how you want to practice―pick a posture that is going to be conducive to your practice. Meaning: you can maintain drowsiness, be relaxed, profoundly, and still allow yourself to be attentive to what you’re doing. Do not fall asleep, basically.
Personally, sometimes I lay on my bed when I want to fall asleep. Doing a mantra is good. But when you are practicing, it is good to sit upright in a way that your body is going to be relaxed and you can stay focused on what you’re doing. So, that’s asana.
When your body is fully silenced and relaxed, you’re not moving your muscles, not scratching , and not being agitated, you start to develop what is known as pratyahara.
Pratyahara means suspension of the senses. So, when your body is still and you are not focusing on your physicality―you do not move it all―you start to withdraw your attention from the exterior world, focusing on your interior world. You suspend your senses. You may experience thought, feeling, sensations of the body, but the characteristic of pratyahara is that you are not identified with them. You do not get carried away lost in that current. You may be thinking, feeling, etc., but you are just aware, going within yourself, relaxed.
Swami Sivananda wrote that pratyahara is the crux of meditation. And in one lecture from Glorian Publishing, Gnostic Radio, mentioned that pratyahara is like a lever. It allows the other steps to come into a play. If your senses are suspended, you are retracted like a tortoise in its shell. You do not focus on anything else. You relax. That is why we need to become silent. And that is the beginning of meditation really, suspending the senses. Everything else is preliminary.
When your senses are suspended, relaxed, you are looking within. That is when you can learn to concentrate on one thing. That’s dharana, the sixth step. Concentration is the ability to focus on one thing without forgetting what you are doing, without getting distracted.
So, in the beginning of the discipline, I suggest sit somewhere comfortably, do a mantra, relax your body, your mind, work with energy, circulate the creative forces like trough pranayama or mantra. Do it for however long you need until you feel relaxed. And when you are physically still and then you learn to introspect, the senses become suspended, they become calm. The mind is serene because the energies are circulating in you, and also the mind becomes more quiet. When the mind is quiet, really, not distracted by anything, focus your attention on remembering your day.
Do that every day when you’re relaxing yourself, self-observing. When you go home, focus on some energy work, with the mantras or pranayama, so that energy naturally stills the mind. Then, concentrate on your day. Remember what happened. Retrospect your day. Imagine it. Because now that you have those energies circulating, your imagination becomes much more robust. You can see things more clearly.
If you deplete your sexual energy, you cannot perceive things clearly. You will activate negative imagination known as fantasy. You are just identified with memories and daydreams. But conscious imagination is the ability to perceive something as it was, as it is. That is the consciousness. So, when you are concentrating and remembering your day, simply recall them like you’re remembering anything. You just try to reflect on what you did, what you said, what you thought, what you felt. And imagine it. Imagine the scenes.
What are the egos that you saw? And then, we take a scene, imagine it, concentrate on your Being. Ask your Being, your Divine Mother to show you what you need to understand about a certain ego you saw. And then, wait, observe.
You have to wait for the answer. You look, observe it. Your mind is serene and calm and then, when you are not thinking of anything or expecting anything, slowly the insight comes. It may come as an experience. You may physically leave your body. I have had this happen where I was meditating, I physically fell asleep, because my pranayama as well as pratyahara silenced the mind profoundly enough, I concentrated on my practice and I left my body physically. Then you can receive experiences about the defect that you are studying, so you can comprehend where it came from, how you made it, what is doing to you.
But it may be more mundane than that. Actually, I would say more commonplace, when you’re sitting to practice and suddenly, you understand. “I know how that ego works, that anger.” You understand its root. And that gives you a sense of liberation, and that joy that you are not that ego, and you understood it. You feel liberation. You extract your consciousness from that element and you see yourself as you are.
Then you must ask your Divine Mother, “please kill this ego. I don’t want to have it in me anymore.” And it may take a few days of doing that, or weeks, or months, or years. But you see that through work, through your self-observation, those egos get smaller. They become like a child, and then finally your Divine Mother decapitates it and then you’re free from them.
When you free yourself from an ego, you feel real joy. Really, there is no greater feeling than that. So, people want to have astral experiences. They say: “I want to talk to Master Samael. I want to do this and this. I want to have jinn experiences!” When I hear them talk, I tell them “No. Well, it’s good. It’s good for the soul to have that experiences, to feel inspired.” But they only give you that inspiration so that you go home and say, “I had a vacation. Now I have to get to work.” Because they are showing you what life is like beyond that ego.
Comment: You feel like a child again…
Instructor: You feel innocent, and you feel that peace. They are showing you: “Ok, now that you had a jinn experience, now that you had a Samadhi, now you have to go back into your prison, your cell. You need to study. You need to work.” That is the reason they give you experiences.
But many people in this tradition get stuck in wanting to have experiences. They say: “I’ve been studying for twenty years and I want to have an astral travel.” I have heard people who even teach this doctrine. They write to me. They write to us on the website, saying: “I’m a missionary from Gnosis and I’ve been studying for twenty years. I’ve been teaching for fifteen years and I haven’t had an astral experience.”
And I say: “Well, what is your practice?”
They say: “Well, I try silencing my mind, but my mind wanders.”
Well, that is the problem. The beginning is to follow the initial steps of meditation. Silence the mind, work with energy, self-observe. But you must work on the ego. Because if you do not kill the ego, break those shells, you cannot extract light. You cannot have light. So, if you want to have illumination, you have to work on the darkness.
