As gnostics, we become enraptured, inflamed, delighted, by the works of the great classical composers such as Mozart, Bach, Chopin, Liszt, Berlioz, Beethoven, Wagner. It also is remarkable that these paragons of music have taught in their art, the secret teachings of all ages, the secret path of initiation.
Just as we become enthralled by the pyramids of Egypt, Yucatan, the temples of the Maya, the Aztecs, the great churches and synagogues, the great mosques, all the architecture that the best of humanity has produced; these things inspire us. While these forms of art have always been profound, moving, inspiring, it is also a tremendous inspiration to understand how these great works of art have taught in their secret symbols, their allegory, the spiritual path that leads the disciple from ignorance into the light of comprehension. The path of yoga, reunion, religion.
Art has always been used to reflect divine principles, divine truths, with many meanings and symbols that hide tremendous cosmological truths and experiences of the consciousness. Even though in our studies of anthropology, or better said, gnostic anthropology, we have looked at the great architecture of the ancients, the philosophies of the Greeks, the ancient sciences of psychology, mysticism, kabbalah—it can be argued that opera is one of the most refined, and if not, the most synthetic teaching given to humanity.
This art form is truly a form of alchemy. It is alchemical, because it is a mixture of music, drama, theater, art: visual representations, costumes that are appropriate to the given context of a specific opera can help to convey profound truths about the nature of religion, of psychology.
Opera has always been utilized by the great initiates. It is very well known amongst writers that Puccini, Mozart, Beethoven and many others like Tchaikovsky, were Freemasons. Mozart's Magic Flute, which portrays the initiations of the Masonic Lodge, eventually got him into trouble, precisely because he was expressing truths in that opera that were not allowed to be conveyed to the public. But, given his inspiration, he provided a beautiful teaching about the nature of initiation, the spiritual path, of which we will be studying in this course on the Secret Teachings of Opera.
But today I want to just discuss for us some of the principles, the foundations in order to interpret opera, especially the kabbalah and alchemical knowledge that is the synthesis of this great art.
As I stated, the great architecture of humanity, the ancient religions and traditions, while profound and beautiful, are not as refined as this art form, because opera is the synthesis of many aeons of development—many centuries of expressing the teaching in a way that was only communicable and understood by other initiates.
And as I stated, this path is about קבלה kabbalah and alchemy. How is opera kabbalistic, alchemical? The word קבל kabbel in Hebrew means “to receive.” It is knowledge that we receive not only from books or scriptures, but from experience of the consciousness.
Classical music elevates the soul, because this music was composed by prophets.
Many people think that Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, and Liszt were simply musicians, and that they had a type of genius and creativity that could not be explained. But the profound reality is that they developed their music, their art form, as a result of awakening their full conscious potential.
In their music, they portray many truths relating to mathematics, to numbers. We know that music is very mathematical, kabbalistic, because kabbalah is the science of numbers. In these studies, we know that kabbalah is intuitive. Numbers are intuitive. They represent forces in nature: principles, archetypes, blueprints for the creation of the soul, in which we find represented in the many different characters of the operas like Rodolfo in La Bohème, a reference to the 21st Arcanum of the tarot: the Fool, the ignorant, the Bohemian.
Likewise, we find the tremendous archaic teachings of the thirteenth arcanum in Puccini's Turandot; the mysteries of death and the Divine Mother. Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin teaches about the loss of the soul. Berlioz's Damnation of Faust, which has terrified many audiences, is a teaching about the path of failure.
So these great masters conveyed in their music, psychological truths about the dangers of the spiritual path of initiation. When we watch opera, we learn to receive the knowledge which is kabbalah, kabbel. We receive the music which inspires the heart, and through the drama of its characters, the narrative, the lyrics, or the libretto, we gain insight into the nature of what is known as the Tree of Life and its different sephiroth. For each character in an opera represents parts of the soul that must be developed, which must be integrated.
