This lecture is about astral projection techniques. While we have discussed a lot of theories associated with astral projection, we will now discuss many practices to achieve it. Not only will we give many exercises from the writings of Samael Aun Weor, but we will also provide the necessary contexts for you to understand the purpose and utility of each exercise.
Voluntary astral projections are often achieved through mantra recitations. But what exactly are mantras?
A mantra is conventionally understood as a repeated slogan, keyword, or phrase. In Buddhism and Hinduism, meditators recite particular words to aid in concentration. Mantras are a series of vocalizations that resonate in our body, mind, and spirit. Such words are usually imbued with spiritual meaning, transmitted from master to disciple through a lineage or tradition.
The term mantra comes from the Sanskrit मन्त्र Man, “to think,” or manas, “mind.” Tra or Trai signifies “to protect, to free.” In synthesis, mantra means “mind protection” or “to free the mind” through sacred sounds.
Mantras help to protect our mind from negative states. They also teach our mind how to be serene, concentrated, and obedient to our own will.
Anyone who has attempted meditation or mantra recitation exercises has discovered that the mind is undisciplined or distracted. It is wild. Thoughts come and go, one after the other, in associative succession. They even appear to have no beginning or end. Although our meditation sessions might be brief, we do get a glimpse, in such moments, of our true psychological state. However, many tend to ignore this fact in their busy lives.
Mantras are an effective tool for teaching our consciousness how to be focused. Right now, our conscious faculties tend to be deficient. In the beginning, we lack stability of concentration and clarity of visualization. If we cannot focus on one thing, if we are constantly distracted, and if we cannot clearly visualize imagery in our mind, then we will not have the capacity to consciously astral project with the frequency or sustainability we long for.
Fortunately, mantras aid with concentration and visualization through the power of the divine word.
The Divine Power of the Word
All religious traditions describe how sound is sacred and powerful. We know conventionally that a soft word of kindness dissipates anger. We also know that rude, incoherent, and abrasive words offend the mind and sensibilities.
This is because the spoken word is the vehicle of psychological meaning. If our intentions are bad—egotistical—then our words will reflect that. If we operate from psychological states of altruism, kindness, selflessness—in other words, the Essence—then our words will benefit all sentient beings.
Not only do we create situations in life based upon the quality of our speech, likewise divinity creates spiritual being through the power of the word. As indicated by Samael Aun Weor:
The Gods create with the power of the word, because, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). —Samael Aun Weor, The Spiritual Power of Sound
This slide depicts various sacred languages. We see Tibetan, Chinese, Hebrew, Latin, and Arabic. They are sacred, not just because they convey the wisdom of the prophets across various cultures, but also because of their linguistic and archetypal complexity.
We can state without a doubt that these are examples of divine languages. These languages have great depth, power, and impact for the soul. They are divine because their alphabets and pronunciations reflect metaphysical realities. Each letter of their respective alphabets represent principles, intelligences, and forces. Moreover, their conscious enunciation can facilitate our complete development as a human being.
Languages represent the articulation of thought, of cognizance, and are referenced by the Greek term Λόγος logos. The first Christians iterated the fact that divinity is equivalent to the spoken word, because speech is the actualization of abstract potential. We bring into being our own psychological potential through speech. Therefore, what we say carries tremendous consequences for our own well-being and the well-being of others.
The Universal Language
Rather than exclusively speak about the negative impact of words (which is something that we are all probably already familiar with), we will emphasize how certain languages, like the ones we’ve cited, are mantric in nature. As stated by Samael Aun Weor:
There is a universal language of life spoken only by Angels, Archangels, Seraphim, etc. When the sacred fire blooms in our fertile lips made verb, the word becomes flesh in us. All the mantras known among the occultists are just syllables, letters, and isolated words of the language of the Light. —Samael Aun Weor, The Spiritual Power of Sound
All sacred languages stem from a universal language and are vehicles of internal truths. They are mantric languages. Their original structures are expressions of the Being. They are more in tune with the nature of divinity. As vehicles of expression, they reflect spiritual truths with greater accuracy than is afforded by our more modern languages.
Many languages have progressively distanced themselves from their sources, as dramatized in Genesis by the Tower of Babel. While it is normal for languages to change over time, mantric languages retain a primeval coherence and integrity in relation to divine truths. These languages are rich with meaning. Their nuances cannot be simplified or synthesized into a single English translation, primarily since each word and letter operates on multiple conceptual dimensions.
This is why if we wish to understand texts like the Bible or the Qur’an, we must have some familiarity with their original languages, since their letters contain tremendous significance. They embody eternal truths. One doesn’t need to be fluent in such languages to be successful in scriptural interpretation. One needs a basic education in the symbols of such alphabets, which, combined with an English translation, opens doors to wisdom that is not accessible to the uninitiated.
This is why we pronounce mantras in their original languages, such as Sanskrit, Hebrew, Latin, and Arabic, because they convey tremendous power. These mantras are magical in nature. If you wish to benefit from the power of a certain mantra, you must pronounce it according to its original language and form, in the same manner that it was transmitted from master to disciple. This is why religious traditions have existed: to accurately transmit spiritual practices for the awakening of the consciousness.
The Seven Chakras and Their Mantras
Mantras activate chakras. But what are chakras?
चक्र Chakra in Sanskrit means “wheel.” A chakra is a wheel of energy, formed whenever two meridians or currents of vital energy cross. We have thousands of chakras since we possess thousands of meridians. However, when people often speak about chakras, they often talk about the seven main ones connected to our spine.
Our astral body perceives the astral world through our chakras. Chakras help to channel divine energy in the same manner as a water mill. If there is no water flowing, the mill won’t turn. The same with the chakras. Most people typically don’t have their chakras activated, either permanently or even temporarily. This is why we train with mantra recitation, so that the senses of the astral body become rejuvenated.
Mantras help to activate our chakras by concentrating and directing energy. Different sounds vibrate in different parts of our body. Sounds not only vibrate and permeate our environment—such as when our words reach our neighbor during a conversation—but also reverberate within our body, consciousness, and astral body. Therefore, the quality of our speech has significant results, both for ourselves and others.
Just as we possess seven main chakras, we also activate them through seven primary sounds or vowels. Traditionally, a vowel is a basic unit of sound within any language, forming the nucleus of a syllable. In English we often reference five main vowels: A, E, I, O, and U. However, in our spiritual studies we also recognize that the letters M and S are also vowels.
This can be confusing, since traditionally, M and S are considered consonants, which join with vowels to form syllables. However, we emphasize how the letters I, E, O, U, A, M, and S are esoteric vowels, because whenever you vocalize and prolong their sounds, they vibrate within specific nuclei or chakras in our body. Since a vowel forms the center or nucleus of a syllable, likewise these seven vowels activate the seven nuclei or centers of our chakras along the spine.
There are seven main chakras, which each have their respective sounds, capacities, and astral powers. We will list them now from the top of our spine to the base:
Some native English speakers have been confused by Samael Aun Weor’s explanation of the seven vowels, primarily since he wrote in Spanish, which has some different vowel pronunciations than in English. We will list them here with examples:
The vowel I, pronounced as the vowel in “tree,” vibrates the crown chakra at the top of our head and the third eye chakra between our eyebrows. These develop the capacity for omniscience and clairvoyance.
The vowel E, as in “bet,” vibrates in the throat, activating the ability to hear mystical sounds.
The vowel O, as in “boat,” vibrates in the heart, awakening the power of intuition and the capacity for conscious astral projections.
The vowel U, as in “true,” vibrates in the solar plexus or abdomen, which grants us access to telepathy.
We also possess a pulmonary chakra in our lungs that is activated by the mantra A. This chakra helps with remembering past lives.
The vowel M, as in “hum,” vibrates in the prostrate in men or the uterus in women. It activates the ability to control and direct our creative energies, the waters of life.
The vowel S, as in “serpent,” vibrates at the base of the spine and awakens sparks of the sacred fire or energy known in some traditions as Kundalini or Pentecost.
Here is what the seven vowels sound like together from the top of the spine to the bottom:
Some people really struggle with pronouncing the letters M and S. M should be prolonged, with the lips closed, humming like a bull.
S is extended like the hissing of a snake. Place the tip of your tongue close to your tooth ridge. This is close to the upper backside of your top front teeth. Allow the air to pass through as you exhale, extending the sound.
By working with our chakras, we can learn to consciously astral project. Each astral projection mantra is a key to the internal worlds. Just as our speech is imbibed with meaning, likewise astral projection mantras contain a fundamental keynote that allows our consciousness to resonate with the superior worlds, thereby facilitating the transition of our Essence into the internal dimensions.
Types of Mantra Recitation
Before we get into actual astral projection mantras, let us describe different ways to vocalize them.
...the verb is of triple pronunciation and that it endows three norms: verbal, mental, and conscious. One can articulate with the creative larynx, one can vocalize with his thought, and one can vocalize with the superlative consciousness of the Being. —Samael Aun Weor, Esoteric Medicine and Practical Magic
When we lie down to practice our astral projection exercises, we can first vocalize a mantra aloud, perhaps for fifteen minutes. Then we can whisper the mantra for just as long. Lastly, we pronounce the mantra in our mind. This gradual diminution of sound helps us to increase our concentration from vocalization, to whispering, then to silence. You allow yourself to eventually get drowsy as you are whispering, until finally you are concentrated within the mantra in your mind. Then, fall asleep reciting the mantra, immersing your entire being within it, until you consciously transition into the astral.
Many people complain that they cannot achieve conscious astral projections. This is often the consequence of having abused the senses of the astral body.
Despite the fact that we have made our internal bodies sick, depleted of spiritual force, there is a way to restore such powers to their normal functionalism and capacities. We do so through pronouncing the mantra Egipto for one hour daily.
We have included an image of the pyramids of Giza topped by an illuminated figure at their apex. This represents the illuminated powers of the astral body, which grants any initiate access to heavenly states of consciousness.
Some contemporary anthropologists have questioned the age, utility, and purpose of these pyramids. Some have argued that the pyramids, rather than serve as a catacomb for dead kings, instead were conduits for spiritual forces. These buildings were meant to channel energy conducive for the psychological and spiritual elevation of the local Egyptians, whose culture once resonated with and reflected higher principles.
Each corner of any pyramid represents the solar bodies: the physical, vital, astral, and mental vehicles. The apex can represent, much like in the American dollar bill, the divine eye of omniscience and mystical perception. It also can relate to the human consciousness or causal vehicle that has dominated the lower aspects of our psychology.
This mantra is a primer for our psychic machinery, the spiritual engines of our chakras. By pronouncing this mantra for one hour a day, minimum, the chakras of our astral body activate and operate in an optimal manner. In this way, like the pyramids, we charge ourselves with tremendous power and teach our astral body how to be a useful instrument for our inner divinity.
The mantra is pronounced like this:
Samael Aun Weor explained the significance of this mantra in The Seven Words, which was published in the book entitled The Divine Science:
Our disciples must acquire the power of astral body projection. This power is acquired by vocalizing daily for an hour the sacred mantra Egipto. The vowel “E” makes the thyroid gland vibrate and grants the initiate the power of the occult ear. The “G” awakens the chakra of the liver, and when this chakra has reached its full development, then, the initiate can enter and leave the physical body any time at will. The vowel “I,” combined with the letter “P,” develops clairvoyance in the initiate, and the power to depart in the astral body through the window of Brahma, which is the pineal gland. Pronounce the letter “T” with force over the vowel “O, “ which is intimately related with the chakra of the heart; this is how the initiate can acquire the power to project the self through this plexus and thus travel in his astral body. —Samael Aun Weor, The Divine Science: The Seven Words
Fe Uin Dagj
Another mantra for awakening our lost astral powers is Fe Uin Dagj (it’s quite an unusual series of sounds, especially for Westerners). Arnold Krumm-Heller (Master Huiracocha) stated in his book Esoteric Rose that this mantra is of Egyptian origin.
Many chakras exist in our internal bodies. While we speak of seven primary ones, we also have other important chakras in our liver and spleen that regulate our vital currency or energetic values, which must be conserved and consciously utilized to achieve astral projections.
Here is what Samael Aun Weor said about this:
During the night, the splenic chakra gathers the energies left by the sun during the day. With those energies, the splenic chakra transmutes the white blood cells into red blood cells. During the day, the organic refuse obstructs the nervous canals of the grand sympathetic nervous system. During sleep, the vital energy makes that chakra spin, and this chakra uses the energy of the sun which passes into the spleen in order to transmute the white blood cells into red blood cells. Then the energy passes to the solar plexus and is distributed into the whole nervous system. The thyroid gland cooperates by disinfecting the whole organism. It is clear that when the ego (lunar astral) returns into the organism after sleep, it is already repaired, and we feel healthier. When one awakes tired, it is because the organism is sick.
Also, he says elsewhere that:
The mantra Fe Uin Dagj (the last word pronounced gutturally) serves to awaken all the chakras of the astral body. —Samael Aun Weor, Practical Astrology: Manual of Practical Magic
The pronunciation, especially with the guttural “G,” is in the back of the throat, like a prolonged “Gugh.”
Sing this mantra in the musical note Mi of the musical scale: Do Re Mi Fa Sol La Si.
Therefore, we can find the right note by singing, then pronouncing the mantra like this:
Do… Re… Mi…
This mantra enlivens our chakras. But remember that the proper functioning of our chakras is deeply connected with our physical health. This exercise purifies our spleen, liver, and abdomen, since the vibrations of the mantra invigorate our glands to work with greater intensity, efficacy, and wisdom. When our glands work optimally, our mental and spiritual health is also sustained, since our hormones, digestion, and lymphatic system intimately relate to the purity of our consciousness.
We will now discuss the mantra Ephraim.
In Genesis, Joseph had two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. Manasseh was the first born and Ephraim was the second born son. They were both adopted by Joseph’s father Jacob to share in Jacob’s inheritance. However, rather than bequeath the first-born Manasseh his inheritance, Jacob honored Ephraim, the youngest. Jacob placed his right hand upon Ephraim and his left upon Manasseh, Joseph’s first born. This act displeased Joseph, since this blessing symbolized how the first born would be second in patrilineal succession, an act that went against custom and tradition.
The Bible is a symbolic text, not just a literal retelling of history. Manasseh and Ephraim are mantras for the astral body, the former being inferior and the latter being superior. Manasseh symbolizes the lunar astral body, which is developed by black magicians, and Ephraim represents the superior qualities of the solar astral body, which is developed by white magicians.
Just as both brothers contend for Jacob’s favor, in the same manner our defects and virtues strive for primacy within our consciousness. Most of us incline, psychologically, towards the ego, represented by Manasseh. He is the first-born, which represents how our psychological center of gravity is within the ego. However, the Essence—fully developed in Jacob—always favors Ephraim (the superior astral forces), even though he is younger and less experienced (in that these energies are less developed in us).
Those powers are “of the stars,” signified by the term astra or astral. The Hebrew name אפרים Ephraim is also associated with “being fruitful” in Egypt, the land of affliction, since the mantra Ephraim makes our astral body fertile with heavenly forces.
It’s important to understand how the Bible is replete with sacred geography, which have a symbolic rather than a literal designation. Rather than exclusively represent physical places, they actually reference spiritual states and the multidimensionality of our universe. This is because divinity communicates through an abstract, symbolic language, which is often contemporaneous to any initiate’s cultural setting and idiosyncrasies. Therefore, the symbols that Moses received were documented in the Torah, using the names, language, and locations of his time. Likewise with any sacred writing. God speaks to certain initiates in a way that is understandable to them. Therefore, spiritual knowledge is always clothed in the garb of the times, so that such wisdom becomes accessible.
Egypt often represents our physical world where we live enslaved to mechanicity and suffering. To escape pain, we learn to ascend Mount Ephraim, a symbol of elevating our consciousness to superior states as outlined in the Tree of Life. We do so by making our consciousness fertile, to vibrate with divine power.
Ephraim is also considered an Egyptian mantra because this exercise, like many in the Gnostic tradition of Samael Aun Weor, transforms the fertility, potency, or virility of our physical body and elevates it to spiritual use. Mastering and directing our creative energy helps to liberate us from suffering, from slavery, which is what the mantra Ephraim does.
We will not elaborate upon using Manasseh as a mantra, because it is negative. We will explain how to work with the powerful mantra Ephraim instead.
This mantra activates all of our chakras and invokes the Cosmic Christ within our interior. This mantra is pronounced like this:
Here is what Samael Aun Weor said about this mantra in The Seven Words:
All the occult powers of the astral body enter into activity with this powerful Egyptian mantra.
The Microcosmic Star
We perform the microcosmic star before laying down to astral project, especially before vocalizing the Egyptian mantra Fa Ra On. Before we explain the next mantra, let us examine what the microcosmic star is.
It is a symbol of the perfected human being, made into the psychological and spiritual image of divinity. The upright apex represents the head, which should be above the rest of the body. This signifies that our spiritual understanding is in command of our other faculties, and not the other way around.
The inverted pentagram, with the apex facing down and the legs up, is negative, because one’s reason is governed by animal instinct. This represents how the soul falls downward into negative states.
We perform these movements to align our mind, heart, body, and soul with the divine. This exercise helps us to get into the right mood for astral projection, but also any spiritual practice. It is a form of spiritual protection against internal and external negativity. The gestures of the microcosmic star symbolize the descent of spiritual force into our inner universe. Movement is sacred, which is why Catholics genuflect with the sign of the cross, Muslims kneel and bow in submission to God, and Jews shuckle (sway back and forth) when reciting prayers.
Begin with your hands over your heart, the right hand over the left. This is the same posture as the Egyptian pharaohs praying to the solar deities, to the creative divine.
Next, join your palms together over your head. Then separate and lower them downward, so that your fingers touch your shoulders. Afterward, extend them to your sides. Next, lower your hands over your sexual organs. The right hand should be over the left.
Divine influences descend into the matter of our body and eventually synthesize in our sexual energy. Our hands form the cross over our sexual glands, representing the union of spiritual forces within us. The cross is also a sexual symbol, a representation of alchemy (as described in our other courses). When our right hand covers the left, it means we enact divine will to dominate our animal impulses.
We transform the sexual potential into a spiritual force through transmutation exercises. This is especially represented when we inhale and raise our hands. Hold them over your heart, the right hand over the left. Your palms should rest on your chest and your forearms should be crossed, right over left, with your fingertips reaching to the front of your shoulders.
This indicates that we have elevated the creative energy into our heart, thereby strengthening our spirituality. Breath is deeply related with transmutation and prayer, since through rhythmic and profound inhalations, we channel our sexual force and transform it into a source of spiritual empowerment.
Fa Ra On
Perform the microcosmic star whenever you feel the need. But also, perform it before you practice the mantra Fa Ra On.
This mantra is intimately associated with the mysticism of Egypt, since Fa Ra On syllabically and symbolically equates with the solar dynasties, the pharaohs or sacred kings of the Nile.
It is important to remember that Egyptian, Aztec, and Mayan mysticism share Atlantean roots, since their pyramids, religions, and cultures originated from the same wisdom. You can see that a lot of mystical knowledge came from Egypt, evidenced by the mantras Egipto, Ephraim, and Fa Ra On. Such mantras are passcodes for entering spiritual states and dimensions. You can even astral project and approach the pyramids of Giza in the superior worlds, since a marvelous temple of mysteries is active there within the astral world.
If you wish to visit this temple in the astral world, first lie down in the same position as the Aztec and Mayan sculpture of Chac Mool. This figure was described by Samael Aun Weor in Aztec Christic Magic:
In the Museum of Anthropology and History in Mexico City there exists a stone figure of a man who is partially lying down in a dorsal decubitus position. The soles of his feet rest on his bed; thus his knees are elevated. The backs of his thighs are pressed up against the backs of his calves because his legs are bent. His upper body is arched as if he may get up at his first impulse; his face is towards the left and his sight is fixed on the horizon. At the height of his solar plexus his hands hold a container. —Samael Aun Weor, Aztec Christic Magic
Chac Moon is significant. He is the god of rain, holding a receptacle at his solar plexus. This is a symbol of the abdominal chakra, which receives and stores divine, solar energy from our spiritual practices. This collection of energetic potential is like a cup that accumulates the dew of heaven, the rain of transmutation.
It is this reservoir of energy that helps one to astral project. If you deplete your energies throughout the day, emotionally, psychologically, and especially vitally, then you will not have the energy necessary to activate the consciousness.
However, saving energy is not enough. We must consciously utilize it. We do so through imitating the posture of this Aztec god. For this, our knees must be bent like the pyramids, whether of South America or Egypt. Our solar plexus receives the power of our solar divinity in the same manner as the pyramids transmit tremendous spiritual potential, which is why our knees must be bent in imitation of this fact.
When performing this practice, you can rest your hands over your solar plexus and prop your head up with a pillow. However, Samael Aun Weor also describes placing one’s hands to the sides if that is more comfortable.
What is also significant about Samael Aun Weor’s description of Chac Mool is the fact that he faces the left, his body is arched and ready to move “at his first impulse,” and “his sight is fixed on the horizon.”
The left side of the body signifies the lunar energies we seek to dominate within our interior. We represent this fact by laying our face on its left side during this exercise.
We must also be ready, through this practice, to get up in our astral body after we have consciously transitioned, thereby demonstrating Chac Mool’s alert and responsive state. These qualities are essential when distinguishing the time to transition and act through the astral body.
Lastly, Chac Mool stares at the horizon, a symbol of how the consciousness aspires towards the height of spiritual attainment. We do so through remembering the presence of divinity.
While in the Chac Mool position, concentrate upon and visualize the pyramids of Giza in your imagination. See it with as much color, vibrancy, and clarity as you can. Do not let your mind get distracted by thought. Become drowsy while pronouncing the mantra Fa Ra On.
Fa Ra On helps us to resonate with the cosmos. As Samael Aun Weor stated:
When this mantra is vocalized is must be divided into three syllables. The first is “FA,” which is the note that resounds in all of nature. The second is the Egyptian “RA.” The third is the “ON,” which reminds us of the famous Sanskrit mantra OM from India. —Samael Aun Weor, The Major Mysteries
The mantra sounds like this:
Vocalize the mantra aloud at first, perhaps for fifteen or twenty minutes. Then whisper it for the same length of time. Finally, pronounce it mentally as you fall asleep.
The Mantra Rusti
Here we see an image a meditation mural, common amongst many Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and temples. It represents the top of the nine stages of meditative concentration. It is a map of the different degrees of serenity, from a wild, distracted mind to a disciplined and tranquil mind.
As we explained previously, conscious astral projections are facilitated through serenity and concentration. We can deepen our serenity and concentration through pronouncing the mantra Rusti. Samael Aun Weor provided this exercise in relation to the zodiacal sign of Gemini, the astrological sign of the twins. They represent the two pillars of any temple of mysteries, since balance is achieved through serene reconciliation of opposites. When the mind is no longer afflicted by dualistic notions, it learns to perceive reality with penetrative insight and discovers how to open the doors to the higher worlds.
Some people become terrified by the idea of astral projection even though they unconsciously enact it every time they sleep. The mantra Rusti can help overcome that fear, to develop comprehension of the astral projection process. The mantra is pronounced like this:
Astral projection is natural. All living beings do it every time they sleep. When you pronounce this mantra, first aloud, then whispered, and lastly in the mind, you will become drowsy. Thereafter, get up out of bed. Do not imagine it. Actually do it. With enough practice, you will find that you have transitioned, seemingly without knowing how or when. Patience is the key.
Tai Re Re Re
The next mantra is Tai Re Re Re. It causes us to resonate with exceptional energetic vibrations. Like this image of a hummingbird, this mantra accelerates our consciousness into higher states, so that we rise like a bird to fly within the superior worlds.
The mantra Tai is chanted with strength, accentuating the vowel A. Chant the syllable Tai with a deep tone.
The remaining three syllables are pronounced like the ringing of a melodious and prolonged bell. In this exercise you do not need to roll the R. Simply pronounce it, giving unto the vowel E (as in “red”) a song-like quality. Sing the syllable Re three times in a higher tone than Tai.
Here is what the mantra sounds like:
With enough practice, you will transition into a drowsy state of equanimity, balanced between wakefulness and sleep. The student will rise from bed without hesitation, doubt, laziness, or reasoning. This is an instinctive, automatic process that does not require thinking. One must adopt the attitude of a child: inquisitive, alert, spontaneous. Birds don’t reason. They do not harbor doubts, nor entertain preconceptions. They simply fly away, naturally, instinctively, automatically. In the same manner, one must imitate the birds through this mantra, rising from bed to depart within the astral world towards any place of the cosmos.
The Anahat Sound of the Cricket
So what is the Anahat sound of the cricket?
Every existing thing is in perpetual motion, from the universal and the planetary level, down to the cellular, the molecular, and the atomic. Wherever there is movement, there is sound, even when it is not readily perceptible to our limited senses. Likewise, wherever there is movement, there is energy, since all action and activity requires the emergence, subsistence, and cessation of force.
Our physical brain also vibrates with energies and forces. Just because we don’t perceive them in our waking state doesn’t mean they don’t exist. One such vibration is the Anahat sound. It is a vibrational keynote that characterizes our physical brain.
All existing things are permeated by the spiritual power of sound, since every independent entity enacts a specific vibrational character. The combination and synthesis of such disparate notes make up a fundamental tone or keynote.
All the cells of our physical brain produce the harmonious keynote known as the Anahat sound, otherwise known as the “still small voice” that Elijah heard in a mountain cave (see 1 Kings 19:11-13 in the Bible). This sound is similar to the chirping of a cricket, which is accompanied by an electrical current of tremendous force.
This is why in the story of Pinocchio, Jiminy Cricket, which is southern slang for “Jesus Christ,” is the wooden puppet’s guide. The still small voice that Elijah heard in the cave is also associated with the voice of Christ within the soul.
Concentrating and meditating upon this mystical sound will unlock the entrance of the internal worlds. However, to hear it one must disassociate from all distractions, thoughts, preoccupations, memories, worries, problems. One must become absorbed within this sound, which is similar to a chirping cricket or the hissing of a serpent. Become like the bee that labors with love within the pollen of a flower, so as to transform that substance into divine nectar.
Quiet the mind. Do not repress it. Do not stifle, gag, or choke it. It is essential not to treat the mind with violence. Tranquility is not found through suffocating thought. We experience equanimity through serene observation of our states, not identifying with any thought. Let the mind settle by looking at it. Do not invest your energy into thinking. Let it be. If you learn how to listen with clarity and spontaneity, when you no longer let yourself get carried away by mental chatter, no longer anticipating what might happen, remaining unattached, you can begin to perceive these mystical sounds directly.
You can also acquire a cricket and keep it in a cage near your bedside. While falling asleep, concentrate and meditate upon the sound of the cricket. With enough discipline, attention, and consistency, your brain will start to vibrate with the cricket’s chirping, thereby expanding your own awareness of the Anahat sound. Allow your consciousness to vibrate with it. If your concentration is profound, these vibrations will produce the separation of the astral body with your physical body. Then you are free to travel to any place you wish in the astral world.
The next mantra, La Ra, is associated with the Caduceus of Mercury. This medical symbol has ancient roots, relating to the spiritual science of alchemical transmutation. The alchemical tradition is symbolic, representing the transformation of base metals (our terrestrial personality) into the gold of divine wisdom.
The staff is a spiritual symbol of the spinal column, whereby two serpents of power entwine. These serpents represent energetic channels where sexual energy rises to the mind, thereby blossoming, upon our backs, the wings of genuine spirituality.
One serpentine channel is composed of lunar forces and the other with solar forces. Sometimes esoteric authors refer to these forces as spiritual atomic intelligences, which are not atoms as we think of in conventional physics, but internal principles and potentials. These potencies originate from our sexual gonads, the testicles or ovaries, and can rise up the spine through their respective conduits to illuminate the mind. Such energies, elevated through spiritual practices, aid us in achieving conscious astral projections. One way is through the mantra La Ra.
Here is what Samael Aun Weor said about this:
The sexual energy is bipolarized into positive and negative. The solar atoms from our seminal system ascend through the right ganglionic cord, which entwines around the spinal medulla. Likewise, the lunar atoms from the seminal system ascend through the left ganglionic cord, which entwines around the spinal medulla.
Here is how we pronounce the mantra La Ra:
Through activating our sexual potential through these mantras, we in turn awaken the power of the two witnesses, the Caduceus of Mercury, which opens the door to internal, spiritual perceptions
The Mantra S
Another way to produce conscious astral projections is to pronounce the mantra S. This letter activates and transmutes the sexual energy, allowing one to resound with the still small voice within the brain. Some people pronounce the mantra S on its own to achieve conscious astral projections. Some have combined the mantra La Ra with S, as follows:
The mantra La can signify the element earth and the mantra Ra can signify the element fire. When you combine the syllables La, Ra, and S together, Ra becomes Ras, or the Hebrew ראש Rosh (or ר Reish, א Aleph, and ש Shin), which means “head.” These mantras raise the solar fire of our sexual energy (Ra) to the head, from our physical body or earth (La), to ראש Rosh. The letter S sounds like the hissing of a snake, which also represents the element of fire. The mantras La Ra S or just S can provide powerful results if practiced with dedication and consistency.
The Mantra O
A simple but effective way to develop internal illumination, the capacity to consciously travel in the fifth dimension, is to vocalize the mantra O.
This mantra is often recited within Hinduism and Buddhism. It has tremendous potential for awakening consciousness. As we mentioned before, many people suffer because they can’t consciously experience the astral dimension, even after many years of study and practice. There is, however, a remedy. Vocalize the mantra O for the development of the cardiac chakra.
As with other astral projection mantras, you vocalize the vowel O and immerse yourself within its vibration, energy, and sound. This exercise empowers the heart chakra, which grants the student the ability to project and travel within the astral world. For millennia, yogis have utilized this mantra to experience divinity and awaken intuition: the capacity to know without having to think. We’ve already mentioned how too much intellectual activity depletes us of energy, creates imbalances, and impedes the realizations of the heart. While the intellect is needed, balance is necessary, especially for Westerners whose intellectual pursuits predominate other activities. Conscious vocalization of the mantra O can aid in the restoration of our lost astral faculties.
You also pronounce the vowel O while falling asleep, prolonged and pronounced like this:
You might suddenly find yourself transitioning into the astral world through the heart chakra. People often report coming out of their bodies through the heart with this exercise. It is very effective, especially when you charge your heart chakra through an hour-long vocalization each day. This mantra reinvigorates the powers of the heart.
Tips for Astral Projection
Here is some practical advice for performing any of these exercises.
Practice an astral projection mantra consistently. If you select a mantra, don’t practice it sporadically. Perform it every night before you fall asleep. These exercises work when we are consistent. Just as you would brush your teeth as part of a healthy, hygienic routine, likewise you should vocalize a mantra every night you go to sleep without expecting results.
It is good to select a mantra to work with in accordance with your needs, intuition, and inspiration. Practice whatever mantra inspires you most. If you lack inspiration to use a particular mantra, then try another. However, whatever you select, be sure to stick with it for a prolonged period of time if you want results. Some people stick to a mantra for many years before getting results. Therefore, we should not expect immediate results from little practice. It takes dedication and effort.
Do not change mantras during your practice. If you lie down to pronounce a mantra, don’t switch it up in the middle of your practice. Whatever mantra you start with, dedicate yourself to it fully. This is because each mantra trains your concentration, which will not become integrated and strong if your attention is dispersed among different practices during the same session.
Vocalize a mantra aloud, gradually softening to a whisper, and then pronounce it internally. This general sequence helps us to initiate, sustain, and complete a practice. Vocal recitations help us get situated in the practice, since we are using our lungs and speech to concentrate and begin the exercise. You can vocalize for ten to fifteen minutes if you like. Then you can whisper the mantra as you get drowsy. Do so for another ten to fifteen minutes. Finally, recite the mantra in your mind, your being, silently as you go to sleep. This gradual abbreviation of sound, from vocal to silent recitation, helps us go from the body into our internal worlds.
Also, be sure to completely relax and concentrate upon the mantra. You cannot go to sleep and astral project if you’re tense. You also cannot concentrate effectively if your mind is chaotic and strained. Relaxation is essential. To relax, vocalize the mantra and dedicate your entire being to it. Do nothing else. Do not even think of a problem. Eventually you will calm down and start to become drowsy. The key is to not lose your attention as you become sleepy. This is why we must hold onto the mantra as we fall asleep, because otherwise we drift and get lost within dreams. Any astral projection mantra gives us a foothold into the internal worlds, so that we can eventually transition with awareness and intentionality.
Remember to practice astral projection whenever you sleep. This tip is simple: you cannot get results if you forget to practice every night.