When you are working with the preliminary steps, you have pratyahara, you’re developing concentration, that is when you learn to meditate, which is the next step. So, with dharana, you have concentration.
Now I skipped a step. I said: after yama, niyama, asana, what comes next is pranayama. So, I did say, I mentioned to you: “Work with energy, pranayama. Work with the vital force.” That is essential. That is how you suspend your senses: that’s pratyahara. Next, your mind is still because you are working with the prana, the vital force.
Then, dharana: you are able to concentrate. And where your concentration is profound, you understand things in a new way. You receive insight. That’s dhyana, meditation. And then, when you are fully absorbed in the object of meditation, you have an experience, samadhi. You leave your body. You astral travel. You do whatever.
Samadhi is simply the consciousness free of the conditioning. When you extract the light, like the genie from the bottle, and then you have the ability to do what your Being wants you to do: jinn experiences or whatnot.
But the thing is that when students or missionaries write to me and they say: “Hey, I’ll be honest with you,” they say. They are lost, disillusioned, in despair, and it’s sad. “I’ve been studying this a long time but I’m not seeing any results.”
“Are you working on your ego?”
Well, that’s the thing. You kill the ego, you receive illumination. If you do not work on the ego, you just remain in darkness.
Question: Isn’t that also that you’re not supposed to have expectations?
Instructor: Yeah. And people get stuck on the idea of “I want to put my physical body in the jinn state.” It is beautiful to have that experience in the fourth dimension or the fifth dimension or whatever, with your physical body. Or to go to the Absolute. You talk face to face to your Being or your unite with Ain Soph, your light. Personally, I have had those experiences. But I came back to my bed and I woke up.
There is not a day that I don’t have those experiences. The other reason that I think about them now is they inspire me to keep moving and doing the work that has to be done. They showed me, they gave me vacations, and said: “Ok, your dharma is up. Come back. Teach other people how to do it.” Sometimes, it is months, a long time. No experiences. It happens like that.
But the solution is, you develop light of consciousness by comprehending your defects and eliminating them. And then gradually, you start developing more light, and light and light… And you start having experiences again. Usually in the beginning they have like a probationary period.
The divine says, “OK, he’s transmuting. She’s transmuting, is doing his work.” The Being says, “I want My child to work again or to work in this path. Let us give him or her an experience, because he’s meditating, to inspire him.” And then you have the experience. Afterward the real work begins. So, you develop light by comprehending the ego. You kill the ego, then you receive illumination.
Question: What do you mean by having an experience? When you receive an experience where you receive situations? Where you’re put to test.
Instructor: I mean a mystical experience: to have a samadhi. But I have people write to me. It is sad, because these are people who are teaching but still. If we do not work effectively, we will not get the results. But if you work every day on the ego, you do have more and more light. But there are periods where there is darkness, because that is your karma. I mean karma because, you betrayed the light, in your own way. They say: “No, don’t give him light yet. Let him suffer in the darkness for a while, so that he really wants to change.”
If you are persistent like Beethoven was, you go from the Moonlight Sonata to the Ninth Symphony. That sonata is about the path of the moon. That is sort of being in the darkness. The melody makes me think about “Eli, Eli, Lama Sabachthani.” Jesus said: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” But divinity doesn’t leave us. But if we portray the Lord, what can He do?
Any other questions?
Question: Just one more question. As far as meditation goes, when you practice pranayama, how long should I hold my breath?
Instructor: As long can you feel you can hold it comfortably without forcing your lungs. You can begin the pranayama. First, pray. Ask your Being to help you circulate the energies and to help you be serene. You can close your nostrils, one or the other with your fourth finger. Your left nostril closed, your right nostril inhales the air. Imagine the energies rising from the opposite gonad, because the left nostril relates to the right gonad, right nostril with the left gonad, with your ovaries or testicles.
Inhale the air, imagining the energy rising within your mind, towards your head. Close your nostrils and retain the breath as long as you can, without forcing it. You want to imagine the energy saturating the brain.
Exhale in the other nostril and imagine that light descending from your third eye, your brain, to your heart. Do the same process with the other nostril. Imagine the other circuit of energy, rising up to the brain. Hold it while it saturates the mind like a light, fire. Exhale, send it to the heart.
That breathing through both nostrils in that way constitutes one pranayama.
Some pranayamas are specified up to seven, but can do as many as you want, until you feel energized. But you should not practice pranayama to the point that you feel strained.
Swami Sivananda said that when you feel light, energized and relaxed, very happy and peaceful, you can stop. Do for as long as you need. But pranayama should not be forced, meaning: do not strain the breath. If your nostrils are blocked, I know some people who use a seti pot, an Indian device, which pours water into your nostrils to clear it out. That is a kind of a hard way to do it, but if you want to practice pranayama in that way, you can clear the nostrils that way. And don’t force the breath. But relax. The whole process should be peaceful.
[Editor’s Note: to learn more, read and practice Pranayama and Sexual Transmutation]
Meditation is a precise science. It is a means of knowing our own capacities for consciousness, our ability to perceive. And this specific science of meditation teaches us how to expand consciousness, and how to develop it. Importantly, in this process we have to comprehend and understand the conditions of our psyche.
It is very easy to see that our physical body is composed of elements; many factors and many influences act upon the body in order for it to be. The body needs its nutrition, its sustenance, its food, its water. Likewise, the consciousness needs a type of nourishment, a type of sustenance, and that food of the soul (we can say) is the capacity to perceive, to comprehend; to comprehend psychologically the factors of discord within our consciousness: what in us is afflicted with anger, with fear, with negativity.
