We're continuing our course on self-knowledge and the discussion of the nature of consciousness, perception, awakening, and understanding—that which we call our genuine identity, that which we call the Being, the Innermost, which the Muslims denominated Allah, and the Christians as Chrestos, Christ; likewise, the inner Buddha amongst the Asian esotericists, or Jehovah amongst the Hebrews. This inner intelligence, this inner divinity, we could say Atman in Hinduism, the inner Self, is beyond our terrestrial conceptions of self. We seek to go beyond our current everyday understanding of who we are, to go deeper, to get insight into who we are as a spirit, as an inner Buddha, as a God.
As Jesus of Nazareth taught, “ye are gods, is it not said so in the scriptures?”—and we must learn to become that, which in our very root, we are. But our terrestrial life, our mistaken sense of self, has hypnotized us from actualizing the truth and understanding that for ourselves, from our experience. Our name, our language, our race, our culture, these things in themselves began in time and end in time. But that which is divine is beyond these terrestrial concepts. So if we seek to understand that which is eternal, we must, in turn, confront and transform that which is illusory. We must be willing to make changes in our understanding of self and our perception.
So in this lecture we're going to talk more in-depth about consciousness. Last week, we discussed the nature of awakening: what it means to awaken, and we explained that awakening is to become aware of that divine potential—to awaken that consciousness, that soul, that part of us which belongs to divinity. We seek to develop that based on conscious works and practical exercises. So we mentioned a technique we can use to develop that insight. We have many available throughout the literature we provide.
In relation to this teaching of self-knowledge, we are practical. We do not rely on theory. We do not rely on belief. We do not rely on a creed, a concept, a flag. Instead, we base ourselves on practical knowledge, that which we verify, that which we know for a fact. We are scientific, we are methodical, and we seek to verify the teachings given in religion—to know that which Jesus of Nazareth, Buddha, Prophet Mohammad, Krishna, Moses taught. We seek to verify that for ourselves and to make it living and concrete.
So in the spirit of universality, we've been discussing the nature of self-knowledge as given in the Middle East, to emphasize that this knowledge is not only contingent upon the teachings of the Christians or the Buddhists or the Kabbalists of Israel, but also the Muslim initiates, the Muslim teachers, who in the Middle East gave this doctrine known as Islam, which in Arabic means 'to submit'. So we teach the esoteric or hidden meaning of that tradition, and in the spirit of inclusivity and taking an eclectic approach, we've been discussing this science of relation to the mystical doctrine of Sufism.
So we're going to elaborate on this teaching more in depth, but we seek to submit to our divine will, to our divinity through practice, through a systematic discipline. The primary practice we engage with is meditation, as we'll be explaining and leading up to this introductory course. We have this image of a Muslim master who is kneeling in prayer, and likewise we must learn to develop that connection with the divine that we seek.
The Definition of Consciousness
What is consciousness? There are many definitions of this term. In the basic sense we think of consciousness as a physical state of awareness, to know that one is thinking, that one is feeling, and that one is acting. But consciousness in its most profound sense is spiritual. It is the root of perception. It is the root of who we are fundamentally. Consciousness does not pertain to thought; it is beyond thought. Consciousness does not pertain to emotion. It is beyond emotion. Consciousness is beyond the body, but it uses the body. It is beyond impulse, instinct, sensation.
When we sit to practice and to observe ourselves, observe our body as we practice that exercise of Anapana, which is breath work, we become aware that thoughts emerge, sustain, and pass. Likewise, emotions emerge, sustain, and pass. So also with the sensations of our physicality, like clouds or a mirage that disappears as we approach it.
If we learn to observe ourselves in this manner, and to realize that we are not thought, that we are not emotion, we are not the body, the question remains as to what we are in our fundamental depth. Consciousness is not thought, as I mentioned, but it can use thought. Consciousness is not emotion, but it has its own profound sentiment, which is pure and divine, its own longings, aspirations, fears, but not from an egotistical sense, of a crippling sense as that implies. Likewise, consciousness is not the impulses that emerge within our psyche, such as a desire to go running or walking, or to eat something, to read, to perform some type of physical activity. Consciousness emerges and is before these experiences emerge, and so when we develop that, we learn to perceive ourselves not as these elements but something beyond that.
Our consciousness is something dynamic. It is not limited to thinking, concept, thesis, antithesis, belief, disbelief. Likewise, consciousness is not limited to a feeling of like or dislike, of pleasure or pain, attraction or lack of attraction, and the same with the body, to do or not to do. Consciousness is beyond these elements and possesses its own dynamism, its own dynamic qualities, which we need to experience and verify.
We begin to see as we observe ourselves that there are two types of consciousness. There's consciousness that is conditioned by thought, feeling, and will—thought, feeling, and impulse. There's consciousness that is conditioned by those elements. There is a type of awareness involved with thinking, feeling, and acting.
But in this dynamic and very expansive science, we begin to see that consciousness cannot be limited just to those aspects that we commonly and currently experience. It's something beyond that. In Sufism, we say that the soul is known as nafs or nafas, which in Arabic means breath. The soul is like breath, it is like breathing, which is why when we practice Anapana, awareness of our breathing in our body, we begin to become aware of not only our physicality, but our thinking, our feeling, and our body.
The Sufis explain that nafas can be conditioned or unconditioned based on our will, what we do with it, how we act, how we behave. The unconditioned consciousness in this study, in Gnostic psychology, we denominate with essence, the soul, that purity of consciousness that belongs to God, that belongs to the stars, to Urania, the heavens. Then there's the subjective self, which is all our negative qualities such as fear, anger, resentment, pride, hate, anxiety, suspicion, and doubt, greed. That vast plethora of qualities that we denominate as the ego in these studies: this sense of self, this I, me, who I am, what I believe in, who I consider myself to be.
Ego in Latin means I, self. And if we begin to observe ourselves, we see that we, in turn, are not one self. Every thought, every feeling, every impulse is a sense of self that emerges within the screen of our awareness and seeks to act to define itself to do, to fulfill its wants; it is desire. These desires, these different selves, are different senses of self, identity, different qualities, which are related to each other, as in a train of thought. If we are aware of ourselves we see that one memory brings about another, one thought brings about another, and through a chain of association, leads us into a state of slumber, a lack of awareness.
It is the sleep of our unconditioned consciousness, our soul, which produces our suffering. If we learn to awaken that pure potentially, that pure consciousness is what grants us access to the divine mysteries. It is that sense of consciousness that does not pertain to self, me, myself. It is perception, but it is not self as we think of it. Yes?
Question: So the unconditioned you said is the extension of God in itself?
Question: And the conditioned consciousness is essentially anything that's an antithesis of that, and anything that is masking that, anything that is trying to define it?
Instructor: Yes. That conditioned consciousness is the adversary of God, which in Hebrew is Shatan, which is where we get the word Satan. In this image, we see the Angel Michael defeating the monster or the devil. This is a symbol of how the light of pure consciousness, which is not conditioned, defeats the tenebrous and negative self, which is that sense of self or desire trapped or expressing as fear, hate, pride, vanity, and the seven deadly sins as we know of. So that conditioned self is we call ego or egos. It is desires that are in conflict with each other, and which fight and combat one another for predominance in order to express itself and gain the object of its desires. So it is that precise sense of self or selves, which we mistake for the divine, which produces our suffering.
Question: Does anything come out of this fight? Is this fight... Well, you know, obviously not pointless, because if the fight wasn't going to happen, the fight wouldn't be happening. But I guess what comes out of it then, if Michael here is defeating the monster? What is now attained, or at least maybe not lost, by the monster being defeated?
Instructor: Excellent question. So we have to understand ... The thing we must understand is that part of our divine consciousness is trapped within that conditioning. This is the myth of the genie of Aladdin's lamp, the genie, the genii, the jinn, the soul is encased, encapsulated and shelled within that negativity. And so we have to learn how to break those shells, break that conditioning so that the soul, which is trapped, can be liberated. Precisely, this is the path of consciousness, the path of self-knowledge. We gain knowledge by defeating the dragon because that dragon has stolen the maiden. That maiden is our pure essence or pure soul, which needs to be freed, which needs to be conquered. That is to attain the marriage of the knight with his maiden, the warrior with his lady.
The Three Types of Soul in the Qur’an
So we state that in this path of developing that pure consciousness, we could say that there are three types of soul, three stages, three demarcations, which are taught within the Qur’an, the holy book of the Muslims, but also within the Sufi doctrine. We say that there is a carnal soul, there is a blaming soul, and then there's also a peaceful soul. In the beginning, the soul is carnal. It is enmeshed within passion, within desire, within the negative product of mistaken action, encased in fear, and these subjective elements.
So that carnal soul is mentioned in the book of, or in the surah of Yusuf or Joseph, the 12th surah of the Quran, verse 53, where Joseph who is imprisoned by his own brothers stated, "Yet I do not absolve my own carnal soul." In Arabic, nafs al-Ammara. "For the carnal soul, indeed, prompts men to evil except in as much as my Lord has mercy. Indeed, my Lord is All-Forgiving, All-Merciful."
There's also a next gradation in which we recognize that we have a polluted soul, because that soul is enmeshed within hate and fear and the elements of suffering or elements that cause suffering; we are carnal of the flesh below, terrestrial. But there's a soul that knows how to reproach itself that is beginning to develop and change, which is beginning to conquer that lower animal nature, we could say: those animal-like qualities of conditioned consciousness.
In the Qur’an, this soul is mentioned in the verse, or the surah known as the Resurrection, verse 2, "And I swear by the self-blaming soul, the self-reproaching soul."
Likewise, there is a third type of gradation, which is the soul at peace, referring to those beings who have fully perfected the consciousness. That conditioned consciousness has been purified and now the consciousness, that is fully elaborated and expressed within the divine, has fully reunited with that source. "Oh, soul at peace, return to your Lord, pleased and pleasing." This is surah 89, verses 27 and 28.
Likewise, the blaming self is known as nafs-e-lawwama, and the soul at peace is nafs-e-mutmainna in Arabic. So these are three stages of how the soul achieves perfection, and that is really the goal of self-knowledge. We gain knowledge by comprehending our mistakes, changing them, and not going back to them, but instead learning to transform the nature of our mind and those lower qualities, which obscure the very light of understanding in ourselves.
In relation to talking about consciousness, these qualities, which really are the impetus and produce the consequences of suffering, these are the factors that we need to transform. In Principles of Sufism by al-Qushayri, a famous Sufi master, he says the following about the lower self, the nafs or egos:
“The first part of the constitution of the nafs consists of things forbidden by the command of God or by respect for this majesty. The second of its two parts consists of trivialities and vileness of character in general. In particular, it is made up of pride, anger, hatred, envy, bad behavior, intolerance, and the other blame-worthy characteristics. The worst and most difficult of the elements of the ego is it's supposing that there's something good about itself, or that it has a right to some standing.”
This is why many people today deify and enthrone hate, pride, self, egotism. “This quality is counted as secretly attributing equals to God.” In the Muslim doctrine, the Qur’an speaks often about shirk, to not join partners with God. In the public sense, in the exoteric sense of the religion, it refers to not worshiping other deities besides Allah, which is a very basic and superficial understanding. Instead, in a conscious sense, to not practice shirk, to practice the unity of God, is to take all the parts of the soul that are trapped in those defects, to free them and unite them all with that light, with the divine.
Anytime we act on fear, on gluttony, on resentment, that is performing shirk because the soul that belongs to God is trapped in that. If we enact that mistaken sense of self, it is perpetuating our suffering, and that's a form of, we can say, in a very strict sense, blasphemy. Because the Lord wants to take all that soul that belongs to him and bring it back to the source. This is why the Bible says that God is a jealous God.
There is another form of soul mentioned by the Muslim esoterism, known as nafs al-iblissiyya, the "souls" of Iblis, the devil. The devil is not just a historical figure from some ancient past, but represents a psychological truth about us, here and now. These souls of the devil are the pluralized ego, the multiple selves, like pride, vanity, fear, laziness, lust, gluttony, all the qualities of the lower, carnal soul. Each defect, as we said, is a conditioned and conditioning element, a self that has its own thoughts, feeling, and impulses that never obeys the will of divinity. This spiritual work is focused on destroying the ego, so that the unconditioned consciousness can flourish. In this way, we guard our breaths against God Most High, as the Sufis states repeatedly in Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism. We must learn to guard our consciousness moment by moment, to not speak vain things, to not act upon the ego, but learn to work against our faults so that we can transform our lives.
The Three Brains
But let us talk more about how we can develop that unconditioned soul. In Gnostic psychology we refer to three brains. The word brain in the esoteric sense refers to a machine, not just the physical cerebral matter in our skull. A brain is a center of physiological and psychological activity. We are commonly affiliated with the intellectual brain, which is where we process thoughts. By brain, we're not only referring to just the physical aspect of the soul or of the body. We're referring also to mechanisms in the soul, how the soul functions through the brain because mind is independent of the physical matter. The physical brain is merely a machine or tool that processes the thoughts of the mind, which exist beyond physical matter.
Likewise, the emotional brain processes emotion, sentiment, like, dislike. And the emotional brain is the physical manifestation in the heart and its nervous centers that process feeling. Likewise, we have a brain related to movement, instinct, and sexuality, which is impulse or will. We state that the soul can express through these centers or these brains. These machines process forces that belong to the cosmos and belong to our psyche. We need to learn how to use those energies inherent in those centers in order to use them for our spiritual work.
The Sufis also teach this, that the soul is not just independent from the body, but is expressed through the body, and that we should learn how to use our intellectual center, our emotional center, and our motor-instinctive-sexual center, these three brains, thought, feeling, and movement, in accordance with the divine will. So the lower consciousness or lower soul, the egos, can manifest in our thoughts, or feelings, or actions. But the soul also can use this machine of the body to process superior thought, superior emotion, and superior action.
So the Sufis teach in Al-Risalah, Principles of Sufism, the following:
"The whole cure of character is the abandonment and breaking of the ego through suffering hunger, thirst, and wakefulness, and through other sustained efforts including the breakdown of strength," we could say egotistical strength, our attachments. “For that is also part of the general abandonment of the ego.”
So how do we break the ego? How do we abandon the ego? We must learn to suffer hunger, thirst, and wakefulness. To be hungry as a psyche is to not feed our mind and our body, our impulses with substances or impressions that will damage our psyche, that will deepen our state of suffering—such as watching movies that are very violent, very aggressive, with foul language—these elements enter the mind, the mind transforms them, processes them, and they become further conditions of the psyche.
We feed our mind and our heart and our body not just with physical food, but with what type of experiences we surround ourselves with. Divinity has established its own commandments in accordance with religion: don't drink, don't smoke, don't commit adultery, don't commit fornication, whether it’s through the Ten Commandments of Moses or the ten meritorious and non-meritorious actions of Buddhism. Each religion has its own structure or laws, commandments that can guide us to live a superior life. The Sufis and the Muslims say that one should not eat that which is unlawful, which people think refers to Halal, which is the Muslim equivalence of observing a kosher diet. But psychologically we need to become Halal, holy, meaning to eat substances or to take impressions that are going to be beneficial, such as good literature, good books, good music, things that will elevate our way of being. So we have to suffer hunger, meaning that when we begin to restrain our mind, the ego becomes hungry, it fights, it wants to be fed, it wants to sustain itself. Likewise, thirst, thirsty for impressions that would feed that pride or fear or anger, which we used to indulge in. Wakefulness, of course, is how we attain that fasting of the soul to not identify with those elements, to not let them carry one away, and to learn to change them.
“This implies that the ego is a subtle entity, seated in the physical body, which is the locus of blameworthy characteristics. The ruh (or you can say in Hebrew ruach), the soul, is likewise a subtle entity seated in the body, which is the locus of praise-worthy characteristics. The whole is subjugated one part to the other and that totality is one human being.” —Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
So this machine of the body and of the psyche can process good fuel or bad fuel depending on what we take in and also how we act.
The Path of Life and the Path of Being
Which brings us to this next slide, an image that we repeat and go over in many lectures due to its importance. In this graphic, we have the intersection of a horizontal and vertical beam. That horizontal line refers to life. On the left we have our birth, followed by our childhood. Moving towards the right we have marriage, old age, sickness, and death. This horizontal line of life is mechanical.
Birth and death process themselves cyclically. The soul goes beyond and transmigrates as we teach in other lectures in accordance with the Hindu doctrine. These elements that we consider to be ourselves, as I mentioned, “my language, my name, my culture, my race, my political beliefs, my ideology,” these things come with time and they pass in time. They're transient; they're not eternal. That is all demarcated by this horizontal line, which is the path that everybody follows. It is 100% mechanical, as I mentioned.
People go through life without any type of spiritual longing or inquietude, a desire for something more. Those that do, sadly, fall into habits and beliefs in order to encapsulate further within an ideology, a political system, or a religion in a conceptual way. These all belong to the horizontal beam. One can be very devout in one's religion, practice austerities, fulfill the commandments of Islam or Judaism or Buddhism, and yet have no cognizant experience of what those religions teach. One thing is the form, to adopt it as a behavior, but this does not denote knowledge, cognizance, or understanding.
That which we want to develop in ourselves is this vertical path. This vertical beam refers to states of consciousness. Above, we have superior states of consciousness known as heavens, Jannat or nirvana, heavenly states or qualities of being. Then we have inferior states referring to that conditioned lower consciousness known as nafs, egos, selves, which is the submerged aspect of this vertical beam. As we talked about in the lecture on awakening, there are those who learn to awaken that free consciousness and ascend upward to heaven, to the divine. But there are those also who knowingly feed their hatred and their fear, and their pride, and deepen their suffering, and they descend that vertical path.
When we are walking the spiritual path, we seek to become aware of the present instant. Everything is contingent upon our awareness of our moment. Who are we in this instant? What is passing through our mind? What is our emotional state? What impulses are emerging within us? The primary foundation of meditative science is self-awareness, which in many teachings is very popular today. Awareness is necessary and fundamental to accessing the very deep knowledge we seek. So consciousness, self-observation, awareness of self is found precisely in this moment, where these two beams intersect. Our mechanical way of life intersecting with a spiritual way of life. It has nothing to do with outward behavior, although it can be reflected by that. It refers to inner states or qualities of being, ways of being.
So what is the best way to worship that, which is divine, is to be aware of our present, and to be aware of the presence of God. The word awareness in Arabic is muhadarah, which comes from the root word hudur meaning presence. So to be aware of that superior quality of divinity relates to the presence of God, to be aware of that. We call that self-remembering, to remember the divine in our consciousness. That's something we have to taste. No one can teach us this. It has to be verified and lived in ourselves and we will make many mistakes, and we will stumble, and we will commit errors, but as the Qur’an teaches, God calls unto whomever He wills as He wills, and will repeatedly bring us back to the present if we keep forgetting to observe ourselves.
That's the challenge, the battle we go through. In the beginning, we see that we are not aware. We're observing, then we get carried away by a memory or a preconception or preoccupation of work or family or whatever. That continually pulls us and distracts us from the present moment.
“The best act of worship is watchfulness of the moment” says al-Wasiti from the book Principles of Sufism. “That is that the servant not look beyond his limit, nor contemplate anything other than his Lord, and not associate with anything other than his present moment.”
The aspect of not associating with anything other than the moment is obvious: not to daydream, not to think about the future, or the past. Neither should one contemplate anything other than his Lord, meaning: to not identify with those negative, subjective qualities. When we see them emerge in our psyche, we don't act on them. We develop restraint. This is the self-blaming soul that is reproaching those lower qualities and is separating from them. This does not refer to a zombie-like, nonchalant, or laconic state where one has no feeling. Instead, it is a very pure and expansive quality.
Remembrance needs to be made continuous, which is known as Dhikr Allah, remembrance of God or invocation of God. Dhikr means remembrance in Arabic. The following teaching is given about remembrance by al-Wasiti. He was asked about the practice of remembrance and said:
"It is leaving the enclosed court of unconsciousness for the vast space of contemplation, through the power of fearing Him and the intensity of loving Him."
So contemplation is a very technical term referring to cognizance, understanding, experience, witnessing. If you are familiar with Islam they pronounce the famous Shahada which is, "I give testimony that there's no God but God and Muhammad is his prophet." Contemplation is mushahadah, to witness, to know. We could say a real Muslim is someone who has that experience, who knows God from meditation and from insight. Also, we gain that understanding through fearing him and in loving him. To fear does not refer to the lower qualities of the ego. It is a type of reverence. The word fear could be synonymous with reverence, respect for the teachings given by the divine so that we follow them and really fear the consequences of behaving in a bad way.
Also, we have the following verse from the Quran about the nature of remembrance. This is from the Thunder, sura 13, verse 27:
"Truly God leads astray whomsoever He wills, and guides to Himself whomsoever turns in repentance, those who believe and whose hearts are at peace in the remembrance of God, are not hearts at peace in the remembrance of God," meaning to have that presence within oneself and to not stray from that.
The Allegory of the Cave
That's something we develop progressively, through a process, which is illustrated by this famous art work about Plato's allegory of the cave. Plato in The Republic, who is, by the way, a Gnostic initiate, Gnostic master, taught the nature of four ways of consciousness, four states of consciousness in this famous philosophical Allegory of the Cave. In this image we see a group of enchained people with their necks, hands, and legs caged or chained against the wall, and they're left in darkness. They see across from them the shadows projected from a fire that's beyond the wall from which they are situated with their backs turned. There are people crossing back and forth before the fire carrying different objects, plates, pottery, different dishes, et cetera, which would project through the fire in the cave to those objects, and project shadows against the wall.
In this myth, we find that someone or a few people very rarely are freed from their chains and are taken to face the fire behind the wall. Of course, this is a gradual explanation about that which some philosophers denominate the nature of finding the truth. But here we're going to explain how that relates to states of consciousness specifically in relation to the Greek mysteries.
Someone is freed, and, of course, when they face the fire they're blinded. They cannot withstand the intensity of the light because they've been in shadow for so long. Afterward, they adjust; they begin to see precisely where the source of those shadows came from. Whereas, the people against the wall have no conception. They have only seen shadows, they have many concepts, and theories, and beliefs about what those shadows represent, not knowing what's behind them, what's the source.
Afterward, by the work of a guru, of a teacher, of a master, or a prophet, this prisoner is taken outside of the cave is dragged, forced out. This is a very terrible experience, but one that is necessary in which one must let go of one's comforts in this cave, and finally is let out into the expanse of the wilderness outside of the mountain. From there, one witnesses the stars for the first time. Of course, the light is very difficult to adjust to according to Socrates, Plato's teacher. Afterward, he sees the sun for the first time, the light and the expanse of the countryside.
This is a symbol of psychological states emerging from sleep, of conditioned mind, to unconditioned mind. We see that the people in the shadows are those who have the lowest state of consciousness. They have no self-awareness. They see shadows or nothing. If they see shadows on the wall, we could say those are different beliefs, concepts, ideologies that people project in their mind, on the screen of their understanding.
We denominate that psychological darkness, that complete lack of understanding, those shadows, Eikasia in Greek. Eikasia refers to barbarianism, war, complete unconsciousness, a state of darkness, a way of being, which we could see is exemplified by the violence that is occurring today. We simply have to look at the news to see Eikasia in action.
But also there is a state known as Pistis, which is when one sees those different shadows on the wall, which are the different beliefs, ideas of humanity. Eikasia means imagination. It's a type of sight, but in the darkness. It is like a nocturnal sight or unconsciousness. One is perceiving, but one isn't aware—this is the terrible irony. People who fulfill acts of violence are not aware of the consequences, or if they are, they don't see it objectively. Therefore, they are perceiving imagination, Eikasia: they see in the dark.
Pistis is belief, from the word pisteuo. It is to have a concept, an idea, something to think about that a person adheres to very diligently. Those people in the cave, when they see the shadows, firmly believe that the shadows are one way, philosophy, political party, religion, belief system, or concept, which are represented according to the projections of their mind and they conflict and they argue with each other.
Question: Is maybe Pistis a reaction to what you perceive?
Instructor: Yes, and all the concepts and beliefs that people have about the mysteries of life and death are just reactions to life, beliefs which don't have any real substance. Beyond that is Dianoia: when someone sees the fire, one has insight. Dianoia refers to revision of belief, to change one's way of thinking. That is awakened consciousness.
Notice that these first two states, Eikasia and Pistis, refer to the darkness and the shadows, ignorance. The higher two states of consciousness, the unconditioned states of consciousness, refer to Dianoia and Nous, as we'll explain. Dianoia again, means imagination, but this is a conscious way of seeing without filter, without obscuration.
Question: Is this maybe perceiving like a purpose?
Instructor: It is perceiving one's self, one's mind, one's heart, one's body, and perceiving the external world without any type of subjectivity, to see it clearly. In this state, we begin to revise our way of thinking, meaning we used to think we are one way but then we see that we are not from the perspective of that active observation.
Question: To see it as it is?
Instructor: Yes, Dia means “to stand side to side, thoroughly, to step aside” from that which is subjective, to step aside from the conditions in the mind. This is a new way of seeing ourselves. This is awareness, self-observation.
When someone escapes from the cave after that long trek and sees the sun for the first time, that is the state of Nous. That is the light of the divine, fully unobstructed, fully manifest: that pure light, which the Gnostics call Christ, that intelligence or consciousness beyond limitation, which is cosmic. That sun is precisely the complete, unconditioned mind, freedom, peace, pure insight or understanding.
One thing to mention in this graphic we see some Latin: Lux venit in mundum et dilexerunt homines magis tenebras quam lucem erant enim eorum mala opera-- In synthesis saying, "Because the light came into the world and men love darkness rather than the light for their works were evil."
So those who are in the cave are attached to their beliefs, the cage of the mind, the cave of the ego. And those who obtain freedom become known as prophets, masters, avatars, because they eventually have to come back down in order to teach others, to guide them, and to show them the way, the truth, and the life. But of course, they are persecuted, stoned, poisoned, killed, murdered, et cetera.
Kabbalah and Levels of Consciousness
So we talked about levels of being, levels of consciousness, which is mapped out in this image. This is known as the Tree of Life, the Hebraic Kabbalah. The important thing to remember is that the word kabel in Hebrew means “to receive,” to receive knowledge. While we study this image, this graphic of states of consciousness, levels of being, these in turn, serve us to understand our experiences in meditation or out of the body in dream yoga. This tree of life is represented in the Book of Genesis, which is a book of the Gnostics. This graphic shows us the heights of consciousness, of Nous, noetic thought, which is that sun, that trinity above, Father, Son, Holy Spirit, which in Hebrew known as Kether, Chokmah, Binah.
Likewise, that energy, that consciousness descends into lower levels of matter, energy, and expression. In the middle triangle we have spirit, consciousness, and will, Chesed, Geburah, and Tiphereth in Hebrew. Likewise, we have the lower quaternary, these lower four spheres, mind, emotion, vitality, and physicality, referring to Netzach, Hod, Yesod, Malkuth.
This is an image that we study very deeply, which we talk about very extensively, which we'll cover in synthesis here. But this is a map to help us understand consciousness, where we are, who we are. We talk a lot about mind, heart, and impulse, referring to these four lower spheres, Netzach, Hod, Yesod, our vitality, and Malkuth, our physical body. We are here in the physical body, but we notice that in the present moment, mind, emotion, feeling, instinct—these things are manifest in this body. So this entire Tree of Life is not something foreign, outside of us. It's inside; it's here with us, here and now. We can experience those higher states even in our physical body. But of course, with training we learn to put the body in a physical state of rest, and then we go out in order to ascend those heavenly realms and to receive the knowledge we seek.
This image of the three circles above refers to Ain, Ain Soph, Ain Soph Aur, in Hebrew meaning the nothingness, the limitless, and the limitless light. Again, that limitless light, this outer circle, is the sun that Plato referred to, the Absolute, the good, the pure, which is what we aspire towards.
We learn through beginning in this body how to ascend this tree and to know that light for ourselves. The following is given by Ibn al-Karbalai in his book Rawdat al-jinan:
"When the seeker realizes the station of contemplation," Mushahida or to witnesss, which is witnessing God's essence, the purity of that light, "Comprehending and encompassing all phenomena, does not your Lord suffice since He has witnessed over all things," (sura 41, verse 53), "He continually witnesses lights from the Mundus invisibilis, the invisible world."
So in meditation, when we begin to witness that truth, we begin to see images, dream experiences that are not subjective, but objective, without obscuration in the mind. When we develop ourselves and when we realize that quality in ourselves, we begin to witness this Tree of Life in meditation, whether it's the top trinity or whatever aspect or sphere which God seeks to teach us about, which is us, ourselves, our true nature. In meditation, we can perceive lights, clairvoyant images, qualities of perception that are beyond our physical senses.
“From such a mystic’s perspective, this world and the hereafter are one and the same. This can only be realized by a vision that is all heart and spirit, not a view bound by mere mud and mire.”
So what is that view of heart and spirit? It is Dianoia and Nous. Dianoia, meaning revision of beliefs, spiritual, and intellectual culture, synthetic understanding, revision of concepts, self-analysis, self-awareness, self-observation, self-understanding. Nous is purely illuminated intellect, superior mind, God-consciousness, in which we are one with the Lord in us, and one perceives through that light. But of course, that view of mud and mire pertains to Eikasia and Pistis, belief and ignorance. Again, this image is referring to the heavens, what we aspire to.
The following quote, I think I mentioned previously, but I re-emphasize because it's very poignant in terms of this understanding of self-knowledge:
"Wherever the delusion of yourself it appears, there's hell. Wherever you aren't, that's heaven."
So who is this “you” we're referring to? It means ego. When there's no conditioned mind, when there's no subjective sense of self, when there is no fear, no pride, no gluttony, no lust, when there is only pure unconditioned soul, one can experience that heaven. It is a state of mind. This map also refers to places that we can visit in the dream state. These are dimensions, levels of being, but more importantly, it refers to who we are moment by moment—qualities of consciousness. So we have to get out of the way, meaning we, as an ego, need to be eliminated so that pure light can be extracted and brought back to the source. Which brings us to the next point about how we do so.
Awareness, Disclosure, and Contemplation
In this image, we have adhan, which is a call to prayer. The Muslims they pray five times a day, which is a very beautiful teaching about the need to develop discipline in one's practices. Likewise, as they pray five times a day, in Gnosis we pray moment by moment. We do not limit ourselves to just particular moments of the day, although we do many exercises and practices and disciplines that we engage with. But prayer and awareness is a moment by moment without respect to time, to be aware of the present.
So how do we become aware? What do we need to do? The following is given by al-Jurayri, he's a Sufi master. Again, he synthesized in this very brief statement how we learn to develop and gain self-knowledge of the divine.
Again, this is from al-Qushayri’s Principles of Sufism. He said that “whoever does not establish awe of duty in vigilance and his relationship to God will not arrive at disclosure of the unseen or contemplation, (mushahadah) of the divine.”
What is this awe of duty? Reverence, respect, to feel the duty to engage with meditation and practices that are going to benefit our soul. Self-observation, self-remembering, and mantras, many exercises we teach in this tradition, that we engage with in order to develop disclosure of the unseen, which sometimes is referred to as unveiling. Because as we learn to work with positive forces, with mantras, sacred sounds, we invoke divine forces into our psyche, in order to help us control the lower self. These energies, in turn, help us to awaken perception. And so meditation, different exercises of yoga we engage with, these, in turn, help us to expand our consciousness and feed it with the forces that are going to benefit us. That is awe of duty, to have that reverence and respect for the practices and to engage in them repeatedly, daily so that we can tear the veil that covers the mystery. That is the unveiling we seek and the witnessing of the divine, in which we see beyond the veil of our subjective self in order to experience the truth.
We need energy to do so. Consciousness is empowered by forces, which we need to identify and understand. So we are teaching in relation to the Kabbalah those ten spheres or ten modalities of consciousness; those are also forms of energy and matter, from the most subtle, from the top to the most basic and material below. These forces help us when we learn to control them, to aid our spiritual life.
We included in this image Perseus having slain the Medusa. This is another myth from Greece, very beautiful, that teaches how the hero, the soul has to fight against the devil. How the master, the spiritual initiate or disciple learns to overcome the ego, decapitates it, conquers it, destroys it. Precisely, Medusa's power is in its hypnotism and its conveying men into stone whenever the gaze or their eyes would lock and their gaze would meet. This is a symbol of how Medusa, the ego, the negative self, turns men into habitual creatures, into fragments of stone, symbolizing habits, which become ingrained with experience and time.
There are many people who have habits following that horizontal path of life we were discussing, and they never change them, and we all have certain qualities and habits that we engage with that make us into figures of stone, something that's immovable and frozen, trapped within the confines of the cave, the darkness of the mind, in Plato’s Republic. Whereas the qualities of consciousness we seek to develop are free, liberated, unconditioned.
So, how does Perseus kill Medusa? In this myth, it is very beautifully taught. He uses the reflection on the shield to perceive Medusa next to him, and with his sword, cuts off its head. That reflection refers to conscious perception, to perceive with conscious imagination. To see the ego without identifying with it. To see the quality of mind that needs to be changed and observing it, and working on it, and finally decapitating it, but not looking directly at the ego, not looking directly at the defect itself and identifying with it, because to feel oneself in that quality is to become that quality. We become what we think, as Buddha taught, “mind precedes phenomena.” We must learn to not identify with those qualities. To observe them, to see them objectively and with the sword of insight, of wisdom—represented by Manjushri's image of a Buddha wielding a sword and cutting through illusion with fire—likewise we learn to conquer Medusa, which is the nafs, the lower soul.
We included also an important quote from Samael Aun Weor in the modern Gnostic tradition, "Wherever we direct attention, we expend creative energy." So when we identify with an ego, we give energy to it, but if we don't identify with it, we feed and empower our consciousness. We must learn how to redirect attention, how to direct our mind, how to observe ourselves, how to act, how to think, how to feel. because every action produces a consequence. Every internal state produces an effect, and we must learn to understand the cause and effect relationship. This path of Self-realization, the realization of the Divine Truth within us, is precisely found by eliminating the undesirable elements of the mind. So, we need to learn, how do we spend our energy? How do we use our intellectual energy? How do we use our emotional energy? How do we use our physical, vital, and sexual energy? We will explain in relation to Tibetan Buddhist teachings on Tantra.
Energy in the Kabbalah
Again, this image of the Kabbalah we're now discussing is in relation to forms of energy. So, to elaborate on these spheres, we have physical energy below in the first sphere cutting up to the top of the middle or the middle triangle. Likewise, we have the second sphere, which is vital energy, followed by emotional or psychic force, followed by mental energy on the right, the fourth sphere, mind and intellect. Likewise, we have volitional or energy-related to willpower, which is this fifth sphere. Likewise, we have conscious energy, which is what we deeply seek to access through meditation and through self-observation relating to the sixth sphere. Then we have the seventh sphere, which is spiritual energy, which is the Divine. The spirit is God. “The soul is acquired, but the spirit is,” we say.
Above that are higher forms of energy known as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, known as the First, Second, and Third Logos, Christ in synthesis. Not just Jesus of Nazareth but the energy he embodied. So, we must learn how to use these energies and to recognize their usefulness in place, to remember that these forces cannot be manipulated or used without consciousness, without the soul being in dominance of them, which is why Samael Aun Weor wrote the following in The Great Rebellion:
“No matter how much we might increase our strictly mechanical energy, we will never awaken consciousness. No matter how much we might increase the vital forces within our own organism, we will never awaken consciousness. Many psychological (or you could say emotional) processes take place within us without any intervention from the consciousness. However great the disciplines of the mind might be, mental energy can never achieve the awakening of the diverse functions of the consciousness. Even if our willpower is multiplied infinitely, it can never bring about the awakening of the consciousness. All these types of energy are graded into different levels and dimensions, which have nothing to do with the consciousness. Consciousness can only be awakened through conscious work and upright efforts.”
So, as I said, we need to conserve our intellectual, emotional, and physical energy. We need these forces to exist. Someone who has no vital energy is either asleep or is dying, is sick. When the vitality leaves the body, that vital force or vital body, we could say, the vehicle of energy, when it leaves the body, the physical body dies. It decays. We need these forces in harmony, but the consciousness must use them. So, even if we multiply these forces, we perhaps get a lot of exercise physically, we do a lot of energetic exercises such as yoga and mantras, meditation. We may engage with prayer of the heart. We may study a lot. These things in themselves are good, but they must be done consciously. The soul must be in command of them.
Question: So, for example, how you stated you could be living out or carrying out a doctrine as in like the rules of the church or rituals and such but not believing or knowing anything about that religion, so, it'd be like basically doing that, just working and doing consciousness, but not doing it consciously, or like doing religious practices to build upon your spirituality?
Instructor: When one practices, one needs to practice as if one's brushing one's teeth. We do it for our benefit. Not necessarily because we want to spend the time or enjoy it, but we do it because it's necessary to our hygiene. Likewise, our spiritual hygiene is dependent upon practice. So, we learn gradually through experience how these exercises work, what energy it focuses on, and how we can use that energy consciously. So, that's a skill we acquire through practice, and speaking of which, we always end these series of lectures with an exercise we can engage with.
In this practice, we continue to observe and develop our self-analysis, self-awareness from moment to moment, and at the end of each day recollect on how conscious we were of our three brains, mind, emotion, and physicality.
Another exercise you can engage with is another sacred mantra, sacred sound, which works with those forces, vibrations of energy. So every day, you can sit in a comfortable posture, whether upright in a chair or if you are flexible and you enjoy the oriental style, you could sit in full lotus, half lotus, but this is not absolutely necessary. What's necessary is that we're fully relaxed.
You can sit in a chair, whatever's more suitable and conducive to relaxing the body and not having any tension. Relax your mind, heart, and body and afterward you can visualize within your brain a beautiful white light, followed by pronouncing a sacred mantra called INRI, which is in Latin inscribed above the Martyr of Calvary, Jesus of Nazareth. It said, 'Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum,' but it's a secret mantra. INRI can also refer to 'Ignis Natura Renovatur Integra,' which in Latin means “fire renews nature incessantly.” So that light and fire of the sun mentioned in the myth of Plato, in the Allegory of the Cave, is a symbol of Christ, an energy and a force that we can incarnate, that we seek to incarnate, that will aid us in purifying our psyche. This mantra works with that force and it attracts energies to the brain to illuminate the mind.
So, we can pronounce this mantra. You sound it in two syllables. Like this 'iiiiinnnn' followed by another breath and then a rolled R as in Spanish, ‘rrrrrriiiiiií.’ If you notice, if you pronounce that and notice the vibration, it will vibrate in the center of the brain. It will stimulate the pineal and pituitary glands, especially the physical brain, the cerebrum and fill it with a Christic force, energy that can develop that insight we seek.
I know for some people that letter could be hard. The R especially if you're not familiar with Spanish or don't speak Spanish, but it's rolled on the tip of the tongue, and I'm sure if you go online and Google it, search it on YouTube, you can find some examples of how to practice that, but when you do these mantras, concentrate on the vibration in the body, in the mind, and visualize with eyes closed a light that fills the cerebrum and the cerebellum, the different centers of our brain, of our mind, with light. You can do that for 30 minutes or 60 minutes, whatever is convenient for you, and that energy will help you to develop the awareness of that unconditioned consciousness.
Questions and Answers
Question: I have a question, and this has been actually bothering me for at least the past week or so since, I don't know if you're aware of, the Alton Sterling shootings, like the police brutality cases and such, and something that I’ve become aware of recently is you know, of course, everyone has their own subjective realities and within our subjective realities are the battle of our soul. We, at least, are given hope that we have the ability to overcome that but obviously we are told through scripture that not everybody will. Is it inherent that these people, the people who don't win that internal battle of the soul, are they inherently, I guess, defective? Is it that they are supposed to not win or is that they truly, deep within themselves, that the unconditioned soul does not have the pure willingness to be reunited? Is it that soul's desire to be separated possibly?
Because I've gotten into lots of conversations with people because I believe that every single thing that we experience, especially in the media, is not moreso to just help us know what's going on in the world, but to help us gain greater understanding within our own worlds by knowing about things that other people experience. So, when I approach people about these subjects, I don't do just so like, "Oh did you know what happened?" It's like, "What do you know about what happened and how do you feel about it? How does this change your reality?"
Instructor: The Qur’an teaches it beautifully. God calls to Himself whom He will and those who have harmed themselves or have gone astray, He punishes them in relation to their own behavior. So, those in whom the longing to change is not existent, God cannot help, but those who feel that longing to change, who feel that spark of conscience that exists within the unconditioned soul, have the potential to change, and there are many who have lost their potential. The Qur’an speaks about this very extensively, about the Lord calling unto whom He will and those who go astray, who choose to deviate, He lets them go astray, and to not have that guidance is to really be in affliction.
Question: Do they have satisfaction in dissatisfaction? Are they okay with where they end up even if you know it seems like God is telling them to go a certain way or at least giving them an option to go, but they choose to go a certain way? Are they, in the end, satisfied with that decision, as satisfied as someone who chooses to go?
Instructor: We always say that the soul always has its freedom to choose what it wants, that chooses to deepen the conditioning of the psyche—that's the nature of that soul and that's what it wants—but those who feel that they need something more to change themselves and to transform who they are and to follow that conscience that inspires them and approaches spirituality, that is the calling of God to want to change. In relation to that, that book the Qur’an is very insightful about finding the will of the divinity. To many people, they are only interested in deepening the cage, strengthening the cage that produces their suffering, which is why John Milton, author of Paradise Lost said, "The mind is its own place and can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven."
Question: About the suffering of others on the path because, like you said, God calls upon whom He calls. In this process, like you said, once they get out of the cave, they want others just to get out of the cave, too, so they have to go back into the cave in order to do so, but once they do they're killed by the people whom they're trying to save.
Instructor: Well, literally in the case of Buddha and Jesus, that was the case, but in many cases when someone teaches this type of knowledge, they may meet resistance or criticism from others who don't hold those beliefs or don't really seek to develop that, but when I was referring to that, our spirituality is really expanded and founded upon compassion. So, we don't necessarily have to become a teacher, instead we can find ways to help humanity according to our disposition, our ways. So we learn to use our awakened consciousness to aid us in whatever particular aspect of life we've been placed in order to do that consciously.
Question: So, if we have these different outlets. Say, some people like to help others actively, like go out in the community and help homeless people and stuff, but others like to do so with law and politics, if we use all of the energy that we can put into different places, but in a finite amount, but focus all of that energy towards those, are we as fulfilled as trying to do all of these different things, trying to help people in the community at the same time while trying to work in your career outside of the family?
Instructor: As to one what has to do, that's ordained by the Being, and you may find from experience in meditation or in the dream state that you have a particular... in fact, maybe many particular things you need to do; it depends on what you need to focus on.
For me, I received the experience to teach this knowledge many times by the founder of this tradition, Samael Aun Weor. I asked him about it many times in the astral plane, the internal worlds. But also there are other responsibilities to do that we are forced to engage with. Part of that awe of duty I mentioned from al-Jurayri’s statement in the Sufi book is that we take whatever occupation we're engaged with, whatever job we have, whatever family life we have, and we transform it consciously. We take that daily experience and use it for our spiritual benefit. So instead of reacting to life mechanically on that horizontal line, we are still engaged with life in accordance with cause and effect. Wherever we're born, who we're with, whatever responsibilities we have, we fulfill them, but even better: in a very radical way, in a very transformative way. That becomes noticeable when we do so with consciousness that is not conditioned.
Even if people may not really attribute us to being spiritual, they may say, "Oh, he's really the kind person or really benefiting me or really did something of help." We find our vocation or really our divine calling by learning to awaken and we learn to see how we can engage with life with rectitude and love as Samael Aun Weor wrote in The Perfect Matrimony. That answered your question?
Question: Yeah, and lastly when you said that people can make a hell out of heaven... It's not essentially what you do or what makes up that reality, but essentially what you get out of it and where you put it, I would say. So, if you're going to be in any type of reality, if you're going to have a family, and a career, and all these other things like you can, but as long as you do them in this type of way and you work towards this thing, it doesn't matter what makes up that reality.
Instructor: Well spiritual life, spiritual awakening is not only contingent upon our obligations, but our spiritual life is not separate from our daily life. Our daily life is our initiation into a new way of being. We learn to take whatever circumstances we find ourselves in and we learn to do it consciously. That's how we learn and that's how we benefit others. When I refer to reality, I mean I refer to those higher grades of consciousness. So, we learn to take our physical daily life and make it spiritual and not something habitual or painful. Instead, we learn to transform whatever occurrence we find ourselves in in life and make it a benefit to humanity. That's really our goal.
(Detail of Christ in the Last Judgment and the two paths of awakening, indicated by the flowers of spirituality for the virtuous, and the sword of condemnation and justice for sinners; artist: Memling)
Gnosticism pertains to a very special form of self-knowledge or self-analysis, popularized through the famous Greek maxim on the Temple of Delphi: Homo Nosce Te Ipsum, otherwise translated as: “Man, know thyself, and you will know the universe and the Gods!” The Greek word Gnosis is knowledge, but not intellectual knowledge. It is knowledge of that which we acquire from our experience, that which we gain from our perception. It is not based on supposition, theory, belief, skepticism, or argumentation. It is something that we know for a fact, and there is no convincing otherwise. Gnosis is the defined result of our actions and is verified through experimentation in a scientific manner. We look at scientific facts, spiritual facts.
For as the founder of the modern Gnostic tradition, Samael Aun Weor, stated in The Revolution of the Dialectic:
“Gnosis is lived upon facts, withers away in abstractions, and is difficult to find even in the noblest of thoughts.”
Therefore when we approach spirituality, when we seek to understand religion, we must be precise. We must be specific and technical with our terminology, with our approach, our analysis, practice and methodology. We cannot indulge in vain, ambiguous and incipient beliefs, conceptualizing that we are a certain way, that we are “spiritual” because we think a certain way or belong to a specific group, that we are somehow special beings deserving praise. Because the truth is, when we examine the facts, when we look at humanity, when we look at ourselves, when we examine our daily sufferings, we find that this planet is in chaos. Many people amongst so-called “spiritual” circles talk about a new Golden Age, and that we are in it. Yet if we soberly examine the evidence, we find that humanity is not in a Golden Age, but has precipitated itself on the path of destruction.
Everybody suffers. No one on this planet, no sentient being, no person that is met on the streets of the cities, can be said to be happy, specifically since such people suffer incredibly. But why? Why do we suffer? What causes our pain? We can easily blame the government, the political establishment, the Democrats, the Republicans, or our friends, our job, co-workers, our spouse. These things belong to the external world, and sadly this is all people think about. But what are the secret, internal triggers that produce the calamities we are now all too familiar with? What in us truly makes us suffer and why?
All of humanity’s destructive habits, addictions, desires, and wishes run contrary to divine law. Just as the physical universe is governed by laws, so too is spiritual life. There are laws that govern the establishment, development, and perfection of the soul, laws delivered unto humanity through all the world’s great prophets, religions and scriptures. The reason why people live in such disharmony and agony is due to their internal, psychological imbalances, their inability to conform their psyche, consciousness, or mind, towards the commandments, laws and instructions given by the messengers of the divine.