Lastly, do not pretend or imagine getting up from bed. Actually do it when you feel you have detached from your physical body. As we mentioned earlier, some people think that astral projection is an imaginary exercise, that you do it in your mind. The kama rupa or astral body is material. You operate in it just as you do with your physical body, although with less restrictions on your activities. Therefore, translate your movements into facts. When you feel that you’ve transitioned, get up from bed and perform a quick reality check. Jump in the air. If you float, it’s because you’re in the astral world. If you don’t, come back to bed to reinitiate the practice. Keep practicing each day until you get results.
Throughout the day, develop self-observation.
Each day, for at least 10-20 minutes, develop meditative concentration through visualization of an image.
Select an astral projection mantra and work with it every time you go to sleep.
Lastly, continue your spiritual diary.
If you have any questions, you are free to ask them.
Questions and Answers
Question: How important is it to lay down with the head toward the north for astral projection?
Instructor: For those who are not familiar, Samael Aun Weor mentions in a bunch of writings of his that you can facilitate astral projections with greater frequency and sustainability by falling asleep with your head facing the north. This is because northern magnetism has a profound effect on astral projections. This is something we are going to talk about in a future lecture, but I will explain some of that detail here.
It is not necessary that you place your head toward the north to be successful with astral projections. What it does is increase the likelihood. So if it is possible in your room or your bedroom, your home, to place your bed with the head facing the north, that will be very helpful and conducive for your practices. If you can’t for whatever reason, whatever your living conditions are, that is not fundamental. But it is an additional help that can benefit us.
It is because the magnetism of the Earth acts upon the astral body. We know that the northern climate tends to be more cold, particularly in relation to how the forces of the Earth magnetize. Some esoteric authors have attributed colder weather to spiritual states, such as Friedrich Nietzsche in his Thus Spoke Zarathustra where he explains that by climbing the mountain, he always felt rejuvenated. He utilized mountain symbology and geography to correlate with the experience of higher states. In the same way, the magnetism of the Earth helps to activate certain astral potentials.
Since the astral body is fluidic and dynamic in nature, it responds readily to energy and magnetism. If you want to help facilitate astral projection practice, laying down with your head to the north can help with that. There is a deep correlation with that. But if you cannot, it is not going to be the end of the world. Yet it would be very useful.
Question: Is it possible to listen to an audio recording of a cricket for the still small voice practice?
Instructor: You can listen to the audio recording, but it is not going to create the vibrational equivalent of the real thing. The thing with this type of sound is that it acts upon the magnetism of the brain and the body. You need a physical cricket if you want to work with this, because the actual vibration of the sound has a much more profound and penetrative effect on the physical brain.
The sound actually enters the ears and affects the brain directly, and therefore strikes at the consciousness. You need an actual cricket to do this, not an artificial recording. An audio recording is synthetic, digital, and doesn’t produce the same vibrational output. This is why it is always good to go to classical music concerts. I know we talked in previous courses about the effects of classical music upon the psyche. It is good to listen to recordings, but nothing can replace the actual live performance because the vibrations of those instruments act upon the soul.
In the same way, the cricket has the potential to work upon the mind if we actually have the physical creature there to do the work.
Question: Do these practices work for a person who has experienced emotional pain? I currently meditate and am getting used to calming my mind and body. I am also trying to stay in the present moment.
Instructor: Yes, these practices work for anyone. They are universal in the same way that speech is universal to all human beings, the capacity to articulate thought. In the same way these mantras belong to the divine, golden, luminous language of the angels, of the prophets.
Obviously, it is difficult for a person who has an emotional illness or is suffering from depression, from negative emotions, from anger, from resentment, or from problems of the heart, to access a deeper state of serenity. We have mentioned in the previous lectures how serenity and visualization are essential in order to achieve conscious astral projections with frequency and sustainability. While it is an obstacle and a hurdle to overcome when dealing with emotional pain, there are remedies to help alleviate suffering and to develop equanimity in the heart, so that the heart, aligned with the mind with its capacity for imagination, can open the doors to the superior worlds.
These mantras are very helpful for calming the mind and the heart especially when you practice with them every night while falling asleep.
We do also have another practice in our tradition in order to deal with emotional pain. It is called the magic of the roses. You can find it on Glorian Publishing’s website and we’ve referenced it a couple times on our website as well.
The magic of the roses can help to deal with emotional and spiritual trauma. That, combined with the mantras, can help us gain really profound results. So don’t lose hope, because these practices work. What matters is that we are consistent with them.
Question: What is the first, best thing to do when we awake in the astral plane?
Instructor: It depends. Actually I am planning towards the end of this course to give a whole lecture on that. What do you do when you navigate the internal worlds? What do you do there? We kind of hinted at some of those things in the first lecture of this course (called Fact and Fiction).
I’d say listen to your heart, your intuition. Your soul will tell you what to do. The mind will deliberate and perhaps hesitate, vacillate, wander, but if you are very in tune with your sentiments when you are actually there, when you are conscious, many times you will know what to do without having to think. It is instinctive. It is not an animal instinct. It is actually more of an automatic, spontaneous impulse from the soul. It is very different from animal instinct, but it is, in a sense, automatic. Sometimes when you awake in the astral plane you can simply know what you got to do.
For some people it might be, in accordance with their dedication and practice, to visit a temple, to visit the white lodges, to go to pyramids of Giza, and enter, if possible, the threshold of that divine sanctuary, that temple of light.
Others might require an answer to a difficult spiritual problem, and therefore they invoke their inner God, their Being, to teach them what they need to know.
Some might wake up in the astral plane and wish to investigate a particular issue, maybe the past life of a prophet, or even their own particular past existences.
It is going to depend. There really isn’t a best thing for every person to do, but there are many things that you can do, and that depends upon your own inclinations, the inquietudes of your heart, and most of all, the inspiration in the moment.
Obviously, if you are practicing astral projection, it is because you want to visit, like with the mantra Fa Ra On, to the temples or pyramids of Giza. Then you have a specific, consistent, and established goal that is inspiring you to want to practice in the first place. So again follow your heart. Follow your intuition. The mind is the donkey that is awkward and flounders and stumbles. But if you listen to your heart, you will know what to do.
Question: When performing mantras, is it OK to raise the pitch from the usual low tone? Sometimes the lower tones dry or affect my capability to perform the mantra for so long.
Instructor: Yeah, I mean, you have the gauge your lungs and vocal cords when you pronounce these mantras. I have heard mantras from many different instructors and even pronounced by Samael Aun Weor, which are varied, different.
Certain mantras have very specific tones to pronounce such as Fe Uin Dagj, right? Samael Aun Weor specified that that mantra is pronounced in the musical note Mi. But he doesn’t really give other types of specifics such as the particular note on the musical scale that you have to perform.
There are generalities that are important to remember. Every person is going to be a little different. Obviously, our vocal capacities are unique and if you need to accommodate your lungs and your vocal cords by adjusting yourself when you pronounce these mantras, like raising your pitch from a lower tone, that’s fine.
It comes to my mind the mantra Tai Re Re Re as we pronounced it. If you’re listening to my example, I always have a deeper voice, so I am going to pronounce it in accordance with my own range. So you have to gauge and judge your own vocal cords when you pronounce these mantras. Some people who listen to other instructors or even such as in Tibetan Buddhist chants, try to imitate very deep voices, very deep tones that are not natural to their capacities, and that can actually harm the vocal cords. It is better that you pronounce in the range that is natural to you, and you only gauge that through practice.
So, it is good to keep in mind how the mantras were described in our tradition and to follow them accordingly. But there is going to be a little bit of leeway and play when you are actually performing them, to see how they actually work in your own circumstances.
OK! I thank you all for coming. This recording will be available online so that you can also study these pronunciations on your own time and I appreciate the turn out! It is a nice day here in Chicago, and hopefully the weather is bright and wonderful where you are at. So I thank you very much!
Today’s lecture is entitled “How and Why Do We Astral Project?” We have spent a lot of time discussing the preliminaries: the causes and expressions of dreams within our daily lives. Without an understanding of how our psyche functions (or malfunctions), it is impossible to consciously astral project at will.
You might practice what we present today, but without a thorough understanding of the psyche, your results will be sporadic and inconsistent at best. We suggest that if you are new to this series, that you take the time to study and reflect upon the previous lectures, since this course is structured in such a way that you can gain the necessary tools and understanding by which to make conscious astral projections a sustained reality.
Why Learn Astral Projection?
So why learn astral projection?
A lot of people approach dream yoga, astral projection, lucid dreams, or out-of-body experiences due to an innate curiosity. Some seek the supernatural, the spectacular, or the sensational: the ability to fly, levitate, teleport, or pass through walls in the astral world. Truly, such possibilities inspire many to approach the study of dreams, which is the doorway to genuine mysticism and religion.
However, many students do not realize that astral powers are just a tool. They are not an end. There is really a deeper objective than merely flying around or spying on one’s neighbor. Some have wanted to experiment and find material, physical proof of astral travel. However, this discipline is not about convincing skeptics. While some individuals have worked hard to scientifically demonstrate its reality to a larger public, the true depth of astral travel is personal and experiential.
Its beauty and mystery cannot be communicated by another, although the great prophets and luminaries who founded religions all expressed the same truths in the scriptures. The truth is that astral travel can only be verified by you, through your own work, since it directly relates to the quality and capacities of your consciousness.
The astral vehicle has many faculties that can help us find solutions to difficult spiritual problems. One can investigate the inner worlds to extract wisdom about how to live in one’s daily life. When we leave the physical body behind and enter the astral dimension, we have access to a type of knowledge that is truly transcendental. Beyond the limitations of the flesh, we can obtain objective knowledge that is not limited to any particular time, language, or place. Instead, our consciousness intuits and speaks a universal language, known through the divine archetypes or symbols of dreams.
Such astral experiences are truly esoteric or occult. While these two terms have a negative connotation within mainstream culture, they simply refer to knowledge hidden from and inaccessible to our ordinary senses. However, they are perceivable and comprehendible through the awakened consciousness.
The body of spiritual literature we possess, whether from religions or spiritual authors, are merely an introduction and not a conclusion. This is because mystical knowledge can only be known through experience. Therefore, the author M. of The Dayspring of Youth wrote:
This work is but a slight introduction to an unlimited science... —Morya, The Dayspring of Youth
Samael Aun Weor corroborates the former statement:
Occult science is studied in the internal worlds; therefore, the one who does not know how to be willingly projected in astral body does not know occultism. —Samael Aun Weor, The Major Mysteries
As we have explained in the previous six lectures, we need to cease dreaming and awaken consciousness. However, there are degrees to this. Just as you find more skilled, practiced, and experienced people within all disciplines, the same occurs with astral travel.
Samael Aun Weor also wrote:
It is necessary for the dreamer to awaken within the internal worlds before converting himself into a competent investigator in the superior worlds. —Samael Aun Weor, Sexology: The Basis of Endocrinology and Criminology
By activating and training our consciousness, we can become familiar with the laws of the internal dimensions. However, you will only gain skill in navigating the internal worlds by first being aware of them. Some temporary experiences are not enough. One must sustain such states through practice.
Reasons to Astral Travel
There are great reasons to learn astral travel. One of them, which we previously discussed, is visiting the temples of the White Lodge. This is any order of divine beings, masters, prophets, or initiates who have perfected or are perfecting themselves spiritually.
“Whiteness” signifies the spiritual purity of the consciousness and has nothing to do with race. Many masters from all races constitute the White Lodges, including the Gnostic Church.
While many Gnostic Churches, lumisials, or temples of light exist in the physical world, the real Gnostic Church is in the internal worlds. There one can personally speak with awakened masters, luminaries, Christs, without any intermediary. This is why Samael Aun Weor wrote:
Our disciples should learn to project themselves in the astral body in order to visit all the White Lodges of the world. In the Gnostic Church, all our disciples will be able to receive inner instructions. —Samael Aun Weor, Practical Astrology: The Manual of Practical Magic
While we might deeply value the insights of physical Gnostic instructors or missionaries, such knowledge and assistance is insufficient. This is due to the fact that even effective instructors have limitations, either in relation to their capacities or their lived experience of the teachings. Also, some students seek guidance about deeply personal issues that is not even appropriate for missionaries or instructors to solve. Teachers have their place and role in the work, but not to tell students what to do in their personal lives. That power lies only within the Innermost Being or divinity. The most that a physical instructor can do is teach the student how to investigate solutions within.
Inner instructions are communicated to us by divinity, who is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent. Such instruction is personal and profound, conveyed through abstract dream symbols and spiritual experiences. They are direct representations of how to succeed in the secret path of initiation. This is the process whereby we spiritually develop, overcome inner obstacles, and transform our suffering for the benefit of others.
The one who provides such powerful guidance is God. Individuals are liable to make mistakes, yet divinity is infallible. Therefore, it is important to consider the contexts of physical groups and why we should train in astral travel.
The most secure guidance you can receive about difficult issues is within, from your Being. While physical groups can benefit us, the real transformations occur when we are in direct contact with the Gnostic Church of the higher worlds. In this case, the only obstacle to interpretation and insight we face is our own mind. Otherwise, we risk becoming confused by relying on people who may not be objective.
Why Do We Astral Project When We Sleep?
Many do not recognize how common astral projection is. Due to conflicting testimonies, theories, or embellishments, there have arisen mistaken concepts within the popular imagination regarding the nature and frequency of astral projection.
Many think that astral projection is for the few. However, just as our heart beats and our lungs breathe without our awareness, likewise we unconsciously enter the astral dimension every time we sleep.
Astral projection is a natural part of life. Without it, the human machine would not be able to recharge or revitalize itself.
When the body goes to sleep, the consciousness and the ego depart through astral projection. In the same manner that you drive to a gas station and step out to refill your vehicle, the Essence, bottled up within the different egos, detach from the five centers of the human machine and enter the internal worlds during sleep, so that our physical body can recharge.
Many people report hearing a cacophony of voices when falling asleep, random remnants of conversations, memories, moments, and recollections. These are the voices of our different egos which are separating from the five centers of the human machine. This occurs every time we go to sleep, whether we are aware of it or not.
It is important for our psychological values to astral project every time we go to bed. In the same manner that you cannot drive a car without fuel, likewise the physical body needs rest and recharging in order to function. Astral projection allows the vital body, which is an energetic vehicle, to restore life and energy to our physicality. The vital body penetrates every atom of our physical body but becomes more active at night when we rest.
We would not have life without the vital body, known as יסוד Yesod in Hebrew, “the Foundation” of our spiritual life in Kabbalah. This body attracts solar energy into our five centers and revitalizes them so that, once we get back into our physical body, we can operate in it again.
This is why Samael Aun Weor wrote:
During the hours of ordinary sleep, the internal man, dressed in his astral body, leaves his physical form so that the ethereal body can repair the physical body. […] Thus, this is how after sleep, our physical body is completely repaired for the new activities of the internal ego. —Samael Aun Weor, Igneous Rose
Therefore, everyone astral projects. However, people who suffer from insomnia are an exception. They cannot enter the astral dimension regularly because they do not sleep. Therefore they suffer tremendous fatigue and illness because they cannot naturally recharge through the vital body, lacking the necessary fuel to optimally operate the human machine.
Who Can Astral Project?
Some people think astral projection is dangerous. But as we’ve demonstrated, this is a lie. We astral project every time we sleep, to recharge our batteries, so to speak. Our consciousness returns every time we awake in bed. Therefore, everyone does it. What happens is that most people are not conscious of the process, in just the same way that we lack cognizance of our heart beating and lungs breathing.
Here is what Samael Aun Weor had to say about this topic:
Indeed, projecting the astral body is not dangerous, because every human being projects the astral body during the hours of normal sleep. Unfortunately, all human beings project themselves in their astral body with their consciousness asleep.
Unfortunately, very mistaken people have spread propaganda against astral projection due to lacking an awakened consciousness. Those who have awakened consciousness know and have experienced this reality for themselves. Therefore they do not rely on any beliefs, either from others or within themselves. They simply know.
Do Not Confine Yourself
To know how to consciously astral project takes practice and experience. What we want is to transform an unconscious activity into a conscious one. For this we need practice and discipline, not theories.
It’s important to neither doubt nor believe in this discipline, but to experiment and know. One must test these principles with dispassion, just as a scientist has a hypothesis that he or she wants to explore through testing its principles.
The point is to neither affirm nor deny what we don’t know. However, most students either fall into the extreme of intense excitement or outright skepticism. Intense emotions actually block us from consciously accessing the internal worlds. What’s necessary is a middle ground: to have spiritual enthusiasm and inspiration without agitation or attachment. Success comes when we neither expect results nor rigidly refute their possibilities.
Skeptics reject these studies altogether due to doubt and pessimism. They might practice a few times and get no results. They ignore that this is a lifelong discipline predicated upon activating the consciousness, not the mind.
Astral projection is not an intellectual exercise. It is a conscious activity. We’ve already discussed how we dream all the time. People who do not comprehend how they dream, who do not cease dreaming, never awaken consciousness. These exercises work when we do them consciously. In the same manner that you cannot build a house if you do not know how to use the appropriate tools, likewise skeptical people who do not know how to consciously perform these exercises never get the results they want.
Also, craving experiences is an obstacle. Aversion towards astral phenomena is also an obstacle. To perceive these higher realities requires we learn to see without attachment or fear. One must see oneself and the astral transition process with equanimity and comprehension, neither chasing after nor running away from the facts.
Samael Aun Weor stated:
The disciple who wants to progress should not confine himself. The disciple who wants to progress must inevitably learn to project himself in the astral body so that he can transport himself to the Gnostic Church, where he shall be able to converse personally with Christ and with all the Masters of the White Lodge. —Samael Aun Weor, Practical Astrology: The Manual of Practical Magic
We confine ourselves through theories and beliefs. We also confine ourselves with statements such as, “I will never learn how to consciously project into the astral world.” Or: “I am not capable like other spiritual people. It is impossible for me to do it.” Others might even believe that it will only happen in a remote future through some type blessing.
However, the reality is that we liberate ourselves and experience the realities of the spirit when we discover how to practice with directed attention and conscious awareness. Becoming conscious of our full potential requires patience, just as learning any new discipline takes familiarity and practice.
What Projects into the Astral?
People often talk about the astral body within esotericism, occultism, or New Age mysticism. However, there is a lot of ambiguity and imprecision when relating to others how we actually astral project.
I mentioned how the Essence, trapped within the ego, astral projects every time we sleep. This is an unconscious process. It is logical that if we astral project unconsciously, without will, then it means we are using mechanical methods and means. Falling asleep without cognizance, becoming unconscious for the eight hours when we sleep, is a mechanical function. It does not take any effort or will on our part.
We have a vehicle through which we enter the internal worlds every night with our egos, but it is not a conscious or voluntary one. We call this the kama rupa, the body of desires. This is a mechanical vehicle, a lunar apparatus, that—like the physical moon—regulates our unconscious and instinctual processes.
We know from astronomy and science that the moon influences many mechanical processes on our earth, like tides, vegetal life, and menstruation in women. These processes happen automatically. In the same way, we possess a lunar astral body that is a gift of nature. It is a vehicle composed of protoplasmic matter. As this term implies, such a substance is more ductile, malleable, and subtle than physical matter.
Some people have the wrong idea that the astral world is immaterial. Yet this is not true. It is a dimension of matter, energy, and consciousness, but in a form more subtle than our physical dimension. The kama rupa, which is made of astral matter, allows us to go into the astral dimension automatically.
However, there exists another type of vehicle that is not dependent upon mechanical laws or means. It is called a solar astral body. This vehicle is an earned luxury that few possess because it must be created through the spirit. It is the direct product of a particular labor known as initiation. Through the initiatic science of sexual alchemy, a married man and woman can conserve and transform their creative forces to give life to this interior vehicle. Just as a husband and wife can sexually join to create a physical child, likewise the same creative energy, through a specific procedure known as alchemy, can give birth to the solar astral body. It is made from a divine, solar matter and energy, the sexual energy, which is a solar force. We use the term “solar” to reference the creative potential and principle of God. This is the mystery of the second birth referenced by Jesus to Nicodemus in the New Testament, “to be born again” (John 3).
The solar astral body channels superior forces and laws beyond mechanical nature. It is like a light bulb that can manifest a certain capacity, amplification, or magnitude of spiritual potential. Therefore, this body gives an initiate conscious access to superior dimensions, spiritual states, and realms. Such experiences tend to be inaccessible for people whose psychological center of gravity is in the inferior worlds, within desire, the ego.
It is important to clarify that there are superior astral regions and inferior astral regions. The superior worlds are heavenly and divine, inhabited by angels, while the inferior astral world is negative, inhabited by demons. The inferior worlds are known throughout diverse religious traditions as hell.
We travel to places in nature in accordance with our affinities. If our psychological center of gravity is in the ego, then we will be attracted to the inferior worlds, because that is where the ego belongs. To possess a solar astral body grants us access to the heavens.
Now, people often confuse the legitimate, solar astral body with the kama rupa, and this is wrong. The differences between the solar and lunar astral bodies are like day and night. Even in appearance, the solar body possesses an interior luminosity and brilliance. When we speak face to face with a master of Major Mysteries within the astral plane, they often irradiate a powerful golden light with tremendous radiance, penetration, and depth. The kama rupa is also a material vehicle, but ephemeral, dark, phantasmic, like a ghost.
The former grants spiritual capacities, full lucidity of the higher dimensions, the ability to consciously project within the superior worlds at will. For most, the lunar astral body facilitates unconscious astral projections into the inferior astral regions, unless we begin to train ourselves and start to learn how to use this vehicle intentionally. But to create a solar astral body requires work in initiation. For that you can study The Perfect Matrimony by Samael Aun Weor.
It’s important to clarify for students that a solar astral body is not required in order to experience the superior dimensions of nature. It is possible to awaken within the kama rupa and learn to use it consciously, even to visit heavenly regions and the White Lodges.
Samael Aun Weor related in The Magic of the Runes how he and his priestess-wife Litelantes visited a temple of the superior worlds and saw many neophytes there. Dressed in lunar rags, lunar bodies, these sincere disciples were given access to the temple by the guardians out of compassion. Despite the fact that superior beings see our lunar rags as a form of disrespect, such masters possess conscious love, mercy, and understanding. What matters is that we are sincere and genuine when seeking divine aid.
How Do We Experience a Conscious Astral Projection?
Conscious astral projections are facilitated through comprehension and imagination.
Comprehension is a quality of the Essence, the consciousness. It is an alert, voluntary, cognitive state, whereby we discern the significance of any phenomenon without any sense of self.
This is a very different activity than thought. We’ve already demonstrated how thoughts can be active while our consciousness is inactive. Thoughts merely happen to us. They are mechanical, whereas conscious attention requires will.
Don’t believe me? Try to stop thinking. Tell yourself, “I will not think for the next ten minutes.” Observe the results. Anyone who has attempted meditation discovers this problem, that we cannot turn the mind off. This indicates that we are machines and have no control over our psyche.
Not only are we victims of thought, but also negative emotions. Similarly, we are driven by unconscious impulses and desires whose existence we are typically not willing to acknowledge in ourselves.
Each thought, feeling, and impulse originates from a different self, a desire or ego. Every ego expresses as a trio of thought, feeling, and will within our psychological centers, manifesting within us when the opportunity arises.
Most people never question their psychological states. They merely think what they think, feel what they feel, and do what they do, attributing their multiple contradictions and conflicting desires to the illusion of a unified entity. This is the state of identification. When we become fascinated with our desires, we sleep as a consciousness. We persist with the dream that we are singular, not multiple.
We shatter this dream through self-observation. What self are we observing? Our ego. Who is observing? The Essence, the soul. Compare your Essence to a director making a film. The director is the consciousness who observes the scene of any drama, comedy, or tragedy. The different actors are our defects, egos, reactions, thoughts, emotions, desires, etc.
What do we want from psychological self-observation? By looking at ourselves without presuppositions, assumptions, attachments, expectations, or beliefs, we activate the consciousness. We direct our attention within. We can then understand the roots of our thoughts, feelings, and desires, so that they don’t control us and waste our psychic energies. However, this can only occur if you comprehend your defects.
Comprehension is an active force born from direct observation. It is not static or passive, like knowledge. Observation of the facts is different from knowing. We may know we are angry, but are we observing this fact? Are we looking at the structures of anger, its logic, justifications, and reasoning? Are we actively perceiving this element and how it relates to a particular event? Or do we give it our energy and make it stronger, thereby deepening our suffering and the suffering of others?
Knowing we are angry doesn’t require will. It is mechanical. Observing anger is a highly active, conscious state. The same with comprehension.
Why does comprehension aid with astral projection? Remember that we involuntarily astral project every night without awareness. If you comprehend your psychological reactions during the day and no longer allow yourself to be mechanical, then that same skill will transfer to when you go to sleep. If you consciously manage your human machine when it is active, you will likewise consciously manage your psyche when it detaches and departs into the astral world.
Comprehension is strengthened through imagination, since the more you can perceive within the spectrum of dimensionality, the greater your conscious range for discovery and insights. By activating the consciousness and its capacities to perceive—such as through imagination exercises—we also gain greater penetration, depth, color, hues, tones, and resolution within our soul. The ability to perceive non-physical imagery is the door to accessing the superior worlds, since the latter is the dimension of imagination.
This is why Samael Aun Weor stated:
Comprehension and imagination must replace reasoning.
What Are the Superior Faculties of the Mind?
So what are the superior faculties of the mind that facilitate astral projection?
We already explained self-observation. Let’s talk about self-remembrance.
Self-remembrance must be combined with self-observation. We cannot perceive objectively within the astral world if we do not remember the presence of divinity.
What does it mean to remember divinity? This is a form of spiritual pressure within our interior awareness. We also sense it in the manner we direct attention. Is our attention and awareness manipulated by a desire? Or is it selfless, unconditioned, unafflicted?
We recognize the divine presence in our heart, the superior emotional center, through conscious states like altruism, compassion, patience, fidelity, and conscious love for others. Such genuine states have no “I,” no desire or self. This means that we feel ourselves to be a child of God within the body, that we are aware of being in the body.
Astral experiences are fueled by emotional energy. If you save such energies through curtailing negative emotion and enacting superior emotions, you open the door to the astral world.
These conscious qualities are distinct from the ego and can only be discerned through patient work and experience. As a general rule of thumb, the less self you experience in your alert perception, the more conscious and objective you will be. However, the more attachment or identification with a sense of self you feel, the more egotistical your states and the greater your disconnection with divinity.
Awareness is important for voluntary astral projection. To know our psychological states, surroundings, and locale are necessary, since you cannot consciously drive your car if you are inattentive at the wheel.
In our studies of dream yoga, we activate the consciousness through the Key of Sol, which is an acronym for subject, object, location.
First, Subject: become aware of your psychological states. Do not invest your energy into the ego, the self, desire, but learn to look at yourself like a director filming an actor, your own mind.
Second, Object: expand that awareness to your immediate objects. What are you interacting with? Whom are you with? What are you doing?
Lastly, Location: become aware of your environment. Where are you? What city are you in? What country are you at?
By utilizing these three parameters, the consciousness clarifies, expands, and strengthens.
However, awareness is not enough. Discernment is necessary. Are we aware as an ego or as an Essence? Who is using our body in a given instant? We already explained that the ego can be aware too, but that is not the type of awareness we are recommending. What we want is a selfless awareness, an awareness without any condition or sense of “I.” This is pristine cognition lacks an interpreter. It merely perceives and understands without having to label, compare, or critique with thought.
The continuity of this awareness throughout the day and night is mindfulness. This means that we do not forget ourselves or what we are doing at any moment in our life. The longer you remain awake as a consciousness, the greater the possibility that you will maintain awareness when you go to bed.
Through developing continuity of presence throughout the day, we also increase our potential for going much deeper into our understanding, to intuit what is really going on beneath the appearances of things. Intuition is the conscious ability of knowing without thought. You simply know without reliance upon the mind.
The Essence knows how to voluntarily astral project. It is intuitive and does not require any activity of the mind. The more you rely on your intuition throughout the day, the better your outcomes for conscious astral projections.
Likewise, the greater our serenity and equanimity, our dispassion or non-attachment, the greater our cognitive powers for astral projection will be. Strong emotions are an obstacle to astral experiences, but a calm and confident heart, a relaxed mind, are beneficial.
Lastly, the awakened faculty of imagination deepens our astral perceptions, since we allow ourselves to see beyond our normal range of cognition. We expand our imagination through visualization exercises, some of which we have previously referenced.
The Clue of Discernment
Let’s discuss a basic technique to achieve conscious astral projections.
The disciple should lull himself to sleep in his bed. When the disciple finds himself in that state of transition that exists between vigil and sleep, he should rise from his bed exactly the way a somnambulist does.
People often get caught up in their mind. What we are stating here is the need to actually get up from bed. Do not imagine doing so. Astral projections are an active phenomenon. Our consciousness must not be passive. The mind that fantasizes is an obstacle. The physical body must rest, yet the soul has to be alert.
Abandon thoughts as you lull yourself to sleep. However, we have to maintain a certain threshold between wakefulness and dreaming. This balance is very difficult to establish and maintain for beginners, yet is something one can learn through meditation.
Meditation is the doorway to the internal worlds. By consciously regulating drowsiness, we allow ourselves to access these inner dimensions. We must neither be too drowsy that we lose consciousness, nor too tense that we don’t relax at all. Temperance is the key. When you hit that perfect balance, you are then ready to consciously leave the body.
How to Astral Project
Samael Aun Weor also emphasized the following:
This is not a mental exercise. What we are saying here should be translated into facts.
A somnambulist is physically active while the consciousness is asleep. However with this exercise, we want the physical body to rest while the consciousness is active. The one who gets up like a somnambulist is the consciousness within the astral vehicle.
Detaching the astral vehicle is not something imaginary. It is factual. Do not imagine getting up from bed. Actually do it. Some people have the wrong idea that the astral vehicle is immaterial and unreal, and therefore they think that astral projection is a matter of the mind. As we stated earlier, the kama rupa is material, but of a more subtle composition. Yet recognizing this is not an imaginary exercise. It has to be done in the same way that you physically move your body.
You do so when you identify the right moment between wakefulness and dreaming. Recognizing this state requires practice. You have to learn how to balance your attention within the threshold of wakefulness and sleep so that, once you’ve transitioned into the internal worlds, you can become aware of being in this other vehicle.
Signs of Astral Projection
There are very specific signs that you have or are about to transition into the astral world.
They include “heaviness of body and lightness of soul.” As you are entering the dream state, your body might have the sensation that it weighs a ton, that it possesses a dense feeling of gravity and solidity, whereas your consciousness in the body is becoming like a feather, like it can float any second.
Many people relate hearing “sounds, voices, vibrations, electric sensations, and energy.” Usually the voices we hear are our own egos detaching from our body. But some people also hear non-physical mystical sounds, auditory perceptions that are not coming from the exterior world, but from within. This is known as the faculty of clairaudience, or “clear hearing.”
Another obvious sign that one is projecting are electrical sensations and vibrations, like energetic shocks permeating one’s body. This often occurs between the astral vehicle and the physical body during the detachment process.
You might also feel and hear “high-pitched whirring noises in your head.” Or your heart beats intensify. Psychic palpitations occur when your heart beat becomes loud and magnified. It’s like listening to your heartbeat through an amplifier, accompanied with a psychic energy or force that intensifies to the point that you project into the astral out of your heart.
Some people project out of their head by concentrating on those vibrations in the brain. Either option can work depending on the circumstance.
You might also feel physically immobilized while you are still aware. Such physical immobilization can be similar to sleep paralysis, except that you might begin to perceive voluntary movements transferring to your astral vehicle rather than your physical body.
Be mindful that there is no danger to sleep paralysis or astral projection. We transition every time we rest, but unconsciously. In such moments, one is now beginning the perceive a deeper reality. What matters is being fearless and intrepid, to take advantage of this marvelous opportunity.
Other times people start to float above their bed, levitating and suspending in the air. You might even begin to see with your astral eyes while your physical eyes are closed.
Types of Astral Projections
It is also important to mention that we can enter superior or inferior dimensions depending on which part of the body we project from. Astral projections through the heart or the head allow us to enter the superior dimensions. Astral projections through the anus or the base of the spine will take us to the inferior dimensions. But why is this?
The head and heart possess superior psychological centers. We discussed them previously as the superior intellectual and superior emotional centers. These register and process comprehension and superior emotion. The Being expresses through these two superior centers, whereas the ego manifests through the five centers or cylinders of the human machine.
The instinctual center is located at the base of the spine and the anus. If you astral project through this area, you do so with the instinctual drives of the kama rupa or body of desires. These types of projections take one to the infernal worlds or hell realms, because such egotistical states vibrate with the instinctual desires of the animal ego.
Not only are the five psychological centers relevant to different types of astral projections, but also our chakras. A chakra is a Sanskrit term for “wheel” or “disk.” These are wheels or vortexes of vital, psychic, and spiritual energies. Whenever two or more separate energetic currents flow together, they form a chakra. There are literally thousands of them animating our body and interior. However, we mostly speak about seven primary chakras parallel to the spine since they have the most influence in the way our psychology operates and expresses.