What are those elements that condition our perception and make us very limited people? For in a moment of rage we speak harmful words, we suffer ourselves, and we make others suffer. In those moments we only perceive through anger. We don't see that anger is a blind emotion. We may rationalize later on that we were behaving in a destructive way, but in the precise moment of that emergence or that emotion, we perceive as that emotion, as that condition.
All religions, all traditions, teach the science of how to awaken consciousness and, precisely, by becoming aware of what conditions us, what blocks us from experiencing our true nature, which is a state of contentment, of genuine peace, of our love that is so profound that it radiates towards all beings without distinction, and forgives all beings for their faults without distinction, without warrant, without expecting anything in return.
Our soul needs to be fed, our consciousness needs to develop, but we know that through observation of facts that the mind is conditioned and shelled within elements of fear, and laziness, and pride, or what religions call defects. This is what a meditator precisely learns to confront in him or herself, so as to break those shells, because within anger is our consciousness, within fear is our consciousness—within anger, within hate, within lust. All those shells trap really the essence of who we are, but in a negative way.
So, meditation will teach us to comprehend those elements we created in the past. We are responsible for our own emotions, our own mind, how we act. And this is why different traditions, whenever they teach meditation, always emphasize in the very beginning levels of practice—be a good person, be kind, be generous, be observant of your faults. So, that by observing them and comprehending them, we can eliminate them. And by breaking those conditions of mind we expand consciousness, we awaken consciousness. And, therefore, we can experience all the bliss that many prophets, masters, buddhas, angels taught in the different religions and scriptures, which is the beauty and glories of heaven, which is not just a place, but is a psychological state of being, a way of being.
In this lecture we are going to talk about some principles taught within Buddhism and how to understand the mind, what is mind, what is awareness, what is consciousness. We are also going to compare that with a very beautiful glyph, known as the Tree of Life in Judaism. Because we understand in our tradition that Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Sufism—all share the same root, and that root is the capacity to perceive. So, all the different angels, and masters, and prophets gave their teaching in accordance with their language, the culture of the people they taught, their own level of being, their own capacity to transmit light. But that knowledge is the same; it is universal. Some people would call that Gnosis (the Greek term for knowledge), some people would call that Marifah in Arabic, and in Hebrew: Daath, meaning knowledge, what we know of ourselves and how to change, so that we can irradiate that light for all of humanity.
This wisdom teaches us how to understand the causes of our suffering. And I would like to relate to you a beautiful teaching given by a Buddhist Master—his name was Padmasambhava. His fame in Buddhism cannot be exaggerated. He is considered the second Buddha.
His scripture for what he most well-known is called The Tibetan Book of the Dead. It is a scripture that is read to monks and practitioners on meditation retreat, because its efficacy and force, and expansiveness is very penetrative. It teaches us how to be mindful, so that we can understand ourselves and expand awareness, awaken consciousness. So, it is called The Tibetan Book of the Dead, because it teaches about how to awaken consciousness physically, but also in the dream state, as well as during meditation and after death.
We can say that if we examine our state of sleep (the eight hours we go to bed and when we wake up in the morning)—that is a barometer for how conscious we will be when we die. So, if we spend eight hours of sleep and there is darkness, it means that we will not have light, when we die. Which is why many Christian monks, Buddhists, Sufis would train themselves day by day in meditation, so that they can awaken light. So that when they would go to their death, they would be awakened and prepared; they would be conscious, and speaking face to face with the different angels, Buddhas, gods, divinities (which are really one divinity), in a very direct, clear and tangible manner, known as visions or awakened experiences in dreams.
So, this is a very valuable scripture. I would like to read a few excerpts from this, as we talk about the nature of awareness, of consciousness:
"The Importance of the Introduction to Awareness
“Through the single nature of mind which completely pervades both cyclic existence and nirvana,
“Has been naturally present from the beginning, you have not recognized it.” —The Tibetan Book of the Dead
(The Bhavachakra or "Wheel of Becoming," sometimes referred to as the Wheel of Samsara, depicts the cyclical nature of suffering within different realms of existence. The six sections of this wheel show repetitious psychological states in which our soul or consciousness is trapped. Liberation occurs when we recognize our own true nature through the path of meditation).
The word samsara means cycling, churning, turning, repetition.
This is a perfect description of our habits. We have certain tendencies that are ingrained in us like stone—good or bad. We indulge in certain behaviors consistently and which become much deepened and strengthened in us the more we feed it. This is a beautiful teaching relating to idolatry within the Abrahamic traditions. People think that idolatry is people who worship statues, but really an idol is anger, is resentment, is gluttony—habits that are ingrained in us that have become petrified in our psyche, in which we constantly worship instead of worshiping the beauty of the consciousness, which is the unification of our soul with the divine.
So cyclical existence is precisely this repetition of bad habits. Nirvana means cessation, to cease suffering, to break those shells, so that the soul is in perfect equanimity.
"Even though its radiance and awareness have never been interrupted,
“You have not yet encountered its true face.
“Even though it arises unimpededly in every facet of existence,
“You have not as yet recognized this single nature of mind,
“In order that this single nature might be recognized by you,
“The Conquerors (we can say the Buddhas, the masters, the prophets, the angels) of the three times have taught an inconceivably vast number of practices,
“Including the eighty-four thousand aspects of the sacred teachings." —The Tibetan Book of the Dead
Now we know from many religions that there are many practices and teachings about how to unite with the divine, whether from Buddhism, Judaism, etc.