Therefore when beginning these studies, we ask ourselves the following fundamental questions:
“Who are we? Where do we come from? Where are we going? What are we living for? Why are we living?” —Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology
Everyone believes that they know themselves, that they are conscious beings, that they know what they do, and yet the facts speak contrary to this. We firmly believe in our customs, our language, and our creed—our job, country, flag, party, name, culture, race, and habits, are qualities born in time and that die in time. And yet the consciousness, the soul, does not belong to these things. Therefore, who are we?
People believe they are awake. People believe that they know themselves. Likewise, in spiritual studies, many people have different conceptions of the term “awakening,” which is the focus of this lecture. Countless so-called “spiritual” groups entertain ideas regarding awakening which are contradictory, inconclusive, vague, ambiguous, obscure, or simply confusing, definitions that are in conflict with the scriptures given by the great masters of spirituality, whether Buddha, Krishna, Jesus, Moses, and the prophets. Awakening is a popular term, but how is it practical? What does it mean to awaken?
Some people use the term awakening to relate to an inspiration, a sudden inclination to study religion or spirituality. This is basic. This is, however, a fundamental first step. Also, the awakening we seek to understand is not physical. It is not only the awakening of our physical senses when arriving from sleep: our sight, taste, touch, hearing, and smell. Neither is awakening related to thought, thinking, concepts, sentimentalizing, believing, theorizing, holding on to ideas about ourselves or conjecturing about a philosophy with the intellect, believing something fully with our heart, yet not really knowing anything.
As I mentioned, awakening has nothing to do with our name, our job, our language, customs, culture, habits, beliefs, and family. These things came with birth and they end with death. But the consciousness, that which we call soul, is beyond these things. The consciousness belongs to the divine, to God. When I refer to God, I am not referring to an anthropomorphic old man sitting on a cloud of tyranny dispensing thunderbolts and lightning upon this poor ant-hill of a humanity. That is not the God we speak of, but God as an intelligence, as Being, as presence, light, cognizance, which we must learn to access within ourselves when we know how.
In strict esoteric or secret Buddhism, only a buddha, a master, knows himself completely and is free from suffering. An awakened one is a buddha, which is a term originating from the Sanskrit root word budh, signifying “awakening,” “consciousness,” “cognizance,” which also relates to the word Bodhi, meaning “wisdom,” or “enlightenment.” This is cognizance of one’s inner divinity, the root of life and our most genuine happiness, which begins as a spark, and transforms into a flame when we know how to cultivate this light.
This profound state of awakening pertains to knowing divinity directly, the pure, pristine, and clear consciousness of nature’s laws and the soul’s conformity to them, devoid of personhood, a universal state of being. This is a result of cause and effect, and produces joy, freedom from defect or flaws. This psychological state transcends all pain, self, and conception, as demonstrated in the story of Gautama Buddha Shakyamuni questioned by a brahman.
A Hindu priest was met by the Buddha. Being astounded by Gautama’s happiness, peace, and presence, he successively asked him, “Are you a deva (a god)?” “Are you a gandhabba (heavenly being)? Are you a yakkha (a nature spirit)?” To which the Buddha replied:
"The fermentations by which I would go
to a deva-state,
or become a gandhabba in the sky,
or go to a yakkha-state and human-state:
Those have been destroyed by me,
ruined, their stems removed.
Like a blue lotus, rising up,
unsmeared by water,
unsmeared am I by the world,
and so, brahman,
I'm awake." —Dona Sutta
People believe that they are awake. Having energy in the morning, getting up from the sleep of the physical body, constitutes a minimal level of perception and consciousness. The type of awakening we speak of in our Gnostic studies relates to spiritual perception, the development of divine faculties, which some refer to as out-of-body experiences, astral travel, lucid dreaming, awakening one’s awareness within the dream state or dream world, to speak face to face with divinity, with angelic beings, directly. This is something very clear and sharp. These are not hypothetical situations. They are not vague, cloudy, obscure, disorganized, nonsensical, chaotic, like the dreams most people relate when they seek interpretations.
The awakening we refer to is the direct result of putting specific scientific procedures into place, a new form of discipline we engage with. Awakening has one purpose: to gain knowledge of divinity by understanding the causes of suffering in ourselves, thereby removing such causes through cognizance, comprehension, and superlative analysis resulting from experience. We seek to change how we perceive life by removing that which filters our perception, in order that we possess pure, objective and divine cognizance. This is why Friedrich Nietzsche wrote in Thus Spoke Zarathustra: “You must be ready to burn yourself in your own flame; how could you rise anew if you have not first become ashes!”
As you see in this opening image, we have Sufi disciple, a master of the mystical or esoteric teachings of Islam, in prayer. Islam in Arabic means “submission to God’s will.” We must submit to the divine will and divine laws if what we want is to become a new being, an awakened one, a phoenix bird that rises from out of its own ashes.
We are going to examine the nature of awakening in relation to the Sufi tradition, the mystics of Islam and of the Middle East, due to the simplicity, profundity, and accessibility of such teachings for beginners, as well as to show the universal nature of this wisdom.
He Who Knows Himself Knows His Lord
There are levels and levels of consciousness. Consciousness is light, the capacity to perceive not only physical phenomena, but spiritual noumena, the truth behind things, spiritual principles.
The 14th Dalai Lama explained that we must develop the conviction, based on practical works, that the consciousness has the capacity to expand to an infinite degree. Such a statement parallels the Qur'an's teaching in verse 35 of Surah al-Nur, the Light Surah, which profoundly states: “Light upon light!” And as Prophet Muhammad exclaimed in verse 114 of Surah Ta Ha: “My Lord, increase me in knowledge!”
The path of self-knowledge can be depicted through a marvellous ladder, wherein we ascend through the application of spiritual discipline and works. This is the same Jacob's ladder in the Old Testament, whereby he witnessed the angels ascending and descending.
The Sufis corroborate the teachings of the Greek Temple of Delphi through the following proverb: “He who knows himself knows his Lord.” Likewise, they also explain how to arrive at consciousness of divinity within oneself through the application and understanding of spiritual practice.
Spiritual law, practice or discipline pertains to Sharia in Arabic, which in Sufism does not literally pertain to the exoteric, punitive laws of Muslim countries, but to how we awaken consciousness so as to know divinity in different levels, degree by degree. It is by following good conduct in our daily life that we will come to know divinity, the path, the ladder that ascends to higher states of consciousness, the way of experience, the truth, known as Haqiqah in Sufism. Here is what the Sufi master Al-Qushayri had to say about this topic in his Risalah: Principles of Sufism:
"The divine Law commands one to the duty of servanthood. The Way, the inner reality, is the contemplation of divine lordship. Outward religious practice not confirmed by inner reality is not acceptable. Inner reality not anchored by outward religious practice is not acceptable. Divine Law brings obligation upon the creation, while the Way is founded upon the free action [or experience] of the Real. The divine Law is that you serve Him. The Way is that you see Him.
"The divine Law is doing what you have been ordered to do. Haqiqah is bearing witness to what He has determined and ordained, hidden and revealed. I heard Abu Ali al-Daqqaq say that God's saying [in the Opening Chapter, Al-Fatihah of Al-Qur'an] iyyaka nabudu—"You we worship"—preserves the outward practice, the divine Law. Iyyaka nastain—"to You we turn for help"—establishes the inner reality, the Way.
"Know that religious obligation is a spiritual reality in that it was made necessary by His command. And spiritual reality, as well, is a religious obligation, in that the realizations of Him were also made necessary by His command." —Al Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
This is the law of cause and effect. If you want to awaken your conscious, spiritual perception, unfiltered, unobstructed by limited notions of self, you must fulfill the requisites of religion: be a good person; do not lie; do not steal; do not fornicate; do not adulterate; do not commit sexual misconduct; do not steal; etc.
Certain behaviors and habits are the result of conditioned consciousness, defects and errors, and constitute actions that produce and perpetuate suffering. Positive, virtuous actions are the result of awakened, unconditioned and free consciousness, of divine remembrance, and help to produce and perpetuate happiness for oneself and others. Positive actions aid us in removing the conditions of our psyche, hence the emphasis within Sufism for purity of mind, heart, and body.
There are some who believe that the etymological meaning of the term Sufi designates the 'pure wool' or 'purity' of soul, Suf, that adorns the great initiates, the great practitioners.
Therefore, if we want to realize our inner divinity, we must cultivate the causes and conditions for the fruition of that realization within us, through psychological purification. When we purify our consciousness, we ascend to higher levels of consciousness, of being. If we give in to desire, our conditioned psyche, habits, and egotism, strengthening our negative qualities, we descend and enter inferior levels of consciousness or being.
Different religions have different ways of explaining good behavior, of how to cultivate virtue. In the Gnostic tradition we have a vast array of practices and teachings about how to discipline ourselves so that we can experience the way, the truth, and the divine life.
Therefore, this scriptural affirmation goes against millions of books being written for a modern, “New Age” public, which affirm that anyone can experience the divine by doing whatever they want, by creating their own mantras (sacred sounds), by creating their own reality, by giving into their egotistical desires. This is all one hundred percent subjective and harmful, because it demonstrates a profound ignorance of cause and effect, a fundamental law of nature. If you feed the conditions that trap your consciousness, you will enter into suffering. If you want to free the consciousness of its conditions, you must break the cages that trap and enslave your true nature, so as to achieve genuine contentment and happiness.
If you want to know yourself and therefore know divinity, you must enact the causes for that result. You cannot change the law. Ignorance of the law does not procure exclusion from its results. Therefore, ignorance is the worst of sins, according to Socrates
Knowledge and Comprehension
Which brings us to our next point. If you wish to know divinity, you must deeply understand the laws that lead to its fruition based on your experience. Intellectual knowledge or memorizing information is not enough. There must be profound comprehension.
"Knowledge and comprehension are different. Knowledge is of the mind. Comprehension is of the heart." —Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology
There are hundreds of thousands of spiritual teachers in the world today, many who have memorized the Bible, the Qur’an, the Bhagavad-Gita by heart, and yet they do not demonstrate the ethics and virtues propounded by their religion, as illustrated by numerous cases of sodomy, molestation of children by priests, and other horrible crimes committed in the name of “spiritual brotherhood” and “religion.” People may have a lot of knowledge in the mind about religion, and yet fail to fulfill even one precept given by their tradition. This is why Christ taught his disciples to be vigilant, stating: “By their fruits you will know them.”
People know many things about God, astral travel, awakening consciousness in dreams in order to converse with the angels, etc. Yet have they experienced these truths themselves? Likewise, we may have many cherished beliefs and knowledge regarding our terrestrial identity, and yet we fail to comprehend who we are in a deep manner. This ignorance is illustrated in the case of some alcoholics who, knowing their addiction is harmful, continue to engage in bad behaviors, in drinking to excess. This example shows us that while we may have a lot of knowledge of right and wrong, we still may lack comprehension of the consequences.
If we place our hand on a hot stove, we will retract our hand in pain. Therefore, we have gained a superficial form of comprehension, of gnosis, that to put our hand on a hot stove is to get burned. Sadly, with many of our ingrained habits and customs, we continue to indulge in behaviors contrary to divine laws and fail to see the results. We may know it is wrong to be angry and yell at another person, yet we may do it anyways. We may know it is wrong to be sarcastic to someone in a given instant, and yet fail to restrain our negative comments.
If we want to awaken, we must learn to comprehend what behaviors are detrimental to ourselves and others, and not act on them, to see these psychological tendencies for what they are and not allow them to persist and subsist in our minds. This is comprehension; we know in our hearts that something is essentially wrong, and therefore we behave accordingly. This is very different from having a concept in our heads. Instead, this is the voice of conscience, of ethics, of spirituality, speaking to us.
Our minds are tarnished and imperfect as a result of too much negativity, conditioning, and false knowledge, and not enough comprehension. The remedy is to deepen our awareness of divinity, to purify ourselves and to follow the ethical conduct of the great religions. For as Prophet Muhammad taught:
"There is a polish for everything that takes away rust; and the polish for the heart is the remembrance of God.” —Hadith: Sahih Al-Bukhari
Likewise, awakening and comprehension are synonymous. True spirituality or understanding is developed through following the heart, as the Sufi master Ibn ‘Arabi explains:
"May God open the eyes of your heart, shedding His divine light. The angelic realm, which contains the potential of future creation, incorporeal existences, the meaning of all and everything to come, and divine power, is the element from which the visible world is created and, therefore the material world is under the influence and domination of the angelic realm. The movement, the sound, the voice, the ability to speak, to eat and to drink is not from the existences themselves in the visible, material world. They all pass through the invisible world of the angelic realm. We think that we see with our eyes. The information, the influences of perception, are due to our senses—while the real influence, the meaning of things, the power behind what sees and what is seen, can be reached neither by the senses, nor by deduction and analysis, comparison, contrasts, and associations made through intellectual theories. The invisible world can only be penetrated by the eye and the mind of the heart. Indeed, the reality of this visible world also can only be seen by the mind and eye of the heart. What we think we see is but veils which hide the reality of things; things whose truth, whose meaning may not be revealed until these veils are lifted. It is only when the dark veils of imagination [fantasy] and preconception are raised that the divine light will penetrate the heart, enabling the inner eye to see. Then either the sunlight or the light of a candle will become a metaphor for the divine light." —Ibn ‘Arabi: Divine Governance of the Human Kingdom
All of us are hypnotized by our mind, by our projected self-image. We have many fantasies about who we are, and yet we fail to see ourselves in our true reality. This is evidenced by the fact that other people never see us as we see ourselves, which is always a source of tremendous conflict. We have a lot of knowledge in our heads that we identify with, such as our name, language, customs, education, etc., and yet our suffering attests to the fact that we do not comprehend the genuine sources of our suffering, which are constituted by our fears, attachments, aversions, and ignorance.
True awakening occurs when we know how to put knowledge in its proper place, through deep comprehension of the heart.
As you see in this graphic, knowledge belongs to the horizontal line of life: knowledge we gain from birth, life, to death. On the left of this horizontal path is our genesis, followed by childhood, adolescence, adulthood, marriage, children, old age, decrepitude, and death towards the right. This is the path of terrestrial knowledge, which is necessary and fundamental for living in the world in which we are. But comprehension is the vertical path, an ascension to higher levels of being, ways of being, in conjunction with the present moment, found at the precise point where these two beams intersect, in the middle.
We cannot avoid the horizontal line of life, but we can learn to transform it by ascending to a higher way of being, a superior level of consciousness. We must learn to respond to life with a sense of ethical discipline, rectitude, and love, which constitutes the path of the heart above. Learning to behave in a conscious manner helps us to ascend to higher ways of being, levels of being, along the vertical path. Ascending this vertical line, we come to experience heaven or heavenly states as defined by some religions.
Yet if we continue as we are, identifying with psychological states of hatred, anger, pride, fear, sarcasm, lust, desire, etc., these negative qualities will take us down this vertical path towards submerged states of consciousness. The vertical path below signifies states of suffering, chaos, affliction, and pain. This is known as hell or diabolical psychological states within religion. If we do not change our ways of being, we will eventually descend on that path where we will awaken into more suffering and pain than we currently experience.
The Paths of Life and Death
The Judeo-Christian-Muslim traditions, as well as the Eastern mystical doctrines, emphasize that there are two fundamental paths of awakening: one of a higher way of life, and another towards deepening states of suffering.
"And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt." —Daniel 12:2
We can awaken and liberate consciousness from its conditions: pride, hate, greed, avarice, and the infernal qualities known in some traditions as sins or defects. Or we can strengthen our cage: our animalistic qualities of gluttony, aggression, and destruction. The choice is ours based on our behavior.
Look at humanity! What path has it chosen? Have you ever reflected on this? With world-wide acts of prostitution, adultery, degeneration; wars emerging here, there, and everywhere, are the signs not clear for us? Human beings are worse off than they have ever been, which is why many artists have depicted this spiritual dilemma of “To be or not to be” by painting the Last Judgment.
As you see in this image, Christ above represents the highest aspect of consciousness or divinity that we can aspire to within ourselves. To his right are those souls who know how to obey divine laws, thereby developing peace, happiness, compassion, conscious love, charity, and faith. They ascend up the steps into the temples of the sacred mysteries.
Those beings who never sought to change, who indulged in desire, who fed and saturated their diabolic conditions of mind, enter into regions of flames, symbolic of states of suffering and a deepening awareness of their psychological limitations and imprisonment.
While heaven and hell are referenced as places in the cosmos and in nature, these more importantly refer to levels of being within us, ways of behaving.
Does our consciousness resonate with compassion, virtue, philanthropy, altruism, and happiness for others? Or do our states of consciousness vibrate with wrath, avarice, doubt, envy, and dissatisfaction with the happiness of others? Examine yourself to see where your consciousness gravitates, and be sincere. Sincerity is the doorway leading to awakening in an unconditioned, positive light.
In the bottom center of this image is the archangel Michael, who is weighing the deeds of souls in accordance with their actions. Just as there is a record in a physical court of law for transgression, likewise do the heavenly masters or heavenly beings, the buddhas or angels, evaluate our actions based on facts, evidence, and full consciousness of our state, in which the Qur’an represents as two books, one for the virtuous and one for the vicious, wherein are inscribed all the deeds we perform.
The record of the vicious is indeed in Sijjīn.
And what will show you what is Sijjīn?
It is a written record.
Woe to the deniers on that day,
who deny the Day of Retribution;
and none denies it except every sinful transgressor. —Qur’an 83:7-12
The record of the pious is indeed in Illīyūn.
And what will show you what is Illīyūn?
It is a written record,
witnessed by those brought near [to God.]
Indeed the pious shall be amid bliss,
observing, [as they recline] on couches. —Qur’an 83:18-23
Sijjīn is typically associated with the lowest hells or states of conditioned perception. Illīyūn can refer, in Islam, to the highest heavens, a mountain peak that overlooks everything. This symbolizes having a consciousness so high and elevated that it perceives all things, all phenomena, without conditioning.
The Qur’an, the mystical book of the Muslims, refers to gardens of paradise and the flames of infernal passion, desire, of thirst insatiable, as representations of mind. We repeat: these are not just places, but ways of being. We gravitate to places in this great nature based on the qualities of our mind. We vibrate with dimensions in the cosmos based on our level of being.
Likewise with our daily life.
"Nobody can deny the fact that there are different social levels. There are churchgoing people, people in brothels, farmers, businessmen, etc.
"In a like manner, there are different Levels of Being. Whatever we are internally, munificent or mean, generous or miserly, violent or peaceful, chaste or lustful, attracts the various circumstances of life.
"The lustful person will always attract scenes, dramas and even lascivious tragedies in which he will become involved.
"A drunkard will always attract drunkards and will always be seen in bars or taverns; this is obvious…
"What will the usurer attract? The selfish one? How many problems? Jail? Misfortunes?" —Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology
Sadly, humanity is addicted to negativity, and is averse towards the divine life, for as John Milton stated in Paradise Lost:
“The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.”
Simply examine what people worship today. Turn on the television and you will find entertainment and shows on killing, on cruelty, on deception, criminality. People have made a heaven of hell, being addicted to negative behavior. Likewise when someone teaches the masses about the heavenly path, people scorn such a prophet or messenger, and may eventually try to kill him, as we saw with the crucifixion of Jesus, the poisoning of Buddha and Socrates, the persecution of Muhammad, etc.
The Publican and the Pharisee
So we must be profoundly analytical and honest with ourselves. We have to take a self-inventory, known by the Sufis as muhasabah, and observe what qualities we have in abundance and what we lack. We must learn to consider ourselves as strangers by observing our own minds in action, perceiving ourselves from the perspective of the free consciousness, which must in turn awaken and comprehend the other conditioned parts of the psyche.
This work on oneself goes beyond our concepts of good and bad. We must be sincere and comprehend how none of us are completely innocent in life. If we consider that we are “spiritual” people, filled with such-and-such good qualities, virtues, we must be willing to consider how we may be mistaken. Otherwise, why would we change?
"A thing is good when it suits us and bad when it does not. Within the rhythms of poetry, crime is also concealed. There is much virtue in the villain and much evil in the virtuous…
"…Even though it may appear incredible, crime also hides in the very perfume of prayer.
"Crime disguises itself as a saint. It uses the best virtues; it presents itself as a martyr and even officiates in the sacred temples." —Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
Simply look at some priests today who are molesting children, and yet who consider themselves to be holy people. Jesus warned about such hypocrites in his parable of the Publican and the Pharisee, whereby a rich priest went to pray in the temple, congratulating himself and boasting of his good qualities, and denigrating a poor man in the corner who was beating his chest in repentance, feeling too guilty to be forgiven for his deeds. Christ said that the poor man’s prayer was granted, since it was sincere, whereas the Pharisee, the so-called spiritual person over-confident with himself, was not. A Pharisee is a person from any religion who thinks and believes they are holy and justified, when in truth they only believe, having no development.
Therefore, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God." ―Matthew 19:24
To be rich is to feel oneself self-sufficient, especially from divinity. The Qur’an as posits a similar parable in Surah 18: The Cave, Verses 32 to 43:
"Draw for them the parable of two men for each of whom We had made two gardens of vines, and We had surrounded them with date palms, and placed crops between them.
"Both gardens yielded their produce without stinting anything of it. And We had set a stream gushing through them.
"He had abundant fruits, so he said to his companion, as he conversed with him: ‘I have more wealth than you, and am stronger with respect to numbers.’
"He entered his garden while he wronged himself. He said, ‘I do not think that this will ever perish, and I do not think that the Hour will ever set in. And even if I am returned to my Lord I will surely find a resort better than this.’
"His companion said to him, as he conversed with him: ‘Do you disbelieve in Him who created you from dust, then from a drop of [seminal] fluid, then fashioned you as a man?
"But I [say], “He is Allah, my Lord,” and I do not ascribe any partner to my Lord.
"Why did you not say, when you entered your garden, “[This is] as Allah has wished! There is no power except by Allah!” If you see that I have lesser wealth than you and children,
"Maybe my Lord will give me [something] better than your garden, and He will unleash upon it bolts from the sky, so that it becomes a bare plain.
"Or its water will sink down, so that you cannot obtain it.’
"And ruin closed in on his produce, and he began to wring his hands for what he had spent on it, as it lay fallen on its trellises. He was saying, ‘I wish I had not ascribed any partner to my Lord.’
"He had no party to help him, besides Allah, nor could he help himself."
So what are we? Are we rich, psychologically, feeling that we possess virtues that we do not? Or are we poor, recognizing that we have nothing, and from this honest foundation ascend towards the Being, acquiring genuine knowledge?
The Sufis state that the greatest quality or foundation for the disciple to have is poverty, to feel oneself as poor, to recognize one's true lack of spirituality, since humility opens the pathway for elevation. Wherever this sense of “me,” “myself,” or “I,” is absent, we experience the plenitude of the Being. Or as Samael Aun Weor wrote in The Aquarian Message: “God seeks the nothingness in order to fill it.”
Genuine Awakening and the Tree of Life
"Wherever the delusion of your selfhood appears – there’s hell. Wherever “you” aren’t – that’s heaven." ―Abū Sa’īd in Ibn Munawwar: Asrār at-tawḥīd, ed. Shafī‘ī-Kadkanī, 299
Our egotistical sense of self obscures us from accessing the heavenly realms of levels of being, represented by this graphic. This is known as the Tree of Life in the Book of Genesis, and is a map of awakening: from the lowest states of matter, energy and consciousness, to the most refined, synthetic, essential, and spiritual at the top. This is known as the Kabbalah, which comes from the Hebrew word: קבל Kabbel / qabal: to receive. This is the spiritual wisdom we gain by awakening and liberating consciousness in these ten spheres of modes of being.
The Tree of Life signifies the multi-dimensionality of nature, which penetrates, co-penetrates, and subsists together and integrally without confusion. These ten spheres or modes of being are with us here and now, but we are typically not aware of them.
We are at Malkuth, which in Hebrew means: Kingdom, the physical body. Above this physicality we have vitality, emotionality, mentality, will, consciousness, spirit, and the highest divinity, known as logos, Kristos, or Christ, the primordial root energy at the basis of every fundamental cosmic unit. These are distinct gradations of consciousness, energy, matter and perception that we will examine with more detail in subsequent lectures.
However, we will state that this map is essential for understanding our inner spiritual experiences, such as through meditation or the study of dreams. This graphic illustrates for us where we are in a given moment, at what level of consciousness we gravitate towards. The spheres above Malkuth are the heavens, whereas the shadow of the Tree constitute the Klipoth or inferior dimensions, negative states of being, the submerged, conditioned and infraconscious aspects of the soul, known in religions as hell.
Remember that these spheres are with us here and now, but we are not awakened to them yet. We may feel that we are active in our physical bodies, but yet may not be aware of our thoughts, feelings, and sensations, or impulses. This lack of awareness of what we are thinking, feeling, and doing in a given moment of the day signifies that we do not know the Tree of Life within us. Simply try to review everything you did in a given day, down to the smallest detail, and see if there are not spaces or gaps in your memory! Awakening means to change all that, to not be unconscious or unaware of any aspect of our daily life.
The important thing to remember is that if we want to ascend up the vertical path of being, of awakening, we must do so by conquering ourselves and dominating our lower passions, so that we no longer remain in “hell,” the inferior qualities of being, but instead rise to a higher way of being, the Tree of Life.
The Present Moment
So how do we awaken? We have presented and explained the need to awaken, but now we are going to elaborate on the methods for doing so.
Many teachings in this day and age speak of mindfulness, awareness, attention, consciousness, and perception. There are also many doctrines about intuition or insight into the present moment in which we find ourselves. These are all basic introductions or kindergarten steps for accessing complete awakening of our divine potential.
Awakening unconditioned perception begins in this present instance in which we find ourselves, at the intersection of the horizontal and vertical beams, the conjunction of the line of life or knowledge and the line of being.
"I heard Abu Ali al-Daqqaq say that the “now”—waqt—is that in which you are. If you are in the world, your “now” is this world. If you are in the next world [the higher dimensions of the Tree of Life], your “now” is the next world. If you are in joy, your “now” is joy. If you are in sorrow, your “now” is sorrow. He means by this that the present moment is that which has dominance over a person." —Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
Every genuine spiritual endeavor begins by learning to pay attention and to not be distracted by memories, thoughts, daydreams, sentimentality, fears, problems, etc. It means to expand and heighten one’s consciousness of the present moment.
Wherever you are, do not forget what you are doing. Simply be. If you are driving you car, don't think of other things. Pay attention to your mood, your thoughts, your psychological states. Do not let your attention be dominated and distracted by other things, but learn to dominate the moment through vigilance.
The Sufis elaborate on the importance of solely paying exclusive attention to the present moment, without looking forward or backwards in time:
"Waqt [the present moment] may refer specifically to the time in which one is. Some people say that the present moment is between the two times, that is, the past and the future. And they say that the Sufi is the “son of his moment.” This means that he occupies himself immediately with whatever sort of devotion should come first in a given moment. He bases himself upon what is required of him at the time. It is said, “The dervish cares for neither the past nor the future of his moment: he cares for the moment in which he is.” And regarding this, “To be preoccupied with what escaped you in a moment that has passed is to waste a second moment.” –Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
Al-Qushayri states that the true disciple bases himself upon what is required of him at the time. All of us have responsibilities in this physical plane, work, employment, familial duties, etc. Therefore, are we certain that we are paying attention to what we are doing as we fulfill our obligations? Remember that Gnosis is precisely the doctrine of momentariness. We have to stop thinking about the past or the future, and simply look and what is going on around and within us. It is by paying attention to the contents of our psyche during social interactions that we learn to discover hidden defects whose existence we never suspected.
Therefore, how do we interact with certain people? Why? What motivates us to speak a certain way? To gossip? To lie? To criticize? Have we ever considered the secret motives of our speech? For why we might feel disdain towards someone we deem less important to us? To those we think are inferior? What qualities surge in our mind around people who provoke us? Whom we dislike? Our sense of pride? Are we sure that we do not possess the same qualities of the person we ostracize and condemn? Have we ever questioned ourselves when interacting with others?
Interactions with people is a full length mirror by which we can comprehend our own faults, because if we are attentive only of the present moment, without invoking the past or the future, we find that our psychological tendencies, desires, and conditioning emerge within the screen of our perception, within our attention when we know how to direct it inward. This is known as muhasabah, inner-accounting, precisely because we must make a psychological account of the qualities we lack and the qualities we have in abundance. We have to self-discover ourselves in action.
We must also learn to be aware of our surroundings and our intimate connection to the divine presence, labeled muhadarah, awareness of the Divine Self, within Sufism. We call this self-remembrance in the gnostic tradition. We learn to gain comprehension of hudur, the presence of God, through muhadarah, awareness. Simultaneously, we must also direct our attention inside, studying our intimate defects through self-observation, inner accounting or muhasabah.
In order to know divinity we first have to look inside to see what is obstructing the light of divinity within our consciousness. By perceiving our faults and comprehending them, we in turn can liberate ourselves from those conditions. Self-observation is how we acquire new information about who we are and why we behave, so that we can work to remove negative elements in the psyche and thereby produce greater cognizance, peace, happiness, and compassion.
Our spiritual life is not exclusive to attending meetings. It is constituted of every interaction we engage with in daily, practical life. Spirituality is not limited to the church or the mosque, but in our homes, with our children, with our co-workers, and especially with people who give us difficulties. Do we respond with kindness towards someone who insults our hurt sense of dignity, our pride? How do we react towards the condemnation or criticism of others at work? Remember that our daily life is our spiritual path, and how we behave in every instance determines whether we will initiate a more spiritual way of being or strengthen a more demonic way of being.
The Moment is a Sword
We define our spiritual life depends on what we do from moment-to-moment. As Buddha taught in the Dhammapada:
"Preceded by mind are phenomena, led by mind, formed by mind. If with mind polluted one speaks or acts, then pain follows, as a wheel follows the draft ox’s foot.
"Preceded by mind are phenomena, led by mind, formed by mind. If with mind pure one speaks or acts, then ease follows, as an ever-present shadow."
What thoughts, feelings, or impulses emerge when we get up in the morning? When we go to work? When we speak with a friend, co-worker, or relative? Do our actions and words produce harmony and friendship, or do our actions create resistance, conflict, and struggle?
If we act virtuously, then we will inspire virtue in others; we will produce happiness for others. This is a fundamental law of nature: cause and effect, known in the East as karma.
Therefore, in accordance with the law of action and consequence:
"One of the sayings of the Sufis is, “The moment is a sword.” That is, in just the way that a sword severs, the present moment shows forth the influence of God’s action, ending things and bringing them to be. It is said, “The touch of the flat of a sword is temperate, but its blade cuts”—the one who treats it gently is safe and the one who treats it rudely is destroyed. Thus with the “now”: Whoever submits himself to its authority is saved and whoever resists it deteriorates and declines." ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
If you are negative towards another person, you will inspire negativity within that person. Therefore, the moment as a blade will cut you. But if you are temperate, peaceful, and kind towards your critics, your actions will produce comfort, ease, and balance.
When confronted with terrible circumstances, a virtuous, cultivated, and trained mind will serve as our greatest protector and aid. If we continue in unconscious, destructive, and resentful behavior, never learning to see another person’s point of view, we will in turn deepen our suffering and the suffering of others. We will fall upon our own sword.
It comes to my mind a story of a Tibetan Buddhist monk who was imprisoned by the Chinese after the expulsion of Tibetans and the desecration of Tibetan Buddhist monasteries by the Chinese army. The 14th Dalai Lama asked him, “What is the greatest danger you faced?” This monk replied, “Losing my compassion for the Chinese.” This is a powerful statement!
Eventually this man was freed, and he continued as a monk, never losing sight of the goal: to generate superior states of being and not to give in to conditioned, negative psychological reactions, to dominate the present moment and submit himself only to what is being experienced here and now.
Whether or not we are in prison, we still suffer. If we react negatively, we will continue to suffer and exacerbate our problems. But if our mind is peaceful, we can easily and patiently withstand wrongs, maintaining serenity, and never losing touch with our inner divinity and the divinity of others. This is how the sword of perception, of vigilance, of insight, will defend us when we need it most.
Likewise, when confronted with difficult people, the greatest advantage we can have is always responding with consciousness, with remembrance of divinity:
“The best weapon that a human being can use in life is a correct psychological state.
“One can disarm beasts and unmask traitors by means of appropriate internal states.
“Wrong internal states convert us into defenseless victims of human perversity.
“You must learn to face the most unpleasant events of practical life with an appropriate internal uprightness...
“You must not become identified with any event. Remember that everything passes away. You must learn to look at life like a movie; thus, you shall receive the benefits...
“You must not forget that if you do not eliminate mistaken internal states from your psyche, then events of no value could bring you disgrace.
“Unquestionably, each external event needs its appropriate fare, that is, its precise psychological state.” —Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology: Personal Events
So question yourselves from the perspective of conscious attention. What specific types of events provoke or invoke your anger? Fear? Resentment? Why do you act and behave a certain way around certain people? Where are your thoughts coming from when your vanity is hurt, when you are offended? Why are you always offended by certain comments? Are you certain that responding with frustration will aid you at work, with your co-workers, your spouse?
Everything passes away. Nothing in life is static. Therefore, to hold on to a sense of self, such as anger, pride, hatred, desire, lust, as if it is permanent―to believe in and give our energy to these egotistical qualities that are transient and insubstantial, meaningless and unimportant--is absurd, harmful. Such psychological states deepen our suffering, precisely because there is a lack of communion between our internal states and the external event. External events are always changing, therefore, why hold on to them with so much attachment, with a desire for permanence? We always want something that doesn't coincide with the facts, and therefore we suffer tremendously inside.
Wherever we direct our attention, we expend creative energy. To give energy to our inner demons is to prolong our pain, to strengthen the cages we have built around ourselves.
To cease suffering, we must cease with desire. If we want to be happy, we must not give in to our desires, but learn to observe them with consciousness, to understand the roots of these thoughts, feelings, and impulses, so that they have less dominance over what we say and do. We must learn to adjust our internal states to meet the needs of each event. In this way we learn to use the sword of perception for our favor, to defend ourselves from negative thinking, feeling, and acting.
When you learn to follow the intuition of your innermost divinity, your Being, than you will learn how to competently negotiate and navigate the seas of your life, not only for your benefit, for the benefit of others.
Our egotism, pride, resentment, etc., is the enemy of God, the enemy of the Being. If we want divine aid, we have to go against ourselves, to go against the grain of our mechanical behaviors, habits, and ways of thinking. The Sufis teach that if we want realization of the divine, we must wage a holy war against the infidels, which are the conditioned elements of our psyche.
Divinity, of course, always aids the soul in this difficult struggle to awaken.
“Remembering God with the heart is called the sword of seekers. With it the seeker slays his enemies [egos, defects, nafs] and drives off [karmic] troubles that are headed for him. Even if difficulty should overshadow the servant, his fleeing to God Most High in his heart immediately turns away from him the thing he hates.” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
Examine this image of St. Michael, who is often depicted slaying the devil, the dragon. מיכאל Michael in Hebrew comes from מיכ Mica, “Who is like” אֵל El, or “God?” This is a rhetorical question, telling us that no one is like God, the resplendence, light, or consciousness of divinity, the Being. Michael is an angelic being outside of us, but here represents the solar intelligence of our Being, as well as how the soul must wage bloody battles against the afflictions of the mind, the dragon, the monster, our diabolic qualities or egotistical desires. He does so with a sword, representing wisdom, remembrance, and insight. In some religious paintings, St. Michael is depicted carrying a scale, representing how the solar intelligence of our innermost Being is the one that brings balance, harmony, and justice to our psychological universe. This is how he conquers the creator of illusion and suffering.
The same meaning is represented in the next graphic of Manjushri. Here is a buddha, an awakened one, conquering the illusions and hypnotisms of desire through the sword of prajna, wisdom, insight, gnosis, or consciousness. By awakening our consciousness, and by destroying the shackles of our understanding, we can arrive at self-knowledge, represented by the book he also carries in his other hand.
The book represents knowledge, whereas the sword represents being, insight, consciousness. Therefore, knowledge and being must be harmoniously balanced within us in order to establish the flaming powers of comprehension in our psyche.
With superior knowledge, we can learn to redirect the course of our life, and with practical wisdom and insight, cut through to the sources of our greatest problems, thereby liberating our soul, awakening it definitely.
The Sufis state:
They have recited about this:
Like a sword, if you polish it, its touch is soothing
But its edge, if you are harsh to it, is harsh.
If the moment makes someone happy, it is a just moment to him.
If it makes him miserable, it becomes something hateful.
―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
Meditation is the path of polishing our perception, of purifying our insight. Your mind precedes all phenomena. We become what we think. Think wrong thoughts, and you will produce wrong results. But achieve serenity of mind, insight, patience, and understanding, by learning to pay attention, you learn to access the essential nature of your consciousness, which is peace, compassion, and love.
Behavior, Gnosis, and Meditation
In synthesis, we seek to change our behaviors and states of mind in a fundamental way. Awakening results from knowing how to transform the psyche into something positive and conscious, free of limitations. It means that we know how to act in every instance of life in an appropriate and defined way.
"Abu Hafs Haddad of Nishapur says, 'Sufism [or gnosticism] consists entirely of behavior; every time, place, and circumstance have their own property; he that observes the properties of each occasion attains to the rank of holy men; and he that neglects the properties is far removed from the thought of nearness (to God) and is excluded from imagining that he is acceptable to God.'” ―Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery
What aids us in this endeavor are spiritual practices, the fulfillment of the divine law, so as to experience the truth, the way or the path. Samael Aun Weor wrote that meditation is the daily bread of the Gnostic. Meditation is the science of acquiring self-knowledge, of understanding the causes of conflict within us in order to remediate them. Meditation is how we overcome our personal and conditioned sense of self, the ego. As the Sufis teach:
"In general, it is to the measure of one’s alienation from one’s own ego [conditioned or negative psychological elements] that one attains direct knowledge of one’s Lord… I heard Abu Ali al-Daqqaq say, 'One of the tokens of the gnosis of God is the achievement of deep awe and reverence for God. If someone’s realization increases, his awe increases.' And I heard him say, 'Gnosis requires stillness of heart, just as learning requires outward quiet. If someone’s gnosis increases, his tranquility increases.'" —Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
It is in a state of tranquility where we can remove the conditionality of the mind in order to free and awaken the soul, the consciousness, from bondage. By increasing our knowledge of divinity through removing the causes of suffering, we in turn develop true peace of mind.
To aid us in this endeavor, we will be providing a series of exercises in order to aid you in accessing and realizing the principles we have covered in this lecture and in this course. We recommend you study and fulfill these practices each week in a diligent way, so that you procure definite and consistent results. Consistency is key, since without steadfastness in one’s spiritual discipline, one can attain nothing. However, as you continue to practice and see the benefits of such exercises, you will naturally be inspired to continue and deepen your work.
For this week, you can refer to the following exercise:
Mantras or sacred sounds will help elevate the consciousness, providing it with energy so as to awaken it, thereby helping us to vibrate with superior levels of nature. This is a preliminary exercise in order to eventually develop meditation in its genuine sense, but that is something we will cover in the following weeks.
When we discuss religion, mysticism, occultism, the study of what is hidden from our perception, beneath the surface of the senses, really what we are speaking about is a particular form of experience or realization of what is inside. And we explain in the Gnostic doctrine precisely what the obstacles are within our psychology that prevent us from perceiving what is real, from knowing what divinity is, which we in these studies denominate “the Being.” As the founder of our tradition Samael Aun Weor stated, “The Being is the Being and the reason for the Being to be is to be the Being Himself.” This Being is a form of cognizance, perception, or energy which is beyond the mind, beyond will, beyond the heart and the body. In Buddhism this is the root cognizance of our inner Buddha, and our inner Being is the Buddha, the awakened one, which in Christianity we call Christ. This light or presence, this force known as divinity inside, this Being we seek to discover through spiritual practice, is precisely what we want to know, and what any genuine seeker of religion has come to precisely encounter within him or herself.
Any person who is entering any religion or spiritual teaching seeks to know God directly, not through theory, not through intellect, not through belief, but through direct perception of what is genuinely real. So we differentiate this type of spiritual understanding as being, cognizance, comprehension, whereas we differentiate this from intellectual knowledge, scholasticism, debate, theory, something that is intellectually fascinating or something that is to be argued for or against. We are not interested in that type of dynamic. We seek to know God directly.
Of course, in this teaching, we study many books, many scriptures to help us understand what is this root perception in ourselves, known as the consciousness, that is part of our inner God, our inner Buddha, our inner flame. But of course, we always balance the study with practice. In this teaching, we highly emphasize the need for practice and the need for effective methods to transform our mind and to experience divinity.
In this lecture, we are precisely going to discuss this point: what divinity is, and what is the type of knowledge that we need to know divinity directly. In this first graphic, we have a famous Tibetan Buddhist saint named Milarepa who was quite a remarkable figure because he actually was a criminal. He was someone who committed many crimes and had in fact incurred many debts as a result of his criminal behavior. But he realized precisely his position, his culpability, and took responsibility for his actions, and he actually became one of the greatest Tibetan Buddhist saints, which Mahayana Buddhism venerates and which we proudly study.
Milarepa gave a very beautiful teaching about this demarcation between knowledge and divinity, the Being:
“Just as fog is dispelled by the strength of the sun, and is dispelled no other way, preconception (or intellectual knowledge) is cleared by the strength of realization. There is no other way of clearing preconceptions. Experience them as baseless dreams. Experience them as ephemeral bubble. Experience them as insubstantial rainbows. Experience them as indivisible space.” ―Drinking the Mountain Stream: Songs from Tibet’s Beloved Saint
So if we genuinely want to know what God is inside, to experience what divinity is, we need to abandon a lot of our own preconceptions about who we are as an individual. Of course, this is a very challenging and difficult step to ask oneself and confront oneself, by asking this question: “Who are we really? Who is God inside of myself? What is divinity? How do I experience my own inner divinity inside?” When we ask this question, it comes to my mind a very famous Sufi teaching, which is from the mysticism of Islam: “He who knows himself knows his Lord.” Also, the Greek maxim on the Temple of Delphi taught, “Man, know thyself, and you will know the universe and the gods.” Homo nosce te ipsum, in Latin.
So we have to really confront this question in ourselves: if we do not know God inside, who is our inner divinity, our inner Being, the question is, do we really know ourselves in depth? This is precisely the maxim or ultimatum that any college of initiation or school of mysteries has taught, to ask this question: who are we, and do we know divinity? If we are honest and really examine the abundance of spiritual literature, genuine literature from different religions—whether from Hinduism as the Bhagavad-Gita, Buddhism as different sutras and tantras, teachings of Kabbalah such as the Zohar, the Talmud or the Torah, or the Tarot, the Egyptian mystical teachings; likewise, in the Middle East as the Quran and many different scriptures that have all taught an integral science by which we can unite with divinity—the thing is to ask ourselves what we know, genuinely, because if we do not know who is our inner Being, our divinity inside, as religions have pointed out, it means we do not fully know ourselves. This is the brave step we need to take when seeking genuine spirituality, genuine realization of divinity, to ask ourselves what is it we really know and to find what is valid and what is invalid.
We find here Milarepa. We chose this image because he is listening, actively. He, being a great saint, is demonstrating his humility by the fact that he is learning. He learns from all human beings, all sentient beings, without distinction. Even though he attained great realization, still he had an understanding that upon great heights of spiritual knowledge one has to be humble and to learn from all beings. So we should imitate his example. We should attempt to approach religion from the honest perspective and understanding that we do not know and that we seek to know, and that, as the gospels teach us, “Ask, and it shall be opened unto you. Knock on the door, and it will be opened. Seek and ye shall find.”
We want to understand precisely what prevents us from knowing divinity, whether given the name of Christ, Allah, Buddha, Ahura Mazda amongst the Zoroastrians—many names for divinity. We need to understand precisely what in us is preventing our perception of that divinity.
So we talk a lot about in these studies the difference between concept and reality, the difference between knowledge and being. Reality is the being, is that divine force inside us that we can actualize in this instant, if we learn to pay attention as the psyche. Concepts are our beliefs, our habits, our ideas about what religion teaches or what we experience, more importantly.
In this image, we have Rene Descartes, a French philosopher who is famous for stating, “I think, therefore I am.” And we politely disagree with Descartes by explaining that to think is not to be. The way to understand that difference is to understand that thinking is a type of process in our psyche that we typically identify with as being our identity, but if we learn to observe ourselves in our totality, understanding that our thoughts change, by observing our emotions change, by looking at our body, we find that sensations come and go. These things fluctuate. These are not permanent. So where is the inherent, intrinsic nature of this perception that we have? This is a very famous Buddhist teaching which we study: impermanence of the self. We find that these things are impermanent, therefore where is our genuine identity in this very moment?
So thinking is a process that really is mechanical, you can say. The mind can store information, concepts, have theories about the nature of language, philosophy, the nature of reality, but thought or thinking, concepts, are not the reality itself. It is merely a projection from the mind that tends to label information.
So we experience phenomena, but then we think and label those phenomena. This is the big question we need to ask: what is the reality that we are experiencing in the moment? In these studies, we talk about mindfulness and self-observation, to observe one’s body, one’s mind, one’s heart, to be aware and have the understanding that intrinsically we are not our thoughts. We are not sensations of the body. We are not the emotions. We are a type of quality of consciousness beyond that. And this consciousness can experience a dynamic of emotions and sentiment which is superior, divine, which we seek to access through practice.
Descartes said, “I think, therefore I am.” So what does it mean to be, to say, “I am?” Jesus of Nazareth who is the head of the Gnostic Church, the Christ force through him explained that “I am the way, the truth, and the light.” In Hebrew, in Kabbalah, Ehyeh asher ehyeh, “I Am that I Am,” which is what Moses heard from the burning bush, the Tree of Life, on Mount Sinai. When Jesus said, “I Am,” really divinity in him said, “I Am.” It was not the physical personality of Jesus whom people worship, but instead it is divinity inside that says, “I Am,” the Being, the presence that is eternal. Our thoughts may change, our appetites or habits, our beliefs, our theories, our experience of life may change, but God does not change. And that force is inside and eternal, that we can experience, and that says, “I Am,” Ehyeh, in Hebrew. Descartes says, "I think, therefore I am," and the thing is God does not think. God knows. God is not some anthropomorphic figure in the clouds, but is a force, an intelligence, a divine presence in our heart, in our very core of our consciousness, which we can experience if we learn the method. God does not need to think. He is.
There is the very famous saying of Jesus of Nazareth when he was persecuted by the Pharisees in his time, the people who believe that they know about spirituality but don't. They asked him, "Are you the Christ?" He said, "Before Abraham was, I am." Abraham, if you're not familiar with Judaism, was the founder of that tradition, and the people who were persecuting Jesus of Nazareth were very attached to their tradition and did not want to see what is revolutionary or new. Therefore, he was crucified.
People have concepts about the nature of divinity, about being, but the reality is something we have to experience, since it is beyond thought. Therefore, to think is not to be. To be is to be aware of thought, how it flows and changes and fluctuates, be aware of our emotional states, and the experience of life as sensation, as they fluctuate.