The heart chakra has marvelous potential for conscious astral projections, since the astral world is animated through emotional energy. Although we can experience superior astral projections through the heart, we can also experience the highest spiritual realizations by projecting through the crown chakra. This is the seat of omniscience, symbolized by the halos of the saints throughout every spiritual tradition in the world. Projecting through this chakra allows one to experience the world of the Being, the highest truths, even without vehicles of any kind.
After this explanation, some might wonder: how do you ensure that you have a positive astral projection and not a negative one?
How we astral project is based on our psychological work throughout the day. The less ego we have, the greater our affinity for superior astral projections. The greater our psychological density, the heavier our desires, the more likely we will gravitate towards negative realms.
Do not be discouraged if you experience an astral projection within the inferior worlds. It is actually a great step to realize our level of being or spiritual development. Only by honestly facing ourselves can we truly assess our situation and open the door to divine reality. Most of us are not saints yet. But to become one requires acknowledging what we presently are.
In whatever way you begin to experience an astral projection, the key is to not be afraid. Do not exert or force the process. Force and exertion is egotistical. What matters is conscious awareness and control. Real control is when the consciousness is in possession of itself, which you relinquish if you react negatively to what you perceive. The consciousness knows how to respond to astral projections, to either let it happen or to take appropriate action. Conscious will is distinct from egotistical desire. The ego always reacts, but the consciousness knows how to respond with equanimity and composure.
If you are experiencing an astral projection through the heart or crown chakra, do not force the process. Do not identify. Oftentimes one should let the process unfold of itself. Don’t try to accelerate or prevent superior states from happening. Just let these symptoms be. Sometimes acting prematurely can end the experience. Other times waiting for something to happen and remaining inactive can take you back to your body. You will gauge the appropriate time and way to respond as you familiarize yourself again and again with these states.
We always conclude these lectures with different exercises.
Throughout the day, develop self-observation.
Each day, for at least 10-20 minutes, develop meditative concentration through visualization of an image.
When in the transition state between wakefulness and dreaming, get up from bed and apply the clue of discernment: jump in the air to see if you float.
Lastly, continue with your spiritual diary.
At this point in time, I would like to open up the floor to questions. You are welcome to type in your questions in the chat box.
Questions and Answers
Question: I can sense people are able to stop me lucid dreaming as I’ve been doing it all my life, until the attacks really started. Now all of that has been taken away from me. What am I to do?
Instructor: We are going to have a lecture in the future regarding spiritual self-defense. We’ve actually given a course with some lectures on our website that discuss different practices that you can use to defend yourself spiritually, particularly within the internal worlds. This is a topic that we are going to revisit again in this course where we will provide some prayers and tools, must like the ones we’ve covered before, so that you can train yourself, train your consciousness, to enact superior, divine will.
It’s true that while we talk about astral projection as not being dangerous, there are entities within the interior worlds who can be an obstacle for our spiritual development, and therefore in the sense that there are negative entities within those regions, there are practices that we can fulfill to protect us from those influences. I recommend that you go on to our website, under the course Spiritual Self-Defense. We have three lectures up already, which talk about many different practices you can use that you can study and apply in your own spiritual discipline.
Some of the prayers are very elaborate. Some of them are very simple, but I recommend that when you memorize them, that you learn to apply them with your consciousness. These conjurations or prayers, that we use in this tradition to reject negative entities, are very effective--if we are conscious. We can protect ourselves during lucid dreaming by memorizing these tools and prayers and techniques. The reason is, if you don’t memorize these prayers, when you’re awake in the internal worlds again, you will not know how to apply the method. Likewise, you cannot take a physical Gnostic Prayer Book with you into the internal worlds. Glorian Publishing has a small little book available with that title that has many different compilations of prayers like we’ve mentioned, which we’ve talked about on our website in Spiritual Self-Defense.
The important thing is, remember the prayers, study them, use them every day, so that they become automatic. In the same way that you train in martial arts, you learn a technique from the basics and eventually develop it further. In the same way we use the prayers and conjurations of this tradition to be more effective in protecting ourselves. So yes, there are ways to help remove obstacles, whether they are from within your own mind or from entities that don’t want you to progress spiritually.
Question: When asking to go to the Gnostic lodge, after we have successfully projected, we may be asked for a password. Can you speak on that?
Instructor: There is a certain prayer that we use or password in order to enter the white lodges. What you do is you cross your hands over your heart, your right hand over the left. When you approach the guardian of any temple in the internal worlds, you then place your left hand on your solar plexus and extend your right hand in the form of the pentagram. You do so by folding your pinky and your ring fingers into your palm and extending your index, middle finger and thumb out. This is the real symbol of peace according to the Gnostic tradition.
You then say to the guardian: “Inverencial peace!” which basically means: “Peace unto your innermost divinity!” Cross your hands again over your heart, your right hand over your left, and then bow with your head to the right pillar of the temple, saying “Jachin,” and then bow to the left pillar of the temple, “Boaz.” Every genuine temple of divine mysteries has the two pillars of Gnostic esotericism, which is very well known with the masonic tradition, Freemasonry. Jachin is the pillar of mercy. Boaz is the pillar of severity. By this act you are showing the guardian of the temple that you are working in yourself, and that you promise to uphold conscious control of your mind within any sacred precinct, because these types of temples are very divine. You have to be at your best behavior. If you don’t, they can kick you out—and will.
So by performing this greeting after the guardian says “pass,” you step with your right foot first—not with the left. If you do that, they can bar you from entering. The reason is because the right foot is the symbol of spiritual force, and that we seek to walk the spiritual path by fulfilling the mercy of the law. The right pillar of the tree of life, the kabbalah—which finds its parallel within any gnostic temple—is a symbol of the purity of the consciousness, whereas the left can relate to how forces from heaven descend into the infernal worlds, and therefore there can be a negative connotation to that. So step in with your right foot. Perform that greeting and be very honest with the guardians. You can’t hide from them—anything. They literally see right through you and will prevent you from going further into the precinct if you do not know how to conduct yourself.
Question: When the ego is aware there is mental chatter, and when the Being is aware there is serene mind and intuition with no thought?
Instructor: In a sense, yes.
The ego can be very aware and awake, but that’s problematic. Every ego manifests in accordance with thought, feeling, and will. Mental chatter is a part of that continual stream of egotistical loquaciousness in our mind, with all the cacophony of thoughts, mechanical associations, memories, daydreams. But when the ego is aware, one is intentionally experiencing any negative element such as anger, with thought, desire to hurt, and the will to act. That type of awareness is very negative. We’ve mentioned and discussed some of the nuances of this problem in the other course we gave online called Spiritual Self-Defense, where we talked about positive and negative awakening.
A person can be very aware and awake, that they are killing someone. Of course this is very disastrous. The kind of awareness we are referring to [and promote] is when the Being is there, but within the Being there is no sense of “I,” or “me,” and “myself.” It is a serene conscious state in which there is no affliction of mind. There is no condition or self there. The Being is impersonal, is universal, is eternal. It is selfless in the sense of what we think of a self, but to experience and recognize that state requires that we abandon our thoughts.
We observe the mental chatter. We observe our mind stream and allow it to settle and rest. When the mind settles and rests, when the different elements of our psyche stratify within distinct layers, such as when you allow a cup full of water and sediment to rest, naturally the impurities will layer themselves and become visible to you. However, if our mind is agitated and conflicted with problems, then the waters of our mind become agitated and murky, muddied. The Being is there when the waters of our mind are clean. When you’re serene, observant without a self, without an “I,” then you can start to experience what intuition is, to know without having to think. This is why we practice meditation. This is why we study ourselves.
So it’s important. We have to discriminate what is going on psychologically. But for that, you have to train yourself in self-observation and self-remembrance, as we’ve explained. But usually, when there’s mental chatter, it often happens to us because we are on the threshold of sleep and wakefulness, even psychologically speaking. We may sense that we have a stream of mental chatter, but we just kind of let it happen. We are not even really aware of it. We are not conscious.
Negative awakening is something very distinct and also harmful, like in the example I provided. So to be awake within the Being requires serenity and no thought, yes.
Question: I feel like I am making progress in my meditations. It feels like I can get enough and there is much pressure in my heart space. Is this good progress?
Instructor: You have to judge for yourself. Personally, I am of the opinion that real success in meditation occurs the more we comprehend our psyche.
We focus a lot in our tradition on eliminating our defects. That only comes about by observing in ourselves our own faults in action, the ego, and then comprehending their roots. By comprehending the root of a problem, of our desires, we can eventually eliminate those elements and therefore liberate the consciousness.
Having some type of psychic perception like a pressure in the heart can be a signification that there are certain psychic senses that are developing. While this is good and necessary, it’s important to bear that within the contexts of a particular psychological work. By awakening our astral senses, by learning to astral project, there is a form of progress, or developing more sensitivity in the heart is good. But having that skill of knowing how to sense more phenomena, it has to be done consciously, has to be directed. So I recommend that if you are having these types of augmented perceptions, even in relation to astral projection—where you are learning to awaken in dreams as well—it’s good to learn how to apply those serene states of observation towards a deeper task.
For that we work on the ego. We study, such as in our course on Gnostic Meditation, the practice of retrospection meditation. That’s the discipline in which we review ourselves psychologically and evaluate the quality and content of our mind, so that we can comprehend our defects and remove them.
So going back to your question, there are different levels of progress, obviously. But having a pressure in your heart, you have to judge and evaluate for yourself. What is the real consequence of that? But also, how does it relate to a broader and deeper issue, such as how you are approaching your psychology throughout the day? If your heart is more sensitive, are you becoming more aware of how to fulfill your conscience? Superior emotion? The right way to act, feel, and behave in life? I think that’s even more significant. If you can get a better gauge and sense of judging your own errors and learning how to make your life a paradise by fulfilling divine will (the more we work on our ethical discipline as we teach in our other courses), the better we serve divinity and the more inflamed becomes our heart, the more powerful it becomes, the more insightful.
Question: How can we raise to a higher astral realm if we’ve already seen ourselves in an infernal dimension, and how can we differentiate one from the next? Where are we in our astral location?
Instructor: It’s a really good question because a lot of people may awaken in dreams but don’t really discriminate where they are at. For that you have to use the Key of SOL: Subject, Object, Location, but also not only becoming aware of the particular environment you’re in, but also judging the quality of that state.
You have to listen to your intuition, your conscience. Unfortunately for many of us, our heart is very deficient, depleted, and weak, mostly because of bad behaviors and bad choices in our life. But the more you learn to meditate on your distinct experiences, to look at a situation calmly and dispassionately, to visualize those experiences within your interior, you can allow those experiences to play out within the screen of your imagination and then listen to your heart. Pray to divinity to show you where you are at. What was this state that you experienced?
Other times with training and eventual development in your heart, you can have those types of experiences and then immediately know where you are at. You do not have to think about it because you just know. You ascertain the situation for what it is.
Now to go from a lower astral region to a higher one requires that we change our level of being, because as I said, we gravitate towards levels of nature in accordance with our dispositions. If you’re in an infernal astral state and you want to go to a superior one, I suggest you pray to your inner Being. Pray to your Divine Father. You can do the Our Father, the Pater Noster, especially, and if it is His will, He can pull you out, because divinity has that power. For that we have to rely on our inner God, the will of the Being.
But again discrimination again requires intuition, and it is difficult because often times in our daily life, we do not listen to our heart, and that is the problem. The more you follow your conscience, the more you develop your inner judgment, the greater your powers will be for discrimination.
There is a practice in our tradition called the runes. There is a series of yogic postures that we engage with whereby we adopt a certain posture and perform prayer and mantra (sacred sounds). There is a rune called Rita, which relates not only to divine inner judgment, to strengthen our inner conscience, but it is also very effective for deepening our intuition about what is right and what is wrong. Study in the book The Magic of the Runes by Samael Aun Weor. It’s a beautiful practice. It’s good for developing our inner discrimination of our own defects, and holding us accountable before divine law, but it can also help us be more conscientious about where we are at and what we are doing.
You can also do the mantra O to vibrate with the heart, to feed the heart with superior forces. In that way, you have more power by which to act consciously and to know your situation.
Question: Are object and location in the way the same, such as in the Key of SOL? For example, I notice an object in the room and become aware of the room, but the room itself is an object. Therefore I become aware of the object of the house that the room is in and then where I am is the town or street, which becomes then an object, etc., etc. So is it looking at the same thing in two different ways?
Instructor: OK. So first off with the Key of SOL, Subject is ourselves, as we know, knowing our psychological states. Object has to do with any item in our vicinity, and this can be such as anything constituting our room or home: pens, pencils, paintings, whatever it may be.
We differentiate objects with location because, for example, in the astral plane, you can be looking at certain objects that you’re familiar with in your daily life, and yet perhaps, strangely enough, you look outside your window in the astral world and see you’re in a totally different location. This can happen because the astral world is not limited to temporality, to time, or to any particular rigid location within the physical world. That dimension is very unusual, primarily because while we can see things there that are relative to our physical existence, there are going to be differences. The purpose of the Key of SOL is to be able to distinguish and discriminate that.
So an object really just has to do with, perhaps, you are looking at a book or a painting in the astral world, maybe even in your own home. The location is distinct because that tells you and gives you a bit of context for where and what exactly you are seeing. You can be looking at objects in your home, perhaps in a room, and yet if you explore a little bit, you discover that you’re actually not located where you thought you were. Instead you can be in another country. You can be on another planet. The only way to know that is to ask these questions: “What are my states (Subject)? What are the objects that I am interacting with?” and then, “Where am I? What is my location?”
Those three elements help us to expand consciousness. They give us the ability to comprehend what is really going on. So they are all aspects of one thing. They are different variations, but they combine together in the same way that if you want to expand the reflection of light, you can take multiple mirrors and reflect them. It is like expanding your consciousness. You’re perceiving and understanding more because you are distinguishing what is really happening, where you are at, but also what are the different items in your home. You can be in your home in the astral world, and yet you have objects in your room that are not specifically physical, things that you’ve never seen before. So? These are different: Object and Location.
There’s some nuance to this. What I want to emphasize is that we have to rely on all three and look at the connections between what we are seeing, between our psychological states, the different items that we are interacting with or the people we are seeing, and the overall location of our environment. When you combine those three and question those three things in relation to yourself, you open the doors to understanding and the discrimination of where you are at and what you are doing.
So do we have any other questions?
Question: Does astral travel depend on physical factors such as health? If you have an injury in one or more of the three brains, would that stop you?
Instructor: It’s a really good question! We astral travel or enter the internal worlds every time we go to physical sleep, so astral travel, or better said, astral projection, is a mechanical given. It’s a mechanical thing. It happens no matter what unless you have insomnia and you can’t fall asleep and therefore that’s another issue in itself. Now as to whether astral travel depends upon physical factors such as health, there is a relationship between how conscious we are and how we manage our life as a soul in relation to the three brains.
The three brains are themselves are machines. They have certain elements, energies and forces that are necessary for our spiritual life and also our physical life. There are many people who perhaps have some type of injury in their three brains. Maybe they suffer from a mental, emotional, or a physical illness. Now learning how to consciously astral travel is dependent on how we as a consciousness learn to manage and conserve the energies of the three brains. Obviously if you are physically ill, it is going to be very difficult to want to practice, to want to change, and to make progress, because there is a certain balance that needs to be reached in terms of physical health, so that we can perform our spiritual work.
Now the thing is that we go into the astral plane every time we fall asleep, regardless. We do it mechanically, involuntarily. So we are doing it no matter what, regardless of if we are healthy or ill. But if you want to know how to consciously astral travel, if you want to see that dimension for what it is, it is important to take care of our health, psychologically, emotionally, and physically, primarily because as we are going to elaborate on in a future lecture (and we have kind of touched upon this too), you need energy to awaken.
If we are wasting energy through any of the three brains, if our three brains are sick, if they’re not operating optimally, then the consciousness is going to be affected too, because consciousness is driving the car (or should be). What happens more often is that the ego abuses the three brains and therefore depletes us of energy, whether it is intellectual, emotional, mechanical, instinctive or sexual.
An injury in one of the three brains, obviously, that is a difficult thing to deal with. However, the consciousness can work, even with a serious condition injury or illness. Obviously, we want to take care of our car, our physical body. We want to drive it well. We want to treat it well, but even people who suffer from a serious condition, illness, or injury can still practice this teaching and still learn how to consciously astral travel.
It is going to mean that there will be some greater obstacles and conditions to deal with in the path, but it does not guarantee, well, that you’re not going to be able to perform this work. Anybody can perform this work, even if one is paraplegic, in a wheelchair, is sick, who suffered some kind of traumatic injury. What matters is that we work with where we are at, that one works with their particular karma in life, and does the best that with what they have because divinity helps any soul in accordance with their effort.
Question: Here is a follow up question. Are there any guidelines for working with the three brains in a book?
Instructor: For that, study Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology, The Great Rebellion, The Revolution of the Dialectic, and Fundamentals of Gnostic Education by Samael Aun Weor. Those books go into great depth and detail about how to work with the three brains.
Question: Does heavy food make it hard to project within the astral dimension?
Instructor: We advise against eating a heavy meal before sleep. It is very well known in science that indigestion can cause nightmares. Those types of experiences are lived perceptions within the inferior worlds, the infernal dimensions. Heavy food can make it difficult for one to have a positive experience. It is good to go to bed with a free stomach because you do not want heavy foods like meats or other difficult elements to digest to basically activate inferior chakras within the abdomen. We’ve discussed how heavy foods like that can cause indigestion which activate certain energetic centers in the abdomen, relating to infernal chakras or elements that relate to the inferior worlds.
So its good to have an empty stomach when you are practicing. You don’t want to be hungry throughout the day, right? You do want to be conscious and manage how you take care of your body in relation to astral projection. We will talk later about certain elements related to that topic in a future lecture, such as on “Obstacles to Astral Projection and Their Remedies.” It’s going to be a future talk.
Question: Regarding insomnia, how long is it reasonable to go without physical sleep, willingly or unwillingly?
Instructor: I am not a doctor. I do not know all the science and mechanics behind how much should an insomniac sleep. It would be every night, I would think. I know in some traditions such as in Islam (it is even mentioned in the Qur’an), Prophet Muhammad would perform prayers in the middle of the night. Sometimes certain practitioners would meditate in the early hours of the dawn or even perform vigils. This is because they want to experience greater realities by making certain sacrifices.
Personally when I have done this practice, such as staying up late at night or waking up early in the morning to meditate—such as with astral projection exercises—basically you can open kind of the doorway into the internal worlds. Now a lot of research and science might mention that usually two to three days without any sleep can lead to some problems. But if you go without a day or if you make the sacrifice to perform a practice within the early hours of dawn, or to stay up for a few hours to meditate and pray, that is not going to harm you if you do it occasionally. But obviously you want to balance yourself. You have to gauge your energy levels and know how much you can do. Obviously, don’t do too much! Balance is the key.
Any other questions?
So I thank you all for coming! We will have another lecture in the coming month, continuing this discussion, primarily talking about specific mantras or sacred sounds in order to have conscious astral projections. I thank you all for coming!
Welcome everybody to our sixth lecture on Dream Yoga and Astral Travel. We spoke extensively about why we dream, the causes of oneiric experience, particularly in relation to our psychology—whether objective, clear, pure, selfless, factual, or subjective, based on the faults of our mind, our defects, our errors. We study our dreams because we have a very particular purpose, a very specific goal, which is to awaken our full potential, awaken to the reality of the divine.
Unfortunately, many approach the study of dreams with a mistaken attitude. There are many who wish to have lucidity, some type of intensity of experience related to the dream state, to have awareness of dreams. This has been called lucid dreaming, but we are different in these studies. We seek to eliminate dreams themselves, to no longer see through a lens or a glass darkly, but to see what is there within the reality of that dimension, the reality of that state, without any filter, any condition, any fault.
Awareness of dreams can be good in the beginning: to have a type of depth, flavor, and expansion of perception. However, there is a fundamental problem. Dreams are but dreams. They are illusory. They are not real. They are not objective. They do not truly reflect the truth of the divine, the realities of the spirit, our innermost Being or God. Dreams, as we have mentioned, are projections of the mind. They are merely an expression of our psychological content, like a projector on a screen, and while we can have greater resolution of that imagery, more vividness, like watching an improved television screen, it is still a mirage, an illusion, a lie.
The vividness and the intensity, the breadth and depth of imagination, to see what is there, that, in itself, is a quality of the consciousness, a quality of our true nature. While the capacity to perceive is wonderful, to have greater depth and breadth of one’s perception within the astral state, this, in itself, does not mean we are seeing reality, what is there. For that we need to turn off the projector, turn off the mind, and see with the soul, what we call the Essence, our true nature, our reality. Lucid dreaming, in itself, is a step. In these studies, we go further.
We need to understand not only why we dream, but how. What are the mechanisms? What are the structures of the mind? What are the ways in which we do not see life as it is? How do we perceive? How do we see ourselves?
This lecture is an expansion of the previous one where we talked about the cause of our psychological slumber, why we dream. But now we are going to explain the different dreams that manifest and what are the different types of dreams. By understanding the “how,” we can awaken.
So, this is our focus. We are going to examine the expression of dreams—their manifestation within our psychology. In this process we learn that through the types of dreams that we experience, we understand how we use energy, how we use force of various modifications, densities, rarities, and subtleties.
In order to awaken consciousness, we need to save energy. To awaken within the dream state requires that we conserve our psychological, spiritual forces. We are going to examine how dreaming wastes energy and by learning to control the energy of our psyche, we have the potential to activate and drive our car—the astral, the mental vehicles—and even beyond. In this process we have to discriminate what we are seeing. What are we perceiving? How are we perceiving?
In a sense, it is impossible to understand, or know how to liberate oneself from a cage, from a prison, if we do not know how we are locked up. What is the cell? What is the lock? When you understand how it all works together, you can free yourself—the same spiritually—free yourself and experience these higher realities.
Dream Logic and Awakening
Unfortunately when we study ourselves, we often approach our spiritual life with the wrong tools.
We all understand that we have a form of dream logic. When we look at dreams, we find that there is a narrative, a thread, a story in which we are the actors, the participants, and the witnesses. We emphasize that by understanding the logic of dreams, we can fully know ourselves, because our dreaming life is a reflection of something deeper, psychologically speaking, which we fundamentally ignore.
Anyone who has had a nightmare has directly perceived the reality of what religions call hell. Those are living manifestations of our deepest traumas, our deepest pains, our most unutterable fears.
Likewise, dreams in themselves do not merely have to reflect our own inferior states of mind. There is a potential within the dream state to see something real. We call them visions, astral experiences. We call them samadhis. They too have a type of logic, a type of narrative, a type of thread, but distinct from the inferior type. It is a very different quality than a nightmare or an incoherent dream.
This duality of dreams shows us that we are a true mystery. Our soul is an unexplored territory. Any person studying dream yoga and practicing it learns to experience and understand our real, inner worlds.
While dreams in themselves may seem unsolvable, difficult to interpret—(this logic which escapes a type of analysis or interpretation)—the truth is that it is possible to understand what our dreams are communicating, whether they are from above or below, whether they are a vision or an illusion. It is possible to discriminate what is going on and to interpret with wisdom, so that we can make better decisions with our life.
Visions from the divine teach us how to live. But for that we need to approach the logic of dreams with an entirely different apparatus. Many people approach the study of dreams with the intellect. They look to dream dictionaries, other people’s testimonies, symbols, to try and decipher what is going on. Many people rely upon the mind to solve the riddle of the soul.
If you have been studying the course of this series, we have been discussing that difference. Consciousness and the Essence, the pure soul, is not the intellect. It is what perceives before thought. It does not require intellectual direction, analysis. It is merely looking at phenomena and them seeing for what they are. Thought is much slower. It comes later. The intellect is a useful tool, but it has its limited utility.
People who study dreams with the intellect are like people trying to study the atom with a telescope, or study the stars with a microscope. The intellect has its place, but it must be used with understanding of its limitations. This implies that we are using the consciousness, the soul. Its distinct characteristic is comprehension, perception, and understanding—intuition. You know it without having to think. It is a quality of the heart. You perceive a phenomenon and you know what it means. It does not require comparison. The mind can only show A and B, good and bad, thesis and antithesis.
This logic of dreams in itself can be deciphered when we learn how to use the consciousness, when we direct it at will, when we train it. But for most of us, that is very difficult, primarily because our soul is not active. It is not trained. It is not awake. Everything we have explained up to this point in this course is leading us to understand that the study of dreams requires the appropriate tools, the right methods. For that we need to abandon any type of assumptions, presuppositions, attachments, fears, desires, wanting these dreams to mean a certain thing, wanting a particular phenomenon to fit within a box. We need to expand our categories, and this is a type of logic that is not intellectual. It is profound. It is universal. It does not require thinking.
Now this type of superior understanding does not mean that the intellect is not there. It is merely suspended. It ceases to be such an active force in our life, dominating our daily behaviors and making us dream. Instead, we activate a superior faculty of the mind, which is understanding: to receive knowledge, just like dreams are received or visions are received within the soul.
For that we need to put behind our terrestrial self. Use it in its place. Use it appropriately. But be aware of being here and now. You are a soul within the body, like driving a car. You are not the car. You are not the engine, the organs, the mechanism. We will talk about all of that—how we are made up—so that we can understand our psyche deeply. For that we have to study our life, our moment-to-moment existence.
As we stated, dreams at night are merely a reflection of our daily states.
No one has known himself truly, who has not studied his dreams. The study of dreams at once shows what a great mystery our soul is, and that this mystery is not altogether insoluble, as some metaphysicians supposed. Dreams reveal to us that aspect of our nature which transcends rational knowledge. That in the most rational and moral man there is an aspect of his being which is absurd and immoral, one knows only through the study of one's dreams. All our pride of nationality and morality melts into nothingness as soon as we reflect upon our dreams. There is logic in our dreams or rather the logic of our waking consciousness is just like the dream logic. —Sivananda, Philosophy of Dreams
There are levels. We stated that we are 3% awake as a consciousness and 97% submerged as subconsciousness, unconsciousness, and infra-consciousness. We study the relationship between our dreams and our daily life to understand the connections.
The way we do that is by studying our life, our impressions.
Life enters us all the time. We experience through our senses, sight, taste, touch, smell, hearing, all the different phenomena of life. We have a tendency in Western culture, especially, to go through existence without any awareness, thinking of something else, and yet we are not diligent. We are not present. Why is that? It is because we are not paying attention to our body and where we are at psychologically.
Life enters us through our senses as impressions. An impression is basically data: sensory, visual, auditory, kinesthetic, tactile, olfactory, gustatory information. Our psyche, our consciousness while in the body, learns to perceive with the senses. Information enters the senses, and it strikes the mind. But unfortunately because we are not really driving our mind, our body with awareness, we just take the impressions of life unconsciously without awareness.
Consider the mind and consciousness itself like a pool of water or like a film. For anyone who has done photography, you know that light imprints within a film strip in order to replicate an image. The psyche and the mind are no different. The mind receives the data of the world, and we ingest impressions within our psychology. It can be a food, conversation—really—there is an infinitude of impressions.
But we have very distinct ways of recording those experiences. We call it memory. We call it images, imagination. You ever watch a TV show and later have a dream that you are acting with its characters? It is because you took in those impressions from the television. They entered the mind unconsciously, and they were not transformed. They imprinted within the psyche, and therefore that image comes to life within your dreams.
This word impression comes From the Latin impressio, impress, “pressed in,” from the verb, imprimere, “to imprint.” We often relate the word impression “to an effect produced upon someone,” like “this person gave me a good impression,” or maybe a bad one.
What is ironic is that, in example of the television show, we take in images and we don’t digest them. We ingest information. These images and experiences imprint within our mind, but we do not question what they are. We do not question the consequences of what we psychologically take in.
The same applies to our relationships. For example, we meet a new person at work. They say something that offends us. We have a bad impression of them. That image entered our mind, our psyche, and we did not transform it. We did not understand it. That is because we are not awake. We are not conscious. We do not see, for example, that this person might have been having a bad day. Maybe their spouse is in the hospital. Maybe they are suffering from a terminal illness, and therefore, because we are ignorant of the situation, we may have anger, resentment, pride, fear and a conglomeration of different reactions which are based on fantasy. We are not seeing the reality of the person. We are merely interacting with the images that we have of them in our mind. This is dreaming.
If we do this during the daytime, then when we go to bed at night physically, we repeat the same process, because what you are in your dreams is what you are in your daily life. There is no difference, except when you are in your physical body, you have limitations.
Our mind is a film strip. We are constantly taking in data. But the question becomes: are we understanding what we perceive? Do we understand how we take in impressions and how we relate to them? It is not an intellectual exercise. It is a psychological sense that has to be intentionally activated. It has to be worked with. Otherwise these impressions enter us and leave a mark, as impressed upon a surface. The mind like water. When it is struck with a terrifying impression, a trauma, an ordeal, the mind is in chaos. It is a storm churning with emotion and pain. That typically defines the lives of most people. Perhaps a traumatic experience happened in our early years and because we have not trained ourselves to understand what we perceive and what have we perceived, we are living in disturbance, affliction.
The Human Machine
There is a method to cease suffering and to understand how we live now, but also how we can live better, and how we can understand dreams themselves. How do we dream during the day? How do we dream at night? We study what is called the human machine.
This diagram is a representation of us. We know that the physical body is marvelous machine. We have organs. We have different systems which regulate circulation, breathing, digestion, which are so miraculous primarily because we usually perform them without any intention, any awareness. These things often work without any need to regulate them consciously.
But likewise, not only is our body a machine, but also our psychology. We were discussing impressions. We receive data from the world, which enters our senses and then our mind reacts, intaking these different elements, these experiences. Then we have a type of response.
The human body needs its energy, needs fuel, from food, water, from air, in order to subsist. Likewise, the consciousness needs its food. What is that food? It is impressions, but not impressions taken in without awareness, but digested impressions, masticated, digested and processed nutrition. We call it understanding. We call it comprehension.
As of now, we take in information from the world, but without any cognizance, and then we react in different ways. We dream in different ways, whether it is through our intellect with our thoughts, comparisons, our beliefs, or emotions like pleasure, pain, etc. Similarly, we have movement relating to motor aspect of our psychology, which is where we process movement: to do or not to do, to act. Or instinct: fight or flight, freeze, for example. Lastly, we have our sexual reactions to life, our sexuality: attractions and repulsions.
These are five centers that constitute what we are not only physically, but also psychologically. We call them the five centers. We also call them the three brains within our studies. These are mechanisms that have a physical component in our body, but they also operate in a multidimensional level, psychologically, energetically and spiritually.
We know that we have an intellectual brain. This is well known from science. We likewise have an emotional brain or heart with its nervous systems. Lastly, we have our spinal column which gives us life. It allows to interact with the world—to do. These last three centers relate to our motor-instinctual-sexual brain. They are really three centers, but we conglomerate them as one for the sake of synthesis.
We dream through these centers all the time because we are not aware of this machine itself. Usually, we are not paying attention to our body. Who is driving our car? Have we ever observed this fact? We may know that we are seated, listening, perhaps with the intellect. We are taking in these impressions and comparing with what is said to what was said in the past. Maybe there is an emotional reaction, like or dislike, discomfort or enthusiasm. Maybe with our movement we feel we need to fidget. We are restless. Or the instinct perhaps of wanting to flee. Likewise, the sexual center has its form of functionalism related to attraction or repulsion, as I said.
This machine has marvelous potential. The body has marvelous capacities, but only if we know how to use them, if we know how to drive our car. We need to remember that the consciousness is not the car. This body is merely a vehicle, and this vehicle has many parts. Psychologically speaking, the vehicle of the intellectual brain is to process thought. The vehicle of the heart is to process feeling. Likewise with action, with the motor-instinctual-sexual brain. These brains have a very particular usage, and we use them all the time in life, but usually without awareness because we do not really observe the fact.
We may know that we are seated in this chair, but are we observing this fact? Are we seeing ourselves and paying attention?
If we wish to know how to awaken consciousness, we need to understand how we dream. To understand how we dream through different psychological reactions to life, it is important to understand how these machines work.
Relative Speed of the Five Centers
We all know that some computers have different processing speeds. Some are faster than others. The same thing with our human machine, our psychology. These different centers receive impressions from the external world, but also interiorly, processing or receiving them with different types of capacities.
The intellect is the slowest aspect of who we are. It is not the quickest. Thinking, daydreaming, memorizing, remembering, recollecting, these in themselves are not really quick, although because our consciousness is not really trained, we tend to get distracted by a memory or problem, something we are trying to solve with the mind.
There is something quicker than the intellect, which is our center of movement. We see that it is 30,000 times faster than the intellect. This is easily provable. Perhaps we are driving a car. Someone walks out in front of us and without thinking, we turn the wheel. We react and avoid an accident. That is because our motor center is quicker. It is faster.