"Yet, despite this diversity, not even one of these teachings has been given by these Conquerors,
“Outside the context of an understanding of this nature!" —The Tibetan Book of the Dead
Meaning: all the practices of any religion, of any tradition are useless if don't know how to be mindful, how to be aware, to be conscious.
"And even though there are inestimable volume of sacred writings, equally vast as the limits of space,
“Actually, these teachings can be succinctly expressed in a few words, which are the introduction to the awareness." —The Tibetan Book of the Dead
The Tree of Life: Levels of Consciousness
So we will talk about the nature of consciousness in relation to the Kabbalah. Jewish mysticism is the foundation of Christianity, and in our center we study all religions unanimously, integrally, with the purpose of explaining how to awaken our perception in its full capacity.
In the Western tradition the Tree of Life is the foundation of all Western Yoga, of all union. The word "yoga" in Sanskrit means "to reunite,” the same as the Latin "religare,” religion, to reunite. This is a map of our consciousness, of who we are here and now. It also refers to levels of nature that are more subtle, that we don't perceive yet in our present condition. And the Tree of Life is an interesting glyph we can use it to study any religion, any faith, any pantheon of gods, deities, etc.
We see at the top, we have the trinity of Christianity. In fact, we see three trinities in this glyph, a top trinity, middle trinity and then lower trinity. What Christians call Father, Son, Holy Spirit, in Hebrew are known as Kether, Chokmah and Binah. These are not persons—instead, we teach that they are forces, energies, which are very subtle, a form of light. It is a form of consciousness that is so divine, and pure, and universal that it is only manifested in beings that have purified themselves. Jesus is a manifestation of this light, so is Krishna, Moses. Many other masters have incarnated this divine trinity above, which are three forces, but one light. They are three, but one. They express as three, but they are one unity.
Above in this Tree of Life we have the most elevated aspect of consciousness. And below we have the most dense levels of consciousness. We are here in Malkuth, which is the Hebrew word for Kingdom; it is our physical body. Our body is a kingdom, which has all these forces and elements that are in a potential state, which we can learn through practice to actualize. And that energy in those forces in our body helps to elevate our body, our consciousness of this Tree of Life. And if you remember our practice we began with this lecture—we were studying the nature of ourselves, studying the nature of our awareness in our present condition. In our practice we were examining our body; we became aware of our body.
Malkuth, our Kingdom, is our physical body. In our practice we become mindful of the energies of our physical vehicle as well. This is known as Yesod in the Hebraic Kabbalah. Yesod means foundation. So, our vital energies, which give us life, is our foundation in life. How we use our energy depends on our actions, our mind, our heart, and our will, our behaviors.
So, therefore, how we use this energy, determines our spiritual life. This is why it is called Yesod. And the mystical science that teaches one to use this energy in a conscious way is hidden within the Hebrew word יסוד Yesod and the word סודי Sodi. The same Hebrew letters, but switched around. סודי Sodi means secret. This is known as the teachings of alchemy, as well as the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
Our emotions we also examined in our meditation, relating to this left pillar on the Tree of Life. This sphere is called Hod, which means Splendor. Hod is our emotions, which can shine with the splendor of the divine or be filled with rage. So, this is our center relating to our heart, our emotional states.
Our mind we also examined in our practice. We meditated on our thoughts. Notice that the higher we ascend this Tree of Life, the more subtle things become. The body is very dense, easy to observe. Energy becomes more subtle to observe that, to be aware of that. Emotions are much more dynamic. They are powerful. Our mood can shape our entire day, when we wake up in the morning throughout the entire week, month, etc.
And our thoughts, which fluctuate like the wind. When we sit to meditate, we observe ourselves. You see that memories, ideas, associative thinking, churns within our psyche—these relate to Netzach, which means Victory, because when you conquer your own mind, you become victorious. A being known as a buddha, a master, an awakened one.
And then we also talked about and reflected upon our willpower, our motives, what brought us to attend a center of this nature, or our motives to associate with certain co-workers, or friends, or pursue a certain type of occupation. That relates to will, which is Tiphereth. Tiphereth in Hebrew means Beauty. Really, when we are in willpower, it is in a state of purity, equanimity. When a heart shines with the resplendence of the divine, when our mind is calm and our will knows how to follow our inner divinity, we are filled with beauty, as the beauty in the soul. Right action is the most beautiful thing, we could say. When we act in a way that is truly beneficial for another human being, we are performing acts of beauty. That is Tiphereth.
Above we have more rare levels of consciousness. On the left we have Geburah, which means Justice. And I concluded the practice by having us being aware of ourselves as observers. Geburah is our consciousness, the ability to perceive, which of course is very very rarified, very refined and very hard to perceive. But we know that we have this spiritual dynamic in ourselves when we feel a sense of conscience for having committed a wrong deed. We know we said something wrong, we spoke in a wrong manner, our conscience bites at us, it gnaws at us, it pushes us. So Geburah is that conscience or consciousness. But of course, we tend to ignore our conscience in many cases and meditation teaches us how to feed that conscience, how to awaken that capacity. Meditation is the ability to control Netzach (the mind), Hod (the emotions), Yesod (our energies) and Malkuth (our physical body), so that it serves our divine consciousness and spirit above, which is represented by Chesed, our Spirit.
When people talk about being spiritual in a real deep sense, we could say that to be spiritual is to have that spirit inside, which is God. God is spirit. When someone is spiritual, it means they have incarnated God in a real objective sense, in a very esoteric sense, we can say.