I'd like to quote from you one author, in this tradition, the founder of the modern Gnostic tradition; his name is Samael Aun Weor. He states in his book The Great Rebellion precisely this dynamic between concept and reality.
“Who or what can guarantee that concept and reality are exactly the same thing? Concept is one thing, and reality is another. There is a tendency to overestimate our own concepts. It is almost impossible for reality to equal a concept. Nevertheless, the mind hypnotized by its very own concepts always presumes that concept and reality are the same. Any psychological process that is correctly structured using precise logic is opposed by a different one, strongly developed with similar or superior logic. Then what?" —Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
If any of you have ever studied philosophy, particularly the teachings of Immanuel Kant, he talked in his doctrine about the nature of knowledge and concept, known as the antinomies of reason, basically that you can have two arguments of equally plausible evidence and dissertation, different thoughts, beliefs that are equally plausible but contradictory, such as, "I believe in God," or, "I don't believe in God." One could provide evidence either way. It can be convincing, depending on the articulation of thought. These are contradictions or paradoxes, because both can be true or false at the same time, depending on your argument.
The point that Immanuel Kant was emphasizing in his contribution to Western philosophy was that the intellect cannot know the truth. Reading cannot show us truth. We can have ideas. We can learn methods. We need to educate our mind. This is necessary, but the actual experience or cognizance of what the divine is comes about as a result of spiritual practice. We can have an idea in our mind about why one religion is better than another, and someone of another religion could have the same belief about their tradition. There's conflict; this is why the world is such a mess, is in the state that it's in, due to people precisely deifying the intellect, people stating that the intellect can know the truth, and that we are the possessors of the truth, and that everyone else in the world doesn't know.
This is really sad, because we teach in Gnosis that all religions are universal, that they teach the same science with different language and different symbols, in accordance with the culture and the time in which Gnosis is disseminated.
Samael Aun Weor emphasizes this point:
"Two severely disciplined minds confined by ironclad intellectual structures argue with one another. They debate and dispute over this or that fact of reality. Each believes its own concept to be exact and the other to be false. Which is right? Who can honestly guarantee either case? Which one shows that concept and reality are the same? Unquestionably, each mind is a world of its own. In each and every one of us lies a kind of pretentious, dictatorial dogmatism that wants to make us believe in the absolute equality of concept and reality." —Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
We all have this tendency to want to affirm our ideas about work or sports or politics, beliefs, economics. Every aspect of our life, we have certain attitudes that we project, and that we want to affirm to other people. When other people don't affirm that in us, we feel conflict; we feel pain; we feel struggle. But we have to understand that struggle comes from inside, psychologically, and that if we resolve the conflict in our mind, the need to affirm our beliefs, and simply to be receptive to the flow of life in the instant, we learn to understand people better. That in turn creates better harmony in our relationships with others.
The Level of Being
In our relationships to others, we talk about what is known as the level of being. We have a very concrete image we use to teach the nature and the relationship between knowledge and being. We're talking about concepts, ideas, intellectual knowledge, which we store in our intellect, our mind. Likewise, we talk about the being, perception, cognizance, consciousness, understanding of what is real, the perception of our mind, our heart, our body in this instant. We find that two lines intersect in a given point, and that point is this moment.
In Sufism, we talk about the Arabic word waqt, which means the moment. The Sufis talk very extensively about this, and so do the Buddhists. In kabbalah, we find the same teaching, called mindfulness, to be aware of our understanding of divinity here and now, in our presence. That in turn develops and changes our relationships with others.
Our habits and our ideas and our attitudes shape our life. Our mind shapes our life. What we are inside attracts the different and various circumstances of life outside. So, if we change the way we think, the way we feel, and the way we act in relationship to others, obviously the external world will change. The problem is, people want to hold on to their concepts about reality, and they push it onto reality, expecting others will conform to their beliefs. We find this in different countries throughout the world, such as the Middle East where they believe everyone should be Muslim. In America, we have more so-called freedoms, and people are free to agree to disagree, but there are tendencies in us and all human beings to want to affirm our beliefs, and to have others conform to that.
If we change the way we think and we are understanding of the idiosyncrasies of others, to be aware of the mind of others, likewise we change our attitudes about ourselves, to generate compassion towards others. We then attract different circumstances of life.
We talk about the level of being. The quality of our mind determines the quality of our life. Acquiring things, materialism, goods, can satisfy us for a moment, but the genuine happiness of the spirit inside, the divinity inside, comes about by being present, and being aware that we have divinity within us. Therefore, we have no need to fear economic problems, or as Jesus taught, "See the lilies of the field? They toil not, nor spin. See likewise the birds and fowl of the air. They have need for raiment, and yet the Lord sustains them. How much more so you being made into this present image. Shall you not receive the benefit of your Lord?"
That comes about as we learn to reconnect with our divinity. We change our level of being. So, what is the level of being? It is our way of life, our thinking. Samael Aun Weor in his book Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology explains this:
“Nobody can deny the fact that there are different social levels. There are churchgoing people, people in brothels, farmers, businessmen, etc. In a like manner, there are different levels of being. Whatever we are internally, munificent or mean, generous or miserly, violent or peaceful, chaste or lustful, attracts the various circumstances of life." —Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology
In this image, we have two lines. The horizontal line is the line of life. On the left, we have our birth, our childhood, progressing to the right towards school, education, work, family, career, friends, marriage, old age, sickness, death—progressing towards the end. This is a mechanical process in which we go through life experiencing our economic issues, our daily issues, from birth to death.
This is a path that is not necessarily integral with the vertical line as we find in this image. This vertical line is known as the line of being. This refers to the quality of our perception, the quality of our consciousness. There are superior levels of being and there are inferior levels of being. A person who is a drug addict or a prostitute, someone who dwells in bars or is a criminal, like in the case of Milarepa, has a very low level of being, meaning: these people, in many people's eyes, are usually inferior in society. They have a lot of suffering in their life. Their level of being is inferior, because they are engaged in habits which are destructive.
Above that, we have superior levels of being. This is not to talk about social class specifically, but qualities of our mind, whether we have a generous heart, compassion, understanding, peace, love towards humanity. Likewise, this refers to the virtues of the Being inside, which we develop as a result of working on the obstacles in our mind that prevent us from accessing that light. The Being and life intersect in this moment, and the way that we ascend to a superior level of being is precisely by learning to direct our attention.
What are our thoughts? What are our feelings? What is our mood? To observe that is fundamental, to have a sense of separation, not as a zombie-like state, like the state in which we are dull people, but to really live life intensely, with profound awareness, insight, cognizance—this is the line of being which we discriminate between what in us is real and what is false, because all religions teach us that we don't know the truth. We don't know divinity, and that we have created many obstacles inside, like our anger, and pride, laziness, lust, defects, habits that are destructive, whether to a minor or severe degree.
Obviously in the case of Milarepa, when he was a criminal, it was very severe. He was believed to have been practicing certain arts in esotericism which are very negative. He was known as a witch or a sorcerer, somebody who knows how to use the mind to harm others. He realized his mistake. He realized that he was harming others and himself as a result, and then he renounced his habits, decided that he wanted to follow a path of virtue. Then he started to ascend the vertical path of being.
This indicates for us, really, how all the great saints of religion were people who were just like us, or perhaps even worse, people who committed a lot of wrong, and then as a result, changed. They recognized that they were suffering, and that they made others suffer. It's precisely when we recognize how we make others happy or how we make others suffer in our daily life, in the moment, that makes us reflect inside: what is our level of being and where do we want to ascend? Moment by moment, we learn to ascend to a higher level of being as we develop our cognizance and awareness.
Buddhism teaches this fact very beautifully in the Dhammapada. It's a famous Pali scripture of Sutrayana Buddhism, the foundational level of the religion, which emphasizes my points, and which the Buddha taught 2,500 years ago:
“Preceded by mind are phenomena, led by mind, formed by mind. If with mind polluted one speaks or acts, then pain follows, as a wheel follows the draft ox's foot. Preceded by mind are phenomena, led by mind, formed by mind. If with mind one pure one speaks or acts, then ease follows as an ever-present shadow." —Buddha, Dhammapada
If we perform good action, generating from our mind, we produce happiness in our relations. If we have anger or pride, that affects others, and makes others suffer.
The foundational teaching of Hinduism, and really any religion, is ahimsa, meaning: nonviolence. People think this just pertains to abstention from physical violence, such as Mahatma Gandhi's political movement against the British. That's the basic level, but Gandhi, who knew this teaching very well, was practicing ahimsa inside, psychologically, to not think harmful thoughts, to not feel negative emotions, to not let his mind harm others. This is nonviolence. This is really the definition of kindness, generosity.
This type of insight begins to develop in us genuine understanding about the nature of our problems on a very deep psychological level. This is what is known as comprehension. Comprehension is not the intellectual ascertainment or understanding of a concept. Comprehension is something very profound, in which we understand in a moment of epiphany, really—and all of us have had this experience—where we know that a certain type of action or belief is wrong, and that we shouldn't engage in that habit or belief or idea or emotion. We know that something is really harmful for us, and so we stop, and then our life improves as a result. At a basic level, we could say that a person who is an alcoholic, who really realizes the damage of alcohol, comprehends how it's destructive, will never taste a drop of it again, knowing that that element will disorganize his or her psyche.
The difference between comprehension and knowledge is that even though we intellectually have knowledge about something, it doesn't mean that we will act on it. In the instance of an alcoholic, he may intellectually know that alcohol is harmful, destructive. So is drugs, marijuana, barbiturates, different types of toxins that destroy the mind. We can know intellectually that it's wrong. We've been taught and told it's wrong, but still we might do it. The difference in a person who really comprehends why some behaviors are harmful is that they will never act on that again. When we really know in our heart that something is right or wrong, we will always follow that path, and we will not digress.
Samael Aun Weor states:
“Knowledge and comprehension are different. Knowledge is of the mind. Comprehension is the heart."
Intellectually, we may have a lot of ideas about certain habits: we should stop eating too much junk food, or we should exercise more. We may know it's right, but we don't necessarily act on it. These examples operate on a very superficial level. The type of level that I'm seeking to address is something very psychological, very deep, about the way we perceive life, habits that we are not even aware of psychologically, which influence us. This is known as the subconsciousness or unconsciousness in Freudian psychology.
When we comprehend what internal, unconscious or subsconscious elements obstruct our experience of reality, then we know in our heart what to do. Therefore, we don't act on the whims of our desires or negativities, but instead we comprehend how to work inside of ourselves to integrate with divinity.
So, this is the teachings of religion. Religion comes from the Latin religare, which means to reunite. The Sanskrit yug, for the word yoga, means to reunite. It's the same meaning. So, we seek to comprehend how to unite with divinity, and to overcome false concepts that we may have, to confront that dynamic inside.
Now, when we talk about this type of knowledge, it needs to be explained that we have certain knowledge in our mind, concepts about and beliefs about who we are psychologically, which may not be grounded in the facts. This is not to totally throw away the use of knowledge. As you see here, we have many books, in which we teach many aspects of this science, which are good to read. We emphasize the need for study to know what religion genuinely teaches, how to practice, how to meditate, how to transform one's mind. We need education to know how to do these things, but the type of knowledge we seek to abandon is false knowledge, beliefs that aren't grounded in fact—theories, ideas about who we are as individuals which obstruct us from going deeper inside.
Practical and Impractical Knowledge
Part of the teachings that I'm going to explain throughout the rest of this lecture come from Sufism. Sufism, if you don't know, is the mystical tradition of Islam, which in its esoteric part was a very beautiful tradition which taught this science, before it deviated, before it digressed or degenerated, as with any religion. This is a teaching from a Sufi master by the name of Al-Hujwiri, in his book called Revelation of the Mystery, Kashf al-Mahjub. He explains something very important that I find very useful and perhaps you might too:
"Knowledge is obligatory only insofar as it is requisite for acting rightly."
The type of knowledge we need is the knowledge that's going to help us to change. That's really the most important knowledge, and having a vocational knowledge to help us to live in this society, we need. But as it continues:
"God condemns those who learn useless knowledge," from the Qur’an, surah 2, verse 96. The Prophet Mohammed said, "I take refuge with thee from knowledge that profiteth not." —Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery
What is the type of knowledge that could be useful? We can think of many examples, and we only need to think about our own experience to think about what are certain things that we've read or studied that haven't necessarily been applicable to life, such as going to university. We learn many things that are useful and interesting, but do we use all of it? Honestly, in most cases, we won't. As it says in the scripture:
“Much may be done by means of a little knowledge, and knowledge should not be separated from action." —Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery
What is the knowledge that we need? The knowledge to know how to act rightly, to know how to act from the presence of our divinity inside, who knows right from wrong, good from evil. It's a type of comprehension in our heart that tells us what to do, like a hunch. We know what is right and wrong in a given instant.
This is the meaning of Jiminy Cricket in the story of Pinocchio. It's an initiatic story. Pinocchio is a wooden boy who wants to become a real man, a human being. Like us, we want to be made into the image of God, a human being that reflects divinity completely. That's a genuine human being. We want to aspire to that. Jiminy Cricket is the voice of his conscience on his shoulder that says, "Don't do that. That's wrong." Of course, in the story (it wasn't depicted in the Disney film, but in the novel by Carlo Collodi), Pinocchio took a hammer and killed the cricket.
That explains in us how, when we have a sense of what is right or wrong, we suppress it. We justify with our intellect. "I should drink more coffee, because I need to stay awake," even though we know it's wrong or could be a bat habit—a simple example. We suppress that hunch and justify with our intellect why we should do something when we know it's wrong. This is the difference between knowledge and comprehension.
In relation to this quote, we need knowledge that's going to teach us how to listen to that voice of Jiminy Cricket. That's why we study the Bhagavad Gita, the scriptures, the Torah, the Zohar, to learn how to act rightly, to learn from masters, genuine spiritual teachers who have fully manifested divinity inside. The Prophet said (and then Hujwiri explains here the nature of individuals who study intellectually without having comprehension):
"'The devotee without divinity is like a donkey turning a mill,' because the donkey goes round and round over its own tracks and never makes any advance." —Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery
A donkey is a very interesting symbol. If you didn't know Pinocchio, Pinocchio was turned into a donkey. He was instructed by the blue fairy, symbol of his inner divinity, the feminine aspect of divinity as the Virgin Mary, the divine goddess Durga in Hinduism, who tells him, "You need to go to school," meaning: go to esoteric school to learn how to change, learn useful knowledge to transform your mind, how to become a real human being.
But Pinocchio is confronted by his friends. His friends come. "We should go to the land of play," meaning: we don't have to study and work, but we just play all day. Of course the blue fairy had warned Pinocchio before, "Those who play all day and never work end up turning into donkeys." A donkey is really a symbol of an intellectual, someone who has a lot of ideas in the mind but is still an animal inside, with a lot of anger, pride, vanity, lust, laziness, greed, defects. The truth is, all religions teach that we are really like that donkey that needs to be tamed and rode upon, like Jesus rode the donkey into Jerusalem. Meaning Christ inside us, our inner divinity, needs to ride our mind. The donkey is the mind. It's a stubborn animal, which can memorize information but doesn't necessarily know the truth.
A Sufi Master once specifically stated that, "An intellectual is like a donkey with a load of holy books." The donkey has a lot of knowledge of scripture, but doesn't have the actual experience of what scripture teaches. We're not saying that this type of knowledge is useless, but it has to be in balance with our practice. We need to study the scriptures, but we need to comprehend them, more importantly.
Balancing Knowledge and Being
This combination of genuine comprehension of traditions or religion with our study produces comprehension. We talk about the line of life, our horizontal line of life and the vertical line of being. We need to combine our intellectual study with the science of meditation to really comprehend scripture, how it applies to our life, otherwise it's useless. We can know the scriptures and the gospels by heart, the Qur’an by heart, the Bhagavad-Gita by heart, but if we continue to act in harmful ways, or having anger inside even at a subtle level, it means that this knowledge is not practical. We have to use what's practical in our life to change so that we can know divinity.
As Samael Aun Weor states in The Great Rebellion:
"Being and knowing must be balanced to establish a sudden blaze of comprehension within our psyche. When knowing is greater than being, it causes all kinds of intellectual confusion. If being is greater than knowing, it can produce cases as serious as that of a stupid saint."
If we have a lot of intellectual knowledge but no comprehension, no genuine realization of what the teachings present in religion, we can get confused. This is what happens all over the world with people. They study religion for a long time, have a lot of conviction and belief in the tradition, but then they see contradictions in it, and then feel dissatisfied. Then they get confused about their tradition, about their culture, and they decide to leave to another religion. They hop like a butterfly to another tradition, another flower, and repeat the same habit, trying to find genuine insight. but without understanding that the problem is not in the religion; it's in our mind, how we approach the religion, because the different traditions teach us how to unite with divinity. So, knowing without being can create confusion intellectually.
Also, to have a lot of practice and spiritual discipline but without study of what the different religions teach us can create a case as serious as a stupid saint. We find many practitioners of yoga, and I specifically am not necessarily referring to the yoga studios in the West, but yogis who practice in the Far East, who are very dirty, despite having the choice to live a life of some comfort; they decide to live sleeping on a bed of nails, things which don't necessarily produce a lot of comprehension—just domination over the body, thinking that this is going to take them to God. They may have certain practices or certain understandings about religion, but they don't study the tradition which they are in. They don't study other religions. They don't have a profound culture or comprehension of the different faiths and how they relate.
What comes to my mind in the case of the stupid saint is a very famous Russian existentialist author. His name was Fyodor Dostoevsky. He wrote a book called The Idiot specifically, which is the case of a stupid saint. Although being famous in Western literature, Dostoevsky is not recognized as an esotericist; people don't know that he knew this science and was warning certain practitioners or initiates, people with development, to not be like the case of this prince in the story, Prince Myshkin, who is very saintly and very holy. People in the novel are genuinely attracted to his virtues, but Myshkin doesn't understand the 19th-century Russian culture which he lives in, and he's easily manipulated. He knows he's manipulated, but he allows it. So, if he had a little bit of intellectual study and knowledge about the way cultures work and society works, he wouldn't allow himself to be pulled in that direction, but he is really the fool. If you know about Egyptian mysticism, the Tarot of the Egyptians, the Arcanum 21–the card of the Fool—is precisely the case of the stupid saint. We need to balance knowledge with being to avoid this fate.
To continue on this point, we find again the continuation of the scripture by Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery, specifying that the knowledge we study has to be practical, has to apply to our life, otherwise it won't have depth.
“Some regard knowledge as superior to action, while others put action first, but both parties are wrong.” —Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery
Again, what Samael Aun Weor stated was stated by the Sufis nine centuries ago.
“Unless action is combined with knowledge, it is not deserving of recompense. Prayer, for instance, is not really prayer unless performed with knowledge of the principles of purification and those which concern the Qibla.” —Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery
The Qibla in Muslim tradition is the direction of a niche in the wall, or the direction pointing to Mecca, where the Muslims would pray.
For those who are not Muslim, really this pertains to how in us in the West, we have to know what direction we are concentrating on in our practice, to know what is the object of our meditation or discipline, and to not waver. The symbol of the Muslims praying to the stone of the Kaaba has many kabbalistic symbols, which we're not going to go into detail, but the fact that they pray to the east towards the rising of the sun really leads to the worship of the divinity, known as Allah, which is Christ, the solar Logos in Greek, the Son. The Qibla points to the holy city of Mecca, which is where they dedicate their prayers. Likewise, we have our own Qibla. When we sit to practice, we have an object of concentration to help us develop a focused mind.
“It is not really prayer unless performed with knowledge of the principles of purification, and those which concern the Qibla, and with knowledge of the nature of intention.” —Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery
Basically, what I said about concentration: we have to know what we're intending. Every practice that we have in this tradition, whether certain forms of yoga or mantra recitation, has a specific purpose, so we have to know what intention we are working with within a certain exercise.
“Learning committed to memory are acts for which a man is rewarded in the next world. If he gained knowledge without action and acquisition on his part, he will get no reward.” —Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery
We may read a lot, but if we're not aware of the real depth of what we're reading and its application to our life, such knowledge is easily forgotten and is therefore useless.
“Hence, two classes of men fall into error. Firstly, those who claim knowledge for the sake of public reputation but are unable to practice it…” —Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery
…such as the Pharisees in Jesus's time, who really knew a lot about Judaism but didn't practice. Therefore, when they saw Jesus as an example of the highest divinity, when he fully manifested that in himself, he produced a lot of hatred and envy among his enemies.
“Secondly, those who pretend that practice suffices and that knowledge is unnecessary.” —Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery
So in addition to people who believe that we have to study a lot, read a lot, and don't need to practice, there are those who think that in religion one has to do a lot of practices, but not study. These are both wrong beings.
For instance, what comes to my mind is the 14th Dalai Lama. We respect him as a great master in this tradition. He's a very powerful being, really, a great master, a Bodhisattva, who really exemplifies the beauty of Tibetan Buddhism. He not only has a very profound scholarly knowledge, but his level of being is very high, as evidenced by the way he interacts with others. Generally people see him as a very funny man, and he really connects with them from his Being, from his inner Buddha. He emphasizes that one needs to study and practice. Traditional schools or colleges of initiation which used to admit people in the past would have students practice six hours a day and then study six hours a day, and so dedicate their entire time in the monastery or mosque or ashram to fully develop intellectual knowledge and comprehension of that knowledge is unison.
This image is Buddhist. This is a famous deity known as Manjushri, who in Buddhism represents the balance of knowledge and being. In his right hand, he carries a sword, his left hand, a book.
The sword traditionally represents being surrounded by fire, the penetrative insight of the consciousness and of our Being that cuts and severs all ties to illusion, the direct perception of what is real inside. The book represents scriptural knowledge, or the more accurate Buddhist terms we use are wisdom and method. Wisdom, if you break down the word etymologically, comes from the word vision, vis-dom, the power to see. This is not physical sight. It's spiritual sight, which is very deep. The sword is surrounded by flames, represents how the fire or energies of divinity, which is known as Christ in Gnosticism, strengthens our awareness to cut through illusion inside. The book is our need to practice the methods, the teaching, to study the scriptures. Knowledge and being together is synthesized in Manjushri, a great deity venerated by the Buddhists.
Divine and Human Knowledge
Likewise, we have to emphasize that knowledge is necessary, but not for the sake of memory. Also, when we talk about knowledge, there are really two forms. I'm going to explain this in relation to the Sufi scripture we've been commenting on, Revelation of the Mystery:
“Knowledge is of two kinds, divine and human. The latter is worthless in comparison with the former, because God's knowledge is an attribute of himself subsisting in him, whose attributes are infinite, whereas our knowledge is an attribute of ourselves subsisting in us, whose attributes are finite.” —Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery
This is very profound, because in Sufism, or really the mystical traditions of Islam, they say that when we know God directly, one acquires those attributes inside. Allah or the being, our inner divinity, manifests in our psyche in order for us to know him directly, and that knowledge of him is a quality of being. It's self-knowledge, genuine spiritual knowledge. In Hinduism, we call it Atma Vidya, Knowledge of Atman, the Divine Self.
People when they hear this think, "Self-realization? That means the common self that I have." It doesn't mean that. To experience the superior self of divinity, we have to really transcend all the type of knowledge we have of ourselves on an intellectual level, because the knowledge of ourselves that we have, of our job, our culture, our language, our customs, our habits, our beliefs, our family, these things are terrestrial. They are finite. They have a limit, a beginning and an end on the line of life. Our language is acquired at birth or in childhood, and we lose our language, and our customs, and our culture when we enter the grave. Those of you who are familiar with reincarnation, or the doctrine of the transmigration of souls into different bodies, can experience this; we teach it as science. We have methods to be aware of our past lives, to study where we come from.
For me personally, this is not something I believe. It's something I know, because I remember. I've had experiences about my own past lives by doing certain practices in this tradition that helped me to have insight, to explain why I'm in the certain situation that I'm in. With reincarnation, or better said, reincorporation, one understands that perhaps one was not in America but in the Middle East as a Sufi, or in Asia as a Buddhist. I've personally had the experience where in certain past lives, I was Muslim, but I'm totally not from that tradition now. I learned Arabic, and I knew that tradition and culture within a very ancient time, but where has it gone? I memorized, and I studied, and I learned this, but it didn't keep with me, because it wasn't part of my being. I didn't really awaken my consciousness at that point. Being aware of it now makes me think that the things that we study in this life, if they're not comprehended and experienced, we forget them when we go to the grave. That's all part of the line of life. Real, genuine spiritual knowledge is the line of being, Atma Vidya, self-knowledge, knowledge of Christ, of Allah, of Buddha, inside.
“Knowledge has been defined as comprehension and investigation of the object known. But the best definition of it is this. A quality whereby the ignorant are made wise.” —Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery
This is talking about the genuine meaning of spiritual knowledge. It isn't intellectual, but spiritual, from insight. It's a quality whereby the ignorant are made wise. To be ignorant doesn't mean to not have book knowledge. We think of people in the country, people who are not part of the city or universities, as being ignorant. They don't study or read books. They're not cultured. That's not the meaning of ignorance. To be ignorant is to lack gnosis. Ignorance, i-gnosis. The prefix “I,” before ignorance, negates gnosis, signifying “without.” Gnosis means knowledge from experience, therefore ignorance means to have no understanding of who God is, because God is the true identity.
So all of us are ignorant to a degree. We all have ignorance and darkness in our mind since we haven't really experienced divinity, what God is, so we are ignorant. We are ignorant because we have the ego, the “I,” inside, the mind, the intellect divorced from the Being. We may be cultured and intellectual, but we may still be ignorant due to lack understanding of the genuine nature of reality. We lack genuine understanding of reality because of the “me,” “myself,” the “I,” the false self, egotistical states of suffering, which prevents us from knowing divinity. We have the “I” inside that negates true knowledge, I-gnorance.
“God's knowledge is that by which he knows all things existent and nonexistent. He does not share it with man. It is not capable of division nor separable from Himself.” —Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery
Therefore, if we want to know what genuine spiritual knowledge is, we have to unite with our divinity; that is the meaning here, because real knowledge is not in books, but it's in our experience of divinity. That's a part of Him and Her, masculine and feminine.
“The proof of it lies in the disposition of His actions, since action demands knowledge in the agent as an indispensable condition.” —Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery
This is very interesting if we know the Christian scriptures, especially since the book of James says, "Faith without works is dead." We may believe in a tradition or faith, but if we don't have practice or action, it's a dead faith. It's a dead religion. Therefore, action demands knowledge as the agent, is indispensable. Action and knowledge, being and knowledge, have to be combined.
“The divine knowledge penetrates what is hidden and comprehends what is manifest. It behooves the seeker to contemplate God in every act, knowing that God sees him and all that he does.” —Al-Hujwiri, Revelation of the Mystery
Self-observation and Awakened Consciousness
In this teaching, we talk about observation, exercising spiritual perception, like a muscle. We show this image again to emphasize that it is precisely in this moment in which we learn to observe ourselves, to have the perspective like we are seeing ourselves for the first time. In this teaching, we talk about a saying by the founder of this tradition who says, "The truth is the unknown from moment to moment." There's always something that we need to be seeing new inside of ourselves and also outside, through alert novelty, clarity, where we sense and understand life in a new way.
We've all had this when we were younger, in a moment perhaps with family, where we were present in the instant, and we felt the joy of being alive. In a moment like that, there is clarity, and we see life as if it is completely new. We didn't have our education or our ideas to project and to create problems and worry us. Instead, we were living life in the present. Children have access to that more than adults, because they haven't developed what is known as personality yet, their custom, or habits. Also, this is why Jesus taught that one must become like a little child to enter the kingdom of heaven, to have an innocent mind, a mind that sees life in a new way in each instant.
Usually we go through our home or our job mechanically. We don't really think about what we do. We just do it. It means that we're not really cognizant of what we're doing.
It's precisely from moment to moment that in this instant we learn to perceive life. We say that awakened perception of life is like watching a film. We try to see life in a new way, each instant, without identifying ourselves with exterior circumstances or negative internal states. When thoughts emerge, really we have to learn how to separate psychologically from thought, from feeling, from sensation. We call this self-observation, meaning: we are observing from the perspective of the consciousness. This consciousness is called soul in some religions. It's called buddhata in Buddhism, essence of the Buddha. This is really our genuine spiritual nature, which can resolve all of our issues when we develop it.
Likewise, this superior state of being is not something necessarily devoid of thought, feeling, or sensation, but it means that we comprehend what we are experiencing in this moment—not identifying with it but instead identifying with God, the joy of God, who is Being, who is presence, who is genuine faith, love, and compassion that is limitless. These are qualities of divinity that we learn to develop as we separate from what is negative in us and learn how to comprehend how part of our soul is conditioned by these elements, such as anger, or pride, or vanity as we were discussing.
We learn to observe this all in ourselves, to have the perspective that we are seeing ourselves as if we'd never seen ourselves before. Again, this refers to the beginning of our lecture, the need to see life in a new way, to understand that the type of knowledge we seek is inside, and that we need to learn how to reevaluate what is it we know. This watchfulness is known in different traditions by many names. In Buddhism, it's called mindfulness. In this tradition, it's called self-observation. In Sufism, it's called muraqaba, vigilance, to be in vigil.
If we learn to start observing ourselves, we find that we get distracted. We suddenly realize, "Wait, what happened a minute ago?" If we examine our day, we find that there are moments or periods in which we don't remember what happened. We should really remember everything we do, even the thoughts or our feelings or emotions we have in a given instant. When we find that there are gaps in our memory about what happened or what we said to a certain person, it means that we're not cognizant. It means that there are gaps in our memory. To be in vigil, in different traditions, they sometimes do practices all night. They don't sleep physically. I'm not speaking about that specifically. To be in vigil is to be awake as a psyche, because in the myth of Psyche in Greek teachings, mythology, Psyche is asleep. She needs to be awakened by Eros, the force of love, the Being.
To remember divinity in this instant is to be in vigil. It's also to be in prayer. To pray is to speak with divinity inside, to connect with divinity, with whatever words are natural to us. A teaching from a Sufi scripture, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism, states the following. This quote is from a Sufi master by the name of Al-Wasiti:
“The best act of worship is watchfulness of the moments, that is, that the servant not look beyond his limit, not contemplate anything other than his lord, and not associate with anything other than this present moment…”
…meaning, we have to stop thinking about where we're going to go, or our daydreams, or job. If we're driving our car, let's drive our car. Let's not think about our family or spouse or other things, but be present when we're driving, because really the reason why there's so many accidents is because people are asleep psychologically. They don't pay attention. They're not aware of what's going on inside or outside. We do this all the time. We're not aware of ourselves. The best prayer to divinity is to be aware and awake, and to not contemplate anything other than the presence of our divinity. That's something we learn to develop and cultivate through spiritual practices that we have in this tradition, that help us generate energy to strengthen our soul.
In this image, speaking precisely about the need to become a child, we have an image of the Virgin Mary holding the Christ child. We need the mind of a child. It doesn't mean that we're stupid, weak, or vulnerable. It means that we have the qualities that are naturally spontaneous and generative in a child, which is love and fascination, and a profound awareness of things. You see a child, they look at everything with amazement, and we've lost that, but that's something that we can regain inside as a spiritual quality. It doesn't mean we become like infants physically, but really the meaning is psychological. We have a profound love for life in this instant.
We emphasize the following from our teacher in this tradition, Samael Aun Weor, in his book Tarot and Kabbalah, about the need to become like a child:
"One has to change the processing of reasoning for the quality of discernment. Discernment is the direct perception of the truth without the process of reasoning. Discernment is comprehension without the need of reasoning. We must change the process of reasoning for the beauty of comprehension. The mind must be completely transformed into an infant. It must be converted into a child full of beauty."
What is discernment? It means to know something without having to think about it. We have a hunch, we know something is right or wrong, and then the intellect debates. "I should do this because," and then we have many excuses and reasons in the mind, but first that hunch comes like a lightning bolt, sparks in our heart, and then the thunder of the mind comes after and says, "We should do this instead... I have this reason. I need to do this or that."
We need to learn how to discern what is objective in us. What is that lightning that we experience, and what is reasoning? By this we're not referring to the need to get rid of the intellect altogether. We need the intellect, but we have to understand its place. It's useful in its place when it serves our Being. Knowledge that's in the service of our inner God is useful, but knowledge, a mind that knows how to reason without the virtues of divinity, is harmful, like a scientist who can create atomic bombs and more creative ways to kill other human beings. People use their reasoning for evil things. We see this all over the world. Instead, we want to learn how to use our mind to develop the virtues of divinity.
The Tree of Life
Synthesizing everything we've stated, we have the following teaching by another Sufi master. People talk about heaven and hell in religion in different traditions. The type of self-knowledge we're talking about requires the abandonment of our previous conceptions of self and to enter into a new experience of who we are as a divinity, and who is divinity inside of us.
In this image, we have what is known as Kabbalah, the tree of life. This is simply a map of being. It's a structure that shows us the nature of divinity and its different aspects. It's not our intention to explain each aspect, but just to emphasize this tree of life is precisely the burning bush that Moses saw as a symbol of divinity, the tree of being. This tree of life is inside. It's a map of our consciousness, and really represents for us heaven, superior ways of being, superior states.
Hell for us is not a place, but a mental state. When we are gripped by anger, we suffer, we are in hell. When we are afraid, we're uncertain about our life, where we're going, what we're going to do economically to pay our rent, we suffer. That's hell. John Milton, the author of Paradise Lost, he stated the following: "The mind is its own place. It can create a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven."
Likewise our mind determines our life. We have this quote from a Sufi master who very beautifully and succinctly states:
“Wherever the delusion of your selfhood appears, there is hell. Wherever you aren't, that's heaven." –Abū Sa’īd in Ibn Munawwar: Asrār at-tawḥīd, ed. Shafī‘ī-Kadkanī, 299
It doesn't mean that it's a type of nihilism, but it's a negation of our inferior ways of being and their replacement for a superior way of being. To experience joy, we have to get rid of anger. We have to comprehend our psychological elements that make us suffer and to remove them in order to free the consciousness that is trapped inside, like the genie in Aladdin's lamp. We need to remove our false conceptions of self, because that's hell. The suffering that we have, terrestrial suffering in daily experience, is a type of hell for us. Heaven is where we see that we are not necessarily a part of that as a soul, and that we can escape that if we learn to pay attention.
Following the theme of this lecture, we've been explaining a lot from Sufi doctrine. In this image, we have a very famous image of Prophet Mohammed, who in this symbol is riding a mystical animal whose name is Al-Buraq. We understand from Gnosis that all religions are really precious pearls. They all express a divine teaching. This is not a representation of the religions as they are today, but in their original root; these teachers came to found and explain the root signs of how to liberate consciousness, how to free ourselves from suffering. Likewise, we explain also in many lectures how even a misunderstood and misrepresented tradition like Islam has a place in this tradition, particularly the symbol of Mohammed riding an animal to heaven, Al-Buraq.
The mythological creature is represented as the size of a mule with the face of a woman, the tail of a peacock. I know there are people who literally believe this happened, but this is a symbol. We can explain it through teachings like kabbalah, that this is really something applicable inside. Al-Buraq means “lightning.” That lightning is the energy of divinity we call Christ, which can take us up from here, in this physical world, up the tree of life, as you saw in the Hebrew image.
In his teaching, he explained how one can ascend from suffering to a superior level of being. The Sufis really explain this very beautifully:
“In general, it is to the measure of one's alienation from one's own ego that one attains direct knowledge of one's lord…” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
…meaning heaven is where we are not, our defects. Heaven is when the soul, the mind, is in peace and silence, and can reflect the beauty of divinity inside psychologically.
“I heard Abu Ali al-Daqqaq say, "One of the tokens of the gnosis of God is the achievement of deep awe and reverence for God. If someone's realization increases, his awe increases." ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
Again like a child, we look at life and we see that we have awe, that spontaneous feeling of joy such as when we see a rainfall outside, and the expression of a sense of peace about the beauty of what we're experiencing. Without having to think about it or saying, "This is beautiful," we just simply relax and reflect on the nature of the sight that we're experiencing. The type of awe that we experience, on a superficial level we could say, and at a deeper level, we begin to experience what divinity is, we feel that awe of that tremendous power that is inside of us that can give us genuine happiness.
If someone's realization increases, his awe increases, meaning: if someone's knowledge of divinity, genuine knowledge of what divinity is, increases, his awe increases.
“Gnosis requires stillness of heart, just as learning requires outward quiet. If someone's gnosis increases, his tranquility increases.” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
We teach the science of meditation as the core practice, how to achieve mental silence, peace so that we can know divinity directly. As our knowledge of divinity increases, we have more peace in life, more joy, because we begin to remove what in us obstructs us from the goal.
This type of state requires that we abandon false knowledge about ourselves. Of course, this is a very challenging thing to confront, but all religions teach the need to really confront the obstacles that are inside that prevent us from reaching divinity. All that is impure in us psychologically needs to die, as Jesus taught with his passion, meaning he represented how any person on this spiritual path needs to remove the impurities. That's precisely through his crucifixion. It was a very painful process, but one that transformed him radically. This is something that he represented with his life. That's something that we need to do inside. It's not something to be believed in outside, but from practice.
Annihilation and Subsistence in the Being
In this image, we have again some Sufis in prayer. To emphasize what is the nature of being, I'm going to continue elaborating with two more quotes from Principles of Sufism, which is a Gnostic text.
“There is no finding the truth save after the extinction of the ordinary human condition, because when the power of reality manifests, (or the power of Being), the perception of material things cannot endure." This is the meaning of the saying of Abul Hussein Al-Nuri: "For 20 years, I had been finding and losing. When I have found my lord, I have lost my heart. When I have found my heart, I have lost my lord." ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
What does that mean? If we identify with our self-will, we forget God, but if we remember God as a universal presence inside, one forgets one's usual sense of individuality. This is something that is fearful and frightening to the mind, because the mind does not know what is beyond itself, but this is a type of cognizance which is liberating, which we can develop through practice. As we become associated and affiliated with what are the states of divinity inside, there is a sense of freedom and genuine happiness, because that energy known as Allah or Christ or Buddha inside is eternal. It never changes or dies.
It is also the meaning of the saying of Junayd: “The knowledge of unity is contrary to its existence, and its existence is contrary to the knowledge of it.” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
What is this knowledge of unity? We talk about how God is one. In Judaism, we say, Shema yisrael yod-chavah eloheinu yod-chavah echad." Coming from a Jewish family, this is something I'm familiar with. Basically in a synagogue, when you pronounce this, it's basically the declaration of faith of Judaism. You cover your eyes. You say, “Shema yisrael yod-chavah eloheinu yod-chavah echad,” meaning, "Jehovah the lord, Jehovah is one." The Muslims say, “La ilaha illallah muhammadur rasulullah.” There is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet."
This unity is a type of integration with divinity; it’s an intelligence that is not dispersed. God we say is one, is a singular force, which is one with the cosmos. We want to seek to become one with that cosmic consciousness. The knowledge of unity is contrary to its existence, meaning in the beginning, we study. We have intellectual ideas about what this type of state of being is, and then later we come to experience it. First we study, then we practice, and then we experience. This is really the gradual practice that we develop, and its existence is contrary to the knowledge of it. Again, if we have the knowledge about these teachings but don't experience them, we need to learn to experience them, which is why we have different books that give different practices for that.
The final quote here. We have an image of Arabic calligraphy. In Arabic, this represents Al-Nur, meaning the light. This is a famous surah from the Qur’an, which says, "Light upon light." That light is our inner perception, our inner lord inside. We all have that light of divinity within us, which we can actualize if we learn to practice it, exercise it.
The final quote we have here, from Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri, summarizes our points about the nature of being.
"The man of being possesses both sober balance and obliteration of self," meaning egotistical self. Sober means, really, the teaching of being balanced psychologically and not being drunk on egotism. It’s not something physical. It's not a reference to just abstaining from drinking alcohol. In Islam, Muslims don't drink alcohol at all, but the psychological meaning of it is that we're not intoxicated by false conceptions of self, but instead, we are obliterated. That negative sense of self we have is obliterated, and there's only the presence and joy of divinity inside.
“His state of sobriety is his continued existence in the real. His state of obliteration is his annihilation in the real.” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
Heaven is where we aren't, but hell is where our mistaken sense of self is.
“These two states always come upon him in succession. When sobriety in the real overcomes him, he acts and speaks in truth…” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
…which is why certain masters who really united with divinity very fully, like Jesus, could say, "I am the Christ," because Christ was manifest in him, or certain Muslim prophets like Mansur Al-Hallaj, a famous Sufi poet, said, "Ana 'l-Ḥaqq," meaning, "I am the truth," meaning God spoke through him. The Muslims of the time had him tortured and mutilated, because they were offended, because that's the name of God. He says, “I am God," like Jesus said, "I am the Christ." People don't understand that it's divinity inside that manifested within the terrestrial person, the Being manifested in that individual.
“The prophet reported from God Most Hugh relating a non-Koranic divine utterance or Hadith Qudsi, Muslim oral tradition. "With me, he hears, and with me, he sees." ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
That profound state in which there is no individual sense of self but there's only God inside is really the goal.
To conclude, we emphasize that we need to balance our study with practice. We need to study the nature of being inside. What is our being? Who is our being? Who is our divinity? These are things that we've begun to understand as we reflect and observe our daily life.
Questions and Answers
Question: What daily practice do you have to run that internal connection with divinity?
Instructor: The primary practice we use is meditation. We have many exercises also, such as mantras, which are sacred sounds. By learning to work with the energies of our body, and our mind, and heart, we learn to activate spiritual perception. By working with sacred sounds, those sounds help to vibrate the different glands of our body, to activate what is known as chakras, the spiritual forces or circulation of energies which can awaken our consciousness. We have many exercises with mantras, such as exercises called runes, a type of Tibetan yoga postures, meditation specifically, and exercises called transmutation, where we transform the energies of our body to consciousness.
All the books that we sell have many practices to use. These are very practical books for how to awaken that perception. You can find more information on our website as well for different individual practices. Comments or questions?
Question: I've been studying higher thinking for probably longer than all of you have been alive. Not until I heard the word Being did it trigger something very authentic, very accurate, or whatever. It basically really helped. I had not heard that before. I'm placing high value on the language that I hear.
Instructor: We say in this teaching, particularly in The Revolution of the Dialectic, it's a book from our founder of this tradition. He states that, "Socrates demanded precision of his terminology." We use many terms that are very specific and scientific. Being is one of them. In Arabic, we call it wujud, or we simply say being, but in nature it refers to our divinity inside. We have to understand that the Being is here and now, and that we can only access it if we learn to direct attention from a new perspective.
Question: Do you have these books here? If you're sort of a novice and trying to learn more, what do you recommend to read?
Instructor: I'd recommend Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology. This book explains the foundation for working with consciousness and how we learn to direct attention. The teachings of self-observation or mindfulness that we've discussed in brief are fully explained in that text. It's a very strong and powerful teaching. I haven't found any other author who has been more explicit. We study in this tradition many scriptures, Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and in terms of practical application, these texts that we have available have been helpful, because they're very clear and very powerful, and practical. Personally, I would advise learning about self-observation, learning awareness about oneself, one should study Revolutionary Psychology, the book that you have in your hand. As an introductory text, it's very practical. It explains how to understand self, what is self, what is being, and what is divinity.
If there's something you want to look at more in-depth, you can look online. If there are more questions, we'll conclude.
Question: I think I understand what you're saying and I understand why we want to study this, but if I really understand it, why do I sometimes feel the resistance to practice?
Instructor: That resistance is, in psychological terms, we call ego. Ego is Latin for I, and we say that we don't have one I but many ‘I’s. Pride is an I, anger is an I, lust is an I. It's a different defect, a different type of self. As we begin to study this type of teaching and practice, we get resistance, because the mind does not want to experience or does not want to change, fundamentally.
This is precisely the great drama that any saint goes through, such as you see the temptation of St. Anthony, in which he's surrounded in his images and artwork by many demons. The demons are inside him. Those are different defects that are fighting against him to destroy his spiritual work. This is the meaning of the word Satan. It isn't a guy in a red suit with a pitchfork and horns. It refers to Hebrew Shatan, which means adversary. God wants to develop something inside of us, but our own defects don't want to change. They want to hold onto their habits, so there's a big battle that we have to face. The fact that you have resistance is normal. The next step is to develop understanding of what is that resistance so that you can overcome it.
Question: How do I develop that so that I can overcome?
Instructor: Comprehension. You need to observe. Like it says in Revolutionary Psychology, when you have a problem, when you have a conflict or resistance in your mind, observe that in yourself. Observe what is inside. That's the key. If you don't see it, you can't change it. If you see it, you can transform it.
Question: I see it, so how do I kill it?
Instructor: Basically, we have meditation. I am really happy for that question, because people are afraid of what we call mystical death. They hear about the Buddhist annihilation, the death of the ego, and they get scared. What will I be after I die as a mind? Meaning, the Being will be there. Study the book Revolution of the Dialectic. It explains that, and we'll talk more in depth, but thank you for coming.
The title of this lecture is “Self Knowledge: The Door to Liberation from Suffering.” Now in the Gnostic tradition, we address many religions and faiths in order to arrive at a synthetic teaching. The core knowledge at the heart of every religion provides us understanding of our innate and divine potential, as well as how to overcome the afflictions of our mind, the negative emotions of our heart, and many illnesses of our body. In these studies we are concerned with our personal connection with divinity, and it is our goal to unite with our internal divine Intelligence, which different religions have given different names (whether Allah in Islam, Christ in Christianity, Buddha in Buddhism, Ahura-Mazda amongst the Zoroastrians, etc). We seek to cultivate this knowledge of our Internal Divinity, our Inner Self day to day, moment by moment.
Today, in the spirit of synthetically teaching different religions and traditions, we are going to explain this path of self-knowledge in relation to the Gnostic doctrine, as well as in relation to the Sufi initiates, the mystics or Gnostics of Islam. Even the Muslim doctrine, in its heart, contains a profound esotericism which is valuable to study. We study Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, etc., in synthesis to arrive at the core knowledge that is going to change us. So we are going to explain many teachings that were given by the Middle-Eastern initiates, the Masters of Islam.
The word Islam is Arabic for “submission to God’s will.” This is precisely what we seek to cultivate in this tradition, to submit ourselves to the will of our Inner Divinity, our Inner Being known as Spirit, Innermost, Atman, our flame of Oreb that Moses saw on the mountain. The Sufis denominate our Inner Being or Spirit as Ruh, or simply the word Hu within the sacred name of God: Allahu. Hu reminds us of the Sanksrit Hum, which precisely means spirit.
We have to understand what is this Self that we seek to understand in ourselves and in our psychology, because many people affirm that they know themselves, that they know who they really are in their depth. If we generally examine this concept of self-knowledge, we will arrive at an understanding that it is a very elevated statement to make that one knows one self. We each have our own Inner Divinity who is our True Self. Therefore when someone says, “I know myself—I know who I am” and we ask them, “Well… do you know Christ, your Inner Flame, your Inner Logos? Have you awakened to your inner Buddha-nature, the light of Amitabha? Have you seen Allah and spoken to your Inner God just as we are here receiving a lecture, face to face with the Lord, like Moses on Mount Sinai?”—what will typically happen is that the person will respond, “No. I don’t know anything like that. But I do know myself. This is my language. This is my name. This is the culture to which I was raised; this is my family,” etc.