Likewise, instinct is 30,000 times faster than the intellect, like movement. You put your hand on a hot stove. You feel the pain. Then you retract your hand, and then you think “That hurt.” Then you feel the emotional reaction, perhaps anger. Instinct is faster than the intellect, which explains why martial artists or boxers train the way they do by using the instinctual center in order to react and respond to danger.
Emotions are 60,000 times faster than the intellect because emotions are much more volatile than thought. Many like to pride themselves as intellectual people, being reasonable. Yet having a negative emotion is difficult because it is so quick. Maybe we received an impression of a loved one giving us criticism and then we reacted, feeling anger. That anger can be very difficult to control because emotion is quick. It is overpowering.
But even faster than the emotional center is the most profound, powerful, and influential aspect of our psychology, which is the sexual center. It is 120,000 times faster than the intellect. This explains why in a moment of introducing yourself to a new person, you can determine an immediate sexual affinity. It does not require thinking. It is just an immediate spark of attraction—love at first sight, is the phenomenon.
These centers operate in different speeds, and most of the time we receive impressions that interact in different ways with those centers. Our reactions are precisely, usually, egotistical. We react because we have anger, because we have pride. We have lust, resentment, attachments, fears. We said earlier in the previous lecture that this is ego, multiple defects, different errors.
We are studying the human machine in relation to how we dream because we dream through the five centers. An impression hits our consciousness, hits the senses, and the consciousness is not active. We are not driving our car. We are not paying attention psychologically to what is happening within us, and therefore that impression enters the psyche and it is not transformed. Maybe someone treats you with a lot of disrespect, saying something hurtful. Because we are not paying attention, that impression enters us and we receive it with the emotional center, which is very quick. Because we are not transforming it with the soul, immediately anger emerges. That anger has its own thoughts, its own will to do. Therefore, that emotional reaction, that emotional response is a dream.
We do not think of it as a dream, as an illusion, but it is. Perhaps, as in the former example, we are not listening or understanding where that person is coming from, or why they are upset. We feel anger in that moment, but we do not really question what is going on with the other person, to feel love for that person—compassion, understanding. Instead, impressions enter us, and we react. Maybe, we meet another person and we are married, and there is a sexual attraction there, lust, with its own logic, its own ways of thinking, its own ways of feeling. Because that impression of meeting that person was not transformed, it could lead to problems. This is why divorces happen. It is because our ego is making us dream all the time.
The Bad Secretary: Psychological Mistranslation and Disequilibrium
We call our ego and the personality a bad secretary. If we are not paying attention to our car, or we do not know how to use it in the moment, we can get into accidents. While this is a physical example, it is also a metaphor for our spiritual life. A moment of inattention can bring disgrace. We can make a wrong decision, an error, because we are not seeing reality. We are not understanding how we are dreaming in the moment.
So, these impressions enter the psyche, and we mistranslate them. We do this all the time. Maybe a person approaches us who is speaking with the heart, is kind, is altruistic, generally concerned with, perhaps, our well-being. Maybe because we take in that impression without being conscious of it. We take it through the sexual center and think “This person likes me,” and therefore we ask, declare one’s attractions, even though that person had no intention.
We often receive impressions through the wrong centers. When we should respond with our heart, sometimes we do it with our intellect. Maybe there is an argument between loved ones. One partner is dreaming through the intellect, having all these ideas: “I want to do this… and that. I think we should solve this problem with reason.” Meanwhile, the other partner is upset emotionally, responding with the heart, dreaming with that center and not seeing reality, not seeing the other partner, but seeing “what we want.” This produces disequilibrium.
Disequilibrium means in a moment of crisis—or perhaps when receiving a difficult impression—the intellect thinks one thing, the heart feels another, and the body wants to leave or fight. There is conflict. There is no integration there. It is confusion. Our desires, our defects, create confusion, create discordance and problems.
When we study our dreams, when we seek to understand how to awaken in dreams, we have to examine all these mechanical processes in ourselves during the day, because the way we react to life physically is a barometer of how we are going to act in the internal worlds, how we dream within the internal worlds. Our internal experiences are merely a deeper reflection of who we are all the time. But usually with our personality, our name, our language, our culture, our habits, our face, we do not tend to look in the depths or observe these mechanical actions in themselves.
If we want to awaken the consciousness, we must learn to save energy, as I said, to cease dreaming, to be aware of our human machine. We must be aware of how we waste energy, whether it is through thoughts, whether it is through negative emotions, resentment, pride, etc. Or maybe we waste energy through the motor center, always hyperactive, and never resting. Perhaps we engage in sports, like martial arts, too much. We get into fights. That is the instinctual center. Or we waste energy sexually, which is the biggest problem for people.
That energy has the potential to transform us completely psychologically. We know, even from Freud, how many of the unconscious drives of a person have a sexual root, the libido. This force often permeates the actions of our life: the way we dress, the way we talk, the way we try to impress others, our attitudes, our actions.
Likewise, it is important to understand the energies of the psyche. How do we use intellectual energy? How do we expend emotional energy? Or movement? Or instinct? Or sexuality? — which we study in many other courses available on our website, particularly in relation to alchemy, which is another topic.
Our Psychological Center of Gravity
It is important to ask ourselves a deep question: what is our psychological center of gravity? What center do we tend to use instead of others? Is it our mind, our heart, or is it our body?
The human machine needs energy to work. If we wish to use our conscious potential, it is necessary to save that energy and understand these processes in ourselves. It is because we waste energy in one of the centers that we get depleted. As just as an engine will not work without fuel, likewise, our psyche will not operate, to consciously investigate the higher dimensions, if we have wasted our mental, emotional, and vital force—whether through too much intellectual activity, or arguments and fights, sports, etc.
When we waste energy through any of the centers—because there is disequilibrium, and if we keep trying to use that engine—it is going to steal energy from the other centers. Thus, there is an imbalance.
It is like if you waste intellectual energy of the mind, that intellect will start to use the sexual force. Because the sexual energy is the most potent force we carry within, it will damage the mind. It does not belong there unless we know how to direct it with intelligence. That is why we study practices like alchemy, pranayama, runes, and many other exercises that we practice in this tradition. If the intellect runs out of energy and we steal from the sexual center it is like putting rocket fuel into a car. It will damage the mind. This is how people get mental illnesses. They become sick, whether through schizophrenia, paranoid delusions, many problems we see that are affecting humanity now.
Those who abuse the emotional center through anger or self-directed hate, depression, develop emotional sicknesses. They become imbalanced in the heart.
Those who waste the energy of the motor center become paraplegic, whether through excessive sports, violent sports, like UFC for example. That relates to the instinctive center as well. People who waste the instinctual forces of their body end up getting injured and sick.
Likewise, with the sexual force. Prostitutes, people who abuse the sexual energy, get sick. We know that from news, or people we know that may have some kind of illness related to that abuse.
Balancing the Five Centers
It is important to understand how to balance ourselves and that there are many ways to balance ourselves. By balancing ourselves, by having a reservoir of emotional energy, we can awaken consciousness in the astral world. Likewise, having a reservoir of mental energy, we can awaken within the mental world. Likewise, by saving our vital force, we can get access to all of it.
But for that, it is important to understand how to have equilibrium in our life, how to respond to different situations with intelligence, how to use our human machine.
Some people may have to develop the intellect more. Perhaps when we find that we are in a sour mood, we feel emotional, we feel upset, it can be good to read scripture in order to balance ourselves, to give us orientation ethically. It can be any scripture from a tradition that resonates with our heart and give us inspiration. It gives us joy in order continue our spiritual discipline.
Perhaps we are too intellectual, and we use the mind too much. We dream with the intellect too much. We analyze. We act through our head. It is good to put thought to rest when you feel like it is being drained and you cannot think anymore. Listen to classical music. Listen to great works of spiritual art that have a high vibration and help the consciousness resonate with superior forces. As we explained in the previous course called The Secret Teachings of Opera, there are art forms that teach about the path of the spirit and are direct reflections of higher truths. It is music like Beethoven, or Mozart especially, that have a type of emotional dynamism that help heal the heart and balance the mind. If your intellect is too active, balance it with activities relating to the heart. Listening to good music, lighting incense, aroma therapy, these things help calm the mind, help you be centered in yourself.
Perhaps we are too emotional. Again, we are resonating with negative feelings. Sometimes it is good to get some exercise. Distract yourself from a problem. Put it aside for a moment and go jogging. Lift some weights, obviously, with some moderation. Extreme sports can drain the body, but everything in balance helps. Some people, in terms of the motor center as well, like to train in martial arts. Some people like to train in Tai Chi, Aikido, these help train the instinctual center—how to react to stressful situations and problems with equanimity.
These could be useful too in order to balance the other centers as well, especially when they are performed consciously. Again, these activities are useful when we are using them with the soul, when we give those activities our full attention.
Lastly, in order to balance all the centers—and probably the most profound activity—is working with the sexual energy. It is a very deep topic. We do exercises like pranayama, whether from yoga or Buddhism. We practice transmutation, which through deep breathing and visualization, prayer, we take the creative force and raise it up the spine, to the mind and then to the heart.
This is very different from abusing the intellect and the intellect stealing energy from that center because it is unmodified. It must be modified. It must be worked with consciously and with intelligence. When you take that energy and you transmute it, you take it from one form of base matter into a spiritual force. It learns to elevate your heart, your mind. This is why you have all the saints with a halo above their heads. That is because they are illuminated by that force. It is a deep discipline.
Sleeping, Subjective, and Objective Consciousness
It is also important to understand—in relation to how we dream and how to cease dreaming—how to understand different states of consciousness.
Most of the time we are not aware of our human machine, and unfortunately, we have the misconception in our modern society that just because we are active with the mind, heart, and body, this means that we are conscious. That is not true, not necessarily. We can be receiving the impressions of life, but, like I said, we are not transforming them. We are not even aware of our surroundings perhaps, observing actively where we are at, what we are doing, where we are going.
Maybe we are speaking with someone, or they are talking to us, and because we are thinking of something or feeling in remembrance of a problem we have, or filled with fear, with a trauma, we have to ask, “What did you say?” The impressions were coming in, but we were not aware of what is going on. It is because we are very asleep.
Now, what is important to also understand is that awakening has different qualities. Awakening consciousness physically, but also in dreams, has very distinct qualities. We all know about lucid dreaming, becoming aware in a dream, or seeing with greater lucidity. But just because we are aware of a dream does not mean that we are not identified with it. This is the subtle key that many people fail to grasp.
You can be involved in a dream, have some type of intense experience. You may know it is a dream at first, but then you get sucked into it. You do not have control. It takes you. This is what dreams are like. It is mechanical. It is a machine. The human machine which has the potential to be fully lucid, clear, awake, spontaneous, perceptive, and in tune with the divine, in most cases, is stuck within its own mechanical reactions. That is what a dream is.
Perhaps you go to sleep at night and you have dreamed of something really crazy. Maybe it has its own narrative: “Why is it that I thought I was some superhero in some other country fighting extraterrestrials?” But in the dream, it makes sense. Why is it that it makes sense? It is because we are not questioning how we are dreaming during the daytime. We do not have the same type of inquiry into what is going on in our daily states.
Now, in our daily life, as I said, perhaps, you could of probably be invested in a very intense emotion. You have a selfish desire in reaction to a problem or conflict. You may be very aware that it is happening, but that is not good. It is not positive, not constructive. Awareness is not everything. A lot of schools push this idea that awareness is somehow this brilliant key to everything. But being aware of yourself does not mean you are in control. Someone can be very aware of murdering a person. In fact, that is worse than being asleep, because there is more energy invested into that act.
What is necessary is that instead of being subjective or perceiving through our own selfish desires, we in turn have that type of lucidity and awakening with objective perception: no self there; no ego; no fear; no preference; no assumptions; no presuppositions; no attachments; no filter. We see reality, whether physically in our daily states or even in our dreams. We see clearly what is there and we do not dream. We do not interpret with a false sense of self, because any ego, vice, defect, error, is a false sense of self which misinterprets everything. We are dreaming like that all the time. The way to stop dreaming is to know how that error functions in you, to observe it in yourself.
Self-Observation and Filial Love: The Superior Centers of the Being
This is why we study two superior centers in relation to what we call self-observation and filial love.
The human machine has its limitations, but also has tremendous potential. Fortunately for us, there are superior qualities of being which can exist within us when we train. We call them the superior intellectual and the superior emotional centers.
These have a very different functionalism than what we are accustomed to. They allow us to receive divine data, the messages of God, the teachings of our inner buddha, our Being, our reality. These centers are like an antenna. They receive data from the heavens, the signals and messages from our Innermost, our spiritual potential.
Dreams are projected. The intellect projects. It is hyperactive. But with the superior intellectual center, you receive knowledge.
So, this happen often in a form of a vision in which you see a symbol acting out in front of you and you are engaging with it. Usually, you are the witness and the participant. The superior intellectual center is understanding. It is comprehension. Going back earlier to the beginning of this lecture, we were talking about the superior faculties of the mind, which is precisely this: the ability to perceive, but more importantly, to understand. It is possible in a dream to know what it means, if you are awake enough, and your intuition, your heart, is active.
The superior emotional center is filial love. It is love for our inner divinity. It is love for our real identity, who it is like this image. It is infinite. It can not be conceptualized or limited by a culture, by a theory. It is only something you can understand by living it. However, that infinite abstraction expresses within dreams through a type of symbolism or narrative, in order to teach us what we must do in our daily life, our spiritual life. When we have those experiences, when we are directly communicating with the divine, we experience tremendous love and awe for the power of divinity, for knowing what to do and how to change.
This also relates to self-observation, being aware, not just being aware with anger, or with pride. This means to be aware without a self. This can confuse people, because our contemporary ideas of identity, religion, and self are exclusive. We think of ourselves as “who I am”—these negative emotions typically associated with “me.” It is possible to be awake and aware without any “I,” to perceive without thought, without any reaction, without any perturbation.
In that sense, you can receive impressions. They enter the lake of the mind and there is no ripple. If you want to know what that is like, again, look at a lake. It receives impressions and there is no reaction. It does not mean that there is no consciousness there. It means that the consciousness is super active. The way that the consciousness is active is like a reflection on that surface. You can see beautiful images of the heavens upon that screen. It receives, reflects, refracts within you, and therefore you have direct knowledge. You have direct understanding.
So, the Being, our real identity, wants to teach us and often will give us hunches in our daily life. Perhaps we are doing something we know is wrong and we justify with our intellect. We dream that “I want to do this because I am going to get this result.” “I want this benefit in my life” even though we feel a sting of conscience that knows “Do not do this. It is wrong.” That comes from divinity.
Most of the time we snuff it out. We try to justify ourselves, and we wash our hands clean like Pontius Pilate in the Gospels. We betray our divinity all the time. But intuition is precisely this filial love. You know what is right without having to think, and likewise when you receive superior symbolism from the higher worlds, you do so with understanding of their meaning.
Visions and Astral Experiences
This is an image we come back to again and again. It is the Tree of Life. It is a map of our multidimensional reality, which we explained in one of our previous lectures of this course: Where Do We Dream? It is a map of our current perception, but also our potential, from the higher levels of energy, consciousness and perception to the densest materiality.
These ten spheres show us aspects of ourselves, and many times when we receive visions, superior dream, real prophetic, direct knowledge, it comes with this. This will teach us how to interpret what we are seeing, what we are perceiving within ourselves.
Real visions and astral experiences come to us when our human machine is clean. It is good to take care of the body. Some of us were discussing earlier that our physiology relates to our internal psychology. For example, there are cleanses you can do to clean out your liver, such as drinking half a glass of olive oil with half a glass of lemon juice. It purifies the toxins of the liver, and when that aspect of the machine relating to that motor-instinctual-sexual brain, connected to the liver, when that is clean, sometimes you will have very vivid experiences in the astral world. That is one example of how to clean our human machine.
But to be more specific to what I am talking about, in a deeper psychological sense, is cleaning out the ego, because the ego, our sense of self, the “I,” pollutes these five centers. These engines rust out and they work with less efficiency and less ability with time. If we abuse the intellect with too much thought, it rusts. It decays. It degenerates, likewise with the other centers.
When you are a pure vehicle, when you are conscious, when you understand the mechanisms of dreams, you start to irradiate and vibrate with a superior emotional quality and a superior mind.
We always end these classes with practices. Every day, develop your self-observation from moment to moment. Observe the energy it takes to pay attention. Also, extend your mindfulness, the length of time that you are aware of yourself. At the end of each day reflect on how conscious you were that day. Everyday do this preliminary meditation exercise:
One reason we do mantras or sacred sounds, is because they vibrate the human machine. The vowel “O” is a very sacred syllable within Hinduism and all religions, Buddhism especially. It teaches the emotional center how to vibrate with superior sentiment and feeling. In that way, that sound, when you sing it, when you vocalize it, it charges the heart with tremendous force. That mantra can help you go out of your body. It can help you be aware in your dreams, to be awake.
Likewise, we imagine, because imagination, as explained previously, is the capacity to perceive. You want to deepen the ability to be conscious while you dream? Develop your imagination: the ability to perceive images of a non-physical type. How well you are able to visualize in your mind, within your third eye, so to speak, can help you go a long way to acquire greater depth of perceptions within dreams.
The point is to concentrate on the mantra so that you do not forget what you are doing. Do not let the mind wander. Do not think of something else while singing the mantra. Sing the mantra and immerse yourself into it like you are a bee making honey. Let it be your labor. Let it be your sole focus.
Lastly, write the facts of your day in a spiritual diary. You can document your dreams by writing about what you perceive, but also what your spiritual work is about. You can study how to perform a spiritual diary within this link.
At this point in time, I would like to open the floor to questions.
Questions and Answers
Question: You mentioned that we should not be abusing the energy of the different brains or centers. Especially, you mentioned, sports. What is a good way to know that I am using the right amount of energy for each brain? How do I know when I have gone too far?
Instructor: That is a good question. It is good to gauge yourself. You have to learn and listen to your body. Your body will tell you, “This is too much.” But the problem becomes often because of too much desire or ambition, “I need to get thinner. I need to work out more. I need to train myself more.” That desire can indicate that this is too much. If you feel like you are pushing yourself too much—it is good to get exercise—but if you find that you are over fatigued, or that you are drained, give it a break.
Question: What about the other brains?
Instructor: Same thing with the intellect. For example, anyone that has gone to a university, you perhaps read, read, and read to the point that you cannot even understand what you have read. You have lost the thread. You read a page, and then you have to say to yourself, “I do not even know what I just read!” Take a break.
Emotionally, when you find that there is simply too much emotion going on there, you are too invested in a problem, it is literally driving the other centers to act within imbalance, take a break. Try to do something else. Do another activity.
One thing I did not mention was that even though the centers operate at different speeds, the ego always manifests in each of these centers. So, the ego of pride, for example, which is very emotional, may emerge in the heart immediately, overpowering perhaps, because its emotions are very quick. Then there is logic, thoughts that justify what is going on here and the will to act. So, in terms of finding balance, because the centers operate at different speeds, it is because the human machine, in a sense, balances itself out. If all the centers operate at the same speed, then there is no way to equilibrate the others, because everything is on the same wavelength, so to speak, in terms of the centers compensating for each other in different ways, so that if you overuse one center, take a break. Relax. Move to another.
Question: So what is the sign then that the mind is stealing from the sexual center?
Instructor: When the mind is stealing from the sexual center, you get a second wind. You ever hear that statement… a second wind? It is like you initially feel exhausted, whether intellectually or physically, and then suddenly you get a boost of energy here, operating like the white rabbit of Alice in Wonderland. It is a sudden reemergence of energy in which, if you are observing it carefully, you will see that it comes suddenly. You have the energy to do it again even though before you were too tired.
Another thing to think about, if the intellect is stealing energy from the sexual center, that produces many problems intellectually. That mind cannot concentrate. It gets more distracted. The mind corrodes. This can lead to illnesses, in some people, like schizophrenia, mental imbalances, delusions. The mind just does not work anymore because it is operating on unmodified fuel. That person can start seeing things in a way that is not real. It can be different in terms of intensities depending on the person.
Question: I have one more question. You have this lecture that also relates to today’s topic. It is the transformations of emotions [impressions]. Gurdjieff also talks about this. So every day we have to sit and observe. But it doesn’t always work. Which is the real work? I mean, which is the real way to do it?
Instructor: Both are necessary, in a sense that it is not enough to perceive something, but you must comprehend it. Gurdjieff was excellent about teaching beginners to first observe what is going on, because most of us do not even pay attention to where we are at. We are not looking actively. We have the intellectual knowledge that “We know we are here,” but it is a passive state.
Gurdjieff was teaching to activate the consciousness, meaning, first, observe what is going on. But the next step is to comprehend, transform, perhaps the impression that we received, and receive it in the right centers. Sometimes we take in information with the wrong centers, and that is one the way that we dream.
As I said, maybe you are having an argument with someone, and they are trying to solve it with the intellect. But maybe what they need is just validation within the heart. It is like using the right tool for the right situation. That only comes about after comprehension: knowing intuitively what to do.
It is one thing to, again, be aware, but it is a totally different thing to discriminate what you see.
Comment: But sometimes intuition can get confusing because of egotistical desires.
Instructor: That’s the big problem.
Comment: People say I have an intuition, but in reality, it is not. It is my ego wanting this.
Instructor: That is the big problem with many spiritual people. They attribute what they call intuitive impulse, when really it is a demon. It is why people have committed many crimes in many spiritual groups. They do things that are not ethical. The thing to understand about that is, if you really want to understand, if you really want to receive intuition from divinity, examine your precepts. Does it fit or coincide with compassion, with the laws given by the different spiritual teachers of humanity, like the prophets?
We can study different scriptures and texts which teach about ethics, about how to be a true human being. Usually, this is from sources that are very pure, like Jesus, Buddha, Moses, Krishna, masters that have proven their caliber. Study what they taught, and perhaps see if this impulse that we may have. Is it contradicting that? People do not question what they are doing. They think, “Oh, this feeling is coming from God,” wreally it is not.
Another Instructor: Another thing to consider is sometimes we say it does not work when we look at our emotions. At the beginning, when we are just observing our emotions or any of these three brains, what often happens is that the intellect starts to interfere and interpret, “What am I looking at?” There is this pressure of attention we have to exert. In the same way that we are sitting in a chair right now, if we think about it intellectually, we might imagine the chair or know that “I am sitting in this chair,” but if we actually feel it, we expand our attention. We feel our body. We feel the chair. The pressure of attention is the consciousness.
So, what happens is that people are not familiar with distinguishing from, “I think this is an intuition!” but really it is just the emotional center or the intellect coming up with what it feels right to that egotistical self that we believe in, versus the attention, expanding, opening, and receiving something new, which is the comprehension that we are talking about.
Instructor: In order to understand your intuitions, the mind needs to be passive, and the consciousness needs to be active. The only way to discriminate and really know is to taste it.
Comment: I read The Yellow Book. I am fascinated with Jinn science and how to get to the lodges. It fascinates me!
Instructor: Jinn science has a parallel with astral projection. In astral projection, you are leaving your physical body behind to enter with your soul in the fifth dimension. Jinn science, for one thing, you can take your physical body into the internal worlds. This is exemplified in stories like the ascension of the Prophet Muhammad in Islam.
According to Muslim theology, he was meditating with his head against the stone of Mecca, the Kaaba. In a Jinn state, divinity took him, symbolically riding on this mystical creature, al-Buraq, “the lighting” in Arabic, from Mecca to Jerusalem and to the seven heavens. It is a symbol of Jinn science.
That science is practiced similarly to astral projection but with a different objective. There are different exercises that you can use to train your body to vibrate with those forces, the superior energy of the hyperspace, the fourth dimension, which is related to spatiality and time. So, in a sense you are entering with your body into that state. Because of prayer and drowsiness you start to assimilate and accumulate forces that can help transport you. Similarly, that happens with astral projection.
With astral projection, there is something magical that happens when we fall asleep, particularly if we are awake as a consciousness when it is happening. You might have experiences where you are falling asleep and you start to hear voices. You see start to see scenes of landscape and places just flash within your awareness. Often, we return to our body suddenly, awake, because we realize that we were seeing something internally with our imagination. That happens when we get drowsy, because when we are falling asleep, you start to open that doorway to the inner worlds.
In training, especially for astral projection, you learn to take advantage of that state so that when you fall asleep with that awareness and attention, you enter that doorway with cognizance. Now, with Jinn science, you are asking divinity, “Take me into the internal worlds” — in order to experience something like Prophet Muhammad. The thing to remember is that it is not something that we can necessarily will for ourselves entirely. There must be divine help. Divinity does that magic.
I believe it was one of the uncles of Prophet Muhammad who was against him. He said, “I do not believe you what you did,” about this ascension called الإسراء والمعراج al-'Isrā' wal-Miʿrāj. “Lift up your right foot,” and he did. “Lift up your left foot.” He said, “I cannot.” The man said, “How is it that you can travel from Mecca to Jerusalem and into the seven heavens, but not lift both feet?” The Prophet said, “I did not say that I went. I said that I was taken.”
God does that work, and there are many exercises in The Yellow Book that can teach you how to do that. They are very powerful, and they work.
It will happen if the conditions are right.
Question: How do the 49 levels of the mind correspond to the centers?
Instructor: So, we talk about 49 levels of the mind because there are depths to our being that we are not aware of. In Kabbalah, we talk about the seven bodies, the seven lower spheres of the Tree of Life relating to different vehicles we operate with, the lowest being the physical body.
There are seven levels of the mind within those seven bodies, making a total of 49. The most superficial level of the human machine is the intellect. It is the first level of the 49 levels of the subconsciousness. The intellect, as we said, is the slowest aspect of the human machine, but if we want to understand the deeper levels of the mind, you need to be aware of your human machine: how are you dreaming in those centers all the time?
Again, you go into more complexity and depth of your psyche relating to the centers themselves. Some of the centers are easier to control, like the intellect, because it is the slowest. Motion is difficult, but sexuality is the most difficult. If you become conscious of those levels in yourself physically and you start to train in astral projection, you can go into those other bodies on the Tree of Life, those other dimensions, and learn to explore those regions within yourself.
Question: Going back to Jinn science. I like to have actual hardcore evidence to research. Besides the prophets, is there anything to research about Jinn science and teachers you recommend?
Instructor: Samael Aun Weor is a big one. He does not please the scholars too much. He has a very different style. First off, his writings are very comprehensive. He studied all religions really deeply. He did have a scholasticism about him, but he was not intellectual. He was not based in theory. His writing, especially, is really the most explicit of what Jinn science is. If you look at what he wrote compared to the Bible or any world mythologies, where you see heroes flying through space, like Perseus saving Andromeda with the boots of Hermes, that is a symbol of that.
When you work with the energies of Hermes, which is the science of creative energy, the sexual energy, you can fly not only in the physical world, but enter with your physical body in those regions. Samael Aun Weor’s writings specifically are the most direct.
Question: In The Yellow Book, it is not clear when he says, “as soon as you feel like you are falling asleep, you have to jump.” Are you doing an imaginary jump or are we doing a physical jump?
Instructor: It is a real jump. One of the things he said about that: when you are in Jinn state, he said, you should test yourself. If you have some space, you can do this. By taking a marker of some kind to mark how far you have jumped, jump a certain distance as far as you can. Mark where you landed. If you keep repeating the experiment, you may find that your jumps are getting much further than before.
Another clue that Jinn states are happening is, the main description that Samael Aun Weor gave—because the physical body is penetrated by the vital vehicle—you will feel this kind of expansion, like your feet to your ankles are bloated. It is similar to an astral experience. Your body is vibrating with that level of nature. You will find that you will be levitating. That is one of the main clues that he gives.
This is obviously very difficult for skeptics. We have trained ourselves, the mind, to be very materialistic. A lot of the times, that is an obstacle to experiencing that for oneself.
But if you simply practice with it and give it as much energy and time as you need to do it, the moment may come when suddenly, you will find that your feet are bloated and you are floating in the air. It is a very powerful practice.
In Samael Aun Weor’s writings, you will find it allegorized in many different writings and scriptures. I am not too familiar if there are other more contemporary esoteric authors who talked about that. Primarily because, my assumption is that the level of being of certain modern esoteric writers are not high in comparison to prophets. Obviously, prophets, in terms of hierarchy, are something different, very distinct.
Question: How does pranayama relate to the mind stealing energy from the sexual center?
Instructor: If the mind is stealing from the sexual center, you are going to have less battery power to charge yourself in the appropriate way. Pranayama, which is the transmutation of the sexual energy, is the conscious control and direction of that energy to awaken spirituality, consciousness, awaken to Jinn states, awaken to astral projections. We say that, in a sense, pranayama is the opposite of stealing energy from the centers. When you steal energy from the other centers, there is an imbalance. You are putting fuel that does not belong in the intellect and you are going to have problems in the future.
Pranayama is learning to transform and modify the sexual energy. This is the key: unmodified sexual energy can harm a person if it is not transformed or processed. What matters is that the consciousness must be present so that by processing that energy, it learns to circulate in a constructive way.
Another Instructor: When we are performing pranayama and we are performing sexual transmutation, that energy is feeding the consciousness and the superior centers and not necessarily feeding the intellectual brain. Whereas, when we are just depleting the intellectual brain, then the sexual energy is unconsciously being rerouted to a lower center.
Instructor: Thank you all for coming.
Today we will be discussing the hermit, which is a spiritual archetype often associated with an initiate: a person who enters a spiritual path seeking to initiate or begin a new life, a new spiritual development within themselves. As a hermit is often associated with solitude and loneliness, it is also interesting that today's talk is going to cover the importance of relationships, not just from a mundane perspective, but especially from a spiritual perspective of how relationships can help us on our spiritual journey.
The basic idea of relationships in psychology is that they can be extremely important and helpful for your mental health and your physical health as well. If you have really good relationships in your life, you are at a greater advantage of healing faster, living longer, and having better health outcomes with regards to mental illness or physical problems as well. In addition to that, if you have got a lot of toxic, negative, or stressful relationships in your life, then that can hinder your physical health. People who are extremely withdrawn and isolated also tend to live shorter lives, to have more health problems.
So how do we understand this seeming contradiction between becoming a spiritual hermit―a person who is advancing on a higher level of being and living seemingly in isolation―with the idea that relationships are really important parts of life, that we are living in a society where we need to interact healthily with other people?
Regarding Abusive Relationships
All of us have relationships at different levels. It is also important to say up front that sometimes relationships can be abusive. So what I am talking about today is living a healthy spiritual life and having healthy relationships that aid our spiritual development. I want to be very explicit, up front, that if anyone is in an abusive relationship, we are not condoning staying in an abusive relationship. If you are in a relationship where someone is threatening to harm you or to harm others, if someone is exhibiting controlling behaviors, or of course, if there is physical or sexual violence in a relationship, then it is very important to seek community resources or professional help to determine what is the best way for you to safely remove yourself from that type of relationship.
Sometimes people will stay in a relationship thinking they are doing the right thing because they love their partner and they want to sacrifice for their partner and serve their partner, even when they are being abused. But in an abusive relationship, not only are you harming yourself by staying in that relationship, but you are also allowing the other person to continue to commit a harmful action that is not good for their spiritual journey either.
So just to state up front and very explicitly that the relationships we are talking about today and overcoming difficulties or criticisms in relationships are not pertaining to abusive relationships, which we definitely believe that people should seek resources in their community, to get help and to get out of those types of relationships.
Why Study Our Relationships?
But abusive relationships aside, we all probably have at least a few relationships in our life that have some unpleasantness in them, where people can really push our buttons or criticize us, or people are not giving us what we think we want or deserve from them, like respect, or admiration. So many people who are seeking a spiritual path are sometimes seeking a chance to escape from relationships or family obligations and say, “Well, I am above that because I am on a spiritual path.” That can be a problem because we are in relationships for a reason.
Relationships are an opportunity to learn about ourselves. Many times we can not see ourselves clearly and other people see things in us that we do not want to see. So criticism can be the best way to start propelling our spiritual journey. Tests and ordeals with other people, conflicts with other people, if we know how to transform that, if we know how to study ourselves and our behaviors in meditation, to really understand what is going on in our dynamic with another person or a group of people, we can see something new about ourselves that can give us the choice of if we want to continue with that characteristic or behavior in ourselves or if we want to change it and adopt something healthier.
That is the whole journey of spiritual transformation right? ― finding what in us we would like to change, we would like to get rid of, some of what we consider to be harmful, or negative, or dragging us down―not in other people, not in the relationships as much as in ourselves. We never really have power over other people, so we have to maximize the power that we have over ourselves to be able to change our lives.
I have verified in my life that when I significantly change my own attitudes about people, my own tendencies and behaviors towards people, that it radically changes the relationship that I have with those people. Not every relationship is going to change in a huge substantial way, but at least in small ways, we can make a big difference in our relationship if we are trying to improve ourselves, rather than just getting frustrated and just blaming other people all the time.