And above the spirit is our light, which the Gnostics or the Christians call Christ, which is the most divine force within all of the nature and the cosmos. We find these three forces (Kether, Chokmah, Binah) within the atom. The Father, Kether, is the positive force, the proton. Chokmah (the Christ) is the negative force, the electron. So, we have a proton and an electron, which are bonded together or held in unity, through the force of the neutron, which is the neutral force, the Holy Spirit. So, these are terms that Christians use, but in the deepest sense refer to forces in ourselves, forces in nature, which we learn in meditation how to use, so that we become a perfected Tree of Life.
And this Tree of Life is represented by the Christmas tree. In the holidays we decorate a pine tree and that tree is the symbol of this image in its most ancient roots. All those lights are all the sparks of consciousness we develop when we learn to harness the power of our body through good will, as well as our vital forces (Yesod), our emotions (Hod), our mind (Netzach). It is easy to see that when we meditate or observe within ourselves or after we have a very difficult day at work, that we have many elements that are negative—desires, habits, which again condition us.
We must learn with our will, as a human soul, this sphere known as Tiphereth. Our willpower must learn to control mind, heart, vitality in our physical body.
This is a very beautiful image that teaches us a lot. And this is just an introduction, because through our courses and lectures we explain all the dynamics of this Tree of Life in ourselves. In a very Buddhist sense, we can see the interdependent nature of all things represented here. The Buddhists speak about interdependence, how nothing is stable in nature; nothing is unitary. Everything depends on something else within this phenomenological universe.
Our mind, our thoughts depend on other factors: maybe external influences, external situations provoke certain thoughts. Likewise, our emotions and how we use our energy is dependent on what we eat, what we nourish ourselves with. Our body depends on how we take care of it.
This Tree of Life is not something separate. All these spheres relate to each other, what we call in Hebrew Sephiroth; it means emanations. These are all the lights of the Christmas tree, which we must purify within ourselves, so that we can really celebrate the birth of Lord within us and Nativity of the Lord.
The Three Levels of Meditative Instruction
All religions teach that there are levels of instruction. The Tree of Life is a glyph that teaches us the most advanced aspects of our psyche, but I am just introducing this to you, so that you can see some of the depth and expansiveness of what awareness is. Because awareness is not just a physical body, but all the Sephiroth, all those spheres that really constitute in who we are. Religion teaches in any tradition certain parameters of how to practice so that we can develop that awareness fully. We have introductory levels, we have intermediate levels, and we have advanced levels.
In Buddhism, the introductory level of that tradition was known as the Sutrayana or is known as Sutrayana. It is the public teaching. As in Judaism we say: "Thou shall not kill, shall not steal, shall not lie, fornicate, adulterate.” These are not dictates from some anthropomorphic god, who wants to make humanity suffer by following these rules: "Do this or you get certain consequences.” It is not a mean of punishment. It is something psychological. Because when we observe our mind, we can see that we have many elements that enjoy hatred or bloodshed, not physically. We may speak with sarcasm to someone and the blood rushes to their face. Therefore, we are shedding blood, we are committing violence in the mind by humiliating another person. That is the meaning of "Thou shall not kill.” Physically—yes, it is a very serious crime to commit that. But psychologically we have many habits and behaviors towards our loved ones, in which we humiliate others.
Likewise with stealing. Sometimes we steal ideas, besides stealing physical things—it is another thing. So, there are levels of teaching in these public explanations of how to control the consciousness. So, there is a code of ethics, we can say, that teach the soul how to look within and to understand all the conditions that we created, all the elements of desire: our defects. So that by training them our mind becomes stable. The mind and heart is filled with consciousness, light, and we develop our awareness. First, by curtailing negative action, which occurs in our mind, our heart, and our body. This is a very public level; this is the beginning of any spiritual tradition.
You also have an intermediate level, known as a Mahayana. Sutrayana relates to the Sutras, the basic public instructions of how to develop consciousness. The Mahayana means Greater Vehicle: Yana means vehicle; Maha means great. It is a level of teaching in which we are practicing not for our own benefit, but for others. We practice not only to eliminate our own states of anger, but so that our anger doesn't affect other people. That is a really compassionate state. We work for the benefit of others.
This is someone like Jesus and as Gospels taught: "Father, forgive them, for they don't know what they do.”
We don't work on ourselves just for ourselves, but for them, for others. It is marked by its development of compassion, which takes a level of understanding. When we see our mind and that we have created conditions through our consciousness that obstruct our awareness, we see that other people are at that level too, that we share the same defects. We are cut from the same scissors. So, we have no need to judge anybody. Therefore, we should learn to judge ourselves. This is the mesoteric level of teaching—the middle ground.
But there is an advanced teaching, which in Buddhism is called Tantrayana. The scripture that I read at the opening of this lecture, The Tibetan Book of the Dead, is a tantric book. It teaches very advanced concepts, which I want to introduce to you too, so that you can see some of the possibilities and expansiveness of this teaching. Tantrayana means the vehicle of tantrism. Tantra means continuum. The continuum and flow of consciousness to the work of controlling energy. Energy is in the psyche, in the body, etc. So Tantrayana teaches how to awaken consciousness in a very expedient way, in a very quick way.
In the beginning one learns a certain ethical discipline by learning to control the mind and to adopt good behavior, not from a moral standpoint, but from a conscious perspective that certain habits and behaviors produce suffering—not only for ourselves, but for others.
In the intermediate state we work for other people—the Mahayana tradition. We understand that our behaviors and conditions of mind not only create suffering for us, but for others, and therefore we work for other human beings.