We genuinely assume that these aspects and qualities of our culture, heritage, name, and language, are who we are, ignoring that God is not isolated to one particular person or place, but is internal in each one of us. God is not our language. God is not our culture, our religion, our beliefs. Our Internal Divinity is beyond terrestrial customs, beliefs, and social mores. What happens is that God has expressed Himself through many prophets from different races, cultures, and languages, in order to give a universal teaching. Bearing this in mind, when someone says, “I know myself,” really that is saying, “I know who God is. I know my Inner God within me. I have gone beyond the public teachings of religion and have experienced my Being, my inner divinity.” Also, it would be saying “I have fully manifested my divinity within my psyche.” Such a statement has been given by many elevated initiates—not by common individuals who know nothing about genuine esoteric, spiritual discipline.
There was a Sufi Master by the name of Mansur Al Hallaj who was put in prison, tortured, and mutilated because he said amongst the orthodox Muslims of his time, “An al-Haqq!” or “I am the Truth!” Haqiqah, the most elevated doctrine within Sufi thought, refers to the Truth and the Truth is one of the names of Allah, a name given to divinity. Now, of course God was expressing through Hallaj who said, “I am the Truth.” It was not Mansur al-Hallaj, the terrestrial personality, who said it. It was his Inner Divinity that spoke it. For before his execution, the Master Al-Hallaj was interrogated:
Abu Bakr asked, “What is mysticism?”
Al Hallaj answered, “Behold, his minor degree before thee.”
Abu Bakr asked again, “And where is his supreme degree?”
Al Hallaj answered, “Thou cannot have access unto it; nonetheless, tomorrow thou shall see what shall come. I testify it in the Divine Mystery within which it exists, albeit it is hidden for thee.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Narrow Way: "The Passion of Al-Hallaj"
The minor degree or expression of divinity is the terrestrial person or human soul. The supreme degree is God Himself, Allah, the true self that can express within any person who has prepared him or herself to express God.
However, many fanatics of public-level religion and tradition did not understand these things—so they killed Al-Hallaj; they tortured him and mutilated his body because they considered his words blasphemy, even though all the great masters before him have also been tortured, crucified, or poisoned for delivering wisdom…
So this is what we seek to be able to express in ourselves—the Truth—our Inner God. We have to understand that our Being is really the most pure and divine treasure that we possess within our interior that must be actively sought, and not just believed in. As it is stated in the Muslim oral tradition, the Hadith Qudsi:
Allah said, “I was a hidden treasure, and I was wished to be known, so I created creation (mankind), and made myself known to them, and they recognized me.”
There is a very famous Sufi proverb that states, “He who knows himself, knows his Lord.” If we are familiar with the Greek teachings of oracle of Delphi, we find the familiar maxim written on its immortal walls: “Man know thyself, and you shall know the universe and its gods.”
Therefore, if we really know ourselves, it means that we know God, but if we do not know God, it means that we do not know ourselves in depth, because we are just an emanation or spark that emerged from divinity. For the most part, we do not genuinely, in our constitution, know who we are. Who is our Being? There are few who can say that they know their Being, their Spirit, their Inner God. So we have to acknowledge this fact that we generally do not know divinity, if we truly wish to unite with divinity. If we think we know it all already, then what effort will we make to strive to know God?
In this image we have the Prophet Muhammad with his disciples. These are initiates crowned with fire on their heads. There are so many saints in different paintings of sacred and religious art depicted with halos of flames, whether in Buddhism, Judaism, Islam or Christianity, that it is impossible to ignore or deny their ubiquitous nature and meaning. Such halos are in every tradition and signify the energy known as Christ, that fire or intelligence within our body that has been raised up the spinal column to the brain. We call that force kundalini; we call that force the Divine Mother Goddess who is within us. So the path that Jesus took as carrying the cross, by working in a matrimony (since the cross is a symbol of matrimony) he took that energy up the spinal medulla, up the Via Crucis, the path of suffering, to the brain—or you could say Golgotha which means “the place of the skulls.” And so we have in every tradition this teaching: the elevation of our inner flame, our inner fire, our sacred intelligence known as our Divine Mother Kundalini, elevating up the spinal medulla very slowly and laboriously to Golgotha.
This path of initiation, this path of crucifixion, is precisely the path taught by Jesus and many other Masters. Here we see the Sufi initiates illuminated by fire, meaning that they're working with the cross, which is not only a Christian symbol, but Muslim as well. The symbol of Islam is the crescent moon and the star of Venus, which have the same meaning as the cross that we’re explaining here. The crescent moon is the power of Yesod in Kabbalah, the sexual forces that must be dominated by the Divine Mother Kundalini, Venus or Aphrodite. A cross is the sexual communion of man and woman, just as a married couple must together work with the crescent moon under the guidance of the Divine Mother, Venus.
Those Muslims who consider Allah to be merely masculine are wrong, since the Divine Mother is an integral part of divinity and is represented in Hinduism as the sacred cow, Al-Baqara within the second Surah of the Holy Qur'an.
It is also interesting to note is that three of those initiates in this image have the fire, the halo, but one of them does not. It is indicating that there are levels and hierarchies amongst the disciples, or how much self-knowledge these individuals possess. What’s most important is in this image of the Prophet Muhammad, for he’s wearing the veil. In many sacred images of Islam we find that the Prophet is never depicted with a face. We always see a veil because God cannot be seen face to face, and since Prophet Muhammad, was the minor degree of his innermost Being, he became a full expression of his supreme degree, Allah.
If we wish to know divinity, we have to be humble like these initiates that we see in this image. This refers to the veil of Isis in the Egyptian Mysteries and freemasonry. So the veil, the hijab or burka that the Muslim women would wear, was traditionally only worn amongst the wives of the Prophet Muhammad, those that were close to his family. Now that veil really represents, for us, our own ignorance. We do not see God because we are asleep as a soul, as a consciousness, as Psyche in the Greek Myth. We do not know God, because we do not have consciousness of our divinity, meaning we are not in communication with our inner being. We lack genuine self-knowledge. This veil also is a symbol of sexual modesty, that the wives of the Prophet, who represented in their physical life different parts of the Being, must be pure of all lust and defilement within the mind.
We are going to explain how we communicate with our God in synthesis. We have this veil, burka or hijab before our spiritual eyes. When perceiving God directly there is only force and fire. To look at God directly, at that Intelligence, upon one’s Inner God, is to die completely—not just physically—but psychologically—dying to one’s impurities in the mind. So the path that Jesus taught with the cross, the illumination of the fire up the spinal medulla to the brain, represents for us the crucifixion of the mind, the death of one’s psychological impurities and the full purification of the soul in order to return to God. Remember that when Prophet Moses asked the Lord to show Himself in His fully majesty, Jehovah (or Allah), said, "If you look upon Me directly you will die." This was demonstrated with the last words of Jesus, “It is finished” and “God unto thy hands I commend my Spirit.” In order to fully unite with divinity, we must die to all evilness of a psychological type. This relates deeply with the teachings of the Kabbalah, the mystical science of Judaism.
So these initiates are bowing before this Intelligence, the flame that Muhammad is expressing in his body, in his mind and heart. We need to have this type of reverence and respect which is the hallmark of genuine communication and communion with our Inner God. The only way to accomplish this is to purify one’s mind of all defilement. To strive against one’s own impurities is a spiritual war, the path of jihad, followed by any prophet or master who sought to fully comprehend and extirpate their defects.
Sadly the exoteric religion of Islam has degenerated. Just as Christianity and Buddhism has degenerated. Here we’re speaking about the esoteric truths of the Muslim tradition, specifically regarding the teachings of jihad or “striving.” Genuine jihad is about killing one’s own infidels in the mind. To kill an infidel is to kill one’s anger pride, vanity, lust, laziness, etc., for as the Prophet taught, “The strongest among you is he who controls his anger.” He never said to take out one’s anger on another person! Lastly, a group of his Companions were returning from a battle with the Prophet who were defending themselves against a group of Arabs that sought to kill them and destroy their group. Prophet Muhammad explained, “We leave the lesser holy war to go to the greater holy war.” “And what, O Prophet,” is the lesser and greater holy wars?” asked his Companions. He replied, “The lesser holy war is war against others. The great holy war is war against your desires.”
So here were not teaching the public doctrine given to many Muslims, about physically defending one’s faith from oppression. We study the esoteric teachings of Islam, which are very sacred. We have to understand that the all religions are sacred and that Islam has its place within humanity, but sadly as an exotic tradition or faith, it has terribly degenerated, because people don’t study and they only read things literally. Here we are explaining, really the heart, the core, the blood of the teachings of Muhammad, which is very sacred.
Mindfulness, Awareness, and Sufi Psychology
So he states in the oral tradition, within the Hadith Qudsi, verse 19:
“Be mindful of Allah and you will find Him in front of you.”
Or we could say, be mindful of Buddha and he will be with you. Be mindful of Jehovah and he will be with you. Be mindful of Durga, the Divine Goddess, Devi Kundalini, and She will be with you.
“Recognize and acknowledge Allah, in times of ease and prosperity, and He will remember you in times of adversity.”
So what does it mean to be mindful? It is to pay attention. In Arabic we call mindfulness or awareness as muhadarah. Muhadarah comes from the root word Hudur, which means Presence. This refers to being aware of the inner presence of our divinity, inside our psyche, in all moments. In that practice that we performed in the beginning of our meeting, we were examining our mind, understanding that we are not our thoughts, that we are not the emotions that constantly surge within our psyche as pain and pleasure, like and dislike, states which constantly fluctuate in our consciousness. Neither are we sensations in our body, mind, or instincts.
These transient thoughts, feelings and sensations are known as nafs in Sufism, egos, selves, "I's" or defects. These have nothing to do with God. The elements of pride, anger, vanity, lust, greed, laziness, gluttony, etc., are aberrations or conditionings of our psyche. While these elements tend to constitute our daily experience (since we genuinely do not question these thoughts, feelings, and sensations at all in the moment), the truth is that deep down we are something much more distinct. We are the soul, the consciousness, known as Essence in Gnostic psychology, that has the capacity to perceive and separate from the nafs, the conditioned elements of our psyche. Part of our soul, which is not conditioned by nafs, still has the capacity to transcend the suffering of these conditioned elements of mind or soul in order to know divinity, since only the consciousness or soul can know God directly.
A conditioned mind cannot know divinity. Only a liberated, conscious perception free of nafs, egos, can know the Truth. But for this, the consciousness that is not yet conditioned by the mind, egos, or nafs, needs to be exercised through learning to pay attention, to become aware of the presence (hudur) of God, to not identify with the nafs, our ego.
It takes tremendous work to be able to cultivate this state moment to moment, here and now. So to be mindful of God means to remember your Inner Divinity, here and now. Observe yourself. Be present and pay attention. The truth is we do not know how to be mindful. If we knew how to be mindful we would be aware of God within us here and now. But the sad reality is that whenever any thought, feeling, or sensation appears in our experience, we identify and think, "This is who I am!" Yet this sense of self is transitory and depends on external causes and conditions that are not stable, permanent, or eternal. Only God, Allah, the Innermost Being, is eternal. Instead, what we commonly identify with are impermanent, subjective, conditioned elements in our psyche that distort our perception of reality, the nafs or elements of desire denominated as Satan, "the adversary of God," within the traditions of Abraham.
So what does it mean to recognize and acknowledge Allah in times of ease and prosperity and He will remember you in times of adversity? It means that when things are easy, we take our free time and we use it to cultivate the path of self-knowledge. But what self-knowledge are we talking about? We really mean knowledge of our divine self, Atman, the Buddha within, our Spirit or Ruh. We come to know God within by knowing our defects, nafs or egos that obstruct us from connecting with divinity.
Yet to really cultivate genuine self-knowledge, we must use our freedom and our luxury to practice meditation, since meditation is the foundational practice of this tradition and is the only way for us to know our Being.
So if we have free time and we don’t meditate, God will not remember us when we need Him. On the other hand, if we take our free time and we use it for spiritual development, spiritual practices, then even in the most challenging circumstances God will always be with you; Allah (may He be praised and exalted) will always be with you. Your Being will always be with you to provide help, but it requires sacrifice on our part not to indulge in fruitless activities like playing video games, or drinking alcohol to excess. Therefore, it is by knowing ourselves and by developing self-knowledge in meditation that we are going to connect with God.
Knowledge and Comprehension
In this next graphic, we have an image of a mosque, a house of prayer, and we have a quote from the Venerable Master Samael Aun Weor, who is the founder of the modern Gnostic tradition. He states,
“Knowledge and Comprehension are different. Knowledge is of the mind. Comprehension is of the heart.”
When talk about self-knowledge, knowing ourselves, it doesn't mean reading books. It doesn't mean reading scripture. Knowing ourselves does not entail picking up any books, teachings or listening to a lecture. Genuine spiritual knowledge is cognizance of one’s own divine nature of one’s own intelligence, knowing our internal psychological states as distinct entities in ourselves. It is discovering states such as pride, anger, vanity, laziness, etc. These are what we call defects, egos, nafs—it is being able to differentiate here and now between our mind and our consciousness, from desire (nafs) and soul (Essence or consciousness). The mind is the den of desire. Desire is ego, hatred, vanity, craving, etc.
The knowledge we seek is that of our internal states, but according to this teaching, using strict esoteric language, knowledge alone remains within the domain of the intellect, book knowledge, sacred writing, scriptures, etc. However, comprehension is something completely different. Comprehension is something that we seek to develop in this science. We need to comprehend ourselves. The truth is we do not truly comprehend ourselves. For when anger arises, the ego or naf of hatred, we speak hurtful words and do not comprehend the damage that those words will cause. Instead, we usually receive the after effects such as when we have a conflict with a family member or with a friend or a spouse. Problems subsequently emerge—overwhelming frustration, great enmity, poisonous resentment. This shows that we do not comprehend ourselves, for if we comprehended how damaging anger is, how cruel pride is, how sarcastic pride can be, then we would never act in harmful ways—ever. We don’t really comprehend how damaging the effects can be on the mind, on other human beings.
I’ll reiterate a point made by the Prophet Muhammad. He said, “The strongest man is the one who can control his anger.” It’s true. We all have that defect of anger within and even justify its existence by saying “It’s normal. I know I have anger, but in some situations it is OK.” We have knowledge in our mind that we are a certain way, but no comprehension. Comprehension of a defect will aid one not to let it take over our mind and heart, our body, but mere intellectual knowledge doesn’t modify psychological states.
The different between knowledge and comprehension are demonstrated in drug addicts or alcoholics. These persons know that drugs or alcohol are destructive, but many of them continue to indulge in intoxicants, simply because they have not psychologically comprehended the damage of these substances. Comprehension is definitive, whereby when we really comprehend the destructive nature of drugs, alcohol, intoxicants, and anger, we will never allow ourselves to partake in such behaviors.
There are many elements in our psychology that influence us that we are not even remotely aware of. And if we examine ourselves, we do not really comprehend who we are, although we think we know. We have a lot of knowledge about who we are. It’s true. We know our name, our age, our birthplace, our culture, and our family. This is all intellectual, of the mind. Comprehension is what we seek to cultivate in the heart, the soul, the consciousness, the Essence. Comprehension of our True Self, of our Inner Divine Flame, is happiness, insight clarity and direct perception. Prophet Muhammad said in the Hadith, in the oral tradition, “An hour of contemplation is better than a year of prayer.”
We are going to explain what contemplation is, what meditation is, which in Arabic is mushahadah, in the course of this lecture.
Even better than standing and performing salaat (ritual prayer) five times a day, it’s better if we sit down and close our eyes to meditate, to really reflect on our inner psyche. What really causes us suffering? What are the causes of our problems, psychologically speaking? What in us creates such havoc or conflict with other human beings? What in us creates confusion and pain? So we look at Buddhism we find the Four Noble Truths:
1. That in life there is suffering.
2. Suffering has causes
3. The cessation of suffering
4. There is path to the cessation of suffering
This is the path which we are explaining. To comprehend ourselves is to work on our defects, egos or nafs so that we do not create suffering for ourselves and for others. The way that we cultivate this path is by developing being and knowledge.
When we talk about self-knowledge, of cultivating comprehension of our Inner Divinity (who is peace, joy, genuine love, compassion for others, spiritual strength, faith and the elimination of doubt), somehow we think that by annihilating our pride and anger we are going to be soulless people, for sadly, we believe that without egotistical elements we will be nothing. On the contrary, by eliminating our defects in meditation (muraqabah in Arabic, vigilant introspection) we develop soul; we develop consciousness and therefore we develop the genuine qualities of God, which are virtues. This pertains to being, to be here and now, to be present, and to not think about other things, to not compare what we are hearing to other things or to be debating in our mind any phenomena that we come across. It means that we have an open, spontaneous and intuitive perception of life as it is without artifice, without thinking about things, without feeling about other things, without being distracted. This is what it means to be and it is the state of being which unites us to our Divine Being, Allah because our Being is with us here and now in this state, in this room, in our hearts. Allah is a treasure that wishes to be known, to be perceived by our Essence, but the problem is we don’t know Him. We don’t remember Him. We don’t concentrate on Him in our hearts and we typically don’t fight against the distractions in our minds.
Question: How does one self-observe? I try it for some time and get very confused; things are very difficult to see within myself and to understand. How do I know that I am doing this right?
Instructor: That’s a good concern. In the beginning it’s like that, because self-observation, vigilant introspection (muraqabah) or self-awareness (muhadarah) is an entirely new way of perceiving things, to self-observe oneself like we did in the practice. We were observing our heart, our mind, our body as if they were a separate entity. We’re looking at our mind and thoughts as something different from us. We are perceiving the mind, but we are not the mind. We are perceiving the heart, but we are not the heart.
Consciousness, soul or Essence is the ability to perceive things as they are in our psyche, in our internal states. Now in the beginning, it is exceptionally challenging to be able to discern between what is mind, what is heart, what is the body, what are sensations, what are instincts, movements, what are thoughts. The way that we develop the capacity to perceive and to discriminate the internal phenomenon in our psyche is self-observation, to persist in that practice, not to forget or stop what we’re doing because it’s a continuous path, here and now. We must only be aware of this moment (waqt amongst the Sufis). We are constantly initiating the practice of remembering ourselves in our psyche.
We need to be aware of our internal psychology on a moment to moment basis, to always be present and never forget. This is very difficult and constitutes the meaning of jihad. It doesn't fighting against someone who doesn't follow Islam. It means fighting against your anger, pride, and all these defects, all these things that keep us distracted from God.
Thoughts, Intuition, Knowledge and Being
Question: When I try to self-observe I have difficulty know what I am seeing or who is observing. I see thoughts but can't tell where they come from. I find that I am not able to do anything!
Instructor: The thing is self-observation does not mean you’re not able to do things. In the beginning it’s hard because it’s disorienting—it’s an entirely new skill we need to develop here and now. It’s very challenging to learn, but when you ride your bicycle, you learn to balance. In the same way, you learn to fulfill your obligations without forgetting your Being (wujud in Arabic).
We say a thought comes from an ego and an ego manifests in the mind, the heart, and the body. Now there’s thoughts that come from our ego, our own desires, nafs, but there is also thoughts that come from God, like an intuition or concept that emerges from our mind like a spark. We immediately comprehend something because were paying attention; we’re not thinking about other things. The Sufis call that khatir haqq: true thoughts or intuition from God.
Thoughts (khawatir) are declarations that arrive in one’s awareness. This may result from the dictation of an angel or from the dictation of a devil, or from the operations of the ego or may come from the Truth, glory to Him. If thoughts come from an angel, they are called inspired suggestions, ilham. If they are from one’s ego, they are called notions, hawajis. If they are from satan, they are called imaginations and anxieties, waswas. If they are from the Truth, glory to Him, and His dictation to the heart, they are called true thought, khatir haqq. And all of these are a kind of talking. ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So there are thoughts that can come from divinity, but typically ninety-seven percent of the thoughts that we have are subjective and clouding our perception of our Inner Being. We have to remember that we are 97% conditioned perception or nafs. Only 3% of our consciousness is not conditioned or trapped within defects.
Now in terms of knowledge, we always balance being (wujud) and knowing (intellectual concepts). It’s not enough just to be. We have to do our job, pay our bills, do our work, take care of our family, etc., and if its hard in the beginning to be aware while living daily life, it gets easier as we practice. Don’t feel discouraged that this something that you can’t do, because anyone can do this. It just takes a certain disciple and faith in your Inner Being.
We say that being and knowledge need to be balanced. Knowledge, language, culture, customs, job skills, etc., constitute things we need to do to survive. We constantly need to balance that with our internal states, our being, remembering our Innermost Spirit (Ruh) as a presence through an alert state and novel perception of our internal psychology.
Samael Aun Weor states in The Great Rebellion the following:
"Being and knowledge must be balanced to establish a sudden blaze of comprehension within our psyche. When knowledge is greater than being it creates all kind of intellectual confusion. If being is greater than knowing it can create cases as serious as that of the stupid saint."
Now if we simply read about spiritually, about astral projection, about jinn states, jinn travel, about alchemy, reading about the ten Sephiroth of the tree of life, the different states of consciousness of the Being, etc., but don’t actually experience these things, then they just remain as knowledge in our mind, in our intellect. However, if we develop our being, but we don’t know how to pay our bills, take care of our rent, study certain skills for our profession, to live in this physical world, one can develop a case as serious as that of the stupid saint.
There’s a Russian initiate by the name of Fyodor Dostoyevsky who wrote many famous novels which people don’t suspect being esoteric. He wrote a book called The Idiot, which talks about precisely this kind of case, the stupid saint, someone who has a lot of being (wujud) and a lot of virtue but doesn't have the skills necessary to navigate the Russian nineteenth century social world in which he lives. He gets in trouble. I recommend, if you’re interested, to look into that. We’re not going to go so much in depth into that book right now, however.
When we begin to self-observe ourselves, to observe our internal states, naturally we are confused; we struggle. It’s not easy to constantly observe ourselves and remember how our mind, how our heart function. It’s like riding a bike. In the internal planes, in the superior worlds, if you ask a master, (such as in the dream state if you awaken in that realm) to show you “Am I remembering myself well?” they may come to you riding a bicycle. They’re symbolically showing you that you're learning to ride your bike. If you see them falling off then it means you still need to learn how to maintain what we denominate psychological equilibrium.
What is psychological equilibrium? It means to have consistency in one's mindfulness, awareness, throughout every day, having consistency in not identifying with thoughts, feelings, or impulses from the ego, from our nafs.
The way that we develop access to that state is by precisely learning in this physical plane self-observation, remembering divinity here and now. In this graphic, we teach this diagram often and its something that we need to analyze. Its the cross. We talk about the cross in these teachings as the representation of the work in a matrimony and we have that teaching available in The Perfect Matrimony and The Mystery of the Golden Blossom by Samael Aun Weor.
In this diagram we have two lines: the horizontal path of life and the vertical path of the being. So knowledge precisely pertains to life; we need certain skills and knowledge to be able to subsist in this jungle of concrete and iron. We need to study, go to college, or go to school to learn certain skills so that we know how to live in this world. It’s essential. Many people, most of humanity, simply develop on the horizontal line. They think that they are going to perfect themselves by going to a university, by getting a masters degree, by studying extensively and developing a profound profession, but they ignore that in this instant, here and now (waqt), we have the vertical path of the being (wujud), which is perception of God. Life and being intersects in this instant.
It is here and now in which we have our Being. It is not in future; it is not in the past. This is something that seems very simple and even like kindergarten, but the truth is, this is something very profound that we typically ignore. To be ignorant does not mean to lack intellectual knowledge, but to lack gnosis or cognizance of our psychology as it is. This is essential to grasp whether for beginning students and for advanced students. We always have to remember where we are. What is going on in our mind? What is going on in our heart? What is going on in our body? These things teach us precisely what is our level of knowledge of ourselves, what is our self-knowledge of God, what is our level of Being.
On the left of the line of life, we have our birth; to the right, through the progression of time, we have family, school, marriage, friends, old age, and death. None of that has anything to do with God because God is here on the vertical path. God does not look to the future or does not concern Himself so much with things that have not yet happened. Although there are such things such as prophecy: to foretell future events, what God is most concerned with is how we connect with Him in this moment.
Who are we in this instant? We need to observe ourselves, not by projecting thoughts into the future or thinking about the past. We have to be aware of who we are here and now. This is the work of self-observation, observing ourselves. Remembering (muhadarah) the presence (hudur) of our Inner Being is precisely the path of striving, the path of war, jihad, against our mind.
So fighting desire is really what jihad is about. However, in the times of the Prophet, life was very different, where the Companions and followers of Islam were in danger. The spreading of esotericism in the middle east was in peril, so they needed to defend themselves from attackers, physically speaking. In these times, especially in the West, we do not need to defend ourselves against oppressors in a life or death situation. Therefore we don't condone the bloodshed waged supposedly in the name of "holy wars." It’s unacceptable, since the real path of jihad is striving against ones desires.
Fighting against our own anger and defects is how we benefit ourselves and humanity. We don't teach violence against others. The lesser holy war is really the expression of teaching the truth by defending against wrongdoing, not killing other individuals in the name of Islam or Christianity or any other holy war. To wage war against others is to teach by being a good example, being a good citizen, a good person. This is the lesser holy war for us, but the greater holy war is precisely the striving that we make moment to moment, here and now, to remember Allah.
As Al-Wasati states in what is probably the greatest Sufi treatise, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism:
"The best act of worship is watchfulness of the moments. That is, the Sufi does not look beyond his limits, nor contemplate anything other than his Lord and not associate anything other than the present moment."
It means that whatever were doing: don’t fantasize, don’t analyze, don’t daydream, don't think other thing than what you're doing. If you're driving a car, drive. If your receiving a lecture, listen. Don’t think. Just observe and listen. When you're cooking food, just cook—don’t think about other things. If we really look at ourselves, we see that this is what we do all day. We drive our car and think about our family. We’re listening to the radio doing all these things at once and not doing anything with attention.
The way that we develop attention is by not thinking about other things. Attention is developed by doing what we're doing, here and now, without concern for the future or the past. Just being mindful of our state here and now. This is what it means not to contemplate anything other than our Lord. The way to remember the presence of the Being is to remember ourselves and cultivate this sense of humility and love to our Inner Divinity.
Self-Remembering and Serene Reflection
So many people ask us, “What is self remembering?” We talk about self-observing, to observe ourselves. but many people don't understand what self-remembering is. We talk about the need of understanding ourselves, analyzing our thoughts, our emotions, our instincts in our body, without deliberating with the intellect. But to remember God is to feel the presence of our Inner Divinity within us. To feel that we are children of our Inner Being, that our Being is with us here and now, to be aware (muhadarah) of the Presence (hudur). No one can teach us that. That is something we have to develop on our own. The way that we develop this remembrance is through working throughout the day, analyzing our internal states without the intellect, observing ourselves and by learning to meditate. We should remember that if we have a lot of ease and prosperity in our life, we should use it to develop the practice of meditation to develop our spirit (ruh) within us.
The Sufi Master Dhu'l-Nun al-Misri stated the following:
"The key to the success in worship lies in meditative reflection (fikrat) whoever persists in such reflection in the heart will behold an invisible realm in the spirit."
So many people want to have out of body experiences, astral travels, jinn experiences. Any individual who wants to experience the truth of life, the higher dimensions, to speak with a master, to be awake in the dream state, in the internal realms, must learn how to meditate and develop meditative reflection.
Now it’s stated in Buddhist terms that we need to develop stability of mind and special insight: Shamata and Vipassana. Shamata, stability of mind, is a state of being which is concentrated, in which we do not get easily distracted by our thoughts, emotions or impulse. There are levels of concentration that we can access by paying attention, moment by moment, throughout the day.
When we develop that concentration and attention we are able to perceive things in a new way. We That’s where Vipassana comes in—special insight, perception of the truth. When the mind is serene and stable, we can receive new insight, such as internal images in meditation or dream experiences. This is what meditative reflection (fikrat) means.
The Sufis synthesized the Buddhist teachings of stability of mind and perception of the truth thorough fikrat. If the waters of your mind are unstable, if they are constantly chaotic, you cannot reflect any image on the surface. But if the lake of the mind is peaceful and calm, then the stars of Urania, the Divine Mother, can reflect within you. That’s what meditative reflection means.
The way that we get there is this:
"Whoever contemplates God by keeping watch over the thoughts that pass through the heart will be exalted by God and all of His outward deeds." ―Dhu'l-Nun al-Misri, Attar Tadhkirat 154-155
If we practice inner-accounting (muhasabah of our psychological inventory: our defects or virtues, taking account of our habits, our customs, things we do constantly, and then analyze this in conjunction with the remembrance of the presence of God, we will become exalted by God in our actions. When we are connected with God then he can bless us, but if we are distracted in our mind, if we choose not to follow the impetus of our Being, then we in turn suffer.
Question: You speak a lot about self-observation. What does it mean to meditate?
Instructor: Meditation is vigilant introspection (muraqabah), when you analyze what happened in the day; we call that retrospection practice. In the moment we simply observe, but when we meditate later we go back through our memory what happened in our day. We have to observe the facts.
Internal Silence and Spiritual Insight
Being forthcoming and honest with ourselves involves a variety of factors. In one sense we need to have stability of concentration in which the mind is settled and serene, so we can observe clearly. If we find that we are not able to perceive clearly what's going on in our psyche, we need to develop the faculty of self-observation deeper, to not identify with the chaos of the intellect, the disturbances of the heart, or the impulses of our body and instincts. We call the faculty of perception or reflection, in these studies, by the term imagination. This is the ability to perceive images, especially of a psychic nature. We’re going to explain this further. The way that we develop our insight, imagination, perception is precisely by developing our serenity of mind, silence of mind.
We have in this image a Sufi initiate praying and meditating.
"It is said silence for the common people is with their tongues, silence for the gnostics is with their hearts, and silence for lovers is with restraining the stray thoughts that come to their innermost beings." ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
So in the beginning we learn not to speak unnecessarily, not to engage in conversations which are just fruitless gossip. We need to learn to restrain our tongue from engaging in speech that is frivolous and frivolous speech, as a defect or vice in our mind, is one of the ten sins of Buddhism. To speak without thinking about what were saying and what were doing greatly disturbs our mind and prevents us from seeing with our Essence, with clarity, with serenity of mind. Swami Sivananda stated that many disciples suffer the disease of the diarrhea of the tongue in which they constantly speak without understanding what they're saying or what they're doing. They just speak because they want to talk. Khalil Gibran, the Sufi Christian Mystic, author of The Prophet gave a very beautiful teaching on that.
And then a scholar said, "Speak of Talking."
And he answered, saying:
You talk when you cease to be at peace with your thoughts;
And when you can no longer dwell in the solitude of your heart (samt) you live in your lips, and sound is a diversion and a pastime.
And in much of your talking, thinking (true thought, Khatir al-Haqq) is half murdered.
For thought (Khatir al-Haqq, true consciousness) is a bird of space (the Divine Mother Space or Absolute Nature, Allah), that in a cage of words many indeed unfold its wings but cannot fly.
There are those among you who seek the talkative through fear of being alone.
The silence of aloneness reveals to their (inner) eyes their naked selves (nafs, defects, errors) and they would escape.
And there are those who talk, and without knowledge or forethought reveal a truth which they themselves do not understand.
And there are those who have the truth within them, but they tell it not in words (for the Master speaks in silence of the heart).
In the bosom of such as these the spirit dwells in rhythmic silence (serene reflection, fikrat).
When you meet your friend on the roadside or in the market place, let the spirit in you move your lips and direct your tongue.
Let the voice within your voice speak to the ear of his ear;
For his soul will keep the truth of your heart as the taste of the wine is remembered
When the colour is forgotten and the vessel is no more. ―Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet: On Talking
For as Prophet Muhammad taught about the Being in the Hadith Qudsi:
...so with Me he hears and with Me he sees.
The silence of the gnostics with their hearts indicates a person who is developing serenity of heart, who is not even engaged in negative emotions of the heart. Most of us are not at that degree, but we can experience states here and now if we're working in self-observation from moment to moment.
Silence for the lovers is by restraining the thoughts that come to our mind, our innermost being. Someone who really loves God will not even allow a single thought to enter the mind and let it control them, but that takes tremendous skill. This is the level of a Master, a prophet. The way that we get there is by cultivating serenity and reflection: self-observation.
Self-observation is taught in many different ways within Islam. In this next image we have a Muslim in a minaret making a call to prayer (adhan). Muslims are known to pray five times a day, which can be a profound discipline if it is done correctly. If we really know how to pray five times a day, consciously, with remembrance, then we can receive tremendous benefit. However, Muslims now a days just pray mechanically: “God please give a good car, family, spouse” and they think that’s it. They do it in a mechanical manner, but to be conscious in one's heart while praying to God is something very distinct. The initiates of the Middle East were instructed by Muhammad to pray constantly, to develop the heart.
Basically in terms of self observation, praying five times a day, was means of cultivating self-remembrance, and we know that Muslims pray in the morning, the afternoon, mid-afternoon, early evening, and evening. Five represents the pentagram, the human being made into the image of God. Praying in this manner was in order to cultivate self-remembrance. It wasn’t just to go to a Mosque and pray mechanically without knowledge of what one is saying.
Shakespeare stated through his murderous character Claudius, who tried to repent after killing his brother, the former King of Denmark:
My words fly up to heaven, my thoughts remain below.
Words without thoughts never to heaven go. (Hamlet, 3.3.100-103)
If you're not concentrated in your prayers, you can say as many words as you want: they will not be answered by God. But if you're humble, sincere, and concentrated, that is how you connect with your Being.
The Shahadah: Declaration of Faith and Contemplation in Meditation
Vigilance, to be awake as a consciousness through remembrance of God, is the best form of prayer, as stated in Al-Risalah, one of the most important treatises of Sufism. The following is one of the most important quotes, in my opinion, of this text:
"Al-Juyayri said that, “Whosoever does not establish awe of duty (consistency of spiritual practice and discipline) and vigilance (muraqabah) in his relations to God will not arrive at the disclosure of unseen (mukashafah) or contemplation of the divine (mushahidah)."
What does it mean to establish “awe of duty?" It is to really respect the fact that we need to self-observe constantly, to feel the awe of God in every moment. We can't forget our Being in any instant. We have to remember our Being in this moment, always. To have awe of duty is to really comprehend the necessity of daily spiritual discipline, to not neglect one's practices of meditation. Also, if we don’t know how to control our mind in critical moments, we can end up in great suffering. We can get into a conversation with a friend but end in tremendous conflict, or a fight with our co-workers or spouse. We need to establish awe of duty, to really respect the fact and understand that if we don't observe ourselves, we could fall off the cliff into the abyss of suffering. Even physically, people who don't pay attention driving their car can get killed.
This is even more so in a spiritual sense, a reality that we profoundly ignore. If we don't remember our God but identify with our mind, then we create problems. Samael Aun Weor explained that the one who identifies with the mind falls into the abyss, into the infradimensions, submerged states of conditioned consciousness known as hell in different religions.
Now we to always be aware of that Presence (hudur) so as to arrive at disclosure (mukashafah), meaning the entrance into spiritual experience, to open the doors of our imagination (reflection). This can occur through internal imagery in meditation or a profound insight in the moment of a specific defect, ego, or naf. Disclosure can also be termed "unveiling," since if you remember our reference to the hijab or burka, we are beginning to remove the veils of our illusory perception in order to enter into genuine spiritual insight (firasa), conscious imagination.
Contemplation of the divine (mushahdah) is the ultimate step. The word contemplation relates to the shahadah, the Muslim declaration of faith, which is one of the five pillars of Islam, which textually states the following:
lā ʾilāha ʾillā-llāh, muḥammadun rasūlu-llāh
There is no god but God, Muhammad is the messenger of God.
Millions of Muslims recite this, yet the question is whether they have really experienced Allah in meditation. The sad reality is that most Muslims don't contemplate God in practice. They just say this confession mechanically and believe they are true Muslims, initiates, Masters. A real Muslim, like Prophet Muhammad or Jesus submitted to the Being through conquering animal desires.
Yet do many Muslims today really submit to God? How can we submit to God when our mind stream is polluted with anger, lust, greed and violence? Look at the middle east today. The Muslim community does not uphold submission to God.
Those of us who are studying these things have to comprehend that in order to really give testimony of Allah, we need to meditate. In order to say the shahadah, we need to practice mushahadah, contemplation or meditation. It is only in meditation that we can bear witness of God, to perceive the Being in all His majesty and glory. If we don't know God for ourselves, if we lack spiritual experience of our inner divinity, then we can’t say that God is God and Muhammad is the Messenger of God.
In Kabbalah, Allah is known as Ain Soph, our supra-atomic star within the depths of the Absolute Abstract Space. Our real synthesis or Being is an atom from the cosmic space, a pure eternal light mentioned in Surat Al-Nur:
"Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The parable of His Light is a niche wherein is a lamp —the lamp is in a glass, the glass as it were a glittering star— lit from a blessed olive tree, neither eastern nor western, whose oil almost lights up, though fire should not touch it. Light upon light. Allah guides to His Light whomever He wishes. Allah draws parables for mankind, and Allah has knowledge of all things." ―Qur'an 24:35
God, Ain Soph (the Limitless Joy) is light, beyond good and evil, that has always existed and always will exist. God is infinite happiness, pure being (wujud), and yet most of these stars lack cognizance of their own happiness. This is why the Ain Soph emanates Its light into the world, so as to be known.
"Allah (Ain Soph) said, 'I was a hidden treasure, and I was wished to be known, so I created creation (mankind), and made myself known to them, and they recognized me.'” ―Hadith
Therefore, a true Muslim is a consciousness that submits to the will of the Ain Soph and has witnessed the Ain Soph within. God can only comprehend Himself through His soul, if that soul cooperates, so that the soul unites with its supra-atomic star. The soul is a mirror, as explained by Ibn al-Arabi, the great Sufi master, that can reflect divinity, so that divinity (Ain Soph) can know Itself. This is mushahadah (witnessing, contemplation). Only a person who has experienced and united with the Ain Soph can be called someone who has truly witnessed God.
The Four States of Consciousness
We have here in the next graphic an explanation of the different states of consciousness. We’re speaking in synthesis about being objectively perceptive or being hypnotized and identified with our mind. In this teaching we talk about four states of consciousness. Self-remembrance and self-observation relates with the third state of consciousness known as Dianoia.
We use Greek terms to refer to these states of our perception. Eikasia is the first state of consciousness and it pertains to a profound state of psychological sleep. It pertains to being identified with our mind, with anger, with pride, with vanity, with ego, with our defects—having no inclination towards or awareness of God at all.
What’s interesting about the Greek word Eikasia is that it comes from the Greek word eikonon, which means images. Eikasia means imagination. Now we just mentioned that the faculty of self-observation is imagination, but we have to understand that perception is dual. It can be objective, in harmony with God, or it can be subjective, filtered by our own mind, our defects.
Now it's true that we here in this physical body see images, eikonon. On the most basic level, we have a type of imagination as to perceive physically. We have a certain level of perception, but this doesn't mean that we are cognizant, aware, or clear about what we are perceiving. Many times we see things but don't comprehend what we see. This is our fundamental problem. We receive the impressions of life, which enter our mind, and our mind filters impressions and labels them with concepts. For example, we say we know what we are doing in a given day, but if we sit to reflect and remember our internal states within a given moment of our morning, afternoon, or evening, we often will find that there are tremendous gaps in our memory. What did we do? What were we thinking? What did we say to a certain person at a job interview this morning? If we lack cognizance of the details, it means that our consciousness is in a profound state of sleep, even though one can be physically very active. The state of Eikasia is complete unconsciousness. We may see imagery and impressions, but if we do not comprehend what these impressions are in the external world in relation to our inner world, then we lack genuine awareness of ourselves.
The next state of consciousness we call Pistis, which means belief. It translates also as faith, but we state that the latter is an erroneous translation. Beliefs are of the mind, whereas faith is direct cognizance of the truth, to really know something directly. So many people who talk about faith don’t understand that what they really have are a lot of beliefs, ideas or concepts in the mind or heart that do not coincide with reality. They have never verified what those scriptures taught. They never traveled out of the body, experienced a supra-conscious state of samadhi in meditation, or had a mystical or ecstatic experience whereby they witnessed or contemplated God (mushahadah).
Pistis comes from pistieo: "to trust, to have confidence, faithfulness, to be reliable to be sure." Pistis is the second state of consciousness and pertains to beliefs, concepts, or ideas in the intellect. It is anything we have read that we have not verified through experience. Therefore, all of the thousands of philosophical schools, all the people who follow a religion or teaching but have never verified from experience the teachings of that given school or religion possess the second state of consciousness: Pistis.
Humanity constantly fluctuates between Eikasia and Pistis. Eikasia is barbarism, war, bloodshed, violence, anger, sarcasm, and all the degeneration of subconsciousness, infraconsciousness, and unconsciousness within humanity. Pistis refers to all the beliefs and schools that pertain to the different concepts that people have about God, religion, and ourselves.
What concerns us most is the transcendent, third state of consciousness known as Dianoia. Dianoia, we say is the revision of belief. It also directly means "imagination." So notice that we have Eikasia, which means imagination, but then we also have Dianoia that means the same thing. There’s a dual way of perceiving life; we can perceive it with our mind, our ego, our nafs, or we can perceive it objectively with our Being (wujud). Dianoia also means "thought, mind, perception." The word "dia" means "thoroughly from side to side, which intensifies noia, meaning mind or nous." So Dianoia means to change your mind, to revise your mind in its common and current state.
Dianoia is revision of beliefs, cultural spiritual and intellectual synthesis, profound study of scripture with direct experience of what the scriptures entail. It refers to profound meditative analysis, cognizance of the truth, and direct perception of one’s internal states. Notice we've been talking about awareness (muhadarah), self-observation or inner accounting (muhasabah) and vigilant introspection (muraqaba). All of this is perception unfiltered by ego, nafs, defects, and constitutes the revision of our ordinary mind or psyche.
All of us, without exception, possess Pistis: we have certain concepts about who we are, and when we begin to self-observe ourselves we find that we are not who we thought we were. We change our concepts about ourselves; we change our beliefs. We revise them and we develop a new type of concept and understanding, which is awakened perception, Dianioa, cognizance of the truth. However, Dianioa is not the end. We have Nous, which means "mind, intellect, intelligence." Now these Greek terms were used by Plato and you can study The Republic, specifically "The Allegory of the Cave,” which explains in synthesis these four states of consciousness. We have explained in different lectures the meaning of this, but Nous pertains to consciousness that is united with Christ, with Allah, our Inner Divinity. It means that we've escaped the bottle of the mind in mediation and as a consciousness we’ve united with our Being, so as to bear witness of Him (mushahadah).
In this type of perception there is no possibility for delusion, because one has the consciousness of divinity through divinity, for as the Sufis teach: "I know my Lord by my Lord." God then contemplates Himself through the mirror of the soul. There is no misperception within our internal psyche. Nous pertains to having fully united with our Being. This is known as samadhi in the east or ecstasy or exstatuo in Latin. Ecstasy means to stand outside one’s self. Ex means to be outside; stabit or statuo means to stand. It means that we escape the subjective imprisonment of our mind in order to subsist as God, or to unite with God. Of course this is very elevated. To fully develop this is to walk the path completely, but in meditation we can activate those states in a temporary fashion if we are persistent.
In this next graphic, we show the image of the Tree of Life, the Hebraic Kabbalah, which is the mystical science of Judaism. As a graphic, we use it to demonstrate the different states of consciousness, matter, energy, and being. The highest levels are the most elevated states of consciousness, while the lower levels are the most dense. We use this diagram to study any religion: whether Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, or Christianity, because it teaches us the structure of the human being, the soul, as well as the Universe.
There is a saying by the Sufi initiate Abu Sa'id in Ibn Manuwwar: Asrar At-tawid:
Wherever the delusion of your selfhood appears there’s hell. Wherever you aren’t, that’s heaven.
This is very clear. If we are here, if we are identified with our mind, we can not experience the Tree of Life, the complete expression and majesty, the unity of God, because heaven is the Tree of Life, this diagram. If we do not remember God, we cannot escape or stand outside ourselves, our egotistical mentality. Now wherever the ego isn’t, that's heaven: meaning we’re revising our mind through Dianoia, standing outside of ourselves, analyzing who we are and escaping form the limitations of our mind. This is how we can in turn can unite with our Internal Divinity. So that’s heaven. Heaven is where we aren’t. If we say we know ourselves, but we don't know God, it means that we don't really know ourselves, that we ignore a lot. In order to be able to ascend the Tree of Life, we need to know this science of meditation and what we call the “three factors of the revolution of the consciousness."
Here we have an image of Muhammad riding a mystical creature. This is known as the al-Miraj, the ascension of the Prophet Muhammad up the seven heavens. In Islam, they talk about the seven heavens or seven dimensions, synthesized by the Tree of Life, which can also be organized or described as nine heavens in Kabbalah. So they may seem different, but they're really expressing the same thing.
In the Muslim myth (and I use the term myth not in the sense of a made up story, but as an allegorical and scientific teaching), we see that Muhammad was meditating on the mosque of Mecca. Some traditions even state that his head was on the stone of Mecca, like in Jacob's ladder. Now the Ka'aba is the cubic stone of the Freemasons and the Ka'aba is a black stone pertaining to the vital energies of our bodies. It’s where the serpent, the Divine Mother Kundalini sleeps, for as Pre-Muslim Arabian mythology taught, a serpant was said to be guarding a treasure inside the Ka'aba, reminding us that the treasure is Allah that we must conquer through the serpent. We call this serpent the sexual energy, and so this stone that the Master was sleeping by is where he had a profound experience.
He was taken by al-Buraq, which in Arabic translates as "lightning." This creature is said to be the size of a mule with the face of a women, the tale of a peacock, and wings like Pegasus. Al-Buraq, "the lightning," refers to the creative power of the Divine Mother Kundalini, because lightening in Nordic is the Rune Sig and the sacred mantra of the Divine Mother, in the Nordic tradition, is “Sulu Sigi Sig." She is that power of lightning in our body, the serpent sleeping in our stone or sexual energy, which can awaken if we know how to harness and work with Her through alchemy (Allah-Khemia, to fuse oneself with God in sexual magic) and meditation (mushahadah). We can ascend up the seven heavens like Muhammad.
He was taken on this creature from the mosque of Mecca (Masjid al-Haram) to the temple of Jerusalem (Masjid-al-Aqsa) and it was there in which he ascended up the seven heavens and received many sacred teachings pertinent to Islam, but also to Gnosticism. This energy, this creative power of God, is portrayed here; we can see he’s surrounded by flames, the fire of the Divine Mother, the sexual creative power of God. And that has illuminated his psyche. So in conjunction with meditation and self-observation, we cultivate a serene state and work with the energies of our body.