Karma and Relationships
So where do relationships come from? Well, there are two sorts of relationships in life: inherited relationships, like the family that you are born into or that you are raised by, and then relationships that we choose or at least we seem to choose.
We feel a connection to a certain person and we think, “I am going to become friends with them,” or “I am going to date them.”
So these relationships, of choice or inheritance, really have their root in karma. In this esoteric tradition, we talk a lot about past lives and how the actions of past lives can be carried over, how that energy, the consequences of past actions, carries over when we incarnate into a new physical body.
So with our relationships and our family especially, there are very important karmic ties. The past actions, whatever wrongs we committed, or whatever good deeds we did, can determine the quality of what relationships we have in this life. Also, the character that we carry with us from life to life can determine which relationships we choose or whom we feel attracted to, what we are looking for.
If we had a really strong desire in a past life to be with a certain type of person, we can carry that with us and then seek out that type of person in this life. Sometimes this can be to our benefit, but a lot of times this is to our detriment. We are caught in a cycle of pain and are being drawn to the wrong types of people, whether as friends or romantic partners, and we do not know why we can not break out of that cycle.
It is really important to understand the origin of our relationships. Through meditation and some serious work on oneself, you can start to penetrate into the memories of your past lives. But even if we can not do that, we can study our present life to really understand something about what has drawn us into these relationships, whether by choice or inheritance. We can understand what we need to change in ourselves in this life to have better relationships in our future lifetimes.
Samael Aun Weor is the founder of this modern Gnostic movement, and he wrote in his book Beyond Death about three types of marriage bonds. I think this applies to all relationships, even beyond marriage. But of course, the person that you marry is a very significant bond, so that is kind of the archetype that we are looking at here.
Here is what he stated:
There are three types of marriage bonds: first, karmic; second, dharmic; and third cosmic. The first type consists of pain, misery, hunger, nakedness, disgrace. The second consists of success, happiness, love, economic progress, etc. And the third is only for the chosen souls, pure, holy: the third brings as it is natural, inexhaustible happiness. ―Samael Aun Weor, Beyond Death
So if we are thinking about karmic relationships, they bring us a lot of pain and they have important lessons because, probably, there were some traits that we brought with us from this lifetime or actions that we committed in past lifetimes that are causing the same cycle to repeat in this lifetime. By studying the nature of the relationship that brings you pain, the role that you are playing in perhaps perpetuating or causing more pain in that relationship, and then choosing to change―even if in this lifetime you can not salvage the relationship, even if something happens to end that relationship or it is necessary to end that relationship if it is abusive―it could mean that in a future lifetime your relationship with that particular person could be very different, because you acted from a place of compassion or wisdom rather than just unconsciousness, repeating the same frustrated desires and selfish intentions.
The second would be what would be the outcome of those types of changes: dharmic relationships where we feel real inspiration from the other person, support and success and happiness with the other person.
Finally this type of cosmic relationship would be a relationship had by an initiate: a person who is really on another level, a person who has really tapped into that divine path and is really going beyond the mundane idea of a healthy good life and is really stepping into a spiritual life that is superior to that.
I would like you to take a moment to reflect on your most important relationship. Which of the three is it and what would you like it to become?
It is really important to take some time to apply teachings to our real life and not just think about them as an idea, but to see how any type of spiritual teaching gives us an opportunity to understand our own struggles, our own suffering, and gives us an opportunity to change.
The Relationships of an Initiate
The key to healthy spiritual relationships is the whole purpose in the work of an initiate. It is interesting that the hermit symbolizes solitude. That does not necessarily mean that if we become an initiate, we are going to run away to the mountains and escape all of our problems and never see our family and friends again. We may be an initiate living anonymously here in the world, fulfilling our obligations in society and helping people without anyone being aware.
The key to that is the renunciation of self-interest. It is not just to have healthy relationships which we can learn through basic psychology, but to really go above and beyond that and to be a spiritual servant to all the people around us, whether they are an enemy, a friend, a family member, or a stranger. It means to really see that one person has the power to make an extreme difference in the world and in other people's lives, if they are a person who has been able to develop some spiritual virtue, a strong character, and the willingness to sacrifice for others.
That is why we hear about a parable "The Great Pearl,” where a merchant went everywhere searching for a pearl of great value and then when he found it, he renounced everything and gave up his life for this pearl. It does not mean that we are going to give up our physical life and our relationships, but rather that we renounce our psychological attachment to relationships.
A lot of times when we are seeking a relationship or a friendship, we are thinking about “what I can get out of it,” “what is this person going to give to me?” and “what are the benefits I am going to get from this relationship?” That is the opposite of what an initiate would be thinking if they were to enter into a relationship. An initiate coming from a place of compassion does not need anything from the other person, but has their own inner strength coming from divinity.
When we have been really able to establish ourselves in our spiritual connection to divinity, then whatever misfortunes or fortunes might befall us in life, we know that all of that is temporary. Relationships will come and go. Even the strongest, longest-lasting relationship will end with death. We have to have a more permanent relationship, and the only permanent relationship is the soul's relationship to divinity. If we are establishing that, then we would have the courage to renounce the desires for worldly things: fame, money, lust, pride, vanity, all of the things that we might think are going to give us what we want from life.
When we renounce our desire for those things, then we stop hurting people, because when you think about the people who have hurt you the most or the times when you have hurt people the most, it is often because you have been driven by a desire. You wanted something from them or they wanted something from you. If we can get that self-interest out of the relationship, then there can be a true harmony of souls, even if the other person is not at that same level and they are still self-interested.
You can see it so much more clearly when you are not blinded by your own egotism and your own self-interest. You can really see what their intentions are, and you can have compassion for them, and you can approach the relationship with wisdom, and prudence, and understand a better way to have a healthy interaction with them.
But most of the time, people who enter spiritual paths struggle a lot with their relationships. Maybe they are going through a lot of changes. Their spiritual journey isn't understood by their current friends and family, and so a lot of people just give up. They say, “My family does not understand me,” “They do not support me in what I am trying to do now,” and they just try to end all of their relationships. Rather than changing psychologically and changing their attitudes towards the people who are not understanding what they are going through, they decide to just physically remove themselves from those people.
If that is an abusive relationship, that could be a really good idea, but in a lot of cases, people just can not stand the criticism, or that people are not respecting, or understanding what they are experiencing in their spiritual life. But we lose through that action the opportunity to grow and change with the people who are in our lives for a reason. They are in our lives because of some kind of previous action, relationship, or cause, and so instead of understanding: “Why are these people in my life? Why do I have this conflict with them? Why do I have these attitudes towards them?” ― people just run away, and that is really a disadvantage for spiritual life.
Question: How do you deal with people who do not have compassion, and by being a compassionate person and unconditionally wanting to help them, you feel you become drained and exhausted? When do you get to the point where you say, “I can not take that!” and I have to look out for myself?
Instructor: So what is important if we do not have that kind of spiritual strength yet, we all have spiritual aspirations. We want to get that connection to divinity. But maybe we think “I am not there yet, and these people are really draining me,” or we are around people who are toxic, and they are trying to drain you, because they are trying to manipulate you, and get something from you.
So as I mentioned earlier, if we do not have self-interest involved, then we have no problem stepping away from a person like that. Even if it is a family member, we might lessen the amount of time that we have to be around that person, but take advantage of the times when we do have to be around them, to learn something. If we need a break, if that person is sucking us dry, we can step back and take some time away from that person.
Really, it is aspirational that we get to the point that we get everything that we need from divinity. But on the path, there are going to be a lot of those types of ordeals, and questions like “How should I be interacting with this person?”
Well, we can never really sacrifice our own well-being for the sake of serving someone else's desires. The problem is people say, “I want this from you,” and we think the right thing to do is to give people what they want, and that is service for that person. But many times people want something that is not actually good for them. If people are wanting to just have somebody around that they can beat up on, or have somebody around that they can use to get everything that they want from them all the time, then it is not in our interest to be that for someone.
We have to recognize that the right thing to do is to step away from that person and to stop giving them our energy, because if we are giving all of our energy to a person who is abusing that gift, then we are not using that energy to develop ourselves. I will talk in a few slides about changing where we are directing our energy and how that helps us a lot in those types of situations. But if our relationships are not that bad, if our relationships are not draining us dry, and we do have a place where we can kind of have our sanctuary, our home, a space where we can separate from people for a while to be able to do our spiritual work, then we can also use the obligations of our ordinary life as a chance to develop our character.
Spiritual work is very difficult and requires a lot of strength of character, and a lot of willpower. We might need a break from people to really heal and to restore our energy. A healing retreat can be a way to do that. But if we go away on retreat for ten years and then we re-enter society, and we still have all the same problems that we left with, it is because we have not really changed.
That is why I advocate for a reciprocal notion of healing yourself, taking the time to do your spiritual work, and maybe that is in isolation, or maybe that is with a spiritual group, but also to not run away from the world and the duties that we have to be a good citizen.
Responsibility in Our Relationships
Gurdjieff gave a teaching about this that I would like to share. Gurdjieff was a teacher of western esoterism. He talks about the common man as a sort of archetype that many people look down upon. Here is exactly what he said:
People who are definitely thinking about [spiritual] ways, particularly people of intellectual ways, very often look down on the obyvatel [common man], and in general, despise the virtues of the [common man]. But they only show by this their own personal unsuitability for any [spiritual] way whatsoever. Because no [spiritual] way can begin from a level lower than the common man. This is very often lost sight of in people who are unable to organize their own personal lives. Those who are too weak to struggle with, and conquer life, dream of the [spiritual] ways, or what they consider are [spiritual] ways because they think it will be easier for them than life. And because this so to speak justifies their weakness and their adaptability, a man who can be a good [common man] is much more helpful from the point of view of the [spiritual] way than a tramp who thinks himself much higher than a [common man]. I call ‘tramps’ all the so-called intelligentsia-artists, poets, any kind of bohemian in general who despises the [common man], and at the same time who would be unable to exist without him. The ability to orientate oneself in life is a very useful quality from the point of view of the [spiritual] work. A good [common man] should be able to support at least twenty persons by his own labor. What is a man worth who is unable to do this? ―Gurdjieff, quoted in P. D. Ouspensky's In Search of the Miraculous
I was mentioning about people who look at spirituality as a way out of life and a way out of their problems rather than seeing that life and the problems that it presents to us, whether through our job, or our relationships, or our family, is actually the way into the spiritual world. The spiritual world is not somewhere floating outside of our world and we are trying to escape there, but rather that we are using the challenges of our life to be able to develop ourselves and our spiritual strength.
We see this echoed in another passage from the founder of this tradition, Samael Aun Weor, when he talks about the requisite, the requisite to become a spiritual initiate: a person who really is trying to transcend just the common man, the good ordinary common person that can contribute a lot to society. Not only can he or she care for their family and make a difference in the world in a small way, but make the sacrifice to perform a higher service.
To become an initiate is the ultimate sacrifice that a human can make. We can look at a person like Jesus or Buddha, prophets and saints who really gave their lives to God but also in service of humanity. Any person who gives their life to God but then runs away and escapes from society and never deals with people again is not really achieving the goal. The goal of developing spiritually is so that we have something to give back to the world. That takes a lot of preparation and a lot of work.
Just like if you wanted to become the best at a certain job like a doctor, you would have to study extensively. You would have to train and practice your skillset for years to become the best at that. For some reason, people think that being an initiate is different from that, that it is just innately, “I am better than other people and I am a spiritual person,” when really, the work of an initiate requires a lot of training, a lot of practice, a lot of self-reflection and knowledge over the years. That all begins with our current life, with our challenges, with our relationships most importantly, and having a mirror to look at ourselves.
He mentions that we need to become a good head of household. So even if we are not currently in a relationship, or the head of a family, how are we being a good head of household towards other people?
It is also important not to get too fanatic. We get excited about our spiritual life. We get excited about the journey that we are on, and then if we get fanatic, we try to force other people to be in a place where they are not. That can be harmful to our relationships and it can be harmful to other people.
The most important rule of white magic is that you respect the free will of others. You are not here to seek power to control other people, to get everything that you want from other people, but you are in this spiritual work to improve yourself, to benefit yourself, and then thereby to be a benefit to others because your level of being is always improving and elevating.
In the beginning, it can be hard to just establish the foundation in our physical life. Like I said, the aspiration we have to become an initiate might seem unrealistic from where we are sitting today, but all of that begins by gradually day by day reflecting on our lives, reflecting on the choices we are making, the relationships we have, the attitudes we have, and transforming that, transforming ourselves. Samael Aun Weor wrote:
The crude reality of facts demonstrates to us that many are those who have not comprehended the transcendence of the Gnostic esoteric work, and that great majorities are not good heads of households.
So if we find ourselves feeling a lot of anger or animosity towards people, if we find that we constantly struggle with wounded pride, like people are not respecting us enough, that is where we need to start, by converting ourselves, by changing those vices into virtues, and finding out:
“What is good in this person that I can really love, to transform this relationship?”
“How can I have humility with this person and compassion for this person?”
Or if it is a situation where the person is draining us, and it is not a good relationship, then:
“How do I develop the strength to stop this person, to remove myself, or to stand up for myself in a healthy way that does not allow the person to continue harming themselves and me through their wrong actions?”
We think of the spiritual path as a sort of vertical line through life, that one can go up spiritually, and that one can go down spiritually. While we are progressing through our physical life, which is the horizontal line of life, we are aging. We are maturing physically. We are developing.
But are we maturing and developing spiritually? Today if I am at one level of being―let's say, hopefully, I am a decent person, I am a good common woman―then ten years from now, will I have developed in my spiritual life? ― when I am at a higher level of being, when I am experiencing happiness and genuine love for others, strength of character, virtues, and able to live that in my life? Or ten years from now, will I be at a lower level of being where I am immeshed in suffering, where I have all kinds of attachments and desires to people or worldly situations that are never going to be fulfilled, and just cause me more pain by wanting them all the more?
It is good to reflect on why we are starting off with a good foundation, and also where do we intend to go. If we are only seeking worldly things, we may accumulate a lot physically in our life, but when we die, all of that is gone. If we are seeking spiritual development, then whatever we accumulate we will carry with us into future lifetimes. This is the goal and it is also the work.
The Three Tools of the Hermit
We aspire to become the initiate, the archetype that is represented in Arcanum 9 in the tarot, the Hermit. The Hermit encloses the secrets by which we can gradually become like that. Nothing in nature occurs overnight, so we should expect that just like with any other skill, or any other level of development, that it takes time and it takes effort. Meditation especially is a very important science for those who seek to really know and to understand themselves, and to change.
The three tools of the Hermit can give us a clue into what we are working toward, and also how to work toward it.
The first is the lamp of Trismegistus, which Eliphas Levi explains, “is reason illuminated by science.”
The second is the mantle, or the cloak of Apollonius, which is “full and complete self-possession.”
The third is the staff of the patriarchs. It is the “help of the secret and everlasting forces of nature.”
The Lamp of Wisdom
When we are working on this path, we need first to begin with the lamp of Trismegistus. That reason is related to our intellectual brain or ideas or understanding.
Do we have wisdom, or do we feel constantly confused and in ignorance?
The real illumination of our mind comes from divinity. So working with prayer, working with spiritual practice, working with meditation, is what is going to allow us to gain that lamp, that lantern, through which we are guided.
Most importantly of all, we are guided by our conscience, and if we ignore our conscience over years and years and years, that voice can become very silent. We need to work to reactivate that voice of the conscience, and spiritual practices and prayer are a great method to do that.
Really dedicating some time every day to divinity, towards your relationship with divinity through that practice and prayer, is really essential to reawaken our conscience. Then when we have our conscience awake, we allow that to be the light that guides us through life―to know what is right, to know when we need to end a relationship, or when we need to go and heal a relationship.
All of that comes from our conscience, and all of that can vary by situation. That is why no one can give you a one-size-fits-all. You know your relationship best of all. You know yourself, and you are the one that can meditate and have divinity guide you on what you should do in that relationship.
The Mantle of Prudence
The second tool that the Hermit has is the mantle or cloak. Eliphas Levi states that the mantle of Apollonius is “full and complete self-possession, which isolates the sage from blind tendencies.”
When we are controlled by our desires, we are blind, spiritually speaking, because those desires can guide us into all kinds of problems and difficult situations. We do not know how to get out of it because we are just driven by desire, and that is what keeps it spinning, keeps the cycle going, turns the wheel of suffering as we learn about in Buddhism.
To have full and complete self-possession is to not only not be controlled by other people, but most importantly, to not be controlled by our own desires. Perhaps someone comes along and they tempt me with a proposition. For example, they are going to give me a promotion at my job where I will have a lot more power, and a lot more money, but in order to get that promotion, they want me to manipulate or hurt someone else, maybe their enemy. Well, if I am driven by the desire for power and control, then I am going to give in to that demand. I am going to maybe get what I want materially, but lose something of extreme value to me spiritually.
If I am in full and complete self-possession, then no matter what temptation that person might offer to me, I follow the lamp of my conscience and I do what is right. That is a truly powerful person. That is a person who is not manipulated by their worldly desires and attachments. That person can not be controlled by anyone. They might be killed, dying for what they believe is right, but they have true power in that they are self-possessed.
That is really important in relationships because when we talk about that renunciation and the self-sacrifice that is necessary to have a really healthy spiritual relationship with someone, that is only possible if we also have this full and complete self-possession. As long as we want something from the other person, then we are at risk of being manipulated or falling into the trap of our own desire.
The Staff of the Patriarchs
The final one is the staff of the patriarch. In this teaching, we talk about the forces of nature, and how nature is constantly creating. We see cycles of birth, growth, maturity, decay, and death. Nature is always creating and destroying. In the same way, we have a force of creation within us, which is talked about in a lot of different lectures. But to summarize, our force of creation, to create life, is in our sexual energy. If we work with practices to redirect our sexual energy, inward, up the spinal column, and into the brain, this can illuminate us. This can re-establish our connection to divinity. That is the staff. The staff is the symbol, esoterically, of the spinal column. The magic wand of the magician is the spinal column.
When we have that help of those secret (because all of this knowledge has been occult for a long time), everlasting forces of nature, we develop true willpower. We develop a willpower that can stand against the world, even when the world is fighting very hard to force us to do what is wrong. If we think about where we direct our energy, a lot of energy is expended chasing desires. There is a certain amount of energy we have to expend every day for our physical life, to fulfill our duties and our obligations, to work at our job, or to go to school, or take care of our family, or our partner. That requires energy, but when there is no attachment there, when there is not a ton of egotistical desire that is craving, we are losing a lot less energy than would be normally expended.
For many people nowadays, our mind is always running, running, running, and our emotions are always being stimulated by one thing or another. That causes a lot of burnout and drain, where we have nothing left to give to our spiritual work. We sit to meditate and we are just exhausted. It is really important to look at the things that we really desire and to lay them on the altar before divinity, and give up our desire for those worldly things as the payment for the one pearl of great value, which is our soul.
If we really want to claim our spiritual development to the highest pitch, we can not have competing interests. We can not have a bunch of other things that we want along with it. Now that is the reality that we are at. We want a bunch of other things. We need to work on that over time. We need to look at what we want, and ask ourselves if it is really going to produce benefit.
If I have a lot of anger towards a certain person and “I really want revenge,” “I really want to hurt them,” and I continue to act on that for ten years, what is going to happen? What is going to be the outcome of acting on that desire? Well, a lot of pain for me, and for them, really nothing of spiritual benefit. In fact, a lot of spiritual detriment in this case.
But if I have a longing to become a better person, to do better in my job―because I have a job that is serving other people in one way or another, and I continue to invest in that longing, that natural longing of the soul over ten years―who will I become, and what will be the outcome?
So every day we can meditate on what we see in our day, what kind of emotions come up, what are we seeing in our relationships, and to reflect and ask ourselves from the point of view of our own conscience: is this really helping us on our spiritual journey, or is this harming us?
The Four Conditions to Attain the Holy Kingdom
In addition to these three tools, Eliphas Levi taught four conditions to attain the sanctum regnum, which is the holy kingdom, the kingdom of God, the kingdom of heaven that exists within our physical life. That even within our physical life as we are moving along that horizontal line of existence, we can be also ascending into heavenly states of consciousness, increasing our wisdom, increasing our spiritual wakefulness, and our ability to see the truth of things, even spiritual powers.
The four conditions that Eliphas Levi teaches us help us to attain the knowledge and power of the magi. They are:
To know, to dare, to will, to keep silence; such are the four words of the magus inscribed upon the four symbolical forms of the sphinx. ―Eliphas Levi, Transcendental Magic: Its Doctrine and Ritual
“To know is an intelligence illuminated by study.” Not just study of books and scriptures which can be helpful, but especially study of ourselves, because that is how we can really transform. As much as we might believe or feel inspired by something that we read in a book, we will never really verify it unless it is something we ourselves have lived.
That is why the best way to study spiritually is to study each night by meditating on our day.
What did we see in ourselves?
What did we see in other people?
What suffering did we experience or what suffering did we witness?
What good deeds did we witness or do, and what were the effects of that?
That is where everything begins, and that is what re-awakens the heart and the conscience, and allows us to really change as a person in a positive direction. It is to not try to become a better person because we want more from the world, but to be less self-absorbed and therefore establish a greater character of the soul. It is to allow the soul to grow and thrive, instead of an egotistical sense of self.
The second, “To dare, which is an intrepidity which nothing can check.” So this does not mean to just argue with everyone and to be stubborn and never do what everybody else wants you to do. Sometimes that can actually be a big problem. What might be the right thing to do is to sacrifice what our pride wants, and to find a compromise, or to find a way to be agreeable with other people.
This type of daring that he is talking about is to dare to do what is right―to not be stopped by any kind of threat, temptation, or desire that we have from the world, but rather to have the courage to do what is right, to have the courage to sacrifice even some of our most longed-for dreams if we really come to understand that they are not going to produce real benefit for ourselves or for others.
We need a lot of willpower for that. “A will that can not be broken” is unified will. That is why we see again and again the symbol that the hermit renounced everything and only dedicates themselves to spiritual development. Because as long as we have our will going in fifteen different directions, then we are never going to really be able to advance consistently in the direction of spiritual development. We might take two steps in that direction and then one step on a side path, and then we will never really get to where we are trying to go. That will is really related to the power of the staff in the spinal column.
Finally “to keep silence” doesn't just mean to not talk about the things that we are experiencing, although sometimes it is very prudent to not talk about the things you are experiencing if other people are not going to understand, and it is not really going to benefit them. If we are just talking about what we are going through because we are excited about it and we want everyone to know what we are experiencing, then that can be a very harmful choice. Many initiates kept extreme silence and privacy in their lives even if they had worldly obligations that they were fulfilling, because they understood that talking about spiritual things with people who are not in the same place, or not interested, can create a lot of conflict, problems, and even persecution.
But importantly, this means “to keep silence” as an act of emotional and intellectual self-possession, to be able to be prudent and not be corrupted by things in the world, to not be intoxicated by our own desires or what other people might offer to us, but rather to always keep our heart and our mind focused on being a benefit to other people.
This is a constant process of renouncing―renouncing what we want every day for the benefit of someone else. That does not mean that we will never experience happiness, or that we will never have positive relationships where other people are admiring or loving us, but that we renounce the attachment to it so that if the person that loves us today, tomorrow says, “I hate you and I never want to see you again,” we allow that. We understand. We have the psychological hermitage, in which we can separate from the world and understand that everything in life is temporary. What is wonderful today could be bitter tomorrow. That is ok as long as we are learning from both of them and changing spiritually.
So to conclude I would like to take a look at these two archetypes here from the tarot. We have the Hermit, Arcanum 9, which we have been looking at, and we can see that he is a wise old man, wise with age. And on the left, we have a picture of the Fool, a young man.
Well, some of the key differences to reflect on here are first the lamp. The Fool has no lamp, and in fact, he is right on the edge of the cliff, because he is not illuminated by divinity, or by his own conscience. He could very easily fall to his death.
The Fool also carries a staff, but that staff has the baggage of the world: all of his attachments, all of his desires. Rather than supporting himself on the staff, the staff is weighing him down. He is carrying those desires with him and is setting off on a journey, but without a real understanding of where he is going.
Finally the clothing; we do not know what the Hermit is hiding underneath his cloak. He is prudent. He is keeping the mystery of his Being and his development hidden from the world, and doing that work in secret, whereas the Fool is showing off and wearing beautiful clothing, trying to make an impression with everybody with how great he is.
I say this as a warning, not just to reflect ― “Which one are we more like?” ― but also to understand there are people in the world who are on spiritual paths, but are the path of the Fool, spiritual paths that seek power and have a lot of worldly attachments and investment, people who will show off to try to gain followers.
If we are seeking that from our spiritual work, that we can become this beautiful figure with a lot of power to manipulate and control other people, and get what we want or gain worldly things, then that is considered black magic. That is considered using all the gifts and resources at our disposal, but doing something that is going to harm people, and in turn, will harm us.
Whereas, the Hermit is the path of white magic, the path that is not seeking to gain any glory or fame for himself, but is sacrificing everything, is renouncing everything psychologically in order to lean on the staff of divinity, to use all of the illumination and resources that we are given by divinity to walk the bitter, lonely path of spiritual development.
This path can produce the real lasting happiness of the soul. But if we ask ourselves: “Why is the Hermit in solitude?” ― it is because the spiritual work can be painful.
There are parts of us that do not want to give up the things which we cling to in our lives. Even if we recognize that when we die, we are going to lose all that anyway, something in us does not want to give it up, does not want to let it go. When the Hermit cuts away those attachments to the world, that can be a very painful process. The spiritual path can be very lonely, because even if you have relationships, you are always aware that your self-interest and your attachment to that person is of harm to them. You are always separating from that person to protect them, and also to protect yourself and your spiritual development. That can be a path of loneliness and solitude. But it is the path on which we can enter into a higher level of being. So that is where we all begin.
Questions and Answers
Question: Do you believe that the Hermit can have a healthy relationship and love?
Instructor: Yes, absolutely! I am glad you asked about that. So, we probably will have relationships in our life that are healthy, especially as we are changing. As we are becoming better people, we attract people towards us who might be resonating at that level. As we change our behaviors and start in healthier behaviors, we are going to be around other people who have those healthier behaviors, and that is good. That can really be of benefit to us in our life. But the question is, are we attached to that?
Because at any moment that could change, or that could be lost. Are we going to lose everything we have developed in our self as a result of losing that relationship? If we are really taking the benefit of the relationship and making sure that we are not developing a strong attachment, then we can take all of that with us throughout our life. But our own development, and our own character, can not be dependent on whether other people are treating us well or not.
Question: So for me to understand, basically the Hermit can enjoy love and relationships and marriage, but they see it as an experience that is an extension of their spiritual journey rather than an attachment of their desires?
Instructor: Yes. So a hermit can have relationships, but the question is: why are we in the relationship? Is it driven by, “I want to learn something for my own benefit,” or is it driven by, “I genuinely feel love for this person and want to care for them and be with them long term”?
Question: So it is servitude?
Instructor: Yeah. Real compassion though. That can be really tricky, because we find ourselves in a lot of situations where we think we are doing what is compassionate for people, but maybe we are being deceived by our own desire, or what we are doing is not actually for their benefit. But yes, a hermit can have relationships if that is what life brings us. If life is bringing us certain people, then we should try to figure out “Why is this person in my life? How can I be of service to them in a real way?” But never expect that that person is going to be there permanently.
Question: That picture of the hermit showing solitude, obviously, like to become brave from the rock in the way, and the light following his foot, keeps sustaining him. Would you say that is him at a high pitch?
Instructor: I would say that it is a symbol. So the fact that he is isolated, grey, and kind of turning off all of the desires―like the world can be very bright, can be very intoxicating, very tempting―but he is turning away from that. He is going into the night, and like you said, only carrying the lamp that guides him. The spiritual night is a pretty common story or allegory that we hear about where we have to go and look at the dark parts of our life, in order to get there.
I do not think that the Hermit is the end goal. I think that Christ is the end goal, right? ― a person who can really channel divinity and be a light in the world. But the Hermit is the starting point at the beginning of the path.
Question: You mentioned Gurdjieff and the harmonious development of man's relationship with developing the bodies, and how he professed to be interacting with the lower realms of society as a tool. He would say, to use that virtue to develop that permanent, divine “I.” But P. D. Ouspensky had all these lavish situations. So how would you relate that to developing sincerely amongst the lower realm, and wouldn't you need to surround yourself as Gurdjieff did with the highest intelligentsia or the highest pitch of people?
Instructor: Yeah, it is a really good question, because Gurdjieff is very controversial. I also think he was at a level past maybe the Hermit that we are trying to work through. So in order to get to the level where we can make those kinds of decisions, like what he made, we have a little bit more development to do. But I will say, like you mentioned, he hung out with people who were considered the lower echelon of society, and also did attract some prominent intellectual figures to him. That is because we do not have to discriminate on people based on their worldly situation, but really to see the heart of the person. If somebody is brought into our lives, and they can benefit from what we have to give, then it does not matter if they are poor or rich, or famous or infamous, but like you said, really focusing on what is the purpose of that relationship for my development, and for their development.
Question: You mentioned to attempt to conserve energy so that when at the end of the day we have sufficient energy to conduct our work. My question is, I am in construction. I went through a stage of sitting to meditate, and struggling within fifteen to twenty minutes. This occurred for many months. What can I do to get through this obstacle?
Instructor: Yeah. So if you are feeling physical discomfort when you are sitting to meditate, lie down. Lie down in a posture on your back that will help you to stay awake, because meditation is really essential. We should be trying to do it every day in one way or another. But if we are feeling a lot of physical pain, that can be a big obstacle.
So as well, if you are working a very difficult physical job and you are feeling drained by that, maybe do some meditation in the morning instead of waiting until the evening. Physical labor certainly can drain a lot of energy, but also pay attention to your emotional and intellectual energy, and how you are spending that in the time that you are not at work. Find ways to balance, to rest physically, but also to continue to develop your heart and your intellect through some kind of esoteric practices or studies.
Comment: This is not really a question, but this has been incredibly validating. I had no idea what this was even about, even with the discussion on meditation and spirituality. I am literally separating from my husband and moving to a city that I do not know as a way of healing and exploration, and it feels really transformative in a way that I have never really felt before, and feels like this is part of the journey of my life that I need to do. I do meditate on a regular basis, I have done Vipassana meditation retreats, and I want to make sure I am not speaking from a place of ego, but it is about piecing all of this together. Everything you are saying just makes a lot of sense in terms of being able to conserve your energy and pull yourself from relationships. I have just recently connected to my family in a way because I was separate from them, but now I am able to connect with them in a way that has boundaries, and still confronting a lot of fear and confusion in terms of what to do. But in terms of the divinity, all of this journey has made me not necessarily atheist ― it is atheist, that is kind of what I have been claiming, but not so much atheism as much as just wiping the slate clean in terms of what I believe to get to that place of understanding.
Instructor: So instead of carrying any beliefs with you, you are trying to know for yourself what is the truth. That can be a good starting point.
Comment: So we will just see… I am literally doing this in about two weeks!
Instructor: Yeah! Well, good luck, and meditate on what you have learned. Meditate on your relationships. Even if they are behind you, there is a chance to learn.
Comment: But it is about creating new relationships with people, but not doing it in a way of like separating yourself and doing this in a way that's self possessed, but not isolating.
Instructor: Yeah. You are finding ways to intentionally and consciously create new connections with family or other relationships that are healthy. We have to do that in small doses because if we try to make a massive change right away, everybody is going to resist that. But be intentional about your relationship and to reflect on “why did I end this relationship before?” ― or maybe you did not have a choice, and “How do I want this relationship to go? What actions do I need to be taking that are going to make it a healthy relationship?” If we were contributing in a way to make it toxic, then we have an opportunity to change. Thanks for sharing!
Question: How come the Fool is Arcanum 21?
Instructor: In the Gnostic tarot deck that we use [The Eternal Tarot from Glorian Publishing], which is different from the one that I was showing here in the PowerPoint, the Fool is Arcanum 21, also known as Transmutation. The reason that it is right before Arcanum 22, the completion of the work, is because all of us experience an extreme ordeal right before we reach the end. This is an opportunity to fall back into all of the temptations that we have overcome along the way, or to triumph and to reach the end of the work, to finish the self-perfection. 21 is also synthesized to 3, and we see in initiation, the Arcanum of the Hermit, the 9, which is 3 x 3. So you should also study about the three brains, and conquering those three brains, if you want to understand the Fool.
Question: Is this the three brains that Gurdjieff talked about, or the subconscious, unconscious, and infraconsciousness?
Instructor: The three brains that Gurdjieff talked about: the intellectual center related with the physical brain, the emotional center or emotional brain in the heart, and then the motor-instinctive-sexual center related with the body as well.