And in the tantric aspect there is no sense of self. There is only the benefit for the other. And this is really the core teaching of Jesus, of Buddha, who gave their life completely out of compassion. And if you go back to the Tree of Life, we see that highest level of compassion is related to this top trinity, which is the crown of glory, the wisdom of the divine and the intelligence or understanding of divinity, which is a perception that penetrates so deeply in to all phenomena that there is no confusion, there is no illusion. It is a way of knowing, of being that is devoid of I, of me, myself. It is universal.
The Three Trainings
So, we study meditation—we study three trainings. The beginning is ethics, known as Sila. This is the foundational path, in which we work to understand ourselves. We do this through the practice of self-observation. We need to become aware of our mind, our body, our heart, our energies, our will. Everything that surges within our understanding, our experience—we have to learn to perceive, to become aware. What feeds our awareness is learning to behave from that state of consciousness, that state of purity, which is divine love, which is mercy, compassion. Those are natural states of our consciousness. Elements like fear and resentment, those are conditions we created out of mistakes, the wrong use of our energies. But we have the power to rectify that. Which is what all prophets teach and the way they do so is through ethics. This is not a moral code or system to adopt and believe in, but it is something to practice daily. When we see what exactly in us is causing conflict in a certain situation and then we look within and learn to change and comprehend those sources of suffering in ourselves. So that with the grace of divinity we can be purified.
There is this training of ecstasy that comes next, known as Samadhi. Many meditative traditions teach that when one learns to meditate, they have experiences—which is very true. Awakening in dreams, speaking face to face with the angels, with the divinities, with God, our own inner Being—this is a state of awareness and consciousness that is free from the physical conditions of the body, and has entrance into to world of dreams, which relates to the world of Hod (as we discussed previously). This image on the left—the bottom left pillar.
Sometimes we can also say the world on the right—Netzach (the mind) is also the world of dreams. They both relate. Usually we go into those worlds without awareness of what we are doing, where we are at, what we are thinking, what we are dreaming. Usually we wake up and we remember certain threads of experiences in those states, but we don't have much cognizance. That is an indication of where we are at in our meditative practice, because one who awakens in meditation, who trains him or herself in meditation, is awake in dreams, in that dream world. And, therefore, that is a type of Samadhi, it is an ecstasy of the soul, in which you are receiving knowledge in a direct way from the truth, and therefore you don't need to believe in anything, because you know directly from the divine for yourself. Which is why we say that in this tradition: "He who has faith, has no need to believe.”
Faith is conscious knowledge, of knowing. And Samadhi is when the consciousness has been freed of its conditions, its shells. Extracted like the genie from Aladdin’s lamp, so that it can perform the miracles of the soul.
In the third training we have profound wisdom. Profound wisdom relates to the perception of divinity within us, which again relates to the top trinity, the light of our inner Buddha. Buddha means awakened one, to be cognizant, alert, perceptive. From the prefix "budh," meaning cognizance.
So, this Tree of Life is our map for who we are and where we are at. As I mentioned to you, the image of the Christmas Tree relates to this glyph. And we find a very beautiful teaching by a Sufi by the name of Rumi. He is a very famous poet in the West today, who spoke about this Tree of Life in a very implicit way.
"If ten lamps are present in (one) place, each differs in the form from one another:
“Yet you cannot distinguish whose radiance is whose, when you focus on the light.” —Jalaluddin Muhammad Rumi
Because when those Sephiroth or aspects of ourselves are purified, they illuminate light, and they integrate—they are one unity. So those religions that teach about polytheism, and many gods, and yet one God, relates to this Tree of Life, because we have the trinity, which is three aspects of God, but one light. So that light manifests in many ways, in different ways. And, so, the wisdom of Pranja, the final training of meditation, which is the teaching of the Tantric Buddhists, teaches one to have profound perception of all things, to perceive the very root nature of any phenomena: physical, energetic, emotional, mental, volitional (relating to will), conscious, spiritual, and even beyond.
So, this is very deep science, very rich, which takes a lot of studying, and meditation, and practice to understand this glyph. But here we are introducing in a very synthetic way to show you that awareness is something very profound. It is a limitless science. This is just a beginning, because Pranja comes from the word Pra, which means beyond. Nja is j-n-a, refers to knowledge, as a Jnana Yoga. Also the root word of the Greek term Gnosis, has a silent gn. The same root meaning there. So the Christian and Eastern traditions are integral—you cannot separate them.
Illusions of Self and the Tree of Life
We learn to understand ourselves, our awareness of who we are through meditation, through these trainings. As I mentioned to you, we seek to break the conditions of mind, because as the Sufi master Abū Sa’īd in one of his scripture wrote:
"Wherever the delusion of your selfhood appears – that’s hell. Wherever “you” aren’t – that’s heaven." —Abū Sa’īd
Our problem is that we grasp onto ourselves that doesn't exist: our egotism, our resentments, our despondency, our despair, our negativities. These are conditions of mind we created, but which really don't have any intrinsic existence in of themselves. They depend on other factors to bring them up, such as at a family gathering, we may have certain gossip that goes on, in which we criticize others or speak badly of others.
We have that defect we created from prior experiences. So that egotistical element only emerges in certain situations; it is dependent on that situation to act. So, you see the relationship between events and internal states, and in Buddhists terms that sense of self we grasp onto in that moment is not real; it is an illusion. It doesn't have any real substance, because when you analyze and meditate on that element, you see that it is always dependent on something else to exist.