Now in order to ascend up these heavens we have to be completely absent from our common egotistical sense of self. We're saying this in a very Zen way. It doesn't mean that we forget ourselves and do not pay attention. It means that we abandon our common and current psychology by learning to pay attention, to observe the mind. Do not identify with any impressions outside you or inside your mind, in your heart.
"In general it is to the measure of one’s alienation from one’s own ego that one attains direct knowledge of one’s own Lord." ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
Knowledge again in Greek is Gnosis, and in Arabic is Marifah. The Kabbalists call this Da’ath. I didn’t mention this in the beginning, but these are just different words for the same teachings.
"I heard Abu Ali al-Daqqaq say, 'One of the tokens of the Gnosis of God is the achievement of deep awe and reverence for God. If someone’s realization increases, his awe increases.'" ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So the more that we remember God, the more respect, terror and love we have for the Being, for that overwhelming, overpowering force, if we know how to obey the will of our God.
"And I heard him say, 'Gnosis requires stillness of heart just as learning requires outward quiet. If someone’s gnosis increases, his tranquility increases.'" ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
The deeper we understand our Being, the deeper we go into our meditation, the more gnosis we develop in ourselves, the more peace we have, the more serenity we have in our consciousness and in our Being.
This path is the path of peace. So we talked about jihad, striving. The way that we attain to peace is by fighting against our desires and practicing mushahadah, which is contemplation in meditation. There's a saying by Ibn Karbala'i in his Rawdat al-janan:
"When the seeker realizes the station of contemplation (mushahadah), which is witnessing God’s essence comprehending and encompassing all phenomenon…"
This means we are understanding that God is within everything, all impressions, internal and external within this moment, and we’re actually perceiving this fact. We’re not projecting with our mind; we're not distracted by other things, but aware of how God is present with us.
"Does not your Lord suffice, since He is witness over all things" (Surah 41:53)―he continually witnesses lights through the mundis invisibilis, the invisible world." ―Ibn Karbala'i
What are these lights? In meditation it can be imagery; it can be symbols. It can be spiritual experiences. More directly we could say it pertains to insight about our psyche and our intelligence, who we are in this instant. To continuously witness lights is to perceive insight from your Being, which you can only perceive in this moment by learning to pay attention.
"From such a mystic perspective, this world and the hereafter are one and the same. This can only be realized by a vision that is all heart and spirit, not of view bound by mere mud and mire." ―Ibn Karbala'i
So again we’re talking about two types of vision—Dianoia and Nous, which is objective imagination and perception of the truth, cognizance of God. This is in contrast with the subjective nature of Eikasia and Pistis, meaning of the mud and mire of our mind, the filtrations to our perception via our ego. So again, we emphasize that the testimony of faith amongst the Muslims, the shahadah, is only validated through contemplation of divinity (mushahadah). So in order to really give testimony of God, we have to have that experience in our own psyche, in our own consciousness.
We have here the image of the Tree of Life and the human being. So the human being is the Tree of Life. In the previous slide, we have this statement: “From this mystic perspective this world and the hereafter are one in the same." This means that this Tree of Life is not just some abstract concept to argue or debate about. It’s something entirely practical and directly relatable to us here and now. This world is our physical body, which is the image on the right and the hereafter is the Tree of Life. So they are really one in the same.
The Tree of Life is the map of the human psyche, the different levels of the consciousness and Being, or our humanity and our divinity in other words. On the right we have the image of the human being with what we call the five centers of our psychology. On the right we see this image of five centers of five cylinders of the human machine. We say that the body is a machine that transforms matter and energy. Likewise, our psyche is a machine that is typically not controlled and governed by God, simply because we don't remember our Being; we have the make an effort with what free will we have in order to work with God. Usually what controls these different centers in our organism are our defects. The five centers are where our nafs, desires, egos manifest.
In the head we have the intellectual center. We can call it the intellectual brain. A brain we say in Gnosticism pertains to a center of action in which energy and matter can be processed either physically, such as through bio-chemistry, or psychologically through mental energies. We have the emotional center or emotional brain related to the processes of emotion like, dislike; pleasure, pain; love hate; etc. At the top of the spine we have the motor center which is how we process movement. If we're really paying attention, we can see that a lot of our impetus to move comes from the top of the spine. This explains why individuals who are injured in the spine are paralyzed because the motor center cannot function.
There’s a vertebrae that connects the bottom of the medulla oblongata with the rest of the spine near the nape of the neck. It’s a critical juncture, a critical spot. It’s where we have our motor center. It’s a very sensitive spot. We also have our center of instinct which is at the base of the spine, the sacral bone or sacral center. Individuals who are engaged in activities such as boxing overuse this center, where they constantly react. The instinctive center relates with animal reactions, such as when we burn our hand on a stove and immediately retract our hand before we even think of how it hurts or being emotionally upset, because the instinctive center operates faster than the intellect or the heart.
We also have the sexual center related with our sexual organs, which is the fastest operating component of our psyche. Sexual energy is the basis of all physical life as well as all spiritual life, as we explained in other lectures and about the power of divinity, al-Buraq, the lightening of Christ, the Divine Mother Kundalini. This sacred fire is precisely in the sexual center, within the base of our spine too. When we know how to work with that force through mantra, through pranayama, through alchemy, we learn to develop that force within us.
So we observe ourselves precisely through these centers. Every defect, every ego, every naf has its own ways of thinking, its own ways of feelings, its own ways of acting. They all have different types of movement. They may be very instinctual egos, maybe spontaneous and abrupt, such as if you put your hand on a stove and you react. There's an ego involved, but also if we learn to become conscious we won’t put our hand in the fire in the first place. The thing is, the ego uses the different centers all at once. Some egos may have a predominance towards the intellect. Some may be more emotional. Some may be more instinctual; some may be sexual. However, every ego uses each of the three brains in any instant. Yet there tends to be a predominance in the different centers.
We could say that typically we react with ego, but if we become conscious, we can learn to respond to situations. Some people ask, "What will happen if I don't have instinct? Won't I be unable to react to a dangerous situation such as burning my hand?" If we comprehend and destroy our instincts, then we will become conscious citizens of the universe, whereby we won't even allow ourselves to get involved in situations where we might burn our hand! Therefore, we don't need instincts: these are subjective and mechanical, having nothing to do with Allah (may He be praised and exalted). So don’t think that by eliminating instinct that one doesn't have the ability to react; we develop the capacity to respond to any situation without any subjective interference from our mind. So different egos, nafs manifest in different centers with greater predominance of one towards a particular center over the other.
At the top of the Tree of Life we have the three spheres known as Kether, Chokmah, and Binah; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. So in Islam, this is Allah, because the Trinity is a single light. Now many Muslims of the orthodox tradition emphasize that there is no Trinity and that Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) never taught the Trinity. He did not teach in accordance with the degeneration of the Christian Church or the degeneration of the Christian scriptures. Many people in that time (and even today) think that the Trinity was actually a physical Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—physical individuals, not spiritual principles.
We have to understand that diversity is unity. God expresses in many ways, yet is one light. There is no contradiction between religions, as demonstrated by Kabbalah. When Muslims reject the Trinity, they do so from the perspective that God is a not three anthropormorphic persons. Instead, the initiates knew that God is One, and that Unity has many levels of expression, represented by the Kabbalistic Tree of a Life. Now Allah is Father, Son, Holy Spirit; Kether, Chokmah, and Binah. These are three forces in one. Beneath the supernal triangle on the lower right, we have Chesed, which is our Spirit (ruh), which is God, our own individual Father. Our Spirit is also apart of Allah, the Christ. You see Allah is also Chesed as well. This is why when Sufis pronounce the mantra "Allahu," they are referring to Father, Son and Holy Spirit, as well as Hu, or Hum, the spirit. So Allah can be seen as Father, Son, Holy Spirit, and the Spirit, Chesed, the Innermost, the Inner Buddha. Divinity is one, but expresses as many.
The Being even has His Being too, which is the Ain Soph above the Tree of Life, our supra-atomic star, as we explained previously, the light of Surat al-Nur. In Gnostic terms we say the Inner Child is our Essence, our Soul. We call it the soul that is in development, a baby that can become a true human being as shown in the Tree of Life. Christ (Chokmah) also is a child when manifesting in the initiate for the first time. That child grows and develops in accordance with initiation (see The Perfect Matrimony by Samael Aun Weor). The Inner Child we say pertaining to Gnostic psychology is the Essence but it also refers to the Christ child.
Chesed is the Spirit, which is in Hebrew, El similar to Allah. The same Semitic roots are there. We represent the complete expression of divinity and our humanity as ten spheres, which seem to be distinct, but when fully developed in the human being, become integrated. Jalaluddin Muhammad Rumi, the great Sufi master and poet, stated:
If ten lamps are present in one place,
each differs in form from another;
yet you can’t distinguish whose radiance is whose
when you focus on the light.
This is the case with the fully illuminated Masters who have developed the light of Christ within, the light of Buddha within, the light of Allah. This is the esoteric meaning of the Christmas tree: a fully illuminated Tree of Life, a perfected Being that knows Itself completely.
Now to the left we have Geburah, which is the consciousness, the Divine Soul. In the middle we have Tiphereth, which is the Human Soul or willpower, and then beneath that we have what we call the “lower quaternary,” which is a representation of Netzach our mind, Hod our emotions, Yesod our sexuality or vital energy, and Malkuth, our physical body.
In comparison to the human being, the intellectual center relates with Netzach, the mind. We say Hod the astral body relates with heart, the emotional center, our emotion brain. We have Yesod relating to our vital body, our vital energies. We also have the sphere that pertains to our physical body, Malkuth.
In synthesis, the Tree of Life explains to us who we are as a human being, as a consciousness, as a psyche. We also study ourselves in terms of our three brains and analyzing our makeup, how we function. The work now comes into play when we observe the intellectual, emotional, motor, instructive and sexual centers all at once. By understanding these centers and how the ego, nafs operate is how we know ourselves. Then in meditation (mushahadah), we beg our Divine Mother and Inner Father to help us comprehend ourselves in depth. It begins by learning to observe ourselves in this moment, in this instant.
The path of self knowledge is one in which we develop God within. We do that precisely by working on our defects through retrospective meditation and how we comprehend our defects all depends on how we pay attention, here and now, in this instant.
Questions and Answers
Question: Is Rudolph Steiner’s “Much wiser man inside” the same reference as the Inner Being of Samael Aun Weor?
Instructor: Yes, Paul of Tarsus in the Gospel refers to the two inner men: the heavenly man and the terrestrial man. The terrestrial man is precisely Tiphereth, willpower; Netzach, the mind; Hod, the astral body; Yesod, vital energy and our physicality. The heavenly man is God above, which is our consciousness our Spirit, (Ruh) and Christ.
Nous is a type of mind that is united with God, the Christ force. Nous has levels according to the Tree of Life. Dianoia can refer to Malkuth up to Tiphereth. It’s a type of consciousness in which we are beginning to awaken. Fully illuminated spiritual perception relates to the five higher Sephiroth or spheres of the Tree of Life, whereby divinity manifests. Nous pertains to the Divine Soul (Geburah the divine consciousness) which is part of God the Spirit to the right (Chesed), and Kether, Chokmah, Binah: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Now, we have to remember that God does not enter into impurity. God is not impure—only the human soul our willpower can either obey God or fall down and obey our ego. Our ego is what is impure, so we as a consciousness or soul are really apart of Tiphereth within different bodies. You could say these are different spheres of being and of consciousness. Now our will can follow our own self-will, our nafs or we can follow the will of God, which is our Innermost, our Divine Soul and the Lord above. Nous pertains to illuminated perception which is either Geburah or states in Chesed, Christ above or even beyond the Tree of Life, which is the Absolute. Ain Soph pertains to Nous as well. For more information about this topic, study Tarot and Kabbalah by Samael Aun Weor.
Question: Samael Aun Weor and Sivananda talks about mantralizing through out the day. Is this not doing something else besides doing what we are supposed to be doing in the moment?
Instructor: Yes, that's a good question. Performing a mantra in your mind while doing activities is to help us concentrate and perform our activities better. Now typically when we work with mantra (the word mantra in Sanskrit means mind protection) it’s a way to control our mind. If it’s being out of control or if we have a certain event in our life that was catastrophic, we can use a certain mantra in order to calm down, concentrate and remember our Being. So we use mantras to help us stay focused. Now a mantra should help, when done consciously, to stay extremely focused. Typically our problem is that when we work with a mantra, we do it mechanically. You’ll find this to be the case if you genuinely observe yourself. Your ego may be saying the mantra incorrectly. For example: the mantra “Klim Krishnaya Govindaya Gopijana Vallabaya Swaha." If your mind is doing it incorrectly, you need to correct your mind and do it properly, consciously. So there are many mantras that we use in this tradition and we don’t want to use them mechanically, on autopilot. If you do it with concentration and remembrance of God, it will help you focus on states in the present. For as the Sufis teach:
"Remembrance is a powerful support on the path to God (Glorious and Majestic). Indeed, it is the very foundation of this Sufi path. No one reaches God save by continual remembrance of Him. There are two kinds of remembrance: that of the tongue and that of the heart. The servant attains perpetual remembrance of the heart by making vocal remembrance. It is remembrance of the heart, however, that yields true effect. When a person makes remembrance with his tongue and his heart simultaneously, he attains perfection in his wayfaring." ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
Question: Does Gnosis teach that we should have one mantra for our entire lives?
Instructor: I like Swami Sivananda's thought about this because when you do a mantra for life, it means that your going to be completely dedicated to the practice. I agree with that and I believe what he is saying is you should stick with a mantra to the point that you are fully emerged and concentrated in it without being distracted by other things. Instead of just doing one mantra one day and another the next day, we should practice for extended periods of time, consistently, with one mantra.
The thing is we have hundreds of mantras in this tradition. We should use the mantra until we receive the benefits, but if you feel that you have another need that is emerging, its good to switch if you need to. Now Sivananda is a Resurrected Master, a fully illuminated Being. He was teaching more in accordance with the Piscean teachings, which is the astrological sign associated with the time of Jesus up to the early 1960’s. Now the Age of Aquarius is very different; we have different needs. This is a different astrological sign that pertains to a different kind of spiritual revolution. I recommend that if you work with a mantra, stick with it to the point where you are getting a lot benefit and a lot of results. But if you feel you have different needs emerge, switch it up if you like. Don't feel like you have to stay with one, but Sivananda is correct that when we do a mantra, we should dedicate everything to it and not get distracted with other things.
Question: In a lot of Samael’s books he mentions that we should vocalize an hour a day. Does this mean we have to use mantras to activate all the chakras?
Instructor: You can. You can work with all of the chakras or you can work with a few. Now different mantras have different benefits and different effects.
For example, if you want to develop your clairvoyance you can work with the mantra “INRI," since the vowel “I” (pronounced "Ee") is related to Christ. Its in the book The Perfect Matrimony. "ENRE" (Eh-n-reh) works for the throat. You have the heart chakra with the mantra ONRO. You have the solar plexus chakra relating to UNRU, and for the lungs, ANRA.
You can also work with many chakras or just one, depending on your needs. For example, if you want to work on the heart, we have Om Masi Padme Hum.
Remember that Hum or Hu in Arabic is the Spirit of God. The mantras are all throughout the literature of Samael Aun Weor .
The thing is if you vocalize for an hour, you can do it with all the chakras or you can do it with just a few. It depends on your needs. You need to intuitively discern what it is your Being wants you to work on at that time.
Question: Should I get into a meditative state and then vocalize?
Instructor: Yes. I would say relax until you are semi-drowsy. You get to the point where you feel like you're going to fall asleep—so when you feel that you're at that point, work with a mantra and that will stimulate a lot of psychic energy in your body and your mind.
Question: I worked with FA RA ON and my body started shaking and it felt like I had a blockage that was stopping me from astral projecting and I could feel my astral body was above and my body was stuck on my bed. And it felt like there was some kind of blockage.
Instructor: I’ve experienced that many times. Usually its a teaching from your Being to tell you that you’re identified with something. You're identified with your body. Personally I've had myself come out of my body, but my head was stuck to my physical body. In my case divinity was telling me that I’m being too intellectual. So I've had to learn to cultivate my heart so I could get out more in the astral plane, the world of Hod or emotions.
Your experience might not necessarily be a blockage. Divinity could just be teaching you that you have attachments that you need to overcome. The greatest obstacle is your own ego, your own nafs, your own mind, so when you overcome your mind by developing meditative reflection (fikrat), as we mentioned, then you will be able to behold the invisible realm of the spirit, as the Sufi masters taught. So control you're mind throughout the day and then astral projection becomes easy.
A mantra helps you to control your mind. It also activates psychic energy, which helps you to defend yourself or help you have spiritual experience. There are many functions for mantras. Typically we say it helps to control your mind. Many mantras are also for protection, such as Fons Alpha. There's many in this tradition. You can conjure by the name of Iod He Vau He, Jehovah, Christ, or Allah.
Question: Why are there so many different versions of the mantras?
Instructor: In the books Samael Aun Weor explains what the different consonants do within the mantras. the different ways of mantralizing, whether CHIS CHAS CHOS or INRI ENRE ONRO, etc. These are different ways of working with sound, vibration and energy so as to fuel our conscious perception. Now you may have an affinity with one mantra or the other.
I would say study the books and they will explain to you the purposes for what the mantras are for. He gave many varieties because humanity has many needs. One person may work well with OM MASI PADME HUM. Another person may work well with I.A.O. Another person may work well with RAM IO. There are different mantras for different purposes and different needs. However, all mantras help supply energies and forces in our to awaken our awareness (muhadarah) and to become aware of the Presence of divinity (hudur).
Question: How does the Tree of Life correspond to the image of the five centers of the human machine in the last graphic?
Instructor: I’ll give you a very simply explanation, but you can relate the spheres in different ways. So Netzach is the mind. It relates to the intellectual center. We have the emotional body, Hod, relating to the emotional center, and then we have Yesod relating to we could say is our motor-instinctual-sexual centers. The latter we could say is one brain or one center with three different aspects. Malkuth is our body, which condenses how we manifest our mind, our emotions, and sexuality.
If you feel overwhelmed by this knowledge, I would suggest that you study the books and take your time. The thing is when we study we have to balance being and knowledge. Read a little, but meditate a lot. So take a book and study it profoundly. I would recommend, in relation to this lecture onf Self-knowledge, to study Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology. It explains these three centers and the path of self-observation in depth.
Now when you read a book, you should study it line by line or even chapter by chapter, meditating and reflecting upon what you read so that you can go deeper into this. I would say take your time with the books. Don't rush, because if you eat too fast, you can get indigestion. As I said in the beginning, too much knowledge creates intellectual confusion. The way we balance our reading is comprehension through meditation. We can read many books and not have any experiences. But if we read the books in moderation, in balance with our practice, then we will begin to have experiences of the things that we are discussing. We will begin to bear witness of the mysteries of divinity (shahadah). It is the unification of knowledge and being that establishes comprehension. Comprehension is genuine faith, when you really know something from your heart. It ceases to be something abstract or vague. It becomes something really concrete and practical.
In Gnosis we always seek to study the laws that govern the expression of the psyche, the soul, of our consciousness. We seek to understand our place, in a cosmological scale, in relation to God and to our current physical existence. It is important to know that γνῶσις gnosis as a Greek term that signifies direct knowledge. It does not mean theory. It does not mean something that is interesting intellectually, or something to debate. It is not a philosophy to be argued for or against. Instead, it pertains to our direct knowledge of fundamental laws within the universe. And so, it is by understanding these laws and how they apply to our physical life, is that we will be able to advance in spiritual life.
Today we’re going to discuss what people typically call “reincarnation,” and we are going to clarify many misconceptions about the term and about how it applies to our present level of being.
We use the terms return and recurrence in replace of what people typically denominate reincarnation. Most individuals believe that reincarnation is the reincorporation of the psyche within different bodies. But in truth, within Gnostic esotericism, reincarnation has a much more rigorous application to spiritual development. Reincarnation means to willingly choose one’s body, to be cognizant of one’s incarnation within a certain physical circumstance or situation. It also refers to the manifestation of Christ, the supreme deity, divinity, the energy of God, within a specific individual or initiate that has fully prepared him or herself through development.
Typically what people denominate reincarnation or the transference of the soul within different bodies, we call that return, because all of us typically do not remember where we came from, because we lack cognizance. We don’t typically have that direct knowledge of who we were in past lives. Instead, we have returned to a new body without any cognizance or remembrance.
In the Greek myth, I believe that’s referenced by the river of Eunoe, in which the souls would drink the water of hell and they would forget what had happened to them. Specifically, if we don’t have cognizance of where we came from, who we were, where we have been, what was our past personality and identity, name, culture, it means that we have mechanically returned to this body. It means that we have not chosen our specific incarnation.
Recurrence is another matter pertaining to cyclical events within one’s physical life: the repetition of circumstances.
We are going to explain these three terms more in depth, in terms of our relationship to these laws.
In synthesis, we have this image known as the Bhavacakra within Buddhism. We have a beautiful course online on gnosticteachings.org, which specifically explains this symbol, which is essential to Buddhism. We’re not going to explain all the intricacies of this image because we have a course available and it would take many lectures to explain it.
In synthesis this image is a wheel, pertaining to the cyclical manifestation of beings within different levels of existence. We see that there is a figure gripping this wheel with his teeth. This figure is known as Yama, which means “death.” In the center we have six levels or modes of existence. We have the humans, the demigods, the gods, the animals, the demons, and the hungry ghosts. These are different types of psychology, psychological ways of being. Because bhava means “becoming,” a way of being, a level of being, as we say in these studies. People have typically denominated this image as the Wheel of Samsara, which is mistaken. It is really the Bhavacakra: “wheel of becoming,” because, depending on our psychological state, depending on our attachments, or lack thereof, will determine whether or not we cycle through these different states of being.
These beings within this wheel of suffering, within different states of attachment, cling to a mistaken sense of identity. The essential tenant of Buddhism, which we will explain in relation to this study, pertains to how one’s psychological way of being attracts one’s life. Our psychological state determines our life, for as Buddha taught in the Dhammapada: “Mind proceeds phenomena. We become what we think.” And this determines our life. If we perform good actions, then good results will follow, like the cart following an ox. And if we perform bad deeds then likewise bad results will follow. This is particularly relevant in the doctrine of karma, which we are going to explain.
In synthesis, this image portrays how all of us, all beings within this universe, cycle within this ever-recurring and ever-rotating wheel of becoming. There is no freedom from suffering within these realms. In particular relation to us in the human state, it is easy to determine and look to see how the beings of the demon realm obviously suffer. Human beings with many problems suffer. It’s challenging to understand the other realms of “being,” such as the gods or the demigods, but even they have a type of attachment―attachment to states of bliss, which for them is suffering. To comprehend these states we need to awaken our perception, awaken our consciousness.
Now, all beings within these realms are subject to laws of nature, in which they have no control. Typically, it is our lack of cognizance which produces our suffering. Because whether we are in a humanoid state or we have many blessings―such as the demigods or the gods within our life, because these don’t only represent realms of different universes or realms of being, they also pertain to states of psychology that every person possesses―whether or not we have many blessings, many gifts, or many types of comforts, these in the end will be lost. These in the end will be reduced to dust. Therefore we have to analyze our psychology and really determine what is it that is important to know.
This why we study return, recurrence, and reincarnation, because we seek to understand the laws in which we are subjected. Because if we are ignorant of these laws, then we cannot change our way of being. But if we are cognizant of these laws and experience, and how we, due to our state of mind, cycle within different types or states of being, of suffering, it is by knowing these things that we can change it, that we can transcend this wheel.
As we see in this image, there is a figure of a buddha or a bodhisattva, an illuminated initiate or being that has transcended this wheel, has escaped these different states of being, these levels of being, and has transcended these cycles of manifestation of being and of cyclical existence.
So again, this is not a theory. This is something we need to verify with experience.
Typically when we think of reincarnation or return, we think of Hinduism or Buddhism, and typically do not acknowledge that this doctrine of transmigration of souls has existed even within Western doctrine. Sadly, it has been manipulated or taken out of the scriptures and the teachings of Christianity, especially.
The Greek Mysteries of Transmigration
We find the Greek figure Pythagoras, who is a great master of the White Lodge: those souls that have transcended that wheel of becoming and have entered into a perfect state of peace and cognizance. Some people call them supermen, initiates, bodhisattvas. Pythagoras is precisely such an individual who taught that all beings and all things cycle and manifest in cyclical ways. As a result of that they suffer.
Now what’s interesting to note in this image we have Pythagoras. The name Pythagoras comes from pythios―which means or signifies the name of Apollo. Ἀπόλλων Apollo, in Greek, is “Christ,” a figure of the solar god, the sun deity. Pythagoras also has the name Agora which means “market,” marketplace.
The serpent of the market, we could say, if we have studied German esotericism, we find the teachings of Friedrich Nietzsche, who also knew this science, in which he explained how he tried to give this type of doctrine of the eternal return, which we are going to explain, to the public by teaching in the marketplace. Pythagoras precisely had the wisdom of the serpent in his teaching, the wisdom of sexual alchemy. As we explain, the serpent pertains to the divine Mother Kundalini. He was a great master who taught amongst the markets, teaching and gathering disciples, through the wisdom of the serpent, like Nietzsche did fictionally through his Iranian Prophet in Thus Spoke Zarathustra.
The word metampsychosis―if we break the word down―comes from the Greek μετεμψύχωσις, metempsychousthai. Meta refers to “after” or “beyond.” And empsychos means “to animate, so that which is beyond our animated form. Anima, in Latin means “soul,” as well. It pertains to how the soul animates different bodies within different existences, before and after one’s current state of knowledge. Meta also related with em, “to be within the soul,” psyche, metempsychosis.
I’ll quote for you some early documentation about the teachings of Pythagoras which elaborates the doctrine of transmigration.
“On the subject of reincarnation Xenophanes bears witness in an elegy which begins `Now I will turn to another tale and show the way'. What he says about Pythagoras runs thus: Once they say that he was passing by when a puppy was being whipped, and he took pity and said, `Stop, do not beat it. For it is the soul of a friend that I recognized when I heard it giving tongue.’” ―Diogenes, Laertius 8.36
This is from Diogenes in his book Laertius, Book 8 Verse 36. So this is an early documentation about the teachings of transmigration. And now we’ll be specific to state that metempsychosis or transmigration pertains to the manifestation of the soul within different types of bodies, not just human body to human body. Because that pertains to return, and we’re going to explain more deeply.
A transmigration, first, is how the soul manifests from different elemental kingdoms of nature within different bodies, whether from the mineral state, the plant state, to the animal state, and then to the humanoid state. This cycle of how the soul migrates within different kingdoms of nature, through forces of evolution. It pertains to transmigration: how the soul migrates within different bodies, different types of bodies. Return pertains to how one manifests again and again within a specific type of body, whether mineral, plant, animal or humanoid. So return pertains to one’s return to the same type of body within a specific type of kingdom. We’re going to elaborate about these kingdoms more specifically.
Pythagoras also teaches, or his doctrine was elaborate by Porthereus, in his Life of Pythagoras.
“None the less, the following became universally known: first, that he maintains that the soul is immortal; second, that it changes into other kinds of living things; third, that events recur in certain cycles and that nothing is ever absolutely new; and fourth, that all living things should be regarded as akin. Pythagoras seems to have been the first to bring these beliefs into Greece.” ―Porphyrius, Life of Pythagoras 19
Those people who are of the Western type of mentally, who reject the doctrine of reincarnation or return, should study Pythagoras, because as a great master of the Greek doctrine, he explained and firmly taught these laws within nature.
It is interesting that we have this document here. It states that the soul is immortal. Einstein said energy is neither created or destroyed. It simply changes form. Energy becomes matter, matter becomes energy. The soul can change types or states of consciousness and form, but it is never lost. It simply migrates. Second, that it changes into other kinds of living things, like we mentioned. Third, that events recur in certain cycles and that nothing is ever absolutely new. This pertains to the doctrine of recurrence, how, in our life, certain states of being or mentality, our mind, our heart, or physical circumstances around us, constantly recur. In our physical life, we have many things that appear psychically and that we need to become aware of. This is recurrence.
Return pertains to how the soul enters into new bodies within a specific kingdom. Return for us is a return into a new humanoid body. Return for animals is a return into a new animal body, whether it is an eagle or a serpent or whatever variety that exists. Return for plants pertains to animating new plant bodies. Even the minerals have a soul which transmit the vital forces of the earth. They too have physicality, body, within the minerals and metals. We say that the minerals and metals are the nervous system of the planet and that they too, have soul.
You take a look at the Kirlian camera, I believe it was a Russian scientist, photographed how minerals and plants and animals have aura, have light, have an energy. Likewise, it is important to note that minerals have a type of life and soul and that we know them an gnomes and pygmies within different ancient-lore or Irish folklore, different traditions. And that the souls of plants also, or elementals of plants, have life and that they animate those physical bodies that we see as trees or flowers or different plants. Likewise, animals have soul, because the word anima means “soul.” People who affirm that animals don’t have a type of soul like many fundamentalist think, are completely mistaken. They should study the teachings of Pythagoras since Christianity is founded upon Greek dialectics and Greek teachings.
The Four Kingdoms
As we are explaining, there are different kingdoms within the department of nature. We use this image to explain the different kingdoms of elemental consciousness. This wheel or this diagram portrays those different kingdoms that I’ve just mentioned. When the soul first animates a new body, or manifests from the absolute source―we call it the Absolute; we call it the ocean of Christ, the light―the soul emanates down what we call the Tree of Life and Kabbalah, as different stages or degrees of matter, energy and consciousness, also reaching the physical plane, and the physical plane in that soul enters into mineral states.
That soul, or anima, animates mineral states. The minerals are of a very simple type of consciousness. But they are the life force of this planet. This mineral kingdom is needed to sustain our world as we know it, in terms of all the vitality and forces that plants receives, that the vitality of the water we drink relates to how the mineral forces are saturating this planet
The soul transmigrates between these different kingdoms, initially though the force of what we call evolution. Evolution is “progression, development, growth.” The souls that are in the mineral kingdom need to gain experience within that kingdom, learning to transmit forces of Christ within the mineral and metal state for the benefit of the universe and of humanity. Once the soul has developed as a mineral, it can progress and evolve, enter or transmigrate into the plant kingdom, into plant states or plant forms. Likewise, the souls of plants also transmit energies. If we look at the trees or the flowers, how they reach up toward the space, it is because the energies of life are now initiating a return upward towards the source. Plants, the elemental souls of the plant kingdom, help transmit vital forces that are necessary for this planet. Once the soul has evolved and developed cognizance and mastery of the level of the plant kingdom, that soul transmigrates to the animal kingdom. It evolves to that state.
Now in the animal kingdom, something unique happens. In the animal kingdom, the souls of the animals are given instinct. They receive a new type of psychology. They’re engrained with a type of instinctual force, given to them by gods, the angels or Elohim, that the Bible speaks of. This is a necessary stage within the evolution of the soul, because there are certain forces that are transmitted by the animals that are necessary for the planet. And now animals, they learn in this kingdom to perform what we call fornication. Fornication is the expulsion of the sexual energy. So in animals, that is natural. They obey the laws of nature. When they feel excited sexually, they copulate with their partner in order to procreate the species. This is a very natural tendency amongst animals. Now animals, they do so and they propagate their species and they gain experience within their consciousness, at that level.
Now once they have finally progressed and gained a higher degree of consciousness within the animal kingdom, they can then enter or transmigrate into a humanoid body.
Now what’s interesting to note is we don’t call this the human kingdom, as ironic as that might sound. We say humanoid, because really, all of us are animal souls that have reincarnated into human bodies. Again, remember that the word anima is “soul.” The special gift that the humanoids receive is the intellect. Now the intellect is a machine or vehicle that will allow us to learn to differentiate between good and evil. Animals, plants and minerals don’t know that difference. They don’t have intellect. They have a type of mind, a type of understanding or perception. But it is not intellectual. There’s no rationalization there. There’s no thesis/antithesis, theory/anti-theory, concept/anti-concept. That is a specific demarcation, the demarcation between the humanoid kingdom with the previous kingdoms. It is precisely that we have that intellect, and this a gift, that we need to learn how to use for divinity.
That is why Samael Aun Weor, the founder of this tradition, stated, with clarity, that really, we are intellectual animals. Meaning: we are souls with intellect. We have not yet entered into what we call the “Human Kingdom.”
If you look in this image, we find a diagram or a path leading upward from the humanoid kingdom toward what we call “the heavens,” the superior kingdoms, represented as the Tree of Life as we have in this book available here. Now, the word hum-an is interesting. The word hum is “spirit.” The word man is “manas” or “mind.” Being refers to divinity. So a human being is an individual that has incarnated into their being, has incarnated God, a mind that is fully united with hum, the spirit, divinity.
As we are now, we are not that. It is necessary to recognize this fact because, if we mediated, examined our mind, what we will find are a lot of disordered thoughts, worries, preoccupations, fears, frustrations, anger, resentment―negative psychological elements which had emerged initially from the animal kingdom.
Now animals, due to the active fornication, the active expelling of that energy, the sexual force, in order to procreate, they develop what we call ego. But to a very minor degree. They develop a type of psychological element, sense of self, as a result of that act, because the sexual energy is creative. It needs to, in animals, it is used to create life, physical life. Likewise, this energy creates animal mind, or ego to a minor degree.
The problem is once we have entered into the humanoid kingdom, we carry these animal tendencies within our psyche. Notice that in the Bible when Adam and Eve, symbol of primordial humanity, were in the garden, they were told specifically, told by Jehovah Elohim, in Hebrew meaning the Tetragrammaton of Gods and Goddesses, the Holy Spirit, “In this Tree of Knowledge you shall not eat, neither shall you touch it, lest ye die. The trees of the Garden you may freely eat from, the Tree of Life.” Symbolically, it is representing how the soul on that level initially knew God and experienced the entire Tree of Life, representing the human being in his totality, reflecting the light of God. But humanity, using the intellect to justify animal passion, did not obey that commandment given by divinity towards that ancient humanity, which is lost within our memory within these times, but is well documented within ancient traditions.
Humanity indulged in that forbidden fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, which we precisely state is the sexual energy, the most powerful force that we carry within our psyches, and within our bodies, in our spirit, in our mind. This energy, which has been evolving progressively through the inferior kingdoms, has complicated itself and manifested itself finally into a humanoid body, in which the souls have finally entered into humanoid state. The problem is that with the intellect, human beings have used it to justify animal passion, as I stated, which is the expulsion of that sexual energy. This in itself fortifies those animalistic elements called ego: anger, pride, vanity, laziness, lust, etcetera. The human beings of the superior kingdom, the angels, the Elohim, obey the sixth commandment of Moses, “Though shall not fornicate.” Meaning: to use that energy in purity. The angels told that ancient humanity, “Well, previously you used that energy to procreate as animals. Now you can’t do that anymore if you want to enter into the higher kingdoms.”
Evolution and Devolution: The Mechanicity of Nature
Notice that evolution, as a process or development of the soul, takes the soul and transmigrates from these different kingdoms to the humanoid state through the process of evolution, meaning: there’s no effort involved. It is mechanical. It is a way that’s taking one up like a wheel, or a ferry ride, or a Ferris wheel. At the top, the soul has a choice: to follow superior laws or to continue with animal passion, to indulge in those negative psychological elements and fortify them. As we see in this image, we have a devolving current, meaning a retrogressive descent, back into those inferior kingdoms.
The force of devolution pertains to destruction, or disintegration, retrogression: to go backwards. Those souls that don’t enter into the human kingdom, the kingdom of the angels, let themselves be swallowed by the devolving forces of nature, because if those souls do not want to enter the kingdom of the human beings, the angels, if they don’t willingly want to destroy their defects by working with tantra and alchemy, to ascend inward and upward, to God, unfortunately they have to be disintegrated in the process known as hell.
Now hell refers to not only to a place, but a state of suffering. What religions call hell is really a type of, we can call, recycling plant, as a type of analogy. It’s not an eternal place of damnation where no one ever escapes. That is a ludicrous interpretation. Instead, it’s a retrogressive decline back into animal bodies, into plant bodies, into mineral bodies as the soul transmigrates back down towards the interior of the earth. This is known as the submerged mineral kingdom, or the abyss, hell, Avitchi, Tartarus, the infernos, given different names in different traditions. That’s in order that the soul can be liberated from the ego that has swallowed it, that has encapsulated it, because ego takes the soul and conditions it in a shell.
This is the meaning of the Genie of Aladdin’s lamp. You break the shell, you break the lamp, you free the genie, which is the soul that can produce miracles. But sadly, those who don’t want to disintegrate their ego, well, actually as an act of compassion by divinity, those souls are retrogressively sent down into the inferior kingdoms, descending down into the interior of the earth, in order to be disintegrated. We’re going to elaborate on this further. But that’s in order that the ego can be destroyed. That’s in order that those negative psychological elements can be eliminated so that the soul, the genie, can be liberated, and released back into nature.
Now this is a cycle that I mentioned to you. Many souls, they ascend through evolution up the different kingdoms and achieve a humanoid body, but choose to follow the devolving path, to let themselves be swallowed by nature, and therefore they retrogress and go back towards these inferior kingdoms until entering into the abyss or hell to be disintegrated. When the soul is liberated, it enters again into a mineral state and the cycle continues. This is a type of repetition or transmigration that we need to be aware of, not just intellectually, but from experience.
The Path of Revolutionary Self-Transformation
Now, we study the laws of the superior kingdoms. If we are in these studies, or interested in these studies, it is because we are tired of suffering, of repeating cyclical events in life. And deep down in the soul, we yearn not to be swallowed by nature, to be disintegrated in the inferior kingdoms, or the kingdoms of the abyss. Now to escape that, we need to follow the commandments of Jehovah Elohim, which is in the Bible, “Thou shall not fornicate,” and to willingly work on ourselves with the practices given in this tradition so that we can ascend towards heaven, through our practical work.
Now, this teaching was also given by the Sufi initiates such as Jalaluddin Muhammad Rumi, or simply known as Rumi in the West. And many Sufis are not aware, not many individuals are aware, that we find this even in Middle Eastern doctrine, the esoteric teachings of Islam. Rumi explained this:
“I died as a mineral and became a plant, I died as plant and rose to animal, I died as animal and I was Man. Why should I fear? When was I less by dying?” ―Jalal al-Din Muhammad Rumi
Then he elaborates that if we want to ascend towards God, we need to transcend the state of the humanoid person, the humanoid, in order to become an angel. This path that we discussed previously is the path of revolution. It means that it takes a particular effort on our part in order to actualize divinity within us and to develop it.
“Yet once more I shall die as Man, (or humanoid, human person) to soar with angels blest; but even from angelhood I must pass on: all except God doth perish.” ―Jalal al-Din Muhammad Rumi
We are interested in becoming angles, and the angels are interested to coming closer to God, but that’s another level and would take other lectures to discuss. But here we’re just discussing how we want to transcend this wheel of return―transmigration, better said. And later Rumi says:
“When I have sacrificed my angel-soul, I shall become what no mind e'er conceived. Oh, let me not exist! for Non-existence (meaning the absolute from which we emerged, that great source of divinity from which the gods emerged) proclaims in organ tones, To Him we shall return (which is a very famous teaching in Islam). –Jalal al-Din Muhammad Rumi
Ego, Essence, and Personality in the Bible
Now, in the next graphic we have what we denominate the three aspects of gnostic psychology, which we’ve been discussing already. It is important to understand what in us returns into new bodies and what in us needs to be worked on and eliminated if we want to unite with divinity. The Bible talks about three principle characters, which are essential to understanding our psychology.
As I’ve been mentioning, we have the ego, which we can call Cain, in the Bible, in the Book of Genesis. From what happened in the original story was that Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit, meaning they abused of that sacred sexual power and did not use it for divine purposes and therefore, they were expelled.
Literally the word Eden means “bliss.” All the many theologians and philosophers have argued that it was God who expelled Adam and Eve from the Garden. The truth is that we expelled ourselves. Literally there is an expulsion of energy, the expulsion of the energies of bliss, when there is an orgasm, when there is the abuse of the sexual power. So willingly, as a result of following our animal passion, we continued along the path of procreation as animals instead of using that energy to create the soul within.
When Adam and Eve were expelled, we had this excerpt from the Book of Genesis, chapter 4 verses 1-2.
“And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from יהוה (Jehovah, Allah, the Lord). And she again bare his brother Abel (Habel). And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.” –Genesis 4:1-2
So “Adam knew his wife.” This means, to have knowledge of one’s wife is to engage in the sexual act, whether as animals or as angels, because the angels are born from sex, the same way that a physical body can be born from sex. The soul can also be created through that energy, and this is the teachings of tantra. Now if we abuse of that energy, we create Cain. So, these are not just people who live in the past, but archetypes: symbols of elements within our interior that we need to understand. Through the act of fornication, of abusing the energy, we heavily fortify the mind, the intellect, and strengthen animal passion.
So, Eve said, “I have gotten a man from Jehovah” because יהוה Jah-Chavah is sexual energy. The power of Christ is within the sexual matter. She said, “I gave birth to Cain as a result of my energy.” And she again bore his brother Abel, and Abel was a keeper of the sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. Now it is important to know that within alchemy Adam is not just representing man within the past, but refers to the brain. Eve, or חַוָה Havah, literally means “mother of the living.” It refers to the sexual organs, whether in man or in woman. So, Adam and Eve represent aspects of our physiology and our psychology, the mind, Adam, and Eve, Havah.
It is precisely through this energy, when Eve ate the forbidden fruit, because it was Eve that took fruit from the tree, meaning the sexual organs indulged in passion, in lust, and expelled that energy: ate from the forbidden fruit. She then gave it to Adam, to the brain, and said, “This feels wonderful. Taste this. Taste the orgasm.” So the brain is the one that received the effects afterward and then justified, “Oh this is a good feeling.” However, they realized that they were naked, meaning: they lost their connection with their divinity and they felt the absence of God within them. This is the esoteric meaning of Genesis. So later, I mean they were expelled by Jehovah Elohim, by Jehovah. Then Adam knew his wife again, Eve. And through that energy again, created Cain.
Cain is the type of mind that we have in these times, which is solely based on the senses, is very materialistic. This is what it means to be a tiller of the ground: only concerned with physical things, our job, our money, our career, our family, supporting ourselves physically, being identified with the senses. All of us are tillers of the ground. We are occupied with physical things.
We are typically not keepers of sheep. Sheep, in esotericism refers to, “the lamb of Christ”―sheep, lamb, ram. Jesus is referred to as the sacrificial lamb. To be a keeper of sheep is to work with the energy known as Christ. Those of us who entered into these types of studies, we work with mantra, and if we’re married, we work in alchemy, conserving the energies in order to become keeper of sheep, to develop those principles of Christ within us.
If we remember the story, Cain killed Abel. This refers to how our own ego, our own anger and pride and vanity and lust, kills the soul. Whenever we identify with any negative element in our mind, our heart, our body, we kill our soul. We destroy our consciousness. We deepen our suffering. We feed our consciousness and trap our soul within the cages of the ego, the mind. It is important to understand these principles, because our ego is the shell that cages our soul and prevents us from knowing God. Likewise, we study these principles because it is the ego and the Essence, or the ego and the soul, Cain and Abel, that constantly reincorporate into new bodies.
When we ask ourselves, well, what is it that returns to a new humanoid body? It is our ego and our soul, constantly returning to new bodies. Whenever we enter a new body, or have entered into new bodies, we develop what is called a personality. Personality pertains to one’s customs, language, name, heredity, culture, things that are extrinsic, particularly relating to physical things. That develops typically within the years four to seven within a child, and it is by developing a personality, which the Latin word persona means “masks,” we relate to the world. That’s how the ego can reincorporate. The ego needs its personality in order to manifest in the physical body, which is explained in books like Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology. But in synthesis, we talk about ego and essence and personality.
Now in the Bible, personality pertains to a figure known as Nimrod. Now Nimrod was the one who built the Tower of Babel, or we know it as the Tower of Babel. The Tower of Babel represents all the gibberish that we find in our planet, whether in politics, systems that state that they promote freedom and equality for all, but in fact are degenerate and destructive. We find this type of babble and incoherence within religions that teach that one is easily saved without having to work on oneself. We find this type of babble in the personality, in all the wars that have existed on this planet with our humanity.
The reason why, or let me explain further, in the myth, Nimrod was building this tower of Babel to heaven. And God, indignant, confounded humanity, and humanity then separated into different languages, and customs, and types of people, groups. Because in the past, it was stated in the Bible that “Humanity spoke one language.” When humanity was pure, they spoke only the language of God, called the “Pure Golden Language.” As a result of entering into fornication, the mind, or one, creates anger and all of these negative psychological elements, the ego. That in turn, creates division, and later manifests and propagated itself within different groups and cultures, where people began to experience a greater sense of separation. Different languages developed. Different customs and culture developed. That’s personality. Personality is a type of energy, and its crystalized within our body, within our psyche, within ourselves, here and now, so that we learn how to interact with the world.
Either the soul or the ego can use the personality. Now we want to use our personality, our ways of dealing with the world, our customs, our job, our language, in a conscious way, using it with the soul. But typically what happens is that our ego complicates things, fortifies things. Therefore, the personality becomes very degenerated as well. And really, we create our own towers of babble. In each life that we enter into, we create new problems for ourselves, just in a different language, maybe or a different type of culture, a different type of existence.
We have here in this, the book of Genesis, Chapter 10 verses 8 through 10:
“And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before יהוה: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before יהוה. And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.” –Genesis 10:8-10
So what does it mean that Nimrod, the personality, is a mighty hunter? It means that with our personalities we are always constantly hunting after things. People, comedians, politicians, have very strong personalities and people feel attracted to that. Now, the personality is something that is born in one life and is disintegrated when that soul disincarnates. That soul reincorporates into a new body. The personality is something that is not immutable. It is something that is transient. People who are very clairvoyant and who look in graveyards, they often will see the personalities of the dead, mistaking them as the soul, or consciousness, or ghost of that person. They see the really the energy of that person, which is the personality. When that personality is very strong, it can even move physical things. Many people have documented this type of phenomenon. But a personality is born in life and then it dies in the grave, basically. The personality does not return. There’s always a new building. There’s always a new Tower of Babel that we create in each life, which creates problems for ourselves.
The doctrine of return was taught by Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita. He explained in the scripture how it is really the ego, and the soul, the consciousness or Essence, that reincorporates into new physical bodies. Now in these studies we teach that we are granted 108 opportunities within humanoid bodies, in order to perform this work that we call self-realization, to enter the path of tantra, to follow the commandments of Jehovah Elohim, so that, like in the Bible, we can create Seth.
So if you remember the book of Genesis, Adam and Eve begot Cain and Abel. Abel was killed and later Adam and Eve, Adam knew his wife again, and begot Seth. Seth is an archetype referring to working in alchemy, but it would take another lecture to explain the meaning of that.