Question: In initiating our hermit journey, what would be some tools in order to have an understanding to make connections, to get the information to continue the journey? What are some recommendations?
Instructor: Well, the most important tools are going to be our spiritual practice. In this tradition, we use these three forces for the transformation of consciousness.
The first is death and that comes through meditation. Death is the practice through which we look at what is causing our suffering, and that is meditating everyday on what you are seeing in yourself and your life.
The second is birth, which relates to pranayama for single people, transmuting your sexual energy and conserving that force in a way that allows you to awaken spiritually and to change.
The third force is sacrifice, which means in our physical life, we see a way that we can do something good, something of really profound service for others. While we know in our conscience that this is right (but it is very difficult and it is something that we think, “Oh yeah, but I could also just not bother doing that”), we still take the action to do that.
If we are working with those three together: meditation, transmutation, and sacrifice, we can advance very quickly and learn a lot. But of course, scriptures have a lot of veiled symbols that teach this path, and in our tradition, we have several books like the one you have there [Tarot and Kabbalah], which start to unveil the secrets of the path. So if you are studying that closely, it should open and unlock many other scriptures from a variety of different world religions and traditions. You will see them referenced there. But you will also understand the symbols and world religions in a different way. So that is the study of the initiate: to really understand the ancient science of spiritual transformation.
Question: I have a friend who I have known for almost fifteen years. We entered Gnosis about the same time, but over the last year or so she has slowly left the path, secured a job, bought a home, and found love. It seems everything fell together for her when she left. Do certain karmic laws apply to people devoted to the path that are different to those who are not? Also, I do not know how to reconcile our relationship now that our purpose in life is so different as I do not want to hurt her. Thank you!
Instructor: Yes, there are two laws when it comes to karma. There is a superior law of karma for initiates and that law is more severe. So if you are entering into the spiritual work, you can be subjected to very difficult ordeals because they are going to advance you. You can suffer the consequences of harmful actions from past lives very early on in your life if that is what is required to help you to develop spiritually.
For people who are not interested in spiritual development, they will still have to suffer the same kind of karma for their actions, but it might come in a different way. They might get a period of bliss or material happiness only to find suffering later on.
So the law of karma, which is action and consequence, cause and effect, applies to everyone, but for initiates it is going to be more challenging early on because you need those ordeals to be able to really develop the strength of character for the spiritual work. It is a tremendous sacrifice to do the spiritual work, and so we have to go through that early on.
In terms of the second part of the question, about how do we relate to someone when now our interests in life are very different, we have to take our self-interest out of it and find a way to still be a good caring friend to that person. But yeah, we might not be spending as much time with them. It might be naturally that people grow apart, and we can accept that. But the times we are with that person, we should, as much as we might want to talk about what we are into, and where we are at, we might need to sacrifice that to find a way to be a benefit to the other person.
Question: Let us say that you are experiencing some karma and it is physical pain. Should you seek ways to alleviate that pain or should you just endure it?
Instructor: That is a good question. I would say, do not suffer needlessly, but at the same time be careful, because if the method to get rid of physical pain, for example, is using some kind of very addictive drug, then that could really have a significant impact on your life, and ten years from now, your life could be in a very bad place. So it is important to seek some kind of alleviation of physical pain.
Question: If you alleviate the pain, is it just going to extend the karma?
Instructor: Yeah. Ok, so if I have a headache and I take a Tylenol, does that mean, “Oh no! I still owe karma?” Well, now you owe karma for taking the Tylenol, right? So yeah, every action is going to have an effect. So I guess you have to trust your own instinct on that, but to just suffer needlessly, like some priests used to self-flagellate themselves and hurt themselves, that is not going to be helpful for spiritual development.
Sometimes karma, experiencing physical pain, can be a way to pay karma and could be a benefit. Sometimes pain teaches us more than pleasure. But do not allow yourself to just kind of like beat yourself up with it, I guess is what I am getting at. If there is a simple way to get out of that, and then you use the benefit of not being in pain to do more good deeds, then that might be expedient. I guess it depends on the situation.
Question: How does your vocation and calling in life relate to the Hermit?
Instructor: Well, our vocation could be circumstantial, that it is just a matter of where we happened to end up as a result of our previous actions. But the vocation as well could be related with our own idiosyncrasy of our spirit.
Divinity has its own character and has ways that it can serve on a profound level. You can look at the music of Beethoven, the art of Michelangelo. You could say that their spirit was very well developed and very awake, and was bringing through their vocation a lot of benefit to humanity. So in our vocation if it is circumstantial, it is not really what we are passionate about, or what is resonating with us on a spiritual level, then our vocation is a great way to serve, and to begin changing as a person.
If we are changing through our job, and we are becoming of more benefit to people in whatever way that we are serving them (because every job can serve people), then that is going to radically transform us, and when we change internally, the external life will change. As we learn about ourselves through becoming better people in our vocation, then we might get a better sense of how we could be of more service and find that spiritual vocation that we are seeking.
Question: What are some helpful advice to completely transmute a bad relationship into a good one when both persons really do not like each other? What is the best thing to do?
Instructor: [Laughter from audience] Yeah! I guess the question there is, first, what do you want from the relationship that you are going to really be attached to transforming that relationship? Sometimes you have to let a relationship go if it is not of benefit. But if it is a relationship where two people do not really like each other, but there is some kind of real love there that connected them as friends, or family, or whatever, then I would say to study that part of yourself that is real love for that person. By reflecting on that and strengthening that, rather than strengthening your resentment and blaming the other person, that is going to really change your behavior.
There is a simple technique in psychology from the REBT approach, which is the ABC's. So when you want to reflect on yourself and your relationship to this person, you can look at it through ABC.
A is the activating event, which is whatever that person did, or whatever happened in the environment that produced a reaction in you, that activated your emotions.
B is your belief. What belief did you have about what that person did? So if that person maybe took the last soda in the fridge, is it your belief they did that on purpose because they did not want you to have that soda? Or is your belief, “Oh, they were just thirsty and it just happened to be the last one.” That can make a really big difference. How do we interpret the other persons actions? We should always recognize that our belief is just that―it is only a belief. It is not the truth of the situation. It is just our belief our interpretation.
The C is the consequence. What did we do? What actions, feelings, or behaviors did we have as a result of what we believed about the situation? If we are able to change our belief about the other person or their intentions, how would that change the consequence? How would that change our reaction? That is a really simple technique that you can use to reflect on things.
Question: I have always been on an experiential journey, and I thought that I worked a lot on getting rid of attachments, desires, and things like that, that were conscious within me, as far as just things that might be conceived as negative by others, like actually trying to work on getting rid of those desires. But what I found out in my ten years of marriage in that I am currently separated―we still live with each other, and we still love each other, but we are working on our issues―what I found out is that my desires came from a subconscious place which were actually from my childhood. I lost my mother when I was younger, and I had a very tough childhood, so basically my desires were not a negative thing. It wasn't coming from that place. It was coming from more of a place that wasn't healed from within me. Is that also sometimes what those desires can be?
Instructor: Yeah, so that is a really good point. So we are talking about two different levels here. So there is the mundane basic human needs that we need, and especially when we are children, and we are very vulnerable. There are a lot of the conflicts in our relationships when we are adults that come from unresolved trauma from our childhood.
So what I am talking about in the lecture about the Hermit is kind of a level above that, when we have already established basic mental health. But yes, so if we have conflict, deep rooted traumas, or needs that were not met when we were children, then that unresolved and unconscious pain within our selves can lead to painful cycles in our adult relationships. That is why reflecting on oneself you are going to see that. You are going to understand things about yourself that you did not see before.
So the ignorance of the Fool, the young man, kind of rushing into things, that is youth, right? Maturity is when we have understood something about ourselves and what was driving us. Maybe it is a natural need like we were neglected and we need love. Somebody comes along that can offer that to us. When we understand that and we are no longer attached to it, because we have seen that from a mature place, then we are able to have a healthy relationship. When we are just unconscious, we do not have that illumination, where blind tendencies all over the place are coming out. That is when we can have a lot of problems in our relationships even when there is love there, even when there is something really good there.
Comment: That is exactly what happened. I basically took my emotional needs. I did not even know I was doing this and this is my awakening. I am going into the next level of my awakening with this. I was the Fool in that marriage, blissfully in love, but I was putting emotional burdens on him to be a fulfiller of love. He also kind of triggered some fears of abandonment, because he really loved to go out a lot with his guy friends. So when I was alone, I took that as rejection or fear of abandonment, and then basically I just did not know that was within me. Now I am healing it and I am working on that, and now I feel like I am in this transition basically. It just takes that awakening to realize that and then you can move forward, but I never thought of desire as being also coming from a very innocent place too. Like you just needed desire to be loved, or to nurture some old wound or something.
Instructor: Yeah, it is a common experience.
Comment: Yeah. He fulfilled the need for a long time, but then he was like, “OK, this is too much. I need to focus on myself.”
Instructor: That is what is really important too, because in our spiritual immaturity, that is where we are at. We are still seeing things from the world and from other people, our basic needs. We are like infants. We do not have anything. To get to the point where we are totally reliant on God, divinity, is a process. It is not going to happen overnight, but sometimes that means that when we bring something to light―if you do not mind me to use your example―so you have recognized in that relationship, “Oh, what I was actually doing was I felt this unfulfilled need, that I need that love and attention all the time,” and it became a burden. So when you become aware of that, it is not easy to let go of that need. It is still there, but maybe you are sitting at home and you are praying and you are renouncing that desire to get what you want, to give your partner the chance to get what he needs―maybe that is some time out with friends or whatever―that is where we start to move our center out from the world and into divinity. We are redirecting that energy that wants to claim something from the outer world and we are sacrificing it. It is painful, and that is the solitude. That is the loneliness. So it is a really powerful example and very common, unfortunately.
Question: How do you detach yourself from your own desires?
Instructor: Well, I was just talking about that. First you have to see it. First you have to see what you really desire. A lot of us on a conscious level just think, “Oh, well, I am doing the right thing. I am doing what is good. I have totally altruistic motivations for what I am doing,” and we have to be really sincere with ourselves and dig a little deeper, and really dig into what actually is driving this behavior. Sometimes it is painful to recognize that it might be something selfish. Something that is normal in a child, like the longing for affection, but when we become adults and we have to stand on our own, we have to renounce the ways of the child. That can be painful. So it is a process.
Question: Should we make time daily to exercise the body? Does this take away from our energy or the spiritual path of meditation?
Instructor: If you are the person working in construction, then you are probably getting enough exercise. But yeah, if you are in a job where you are not getting a lot of physical exercise, then yes, it is important to take care of our physical body, absolutely. Health is holistic. It happens physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. So taking care of your physical body can be important, but do not over do it. Do not overexert yourself to the point where you are exhausted, and recognize if what is driving you to take care of yourself is really because you want to be healthy, or if it is vanity, because sometimes we have other intentions when we are working out.
Comment: I actually have something that might be semi-relevant from school. Some forms of exercise such as Tai Chi and Qigong, those exercise the body, movement, flexibility, and those things, but are benefiting the body by building energy, depending on which organs you are doing the benefits for. This can actually help to support meditation, spiritually practicing with that type of energy. So they might want to look into something along those lines.
Instructor: That is a good idea. So if you really want to take care of your physical body, Tai Chi, Qigong, the Gnostic runes, the Gnostic rites for rejuvenation, which we have on the website as well, those can be really good ways to do that and awaken yourself spiritually at the same time.
This is the third lecture in our course on Dream Yoga and Astral Travel. We discussed that there are degrees of consciousness, states of being. We are going to elaborate on the fact that consciousness is a spectrum. You have a polarity between awakened, divine, spiritual, conscious faculties, enlightenment, illumination. On the other hand, you have states of unconsciousness, sleep, dreaming.
For most of humanity, what we understand about ourselves can really be defined as a state of profound sleep, a state of dreaming. We explained that dreams are not only when we physically go to bed a night, and eight hours pass, or what we experience when the body is at rest. But we experience dreams all the time in our daily life, in many ways.
What concerns us in this particular course is understanding our state, our quality of life, the way we perceive, to understand what in us perhaps is a source of suffering, of many problems, of many conflicts. We can say with clarity, and assurance, that the cause of many sufferings is the lack of awareness, or that we are hypnotized by our own ways of thinking, our ways of reacting to the world, our habits. In this course, we are exploring a particular type of work in which we transform our consciousness from a state that is dreaming, unaware, or afflicted with suffering, into something that is brilliant, spiritual, ethical, virtuous, divine.
Types of Spiritual Beings
There are many different types of beings, especially in our world, but also in the universe, and they fall along this spectrum of consciousness. Among the heights, the most elevated nature of spiritual being, we have entities we call angels, prophets, masters, buddhas, gods. The term buddha means “awakened one,” to be cognizant, to know oneself. All the prophets that we, as a collective consciousness value and respect, were precisely beings who learned to awaken their full potential, to master themselves, and thereby exhibit and express qualities that are truly revolutionary.
We find such beings are like Jesus, Buddha, Moses, Krishna, the founders of religion that taught that by changing who we are, we can elevate ourselves and learn to communicate directly with the divine through experience, not a matter of belief. But the problem becomes individually, specifically, applying what they taught, and understanding what in us prevents our potential from being realized.
We call them conditions of mind. We talk about states like anger, pride, fear, anxiety, vengeance, many types of defects which characterize many of our daily states. It is precisely these types of emotions, thoughts, worries, and fears, which keep us in a state of hypnosis, not fully aware of why we suffer or how we affect others. By examining that quality, that dynamic, we are learning to become like these masters whose spiritual caliber has been tested by extreme circumstances, who demonstrated with their very soul and spirit the most beautiful attributes. We like to study their lives, their teachings, because they show a potential in us for truly finding and establishing real joy, real happiness.
So, all of that, egotism, selfishness, resentment, we call those conditions, because in a moment in which we have a conflict, someone criticizes us, we feel that reaction of anger emerging. We do not will it. It just happens, or with fear, many emotions, these qualities emerge in the moment in response to some type of stimulus, often without our control. That shows that we are conditioned. But by learning to work with what we call the consciousness, some religions call it soul, we can learn to transform the situation.
We have a statistic in our studies which can be daunting. We state that we have 97% of our potential, our consciousness, trapped, conditioned by all of those defects I mentioned. But we also have 3% consciousness that is not trapped yet by those faults, and that by working with that, that perception, by learning to understand what the consciousness, what the soul really is, that 3% can become gradually 4%, 5%, 10%, until radically all of the imperfections that we have within are removed, and the soul that was once trapped and encaged becomes free.
It is that soul that knows how to astral project at will, how to receive divine teachings from the masters internally, knows how to interpret dreams, knows how to investigate the realities of life and death with competency, with skill.
So, the question we can ask ourselves, what part of the spectrum of consciousness do we inhabit, if we are honest? Do we lean more towards selfishness? Or the other end: awakening, selflessness, compassion, real virtue?
So, we are going to examine today what qualities of awakening are. What is awakening? What does it mean to awaken? But also, what can one do when awakened? Also, more importantly, how do we awaken?
It is good to reflect on the reality of those beings that I mentioned, because they were once like us, and yet through this science we are able to become something truly brilliant, remarkable, and rare. We will talk about certain methods in this lecture, precisely about how to understand ourselves, and how to transform the conditions of mind into liberated perception. We are also going to examine―who are those who no longer dream? Who are awakened? What are these beings like? ― and also, why should we emulate the awakened ones?
The Lines of Life and Being
We come back to this image because it is very deep. It is called the Line of Life and the Line of Being.
We mentioned how all of humanity, all of us enter the line of life at our birth. It is horizontal because everybody belongs to it. It encompasses everyone. We progress in a temporal fashion from our birth, to childhood, to adolescence, to adulthood, to maturity, old age, decrepitude, and then death. Everybody must face the inevitability of this path, of this process. A lot of people only focus on this, their life, and how they progress through the scenarios of life, often ignoring and fearing the unknown, and that one day we must die.
People preoccupy themselves at a young age with playing, friendship, communities, education, adulthood, finding a job, starting a family, retiring, and eventually being surrounded by loved ones, until finally we enter that door of death. But unfortunately, people tend to go through life very superficially, thinking that by only accumulating wealth, or money, prestige, a retirement fund, that somehow someone has lived truly well. These things in themselves are beautiful and necessary, but they are not everything.
This line is the line of time. The moment we are born, the moment that we die, is processed within time, and often as we go through life, we tend to be very absorbed and not in the present moment, but in our memories, our past, our future, not really looking at what is going on here and now. Perhaps we had a trauma as we were growing up, that we live with everyday thinking about, reminiscing, stewing. For other people it could be fear of security, not knowing what the future will hold, and always looking ahead. These are dreams. It is dreaming.
We dream in the body. Whenever we try to interpret the moment through the lens of the past, constantly analyzing, scrutinizing, assessing, perhaps through a psychological lens of anger or fear, or whatever it may be. Or we look to the future. We think ahead. We fear things that are not there. We are not present. We are not aware of ourselves. We are not here. We are not now.
That realization can only occur when we take a sincere look at ourselves. What is the quality of our life? What is our state of consciousness? What is our level of being, our ways of thinking, feeling, and acting? That is a realization that is only defined and realized in the―no longer dreaming of the past, no longer dreaming of the future, but paying attention, being aware, actively looking at the world and ourselves.
As we do that type of work, we begin to realize this Line of Being very well. We realize that there are different states of consciousness that are superior, and there are states of consciousness that are inferior. I have already named some. We have states of suffering, negativity, egotism, etc., feelings of density, of apprehension and fear. Or we could be weighed down perhaps by our own weaknesses and ambitions, prejudices, whatever it may be.
But there are also superior states, which religions call ethics, virtues, real compassion, selflessness, sacrifice for others, patience, perseverance, understanding. There are degrees of this, many shades, qualities, and nuances to those qualities of consciousness. In the present moment we have the potential and the decision to make, whether we are going to enact a higher level of being, or an inferior one. But the only way to recognize in the moment is if we are paying attention, observing ourselves―not from an intellectual standpoint, like a detective would labelling data, information, and phenomena. Instead, it is a different type of perception. This type of looking does not involve thought. But we can be thinking. It is just an act of consciously looking at ourselves, observing. It is in this way, by learning to perceive our circumstances and our relationship to it, that we can learn to stop dreaming, learn to enter superior states.
States of Consciousness
I will reiterate these states of consciousness that we talked about before, because it is really deep. Before I gave the Sanskrit terms from Hinduism: Sushupti, Swapna, Jagrat, and Turiya. Here in Greek, we have Eikasia, Pistis, Dianoia, and Nous. Different terms, but the same principles, because they are eternal. They do not belong to a particular culture, although different languages have been used to talk about the same thing.
Eikasia: Profound Sleep
In Eikasia we find profound sleep. It is important to remember that these are states of consciousness, not states of the body. The body could be active or inactive, but what concerns us is how we as a consciousness are behaving.
Profound sleep really has to do with a type of mentality, and mindset that is barbaric. I mentioned before that when you see a crowd or a mob, lynching, war, it is because the people involved are in a profound sleep. They are not aware of themselves or what they are doing. There have been soldiers who have been interviewed about their experiences in war, and how they said it does not take any thought to kill someone, and later dealing with the trauma of that act. The reality is that if humanity was awake, we would understand and love our neighbor, because we would feel ourselves one with humanity. But profound sleep involves no mindfulness, no presence, no understanding of our neighbor, and that is why the worst acts of genocide, murder, violence, have been performed by people profoundly asleep. Their consciousness not there.
In a more accessible example, we experience profound sleep all the time. We can reflect on moments of our day in which we lack remembrance, recollection of what we did, whom we met, whom we talked with, what we thought, what we felt, and what we did. If you sit to meditate, to kind of re-examine the moments of your day, there will be moments that will emerge within our attention that we cannot recall. There is no memory there. It is because we are not really awake.
Or perhaps watching television is a good example. In front of television, we could be receiving all of this data and information through dramas, through films or movies shows, tv shows, and be so immersed in what is going on we are not even aware of our own body. We feel and think and experience life through the characters, through their emotions, not realizing or discriminating that this is all an illusion. They are actors. They are presenting a mirage.
But also, we lose awareness of ourselves. Somebody could be talking to us from the other side of the room while we are watching whatever it may be, and not realize what is going on. That means we are really asleep. What is interesting too is that this term Eikasia (εἰκασία) in Greek comes from εικόνων eikonon. It means “images.” It is interesting. Why is it that profound sleep involves images? It is having to do with something psychological. We could be receiving information form the world, the images of life, impressions, scenery, wherever we are, walking, taking in the environment, but we are not mindful of what is going on. We are not aware of what place we are at, perhaps lost in reverie, and then we may be sparked or shocked into remembrance because we forgot our turn on our walk. Or maybe we were taking public transit; we are thinking so much, or just not aware of where we are at, that we just miss our stop. That is Eikasia. But also too, taking in information, but not really perceiving it or understanding it, not being aware of it.
Pistis: Dreaming Sleep
There is another type of sleep we call Pistis: dreaming sleep. πίστης Pistis comes from the Greek Πιστεύω Pisteuo, meaning “to have assurance,” “to have faith in,” “to believe,” “to have confidence in.” What is it that humanity has most confidence in? There are many different beliefs and philosophies, schools of thought, ideologies, theologies, religions, institutions, doctrines. There also exist many senses of identity, maybe based on our race, our language, our culture, our belief systems, our religion, our appearance, our job, our class, our gender. We have many ideas, and many concepts revolving about who we are, and we have a lot of faith in these things, like somehow, they are lasting, that they are eternal. But the reality is that they are not. They will not last when we die. What will return, or perhaps progress and develop, is the soul. We are not the body, the body with its appetites, cravings, and tastes one day will go. But what is it that will remain? It is a big question.
When we have faith or assurance in temporal things, we call this dreaming. All the ideas that we have, perhaps that may give us some type of temporal security, in truth these are not sustainable. They are not permanent. They are not lasting.
So we talked a lot about dreams. We dream all of the time. Perhaps driving our car, we are thinking of our friend, our fiancé, our partner, and we do not see someone walking across the street and we get in to an accident. It is because we are dreaming. We are not paying attention. Or perhaps someone is talking to us, and instead of hearing what they have to say, hearing the new, the novel, the immediate, we are interpreting through the lens of the past, waiting to say our next word, not really listening to what is going on.
Dianoia: Awakened Consciousness
There are many forms of dreams, Pistis, but what concerns us in this school is to learn how to access waking consciousness.
In Greek we call it Dianoia (διάνοια). Dianoia comes from the prefix, “Dia-” meaning “thoroughly, from side to side,” which intensifies “noia,” which is mind. This is very interesting that Dianoia means “to go side to side with the mind,” to be flexible, to be adaptive, to be intuitive, not really having to think about something, but knowing how to act correctly in every circumstance.
Waking consciousness is Dianoia. It is a state in which we really perceive life with greater lucidity, with intensity, with comprehension. Qualities like patience and happiness, compassion, like I mentioned, these are all qualities that relate to the awakened soul, the awakened consciousness, which knows how to act with intelligence. It can solve problems, knows how to be flexible.
I’m sure we can think of many people in life, perhaps we have known, who are inflexible. They cannot adapt to any situation. Maybe we have that difficulty in certain aspects of our life. We do not know how to intelligently respond to a problem, whatever it may be. We have a particular weakness perhaps. But Dianoia knows how to look with penetrative wisdom at any conflict, and knows how to dissolve it. It is profound.
Dianoia, this awakened state, really makes revise our mistaken beliefs. So looking back at Pistis: dreaming sleep, we talked about, perhaps, beliefs about ourselves, our identity especially. But in a moment of awakening consciousness, not only in the physical world, but also in the dream world, where we perceive life in that dimension, that reality, we realize that we are more than our body. In fact, the soul is much more ancient, predates our body. So all of these things that we have accumulated in life, like language, name, race, gender, culture, these things are temporary. The soul is much more profound than that.
While it is important to develop a healthy personality in this world, it is not the defining factor of a human being. But unfortunately, people have created division based of appearances instead of recognizing the soul of people, the humanity of others. So, we change our beliefs about ourselves. It is a form of revolution, because we realize that we have a divine origin and we can return to that if we are willing.
Nous: Spiritual Illumination
In that way, we enter νοῦς Nous. In Greek this means “mind,” but I think that is an inaccurate translation by scholars, primarily because the type of consciousness we are referring to is not intellectual. Spiritual illumination, cognizance, omniscience, this is the level and quality of a god, beings who can have perception of things which are inaccessible to ordinary people. But the reality is that like us, they had to develop. They had to recognize that they were asleep, and that they were dreaming. By working to awaken consciousness, they achieved illumination, brilliant qualities of being.
An Example of Nous
I will give you an example of what Nous is like. My wife and I recently came back from a trip visiting one of the other Gnostic institutions that we study with. A group of us were talking about different things, different matters, whether political, spiritual, etc., certain situations that were going on with us. The next day, the missionary who runs this center gave a talk, and even though he was not physically present when we met the day before, he was talking about things that we discussed in minute detail, from beginning to end, in sequence, giving us insight and helping us realize how foolish we were. We were debating and arguing about things. So this individual was possessing a quality known as Nous. He knew what we were talking about even though he was not physically there. That is one example.
There are many examples because these states of consciousness exist in a spectrum. There is not one layer above the other in a form of rigid, static hierarchy. Instead, it is graded. There are many depths of the consciousness in sleep. There are also many qualities in dreams, and likewise in the superior aspects of consciousness. When it is awake there are many degrees, from less perfect to more perfect, until finally amongst Nous, where there are even greater types of realizations.
The reason why we talk about dreams is because we want to awaken. We want to cease dreaming, first physically, and then when we go to bed at night, we astral project willingly into that state and earn knowledge we yearn for, guidance from divinity.
Samael Aun Weor, who is the founder of this school, and this tradition that we study, stated in a book called The Revolution of the Dialectic:
One needs to cease dreaming within the internal worlds. When we stop dreaming in the physical world, we awaken here and now, and that awakening appears in the internal worlds. ―Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
Awakening through Intuitive Action
So how do we awaken? What is the path? What are the methods? We are explaining different practices sequentially in this course so that we can learn to awaken within the dream state, and also, we can awaken physically while active in our body of flesh and bone. There is one statement I will relate soon that Samael Aun Weor gave, which is really compelling in relation to this topic.
We see a woman, Alice in Wonderland, ascending a stairway towards light, towards those prophetic heights: Dianoia, Nous. She does so because she recognizes how she dreams. It is a symbol of the soul.
The first step is recognizing that we are dreaming in daily life through the examples that I mentioned. The mind can be thinking about one thing, our emotions could be acting in another way, and our will is divided. In a sense, this shows that we lack a type of integrity, or cohesion. So perhaps we have our daily sufferings in life. It maybe in our job, maybe a marriage, maybe with our friends. Whatever our idiosyncrasy is, we can learn to overcome that confusion by learning to follow our heart.
The heart knows without having to think. In our Western culture, we believe that the intellect is everything, and this is wrong. The Eastern cultures have it much more accurately. The heart can tell us many things. It is the heart that judges, that understands, that knows.
The term intuition is a spiritual buzzword. It has a lot of meaning which a lot of people do not understand. Intuition in its real sense is knowing without having to think, without having to deliberate with the intellect. We have a problem, a situation. The mind debates, driven by fear, mechanicity, the past, fantasizing about a solution, feeling insufficient and inadequate, feeling empty and full of despair. Intuition is the solution.
The reality is, to solve our problem, do not think about it. It does not mean that we are not going to act on something. It means that the process of thought churning, confusion, trying to solve it with the intellect, is not the surest way. Intuition is when you examine your heart, when you examine your soul. It is not a thinking process. The heart knows how to act in a situation. If you put the mind aside, understanding can emerge. Sometimes this can come as a form of an idea, and with training―because right now we are very afflicted with a lot of problems―we do not know how to solve them. We dream about a solution, and we ignore that grasping at that type of solidity or solution is precisely how we stir up the mud, and we do not see within the depth of ourselves. This is why serenity, calmness of mind, and opening of the heart is the answer.
Intuitive action occurs when you know in the heart what to do, even when the mind screams, kicks, yells, does not want to do it. It takes a lot of willpower and a lot of skill, and this is why we train in meditation, different exercises in this course, which leads to this type of facility and faculty.
Samael Aun Weor stated that:
Intuitive action leads us by the hand towards the awakening of the consciousness. ―Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
One example I can give of this: I think of my present job, just day to day interacting with people, my co-workers. I will have different emotions emerge as I am observing myself, being mindful throughout the day, being aware of my thoughts, my impulses, and just knowing in situations, without having to deliberate, how should I behave around this person, because this has been a new job for me along my career path. Obviously, there is always that hesitance and discomfort when meeting knew people, especially when you do not know who they are, how they are viewing you, how they evaluate you perhaps. So what I have learned in those moments is put my mind aside, open my heart, be attentive, and if you are really connecting in your heart, being present, being aware of your own inner divinity, your Being, you suddenly know what to do. It just comes out seemingly from nowhere, and the results speak for themselves. As you examine the quality of your relationships, your actions, this leads to success, builds communities, solves problems. The intellect does not solve problems. It is the heart.
There are many examples such as businessmen having long meetings, trying to solve or fix something, and then they say, “Let’s take a 15-minute break.” They will leave, do not think about the problem, and suddenly five members have an idea. It just comes. It is a simple example, but it is the same dynamic.
Thinking is usually an obstacle in us. We might have jobs that require the use of the intellect where we need to think about things, store information, relay information, compare, analyze, contrast. Personally, my job is very intellectual, but that is not the primary gear that runs my relationships with people at my job. Instead, it is learning to use the intellect with understanding, with the soul, with the consciousness.
The consciousness is not the intellect. The consciousness does not have to think. In the same way where you have to drive a car, the consciousness drives the mind. It is behind it. Thinking is secondary. I will give you an example. Put your hand on a hot stove. You burn it. You retract your hand in pain. You perceive it immediately. The instinct was to get out of danger. The emotion was anger, or stress, and then a thought emerges, “That hurt!” Thought is very slow. This is not the main ingredient of a person, as much as our Western academia would have us believe, and because we tend to put so much investment into our thinking, we have depleted ourselves of other faculties, which is the heart.
Serenity of Mind
People wonder why they cannot astral project at will. It is because usually, in the West, we are too intellectual. If you develop the intellect too much, the heart gets weak. This is not to say that people from other cultures that may be less illiterate than us have an advantage. There has to be a balance between the mind and the heart. But our mind tends to storm, like in this image of this man looking out of the window towards his internal psychological atmosphere. Our thoughts are like wind, clouds, and if we are full of rage―like storms.
We want to calm the mind in these studies. By calming the mind, by entering a state of serenity, by learning equanimity with unwavering focus, with relaxation, we open the door to the internal worlds. Right now, our consciousness is not trained yet. Typically, in the beginning, we are usually very distracted, thinking of other things, or very much caught up in the cycles of life, our daily schedule, getting up for work, taking care of our family, responsibilities, pets even. We tend to go through our cycles in life with our attention very much dispersed, even fragmented, multitasking, right? That is a very big thing in our American culture. But that type of distraction keeps us from perceiving what is going on here and now.
Impressions emerge in life. In different situations, it is necessary to know how to respond. What I am emphasizing is that we need to know how to act, and that is different. Reactivity is basically, as I said, we are criticized; we feel anger; we retaliate. Very mechanical, but if you are learning to observe yourself, and learning that reaction in you, you can understand the source of that pain, and understand perhaps the other person is afflicted too, is suffering, and is asleep. They are not aware of what they are doing or their effect on you. Therefore, you have compassion. You respond with love, with patience, with sweetness.
That type of understanding is based on mindfulness, being aware of each moment, like on that diagram of the Line of Life and Line of Being. Moment by moment, we learn to act in a superior way of ethics, of understanding, of patience. This requires that we have a mind that is receptive.
Right now, the intellect is active. Someone could be talking to us and yet our thoughts are churning or going place to place. The mind is not calm, and if the mind is active, then the consciousness is asleep. So having a receptive mind indicates a state in which we are aware of our surroundings at all times and we are also observing our psychology, examining the relationship of events with our inner states. That does not require that we have to use the intellect so much. Obviously with a job, we use our intellect when we need to, but it is important not to necessarily do things in life while thinking every process out. It is an exertion of the mind that creates tension, but also depletes us of energy that we need if what we want is to awaken the soul.
Samael Aun Weor mentioned in The Revolution of the Dialectic an interesting quote about the need to be mindful, in the sense of being aware of oneself without having to deliberate step by step, thinking: “This is what I am going to do. I am going to do this,” etc. But instead, it is to have an alert novelty in the same way as if you are walking down the street, in perhaps some European city, a cobbled-stoned path after a rainfall and a sunset, appreciating the beauty and novelty of the color and vibrancy of one's scenery with a feeling of awe. The mind is not there. The intellect is not there labelling, “This is beautiful.” Obviously if we think that, then we lose the power of that moment. We are not seeing it for what it is.