And yet as we observe ourselves, we perceive that we are not mind, thought. We are not emotions, mood. We are not energy. We are not our body. Even our willpower has certain conditions and elements. Someone, who has a strong will—we admire, obviously. But our willpower, like the will of the Being of a person like Caiaphas (so to speak), who persecuted Jesus, is very evil will. And we have elements of that nature inside. Our will can follow, our inner Tiphereth can follow the beauty of God above or our own desires. So how we use our will, shapes our life. But our sense of self is contingent upon other factors. It is always a fluctuation and churning there.
So, when we analyze ourselves we see that and ask ourselves: "Where is my awareness? Who am I, really, in my depth?" The Tree of Life can teach us this and depending on our level of awareness, our training, we may gravitate more or less to one of these spheres. But through discipline we ascend.
Our True Nature
I would like to explain to you or recite to you some beautiful teachings from the scripture I started this lecture with. It teaches us some considerations to think about, when we learn meditation. And again, this is a very profound scripture that teaches one to analyze the mind and was typically read at retreats. So, while you are getting this crash course in this now, to really understand the beauty and depth of this teaching, it is something we go back to again and again and again.
"The Three Considerations
“The following is the introduction to the means of experiencing this single nature of mind (we could say: consciousness)
“Through the application of three considerations:
“First, recognize that past thoughts are traceless, clear, and empty,
“Second, recognize that future thoughts are unproduced and fresh,
“And third, recognize that the present moment abides naturally and unconstructed." —The Tibetan Book of the Dead
So, the present moment is. The problem is that we are always projecting our thoughts, our habits, our emotions on the present moment. We are not aware of what is really going on around us, within us.
"When this ordinary, momentarily consciousness is examined nakedly and directly by oneself,
“Upon examination, it is a radiant awareness.
“Which is free from the presence of an observer." —The Tibetan Book of the Dead
So, the question is: who is observing? Is it thought? Is it thought that says: "I think that I am observing?” Anyone can analyze with the intellect, but observation does not involve in its true sense a sense of I or me. It is universal and expansive.
"It is manifestly stark and clear.
“Completely empty and uncreated in all respects.
“Lucid, without duality of radiance and emptiness.
“Not permanent, for it is lacking inherit existence in all respects.
“Not a mere nothingness, for it is radiant and clear.
“Not a single entity, for it is clearly perceptible as a multiplicity.
“Yet not existing inherently as a multiplicity, for it is indivisible and of a single savour." —The Tibetan Book of the Dead
So, when we look at the Tree of Life, we can see this Buddhist teaching is very well documented. It is very hard to follow, very contradictory for the mind. But the fact is that the consciousness is a multiplicity, but also unity. It is easily represented here. We cannot say that our thoughts and emotions are separate. Usually we are feeling a certain way and a thought emerges. And also, the will to act. So, these factors are one, one expression.
"This intrinsic awareness, which is not extraneously derived.
“Is itself the genuine introduction to the abiding nature of all things.
“For in its intrinsic awareness, the three Buddha-bodies are inseparable, and fully present as one." —The Tibetan Book of the Dead
In Buddhism the Trikaya are the Christian Trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit: Kether, Chokmah, Binah), which are represented in Buddhism as the three Buddha-bodies or vehicles of light.
"Its emptiness and utter lack of inherit existence is the buddha-body of reality (Kether).
“The natural resonance and radiance of this emptiness is the buddha-body of perfect resource (Chokmah).
“And its unimpeded arising in any form whatsoever is the buddha-body of emanation (Binah).
“These three, fully present as one, are the very essence of awareness itself." —The Tibetan Book of the Dead
Interdependence and the Tree of Life
So, meditation is the science of acquiring information about ourselves, the conditions of mind that make us suffer. We acquire light, the unification of the three buddha-bodies (the Trikaya), as we learn to look within ourselves. Awareness originates from the top of the Tree of Life and becomes enmeshed in materiality, the further down it descends. We, as human consciousness (Tiphereth), must learn how to act within our lower vehicles of the soul: mind, emotions, vitality, and physicality.
In relation to the law of interdependence, our mind, emotions, energies, and physical body, rely on external factors to exist. Yet awareness (the light of the divine), is the originating and emanating force, which propels the movement of the Tree of Life. It is uncreated in all respects—this awareness. And is that from which all things originated, and all things return.
So, the Tree of Life helps us to visually comprehend interdependent nature of all this, all phenomena. When we explore one aspect of ourselves, we see this depends upon other emanations, other Sephiroth in this diagram. So, nothing has intrinsic existence in and of itself. What we call self is merely emptiness, void of true reality and objectivity.
We can see that our physical body (Malkuth) depends on many factors in order to live. Our energies (Yesod) fluctuate from morning to evening. We may have more energy at one point of the day, and less in the night time. Our emotions (Hod) fluctuate from happiness to sadness, compassion to hatred, faith to despair. Our thoughts (Netzach) are never stable, but jump from thing to thing through a chain of associative thinking. Our willpower and intentions (Tiphereth) are usually conditioned by negativity, desires to commit wrong. When our will follows the will of our Inner Buddha, we perform beautiful actions within ourselves, which of course depends upon consciousness (Geburah).
Most of us don't know what consciousness even is, and let alone what it means to be spiritual. Many people learning meditation do not even get pass the physical body and its discomforts, let alone access to higher aspects of a Tree of Life. Even our spirit, no matter how divine, originated from somewhere in the top trinity. Our consciousness depends upon the spirit to exist. And even this spiritual nature depends upon the light above, as we see in this graphic. Therefore, the Buddhists follow the teachings of Anatman—no self, since even the spirit (the Self) depends upon the Trikaya above. Therefore, genuine awareness is the Trikaya, which gives life to the spheres below, since all things depend upon this trinity for the subsistence and existence.