But here we are discussing how the soul and the ego reincorporate and that we have 108 opportunities within humanoid bodies. The reason being is that we have 12 zodiacal signs. We incorporate within each zodiacal sign 9 times. 9 refers to, in Kabbalah, the secret teachings of alchemy, or Yesod, the foundation, the sexual energy. In order for us to gain experience with different types of personalities, learning about different ways of being, we are born 9 times within each zodiacal sign, so that we gain experience and become more rounded as a psyche. The problem is that we typically are not aware of where we came from or where we’re going. Therefore, we need to learn to meditate, so that we can comprehend where it is we came from. Yes?
Question: I have a question. What about this esoteric astrology? Where do they say that, at least in this incarnation, a competent astrologist says, think Steiner said it “This is the math of the soul”?
Instructor: These are certain tendencies that are manifested within certain horoscopes. I don’t suggest, as you know, the pop-horoscopes that people propagate. But esoteric astrology, which is very profound, there are certain tendencies we can learn about the type of personality that we develop in relationship to the zodiacal sign of which we belong. That will guide us to certain understandings of how to relate to the world.
Question: What happened in a previous incarnation? Is there a link there?
Instructor: The truth is, say for instance, if we’re in the sign of Libra, it probably means that we’ve already been in that sign many times. So, we have the zodiacal influences within ourselves here and now. We’re just not aware of it. It just happens to be that in this current incarnation, we are manifesting a specific tendency. So it is important to understand what is that chief characteristic, tendency, that we’re manifesting through the zodiac in which we are born in this life. It does relate to our past lives, because we’ve all developed under different zodiacal signs and they all relate. And we need to comprehend them. Yes?
Question: Isn’t it true too that, regardless of what your suns sign is in a particular life, in the books they talk about “your ray,” one of the seven, and that’s the continuous thing. Is that what you belong to?
Instructor: Yes, and we talk about in these studies the seven rays, which relates to God. Here we’re talking about the personality, which is transient. We develop many personalities. We discard them in each life. The spiritual way pertains to our inner divinity within, which is eternal.
Question: So are you saying that the zodiac sign influences your personality, or your ego? Or both?
Instructor: It pertains to our personality, but also, certain egos relate to certain tendencies in the personality. Because when we are all masked at a party for instance, I’m not sure if you studied Shakespeare, but there’s a certain play where characters were dressed in masks and they’re playing a role as a result of the mask that they wore. So they were exhibiting certain tendencies as a result of the performance they’re doing. Persona is the mask of the personality in how we relate to others. It does relate to certain egos that we have. Also, there’s certain positive influences in the zodiac that pertain to the soul. In the book Practical Astrology, the soul can manifest certain tendencies which are superior, relating to a zodiac. So it relates to all of that, but for us, we want to know how that relates to our personality, because our personality is very centered on the negative influence of our zodiac.
Comment: Just want to add to that. People say “I’m this” and that’s a big generalization. People have studied these prominent astrologies. There’s so much to it. I mean, what they call aspects, what they call planet in the sign, how it relates in the sextiles―and it gets complicated. So the sun sign is general. Then they’ll have what they call the moon sign, which is very important. Then the rising sign. Those are key. From what I read, I’m just giving you a consensus to what they’re saying. But then when you get into what they call the aspects, the good things, the negative things in other words, in math, that’s why these competent astrologers, they take some time. It gets involved. That’s all.
Instructor: And it’s a deep science, which would take many lectures. It would take a whole course to explain it. But in terms of our personality, and our ego, and our essence, the zodiac― we are born in each zodiac. We need to study our zodiac, because its just going to tell us about our personality, certain tendencies that we have. Now in each life, we return to a certain zodiac and we’re granted, as I said, 108 lives―opportunities―in order to enter the path of self-realization.
Return in the Bhagavad-Gita
So, the Master Krishna spoke to our Arjuna in the Bhagavad-Gita, teaching this:
18. These bodies of the embodied Self (Atman, the Innermost Being, who is our own Father within), which is eternal, indestructible and immeasurable, are said to have an end (meaning the bodies are said to have an end). Therefore, fight, O Arjuna! 19. He who takes the Self to be the slayer and he who thinks He is slain, neither of them knows; He slays not nor is He slain. ―Bhagavad-Gita 2
He is giving a teaching here about the need to enter the path of self-realization, because the body will die, but the soul and ego will continue on. If we don’t develop our consciousness by working on the ego, by disintegrating it through meditation, by working with sexual energy, whether in mantras or working in a matrimony, we cannot enter into that straight path mentioned by Jesus, the path of revolution of the consciousness, to return to God and ascend to the higher kingdoms.
Krishna continues with atman, the spirit, our inner God:
20. He is not born nor does He ever die; after having been, He again ceases not to be. Unborn, eternal, changeless and ancient, He is not killed when the body is killed, 21. Whosoever knows Him to be indestructible, eternal, unborn and inexhaustible, how can that man slay, O Arjuna, or cause to be slain? 22. Just as a man casts off worn-out clothes and puts on new ones, so also the embodied Self casts off worn-out bodies and enters others that are new. ―Bhagavad-Gita 2
So like Rumi said, “Why worry?” in a sense. People are terrified of death, physically. They ignore that they may be given an opportunity to return to a new body depending on karma.
23. Weapons cut It not, fire burns It not, water wets It not, wind dries It not. 24. This Self cannot be cut, burnt, wetted nor dried up. It is eternal, all-pervading, stable, ancient and immovable. 25. This (Self) is said to be unmanifested, unthinkable and unchangeable. Therefore, knowing This to be such, thou shouldst not grieve. 26. But, even if thou thinkest of It as being constantly born and dying, even then, O mighty-armed, thou shouldst not grieve! 27. For, certain is death for the born and certain is birth for the dead; therefore, over the inevitable thou shouldst not grieve. 28. Beings are unmanifested in their beginning, manifested in their middle state, O Arjuna, and unmanifested again in their end! What is there to grieve about? ―Bhagavad-Gita 2
And as I said Rumi mentioned the same thing, “When was I less by dying?”
What is important, this teaching by Krishna, if we don’t constantly work to destroy our defects, then nature will come and swallow us, because in order to be saved in Christian soteriology―the doctrine of salvation―we need to eliminate our defects so that we can return to God. This is the path of the cross taught by master Jesus. The other option is to allow oneself to be swallowed by nature. At the end of one’s 108 humanoid bodies, if one still has not made any effort to change, then there is no other choice but for that soul within the ego to be disintegrated, or the ego, that person, to be disintegrated by nature.
Disintegration within Hell
As representative in The Divine Comedy, the Inferno, where Dante, taken by his master Virgil, descends through the different inferior spheres of the Klipoth―the interior dimensions of the earth. This doesn’t mean that physically there are people in the earth suffering, but within the interior dimensions of nature, there are different beings that suffer.
If you remember the image of the Bhavacakra we showed, there are the hell beings who are trapped within that realm, being disintegrated by their own passion and by the forces of nature, which are exerting themselves, which are like the earth crushing coal in order to eliminate its impurities to produce a diamond, the liberated Essence.
Dante here in this image, is with Virgil looking at the lost souls with the ninth sphere. So there’s nine heavens and nine hells we say in the Kabbalah. In the ninth sphere, we see souls that are disintegrating within the interior of the earth. They’re frozen at their neck up, or their bodies are lodged in place being destroyed, and the forces of nature are slowly disintegrating their ego.
We didn’t mention previously, but we elaborate that in relation to the development of the soul within the forces of evolution, upon entering the mineral kingdom, the soul receives certain bodies. Now, not only does the soul receive a physical body as a mineral, but also what we call internal bodies, or lunar bodies. These are gifts of nature that allow that soul to exist in superior dimensions, known as heaven, which we can access in the dream state. The souls develop within their lunar bodies, those vehicles that belong to nature, in order to progress up the different kingdoms. Those lunar bodies develop and grow as a result of those forces. Even upon entering the humanoid kingdom, we have the lunar bodies. And the problem is that our soul manifesting in those bodies, if it does not make the effort to change, the ego really integrates with those lunar bodies and nature, in a sense, swallows her own children, as in the law, “To eat or be eaten.” Those forces take those bodies, along with the soul, down into the interior kingdoms to be disintegrated. So what we see here are the souls within their lunar bodies being disintegrated. These are vehicles for the soul to manifest.
Question: Does that have anything to do with, Saturn devoured his children or something?
Comment: Kronos. Yes Saturn is Kronos too.
Question: That’s the same analogy you’re making here?
Instructor: Saturn is death. Really we can say that mother nature really attempts to swallow her own children. This is the meaning of the Goddess Kali in Hinduism, the inverted aspect of Kali, which is the one who devours her children. Shakespeare had a play called Titus Andronicus, and which, if you’re not familiar with it, a man gets revenge on this woman, his enemy, by secretly killing her children and then feeding it to her. Symbolically hidden in that is that she represents Kali eating her own children, eating her soul. Now, this path devolving and entering into inferior states, those lunar bodies are disintegrated along with the ego, by the forces of nature.
Comment: You said right now that Dante, in some of the books, was translated in the Italian language, it’s the same thing though when you translate it. It’s kind of really depressing. He was a little more graphic the way he described it in this book. A dry comedy. It was a sign, a cave with fumes coming out, and over the top was written in Latin: Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”
Instructor: Right. But there’s hope for us. The truth is even the souls that really want to change can be helped. Even though it says “abandon all hope,” well, there are many who are completely lost. But there are some that can be saved. As evidence, if you read a book called The Revolution of Beelzebub, a prince of demons repents. So even demons can change.
Question: Is the 108 lives strict, or if someone was really trying to change and ran out of time, is there any mercy for people?
Instructor: Yeah, there’s mercy. The law of karma is mercy and severity. There’s always opportunities if the soul is working. If they reach their 108th life and they’re showing, they’re demonstrating they want to continue on the path, they’re going to get another body. They’re going to be helped. Also, the soul is granted extra help by creating the solar bodies too, particularly in the relationship with the solar astral body, which we are going to explain.
Now Homer said:
“It is better to be a beggar upon earth than a king in the kingdom of darkness.” ―Homer
And Samael Aun Weor, states the following about this path of transmigration in his book The Magic of the Runes:
“Therefore, the descent into the tenebrous worlds is a backward trip through the devolving path. It is a downfall into an always increasing density, within obscurity and rigidity. It is a return, a repetition of the animal, plant, and mineral states, in short, a return into the primitive chaos.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Magic of the Runes
And that chaos is within the interior of the earth, in the inferior dimensions, in which we find precisely, the soul is disintegrating as in this image, where lost souls are being dissolved, such in the lake of the ninth sphere, the frozen lake where they’re being disintegrated.
“The souls of the abyss are liberated with the Second Death. These souls receive the token for their freedom when the ego and the lunar bodies are reduced to dust. The souls who are coming from the interior of the earth, who are marked by the frightful subterranean trip and covered with dust, convert themselves into gnomes of the mineral kingdom, then later into elementals of the plant kingdom, further into animals, and finally they reconquer the lost human state.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Magic of the Runes
So the second death mentioned in the Book of Revelation, pertains to when the lunar bodies and the ego are disintegrated in the ninth sphere. But it doesn’t mean, like religion says, that there is eternal damnation, that one is in hell forever. It doesn’t mean that. It refers to eternity. Eternity is a circle, and that eternity has its own sense of temporality, of time―not linear, but circular. To suffer eternal damnation means to suffer within eternity. It doesn’t mean it is punishment without end. That would be ludicrous, because divinity is merciful.
The second death is necessary to free those souls from the hell realms, so the souls can evolve again up the elemental kingdoms.
“This is the wise doctrine of Transmigration taught in foregone times by Krishna, the Hindustani Master. Millions of souls who died within the inferno are now playing as gnomes upon the rocks. Other souls are now delectable plants, or are living within animal creatures and longing to return to the human state.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Magic of the Runes
The Aeneid and Roman Esotericism
It should not be surprising, that this teaching should not necessarily be for scholars of religion, something that is unusual. Because we find this teaching of return, or reincorporation, of transmigration, and the descent into the inferior kingdoms explained in many cosmogonies and theologies, especially within The Aeneid by Virgil, which is probably one of the most well-read documentations of Latin literature.
In the poem―describing Aeneas, the Trojan paladin who escapes the burning of Troy in order to found the kingdom of Italy, or Lavinium, to propagate his people―it represents how the soul is entering into the superior path, performing the exodus, we could say, like Moses, ascending up back to the Promised Land of Jehovah, the Tree of Life. In the poem, Aeneas comes upon an island where they’re ripping off the branches to perform a ritual, a ritual ceremony for fire, one of the trees starts to bleed and a voice cries out from it. The soldiers and Aeneas are alarmed when they hear this proclamation from this soul within the tree.
“Why do you tear my poor flesh, Aeneas? Take pity now on the man who is buried here and do not pollute your righteous hands. I am not stranger to you. It was Troy that bore me and this is not a tree that is oozing blood. Escape, I beg you, from these cruel shores, from this land of greed. It is Polydorus that speaks. This is where I was struck down and an iron crop of weapons covered my body. Their sharp points have rooted and grown in my flesh.” ―Virgil, The Aeneid
In this image we have, again, a picture from Dante’s Divine Comedy. The tree, the people who are the souls that are trapped within the bodies of trees, are suffering in these forms, tormented by the harpies―which are, what we say “witches” or “sorceresses” who take on the form of birds. With their humanoid faces intact, they are inflicting suffering on these souls that are devolving within these trees, within these elemental forms, within hell. Samael Aun Weor states the following in The Magic of the Runes:
“Since the ancient times of Arcadia, when worship to the gods of the four elements of the universe and to the deities of the tender corn was still performed, the old hierophants, with their hair growing white with wisdom, never ignored the multiplicity of the “I.” Is it then rare, perchance, for any one of these many entities that constitute the ego to seize itself to life with much obsession and to be re-born in a tree?” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Magic of the Runes
The ego is not singular, but multiple. Each negative emotion in itself is an ego, a sense of self that can either reincorporate into new bodies, or as a gift of divinity, can be sent down into the infernal kingdoms to give help to the soul to which the ego belongs.
The ego is multiple, and when we examine our mind, each negative type of thought or feeling or emotion is separate. It’s a different type of entity. As taught by the great masters, we have this understanding that the ego is multiple and that, as a gift of grace, not all of our egos will manifest within the same body that we have. Sometimes, when reincorporating into a new humanoid body, certain egos are lost. Certainly, the most perverse egos are sent down into the inferno to be disintegrated as a gift of mercy.
This particularly relates to the myth of the centaurs. Now, we have in this image, I believe it’s Athena or Minerva, her Romanized name, soothing or trying to ease the suffering of a centaur. A centaur is half human half animal. That’s really us. We are half humanoid. We have, really, the physical body of a human, but our mind is animal.
Another meaning of centaur is a being that has divinity within, has created what we call the solar bodies, but still has the ego to eliminate. A centaur is really a split being. We call them hasnamussen, beings with a split-polarity, one with development in God, but still the ego has not been fully eliminated.
So, Minerva is offering grace to this being. Certain beings are given that, really, I would say all of us are given, that help. When we’ve reincorporated into a new body, certain egos are lost, and the less perverse egos are given into our body in order for us to work on them. Samael Aun Weor states the following in The Magic of the Runes, elaborating on the points we made:
“Another case comes into my memory, that of Pythagoras and his friend who was reincorporated into a poor dog. But, is it not perhaps true that the centaurs are assisted? What are the legends of the centuries telling us? These epic warriors (centaurs) who fell bleeding among the helmets and bucklers of those who gloriously died for the love of their people and their country, receive a well-deserved extra help when they return into this world.
“It is written with tremendous words that the centaurs, before returning into this valley of tears, eliminate part of themselves, part of their beloved ego. The law for centaurs is as follows: what is decisively criminal in them must enter the crematorium of the infernal worlds, and what is less perverse must be reincorporated into a human body. The old laurel-crowned Florentine Dante found many centaurs in the abyss. Let us remember Chiron, the old tutor of Achilles and Pholus, who was so frenzied. It is said with frightening and complete clarity in the great book of Nature, written with flaming embers, that before returning into this world, many parts of the ego are lost. Many psychic aggregates of the “itself” reincorporate into organisms of beasts, others are desperately seized (as the case of Polidorus) into the branches of trees, and finally, certain subjective elements of the “I” continue their devolution into the submerged mineral kingdom.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Magic of the Runes
It’s an act of mercy, really. If we really had all of our egos, especially the worst ones, manifesting in our psyche at the level in which we are, we would be suffering a lot more. In many cases, really, we are given help. The centaurs, those initiates who develop the solar bodies or the superior vehicles of the soul, have received a special grace. Lunar bodies pertain to bodies given by nature. Solar bodies signify what is meant by Jesus to “be born again,” precisely through tantra, the path of the cross, to create spiritual vehicles that can manifest divinity within which relates to reincarnation, that we’re going to explain.
Recurrence and Karma: The Infallible Law of Causality
In this image we have the wheel of fortune, the wheel of the centuries, the wheel of karma. Everything we’ve been explaining pertains to transmigration, or return: how the soul migrates into different bodies, into the different kingdoms. Now we’re going to talk about the laws that relate to our current physical life, pertaining to karma, which we also call recurrence. The law of recurrence pertains to karma.
In this image, we have the wheel of fortune, which can also be equated with the Bhavacakra, as well. In this image we have fortune that is blind, is rotating the wheel of destiny, in which the poor are elevated and the rich are denigrated, they descend.
Carl Orff beautifully represented the suffering of this mechanical wheel in his Carmina Burana, a great initiatic work of art. It is a choral piece.
People often think fortune is some blind law that is controlled or managed by some outside external being, some external entity. They say, “Well, Justin emis blind. God is blind. It is causing my suffering and it is ignoring my pain and has no mercy.” This is an ignorant perspective to take, because the one that is blind in this image is us. The truth is we all have power over our own destiny if we take control of it. As Hamlet stated in, or as Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet, “To be or not to be, that is the question. Whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing, end them” (Hamlet Act III, ll. 57-61). Either to be swallowed through nature, devolving into hell or to revolt against those forces, in order to unite with God―to be or not to be. All of us are constantly receiving the results of our past actions, whether in this life or in previous lives. Recurrence pertains to the cycle or manifestation of events that have their roots in past lives and past actions, as well.
कर Karma in Sanskrit literally means, “deed.” Coming from the root word क kri, which means “to do, make, cause and effect.” The word karman means “to act.” It refers to cause and effects, causality. It does not mean a blind law in which we suffer a lot as a result. It refers to the equilibration of forces as a result of our past actions.
So, if we were evil in a past life, we will receive the results of our actions of that life. If we inflicted harm on another person, that person will return and come back in our life as a recurrence and will inflict that same harm on is. This is the law of the Talion.
Now typically, we identify too much with our situations, the recurrent themes of our life, and we have many psychological songs in which we justify our suffering. We all have that to a degree. The thing is to realize that we are the ones responsible for our own actions and therefore we can receive superior results if we learn to fulfill what we call Karma Yoga, helping others do good deeds, so that we can cancel out our past karma, and also recurring events that are negative in nature. This law is fundamental even within Christianity, Judaism, and a Islam, not just Hinduism or Buddhism.
“Be not deceived. God is not mocked. For whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” –Galatians 6:7.
So recurrence pertains to, say for instance, if we committed adultery in the past, in a past life. When meeting that partner again, karma will be in action and that individual may commit adultery against us as a type of equilibration of forces. If we did evil, we have to receive evil. Whatever we do we receive the result. Therefore, if we are not in control of our own mind, as we stated in the beginning about the Dhammapada, “mind precedes phenomena, we become what we think.” If we don’t comprehend this law in action, then we are always going to suffer as a result of our mistake and actions.
Question: What about your thinking?
Instructor: Exactly. What we are internally determines our life and also attracts our life. Events constantly repeat themselves so long as the ego is there. The ego that is responsible for certain crimes or conflicts in our lives, relating to past lives, is constantly fulfilling its own, enacting itself according to its own conditioning. Now, if we let ourselves be controlled by our mind, then we receive the results. The ego is an actor.
Samael Aun Weor states in Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology how we are constantly playing the same dramas, tragedies, comedies, etc., on the screen of life. If you kill the actor, the drama is over. If you kill the actor, there’s no more comedy. Instead, you have a superior way of life. So, we need to comprehend the ego and annihilate it, so we cease to repeat life in a mistaken way.
The Three Eternals
The Buddha said that there are three eternal things in life that pertain to this doctrine of recurrence, and karma, as well as cosmological teachings. There is the law, karma, which is eternal; there is nirvana; and then there is space. These are eternal things within nature.
The law pertains to the law of equilibrium. Scientists call it “invariance,” in which any energy that is enacted from a certain point of origin must always return to that point of origin in order to balance itself. Therefore, psychologically speaking, we need to understand how this applies to us, because if we constantly argue with our friends, our family, our spouse, feeding our anger, that energy that we expel outward is going to come back at us. Therefore, we have to receive the results of our actions.
Now what we need to understand is nirvana, because nirvana in Sanskrit means “cessation.” Cessation pertains to the elimination of the causes of our suffering, which is heaven. Heaven is a state of being. It is also a place, the superior dimensions of nature. But more importantly, it refers to here and now as a psychological state. We need to understand cessation and the causes of our suffering, according to Buddhism, if we want to enter a superior way of life.
Then there’s space, which is the eternal root origin of our Being. We call it the Absolute. We call it the emptiness: shunyata. We call it Allah. We call is Christ, the source of all creation of all beings. It’s emptiness is not an abstract nihilism, nor is it a complete negation of all things. Instead it is a type of being that can only be comprehended through meditation and experience.
In relation to this Buddhist doctrine, understanding the impermanent nature of phenomena is how we learn to comprehend our ego, because when we see how our egos’ physical sense of self is transient, how anger emerges in concurrence with causes and conditions and then disappears, how certain emotional states come and go, how they recur, how they repeat themselves, it is by comprehending this relationship to external phenomena that we comprehend that our internal states are really empty, and that anger is not eternal. It’s a transient emotional state, a mistaken perception of self, which traps our consciousness and makes us suffer. When we comprehend that it is intrinsically really empty, that no ego is independent of anything else, there’s nothing eternal about it. There are certain causes and conditions, certain karmas, that propel and enact that ego to manifest within a certain situation. We understand that that sense of self is really empty, and this is how we learn to comprehend the ego―comprehending that no defect is intrinsically existing of itself. There’s always causes and conditions upon which is depends.
Spiritual Creation through Liberated Will
Nietzsche, who was a German initiate at one point, explains this teaching in his book Thus Spake Zarathustra, precisely the concepts we’ve been discussing. In this image we have the Iranian Prophet, Zarathustra, the founder of Zoroastrianism, holding in his right hand the staff of the initiates with a golden orb and serpent rotating around it. That serpent is the power of the Divine Mother and the staff represents the spinal column upon which the Kundalini rises in the teachings of alchemy, as we teach. What is interesting is that in his with his left hand, he’s performing in Buddhism what’s known as the vitarka mudra. Nietzsche is very famous for postulating in his book, the Doctrine of the Eternal Return, which we are going to be explaining.
Now, in Buddhism, this mudra, hand posture, is supposed to represent the transmission of a teaching from the Buddha, or from any buddha really. What is interesting is that we have a circle formed by our index finger and our thumb, which relates to the cycle of recurrence, or return. Then, with the three fingers, representing the three primary forces of nature, the power of Christ: Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Or in Kabbalah: Kether, Chokmah, Binah. The trinity is the light of God that manifests from the Absolute, and it is through this trinity that we learn to create a spiritual life. These are not people, anthropomorphic figures, but energies. In order to overcome the wheel of samsara, or the wheel of becoming, the eternal return in the circle, we need to work with the three primary forces, which is what we do when we practice alchemy. Man and woman united, masculine, feminine, affirmative force, negative force, and then the sexual act, reconciliation, the synthesis, are the three forces in action. That is how we create spiritually. Nietzsche talks about this very beautifully in his book, particularly in the section called, “Upon the Blessed Isles”:
“Creation―that is the great redemption from suffering and life’s growing light. But that the creator may be, suffering is needed and much change. Indeed, there must be much bitter dying in your life, you creators. Thus are you advocates and justifiers of all impermanence.” ―Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: “Upon the Blessed Isles”
Creation is redemption from suffering. Meaning: to create the soul precisely through alchemy in the higher stages of the path. It is also “life’s growing light.” We generate light precisely by working with our sexual energy to create spiritually. But in order for the creator to be, we need to suffer, meaning, we need to willingly take on and be responsible for our own suffering, the causes of our own afflictions, to take responsibility for what we did in the past, in order to recognize our faults. Karma comes back at us for past actions, whether in this life or in previous lives, and we learn to take it with a sense of rectitude. Instead of complaining about it, we use it to see those egos that manifest within a given psychological circumstance, so that we can die in those defects. Indeed, “there must be much bitter dying in your life.” He didn’t say that the path to salvation is easy. Instead, we need to suffer a lot so that ego emerges that’s causing our suffering, and comprehend it in meditation so that we can annihilate it.
“Thus are you advocates and justifiers of all impermanence.” So the doctrine of impermanence― same thing Nietzsche is teaching here―is how nothing is stable in this universe. Everything is dependent on something else, and it is by recognizing the empty nature of phenomena that we cease to be so attached to external phenomena, so that our ego has less power over us. It is in that way, by comprehending the ego, that we annihilate it, gradually.
“To be the child who is newly born, the creator must also want to be the mother who gives birth and the pangs of the birth-giver. Verily, through a hundred souls I have already passed on my way, and through a hundred cradles and birth pangs.” ―Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: “Upon the Blessed Isles”
People who see that Nietzsche was an atheist at one point are mistaken. This is really teaching that, well, he’s been in many bodies, has been through many cradles and birth pangs.
“Many a farewell have I taken; I know the heart-rending last hours.” ―Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: “Upon the Blessed Isles”
Because at one point, before he deviated, he was developing a lot of understanding in himself. He remembered his past lives and was explaining these teachings about the return of all things.
“But thus my creative will, my destiny, wills it. Or, to say it more honestly: this very destiny―my will wills.” ―Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: “Upon the Blessed Isles”
So what does this mean, “my creative will”?
Creation pertains to the trinity above. So the Kabbalah, if you look in this diagram, we have ten spheres, ten sephiroth. Above is the trinity: Father, Son, Holy Spirit. In the middle, in the center of the Tree of Life, we have the sphere known as Tiphereth, which is willpower. Creative will pertains to how Christ manifests within the soul, within the heart. Because if we take this image and transpose it on a human being, the middle sephirah, or sphere, relates to the heart, Tiphereth. So creative will, he’s speaking Kabbalistically, how the trinity, the will to create manifests within the soul, within the human psyche.
This is important to understand in relation to his teaching, “Thus, my creative will, my destiny wills it.” The fact is that he is entering this path, “Or, to say it more honestly: this very destiny―my will wills.” Most of us talk about destiny as its some kind of outside thing that is influencing us. Few people have really exemplified how with their own willpower they can create their destiny. Karma is not a blind law. It can be overcome. It can be reconciled if we are working in the right way.
Question: What’s the relationship between the two again? There must be a relationship. You talked about willpower and the heart, which sounds like mantra.
Instructor: In sexual knowledge, sexual alchemy.
Question: But it’s also, mantra would originate here?
Instructor: The word is gestated from the throat. In alchemy, when we combine, when we sexually unite with our partner, we pronounce sacred mantras. Our own Yesod, our own Tree of Knowledge, when a man and a woman are united forming the cross―Yesod, the energy of God, ascends up the spinal medulla as we find in this staff of Zarathustra, and the serpent is ascending as result of working with those fires. With mantra we work with our willpower and our heart, following the creative will of God, the trinity above, in order to create spiritual life. So that’s a Kabbalistic relationship to the body. It is working in this way that we overcome our destiny, our karma. We pay our karma with good deeds, by dying in those egos that are responsible for our mistaken actions.
“Whatever in me has feeling, suffers and is in prison; but my will always comes to me as my liberator and joy-bringer. Willing liberates: that is the true teaching of will and liberty―thus Zarathustra teaches it.” ―Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: “Upon the Blessed Isles”
So how do we overcome our suffering? With our willpower, we take arms against a sea of troubles, meaning: we fight against our ego. We cease to be cyclically recurring and reenacting all those tragedies, dramas, and comedies of the past. We try to initiate a new way of life. Not living life mechanically, but transcending that wheel of suffering.
“Willing no more and esteeming no more and creating no more―oh, that this great weariness might always remain far from me! In knowledge too (in Da’ath, in Gnosis) I feel only my will’s joy in begetting and becoming; and if there is innocence in my knowledge, it is because the will to beget is in it.” ―Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: “Upon the Blessed Isles”
So, what does it mean “In knowledge too, I feel only my will’s joy in creating”? Meaning: in alchemy, in tantra, in the sexual act, using it for purity, using it for God. One feels only the joy of creating the soul, “and if there is innocence in my knowledge,” meaning if there is innocence in Da’ath, “if there’s innocence in me working in alchemy, to perform the sexual act without lust,” “it is because of my joy of begetting and becoming.” The wheel of becoming, you know becoming is bhava, as we mention in the Bhavacakra. This is a way of becoming in a mechanical means, but we can also become something spiritual by transcending that wheel. Nietzsche says something also very interesting and controversial, like many things:
“Away from God and gods this will has lured me; what could one create if gods existed?” ―Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: “Upon the Blessed Isles”
In us, God is not active. God is not manifested in our bodies. God is not incarnated, or better said, reincarnated. Instead, we have to create God within us. We have to create the development of the soul so that God, the Superman, can be creating through us.
Question: How do you reconcile that? I believe someone said it, perhaps you said it, we are all, since we’re part of God, which we’re sparks of the divine plane. The spark is still there!
Instructor: That’s the spark, but it’s not the bonfire. So that spark can be fed and developed into a bonfire. That bonfire is the lord, Christ. And so how can “one create a god if a god existed already?” And said, if you want to create a higher level of being, you need to develop that spark so it becomes a giant flame.
Question: So either you nurture it, or if you’re going to ascend, or if you destroy it, then...?
Instructor: Then that fire is extinguished in hell. We need to transcend this wheel of suffering, and in this next graphic we are going to talk about the solar bodies. In this image, we have an angel or Malachim. מלכים Malachim in Hebrew means “angels.” Malachim are kings. So, a king of nature is one who has conquered the animal state, the mineral state, the plant state, and even the humanoid state. What we are interested in these studies is to overcome our defects and the recurring cycles of life wherein we suffer mechanically, as a result, so that we can transcend those karmic situations and reconcile our past. That way we can initiate a new way of being.
Comment: That can be tricky too. I think in a way you have to analyze. You have to find your defects, but most of use at one point or another, we have certain desires. Then you have to qualify it perhaps as being not a good desire, and there’s a line.
Instructor: And its language. Desire, we say, is typically ego. But longing is the soul. Longing belongs to Habel, Abel, who follows the way of God. Cain is the desire of the mind to till the earth, and to fulfill material things. But in a poetic sense, we can say the soul has desire for God, like the Sufis teach. Now, we want to transcend our karma and enter into the path of what we call epigenesis. The ability to originate new circumstances because as Gurdjieff taught us, “Man does not know how to do.” Instead, we just repeat actions from the past. We don’t do anything new. We are like a train on a train track going one direction. But with effort we can divert that, and it is precisely by developing conscious will, to be in harmony with Christ, the trinity, is how we become, to beget, like Nietzsche says.
Epigenesis and the Solar Bodies
So we’re going to talk about the solar bodies, which I mention to you as the vehicles by which God can manifest and express. These pertain to the Tree of Life, Kabbalah, and pertain to what we call the astral body, the solar astral body, the solar mental body, the solar causal body, or solar emotional body, which can manifest superior emotions of God; solar mental body, that can manifest the abstract concepts and understanding of Christ; and the solar causal body, which is the body that can express the will of God, that can originate new causes. Samael Aun Weor states the following in Cosmic Teachings of a Lama:
“It is clear, obvious, and manifested that the clairvoyants from some pseudoesoteric and pseudo-occultist systems also become lamentably mistaken about this body [the causal body or body of conscious will]. This is due to the fact that they confuse the Essence with the causal body.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Cosmic Teachings of a Lama
So the Essence is the soul, but the causal body is the means by which the soul can act. Don’t mistake the person for the car, in synthesis.
“The Essence in itself is just a fraction of the human soul that is incarnated within ourselves. This Essence is bottled up within the ego; it is engulfed within the lunar bodies. It is unquestionable that the homunculi mistakenly called human being is submitted to the law of recurrence. He is not capable of originating anything new; he is a victim of circumstances.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Cosmic Teachings of a Lama
It is enough to really analyze our life to see if this is true. I mean, do we have control over whether we’re going to get yelled at or someone in the street is going to honk at us? Or are we going to get upset, by simple daily things that we think we have control of, but we don’t?
“Each time that the ego returns into this valley of Samsara it repeats exactly all of the acts of its previous lives, sometimes in elevated spirals, sometimes in lower spirals.
“In this day and age, within the cheap pseudo-occultism, much is spoken about the law of epigenesis, the capacity for originating new circumstances.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Cosmic Teachings of a Lama
This is when Nietzsche talks about creative will, to create something new within oneself.
“It is obvious that only the authentic human beings with conscious will can modify their destiny and originate a new order of things. The intellectual animal has not built the body of conscious will, the causal vehicle. The wretched, rational homunculi is always a victim of the eternal laws of return and recurrence... We need to create the causal body if what we sincerely want is to incarnate the Being (God within). Only the Being is capable of doing. Only He can modify the circumstances and exercise with mastery the law of epigenesis.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Cosmic Teachings of a Lama
We say that in order to escape, we can say, the limitations of 108 lifetimes, or humanoid existences, we can create the solar astral body, in a marriage, in alchemy, so that we are submitted to superior laws. Therefore, we’re not necessarily limited to having 108 existences to do this work. Instead we transcend that law.
Reincarnation: Divine Manifestation within the Consciousness
In order to incarnate God, we need to create the solar bodies, the causal body, specifically. This is beautifully represented in the life of Jesus. You’ll see in this next image we have John the Baptist, baptizing the master Jesus, the Christ. So really, reincarnation, we can say in context, in this lecture, pertains to when God manifests in the soul, to incarnate. It does not mean entering into new bodies. That is return, but reincarnation is an act of will, an act of creation, in which God, decidedly, decides to perform a mission within a certain human being and enters into that soul that has created those bodies.
Think of the solar bodies as a type of electric circuitry that can manifest high voltage. If you have poor wiring and you send a tremendous volt of energy through that circuitry, it’ll fuse. It will break. Christ is an energy and can only manifest in the circuitry of a human being that has those vehicles, because if the Being were to try to enter into a person with just the lunar bodies, with a lot of ego involved in it, that human being would be annihilated instantly, because Christ is the energy of life, the cosmos.
So in order to reincarnate the Being, we need to work on initiation. We need to work on sexual alchemy, which is described in The Perfect Matrimony and The Mystery of The Golden Flower. Samael Aun Weor states the following in The Mystery of The Golden Flower:
“Reincarnation is a feat accomplished only by the great illuminated souls, in which they consciously choose to be born in a particular time and place…” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Mystery of The Golden Flower
In other words, they choose to incarnate the Being in a new physical body. Only beings with conscious development can do this.
“The word reincarnation is most demanding, it must not be used carelessly: No one would be able to reincarnate without first having eliminated the ego, without truly possessing sacred Individuality. Incarnation is a very venerable word, signifying in fact the re-embodiment of the divine in a man.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Mystery of The Golden Flower
And we find this scripturally stated in Book of John, Chapter 1 verse 14
“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” –John 1:14
Then, the book of Matthew:
“And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” ―Matthew 3:16-17
The waters refer to the sexual waters, in which the Holy Spirit can baptize the energy of God. So the incarnation of Jesus, the Christ within Jesus, is an act of reincarnation, but also many masters have incarnated the Christ. It doesn’t necessarily mean that Jesus was the only one. Because in fact, Muhammad, received the Qur’an upon Jabal al-Nur, the mountain of light in the Muslim tradition. He received the teachings from Gabriel, meaning he incarnated his inner law, his inner Qur’an [Arabic for “recitation,” the Word] from the Angel Gabriel, and Gabriel relates to procreation, the forces of the moon, the sexual energy. But also, Krishna also incarnated with Arjuna within the Bhagavad-Gita.
Question: What about Buddha?
Buddha is a great master who incarnated Christ. Zarathustra, many masters, they incarnated that fire because they entered into initiation and developed those bodies. Here we have the Bhagavad-Gita, where Arjuna, who represents the solar causal body, is speaking to the Christ, Krishna. There’s a couple more things we’ll explain in relation to the nature of these paths as we discussed, in accordance with Hinduism.
I would like to give you two phrases, first, specifically, explain two paths as we’ve been mentioning. Krishna stated the following to Arjuna,
“The Being is not born, does not die, nor does it reincarnate; it has no origin; it is eternal and changeless; it is the first of all, and does not die when the body passes away.” ―Bhagavad-Gita 2:20
Now this would seem to contradict the following statement:
“…As one sets aside worn out clothes and puts on new ones, so the embodied Being leaves its spent body and enters other new ones.” ―Bhagavad-Gita 2:22
Now what is interesting is that they seem to contradict. The Being doesn’t incarnate, but it does incarnate within certain beings.
What is not explicitly stated in the Bhagavad-Gita, or at least clearly, esoterically, is how when one follows a path of initiation, one incarnates the Being. But in lunar people, people with lunar bodies, they do not incarnate the Being. Those two paths are open there. The solar path, extending up the path of revelation to God, or the lunar path of being swallowed by nature. Now actually, the Bhagavad-Gita does explain this, but it elaborates upon this point,
“Upon leaving the body, taking the path of the fire, of the light, of the day, of the luminous lunar fortnight and of the northern solstice, those who know Brahma, go towards Brahma. Upon death, the yogi who takes the path of smoke of the dark Lunar fortnight and of the southern solstice, reaches the Lunar sphere (the astral world) and is then reborn (returns, re-embodies). These two paths, the luminous and the dark, are considered permanent. Through the first, one is emancipated, and through the second, one is reborn (returns).” ―Bhagavad-Gita 8:24-26
So in the solar path we incarnate God, but in the lunar path we continue to rotate in samsara, in synthesis.
“When the Lord (the Being) acquires a body, or leaves it, He associates with the six senses, or abandons them and passes like the breeze which carries with it the scent of flowers. Directing the ears, the eyes, the organs of touch, taste and smell as well as the mind, He experiences the objects of the senses. The deluded do not see Him who departs, stays and enjoys; but they who possess the eye of knowledge behold Him.” ―Bhagavad-Gita 15:8-10
Those who are not familiar with reincarnation, should study the Bhagavad-Gita. Specifically, I’d like to quote for you what reincarnation really means, as according to the Hindu gospel, we can say:
“The supreme personality of God (which is Vishnu, or Krishna, speaking to Arjuna) said: “Many, many incarnations both you and I have passed. I can remember all of them, but you cannot, O subduer of the enemy! (Meaning: subduer of his own egos). Although I am unborn and My transcendental body never deteriorates, and although I am the Lord of all sentient beings, I incarnate dominating my Prakriti and appear in my original transcendental form; serving my self of my own maya. Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice, O descendant of Bharata, and a predominant rise of irreligion―at that time I descent Myself. To deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants, as well as to re-establish the principles of Religion, I advent Myself millennium after millennium. One who knows the transcendental nature of my appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My external abode, O Arjuna!” ―Bhagavad-Gita 4:5-9
So Christ only incarnates within an initiate. Reincarnation only occurs within the Gods. People, we, common human persons, human beings, we can say out of polite and respect, we just return. We don’t reincarnate. We don’t remember where we came from or where we’re going.
Question: Do we have lunar bodies?
We have lunar vehicles and we are subjected to the laws of nature, but we need to develop the solar bodies so that we can transcend this wheel of suffering.
Those who incarnate God are not recognized as God we can say. Those who incarnate the Christ, people don’t see the Christ, even though many times we may have walked past such a being. The first stage in the Bhagavad-Gita, when the Lord, the Being, acquires the body, or leaves it, he associates with the six senses, or abandons them and passes like the breeze, which carries with it the scent of flowers, directly in the ears, the eyes, the organs of touch, taste, and smell, as well as the mind. He experiences the objects, the senses. The diluted do not see him who departs, stays and enjoys. But they who possess the eye of knowledge, gnosis, Da’ath, only they behold him.
Nietzsche’s Eternal Return
We need to incarnate the Being if we want to be liberated from suffering, if we want to attain a higher state of perception. We’ve been explaining what reincarnation means in context in terms of return and recurrence, studying the Pythagorean teachings, as well as the Muslim teachings of Rumi, and a little bit of Nietzsche. I’d actually like to conclude with the teachings of the eternal return as given by Nietzsche. I think its especially relevant to this discussion, since just as we mentioned the teachings of the Hindustani master, Krishna, the very same things that the German philosopher Nietzsche talked about are in the Bhagavad-Gita, or taught by Pythagoras, or taught in Buddhist doctrine, and the points that he makes are very poetic and beautiful. I think they will be very beneficial for you to hear. I’m going to read for you exactly what Nietzsche taught in his book about the eternal return, accompanied next to Jesus, of course. In this chapter, I’m not going to read the entirety. It is called “On the Vision and the Riddle,” where the fictional Zarathustra, the Iranian prophet, is speaking to a group of sailors about a vision he had, meaning: an astral experience.
“Not long ago, I walked gloomily through the deadly pallor of dusty―gloomy and hard, with lips pressed together. Not only one sun had set for me. A path that ascended defiantly through stones, malicious, lonely, not cheered by herb or shrub―a mountain path crunched under the defiance of my foot.” ―Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: “On the Vision and the Riddle”
Now a mountain in esoterism refers to initiation, to ascend up the mountain, the path that leads to God, the Superman. It is only attempted by those who are defiant, meaning: his step is crushing the stones defiantly in order to go up, seemingly against the forces of gravity.
“Striding silently over the mocking clatter of pebbles, crushing the rock that made it slip, my foot forced its way upward. Upward―defying the spirit that drew it downward toward the abyss, the spirit of gravity, my devil and arch enemy. Upward―although he sat on me, half dwarf, half mole, lame, making lame, dripping lead into my ear, leaden thoughts into my brain.” ―Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: “On the Vision and the Riddle”
This is the ego telling us we can’t enter into initiation. It’s always telling us things.
“’Oh Zarathustra,’ he whispered mockingly, syllable by syllable, ‘You philosopher’s stone! You threw yourself up high, but every stone that is thrown must fall.’” ―Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: “On the Vision and the Riddle”
So what he’s talking about is the philosopher’s stone. The stone relates to alchemy, the secret of Yesod, the foundation stone of Solomon’s temple, which is the sexual energy, our body is the temple, and our stone is the sexual energy.
This is talking about how, like many initiates, he tried to throw his stone up, to take that stone up the mountain, to return it to God, so that he can finally unite with the Being, the Superman. But the ego is always there saying, “You threw your stone up high. You can’t follow this path. You’re going to drop your stone like Sisyphus.” Meaning: you’re going to let yourself fall sexually, fall to animal passion, desire.
“’Oh Zarathustra, you philosopher’s stone, you slingstone, you star-crusher. You threw yourself up so high; but every stone that is thrown must fall. Sentenced to yourself and to your own stoning―O Zarathustra, far indeed have you thrown the stone, but it will fall back on yourself.’
“Then the dwarf fell silent, and that lasted a long time. His silence, however, oppressed me; and such twosomeness is surely more lonesome than being alone.” ―Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: “On the Vision and the Riddle”
So being alone with our own negative mind, thoughts, is really more lonely than being alone, we can say―being with other people.
“I climbed, I climbed, I dreamed, I thought; but everything oppressed me. I was like one sick whom his wicked torture makes weary, and who as he falls asleep is awakened by a still more wicked dream. But there is something in me that I call courage; that has so far slain my every discouragement. This courage finally made me stand still and speak, ‘Dwarf! It is you or I! […] ‘But I am the stronger of us two: you do not know my abysmal thought. That, you could not bear.’” ―Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: “On the Vision and the Riddle”
What does it mean abysmal thought? The fact that he wants to descend into his own hell in order to take the stone up the mountain, because our soul is trapped in hell. We need to liberate it through our creative will.
“Then something happened that made me lighter, for the dwarf jumped from my shoulder, being curious; and he crouched on a stone before me. But there was a gateway just where we stopped.
“‘Behold, this gateway, dwarf!’ I continued, ‘It has two faces. Two paths meet here; no one has yet followed either to its end. This long lane stretches back for an eternity. And the long lane out there, that is another eternity. They contradict each other, these paths; they offend each other face to face; and it is here at this gateway that they come together. The name of the gateway is ascribed above: ‘Moment.’ But whoever would follow one of them, on and on, farther and farther―do you believe, dwarf, that these paths can contradict each other eternally?’” ―Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: “On the Vision and the Riddle”
So, Krishna said there are two paths: the solar path that leads to Brahma, and the lunar path that leads down, backward. These are the two paths that Nietzsche is talking about, and that eternally they go on. This constant drama of souls within the universe is always repeated, is eternal.
Question: Is he using the force of Tiphereth to carry Hod?
Instructor: Yes, and that’s willpower. Zarathustra is willpower. He says “my courage is what conquers. My creative will. My destiny wills it.”
"’All that is straight, lies.,’ the dwarf murmured contemptuously. ‘All truth is crooked; time itself is circle.’” ―Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: “On the Vision and the Riddle”
Albert Einstein said our illusions of linear time are illusory. Time itself is a circle. Eternity is a circle. Nothing goes on from one trajectory to another. It’s really a cycle, cyclical.
“‘You spirit of gravity,’ I said angrily, ‘do not make things too easy for yourself! Or I shall let you crouch where you are crouching, lamefoot; and it was I that carried you to this height.
“‘Behold,’ I continued, ‘this moment! From this gateway, Moment, a long, eternal lane leads backward: Behind us lies an eternity. Must not whatever can walk have walked in this lane before? Must not whatever can happen have happened, have been done before, have passed by before? And if everything has been there before―what do you think, dwarf, of this moment? Must not this gateway too have been there before? And are not all things knotted together so firmly that this moment draws after it all that is to come? Therefore―itself too? For whatever can walk, in this long lane out there too, it must walk once more.’” ―Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: “On the Vision and the Riddle”
This is referencing to the fact that many individuals have walked the path of initiation before but they fell. Though they are trying to rise up again, they had crushed their star, were “star-crushers,” meaning: they killed the perfection of their Ain Soph Paranishpanna, their supra-atomic star, within themselves. So they have walked this path many times before. It happens.
“‘And this slow spider, which crawls in the moonlight, and this moonlight itself, and I and you in the gateway whispering together, whispering of eternal things―must not all of have been there before? And return and walk in that other lane out there, before us, in this long dreadful lane―must not we eternally return?’” ―Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: “On the Vision and the Riddle”
If we are in this type of classroom, it means that we’ve probably studied this science before. I remember having an experience with my Innermost in the astral plane. He told me, “97% of the people you meet you knew them before.” This is because 97% of our psyche is ego, according to Samael Aun Weor, so this is something I verified.