If you are eating, eat; if you are getting dressed, get dressed, and if you are walking on the street, walk, walk, walk, but do not think about anything else. Do only what you are doing. Do not run away from the facts. Do not fill them with so many meanings, symbols, sermons and warnings. Live them without allegories. Live them with a receptive mind from moment to moment. ―Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
As we are observing ourselves and becoming aware moment by moment, developing a continuity of perception, we start to gather new information about ourselves and about the world that we never knew. This type of information is psychological. It has to do with the Line of Being. It has to do with our internal qualities. We may know we are a certain type of person with certain likes, dislikes, habits, preferences, tastes, prejudices. But are we actively observing that? We may know that we are seated in these chairs, but are we observing them? It is one thing to know. It is another thing to observe. It is a different quality.
Another example is we take a certain route to work, but we are not really observing what is going on outside of us. We know the path, so we go on autopilot. We put on our playlist from YouTube, listen to music, prepare for the day, but we do not really pay attention to what is going on outside of us. That is a profound state of sleep.
This awakening has to do with looking at the repeatable, verifiable facts of oneself. By facts I am not referring to what we can read in a book, or from the news. It has to do with what do we see in ourselves. Those are the type of facts we are examining in these studies. Putting aside politics, religion, beliefs, ideology, differences, what are the observable facts of who we are? How do we relate to the world, how we dream, how we live?
We may think we are one way, have certain beliefs, concepts about who we are, but perhaps someone at work has a conflict with us and says, “You have wronged me.” The instinct might be to react and say, “I did nothing wrong” even after hearing the facts. But the truth is that people see us more clearly than we see ourselves. But everybody is dreaming as I said. We are dreaming about ourselves, who we are. But what are the observable, concrete details of our daily life?
So, in that circumstance, where we have a conflict at work, are we observing that? We may know a situation is one thing, but are we looking at it? Are we examining it? Are we looking at our own mental states, emotional states, physical states? ― to look and examine as child would smelling a flower. Jesus said we must become as little as children in order to enter the kingdom of heaven. It does not mean that physically we have to become small, naïve, stupid, or gullible. It means to appreciate what is happening around us and within us. This is why Samael Aun Weor stated:
Gnosis is lived upon facts, withers away in abstractions, and is difficult to find even in the noblest of thoughts. ―Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
That observable understanding is γνῶσις gnosis. It is a Greek term. People commonly translate it as knowledge. But in reality, it is not of the intellect. It is of the heart, what we see in ourselves, what we understand. It withers away in abstractions, in that this type of spiritual life is not based on beliefs, or what we prefer, or what we like, or what we dislike. It is based on what are the consequences of our own actions, of within ourselves, and within our communities. What are the cause-and-effect relationships? Even if we are noble in our aspirations―and anyone who approaches spirituality is―that is not enough. What is important are the facts. What are the consequences of our actions? When we examine that, we awaken, when we live it, when we do it.
The Three Degrees of Cognizance
In this process we examine three degrees of cognizance. This is from Fundamentals of Gnostic Education. It is a tool that can help us examine the quality of our internal states, so that by looking at our life physically, our dream life changes. We start to awaken more and more within that dimension. It starts physically.
Some questions we can start to ask ourselves, maybe at the beginning of the day before we engage in life, or perhaps at the end before we go asleep:
1st – Time. How long did we remain cognizant?
Perhaps we were walking on the street going to work. We began our day with a spiritual practice. We are observing ourselves, aware. We are very lucid. We are looking at the environment surrounding us. We see the colors and the fashion that the people wear, the streets, the location, the city. We see it with a vivid intensiveness, a sharp perception. There is more color and vibrancy. We are alert and we are maintaining that from moment to moment. We are walking, not thinking of other things, just observing, and then we pass a store perhaps. We see something in the shop window that sparks our attention, and we suddenly feel that attachment and that longing to possess that thing.
So we immediately go towards the window. It takes our attention. We start thinking of how we can owe it, what would we have to earn, the steps we would need to take to possess that object, and then we as we walk away, we are continuing to think about possessing whatever it is that we want, whatever we desire. Maybe an hour passes. We are at work, and suddenly we remember, “I was supposed to be observing myself! I started thinking of something else. I got hypnotized,” and then we can recall, reflect: “How long were we cognizant walking down the street?” That is something concrete that we can examine and ask.
2nd – Frequency. How many times have we awakened our consciousness?
But also too, we want to examine: “How often do we awaken? How often do we have that state and experience it?”
We could be walking down the street, going to work, realizing that perhaps we maintained that type of continuity of perception and awareness in certain moments of the day. Perhaps we awaken in the morning before certain situations occur. That shows us a pattern of our mental process, our way of being. We are looking at how frequently are we able to sustain that state. That is frequency. Another important factor is the last one.
3rd – Amplitude and penetration. What was one cognizant of?
This has to do with the quality of our perception. How much are we seeing? What are we seeing? How deeply are we experiencing life? How intensely with the soul? What are we understanding?
As we reflect on these three principles and as we apply them, assessing our daily life, we start to develop that type of consciousness within the dream state, where suddenly after we go to bed, we suddenly find ourselves swimming in our street, right? These types of things happen in the dream world. We may become aware for a moment. It may be very brief in the beginning, especially, and suddenly we wake up. We realize, “I was just dreaming!”
But with practice that type of experience becomes more frequent. If you are more frequently awakening consciousness in your physical life, when you go to bed at night you start to awaken more and more. In the beginning, we dream. We start to remember our dreams, to recall our dreams. We have more depth and color and vibrancy.
These things intensify with time, gradually, until again we suddenly find ourselves swimming in the street, and because of training, we recognize this happened before, you cannot do this in the physical world. You are aware. You realize, “I am in the internal planes, the astral dimension!” Also, the amplitude, the magnitude, the penetration, the depth of our perception becomes more and more and more, greater and greater as we are evaluating ourselves.
Until with patient work, we can start to experience what the religions call the highest states of consciousness, such as Nous. The word तुरीय Turiya is Sanskrit, and we talked about it briefly in a former lecture. It is the state of Nous. Turiya is Sanskrit. It is spiritually illuminated, awakened perception. It is the quality of a prophet, of a master, of a god.
In the beginning, obviously, as we are progressing, we start to become more cognizant of dreams. But with training, we can start to taste experiences that are really sacred, really rare. They come as a spark, as a flash, usually very quickly, a type of perception that is not limited to even the fifth dimension: the dream world. Instead, one can ascend to higher planes of consciousness, which we are going to talk about in the next lecture: “Where Do We Dream?”
There are spiritual planes beyond the astral. The astral plane is not the only internal dimension. There are degrees and hierarchies amongst higher levels of experience, from the material physical world, towards the more rarefied and abstract, subtle. Those spiritual dimensions are very enlightening, and in those states, there is no possibility of misperception, because the astral world, even though it is in a more subtle state, is not necessarily the most objective.
We can all relate to the fact that we all had dreams that reflect some situation in life, or a fear, or a conflict, whatever it may be. In the astral world, one still has the potential of seeing only the conditions of our mind, our own dreams. They are not objective. They are not real, in a pure sense, in a pervasive sense. When you go up those different dimensions that we talked about in the Tree of Life, previously, you enter states of consciousness that are less afflicted by any type of self, selfishness, egotism.
Within higher dimensions like the realm of the spirit, the Being, the divine, one can become conscious that they are perceiving this table, and they can see all the atoms that it possesses. In that level or dimension of conscious, divine expression, one sees things in a very penetrative way. It relates to the world of mathematics, which, if you are interested in learning more about how numbers are sacred―numbers relate to intuitive principles―you can study our course we gave called The Eternal Tarot of Alchemy and Kabbalah, where we talked about numerology. Numbers are spiritual. They represent forces of nature, and so in this spiritual state you can see things that are not accessible even in the astral plane, which still has an element of illusion to it.
Instead, we are concerned about Nous, perfect awakened consciousness:
Nous is perfect awakened consciousness. Nous is the state of Turiya, profound interior illumination. Nous is legitimate objective clairvoyance. Nous is intuition. Nous is the world of divine archetypes. Noetic thought is clear, objective, illuminated. Whosoever reaches the height of noetic thought totally awakens consciousness and becomes a Turiya. ―Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony
So, I mentioned that we should rely on intuition. That relates to Nous. You know a thing immediately. There is no need to conceptualize or deliberate. Nous is also perfect clairvoyance, and this is a term that has unfortunately mislead a lot of people. It simply in French means “clear vision.” It is the faculty of imagination, to imagine, to perceive non-physical imagery.
This is what we do every time we dream. We are seeing with clairvoyance. But for most of us, it tends to be very filtered, obscured, fragmented, dispersed. But with training, your perceptive quality, the capacity to receive images of an internal, psychological type, becomes much more robust. When it is perfected, you achieve what is called Turiya. It is clear, objective, illuminated. It is the world of archetypes, and the word archetype, if you are familiar with Jungian psychology, has to do with principles in the universe that are basically the building blocks of the soul. Study the course on Tarot that we gave if you are interested in learning more about that.
On the other hand, as Samael Aun Weor continues:
The lowest part of man is irrational and subjective and is related with the five ordinary senses. The highest part of man is the world of intuition and objective spiritual consciousness. In the world of intuition, the archetypes of all things in nature develop. Only those who have penetrated the world of objective intuition, only those who have reached the solemn heights of noetic thought are truly awakened and illuminated. ―Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony
It is important too, to remember that in our process of meditation, we can experience glimpses of that state. Having a temporary vision or experience does not mean that we are fully and permanently established in that. So, it has been a mistake amongst certain people in groups who have had that type of experience to think they are mahatmas, or gods, or saints, and they can create a lot of problems, right? One thing is to temporary experience that state, and another thing is to permanently be at that level. That is something very different.
The Qualities of the Awakened
So, what does it mean to be like the Turiya, the prophets, the enlightened ones, the awakened ones?
We see an image here of Jesus serving the poor. Real masters are humble. Those who awaken consciousness in its full sense and degree are very simple. They do not boast of titles. They do not demand allegiance. Their sole concern is for us, for suffering humanity, as we see in the example of Jesus who literally died for others―or Buddha, Moses, or Krishna―whoever we can name.
They are defined and distinctly characterized by their tremendous love, like a sun that shines for both sinners and saints, regardless.
Their ethics do not weaver. They are kind even when crucified. They are patient even when those for whom they suffer for do not appreciate what they have to give.
These types of beings are not understood, primarily because their caliber of divine personality is contrary to what humanity loves, which is pride, vengeance, hatred, violence.
These beings really work, and serve, and endure for the sake of our planet, and often times they work in secrecy because they know the current state of humanity. They understand that to announce themselves is, first, to be proud of what does not belong to them, but to divinity. On the second hand, they do not want followers. They do not demand attendance. They do not command for our respect. They are loving. They are forgiving, and most of all, they are understanding.
They perceive a person within all the dimensions of their being. They understand the circumstances of people, and how to solve problems. But they do not give advice because they want to be put on a pedestal. In fact, they are really humble.
We mentioned these examples of these masters and prophets because this is our goal. This is why we want to stop dreaming in daily life, to cease being a machine, mechanically repeating behaviors and habits, conditions and sufferings, without knowing why. Instead, by bearing this goal in mind, we know what we can become.
These masters do not dream. They do not dream in the sense that, physically, they go to bed and they see nothing. Instead, they do not have any illusion about themselves, who they are, who others are. Because they have radically altered their own psychology, have removed their own causes of suffering, they are able to help others with expediency, with intuition, with wisdom.
Jesus was once like us, despite what many centuries of theology state. Buddha was the same. All the masters were once ordinary. But because they had an aspiration, an inquietude of the heart, a longing to know something more of reality, they decided to end their dreams, to look, to work. Therefore, they do not dream. They are awakened in the physical world, but also the internal worlds. They can see even physically that they have a body―multiple dimensions at once―no confusion there. But for us, we have a very difficult time even conceptualizing even what the astral world is, unless we have had that experience.
This is why we have emphasized in this school: “Do not take these words at face value, but test them.” You can experiment with the practices we give lecture by lecture to verify this for yourself.
Samael Aun Weor stated in The Perfect Matrimony:
A true Turiya cannot dream. The Turiya who has reached the heights of Noetic thought never goes about saying so, never presumes to be wise; he is truly simple and humble, pure and perfect. ―Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony
In the West, we often denigrate these terms: simplicity, humility, because we believe in our North American culture that to be simple, to be humble, is to be taken advantage of. In reality, the truth cannot be more distinct.
Jesus was a very learned man. He studied all religions, and he synthesised them in a way that was very accessible to people. Now, whatever people teach or interpret what he taught is another thing, but actually looking at the knowledge he disseminated is something different.
To be humble means to have dignity, but not to self-aggrandize oneself, to assume one is something that one is not.
These are the qualities of those who do not dream, who are perfect, who are illuminated. Their sole concern is for humanity.
Therefore let us not sleep as others do; but let us watch and be sober. ―Thessalonians 5:6.
Let us not be intoxicated but our own defects, our own errors. Let us take responsibility for our own conditions of mind so that we are not asleep, unaware, not knowing where we came from, and not knowing where we are at.
Samael Aun Weor stated in The Revolution of the Dialectic:
First seek enlightenment, and all else will be added unto you. ―Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
Putting aside dreams, ambitions, that “First I must do this, this, and that, and then I will be spiritual,” or the concept of "One day I will be a master, illuminated”―those two are dreams, spiritual dreams―noble thoughts, but abstractions that wither from the facts. Instead, by learning who we are moment by moment and we traverse the road of our own inner work, we get insight and guidance.
So the exercise for this lecture: everyday develop your self-observation from moment to moment. Also extend your mindfulness: the length of time you were aware of yourself.
At the end of each day reflect on how you did.
Everyday develop your meditation. Adopt a meditation posture. Relax completely, then focus 100% of your attention on a chosen object.
We talked about observing a candle and watching the flame, a simple practice in which, as you are observing the candle flame, you are also observing how you observe. You are examining your mind. If you start thinking of something else, daydreaming, recollecting, gently bring yourself back to your attention.
Look at the candle. The mind tends to be attached and distracted, jumping from one thing to the next. This exercise teaches one to focus on one thing so that we can understand ourselves. That is one practice you can do for meditative concentration. That concentration will help us to astral project consciously.
You can take any other object―pretty much anything. You can take a stone even. Observe a stone, a rock. Just look at it, and if your mind starts to wander, just bring your attention back. You can do that for 10 to 15 minutes, maybe 2 sessions or 3 a day―up to you.
And then lastly, write the facts of your day in a spiritual diary. This is a beautiful practice that was taught by Swami Sivananda especially, a great yogi and master of Hinduism. Look at this link on the PDF. You will find a resource on Glorian Publishing’s website, an article about how to perform a spiritual diary.
Basically, with this practice, at the end of each day or whenever you feel inspired, sit down and write. Write about what you have experienced, about what you have observed in yourself, how you practice, where it is taking you, perhaps your fears, your troubles. This diary is only for you. Nobody else can read it, not even your spouse. Instead, it is a way for us basically to be very concrete about what we are doing, about where we are at, but also what do we observe. What do we see in ourselves?
There are questions in this article basically describing what your states in the morning were, what were you like in the daytime, what were you like in the evening, and you can be as detailed as you want, or as simple as you want. It is up to you. But if you write in your journal every day and you reflect what you have learned, overtime you start to recognize patterns. You have a very deep, factual document that is showing you yourself. There are no ambiguities there. It is not running away from the facts. We are seeing what is there. This exercise can help us go a very long way. I highly recommend it.
At this point in time, I would like to open the floor to questions.
Questions and Answers
Question: How do you set up the space for the candle practice. I mean I never done it, so how do I do it?
Instructor: You can have an altar, if possible, but it is not necessary. Any table, it is nice to have an altar obviously to have a place where you can dedicate your meditation and your devotion. Have a cloth on top. Any candle will do. Light it and observe the flame.
Question: Lights off probably or...?
Instructor: Yes, the more ambiance the better. It gets us in the mood to really focus.
Question: Thank you.
Instructor: You are welcome.
Instructor: At the end of each lecture, we do a practice. So I explained the exercise for this lecture. We can stay after, and we are going to do a retrospection meditation. 10 minutes, very brief, just so you can get the flavor of what this exercise is.
In it you relax your body. You pick a posture. Get comfortable. Close your eyes and introspect. Focus on your breath, breathing in deeply―inhaling, retaining the air, exhaling. Let yourself settle in the same way a stone sinks to the bottom of a lake.
Relaxation is the beginning. If we cannot relax, we are not going to enter a state of meditation. Meditation is not a technique. It is a state of being in which we are perceiving the phenomena and impressions of life with an alert, cognitive state. Relaxation is the beginning.
If you need to breathe deeply, you can. If you find that you are sufficiently relaxed in your body, you can begin to relax your mind. Relax your heart. We often carry a lot of negative emotions with us―tensions, anxieties, worries. The key is to look at that, observe it. As you observe it, like an actor in a film and you are the director, you start to see different qualities in yourself that are churning, like the image of a cloudy sky in the PowerPoint. The more you look without investing yourself into thought, or feeling, or discomfort in the body, you start to see that the waters of the mind begin to settle. They become still, serene.
As we enter relaxation and suspension of our senses, no longer looking at the external world, but closing off to all distractions internally as well, we can start to concentrate on our experience. We can take a moment of our day that we recall, that we remember. You also can visualize any scenes that you went through.
Perhaps you take a moment in your morning. Simply recall the event. Play it on the screen of your imagination. Look at it. You will find in the beginning, especially, the mind will try to alter certain things. The key is to just be honest―are we concretely observing the scene?―and look at it. If I tell you to imagine an apple, you can. It just emerges. It is the same faculty: imagination. Some people call it clairvoyance. It is a fancy term for something very universal and human.
Now imagine the scene as it happened. Try to remember the day, maybe from the very beginning to the end, or you can retrospect backwards from the end of the day to the beginning. Follow your heart and look within your recollections for moments in the day where you do not have any remembrance. You just cannot see the details. You do not know what you thought, felt, acted, did, and if you do not remember, that is fine in the beginning. Just try to recollect as much information as you can.
There are other depths to this practice which we are going to get in to later on in this course. But the beginning is just gaining the ability to just remember and try to visualize it in as much detail as you saw it.
So do not force your mind. Do not exert your mind. In the same way you can remember what you ate for breakfast, just remember it. It is gentle. It does not require force. Some people will be sitting in their meditations scrunching their eyes, trying to exert their mind to do something. It does not work that way. Serenity is key.
We are continuing our course on the science of dreams, the experiential knowledge of awakening consciousness. We talked previously about some common ideas surrounding what people have called astral projection, out-of-body experiences, lucid dreams, awakening, near-death experiences, and we are going to dive very deeply into many practices so that we can augment our perception.
Our consciousness has the capacity, when trained, to be awake even when the physical body is asleep. Even when dreaming during the eight hours we go to bed, we are in an intensified state of awareness. We do not enter into a type of amnesia, unconsciousness, sleep, dullness, but learn to instead verify what religions have called heaven. When one has that experience for oneself, one knows. It is not a matter of belief, of thinking a tradition or institution is true or not. It is rather about testing these realities for ourselves. When we verify what these states are like from experience, we have what is called genuine faith, real knowledge, real understanding.
Theories Regarding Dreams
But what are dreams and visions specifically?
In psychology, Sigmund Freud believed that dreams are the doorway to the unconscious and that by looking at our dreams we can understand ourselves.
He talked about what is known as manifest and latent content within dreams. The manifest content of a dream is its narrative. We can all think of a dream that we had in which there was a form of logic, a storyline, a progression of scenes, dramas, comedies, tragedies within our own consciousness.
The latent content of a dream has to do with its meaning, and this is something that has deeply interested many people, psychologists. The latent content of a dream, according to Freud, could signify how that dream represents something physical. For example, we could have a dream of being assaulted by an animal. We are filled with fear, terror, resentment, agony, and if we carefully examine our life, we can find that these psychological states that we find in dreams reflect something that is going on in our personal life. Perhaps we have a relationship with someone in which we feel that fear, like we are being hunted, persecuted, shamed, and therefore, the animal in the dream could represent how we react to a particular person in our physical existence.
Or perhaps someone has a dream of a serpent, being bitten and attacked by a snake. Obviously, that symbol is prominent in many religions for a good reason, because the language of different religious traditions and mythologies is oneiric. It is dreamlike. It is from the world of dreams.
Carl Jung emphasized how the symbols of dreams are the foundation of all religion because all religious traditions teach symbols, allegories, parables, stories that are processed and have been manifested through dreams, through that language, a type of logic.
Having a dream about a serpent obviously can be something about temptation in one's physical life. We are very familiar with the Genesiatic story of the Bible.
Now other people have posited different ideas about dreams. John Hobson basically described through neuroscience that dreams are a form of protoconsciousness. They are a virtual reality, according to this theory, that helps us to navigate the problems of daily life.
Some have posited different theories, different ideas, like the threat-simulation theory. People have argued that dreams are engrained in our biology from an evolutionary perspective, in that dreams were developed within the consciousness in people, growing humanity, evolving humanity, in which people were trained to confront their fears in dreams. That is one possibility that is described by scientists.
There are other theories too: expectation-fulfillment theory, basically referring to how dreams release built-up tension. Someone can experience emotion in a dream that is a form of release because those desires in daily life can be repressed. That is very known within psychoanalysis and Freudian psychology. This also explains, according to some scientists, how when those types of dreams are fulfilled, they are forgotten, because the energy related to that emotion is released. That is one perspective.
There are many theories about dreams, many beliefs, and they all offer some type of perspective in relation to why this occurs. In our Gnostic tradition, we have very different approaches to the study of dreams, not just merely limited to a biological component or the study of the brain, such as in NREM sleep (non-rapid eye movement), or REM sleep in which we dream. Those are valuable in their level, but they have a very limited utility. Merely looking at the biology of a person when approaching dreams, this often delimits or cuts off any type of mystical, experiential, divine component.
Now Carl Jung was very interesting because he risked his reputation by declaring the spirituality of dreams, often to the denigration of his colleagues. So much of the knowledge that he taught was very ciphered because the type of wisdom he was expressing about how to experience dreams and how to understand them is often very much misunderstood or condemned.
Now what is interesting about Carl Jung's theories about dreams is that he talked about what is known as a collective unconscious. He believed that humanity inherits, through lineages, biology, and ancestry, different religious symbols. That would explain, according to this idea, why different religions across the world, different cultures, shared the same symbols or what he called archetypes.
Archetypes are basically parables. They are codes. They are an intuitive, spiritual, and divine grammar. A symbol can carry multiple dimensions and levels of meaning, which is why dreams are so powerful. They do not merely just communicate on the level of a type of logical analysis of our common current everyday intellect, but instead, they reveal a type of logic that is beyond our current level of cognition. It is something that has to be developed and practiced with in order to deepen, in order to be worked with and effective.
Carl Jung and Freud had very different opinions about dreams. They came into many conflicts and it would seem that the collective unconsciousness of Carl Jung would contradict Freud's interpretation that dreams are merely just a personal expression of your own daily life. So there was that apparent contradiction between theories according to scientists.
Now what is interesting is that despite this difference, they are both revealing different aspects of a very nuanced problem. Dreams are often a reflection of our daily life, our habits, our actions, our drives, our impulses, our desires. But also according to Jung, there is something spiritual that can be experienced within that state. It does not mean that our desires, conditions of mind, mental projections, fears, anxieties, and worries that manifest in dreams are somehow sacred. In fact, there is a duality within our perception that we study very deeply in this tradition.
There is a conditioned self: pride, fear, anger, lust, envy, jealousy, hatred. There is also a part of us that is not conditioned by any element of that nature. It is spontaneous joy, freedom from pain, compassion. We call that the soul, or in our tradition, consciousness, the Essence of a person, their true nature. It is this Essence that we seek to develop because the Essence, the soul, which right now is in a very undeveloped, latent state, can be awakened. It can be free of all types of distractions of mind: paranoia, hatred, wrath, vanity, defects. It is that part of us that is not conditioned. It has the capacity, as we said previously, to communicate with divinity, our own inner truth, reality, what religions have called God in their original essence.
But the problem is that our consciousness is very much trapped and limited. So, often for most people, our dreams seem to be just a personal reflection of our daily life. We feel fear. We are worried about our jobs. We are insecure. We are proud. We are hateful, whatever it may be, whatever our particular idiosyncrasy, psychological crutch, or limp that manifests within dreams. But also Jung is pointing out there is something more here that is possible for individuals to experience and to understand, to not only initiate, but also to sustain and to perfect at will.
Dreams and Visions
So we make a very clear distinction in our studies between dreams and visions. This is where you find that distinction between Carl Jung and Freud in relation to whether dreams are collective or whether they are personal.
Dreams are merely projections of our own minds. Think of your experience like a film projector in which reality is a screen. Often times, rather than looking at what is there, we are always projecting ourselves onto reality. This not only occurs within the eight hours when we go to bed at night, but also even physically while we are awake. Have you ever had a conversation with someone where they are talking and then you are thinking more about what to say next? We do not even hear what they are saying. It is because we are projecting our mind, our desires, onto the impression of this person who is talking with us. That is a dream.
There are many types of dreams. We dream all the time, not only when we physically go to bed. We are dreaming in our waking life by distractions and afflictions of mind. We are going to go very deep into this very nuanced problem, how we dream all the time.
But a vision is different. That is when the projector stops projecting. When you are physically at rest, your consciousness is active but the mind is perfectly still, in a state of calm, peace. Then instead of churning with affliction, in the stillness and the perfect quietude of being, images from our internal worlds emerge. They reflect within our consciousness and then we live those dramas within the internal worlds. You can experience astral projections. You can experience dream yoga, lucid dreaming. We are awake in that state and then you can see what is actually there.
A vision often includes a type of symbol. It is a drama that is living, in which you are both a participant and a witness. Those dreams have a very allegorical character. They are very sacred, and they teach something very practical about how to live our daily life. Divinity always wants to teach us through visions, when the mind is calm and receptive, so that we can learn how to be better people, how to be more ethical, how to bind our communities, how to make people strong, to help others no longer suffer. But of course, this requires training. It is a type of work in which we are going to didactically explain through each lecture. We will study different practices so that we train the consciousness to be alert, aware, mindful.
This in itself is genuine mysticism. The word mysticism comes from the Greek mysterion. It originates from the root word myein, “to close the eyes,” and relates to mystikos: an “initiate,” or someone who initiates a different lifestyle, what religions have defined as the sacred mysteries of communicating with the divine, like Moses on Mount Sinai, Arjuna talking to Krishna in the Bhagavad-Gita, Prophet Mohammed receiving the Qur’an from the Angel Gabriel.
Many of these stories bear a type of unifying element, and that is the science of dreams. These are all dream symbols. These are all visions in which, instead of having a mind that is clouded and obscured, driven by problems, by negative habits, mechanical desires, instincts, we instead have a crystal clear, sharp, open, receptive, intuitive mind, a mind that is not always churning with thoughts, but instead knows how to put thoughts in their place in order to understand.
That is a very distinct and different quality that meditation teaches us, not to be so caught up in rationalization, because that is a type of obscurity. As I said, we could be thinking about something, perhaps a friend, a family member, a relative, or something else, while we are with someone having a conversation. That is a dream. That is not being awake, even while physically being in the body.
Learning to become a mystic means becoming a meditator. Silence the mind. Let it relax, calm. Be clear. Be sharp and alert, not distracted, so that we can receive insight, intuitions, and understandings from that intelligence that religions have called God.
Again, God is not some anthropomorphic figure in the clouds, but is presence, formlessness, Being. That is how you learn to see the heavens, not just some physical place in the atmosphere or some temple someone goes to on pilgrimage. Instead, that journey is within. That understanding and experience is personal. But to do that requires we learn to comprehend how we dream. We must understand the path that leads to the cessation of dreams and leads to the awakening of consciousness.
Helena Petrovna Blavatsky stated in the scripture she transcribed known as The Voice of the Silence:
Before the soul can see, the Harmony within must be attained, and fleshly eyes be rendered blind to all illusion. ―H. P. Blavatsky, The Voice of the Silence
So that consciousness can perceive in the superior worlds where we go every night. When we dream, we go to sleep at night for eight hours. We astral project and enter that region, but without awareness. If we learn to overcome our own illusions, psychological habits, and conditions that trap us, we can learn to see and know these realities for ourselves. That is a form of harmony, real harmony, real integrity, the perfection of the soul, in which we end pride. We end hatred. We end fear. We stop laziness. We end lust. We end all these passions of mind and defects that we often very much cling to. When those cease and are perfectly still, then we can know something superior. That is a form of harmony in which we integrate consciousness that is usually very much dispersed in many different habits, right?
We can be at home, obviously, many people are working from home now. Hopefully, that has changed. We can be at the computer desk doing a project, but then think of something else, thinking of a friend, a fiancée, a partner, a spouse, a relative. Or we feel hungry and have the instinct to get up, to get something to snack on. Or we have the emotional feeling that “I want to listen to some other type of music now because I want to relax.” We have many elements in our psychology that are always going all over the place. We are very distracted. That in itself is the origin of many problems, because we are not really addressing the necessities of life with full consciousness, directed attention, awareness, focus―in which we finish a task, give it all of our depth, and soul, and being, so that it can be something magnificent―and really create something superior, instead of just multitasking, because that is the mind and desires going in many places. We lack integrity.
This is why consciousness, when it is trained, can be focused and sharpened so that when we practice that skill in the day, physically, when you go to bed at night, your consciousness is already trained. It is exercised. It knows how to work. Instead of falling asleep and after eight hours, waking up in the morning without any remembrance, we enter that dream world with lucidity, with intentionality, with focus.
The Fifth Dimension
So what is the dream world? This is something that has fascinated a lot of people for as long as there has been recorded history and scriptures.
We mentioned in the first lecture how the world of dreams is the same place as the world of the dead. This is why in Greek mythology, Hypnos and Thanatos, sleep and death, are brothers. If you want to know how conscious you will be when you die, look at how you are when you go to sleep. Do you remember anything? Or do you just sleep eight hours and nothing? That is a barometer of how conscious you are.
While this can be a very disturbing realization, the truth and reality are that there is the potential to develop something truly profound. That is something that is learned. It is a gradual skill.
I know some people like to think of astral projection as given to only the few who are graced by divinity. It was just given to them at birth. The reality is that is not true. At some point in the development of that individual soul, that person had to work. It is acquired. It is a form of self-mastery, in which by training oneself, one can go into what is known as the fifth dimension. Some people call it the astral plane, the world of dreams, heavens, jannat amongst the Sufis and the Muslims. Whatever name we want to give to that reality, it is the fifth dimension.
Now, in terms of dimensionality, we are all familiar with three dimensions: length, height, and width, the physical plane. But scientists have also talked about the fourth dimension, which is time. Einstein is very famous for talking about relativity, the space-time continuum, which is basically a form of development and temporality in which all experience at our level is processed.
But the astral world is beyond time. The world of dreams, the world of the dead, is beyond time. That is why if you awaken consciousness within that state, you can see things happen there that are going to come true physically later. The fifth dimension is beyond time, things you can witness that are from the past, the present, and the future. That is why in the Book of Daniel in the Bible, prophets such as Daniel were able to interpret events that were going to come true later through his dreams. This is the essence of prophecy.
But also one can see the past in a very visual form. It is like watching a movie, in which you are witnessing events but also participating in them. Some people have called this the Akashic Records, the memories of nature in which every action is recorded and imprinted within nature. That is known as eternity. Eternity is also a circle, but it is also a loop, because past, present, future meld into an eternal now―something very beautiful, mystical.
If you want an example of that, I remember, a long time ago, walking in the astral plane. I was in some city. I was just looking at the billboards because I was curious. I was practicing my mindfulness and being in remembrance of myself and not losing my attention, just observing the things going on there.
When I am talking about that type of experience, I do not mean it is something vague or unclear or amorphous. There is more color, lucidity, crispness, depth than even being physically awake. We have that potential.
So I remember looking at a billboard and I saw an advertisement for a movie that had not come out yet. I believe it was one of the Indiana Jones films: “The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” or something like that. I woke up, and then, I do not know, six, seven years later they announced that they are making this film. So I just found that interesting. Whether or not it has some utility is another thing, but it is interesting. I saw something that existed in the internal world before it became physical.
That is what inventions are like. People imagine or conceptualize or have an idea for something. It exists within the astral world before it becomes physical. That is just the way the universe and the mind work. Things kind of just trickle down from more abstract realities into more manifest reality―so, something timeless, but because it is beyond time, you can see things that are going to happen, that have happened.
In this dimension, you can fly. You can teleport. You can walk through walls, because that dimension is governed by very different laws: elasticity, plasticity, levitation. This is why people report dreams of flying. Perhaps we have had that experience ourselves, levitating in the air, going places.