This is what Padmasambhava refers to in the section we have been discussing and reading—“Introduction to Awareness or Natural Liberation through Naked Perception.” Our perception, our consciousness becomes naked and clear, when we learn to actualize and intuit its real nature through discipline on a daily basis. This light, which is radiance and emptiness of self-hood, is our true nature. So, it is with the following verses in mind that Tibetan Buddhists seek to comprehend their emptiness of the mind. This is from "Observations Related to Examining the Nature of Mind":
"Be certain that the nature of mind is empty and without foundation.
“One's own mind is insubstantial, like an empty sky.
“Look at you own mind to see whether it is like that or not.
“Divorced from views which constructedly determine the nature of emptiness,
“Be certain that pristine cognition, naturally originating, is primordially radiant—
“Just like the nucleus from the sun, which is itself naturally originating.
“Look at your own mind to see whether it is like that or not!
“Be certain that this awareness, which is pristine cognition, is uninterrupted,
“Like the coursing central torrent of a river which flows unceasingly.
“Look at your own mind to see whether it is like that or not!
“Be certain that conceptual thoughts and fleeting memories are not strictly identifiable,
“But insubstantial in their motion, like the breezes of the atmosphere.
“Look at your own mind to see whether it is like that or not!
“Be certain that all that appears is naturally manifest in the mind,
“Like the images in the mirror which also appear naturally.
“Look at your own mind to see whether it is like that or not!
“Be certain that all characteristics are liberated right where they are,
“Like the clouds of the atmosphere, naturally originating and naturally dissolving.
“Look at your own mind to see whether it is like that or not!
“There are no phenomena extraneous to those that originate from the mind.
“So, how could there be anything on which to meditate apart from the mind?
“There are no phenomena extraneous to those that originate from the mind.
“So, there are no modes of conduct to be undertaken extraneous to those that originate from the mind.
“There are no phenomena extraneous to those that originate from the mind.
“So, there are no commitments to be kept extraneous to those that originate from the mind.
“There are no phenomena extraneous to those that originate from the mind.
“So, there are no results to be attained extraneous to those that originate from the mind.
“There are no phenomena extraneous to those that originate from the mind.
“So, one should observe one’s own mind, looking into its nature again and again.
“If, upon looking outwards towards the external expanse of the sky,
“There are no projections emanated by the mind,
“And if, on looking inwards at one’s own mind,
“There is no projectionist who projects thoughts by thinking them,
“Then, one’s own mind, completely free from conceptual projections, will become luminously clear." —The Tibetan Book of the Dead
So, there are some things to think about in relation to observing and examining our mind. Consciousness is not something static, but is changing, dynamic, fluent. And when we sit in a moment to conceptualize or rationalize our experience, we kill the moment. The truth is the unknowable from moment to moment, instant to instant.
Life fluctuates in moments, and when we sit to photograph or to conceptualize our experience, we become lost in the past. But awareness is something momentary. We need to become vigilant, and conscious, and awake. Because as we are, with our thoughts, our habits, our feelings, we tend to be hypnotized by our senses, by our daydreams. We could be at work, talking with someone, answering a phone call, and yet be thinking about something else. And that is the nature of the mind—it is distracted—it doesn't know how to focus. We could be sitting in a lecture and yet, the mind is wondering elsewhere, or the emotions are not receiving the knowledge. So, consciousness has to be present.
We have to be aware of ourselves in thought, word and deed, instant by instant, moment by moment. So, meditation is a science that teaches us how to be aware, how to be awake, so that we learn to comprehend ourselves and by learning to comprehend ourselves, we develop the genuine joy of the soul, free of conditions, of negativity.
Questions and Answers
Audience: You can do that in moments of meditation, easily, but when you’re out in the world, you have to catch yourself—[inaudible] there is a certain amount of fear or anxiety, so you are addressing yourself. But these are things you react to, you just cannot silence your mind or go blank.
Instructor: That is a good point, and the thing about this is that by learning to awaken consciousness, we no longer react to things, instead we respond. We typically think that fear and certain negative qualities are natural and necessary for survival—for animals that is. Animal souls live and react in that way. But someone who is conscious, who is awake, can respond to the situation with much greater clarity and greater precision than somebody who reacts out of fear. So, this is very well documented or studied within Buddhist traditions like the samurai. They would meditate before battles and if they weren’t attentive or aware of themselves, they would be killed. In the same manner, if we are not aware of what we are doing when we are driving, we can get into serious harm. But having fear is not necessarily a good backup, because fear only knows how to react—it is mechanical. Something jumps up in front of you—you move, you don't even rationalize. But when you are conscious, you know exactly what you are doing. And therefore, you can divert harm.
Audience: So, if you are really conscious, then you are proactive.
Instructor: You are proactive, and then you are not going to put yourself in any danger. Because if you react out of fear or anxiety, out of instinct, you can get hurt. You may save yourself from a moment, but if you are conscious, you know exactly what you need to do, what is going to happen, how it is going to happen. So, being conscious means to expand that awareness to the point that you are in full control of what is going on and you are responding to life in remembrance of your inner divinity.
Audience: You are anticipating also, being proactive.
Instructor: And you will know things will happen before they happen. Therefore, you prevent many problems.
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