“Thus I spoke, more and more softly; for I was afraid of my thoughts and the thoughts behind my thoughts. Then suddenly I heard a dog howl nearby. Had I ever heard a dog howl like this? My thoughts raced back. Yes, when I was a child, in the most distant childhood: then I heard a dog howl like this. And I saw him too, bristling his head up, trembling, in the stillest midnight when even dogs believed in ghosts―and I took pity: for just then the full moon, silent as death, passed over the house; just then it stood still, a round glow―still on the flat roof, as if on another’s property―that was why the dog was terrified, for dogs believe in thieves and ghosts. And when I heard such howling again, I took pity again.” ―Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: “On the Vision and the Riddle”
So, what is the moon referencing? The lunar path, the path of devolution, the path of the destruction of the soul within hell. So, it haunts us. Those who are really seeking to know God, to set up the path to Christ, we suffer because the moon is always haunting us.
“Where has the dwarf gone now? And the gateway? And the spider? And all the whispering? Was I dreaming then? Was I waking up?” ―Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: “On the Vision and the Riddle”
“Was I experiencing these things directly in meditation?”
“Among wild cliffs I stood suddenly alone, bleak, in the bleakest moonlight. But there lay a man. And there―the dog, jumping, brisling, whining―now he saw me coming; then he howled again, he cried. Had I ever heard a dog cry like this for help? And verily, what I saw―I had never seen the like. A young shepherd I saw, writhing, gagging, in spasms, his face distorted, and a heavy black snake hung out of his mouth. Had I ever seen so much nausea and pale dread on one face? He seemed to have been asleep when the snake crawled into his throat, and there bit itself fast. My hand toward the snake, and tore in vain; it did not tear the snake out of his throat.” ―Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: “On the Vision and the Riddle”
What is this snake afflicting the shepherd, the initiate? It is the devolving serpent of hell that is our own sexual animal passion, which pushes us to fornicate, to be like animals.
“Then it cried out to me: ‘Bite! Bite its head off! Bite!’ Thus it cried out of me―my dread, my hatred, my nausea, my pity, all that is good and wicked in me cried out of me with a single cry.” ―Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: “On the Vision and the Riddle”
Zarathustra was then speaking to the sailors:
“‘You bold ones who surround me! You searchers, you researchers, and whoever among you has embarked with cunning sails on unexplored seas. You who are glad of riddles. Guess me this riddle that I saw then, interpret me the vision of the loneliest. For it was a vision and a forseeing. What did I see then in a parable,” in an astral experience, you could say? “And who is it who must yet come one day? Who is the shepherd into whose throat the snake crawled thus? Who is the man into whose throat all that is heaviest and blackest will crawl thus?’” ―Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: “On the Vision and the Riddle”
So it is that shepherd, Christ.
Nietzsche didn’t use the term Christ, because Christianity is degenerated. People worship a statue and not the terrible reality of the Intimate Christ, the Rebel Christ, the Superhuman. He talks about Superman. A Superman is an individual who has fully perfected God within, manifesting the three sephirah above: Kether, Chokmah, Binah, within the heart, the human soul. A shepherd, like the keeper of sheep, pertains to the one who is walking the path of initiation. But this is the Superman who takes on our own evil to annihilate it.
Question: That’s Abel, right?
Instructor: Habel relates to that, but this is even beyond Habel. This is Christ.
“The shepherd, however, bit as my cry counseled him; he bit with a good bite.” ―Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: “On the Vision and the Riddle”
Meaning with the mouth, or with the throat, the science of Da’ath, we kill the snake that is leading us into hell. We conquer animal passion.
“Far away he spewed the head of the snake―and he jumped up. No longer shepherd, no longer human―one changed, radiant, laughing! Never yet on earth has a human being laughed as he laughed. Oh, my brothers, I heard a laughter that was no human laughter...” ―Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: “On the Vision and the Riddle”
Meaning because it was a superhuman laughter, God, terribly divine, beyond good and evil.
“…and now a thirst gnaws at me, a longing that never grows still. My longing for this laughter gnaws at me; oh, how do I bear to go on living? And [yet], how could I bear to die now?
“Thus Spoke Zarathustra.” ―Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra: “On the Vision and the Riddle”
He’s talking about how Christ, the Superman, really, incarnates in the human being, to fully eliminate the ego. That is the path of reincarnation.
Questions and Answers
Question: That symbolism is really something else. I would wonder what Carl Jung, I don’t think he was mentioned anywhere, and he’s very much into symbolism, the subconscious mind… I wonder if that scenario, so to speak, that scenario you just were talking about, I wonder if Jung had made any?
Instructor: Well, I don’t know too much about Jung, but I know that many of the German initiates knew each other. Rudolph Steiner was the disciple of Nietzsche. Nietzsche was the disciple of Richard Wagner, who is a great master. They were all interrelated, and they all knew each other. They taught the doctrine of the Superman.
In conclusion, we seek to escape the laws of return and recurrence by developing our will in harmony with Christ, so we can kill the snake that tempts us into sin, which is our own inverted sexual fires, which we need to tame like Moses did, or we need to work with the positive serpent―the cross, as mentioned in Exodus, the bronze serpent that healed the Israelites in the wilderness.
Question: That was the negative serpent you are talking about?
Instructor: The negative serpent that the shepherd bit, that was the inverted aspect, the serpent that tempted Adam and Eve.
Comment: It is interesting, its like a sign, from when I read from Scorpio, they talk about the good and the eagle, which is sacred. They refer to the serpent as the negative one: “Get out of the way!”
Instructor: It is dual like the serpent Kundalini that Moses raised on the staff in the wilderness. The cross of man and woman, or the bronze serpent, the two metals of copper, representing woman, and tin, representing man, sexually united, and when that serpent is controlled, the energy is harnessed. The bronze serpent rises up the spine and can heal the Israelites. The serpent then that Nietzsche talks about is in the negative aspect. But in the beginning, and many times in that book, he mentions the positive serpent that works with the eagle―the serpent that rises up the spinal column, Kundalini, and the eagle’s wings flourish and take one up to the Absolute.
Question: So the bronze serpent, or I’ve always heard that Moses just healed the Israelites, but what about being bit by serpents?...
Instructor: Yes, exactly, thank you for bringing that up. The other serpents, there were fiery serpents that were biting the Israelites and causing them pain. Those fiery serpents are all of our animal passions that afflict us: anger, pride, vanity―as we’ve been mentioning, the ego, the inverted fire. And the only way to heal that ailment is to work with the solar serpent, the bronze serpent, in order to heal the Israelites. The Israelites are not just, in the Bible, a reference to people in the past, in the Middle East. It refers to archetypes, symbols, parts of us that we need to liberate and free. The same serpents that were biting the Israelites were biting the Superman, but the superman just bit it up, spat it out, and laughed. That is something only a god can do. And we all have God within―we need to reincarnate Him within us, to escape the return and recurrence of all things. Any questions?
Comment: Just a comment on epigenesis, the ability to change ourselves. It can be correlated to physicality, too. You know, in the medical community, there is compelling evidence, that through, one example, physical activity versus drug ages, we can change our genetic expressions. If someone has a pronation toward some disease, that can be halted, inhibited. Now, this was always possible, but as I was listening actively and such, I’m thinking Jesus and Moses could’ve had smartphones, but they were just not at that point in time where it wasn’t known, or you know the laws were not exact in such a way, or realized in such a way, that they couldn’t have smartphones. It was just impossible.
Instructor: They had much better communication than our smartphones. I mean, if you meet a Superman like that in the internal planes, really, they are incomprehensible to us. But it is true that genetically our actions can affect our genes, and our genes are the inheritors of karma. The very physical body that we have, our tendencies, our habits, our illnesses that reoccur cyclically, are in our genes. And those genes are formulated as a result of our karma, our past actions. Now we want to perform positive action in order to rectify that. That is a good point because it is by changing ourselves psychologically that we change our genes. We have many practices in this tradition where we work with energy, like alchemy, in which the genes change. The genes of an intellectual animal is what we are. We can change into the genes of a Superman or superwoman, basically.
Comment: Bruno Gröning, not sure if you have heard of him, but he is from Germany. Died in 1953. But he talked about an agent. It was Heilstrom, he called it. It is the prana and everything. That is what they were emphasizing. If you could get a nice state away, you could bring this force into your body through the bread. They have had healings, and this group is international. I went to one of the meetings. It was packed. It was on River Road. They had a German interpreter and a lot of Polish people were there. He says its not that complicated. It’s spiritual. We were talking about spirituality, but they were doctors by the way, that were there from Europe. It was getting in that state… you mention the genes. They’re doing something, where they had healings. If they were able to get into that relaxed state, it was like prana basically. Heilstrom is what the Bruno Gröning calls it. But vital force, if you could concentrate it somehow…
Instructor: The greatest healing is to work with alchemy, in sexual union. But we have many methods in this tradition that work with healing methods as well, such as in a book called Esoteric Medicine and Practical Magic. There are many other schisms and teachings and things that work. Some of the teachings that we work with are ancient, older than this universe really. They’re eternal.
Comment: I’ve reflected a little bit on what you said a minute ago, in regards to time and evolution of technology and things like that. The real technologies is regeneration and development of faculties. Because if you actually paid attention to the New Testament, where its talking about the life of Jesus, he’s going around telepathically understanding what people are thinking, saying, “I saw you over there in the bushes with that woman, and you’re not going to stone her to death today,” and that sort of thing―communication. So, something like cell phones, would be completely irrelevant, obsolete. Because if someone had developed the kind of faculties like Jesus had, you wouldn’t need something like that. So time frame and time relevant, it’s something that ancient history had better technology than we did and we just don’t understand that fully yet.
Instructor: And I remember one of our other instructors mentioned, we have a technology better than Google inside. That’s meditation. We can investigate anything we need to.
Question: Going back to what you were saying, with karma. If a couple, the woman, had been an adulterer, then in the next life that same couple, that man would do the same thing? I’m just so confused by what, and I’ve already talked to you about this, by what in the person who was the victim the first time, what in the next life makes them know that they should do that? And then are they following God’s will by doing that?
Instructor: It is not God’s will. It is our own self will. The one that commits adultery and decides to do that is the ego. Particularly, the ego in a person, or, typically in our case, we’re compelled by so many egos and forces that we have no cognizance of the fact. We don’t see how we are just performing the same dramas, comedies, tragedies, that we’ve been doing for many lifetimes. It’s not God’s will. God does not say to us, “Okay, now you have to commit adultery to the other person.” This superior law, in fact, that person, if the couple is Gnostic, knows this science and is working, when those egos emerge that are of an adulterer’s nature, and that will happen with every couple―where certain karmic recurrences happen where partners from a past life come to one’s forefront in order to test us and tempt us. The law is testing us, is saying, “Do you want to follow the superior path or the inferior path?” If we give into our adulterer’s ego and we commit adultery, then we fail. But the couple that’s working Gnostically speaking, takes advantage of those circumstances in order to gain comprehension. Then those egos are annihilated and there’s greater love in the couple. It’s an ordeal Samael Aun Weor calls the Direne Ordeal in the book called The Three Mountains.
Question: Well, it is because you said that it has to do that to reach equilibrium. So say a Gnostic couple experiences that and that had happened in a past life, and then the woman transcends that, and does not act on that ego, are things out of whack?
Instructor: No, things are reconciled. In terms of balance, there’s an inferior way and a superior way. If we try to relate it to physics, if you punch a punching bag, it is going to move, then it will come back at you. So that force has to come back. Now, whether we decide to continue punching and foiling at it, that’s the problem. If you just punch it once and the force comes back to you, you grab it, and can hold it still. You comprehend that, well, you are too tired to keep up the monotony of hitting the bag and want to stop. In the same way, you realize that you can’t continue feeding those egos. When you comprehend that, you stop propelling that karma.
Comment: Because if you did punch it again, then it would have to come back and repeat the same thing over and over.
Instructor: Exactly. It is going to repeat, and to do that is to suffer and continue along that cycle of samsara.
Question: I have a question. You mentioned at the beginning of the lecture, a little bit about how, as you said, teachings on return, recurrence, reincarnation, sort of the whole subject matter here is taken, maybe not so much Western, but Christianity. Are there any examples of that you can elaborate or allude to? The only thing I can think of offhand is years ago, when I read the Old Testament and Book of Job in particular, and other scant places, in the Old and New Testaments, but particularly in the Book of Job, certain passages, led me to sort of see the possibility that Job, or the ones he was associating with had a notion of God…
Instructor: Yeah, that relates to recurrence. I’m speaking specifically about the doctrine of transmigration: the soul entering into different bodies. Now we have remnants of that in the Christian doctrine where the man who is possessed by many devils, those taking place in the souls of the bodies of pigs. It refers exactly to what I was referring to in relation to when we reincorporate into a new body, certain egos that are definitely criminal have to be taken out of us and put into different bodies like trees, animals, plants, cats, or dogs, or different beasts, to enter into devolution, as a type of mercy. The one who does that is Christ.
Also, Christ referred to John the Baptist as the return or reincarnation of Elijah (Matthew 11:13-14). You can also reference the return of Elijah in Malachi 4:5-6.
Comment: I rarely think of it in that context, because we think of casting out of demons and going somewhere else, on another level that’s like talking to…
Instructor: On one psychological level, it pertains to how we need to clean our temple. On another hand it talks about how certain psychological elements can reincorporate into animals. And its in the Bible, but people don’t really read deeply into it. Now, in Christianity, we find that a lot of things were taken out of the Bible, like Mary Magdalene’s role with Jesus as his wife―things of that nature―that he practiced alchemy with her.
Question: Not long ago I studied some of that with my father.
Instructor: Yeah, in the Bible a lot of things were edited or taken out. But you find it more common, the doctrine of transmigration, you find a lot in Buddhism and Hinduism. I wanted to point out how Pythagoras, how even Nietzsche, talked about the same thing. But many scholars of Nietzsche are saying, “No, he didn’t talk about reincarnation or reincorporation.” But in esotericism it is very clear.
Instructor: Exactly. So, a lot of those scholars they don’t know anything about an esoteric doctrine. They interpret things in a very literal manner.
Comment: Just as an aside, in India, they use the cow, I think for healing too, where they bring people to the cow and they touch the cow.
Instructor: The cow represents the Divine Mother. And there even was a five-legged cow that was found in India that Blavatsky wrote about. Now the cow is a sacred symbol of the Divine Mother Kundalini. Even in the second surah of the Qur’an, you have Al-Baqarah, which means “The Cow,” which is the longest surah of the Qur’an, which traditionally, in the Muslim tradition, one would sing the Qur’an, to recite. Qur’an means “recitation.” The cow is really the power of the verb, the Divine Mother. The cow, like in the myth of Mithras slaying the bull, he stabbed the bull in the throat, meaning to conquer the animal passion you have to work with Daath, sexual alchemy to kill that beast, that devolving serpent. Also, the way we do that is with the cow, the Divine Mother. Now traditionally, they would say the cow was supposed to have five legs. There was a cow found with five legs, literally, in India. There are five aspects to the Divine Mother that I mentioned in the books that we have, which you can read more about. But the cows relates to Devi-Kundalini [see the lecture The Divine Mother from Beginning Self-Transformation].
Comment: The healing also…
Instructor: Exactly. And the way that we heal is by working with our cow, by mantralizing, by working with that sacred power, and like Mithras, killing the animal ego so that we can unite with God. Yes?
Comment: As I’m listening, don’t know if anyone has a frame of reference, preacher Dan was quite a famed Jesuit priest, based on Catholic order, known for his metaphysical pendants. I happen to get offered two tapes of his from his retreat, and its pretty profound. I mean back in 1955 on Easter Sunday, and its really good. The reader was saying how he was inhibited by the hierarchy of the church, that they actually did not want him to go and speak of these things because of the truth. Maybe they didn’t even know, I don’t know. But he was really held back and inhibited. And he had a message and here it is. Like in some cannon of knowledge somewhere, and I buy this tape, you know, about the cosmos and such.
Comment: Have you ever heard of Giordano Bruno? They burnt him to a crisp, the so-and-sos in the Vatican. This was during the Renaissance. He traveled all over Europe, and it was right along the same lines with this tape, same thing, only he was lucky. He was born 500 years before they would have burned him. They burnt Giordano Bruno and they burnt Savonarola.
Instructor: A lot of times, these were people, there were many initiates who had to keep silent about these things about return and reincarnation, especially within Christian doctrine, for fear of the Inquisition. It is a science that is well documented. Many of us don’t accept this at face value, but really investigate this understanding of our past lives, really investigate within meditation, but also in the astral plane. I remember, for instance, I was with the Master Samael Aun Weor in the astral plane, where I was trying to get help from him, and he kept telling me, “You need to remember your past lives.” And I was complaining, I was kind of whining that I don’t remember, and this was years ago. He said it doesn’t matter. You need to know your past lives now because it is going to tell you about your current situation. Everything we have physically now is a result of our relationship to the past. Yes?
Question: You said, alchemy must be completely absent of lust, but with so much ego isn’t it really hard to not even have like a lustful thought pop up?
Instructor: We want to strive to not have lust in the sexual act. In the beginning that is the way it is because we’re 97% ego.
Question: Is that a waste of energy then? When you avoid the fornication but you do have lustful thoughts that pop up?
Instructor: We have to work at our level. Wherever we’re at, we have to work at, we have to understand that we’re not going to be pure. We’re not going to perform the sexual acts like saints. We gradually train ourselves to do it like that. So in the beginning, yeah, there is a lot of lust. I would say practice in short increments to train the body and the mind. Then prolong the act so long as one can retain the energies.
Question: Do you have to be at the same level, spiritually, mentally, and spiritually? Because if one is more inclined to, you mentioned, the erotic order, then there’s no balance there. You have to be on the same…
Question: You mean the two people?
Comment: Because I was asking about that, and about a master who practiced with a non-believer and he rose. And she saw how he was glowing and said now I want to do this too. But I don’t think they need to be equal.
Instructor: What is important is that one has the potential to rise to the same level. But at the same time, we are at different levels of being. You can be very high up and your partner can be struggling. There are many stories about that with different initiates, but it really depends on our creative will, how we want to work on alchemy. If our partner is against it, but there’s still love there, we can work. And then by our example, the other person can want to rise to our level. Whether or not one is compatible that is another thing, capable of rising to the same level, basically speaking.
Question: We can save our partner through alchemy, right?
Instructor: Yes. This is exactly what Paul of Taurus has taught in the Bible. Disbelieving husband, how do you not know that your disbelieving wife can be saved? Or, wife, how do you not know that your disbelieving husband will not be saved? (1 Corinthians 7). It is by being a good example, by working with our creative will, is how we are going to change that.
Comment: And that’s a loving couple too.
Instructor: It’s a path of sacrifice. Of course, people think that alchemy, when people get married, “Oh, it’s going to be perfect and there’s going to be no problems.” People want to think like that, but it’s a crucifixion, one in which we can redeem ourselves.
Question: Well, then along with that, with sexual energy, she was talking about how if you practice all day and then go watch TV, you’ve wasted all the energy you’ve cultivated. So there’s a lot of other ways to waste that energy too, right?
Instructor: It depends on our psychological state and how we invest our energy into certain projects. So you can save a lot of energy in alchemy, but within a moment of anger, you say something really hateful, you lose all of that. It’s possible. The thing is to conserve the energy and restrain the mind. Because if we don’t restrain the mind, if we don’t have ethical discipline, then all the energy in the world is not going to save us. In fact, it will make us more destructive, which is symbolized by the centaurs who are in hell. They built solar bodies. They are half human, but have a lot of animal. They didn’t kill their ego entirely, so they fall there. It is very common.
Question: Is this from Nietzsche?
Instructor: Yeah, from what I know that happened with Nietzsche. He let himself fall intentionally.
Comment: That’s why he went crazy.
Comment: I was just going to say Rudolph Steiner, wrote about the centaurs, said they were highly intelligent and the natural science was ridiculous.
Instructor: The centaur is a symbol.
Comment: He said they came out of the universe and they made it with the daughters of men or something like that.
Instructor: He’s speaking symbolically, for people who don’t know kabbalah. When centaurs mated with daughters of men, it means certain initiates with solar bodies were mating with the ancient humanities, ancient phenomena that Samael Aun Weor talks about. Any more comments or questions? We’ll conclude.
Question: I have one. You mention briefly about spouses or someone you care about that’s suffering, and maybe they need more help. In eastern traditions there’s a lot of stories like in Buddhism, where a family member always burned incense for the Buddha or God or something like that, and then gave a special blessing for the person who, you know, was knee-deep in debt and that cleared a lot of it. There’s always certain things that can be done in that sort of thing, right?
Instructor: Well you know, we can say burning incense is helpful for our mental and emotional state. It doesn’t absolve karma. There are some people who think that doing certain things is going to liberate us, “Oh, if you sing this mantra a million times, 101 times, you’re going to absolve your karma.” It doesn’t work like that. It will help you adjust your mental state so that you can face your karma with more strength.
Question: Don’t the gods derive a great deal of ecstasy from being around that? Master Samael talks about having incense in your room and things like that. It draws the masters…
Instructor: Yeah, it attracts superior forces. I think it was mentioned in The Way of the Bodhisattva. We’ll conclude on this point, The Way of the Bodhisattva by Shantideva. Anyone who begins to walk this path of initiation, who is developing the soul within, the gods [buddhas] look at that and they favor that. They hail that individual, “Finally, another soul is entering into the stream of nirvana.”
Many times I have had experiences where I was with certain masters and they were pleased. Lighting incense helps with that. It accentuates. It strengthens one’s prayer. It is something you can verify internally that they’re helping. As soon as you’re working with sexual energy and you’re trying to restrain your mind, they come to you and they will guide you, internally. If there are no more comments and questions we will conclude. Thank you all for coming.
Today we are going to discuss the nature of occult laws, the nature of spirituality as a scientific method, and the importance of studying esoteric science in conjunction with conventional science. We are going to discuss specifically how this science pertains to our spiritual development. We are going to talk about the nature of consciousness and the nature of occult investigation into the very mysteries of life and death: the way to verify from our own experience the nature of divinity, and particularly the foundations of this scientific method.
So Gnosis, as we have explained before, is a Greek term, meaning “knowledge.” The word science comes from the word scientia, which means “knowledge.” But this type of knowledge is very direct, and pertains to what we can verify with what we call the consciousness, which is a term that is very superficially used in these times, and very common. But as will be evident in this lecture, few rarely comprehend the real magnitude and the real depth of what it means to awaken the consciousness.
When talking about occult science to people, they hear the term occult and they think this is something satanic and evil, or something bad. The word occult comes from the Latin cultare, which means “to cultivate.” Occult means the hidden. So in an occult science, we cultivate that which is unseen, and just as there are methods and procedures for verifying the causes and laws behind physical phenomena, likewise do we ascertain that there is a method, a science for comprehending the noumena behind phenomena.
Phenomena is appearance, literally speaking. Pneuma is “spirit” in Greek, and noumena refers to the highest state of awakening spiritually. Noumena in Immanuel Kant's philosophy was expressed as “the truth,” things in themselves. So this science pertains to how we directly verify, through our own experience, what religion teaches.
As part of this lecture, we are going to discuss the nature of Ether, which is very famously postulated within physics as well as occult science, and even many different traditions. We are going to explain how the Ether, as a substance and energy, can assist us in the awakening of consciousness.
Alongside this, we will talk about the nature of parallel universes. The science of consciousness is about experiencing the different realms, known as heavens, known as Nirvana, known as Jannah in Arabic. And fundamentally, we are going to discuss the science of spiritual perception. What does it mean to perceive and how can we perceive the truths contained within religion?
Science and Religion: The Synthesis of Conscious Investigation
So his Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama states in his book The Universe in a Single Atom, the need for practitioners of science, official science, to study the mystical teachings of Buddhism or religion, which explain many of the phenomena that quantum mechanics or mechanics physicists are discovering now. He explains in this book that it is necessary and develop an occult methodology.
“In order for the study of consciousness to be complete, we need a methodology that would account not only for what is occurring at the neurological and biochemical levels but also for the subjective experience of consciousness itself. Even when combined, neuroscience and behavioral psychology do not shed enough light on the subjective experience…” ―The Dalai Lama, The Universe in a Single Atom
Meaning what we can verify through our own consciousness.
“[Neuroscience and Behavioral Psychology combined] do not shed enough light on the subjective experience, as both approaches still place primary importance on the objective, third-person perspective. Contemplative traditions on the whole have historically emphasized subjective, first-person investigation of the nature and functions of consciousness, by training the mind to focus in a disciplined way on its own internal states.” ―The Dalai Lama, The Universe in a Single Atom
This is precisely the demarcation between conventional science and occult science. The conventional physicists and scientists only verify things based on physical matter. They do not investigate what is the activating principles behind matter, because they ignore, unfortunately, that the only way to verify occult phenomena, or noumena, we need to awaken our consciousness, and this relies on a very specific type of work in which we discipline our own mind, in order to truly awaken our spiritual capacities and to verify what religions have taught us.
The Brain, Mind, and Consciousness
Many people think that the mind is the brain. Many scientists affirm that we are just a functionalism [or epiphenomenon] of our brain, ignoring that the mind itself and the consciousness are something that is separate that can inhabit the body or can dis-inhabit the body, as is explained in the science of dream yoga, astral projection, out of body experiences.
Neural science cannot explain many of these occult phenomena and many of these scientists stubbornly reject that there is even the capacity or possibility to experience God, to verify what God is, to know our inner divinity directly. Unfortunately, it is this type of fanaticism and dogmatism in the scientific realm which is blinding many individuals from the study of spirituality, but fortunately due to some recent discoveries, such as in quantum mechanics, the study of subatomic particles, they are discovering that even light has consciousness, that light makes choices. This is a strong revelation on the part of conventional science, that even the smallest particles of matter have a type of awareness. This is something that has been affirmed by the teachings of Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, many of the ancient esoteric traditions.
It is precisely the fact that we do not rely exclusively on physical means but occult methods that many scientists simply scorn and reject any possibility of investigation, which is sad, precisely because they fail to enact the very scientific methods that they have vowed to verify, to test. But sadly, like a new priesthood, they are blindly enamored by their own ideas and fail to even want to question themselves. It is precisely this type of discrimination and questioning of our own nature that leads us on the path or to the path that leads to that direct realization of Christ, of Buddha, of Allah.
Even Albert Einstein, the great scientist, who was very spiritual in his heart, and as may be evident from the quote will be citing, he knew a little bit about this teaching. He states that it is important for any system or methodology to be effective, it has to be verifiable. But also, the fact that any method that is divorced from any type of experiential knowledge is empty of content, empty of real significance or meaning. He also states that it is important that to verify things for oneself in order for a system to be valid, whEther conventional but in our case, esoteric, hidden.
“There are two ways of regarding concepts, both of which are necessary to understanding. The first is that of logical analysis. It answers the question, How do concepts and judgments depend on each other? In answering it we are on comparatively safe ground. It is the security by which we are so much impressed in mathematics. But this security is purchased at the price of emptiness of content.” ―Albert Einstein, The World As I See It: “The Problem of Space, Ether, and the Field in Physics”
Meaning: it is just recognizing numbers and knowing relationships, but how does it apply to our physical life or even spiritual life?
“Concepts can only acquire content (meaning significance or impact) when they are connected, however indirectly, with sensible experience. (So concepts can only acquire content when they are connected with sensible experience). But no logical investigation can reveal this connection; it can only be experienced. And yet it is this connection that determines the cognitive value of systems of concepts.” ―Albert Einstein, The World As I See It: “The Problem of Space, Ether, and the Field in Physics”
Here he is saying that it is not enough just to have theories, but to test it and to verify it. The same thing with occult science. We begin with a theory. We begin with beliefs. We practice. We verify through experience. This is why Jesus said "Blessed are those who believe and yet who do not see," because by practicing we can verify these things.
A system is worthless if it is not verified, if it does not apply to experience. Here, Albert Einstein in his book The World As I See It, the chapter I quoted from, “The Problem of Space, Ether, and the Field in Physics,” he explains that one needs to verify with sensible experience. Here we are talking about occult experience, mystical experience.
Conflicts Between Conventional and Esoteric Science
It is important to note that mysticism is a science. The word mysticism comes from the Greek myein, which means “to close one’s eyes” physically, but by closing one’s physical eyes, one learns to proceed with spiritual senses, which is the nature of our intimate divine consciousness. It is unfortunate that many reject outright the capacity to experience different dimensions, different states of being, matter, energy, consciousness. It is this lack of investigation, which is really the emptiness of the physical sciences, which many have been divorced from any spiritual principles. But fortunately, there are many scientists who are realizing that, due to their findings, such as with light making conscious decisions, that they need to rely on more spiritual principles to explain these phenomena.
It is the tendency in the scientific world to ostracize and condemn anyone who rejects their theories or beliefs. As I said, this is a new priesthood, in which there is an indomitable, dogmatic institution that says “We are the distributors of knowledge, and then you have to receive what we tell you.”
I would like to quote for you, in relation to this topic, a saying by a great Yogi or a great initiate by the name of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky. She wrote a text called The Secret Doctrine and she explains in this quote what it is to really investigate occult science and the need to verify things for ourselves, to not take things at face value, but to experiment, to investigate, because this really entails the scientific method. As I mentioned earlier, we are going to talk about the Ether, and she quotes a little bit about this mysterious substance, which, as we will explain, is what can provoke the awakening of our spiritual perception.
“The present writer, claiming no great scientific education, but only a tolerable acquaintance with modern theories, and a better one with Occult Sciences, picks up weapons against the detractors of the esoteric teaching in the very arsenal of modern Science. The glaring contradictions, the mutually-destructive hypotheses of world-renowned Scientists, their mutual accusations, denunciations and disputes, show plainly that, whether accepted or not, the Occult theories have as much right to a hearing as any of the so-called learned and academical hypotheses. Thus whether the followers of the Royal Society choose to accept Ether as a continuous or a discontinuous fluid matters little, and is indifferent to the present purpose. It simply points to one certainty: Official Science knows nothing to this day of the constitution of Ether. Let Science call it matter, if it likes; only neither as akâsa nor as the sacred Æther of the Greeks, is it to be found in any of the states of matter known to modern physics. It is matter on quite another plane of perception and being, and it can neither be analyzed by scientific apparatus, appreciated, nor even conceived by “scientific imagination,” unless the possessors thereof study the Occult Sciences.” ―H. P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, Book I, Part III, Chapter III: “An Lumen Sit Corpus, Nec Non?”
So, exactly reiterating what Albert Einstein stated: that we cannot really appreciate the meaning of studying phenomena if the theory does not apply to our cognizant experience, and by verifying through testing, studying, and approaching it. It cannot be analyzed just by scientific apparatus, physical means. We need superior means, but if we ignore our very capacity to experience God, if we reject it with, “Oh, it's not possible," and then we shut the door for ourselves to really knowing what God is. And so, this type of science cannot be conceived by scientific imagination unless, as Blavatsky states, it is occupied under the occult sciences.
We are going to talk later about imagination. Imagination is the capacity to perceive images, whether on the physical level or in the spiritual level, such as in dreams or when we meditate―seeing images or places or people or things. This is occult imagination: the capacity to perceive phenomena on a psychic and spiritual level.
We need to comprehend the importance of developing an open mind, the necessity of investigating information in a scientific manner: one of which we do not have bias, where we do not allow our preconceived notions to infect our understanding. This requires that we have an attitude that is open and that we patiently study and contemplate the different religious traditions, as well as what they imply and what they entail.
Learning How to Listen
This is the teaching of Buddhism, in relation to the bowl of the Buddha, which is a fundamental teaching within esoteric science.
We see here the Buddha with this bowl open waiting to receive knowledge. Saffron robes, his golden colored robes, signifies knowledge within esotericism. If we awaken within the internal planes, if we have an experience with Beings with saffron robes of Buddha, or if we have an experience with the color yellow or orange, it pertains to the mind, the nature of the consciousness.
Buddha here is teaching us, in this image, that if we wish to comprehend the higher teachings, we need to have a mind that is receptive: to learn how to receive knowledge and not to instantly compare; to not theorize; to not speculate, but to receive information and to comprehend it. This is the teaching that Jesus gave, the fact that one has to pour new wine in new wineskins, but not to mix it with old wine or old wineskins. Because by pouring the new wine into an old wineskin, the old widescreen will break. This refers to adopting a new type of mind, a different type of mentality in which we can investigate things openly.
We need a new attitude. We need to be open like a child, seeing the world for the first time and not instantly wanting to compare or label or debate or argue. Instead, we need a mind that can receive information in order to test it, not to think “This is going to work,” not to say “This is not going to work,” but to adopt the scientific method, the attitude that, "Well, I have my theory about how where this teaching will lead me, but I will be open to whatever occur”―to test, to verify, to experiment, and to see from experience whether it is true or not.
We say that when listening to a teaching, that the bowl itself, the mind may have three faults.
A vessel might have the following three faults:
This is a teaching given by Tsong Khapa. He was a great Buddhist master. He wrote this in The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, known as the Lam Rim Chen Mo.
“[…] there is no great purpose in your hearing the teachings if you (1) do not pay attention; or, (2) though paying attention, misunderstand what is heard or listen with a bad motivation such as attachment; or, (3) though lacking these faults, do not solidify the words and meanings taken in at the time of hearing but let them fade due to forgetting them and so forth. Therefore, free yourself from all of these faults.” ―Tsong Khapa, The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment: Volume I
So the same thing when we approach occult science, as in the teachings of Buddhism, because we say that Gnosis in itself was manifest in the heart of Buddhism. But as well as Islam, Judaism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, etc.
We're going to explain some Buddhist principles in relation to occult science, because by understanding the nature of the consciousness, we study the nature of our perception, which relates to Buddhism but also the esoteric teaching. When acquiring new knowledge, it means to approach the study of reality with an open mind.
The Fourth Dimension
When we talk about the nature of cosmological laws, we talked about what is known as the fourth dimension. We are going to discuss the nature of Ether. We will discuss different natures of perception. And we are going to discuss the requisites for comprehending these laws in ourselves. So the 14th Dalai Lama continues in the same book, I mentioned The Universe in a Single Atom, and in relation to the study that Einstein provided and the study of the nature of space-time, the 4th dimension which is essential to the study of consciousness:
“As I understand it, the most important implication of Einstein’s theory of relativity is that notions of space, time, and mass cannot be seen as absolutes, existing in themselves as permanent, unchanging substances or entities. Space is not an independent, three-dimensional domain, and time is not a separate entity; rather they co-exist as a four-dimensional continuum of “space-time.” In a nutshell, Einstein’s special theory of relativity implies that, while the speed of light is invariable, there is no absolute, privileged frame of reference and everything, including space and time, is ultimately relative. This is truly a remarkable revelation.” ―H.H. The 14th Dalai Lama, The Universe in a Single Atom, Chapter 3: “Emptiness, Relativity, and Quantum Physics”
When we talk about consciousness, we need to talk about space and time, because the study of the nature of our experience will lead us to the awakening to superior dimensions of nature. This study that the nature of consciousness is relative and that the different dimensions of nature are relative as well, in relation to our perception of them, is a very profound esoteric statement that is affirmed by Buddhism.
So as the Dalai Lama states:
“In the Buddhist philosophical world, the concept of time as relative is not alien. Before the second century C.E., the Sautranika school argued against the notion of time as absolute. Dividing the temporal process into the past, present, and future, the Sautranikas demonstrated the interdependence of the three and argued for the untenability of any notion of independently real past, present, and future. They showed that time cannot be conceived as an intrinsically real entity existing independently of temporal phenomena but must be understood as a set of relations among temporal phenomena.” ―H.H. The 14th Dalai Lama, The Universe in a Single Atom, Chapter 3: “Emptiness, Relativity, and Quantum Physics”
This is important to understanding our perception. How do we relate to the physical world? Even understanding, how do we perceive? Understanding our relative position of the nature of our universe, because it is this mistake of feeling that oneself is independent of this existence―that is a great delusion. When we perceive that our own mistaken senses of self are relative to us and illusory, we can begin to awaken to a much superior way of life.
“Apart from the temporal phenomena upon which we construct the concept of time, there is no real time that is somehow the grand vessel in which things and events occur, an absolute that has an existence of its own.” ―H.H. The 14th Dalai Lama, The Universe in a Single Atom, Chapter 3: “Emptiness, Relativity, and Quantum Physics”
So we examine the nature of our relationships to impressions of life from the scientific perspective. We seek to verify and comprehend our own perceptions, our own relationship to the impressions of life, which in truth is multi-dimensional in nature.
Space-Time: The Fourth Coordinate
We are going to discuss the fourth dimension specifically, next, and how it pertains to our conscious perception.
Previously we showed the image of what is known as the Bhavachakra in Buddhism. This image represents the illusory nature of phenomena divided into six realms. We have a course specifically dedicated to the subject on our website [Bhavachakra on Glorian.org], but we mentioned the Bhavachakra in brief because it explains aspects of our consciousness that we need to understand.
All beings who dwell within these six realms, which are symbolic in nature, dwell within suffering, within mistaken notions of self-hood or grasping and aversion to suffering: a psychological attachment that keeps them rotating within the wheel. If you are familiar with Carl Orff, there is a classical composition Carmina Burana, which is where we have the famous piece “O Fortuna.” We find that this cycle or rotation within different realms of suffering, different ways of perceiving, are mistaken notions of self that create suffering.
We study, briefly, the Bhavachakra because in order to awaken to our genuine spiritual nature, we seek to transcend this wheel. This can only come about by questioning our own perceptions, by learning to perceive our mind as we were practicing earlier, as a separate entity, and that we, as a consciousness, are something separate and distinct.
Those who have freed themselves from the wheel of suffering are known as bodhisattvas. They have escaped the dualistic mentation of the mind and they have transcended to a superior region. You see them in the top corners of the image.
This science of consciousness that we are explaining pertains to understanding our different modes of perception and the nature of what we call space and time, the fourth dimension. Because by understanding space and time, we understand ourselves to a deeper degree. Now people in conventional science have, at least within the past century, affirmed the existence of a fourth coordinate. We studied the nature of the 4th dimension in relation to our consciousness, because it pertains to how we perceive or the illusions of what we perceive.
So first off we have this image. We have an eye with a clock which we are going to explain. Sand is representing the chronometric aspect of time. So when we talk about the fourth dimension, we talk about two aspects of our perception in this region, because it is this illusion of time, of thinking of the future, worrying about the past, which keeps us hypnotized and not recognizing our current state of being.
So to quote Samael Aun Weor, the founder of the modern Gnostic tradition, in his book Cosmic teachings of a Lama:
“Length, width, and height are―without any possible doubt (even if these are of a Cartesian type)―the three Euclidean aspects of this three-dimensional world within which, for good or for bad, we live. It is evident that it would be absurd to exclude the fourth factor from our postulations.
“Thus, considering time as the fourth dimension, it intrinsically contains two fundamental properties, namely: temporal and spatial.
“It is positive, authentic, and undeniable that the chronometric aspect of life is exclusively the unstable surface of the spatial depth.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Cosmic Teachings of a Lama
In discussing consciousness, we talk about these two factors. The chronometric aspect of time is the illusion that there is a morning and an afternoon, an evening, a day. Or a five o'clock, or afternoon, or twelve o'clock at night. This illusion of time that we commonly experience and sense, that is the chronometric aspect of our perception.
But we also have what is known as the spatial depth of our perception, which could only be developed if we learn to awaken our consciousness, our spiritual capacities. We have this image of the eye with the clock to represent the spatial depth of the fourth dimension.
It is important to study the fourth dimension because when we comprehend ourselves, we are learning to perceive our own multi-dimensional nature. We are learning to perceive how we are not just a three dimensional being with length, width, and height. We have actually a much more profound and deeper constitution than is admitted by conventional science. We have our emotions and our mind, which are more real to us than anything else. In fact, we always try to make the physical world concur to our own desires, the way we think and feel. We want our external world and universe to coincide with our concepts, beliefs, our emotions, our attitudes, our cravings. If we want coffee, we make an effort to fulfill our needs. It is not just a physical instinct, but it is an emotional craving. Or in our mind, we have a belief about a certain system or teaching and we strongly affirm it against another person we argue with.
Therefore, this is indicating that the mind and the emotions in themselves are more real to us than anything physical. Even the way we physically live is completely contingent upon our thoughts and our feelings and our psychological constitution. Even the way we perceive the illusions of time and our own sense of self depends entirely on how we perceive. It depends entirely upon this question: what is it that we perceive and how do we know?
Our multi-dimensional nature is verified even by the existence that we have thought-feeling―if we observe ourselves and analyze: where does it come from? Where do we receive thoughts? Where do emotions emerge? The truth is these elements of our constitution belong to different dimensions of nature, which interpenetrate our physical plane.
We are going to be explaining in relation to the Kabbalah, which is known as the Hebrew Tree of Life: a map of the multi-dimensional nature of our consciousness.
If we wish to understand the nature of our perception, if we wish to understand the mysteries of life and death, we need to overcome this illusion of time: that there is a tomorrow or that there was a yesterday. The truth is there is only this moment. Our sense of time is dependent upon physical factors and therefore our relationships, obligations family, career, job, physical objects, like home or property, our relationship to all these things create this illusion of what we call time.
If we wish to comprehend the more higher spiritual principles, we need to understand the nature of our own illusions of time: to observe here and now; to not think of the future or the or the past, but to be aware of the present moment. And this is, we are going to explain, starts to develop what we know is the spatial depth, which is the ability of the consciousness to perceive physical phenomena in a new way, in a more encompassing way. Even in this physical plane we have many illusions.
Samael Aun Weor states in The Doomed Aryan Race [now published as The Narrow Way] in relation to the nature of our three dimensions as well as the fourth dimension:
“A line is the print that a dot leaves while moving through space. A plane is the print that a line leaves while moving through space. A solid is the print that a plane leaves while moving through space.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Narrow Way
These are our three dimensions, and typically all we perceive are just length, width, and height, in terms of our physical senses: our sight, our capacity to hear, etc. We rarely recognize or are able to perceive the vital depth of a person. This is known as clairvoyance: by learning to perceive energy of people, the chakras.
Clairvoyance in French literally means “clear vision.” Do not think that only a few people have this capacity, or that they are gifted. In fact, we all have the potential to develop these faculties, if we are sincere that our inner Being, our inner God can guide us to awakening what we call the spatial depth, which is clairvoyance.
When we learn to awaken our own divine perception, we could begin to perceive life in a new way. All of us have to some degree. If we are approaching this science, we have experienced something to a degree of this type of phenomena, in which we were shocked―in which, in a given moment, we question, “Why am I even here? What am I doing here? Who am I as a person? Where am I going?” Meaning spiritually. “If I die what will happen?” When we question what it is we know and we analyze what is it that we want to know, we begin to awaken.
When we learn to develop that, when we follow that hunch, that yearning, we approach the science that leads us towards the development of that capacity within us. We develop the spatial sense, clairvoyance, spiritual perception. We begin to perceive different phenomena.
Samael Aun Weor continues:
“A hypersolid is the print that a solid leaves while moving through space..." ―Samael Aun Weor, The Narrow Way
So we are talking about points, lines, and planes, and that when they move through space, they create the different dimensions. When a physical object, when a solid of three dimensions moves through space, it creates what is known as a hyper solid.
Samael Aun Weor states:
“…it is the fourth dimension of any given body.
“Hypersolids, hypervolume, and hyperspace are only perceptible with the awakening of the consciousness.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Narrow Way
So that which people call auras, seeing imagery within the internal dimensions, such as in dream yoga, awakening in the astral plane, speaking to angels, conversing with the Gods: that is conscious perception. Perceiving physical life in a totally new manner, pertains to the awakening of perception and the perception of hyper solids, hyper volume. Because, the hyper solid of a person is simply the vital aura, the energy of a person―what we call the Ether of a person.
The Four States of Consciousness
When talking about the nature of Ether and energies, and how to use energy to awaken consciousness, we need to emphasize that there are really four states of consciousness in this science. If we wish to comprehend the nature of time, if we wish to develop our clairvoyance to perceive the heavenly beings within the superior dimensions when we dream, we need to comprehend that there are four states of consciousness of perception.
We use Greek terms from Plato who knew this science in depth. He was a Gnostic initiate. We have Eikasia (Εἰκασία). Eikasia simply means ironically, “imagination.” This is very interesting. We emphasize that Eikasia is ssleep without dreams: to be asleep as a consciousness and to not even have dreams.
We typically associate this state with being physically asleep and eight hours passing by in the night, and then we wake up and not remember anything. This is one level of meaning to this state of consciousness. But even more directly, if we look at the literal translation, Eikasia means “imagination.” It means perception. It is a type of perception, such as we have now, meaning, we physically we have our sight, our hearing, our touch, etc., and yet we fail to recognize the inherent, intrinsic reality contained within any impression that we receive.
We fail to understand that the nature of any given impression of life is illusory. We simply see appearances. We do not really directly see within a person. So we are having a conversation with an individual. Unless we are really awakened spiritually, we do not perceive their thoughts. But we have a general sense of emotion, of experience. Eikasia literally means “imagination,” and it means the type of perception we all have. We are physically awake, but spiritually speaking, we are asleep. We are not aware of our energies, our divine potential on a clairvoyant level, on an observant level. Humanity is caught within this state of Eikasia. People think they are awake, physically, yes, but spiritually no. To be spiritually awake is to perceive the vital forces that animate nature, to see life in a new way, not to be caught up in thought, intellect, theories, debate, which is precisely the second state of consciousness.
πίστης Pistis, in Greek, literally means “belief.” It means sleep with dreams.
So what is a belief? It is but a dream, an idea, a concept that has not been verified. Many human beings on this globe have many theories, spiritual or scientific, and yet which are not grounded in the actual experience of the truth, that have not been verified through one's own cognizance.
Pistis is to dream. If we physically go to sleep and we have dreams, that is Pistis. We are not aware that we are dreaming. We are not aware that we are receiving images on a psychic level within the dream state. Therefore, these are illusory. This is illusion.
Eikasia, again, is sleep without dreams, and when we are physically awake, it does not mean that we are spiritually awake. It means that our physical senses are active, but our own consciousness is asleep. It is in a potential state. It is not developed. That can only be developed by learning to learn how to work with energy known as the Ether, as we will explain, and learning to direct our attention.
So precisely the state of awakened consciousness is διάνοια Dianoia. Dianoia signifies “revision of belief” and we call this the state of awakening. So do not mistake that being physically awake that one is spiritually awake, because we can be physically asleep and we can be awake in the superior dimensions of nature, known as astral projection or out of body experiences. Or one can be physically awake and yet asleep as a consciousness, or better said, one could be physically asleep and psychologically asleep.
Do not think that consciousness simply means physical activity, or that in our state we possess consciousness. Yes, we perceive phenomena. We perceive images, sensations, thought, emotion; but it does not necessarily mean that we comprehend those phenomena as they exist within ourselves.
As you might have noticed from the practice we did at the beginning before the lecture, we were sitting to observe our own mind, as if the mind itself is an actor and that we are a director. If we have seen that our own thoughts come and go without any control on our part, if we can experience that emotions come and go without any direction of our will, it means that we are not in control of our mind. It means that we perceive life, but we do not comprehend it.