But for most of us, we do not really see what is there objectively. We tend to just interact with our own mind, because our mind, as I said, projects its dreams onto the screen of that dimension. So we do not really, in our current state, see the objectivity of that plane. But if you turn the projector off, quiet the mind, enter meditation, concentration, awareness, you can enter that state with vigilance, with awareness, and then actually see what is going on. That is the real joy and beauty and mystery of that type of science.
So the question becomes: who dreams?
As I said, or hinted at, we often like to think that because we go to bed for eight hours and we do not see anything, that we do not dream, but the truth is that we are dreaming all the time.
We dream when we are washing the dishes. We are remembering or recalling something in the day or projecting an idea about the future, like what we are going to do later, but not actually watching what we are doing.
We can be driving our car, having a conversation, or listening to the radio, thinking about it, trying to analyze a podcast, perhaps, but we are not paying attention to the road and we get into an accident. It is because we are dreaming.
People get on the train and while reading a book, get lost in revelry, thoughts, fantasies, daydreams, recollections, and then we realize that we missed our stop. It is because we are dreaming. We are not awake.
Of course, even at a very basic level, it is easy to understand that there are certain problems to this. Perhaps we are at a job where we have to pay attention to learn new skills, but if we are thinking of something else and we get distracted, we are losing something essential and that we have to ask again for help, and perhaps that could be annoying to an employer. We are dreaming all the time.
So what is important to remember is that the dreamer can awaken. It is a very famous trope you find even in movies like Dune, or Frank Herbert's book. “The sleeper must awaken.”
All religions teach the need to awaken consciousness. “Awake, awake, Deborah, arise Barak," says the Old Testament, I believe in the Book of Judges, the story of the Prophetess Deborah, made the declaration saying "you need to awaken consciousness," because we have the illusion that we are awake, that we are present, that we are mindful, that we are aware.
Often times, if we are very serious and analyze our daily state, we find that we are usually very distracted. Our thoughts are in one place, our feelings are in another, and our desire to act is conflicted. We are split. But by learning through training to focus on what we are doing at all times, to be aware, to be observing ourselves, our thought processes, our emotional reactions to life, our sentiments, and also our will to act, our impulses, we start to discover that we are something much deeper than thought, feeling, and will―something much more profound.
Consciousness exists even before thought. I know in our Western culture we like to idolize thinking quite a bit, but in truth, it is actually a very slow machine. It is a processor of energy and matter and perception at its level. We need the intellect and to know how to use it, but it is not really the defining factor of an individual.
We can touch a hot stove, burn our hand, and retract our hand in pain. We have the instinct, the impulse, to first get out of danger. Perhaps we feel frustrated and angry. We feel that visceral pain of having been burned, and then we think right after that, “that really hurt!” It shows us that thought is actually a much slower process than many other aspects of our psychology.
The reason why I am mentioning all of this is that if we want to understand what awakening consciousness is within the dream state, it is important to understand how we process information and experiences in life in different ways. We will go into a lot of depth into this, specifically when we talk about “How Do We Dream?” But by understanding our own thinking, our feelings, and our impulses, we no longer let those habits and desires simply run amuck. We understand them.
Instead, we can respond to life with intelligence instead of just reacting to someone when someone criticizes us or when we feel anger or fear or depression or whatever it may be. All of those are forms of dreams, different thoughts perhaps, but also many times different types of emotions which we often indulge in, in life.
Sushupti: Profound Sleep
We explain that there are different types of consciousness, different states.
There is Sushupti, which is profound sleep. That often is associated within Hinduism and Yoga as physically going to bed, and when eight hours pass, we do not remember anything.
But also on a more practical level for us, there is profound sleep when we look at mobs, lynches, crowds propelled by violence, war, because those people, even though they are physically active doing things, they are not really conscious of their neighbor. They are driven by fear, instinct, self-preservation, the desire to kill. That is a profound state of sleep, in a spiritual sense, in a conscious sense. If we were really conscious of other human beings, we would feel love and compassion for them, because we understand that we all have the natural inclination to avoid suffering and find happiness. Everyone has that ingrained within the substrate of their very being.
So Sushupti is profound sleep. Basically, people who are murderers, who kill, who commit violence in any form, are very unconscious. It is important to dissociate from the assumption that sleep is merely just related to the physical body, because the physical body, in truth, could be doing things, but yet we are not aware. This is very well known in Yoga and Buddhism especially.
Swapna: Dreaming Sleep
Let us talk about Swapna, dreaming sleep. What is dreaming sleep?
As I said, we dream in the day, often. We can argue with people, wanting to assert our beliefs, political ideas, religion, culture, race, doctrine. All these things that our modern world often adulates and worships are in fact a form of dreaming. It is an illusion. These such things are very temporal. They do not last. They are not eternal.
The soul, the consciousness is eternal. It does not have a beginning and an end in its ultimate sense. We adopt different beliefs and ideas and cultures and habits and ways of thinking whenever we lose that connection with our true origins. We are often very much distanced from our true nature, but we can see glimpses of it day-to-day. We find selfless acts of heroism, compassion, love, sacrifice, benevolence, patience, kindness, in which we are not really thinking for ourselves. We are doing for others. But those types of experiences tend to be very minimal―if we are honest―very limited.
What we have instead are a lot of dreams: “I am a republican.” “I am a democrat.” “I am a capitalist. “I am a socialist.” “I am a philosopher.” “I am a scientist.” We have a lot of ideas about who we are. We often cling to things―our name, our culture, our habits, our beliefs―as something substantial, as something permanent. But the truth is that these things always change, right? There are always perhaps different circumstances that happen in our life. To use a very silly example, maybe we are a republican, then something happened in the media, especially in this past year, and then we change our beliefs. We change our ideas. But the truth is that even those ideas do not necessarily have a type of eternity. There are conditions. They do not really reflect the type of values that we call the divine. So knowing that distinction is very challenging. It is very difficult because of attachment, because of the type of hypnosis of identifying with our own conditions of mind, habits, etc.
Jagrat: Waking Consciousness
This is why we study Jagrat, which is waking consciousness. Notice we are not just talking about the wakeful body, that the body is awake. This does not just refer to the physical body being active and doing things, because we can be, as I said, driving our car but not paying attention. It has to do with consciousness that is perceptive, that is alert, that is understanding, that is seeing the impressions of life, but not necessarily just labeling experiences with the intellect or judging a person based on our emotions.
Perhaps we feel aversion to someone based on their race or their caste, their culture, their language, their beliefs, their politics. We feel perhaps negative emotions about them, resentments, pride―whatever it may be. Or certain relationships, we feel conflicted. We do not know how to act around certain people and we kind of get stuck between this clumsy deliberation.
But the reality is that waking consciousness knows how to intuitively respond to any situation with lucidity, with compassion. It does not necessarily mean complacency, like letting a person walk all over you. Consciousness can be firm, but loving, kind, patient. It does not identify with problems in life. It does not suffer. The consciousness knows how to act. It is the intuition of knowing what to do at any time. You do not have to think about it. It is beyond thought.
I know in one example, I remember I had a conflict with a person from years ago and I was in a situation where, years later, I had to speak to her out of necessity. I could not avoid her. I felt that conflict in myself, that fear like “I do not want to talk to this person,” the thoughts, and the logic, and the reasoning, and the resentments, that were stewing there. But then I was observing all that process in myself and I understood that, just by looking at that defect within me, that it was wrong. I intuitively knew that this person is suffering, therefore, “I am going to act.” Putting my prejudice and self behind me, I went up to the person and had a conversation with her, and it turns out that she was very grateful for me, for showing that olive branch and making that connection. That is one example of really being awake. I just saw myself, my own defects, observing that. That is waking consciousness.
We have a practice in our tradition called self-observation in which we learn to understand the origin of thought, feeling, and will, even before they emerge, because we are activating that sense and skill within us that is often very atrophied.
Turiya: Spiritual Illumination
It is in that way that we can access what is known as Turiya. This is spiritual illumination. This is what all the diverse religious traditions have called ecstasy, samadhi, spiritual states in which there is no distortion of mind there. In terms of dream yoga, you can be physically in bed, have an astral projection, and there is no type of obscuration in your perception. You are seeing what is there. You are fully lucid. You are clear. You are in control, and you can investigate and you can navigate those regions with competency.
It also has to do with the type of perception relating to a divine being like a prophet. We call them masters. We call them buddhas, angels, gods. They do not have pride, laziness, fear, calumny, gossip. They are perfect―no fault. We can access a state like that in a temporary sense, but obviously, it is something that has to be gradually developed through discipline. But there are beings, prophets, angels―whatever you want to call them―who did it. This is why we study their teachings very profoundly, in their original sources, not what institutions say they say, but what are they actually saying from experience. In that way, we have no doubt.
The Line of Life
We talk in our studies about the line of life.
It is very important to analyze where we have come from and where we are going. That is why many people study religion and spirituality in general. They have a yearning to understand the origin of the soul, the origin of the world, the meaning of faith, the meaning of compassion, where we came from and why do we suffer. Perhaps that is the most compelling reason why anyone goes to any church or school or religion or community.
We study the line of our life very diligently because our own life is a book. It has many chapters. If we want to have self-knowledge about higher realities, it begins by knowing ourselves, knowing where we came from physically, but also psychologically, our habits, our ideas, our personality, our culture. These are the things that come to us. Or better even said, we come to it. I think that is even an more accurate description.
We are born in this world, and as children, we are very innocent. If we look at any child, we see the beauty of the soul there that has not been tainted or contaminated by defects. But with time and through gradual exposure to parents, school, family, language, culture, customs, that initial brilliance of a child is dimmed. It gets swallowed by pride, anger, hatred, defects. We call that ego, self, egotism, desire.
Most people tend to go through their life, from that initial state, acquiring and acquiring more experiences, accumulating more and more―family, job, reputation, income, retirement, whatever it may be. While there are necessary components of life that we need to work with, it is not the definition of a person. There is something more. There has to be something more than being born and going through adolescence with all of its turmoil and suffering, its pain, its uncertainty, its abuse, becoming adults who are trying to piece together their lives, and then getting married, having children, and then dying, and then… what then?
Why be so caught up in that? It does not mean that we reject all these things and live like hermits. That is another extreme to life that does not offer a very long-term solution.
The Line of Being
Instead, we begin where we are at. Fortunately for our spiritual life, there is something more. There is a point that intersects with our daily existence. We call it the vertical path. On the horizontal beam, we have the line of life, but here vertically intersecting in the form of a cross, we have a line of being. This has to do with the quality of our life, the quality of our states.
Of course, as you see here, there are inferior qualities of life and psychology and also superior states of mind. I have named some of them for you. In the inferior levels, you have ego, selfishness, more attachment, more aversion, more craving, more desire to accumulate more and more, many ideas, theories, beliefs, philosophies, doctrines. The mind just wants to saturate itself and acquire more and more information, because it thinks by feeding that desire, we are going to be happy.
Knowledge is useful in its place, but it is not fundamental for a person to be spiritual. There is a balance there. We have to make that distinction.
We often go from birth to death dreaming. We dream while we drive our car. We dream on the train. We dream while married. We dream while making love. We dream and have many desires and beliefs and habits that we invest our energy into. Wherever we direct our attention, we expend energy. We often find in life that we are very depleted, which is why as we approach our elder years, we are decrepit. We are sick. We are old. We are weakened. That energy that can fuel our spirituality is often very much wasted, invested in the wrong things, identified with the wrong things.
When we die, most people go to the grave, they enter the dream world, but are not aware that they are dead. Personally, I met my grandfather in the astral plane. He died a long time ago. I was in a room with my family who were still alive, talking with them, and then I realized, “why am I talking to my grandfather here? He is dead!” As I was talking to them, they did not know where they were.
So it is a pretty alarming thing, and something that should not necessarily fill someone with fear, but with urgency. It is a very different, nuanced principle, to have urgency. To want to awaken consciousness is different from being fearful: “Oh, if I go to the grave, then what?” Fear is another condition of the mind. It is an inferior state of being, something that we can overcome by looking at it. By learning to understand ourselves in the moment, we can access superior states of consciousness and then we stop dreaming. We are no longer filled with fear, with agony, more problems.
The superior line of being is developed in us where we ascend vertically in the moment. It has nothing to do with time. Spiritual development, in a conventional sense, occurs gradually, obviously, because we are in physical bodies. We are in this physical world and we are subjected to the laws of nature, time especially, the fourth dimension. But the consciousness does not belong to time. It is eternal. But unfortunately, because we dream physically, we are not aware of it. We do not realize it from experience.
Anybody who has had an astral projection obviously has tasted some glimpse of that and knows for themselves that it is real, and that we are more than just our physical body. So this pushes us to want to know ourselves, know our defects, our faults, so that we cease dreaming.
We are aware of the moment, because every moment we advance towards death. We progress in this line of life towards an inescapable end. But this should not be a source of morbidity or shame, anxiety. Obviously, these are emotions that are very common for people, because we do not understand where we came from or where we are going. But if you awaken your consciousness, you will know. You know where you came from, where you are, and where you are going, what your trajectory is.
We follow the trajectory of our actions through life, consciously or unconsciously. By making conscious decisions, we are learning to develop our perception so that, physically, when we die, we welcome it―not out of some quirkiness, being dark. Instead, it is born out of acceptance and understanding. For me personally, I know what will happen when I die. I have been able to awaken enough consciousness within the internal worlds to be shown what it is like after the body is dead. Therefore, why be afraid? You do not have to be afraid. It is a natural process.
What one could be afraid of instead is not living one's life ethically, taking advantage of this precious time that we have, moment by moment, to make changes, small changes, gradually. In that way, we do not necessarily become victims of life. We do not react to problems. Instead, we can comprehend our situation and learn to respond with intelligence.
Kabbalah: The Tree of Life
We talked briefly about this image in our previous lecture, something that we will go back to periodically. It is known as the Tree of Life. It is a Jewish symbol, but also a universal one.
In Jewish mysticism, they talk about Kabbalah. This is the Tree of Life within the Book of Genesis. Rather than constituting a literal tree in Mesopotamia that existed however long ago in the physical Middle East, it is really a symbol. It is a map of consciousness.
It depicts the inferior states of consciousness and the most superior, ascending towards a higher and more elevated spirituality. These are not spheres or levels of being that are mapped out in physical space. It is not like there is some sort of verticality to this. It is a symbol. It is an allegory. These spheres, known as סְפִירוֹת sephiroth in Hebrew, are known as emanations. They are qualities of consciousness. They are also dimensions. This is a map of us as a psyche, but also of divinity, and also where we go when we sleep, when we dream. There are different levels of matter, energy, and consciousness.
Right now we are in the bottom sphere. This is known as מלכות Malkuth in Hebrew [the Kingdom], the physical world? It is our physical body.
Above that, we have our vitality, our creative energy. This is known as the fourth dimension. So the third dimension is below and the fourth dimension is above. This is time. It is known as יְסוֹד
Yesod, the foundation, because how we work with our energy is the foundation of spiritual life. As I said, wherever we direct attention and energy, we spend it. So if we spend it within our consciousness, we can conserve that force and learn to awaken our potential.
What people call the astral plane is known as הוד Hod, meaning “splendor” in Hebrew. It is this sphere at bottom of the left pillar, as you see here. We call that the astral plane. This is typically where people go when they have superior astral projections.
To the right of that, we have נצח Netzach, which means “victory.” This is known as the mental world. So there is a mental plane and an emotional plane, mind and heart. These two spheres constitute what is known as the fifth dimension. This is eternity. יְסוֹד Yesod is the fourth dimension. מלכות Malkuth is the third dimension.
But we have inferior dimensions as well, what religions have called hell or the hell realms. Those states are experienced through nightmares. That is hell in a direct way. It is a type of experience that is real, but not in physical matter, energy, and perception, but it is in a more subtle form of experience. This is why we often interact within those states within dreams but do not realize that it is not physical, because the internal worlds reflect the physical and vice versa.
Above we have more superior states, which I will not go into depth here. We have a future lecture that we will talk about called Where Do We Dream? But I want to just summarize this because it is a very beautiful graphic, a very practical tool.
We can use it to understand our experiences, but also when we travel within those dimensions, we can know how to navigate it, because this is the map so to speak. It is important to know and learn this glyph with time because just as one would not travel to another country without knowing its language, its geography, its culture, its goods and bad, in the same way, it is reasonable for dream yogis, practitioners of this science, to understand the structure of that inner reality, so that when you experience it, you know how to navigate. It is a very gradual process which we will talk about in detail.
So we will conclude with an exercise that you can use in order to develop what is known as concentration. As I said, by learning to develop concentration, awareness, mindfulness throughout the day, the ability to focus on one thing without being distracted, we no longer dream. We teach the consciousness to not dream. We teach it to be awake. In that way, that skill will transition from visible life to dreaming life.
So every day, develop self-observation from moment to moment. At the end of each day, reflect on how you did. So this has to do with learning to observe our psychology. It is like being a director in a movie, in which you are the actor, but you are also viewing the scene. Consciousness has the capacity to observe, to intuit, to understand, and this skill has to do with whenever a thought emerges, look at it. Observe it.
You may know that you are seated in this chair listening to me, but are you observing the fact? It is a different skill. Then as we are learning to self-observe throughout the day, obviously it is going to be very challenging. You might realize even before coming here that learning to be mindful and aware throughout the day can be difficult because there are just so many distractions, whether externally or even our own emotional reactions, our thoughts, etc.
At the end of each day, just take five minutes. Reflect: how mindful were you? How observant? how aware? Then, every day perform this preliminary meditation exercise:
Carefully relax your body, heart, and mind. Observe an object such as an image or a lit candle flame without preoccupying yourself in thought, memories or distractions. If you forget yourself, return to the object of the practice.
Practice ten to fifteen-minute sessions at least two or three times a day.
So, we are going to practice this together―if you like―we can stay after. We have a candle here. You just take the candle and observe it. If your mind starts thinking of something else or labeling ideas or talking about it, just become aware of it. Do not try to repress, push it away, or try to get lost in it. Instead, just return to the candle. It is a beautiful exercise in which we learn to understand the distinction between knowing what is going on but also observing it. As I said, you can know something is going on. By sitting in a chair, you can know that you are in the chair, but observing it is active. Knowing is passive―different quality.
At this time I would like to invite you to ask questions.
Questions and Answers
Question: I am a little confused about the self-observation practice. So you are saying that if I am thinking about something that I can not be self-observing? Or is it possible to be both thinking and self-observing? In my job I am thinking a lot. It is an intellectual job, and how am I supposed to be self-observing during the day when I need to also think in my job?
Instructor: That is a good question. The latter is the answer. You can be thinking and doing intellectual things, but observe that. Some people think of self-observation as like “I have to stop thinking.” In the higher degrees of understanding, we do not need to think. But we begin with where we are at. If we have a job that is very intellectual where we are thinking, or teaching, perhaps reading a book, reading something about our job that we have to do―read, but observe that. It is difficult, but it is a skill that is acquired. It comes with patience.
Question: I have seen people who are yogis and they sit still. Is it normal or is it an indication that something is not right if you are not still? There are some actions of the body, which while sitting for a long time that suddenly happens, and I get that feeling that it is not right. Does it show a lack of attention or concentration? How do I realize that? Am I in the moment or not in the moment?
Instructor: Great question. For most people who are not training in mindfulness, it is not a problem because they are not really interested in learning about being conscious of themselves. But as we are learning to self-observe or do a meditation practice, it is important to understand even our involuntary movements―like, perhaps, scratching, or twisting our fingers, or moving a leg, or whatever it may be. Tapping your foot, you know, is a very common thing.
But we have to become aware of that. If you find that you are doing that, observe yourself and then reflect: where is that impulse coming from? It is not necessarily an intellectual question, but it is a perceptive one. You are just analyzing and being mindful of why you are doing that. I think oftentimes, at least for me, when I have observed that in myself, I have come to understand that there is some type of psychological defect in me that is perhaps impatient, or bored―or whatever it may be―agitated. Something psychological is going on in a deeper sense that I am not aware of.
So it does not necessarily mean to have to force your body to be still, but it is better if you just observe it and understand it, because if you understand it, then your psychology is quiet, right? All physical actions are a material manifestation of our internal reality. So things that happen physically come because, psychologically, there is something there.
One thing I wanted to mention is that in one of the earlier slides about the fifth dimension, I mentioned that things happen internally and then manifest physically. The same thing happens with our psychology. So this proves to us that we are in truth very multidimensional. Our thoughts are one thing, our emotions are another dimension to ourselves, and our instincts are another. The more understanding you have of your own psychological impulses, the more you comprehend why you are tapping, and you will stop.
It does not have to be something like, “I cannot tap my foot,” right? That is kind of the mind fighting the mind, and that is not what we are advocating. Instead, it is something about observing yourself, understanding where it comes from, and when you understand that impulse, it quiets, ceases. I believe even Gurdjieff mentioned quite a bit about the need to no longer be doing movements of our body involuntarily, carelessly. It means that we are very unconscious. In fact, one of the best ways to learn self-observation is learning about your posture. Learn about your breathing. Learn about your habits. It is a very simple way to begin. You may notice that perhaps you crack your fingers, or whatever it may be. Begin with that, and as you get more confident, understanding those impulses, then the more relaxed you become. That is really important for meditation, having a relaxed mind, heart, and body. When you have that, meditation is open to you when you are concentrated, when you are aware.
Question: Is there a difference between waking in a dream versus allowing your body to fall asleep and maintaining consciousness?
Instructor: Yeah, it has to do with when you enter the astral world. You might fall asleep physically and unconsciously project and then you wake up in a dream later. That happens all the time. Then other times, obviously, the goal is to learn to fall asleep consciously, so that you enter that state with awareness. So it has to do with how attentive you are.
Oftentimes you can wake up in a dream later because, even though you were not conscious in the beginning, suddenly you start to expand your perception, where you are seeing your surroundings in the astral plane. Maybe you are walking down a street of your old neighborhood wherever you grew up, and then you realized, “Oh, what am I doing here?” For me, I tend to have dreams where I will be at my old house where I grew up as a kid, and I will recognize my surroundings and question, “What am I doing here? How did I get here?” I remember where I came from. I am living in the city now, not out in the suburbs.
So then you can learn to question that and develop that inquiry. That is something you can only develop by learning mindfulness throughout the day. You are self-observing. You are becoming aware of your different thought processes, feelings, impulses, and when you train your consciousness to do that during the day, even when you physically go to sleep, even if you are not aware of an astral projection, you can suddenly start to see things in your dreams where you are getting more lucidity. The consciousness is being trained, is being strengthened. So learning to concentrate and develop those skills helps to see more clearly, awaken more perception. So you can wake up later in the night too. It is different from a conscious astral projection. We are going to talk about how to awaken in dreams later on, specifically.
Question: So earlier you were talking about how Sushupti is a sign of that most profound state of unconscious sleep. You mentioned that some murderers are in a state of profound sleep of consciousness because they do not feel compassion for other people. But can some people be awakened in evil, because some murderers are very conscious of what they are doing you know, like serial killers? It is not like they are asleep. I see what you are saying that they are identified with, like anger or violence or something like that. Could you explain that distinction?
Instructor: Sure! It has to do with the individual. As we mentioned before, we can be aware that we are killing someone. I know a lot of people talk about mindfulness and awareness as sometimes the end-all and be-all of spirituality, but it is just the beginning. Being aware of yourself, so that you can be understanding of where you are at, is the initial step of learning to be a conscious and ethical person. The next step is learning to transform situations with compassion, learning to transform the impression of a situation with awareness, with understanding, better said.
But there is also another flip side to that coin. I mentioned to you and showed you that image of superior states of being and inferior states. We can awaken positively within our consciousness or we can awaken within desire, within hatred, within anger, within pride, because awakening is dual. It does not always end up positively. Now, awakening negatively has to do with giving one's energy to one's desires. So one can be very awake, but through hatred or pride or vanity, and therefore they develop a lot of power in that element. They tend to be very dangerous individuals because they are very influential. They can even be charismatic, influential people.
The difference between the type of unconsciousness I was referring to is for most people. People who have never really trained in any type of spirituality tend to just go with the flow of life. If there is a crowd, they get attracted to it and they go to it. It is kind of a collective hive mind so to speak. But there are people that learn to train themselves to awaken within their own defects, and that is something we do not teach. It is a negative thing.
Question: So the first step is to be awake and be conscious of what I am doing? Then you are saying later on that I have to learn to discern between if what I am doing is driven by pride, or anger, or revenge, on someone? How do I know that it is not that and I am awakening in a good way?
Instructor: Follow your heart. Look at your heart. Your conscience is the best guide. Unfortunately, there are people in our society, in our world, that do not even have a conscience anymore, and therefore those people tend to be very lost causes. But if you look in your heart and examine in a moment an action you performed where you felt pain; your heart will tell you what is right and what is wrong, in most normal people, but not psychopaths, so to speak.
For example, you get into an argument with someone and you are telling yourself, “I want to be patient with this family member.” Then you start to observe in yourself that they start pushing your buttons, because family members know how to do that―resentment, pride, fear, anger, whatever comes up. You are aware of that. Now, just because you are aware of that does not mean that you are going to act ethically, transforming the situation, transforming your consciousness.
The way that you do it is by following the different precepts of different traditions, religions, like kindness and selflessness. If someone insults you; understand the insult, understand where it is coming from and why. Understand that we are not perfect, so why be offended? It is really nothing stable there. Then follow your heart about how you should act, because your heart knows. That is conscience. That is intuition, knowing without having to think about it.
But of course, the difficulty becomes that our mind wants to devour us: anger with its logic says: “They offended me. I am going to get back at them!” So when you observe that process in you, that is great. You are starting to see and understand how you are dreaming. The anger is dreaming. It is projecting its desires. It thinks it is being offended and insulted and it is seeing the situation through a lens. Is it not true that when we are angry, we only see through anger? You do not see through any other way. Every situation becomes interpreted through a false door. That is one way that we sleep. So observe that.
The beginning of change is to stop dreaming. But just because you learn to stop dreaming, in the beginning, does not mean that you are going to be successful, because you just have to really work at it. See what is happening. Be aware of it, and then act appropriately. That is the next step.
Question: We are about to do the practice with the candle and I know there are other techniques that you can use to awaken in dreams. What would be the best method to awaken consciousness here and now?
Instructor: So, there is a lot of things that complement this, right? There is a lot of facets. We will talk about it in a lot of detail. I will explain this to you now, but in the future, we are going to go really in-depth about different ways to do it. Working with all of them together is like building a puzzle.
Now as you said, the primary method is to be aware of yourself in the day. That is why at the very beginning of this course, we are just talking about p, “what are dreams, who dreams, how do we dream?” Be aware of it because that is the foundation. Be aware of how you get distracted in the day and learn to curtail that, not with a type of militant despotism, but with recollection. Remembering yourself is how you start to really use the tools in this course. It is like, for example, if you learn to work with a machine. You have to be aware of yourself first to work it. Children obviously can not operate difficult machinery and that is why you get trained physically. First, you let them grow up. In the same way, we learn to grow up spiritually as a child by learning to awaken our consciousness. Then we start using these different tools and techniques to kind of augment that.
So one of the techniques we use is called the Key of Sol. We have a whole lecture that is going to be about that, where it is an acronym: subject, object, location.
Subject: who am I? What are my thoughts? What are my feelings? What are my actions?
Object: what is in front of me? What am I seeing? Not necessarily questioning with the intellect, but just being inquisitive, the way that a child is inquisitive when they are growing up and looking at a toy or creating something from the imagination. It is a very innocent quality. It does not assume that there is anything there, or merely just projects memories onto reality, but looks at it.
You know, we can be in our house oftentimes, our home, and we do not really observe where we are at, because we just have things in our memory, right? It is easy to get into an accident even in your own home. A lot of people get hurt in their own homes because they are not paying attention. They think they know what is going on or what is around them. Instead, we are not observing. Object has to do with what is in front of us. Subject―ourselves.
Location: where are we? Inquire. Where am I? What am I doing? It might seem silly, obviously, being physically here in this world, but if you learn to train your consciousness in that way, you will eventually start to see things in your dreams because you are observing your thoughts, your feelings, your actions. You start to see objects in front of you and then a location in dreams. Maybe you are not in Chicago in a dream. That is a big alert. Question yourself: “I live in Chicago. How did I get here?” And then you start to realize, “I think I am dreaming. How did I end up in Spain? How did that happen to me?” I found myself in Spain in the astral plane and I am like, “people are talking Spanish. Why are they talking Spanish? What is going on? Where am I?” I realized that I was dreaming.
Then if you want to test yourself, you pull your finger. In the astral plane, the matter of your astral body is ductile. It is elastic. Pull it with the intention of making it stretch. If you are intentional enough and gentle enough, obviously, physically, you do not want to do this too hard. You do not want to hurt yourself. In the dream, it will stretch. Then you will realize, “I could not do that physically. I am dreaming. I am in the astral world! “ That is something you can do physically where you are just training yourself, and then you just get in the habit of questioning, “where am I?” Then physically, discretely, when no one is watching you―thinking you are perhaps weird or unusual―just pull your finger.
In dreams, you can also jump in the air and see if you are going to levitate, right? See if you fly. You can do it physically too, but I like to be more discrete because I am not going to be jumping around and my co-workers looking around at me like, “something strange is going on.” Instead, pull your finger. That is one method, a very good one, very effective.
Or try something else: you can put your hand through a window to see if you are going to pass it through. I have done that many times and it works too. The only reason that it works is because we learn to question our dreams. Be self-observant moment by moment.
Question: In the questioning of daily life when we are not sleeping, is that what helps us to wake up when we are sleeping?
Instructor: Exactly. It is the questioning. It is the inquiry.
Question: Is this an intellectual kind of labeling like, “Ok, location. You are in the studio―me, my name?” Or how can I make this conscious and not just in the intellect?
Instructor: Practice. Just do it. Then you find in time that it is not an intellectual thing. In the beginning, you can question yourself. It is easier that way, right? It becomes more of a habit. The beauty of the practice is that it teaches us how to start from being mechanical to how to be conscious. So you are learning to take something that is very mechanical like just walking in the street, or even pulling your finger, or jumping in the air, right? It is a common thing you can do, but with time and practice, you learn to start doing it with awareness. It just takes acclimation, getting used to it, to the point that you may even have times where you have trained yourself so well that suddenly you become vivid in a dream and you know you are dreaming, and then you jump in the air and fly away and go and investigate something.
Question: You talked about the two kinds of dreams you can have, the self-projecting kind and then the fifth dimension kind. Can you lucid dream in both of those?
Instructor: Definitely. Great question. Both. You could be lucid in a dream where you still do not realize you are dreaming.
For a lot of people there is a big step or hurdle there, where suddenly you may have the experience where you see a lot of different colors, and images, and landscapes, perhaps, but you do not really question that you are dreaming. The first step is awareness. The second step is discernment. That is a very delicate skill that comes about as we learn to be more aware physically but also learning to discern our own psychological states. This is the same skill that you use to comprehend how whether or not you are seeing things clearly through the lens of fear, or anxiety, or anger, or whatever it may be. Instead, we are learning to see life without egotism. We need to discern our own psychological states.
It gets easier to discern our surroundings, so that when you are lucid dreaming, you see things more clearly, you can start to question things and then make the leap. When you recognize, “Ok, I think I am dreaming here,” where you even make that first declaration to yourself. That is a big step, just recognizing and questioning, “Am I here?” That is the starting point.
Sometimes it is possible to have visions where you are receiving a divine symbol from your inner divinity through a mystical experience. It can be happening and you are kind of just taking it all in, but you are not necessarily fully aware that you are dreaming, or that you are in that experience, and then you wake up and then suddenly realize, “Whoa, I think I just got an experience from my inner God!” So there is that reality too. But with enough training, you start to learn to be in that state and then suddenly make the discerned judgment of what is actually going on, and then you can say with confidence that “I am dreaming.”
Question: So can you be lucid during a projection of your own mind? Like how you dream at night is a projection of my fear. Can I wake up in that?
Question: Or I can only wake up in the objective in the fifth dimension?
Instructor: Both. In the sense that you can be having a very lucid dream in which your ego is projecting things and you are just seeing your own desires, and even in the middle of that, even if it is very intense and vivid, you can start to realize that “This is kind of crazy,” like “why am I seeing this action film playing out in front of me, and all this weird logic going on?” You can discern, “There is something going on here,” and then you realize, “I think I am dreaming!” It is possible, but usually, with those very intense egotistical dreams, we tend to just go along with it because we are very sleepy.
But visions that are more objective, relating to our own inner divinity, occur within the superior fifth dimension, you could say. We call it the heavenly realms, the heavenly world. It just takes practice and a lot of meditation. You have those experiences and maybe you do not understand them at first, but you know, with patience you learn to discern between them.
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