It is precisely this foundation that we seek to emphasize. Consciousness does not literally mean being physically awake. The consciousness is part of the Being, of God, that needs to be developed. So Eikasia means “sleep.” We are here present, but the question is whether we are paying attention, if we are awake as a spirit, as a psyche.
Pistis is sleep with dreams. Meaning: anytime we have an idea, a preoccupation, a memory, we are driving our car but thinking about other things. We are planning our day when we are drinking coffee. Or conceptualizing, theorizing, believing. This is Pistis. These are fluctuating states of experience that do not signify that we as a consciousness, of the part of God, are really awake, vigilant, active, being aware of the thoughts, feelings, emotions, sensations, perceptions, comprehending them all in this instant.
That is Dianoia, because noia or nous means “mind.” Dia means “side to side.” So Dianoia means “to stand aside from the mind” and to look at it for what it is, that it is a machine. It can store information. It can conceptualize. It can rationalize. it can compare things, but it cannot know God. And sadly, Immanuel Kant, a great German philosopher, was rejected because he stated this: that the mind cannot know the truth, and many philosophers were angry with him. They said, “What are you talking about?” Because they use the intellect to try to explain spiritual phenomena.
Dianoia a means “to stand aside from the mind” and see it for what it is. But besides this type of perception there is something superior which we call νους Nous.
Nous is illuminated awakened consciousness. It is one thing to stand aside from the mind and see it for what it is, to comprehend that it is like a separate entity in itself. It is another thing for that consciousness to unite with God and to be one with God, to perceive oneself as God, when the Being is fully manifested in that consciousness. This is known in the East among the yogis as samadhi, as experiences in which the consciousness is like a drop of water lost in the ocean of divinity.
Question: What is a yogi?
Instructor: Yogi is a person who practices yoga. This teaching is essentially yoga in itself. We are learning to understand the mind and to control our own mind, so that we can attain union, which is the meaning of yoga. Yug, the Sanskrit word “to reunite,” so that we could reunite with God.
Question: Is this the Indian language?
Instructor: Sanskrit. The Eastern language.
Nous pertains to experiencing the consciousness of God, which is very elevated and which we can only really experience through meditation, which is the fundamental teaching or practice of this tradition.
If you are familiar with Plato's teaching, he talked about the Allegory of the Cave in his book The Republic. He describes as a group of men or people living in a cave, in which there is a wall, and individuals are chained by their necks in their legs and their arms to that wall facing the darkness. Behind the wall there is a fire, and individuals are carrying clay pottery on their heads and their arms past the light, and it is casting shadows on the wall.
Now the individuals who only see darkness in that cave is Eikasia. They sleep. They have no dreams. They see no imagery. Meaning, they do not perceive even psychic imagery, such as if we go to sleep physically and eight hours go by and we don't remember anything. This exemplifies the fact that if this is our common state of being. It means that we are like the prisoner in the cave, unable to see even images.
Another of those who see images on the wall, those are dreams, false illusions. Any belief, thought, concept, idea in itself, is an image. It is fleeting. It passes on the screen of the mind. It disappears. That is all we see.
Fortunately in the allegory, we have an individual who is freed from his confines: taken, turned around to face the light, the fire in the cave, and is immediately blinded by that light. But when his eyes adjust, he realizes his surroundings and that the clay pottery that was before the light of the fire is projecting its images on the wall. He realizes that what he previously perceived was an illusion. This is Dianoia. He stands outside himself to the side of his mind and says, “Now I see that what I perceived before my ways of thinking, my ways of feeling, my ways of behaving, all that is illusory―and that my perception of these things is in itself something superficial.”
But again, the story does not end there. It is not enough just to see the fire in the cave. That is Dianoia. Socrates was a teacher of Plato. Socrates says in Plato's teaching that this individual has to be forced out of the cave, dragged against his will. This is us when we are really beginning to study this type of science and if we are beginning to awaken our consciousness. We have to be dragged out.
Divinity takes us by the cuff, pulls us out of the cave, and gives us the experience where emerging from the mountainside, one sees the stars. Even at this point, the person's eyes are weak and dim. It cannot perceive the light as it is. Then for the first time in this individual’s life who's been in the cave he sees the sun, the sunrise for the first time.
We know from Christian teachings that Christ is the sun, the solar logos, the fire, the flame of life that animates all beings. So, he sees that light for the first time and is blinded by that luminosity, and it takes them weeks to adjust to that light. And then he realizes when he is in freedom, that he feels such pity for people who are in the cave because they don't understand what freedom is.
That experience of the sun for the first time is Nous. To be united with God is Nous. It is the consciousness illuminated by the spirit, by our Buddha, by Allah, by Christ: different names for that energy, that force. We are like that in the cave. We perceive thought, feeling, emotion, sensations, but we do not really comprehend how these in themselves are phenomena. They are constantly changing like the images on the wall of the cave. By learning to work with our energy, precisely the Ether which we are going to be discussing, we can generate our own fire, which is represented by the fire in the cave. In order to perceive light, we need fire.
The Tree of Life: Our Multidimensional Nature
In spiritual studies, we talked about the need to work with energy. We talked about the need to develop spiritual forces. The nature of energy is described in this image. This glyph is known in Kabbalah as the Tree of Life.
This is one of the trees that was mentioned in the Garden of Eden, in the Book of Genesis. This tree represents a map of consciousness, from the highest realms of the Being, of God, to the lowest levels of matter, energy, and consciousness.
We basically have ten spheres or סְפִירוֹת sephiroth [the Hebrew term for emanations].
Above we have Christ, the trinity above: Father, Son, Holy Spirit.
Below we have the different manifestations of that light which descends, down into matter and energy. through past periods of cosmic evolution, which is a different topic. But in this image, it explains the multi-dimensional nature of our Being.
We all have God within. We all have a spark, a flame that unites us with the source of all creation, which above is known as the Absolute.
Here we have at the top trinity. Notice we have three trinities. The top trinity is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In Hebrew, it is known as כֶּתֶר Kether, חָכְמָה Chokmah, and בִּינָה Binah. Below that we have another trinity, which is the trinity of the Spirit: God, our own particular God within. חֶסֶד Chesed, גְּבוּרָה Geburah, תִּפְאֶרֶת Tiphereth: we have the Spirit, the consciousness, and what is known as the soul or human soul.
Below that we have to the right, mind, נצח Netzach. To the left we have emotions, הוד Hod. Beneath that we have יְסוֹד Yesod, which is vital energy, the foundation of all spiritual practice. Then below that we have מלכות Malkuth, which is the physical body.
Notice even in this diagram the mind, the emotions, and the vitality are just the bottom of the real human being. They are not the totality. We have other aspects of being that we need to awaken to.
When we talk about the multi-dimensional nature of our constitution, we talk about this glyph, because all of us have Christ within. All of us have our own spirit, that if we unite with in meditation, we can become one with that consciousness―that state of being which is to see the light of day for the first time, like in the Allegory of the Cave.
We say that this glyph is divided into different dimensions. Here we are talking about the fourth dimension. We look in this image, this this glyph is divided into seven dimensions. The bottom we have our three-dimensional world Malkuth, the physical body. The fourth dimension is known as Yesod, the vital body.
When we talk about bodies and energy, we are talking about vehicles which exist within more subtle levels of nature, of matter, energy, and consciousness that we can access when we know how to awaken in dreams. The way we do that is precisely working with the Ether, known as our vitality, what gives us strength, which gives us the capacity to perceive life in this physical plane.
The physical body Malkuth is just an instrument of the vital body. If you are familiar with the Kirlian camera, Russian scientists developed this camera that can photograph the aura of living things. Even minerals have vital depth, vital energy. It is this energy that is going to grant us the capacity to ascend, up this tree. It is the Ether, the light, which illuminates the different spheres, which form the Christmas tree. So that tree is the Tree of Life, fully illuminated by the Ether of our body, of our energies, which, when we work with that energy, it illuminates and creates the Christmas tree, the Christ-Mass-tree, which is a harmony or reunion with the Christ force.
Question: Do you view that as a ladder then?
Instructor: Yes, we even talk about in the Bible, Jacob's ladder.
Question: So we all start at the bottom per say and then we can experientially work up?
Instructor: Yes, this is the process of initiation, which is another lecture.
Question: Is that why they put lights on the Christmas tree?
Instructor: Because that represents the human being, fully illuminated, the different sephiroth to the star, which is the really the goal that we seek, our own inner Being at the heights.
So, again, we talk about seven dimensions. The Christ known as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Above they relate to the seventh dimension. This light is the zero dimension. It is the first emanation or light that emerges from that source we call the Absolute.
Time does not exist in the source of divinity, the Absolute. However, that energy, that light known as Christ, descends and enters the different levels of matter, energy, and perception.
Beneath that we have the sixth dimension, which is where we find the Spirit, the consciousness, and our human soul. This is known as Nirvana among the Buddhists. Nirvana literally means “cessation,” and it means that in order to acquire that state, one needs to acquire the cessation of suffering, a mind that is serene so that one can experience those realms only by controlling the mind.
Beneath that we have two sephiroth, two spheres. We have on the right Netzach, which is mind, intellect. On the left we have Hod, emotions, the astral vehicle. The mind and the emotions constitute the fifth dimension, which is beneath Nirvana.
The fifth dimension is where we go to dream. We typically travel in what some call the astral body or the mental body, which are vehicles or lunar vehicles. Nature gives us certain vehicle so that we can exist with thought and feeling in those realms.
Beneath that we have Yesod, the fourth dimension, which we equate with space and time as well as the Ether.
Question: Yesod is the fourth dimension?
Instructor: Yes, and in Al-Qur’an, the teaching given by Prophet Muhammad, he said that paradise is a land of milk and honey. So, this is the fourth dimension that he was talking about. Many of the saints who acquire beatitude and sanctification in their life, they enter into paradise, which is Yesod, a voluptuous and blissful state.
Then beneath that we have Malkuth, the physical plane.
I am going to explain to you just a little bit about from the teachings of Samael Aun Weor, the nature of these different dimensions.
“We have been told that the fourth dimension is time (in its exclusively temporal aspect).
“We have been informed that the fifth dimension is eternity. Without a doubt, the sixth dimension is beyond time and eternity.
“The absolute zero exists in dimensional subject matters. The zero dimension is pure Spirit; this is a seventh dimension.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Narrow Way
As I mentioned it is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit above.
“The intellectual beast…” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Narrow Way
…and this sounds very harsh, but the truth is all of us are, we could say animals with intellect. The word animal comes from anima, which means “soul.” So we are souls with intellect, and if we are constantly identified with negativity and anger and pride and passion, it means that we were bestial in a sense, negative, and we use our intellect and create many problems for ourselves.
“The intellectual beast is bottled up in Euclidean geometry because he has never awakened his consciousness. The consciousness that slumbers is content with Euclid’s tri-dimensional geometry.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Narrow Way
Meaning: just isosceles triangles and other shapes relating to the physical plane, ignoring that there is a higher mathematics, a higher type of teaching.
“One-dimensional creatures only possess sensations of pleasure and pain, likes and dislikes, such as for example, the snail.
“Bi-dimensional creatures such as dogs, cats and horses, etc., possess sensations and representations.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Narrow Way
They not only feel pain of good and bad, pleasure and displeasure, they also see representations; images such as the person, the master, etc.
“The tri-dimensional biped (mistakenly called a human being) [and we will elaborate on this point] possesses sensations, representations, and concepts.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Narrow Way
We talk about the human being made into the image of God. People think the image of God is the physical body, and they are mistaken, because this image is psychological and spiritual. To be made in the image of God is to be a mind united with the spirit, because the word mind in Sanskrit is manas, man. The spirit is hum in Sanskrit. The breath, the wind, that floated above the face of the waters in the Book of Genesis, that inner spirit needs to work with our energies known as Ether, in order to create the image of God within.
A human being is just that: a Christmas tree fully illuminated, because if we take this image and put it on the person, we find it matches with the physical body with the highest aspects of God in the brain. We have the spirit in the heart, and they have our vital energies or forces within sexuality.
“The spatial sense can never be developed without the awakening of the consciousness.
“The spatial sense includes, in an absolute manner, the five senses and many other senses that physiologists absolutely ignore.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Narrow Way
This is precisely our goal in these studies, to become what the Bible calls a human being. What is a being is the Christ, the inner Buddha, our spirit within. A hum-man is a mind that obeys God within. So, it is psychological. It is not physical. When we talk about the nature of Ethers, we will explain why.
The fourth dimension precisely is the foundation that leads us towards the path of spiritual development. The Ether in itself is a mysterious substance that was pondered about by physicists, and there has been much speculation about the nature of this substance. They talked about space-time as taught by Einstein, but many really failed to understand that this Ether is what can grant us the capacity to experience the spiritual realms.
Notice how even going back to this image, this Tree of Life is centered on this sephirot Yesod, known as Ether, known as energy. It gives our vitality in our body.
It is the second to bottom in the very center. It is right above Malkuth. We have here Yesod and then Malkuth below. So, our foundation of the entire Tree of Life, of the unity with God, is precisely by knowing how to work with this energy called Ether. More specifically we call it the sexual force. The sexual energy.
Question: Why is the bottom upside down?
Instructor: It is a good question. That is known as hell. In Kabbalah, it is called קְלִיפּוֹת Klipoth, which literally translates as “shells.” It is the inverted aspect of the Tree of Life. Just as there is heaven, there is hell. Hell refers to our own pride, anger, negativity, vanity, laziness, gluttony, our defects. It is the shadow of the tree that we need to eliminate if we want to illuminate our Christmas tree, meaning our own inner Being, our own higher constitution.
Question: Is that why the different areas, sephiroth, are? Like gluttony, vanity...
Instructor: Not specifically. You cannot correlate necessarily each of the nine inverted sephiroth with a specific defect. Instead, there are astrological influences that Master Samael explains in books like Hell, Devil and Karma, in which he describes how different planetary influences govern the different spheres of hell, but that's another topic, because hell in itself is not just a place in the internal dimensions where people suffer. There is a place, but instead it more importantly refers to our psychological states.
Question: Being in a physical body, that is almost like being in hell itself?
Instructor: We can say that, yes, and our body needs to be purified and become a house for God, like symbolized by the Virgin Mary. Mary represents the physical body, the matter, the mother, that needs to be purified in order to incarnate Christ. The way that we work with that is by working with the Ether.
Ether: The Sexual Energy
We are going to explain more about this energy and how it applies to our spiritual development. I like to actually quote for you Albert Einstein again from the same book The World As I See it. This is from a chapter of “The Problem of Space, Ether, and the Field in Physics,” explaining how many scientists are debating this concept of space-time, and what is this Ether that is so essential to physics.
“The mechanical properties of the Ether were at first a mystery. Then came H. A. Lorentz’s great discovery. All the phenomena of electro-magnetism then known could be explained on the basis of two assumptions: that Ether is firmly fixed in space―that is to say, unable to move at all, and that electricity is firmly lodged in the mobile elementary particles. Today his discovery may be expressed as follows: ―Physical space and the Ether are only different terms for the same thing; fields are physical conditions of space. For if no particular state of motion belongs to the Ether, there does not seem to be any ground for introducing it as an entity with a special sort alongside space.” ―Albert Einstein, The World As I See It: The Problem of Space, Ether, and the Field in Physics
There is this big great debate about the nature of Ether and whether it is a different substance from space or if it is one with space. So we talk about, especially in these teachings, how in order to develop our spatial sense, our capacity to perceive life in a completely different manner, we need to work with that energy, that Ether, which is precisely within our sexual organs. It is a vital energy that gives us life.
We have our parents. They copulate it and now we have a physical body. That energy also has the potential to create spiritually if we know how to use it correctly.
So here Einstein is explaining that, you know, they are trying to resolve this issue of how does electromagnetism work? How do forces manifest and act through matter? Precisely, the answer is to the Ether, known as the fourth dimension.
Question: You are saying that there is a direct link between Ether and our sexual organs?
Question: That is where the capacity is to see these forces behind nature?...
Instructor: Yes, precisely so. This substance known as Ether, which permeates every atom of our physical body, grants our body the capacity to transmit electricity, energy, forces, biochemistry, such as the different processes of digestion, of excretion, of many processes in our physical body which we take for granted.
Our life depends on the health of our vital body. When a person dies, it means that the vital body has lost its energies and it basically separates from the physical body or disintegrates. If the physical body never had its vital depth, meaning, those Ethers or energies present in the body, we would die. Our very life, even our lifespan depends on how we use our energies, whether mental, emotional, or sexual. Remember we talked about the mind, we talked about the emotions, and we are talking about Yesod now, the foundation of spiritual practice as the Ether.
This Ether also manifests again in different ways. We have it not only in our sexual organs as the vital foundation of life. We also have it within space. It is a substance that permeates all of nature. It allows for the spiritual forces of God to manifest physically. So just as we have it within our body, we have it within the cosmos. As represented by this glyph or this image.
Many people have debated about the nature of Ether from different religions, different traditions, trying to explain what it is. Many having very conflicting and contrary opinions about it. But we explained in synthesis that the Ether as we know it is in our sexual organs. It is a condensation of spiritual forces that come from even from the galaxies, from the stars, from the highest realms of the Tree of Life as we mentioned. This Ether, as we are going to explain, enters into our body and manifest in different ways, the different ways that we can work with this energy in order to awaken our consciousness.
I would like to quote again from Blavatsky from The Secret Doctrine. She states:
“The septenary gradation, and the innumerable subdivisions and differences, made by the ancients between the powers of Ether collectively, from its outward fringe of effects, with which our Science is so familiar, up to the “Imponderable Substance,” once admitted as the “Ether of Space,” now about to be rejected…” ―H. P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, Book I, Part II, Chapter III: “Primordial Substance and Divine Thought”
Meaning: people used to think it was a separate substance from space, ignoring that the cosmos, the space, is one with that energy, and through the condensation of forces on the Tree of Life that enters into our body, enters our sexual organs. Then it is a matter of returning that energy inward and upward towards the source. Not only physically, but within our different levels of our constitution represented by that tree.
This “Imponderable Substance,” once admitted as the “Ether of Space,” now about to be rejected, has been a vexing riddle for every branch of knowledge. The mythologists and symbologists of our day, confused by this incomprehensible glorification, on the one hand, and degradation on the other, of the same deified entity and in the same religious systems, are often driven to the most ludicrous mistakes.” ―H. P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, Book I, Part II, Chapter III: “Primordial Substance and Divine Thought”
So many people they think this substance Ether mentioned in religion is basically the abode of hell to some. So Blavatsky states:
“The Church, firm as a rock in each and all of her early errors of interpretation, has made of Ether the abode of her Satanic legions.” ―H. P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, Book I, Part II, Chapter III: “Primordial Substance and Divine Thought”
There is a lot of misconceptions about Ether. They think it is some kind of physical chemical to put someone to sleep or it is some demonic substance that it channels evil forces. The truth is Ether, in itself, in its most unmodified original substance, which we seek to work within ourselves, is known as the Divine Mother Space.
We see in this image, in a Hindu depiction of the Divine Mother, and from Her emerges three figures Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. These are just different terms for the Holy Trinity of Christianity: Brahma the father, Vishnu the Son, the Christ, and Shiva the Holy Spirit. These are energies, not people, but forces.
So the Divine Mother is the space that we find in the universe, which is the habitat of that energy known as Ether, the sacred force. The Hindus give it a different name. They call it Prakriti. They say Prakriti, this energy, is the Divine Mother. When we talk about the Virgin Mary, we are addressing that divinity, which cannot be conceptualized with images necessarily.
Question: Is that the same as prana?
Instructor: Yes, prana is another term. We say prana is a life force. A lot of these terms are really synonymous. They indicate aspect of the same force.
The reason we study this cosmological perspective in relation to the science of consciousness is because by working with these energies, divine forces, we can awaken to superior levels of experience. Prakriti means “nature,” literally, from Sanskrit. We can also call her Mulaprakriti at the same time. Mula means “root.” She is the root of nature, which is the space.
Remember in the Book of Genesis, “the spirit of God hovered above the face of the waters.” Or it says in Hebrew, the רוח אלהים Ruach Elohim hovered above the face of the waters, the face of the deep, meaning the space, and then God said “Let there be light, and there was light.” So working with the waters is precisely how God created the light within.
Although there is a cosmological relationship to this myth, more importantly it refers to how we develop psychologically, spiritually. The waters are precisely those Ethers, the vital forces of nature, which we have in our sexual glands, and when we know how to work with our inner Being, the Spirit, the Ruach Elohim, God can create light within. God can awaken the consciousness.
Again, that light is developed by working with those waters known as Ether. Some call it Akash. It has different names, and we find it precisely within our sexual glands, because if you are familiar with Hinduism, the yogis, they teach the base chakra, the base of the spine is known as Muladhara. It is the abode of Prakriti, they say. It is the abode of the Divine Mother. So relating to Hinduism, the energies of God, the Divine Mother force known as Kundalini, She is Prakriti within us that can awaken and ascend up our spinal column when we know how to work with those energies, known as Ether. Or, we could say Akash, another term for that.
Question: How do you exactly work with those energies, so as to activate them?
Instructor: To awaken sparks of that force, one can work with mantra, but specifically we refer to the necessity for what we call scientific chastity.
People think chastity simply means to abstain from sex. It really means purity within sex. If one is single, one can practice exercises of pranayama. We have them available in our literature [see the lecture Pranayama and Sexual Transmutation], but also mantras help stimulate that energy in order to channel those forces and we can awaken sparks of that fire.
The only way to fully awaken the Kundalini is precisely in a matrimony, which we could not explain in depth today, but it is the union of man and woman, sexually speaking, in which the most powerful forces of God, the fires of creation, can give birth to the spirit. As Jesus said, "that which is born of the flesh is flesh." Meaning: if one copulates in the normal fashion, one can give birth to a child, a physical child. “But that which is born of the spirit.” In the same sexual act, we can develop the spirit if we conserve that energy and we don't expel it, meaning: to not reach the orgasm, specifically.
Question: When a woman is having her cycle or time of the month, it is dangerous to work with the pranayama, right?
Instructor: Women, when they are in their menstruation cycle, should not mantralize, should not transmute. Just to meditate, because it is a natural process in the female body that needs to expel negative substances from the body. It is a natural process for women because the feminine body is more receptive and receives energies and needs to purify every month. During that process, women should only meditate. Do not mantralize. Do not transmute.
Question: Not even mantralize?
Instructor: You can, but physically the vocalization is a special creation that occurs when physically mantralizing. So, not to do pranayama, not to do that, but to pray. One can pray, one can meditate during those times, because the body needs to clean itself basically.
So Prakriti is precisely within that chakra known as Muladhara. Dara means “foundation.” Mula means “root.” As I mentioned with some of the exercises, we seek to awaken that fire. So that fire, like in the Allegory of the Cave, can illuminate us, so that we can leave the mountain, leave the cave, and ascend to the highest realms basically speaking.
Question: Is the Kundalini force both within the sexual organs and the root of the spine?
Instructor: The Kundalini is a serpent fire that is coiled three and a half times in the Muladhara Chakra. It is at the base of the spine. But we have that energy active in our sexual organs basically, and so when we know how to work with the Divine Mother, we can awaken our consciousness. So again, this energy is in space, but we also find this energy within our sexual glands.
Samael Aun Weor states in one of his books of astrology,
"Prakriti, the Divine Mother, is the primordial substance of nature. Several substances, different elements and sub-elements exist within the universe, but all of these are different manifestations of a single substance. The Great Mother, the Prakriti, the Primordial Matter, is the Pure Akasha contained within the entire space.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Practical Astrology: The Esoteric Treatise of Hermetic Astrology
We sometimes say Akasha. We sometimes say Ether. Really they are synonymous.
“[...] Millions and billions of universes are being born and dying within the bosom of the Prakriti. Every cosmos is born from the Prakriti and is dissolved within the Prakriti. Every world is a ball of fire that becomes ignited and extinguished in the bosom of Prakriti. Everything is born from the Prakriti; everything returns to the Prakriti. She is the Great Mother." ―Samael Aun Weor, Practical Astrology: The Esoteric Treatise of Hermetic Astrology
So just as we have Divine Mother space, we also have the Divine Mother as a serpentine fire within our coccyx.
Again, we have another image of space representing the forces of nature, divine nature.
Question: How does one activate the Merkabah?
Instructor: The Merkabah, which is a chariot of the initiates, is a representation of what we call the solar bodies. These are vehicles that can express the energies of Christ here and now. Christ knows that if it tried to incarnate within a person who did not have those vehicles within, that person would be obliterated.
Question: Even if they are spiritually awake?
Instructor: Even if one develops the consciousness, one is at another point to walk the path of initiation to create what we call the solar bodies. So many people, they talk about the astral body, mental body, but the truth is that as we are now, we typically possess what are called lunar vehicles: vehicles that we inhabit when we dream, that were given to us by nature. But we need to create a superior type of vehicle, which is only possible through alchemy or the perfect matrimony.
Question: Merkabah is activated... Is that the same effect as the Kundalini?
Instructor: When we awaken the Kundalini and develop it up the spinal medulla, not only within the physical body, but the vital body, the astral body, the mental body, the bodies above, that creates what we call solar bodies. So, the Kundalini force, the Divine Mother can create those vehicles of soul.
Question: Even though they are one, but they are still different?
Instructor: We could say they are different aspects of ourselves, just in the same way that our thoughts are dealing with our emotions and our body. We have the distinctions, but usually they interpenetrate in such a way that we don't know the difference, but that's why we need to awaken ourselves consciously so that we can differentiate between thought, feeling, emotion, sensation, etc.
Question: And the Kundalini expands your consciousness?
Instructor: It can give us greater capacities for awakening. Yes.
Question: The Merkabah does the same thing?
Instructor: The Merkabah: having solar bodies, can give oneself capacities to experience superior dimensions. The Merkabah are the solar bodies, the vehicles that can take us up to God.
The way that we develop those vehicles is precisely by working with this primordial root matter. We call it Ether. We call it Akasha. We call it Prakriti. And so, this energy is really the root of all cosmogonies, not only in the physical universe that we know of, but also even in our internal universe. We need to create our own spiritual, we could say world, from the chaos. That chaos is precisely in reference to our own energies in our body that are untamed, and also our mind, because like it says in the Book of Genesis "and the world was without form and void and darkness was on the face of the deep." That darkness is our own mind. But if we know how to work with the energies―we call Akasha, we call Ether, by working with the breath, the spirit that floated above the waters, working with our breath, with mantra, with pranayama, or working in alchemy in a marriage―those energies can create our inner universe.
“What is the primordial Chaos but Æther? Not the modern Ether; not such as is recognized now, but such as was known to the ancient philosophers long before the time of Moses; but Æther, with all its mysterious and occult properties, containing in itself the germs of universal creation. Upper Æther or Akâsa, is the celestial virgin and mother of every existing form and being, from whose bosom, as soon as “incubated” by the Divine Spirit [the Ruach Elohim as I mentioned], are called into existence: Matter and Life, Force and Action. Æther is the Aditi of the Hindus, and it is Akâsa. Electricity, magnetism, heat, light, and chemical action are so little understood even now that fresh facts are constantly widening the range of our knowledge. Who knows where ends the power of this protean giant―Æther; or whence its mysterious origin? Who, we mean, that denies the spirit that works in it, and evolves out of it all visible forms?” ―H. P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, Book I, Part II, Chapter III: “Primordial Substance and Divine Thought”
As I mentioned to you, this energy has created the universe: the worlds, the stars, and we precisely carry the same power within our sexual glands. So as Mulaprakriti in nature, we find as the Hindus teach us, the Prakriti is in the base of our spine and our sexual organs, which when we know how to work with the different practices of the tradition, we can awaken that fire and therefore illuminate our Christmas tree. We could say our spinal medulla as well, because if we take the Tree of Life and you put it on a person, the middle column refers to the spine, because the spine of a person is the Tree of Life. Without that one cannot exist. The spine also refers to willpower. Like we say, if this person has no spine, basically it is a kind of rude condemnation of another person.
Question: When you say illumination, you mean enlightenment right?
Question: Does the Merkabah, the Kabbalah bring the same effects as that?
Instructor: Merkabah is just a vehicle. It can transmit higher energies. Now, if one has those bodies, one has an extra benefit to be able to transmit more force, but what is necessary is to still, discipline the mind. So, it is a medium that can help. It is not an end in itself.
The Elements of Nature
When we talk about the Ether or Akash, we talk about how it relates to our physical body as well. We are discussing the nature of this energy within the cosmos, but also within our physicality. This Ether, Akash, is what manifests in this physical plane as the different elements that we experience.
We have Sanskrit terms. When the Akash modifies itself to manifest in the physical world, Akash, when it is petrified, when it becomes solid, it forms the Earth, known as Prithvi.
When that Ether condenses as a fluidic substance, it becomes the water, Apas.
When the Akash is in an igneous, flaming state, it becomes Tejas, which is fire.
When it becomes like fluidic and gaseous, it becomes Vayu, air.
This is just one level in terms of nature. We have these principles known as tattvas, modifications of that force, Ether, within nature. Also, importantly, we have these forces in our body, which we need to work with to help us, we could say, awaken our consciousness.
These elements relate to different aspects of our body, of our psychology.
Prithvi relates to the physical body, is our Earth.
Apas, the waters, pertain to our seminal fluid, any fluids in our body, that help with the process of the endocrine system, the nervous systems.
The waters that circulate in our body, as in our blood, which is a vehicle of fire, Tejas. The fire relates to heat, even combustion in our body. Many processes like catabolic and metabolic states, breaking down of waste in our body, etc.
We also have Vayu related to our breath, which gives us life in every instant.
The Akash precisely pertains to a fire that permeates all of that, all these elements within our body, but most precisely within sexuality.
We say that the Kundalini is Akash: that mysterious fire of the Divine Mother is Akash. She is the fire of creation.
Question: Those are Hindu words, right?
Instructor: Yes, we could say Sanskrit, more precisely, but you know, it's not my intention to go much more in depth, but we state that in order to preserve the health of our physical body, we need to consume elements that are beneficial for our psyche, basically. So different foods have different condensation of these forces. Grains have a lot of Prithvi, meaning Earth, or legumes, beans, things of that nature. It is good to consume elements from these different forces, the tattvas, to help balance our psychology, to create a more harmonious energy in our body.
We have Apas, which we find in fish, specifically, because the fish of the sea, they channel the waters of the earth and the cosmos. The energies that enter the planet and enter the waters and strengthen those animals, the fish. So, it's good to consume fish in balance in order to consume that element Apas, which helps us to control the waters of our body.
Just as the Prithvi, consuming grains in moderation, helps to strengthen our body, we have Tejas, which we find in red meat which, as you know, red meat has what we call fire, because it is energy. It is good to eat in moderation. But if one is vegetarian, that is acceptable. But if one wants to have a little bit more fire, particularly for work in alchemy, the perfect matrimony, one can consume red meat in moderation. Usually, no more than a palm full or the size of one's palm once a week, typically, we say.
Then Vayu we find within grape juice. Not alcohol, but it is better to drink grape juice, the non-alcoholic element. This is represented by the eucharist.
We consume these elements in our diet because it helps to give us strong energies. Our diet helps feed our spirituality basically, and so in studying the science of consciousness, we study that all these forces manifest in our bodies so as to take advantage of them. Those who are lacking a certain elements should learn to harmonize the body by consuming in a balanced way, these different elements. It is these elements that we consume, the air we breathe, the food we eat, whether grains, meat, fish, legumes, grains, etc., that is going to be transformed in our body precisely as what we call the seminal energy.
This energy has the capacity to awaken ourselves spiritually. It is represented as the Tree of Knowledge in the Book of Genesis, that forbidden tree that was commanded of Adam and Eve not to eat, meaning: not to indulge in the passions of sexuality, but to know how to use that force wisely, which we explain is in relation to the doctrine of chastity, purity.
So precisely our sexual energies are the Akash, and that energy awakens in us when we know how to work with mantras, vocalizations, exercises like pranayama, working inter-nostril breathing, activating those energies through prayer, meditation, and work with breath, because just as the breath the spirit of God hovered above the waters, so too must we work with our own breath―breathing with sacred sound―in order to activate those forces.
The Four Ethers
Lastly, we are going to just explain in brief how the Ether can be divided also into four, in relation to our psychological processes, as well as physical.
We talked about how the Ether manifests as the four elements, but also we are going to explain these four ethers as they are explained in the Bible.The Bible talks about the four rivers of Eden. These are what we call the four Ethers. So those four rivers are Chidekel (the Tigris), Pishon, Gihon, and Phirat (the Euphrates) in the Bible. They represent what we call the four Ethers. This is also another way of looking of how the Ether manages our organism: how the Ether in itself can help us to understand our psychology.
So we have the Chemical Ether:
“The Chemical Ether is related with all the processes of organic assimilation and nourishment.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Sexology: The Basis of Endocrinology and Criminology
All of our physical processes in our body, digestion, consumption the breaking down of fats, production of bile, biochemistry in our body, is related to the Chemical Ether.
“The Ether of Life is related with the reproduction processes of the race.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Sexology: The Basis of Endocrinology and Criminology
This is the energy that gives life through procreation and creates a child, but we have also two superior ethers related to our perception. They are known as the Luminous Ether and the Reflecting Ether.
“The Luminous Ether is related with the processes of sensorial perception.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Sexology: The Basis of Endocrinology and Criminology
How we perceive physically depends on the health of this Ether, which is luminous.
“The Reflecting Ether is intimately related with the faculties of memory, imagination, willpower, etc., etc.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Sexology: The Basis of Endocrinology and Criminology
So Luminous Ether pertains to our physical perception, but Reflecting Ether pertains to our spiritual perception. As I have been mentioning, these ethers and forces, they help us to channel the consciousness. They help us to manifest consciousness, and we mentioned in passing, some exercises that one can use to work with that force in order to awaken the consciousness.
When talking about these four Ethers, if you are familiar with Merkabah, Max Heindel, another occultist, he explained that two superior Ethers need to be separated from the inferior Ethers. This is the meaning of the Bible when God said “Let the waters be divided into a heaven and to the lower firmament.” These two Ethers are separated, or purified or elevated, especially within a matrimony, by working with one's partner, connecting sexually with love, purity, and devotion to God, and never wasting that force, never expelling it through the orgasm, specifically. The Luminous Ether and the Reflecting Ether are strengthened and they help to form what is known as the vital body, or the beginning of the Merkabah, we could say.
These energies and forces explain many of our physiological processes, but also, when we talk about these forces, we emphasize that they aid us towards awakening spiritually. We have practices of meditation, of concentration, which are strengthened when we know how to work with these forces within us.
Audience: People who have true astral projection, it is mandatory that they separate the higher ethers from the lowers...The lower Ethers must remain in the physical body and your spiritual practices...
Instructor: Those higher ethers pertain to our perception and can illuminate us within the internal planes. So if we want to have experiences out of the body, working in the dream state, it is necessary to work with that vital energy. We do it through mantra, pranayama, some of our yoga practice. One thing Heindel mentioned that was a bit incomplete was that he said that in order to create the so called To Soma Psuchikón, the bodies of the psyche, one needs to just separate the ethers. That is one step. There is a deeper process that we have mentioned elsewhere in which one creates these spiritual bodies, but that is another topic in itself.
But the ethers are important. We talked about many things, space and time, how our illusions of perception are based on the misperception of our psychological states, but in order to access the higher regions of spirituality, we must learn to conserve our energies and work with them through a spiritual practice, specifically. That energy is what is going to allow us to perceive. Without fire, we do not have that power, the energy. We cannot perceive light. Only from fire comes light, as represented in the myth of the cave by Plato.
Questions and Answers
Question: Merkabah… you ever hear of Drunvalo Melchizedek?
Instructor: Someone who calls himself Melchizedek?
Question: Drunvalo Melchizedek. He has a school called School of Remembering, and he teaches how to remember, how to activate the Merkabah. Do you know anything about that?
Instructor: Precisely we talked about the perfect matrimony in order to develop these vehicles of the soul. The Merkabah is literally a chariot that Ezekiel was taken on in order to experience the highest realms. So those are what we call solar vehicles, which we emphasize are only created in the sexual act. But not in the common way, because as Jesus of Nazareth taught, “You must be born again of water and spirit.”
Water is the Ether or Akash, that substance in our body that we can give birth to the spirit―born of the wind and the spirit. The wind is working with our breath, with mantras such as in the perfect matrimony. When uniting with our partner, one is sexually connected and never spills that force. Otherwise if one ejaculates that energy in the orgasm, one is expelled from Eden.
As mentioned in the Hebraic myth, Eden is a Hebrew word that means “bliss.” The ultimate bliss between a man and a woman is, sexually speaking, when they are united. But if they do not know how to control that serpent, that fire that is awakened in them, if they expel it, that serpent goes down and forms what we call the tail of Satan. But if that serpent is tamed, that sexual passion is controlled and transformed, it rises up the spinal medulla only in accordance with moral rectitude, work in the heart, controlling and annihilating anger, pride, vanity. The Divine Mother is that fire, that Kundalini force that can create the solar bodies, the Merkabah, but only if we are working on ourselves, meaning: we are meditating and trying to comprehend our faults. Otherwise, we take that energy we feed it to our desires, and that is bad.
Question: Does this presume that you have to use some type of force over that energy to negate, again, the erotic element involved? It is common in sex. You have to neutralize that to make sure there is no ejaculation and to keep it spiritual. This could be a test in itself.
Instructor: We call that energy Lucifer. People think it is some guy in a red suit with a pitchfork who is living in a kingdom of brimstone and fire. Lucifer literally means luci ferrus, “bearer of light.” The fire is that serpent, that sexual power, which is very tempting to indulge, in that pleasure, and to waste it. But the Lord in the Garden of Eden said, “Do not eat of that fruit,” meaning, do not culminate in the animal orgasm, symbolically speaking. Otherwise, you'll be ejected from Eden.
That energy, if we conserve it, if we control it and dominate it, it will rise like in Moses' serpent upon a staff. That staff is the spinal column. When that serpent rises inwardly and upwardly, it forms, it illuminates the Tree of Life, out body, our psyche. That creates the Christmas tree. When Moses, representing the willpower of an of an initiate, who is dominating the sexual energy, he can then go to Egypt and try to free his people.
It is not just physically a group of people in the Middle East that existed. Instead, it refers to the parts of our soul that are trapped in ego, in suffering. That energy has the power to create or destroy.
Question: You mentioned willpower, which you also said has to do with the heart, Tiphereth, is that correct?
Instructor: Yes, Tiphereth in the Kabbalah is the heart, the human soul.
Question: When you are saying matrimony, are you meaning a man and a woman married, or two partners in love?
Instructor: I am saying in terms of what a real matrimony is, and this is a good question. Samael Aun Weor stated that a real matrimony is decided between the two Beings of the couple and that a marriage only consists when a couple is in love and they live in a legitimately constituted home. Some people have tried to interpret this as: you have physical papers that you are married. But elsewhere he stated, you know, this contrivance of physical papers and marriage papers and all that conflict and all that difficulty, is really superficial and meaningless.
When a man and woman unite sexually, when they love each other, that is marriage. They are united sexually through that bond. That energy is so powerful that it unites them through eternity. Therefore, the one who decides the married couple is really God within. If we have our partner and we are living together, but we are not necessarily married and have papers, that is not important. What is important is that the Being within us has decided that this is our partner and that we work with her. A real matrimony is dependent upon the will of God, not on papers.
Question: So you are talking about partnerships. Not necessarily a man and a woman being married with papers.
Instructor: When we talk about matrimony, we mean sexual connection. To be sexually connected is to be married. That is a bond that cannot be broken. It is very serious. If we have a partner and we want to work with this energy, it is what can unite us with God. As taught by Jesus, the cross is the path of the cross, basically. The phallus is the vertical beam. The uterus is a horizontal beam. It is through that energy in which we can die to our most horrible defects, which is symbolized by the Passion of Jesus bearing his cross and suffering what he did. So that's another topic, but matrimony is really when two beings love each other fully, even if they don't have physical papers―that they're married. What is important is that one has love. If there is no love, then papers mean nothing. Papers are a necessity in these times, you know, for tax purposes, but at the same time, it is not the most essential thing.
Are there any other questions or comments?
Question: You said that with Merkabah you can experience higher realms of consciousness, right? Does the Kundalini does that as well?
Instructor: They are related. So, the solar bodies are precisely when that sexual fire rises up the spinal column to the brain and then to the heart. So when that fire is fully active and manifest within that given body, whether the physical body, the vital body, the astral body, the mental body, or the causal body, that forms the Merkabah. The Merkabah is the vehicle of the soul. In order to express God fully, we need to develop those vehicles through precisely that work with these ethers that we mentioned. So that energy is what creates those vehicles through which God can act, and is literally the fire that illuminates that tree. So that body has fire only because of the Kundalini and that fire creates those vehicles. So that is what the Merkabah is
Question: That is why you said Christ cannot incarnate in you without those vehicles.
Instructor: As I said, if the Being were to try to incarnate without the person having the vehicles, the person would be obliterated because the Being is the power of a galaxy, of a solar system, of a star. That is the power of Christ. It is that force which, if we want to manifest that, we need to work with that energy precisely.
Question: I wanted to talk about clairvoyance because that is something that I am trying to develop too, and I remember a particular time, it must have been a couple of years ago, but I notice that I kind of had the power to read those closest to me. Like their thoughts, and there was a particular time, this was when I was younger, when I was experimenting with hallucinogens and stuff like that in order to see different types of perspective. I remember a time my friend and I were on LSD and I looked him, and his face was melting, and I was a little freaked out and then he told me like a couple seconds later. He's like, it feels like my face is melting, and that really freaked me out, because I think for a split second I was in his mind and I was seeing something that, you know, I was seeing something before he even said something, and that kind of freaked me out. Now was that a kind of moment of clairvoyance, to be able to see or to hear someone else's thoughts?
Instructor: We call that in that sense, but because of the involvement of drugs, we call it negative clairvoyance. It is a type of perception, but it is channeled through the mind, through desire. So, we do not suggest the consumption of drugs in any manner, but those substances awakened negative perception. So, like we talked about Eikasia, meaning the lowest state of consciousness, meaning just: sleep without dreams―there are those who take drugs and they awaken their consciousness trapped in the darkness, so to speak.
It is a type of Eikasia meaning “imagination.” You are perceiving images, but it is from unconsciousness. It is a type of perception, like animals that see at night, who are accustomed to that type of perception. We say that is negative and that is actually the type of perspective that demons have. Angels have positive clairvoyance. They see things objectively. They see the realities of the different dimensions without confusion and without any obstruction to their perception, but a demon learns the see precisely by using drugs and by alcohol or fornication, especially―the abuse of the sexual energy. They develop power in the mind to see in the mind and so it is another topic in itself, but it explains those types of perception. It is a perception that you have through the mind, but a negative one.
Question: But this is perceived through the pineal gland, right?
Instructor: We say the clairvoyance relates specifically to what we call the pituitary gland in between the eyebrows. As we mentioned a little bit ago about the physical body, our organs play an intimate role in our own internal chemistry, but also the working of spiritual forces. The endocrine system plays a role in terms of how we can perceive forces. So if we develop our heart we can learn to astral travel. If we develop the pituitary gland between the eyebrows, that can help develop clairvoyance. We have different glands like the thyroid related with throat and can help with we call clairaudience: learning to hear psychic sounds, such as in dreams or out of the body. So that gland relates to clairvoyance specifically.
Question: So it’s the pituitary gland that is related to clairvoyance, but is the pineal gland more of a received?
Instructor: The pineal gland is a transmitter. When we transmit thought, which is a vibration, it comes from the pineal gland. We receive through the solar plexus. People call it telepathy or transience, the ability to communicate through energy. The brain is the transmitter, the pineal gland. The solar plexus is the receiver of a thought or vibration.
Audience: So people on the left hand path, when they want to get you over and over, they go for the solar plexus apparently. That is what you feel when they try to weaken you. There are people who can drain you.
Instructor: The solar plexus is where we store energy. It is like our sun basically. A good healthy intestinal tract goes a long way in spiritual studies. It may sound interesting. What does spirituality have to do with the body? But as we have been mentioning, the forces in our body can help us awaken spiritually, so the solar plexus has a lot of those solar energies, which we attempt to use in our practices.
Question: You spoke of the fourth dimension. What is that, in the astral plane?
Instructor: The astral plane is the fifth dimension. Yes, the fifth dimension is the mind, Netzach and Hod, the heart. The fourth dimension is the vital energy. Above that we have mental and emotional energy, or mental and emotional matter.
It is important to clarify, since some people, when they hear of astral projection, they think it is something vague. In fact, the internal planes are as material as the physical plane. They have a type of sustenance or matter or forces, which are tangible. The thing is we do not perceive that because we do not work with our energies, basically, but if we learn to work with transmutation, using our vital energies, the ethers, we can awaken the Luminous and Reflective Ethers, and they can expand in our consciousness, so that we can perceive these things. But the fifth dimension is the astral plane. Above that is the spirit, and Christ is the seventh dimension, beyond.
Audience: One more thing I wanted to bring up about the pineal gland. I remember the first time I came here, I was talking about how the presence of fluoride in water and food is, over time, has calcified that pineal gland. So, I did some research and I recently bought this thing. I am not sure you guys are familiar with the site Infowars. It has a site that has alternative news media, you know related to the government exposing the kind of things that goes on, but this thing actually works really well. It is fluoride shields. Its got like a bunch of organic things in here. Its got organic tamarind, zeolites, fulvic acid, shilajit, and organic cilantro, but this has honestly helped me when I try to meditate. Sometimes I cannot focus because I feel like there are too many thoughts. So with the calcified pineal gland, since you said, that is where your thoughts are associated, since it is calcified, it would also mean that it would be harder for you meditate because of all the other thoughts that are in your mind and you can't really think about your one true self because of the calcified pineal gland.
Instructor: I would say that a healthy body is a healthy mind, but do not get so worried about, “I can't meditate because my pineal gland is calcified.” If you feel like you have suffered damage to your pineal gland, and most of us have, I do not know so much about the substances you are mentioning, but I do know that when you work with transmutation of your sexual energies, and you raise that energy, inward and upward to the brain, it illuminates the mind, and there are some studies, based on Kellogg, we have available on our website, that explain how the hormones of our body are intimately related with our sexual energy, our sexual matter.
So, we conserve the semen, the seminal matter, and transform it into energy, those transform into hormones and can nourish the pineal gland and regenerate the brain. So the greatest composers, artists, musicians, philosophers, they had illuminated minds, meaning that their brain was seminized we could say. Their semen was cerebralized.
There is an intimate relationship between the waters of sex and the waters of the brain. This is the meaning of this mysterious name מִרְיָם Miriam, because the letter מ M [in Hebrew] signifies water. Miriam is the Divine Mother, water below and water above in the brain: the two firmaments mentioned in Genesis. So, if you have a healthy body, you have a healthy mind. We all suffer some problems in our bodies because of past mistakes, but the thing is to take advantage of what we have now, and not to fret over it, but to work with that energy within the body called the Kundalini force or sexual energy.
The Gnostic Academy of Chicago
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