So divine art is precisely opera. It is the amalgamation or alchemy of the verb. Of music. Of drama. In opera there is sculpture, there are sets, there is music, there is poetry or literary narrative. In many cases there is dance. So, the initiates, throughout the centuries, for millennia, had provided their teachings within sculpture, within paintings, within music. As a synthesis of this great art, of these great teachings, we find that opera is the peak, the height, the most refined, precisely because it synthesizes all the art forms from the previous eras, of which we'll be talking about in this lecture.
Sadly as much as people love opera and classical music, they don't really comprehend the meaning of the great art forms. They don't understand that the dramas represented in these forms of art, in these presentations, show us something symbolic. They show us something about ourselves, if we are truly walking this path of initiation that we have been explaining in our course on the Tarot, especially.
Opera is a divine art, but in order to benefit from it, we have to awaken consciousness, because for many centuries people have listened to opera. They have watched it. They have been amused by it and have commented on it. They have debated about its purpose and the meanings of certain composers’ work. But sadly, humanity ignores the science of the Tree of Knowledge and the science of the Tree of Life, which are the synthesis of the secret teachings and which can unlock the door to understanding the great works of art, such as with Wagner's Parsifal, of which the Master Samael Aun Weor wrote a book specifically explaining its symbolism, its mysteries. Another opera of which we will be talking about later in this course.
Cosmogenesis and Anthropogenesis
So in order to discuss the nature of art and the place of opera within the scale of our humanity, it is necessary to speak about some very ancient forms of history which are not documented by our anthropologists, our scientists, who only study physical matter. We have to speak about cosmogenesis and the nature of what is called root races and subraces within our humanity and previous humanities, in order to discuss the teachings of opera. But why?
As we stated, through our many aeons, this teaching has been taught, it has been known, it has been practiced, and many operas teach an ancient form of history that is not known by humanity. It is enough to watch Wagner's Ring Cycle, Das Rheingold, in order to understand and first-hand witness the history of ancient humanities on our planet.
So in order to talk about the place of art that has developed throughout history and reached its peak with opera, we are going to talk about this ancient history in synthesis. We won't have the time in this lecture to really expound upon all the details of these ancient humanities that populated our planet, but we want to point and indicate their place in general in order to help us provide a context for this lecture.
So what is a cosmic era? A cosmic era is known as round, and as we see in this graphic, we have a beautiful depiction of ancient periods in our universal history. We have first what is known as the Mahamanvantara, which is known as the “great cosmic day.” Every universe is born, gives life, and then dies. When it is born, it has existence, when the universe manifests from the unknowable divinity known as the Ain Soph Aur, the Ain Soph, and the Ain in kabbalah, the Absolute.
It emerges and manifests into different levels of matter, energy, and perception, which are mapped by the kabbalah. So, life descends from more subtle forms of matter and energy into the more material.
Life first existed in the mental plane in what is known as the Saturnian Round. When life fully developed in its full capacity in that dimension, after many aeons, trillions of years, and after that round gave birth to seven races in its respective cycle.
It then materialized and entered into what is known as the Solar Round. Life then gestated within the astral plane. Likewise, in that era, seven races were born. When life fully developed at that level, matter, and energy descended into the ethereal plane, the fourth dimension and what is known as the Lunar Round of which Samael Aun Weor spoke about abundantly in his books.
Life in the lunar round existed in what is currently known as the moon, the physical moon which was a planet in previous eras, in the Lunar Round.
A planet always has life, it always has its humanities, its races, that are born and gestated in those eras. But when life fully develops at that level, the planet dies after many aeons, many ages. In that round, life then is extracted from that planet in order for that planet to become a moon, a cadaver.
A moon is a dead planet that once had life in previous rounds. The lunar round took place precisely in our moon, the physical moon and which is why certain writers like Madame Blavatsky taught that the moon is the mother of the Earth. This is contrary to people's belief that the moon was a part of the earth that broke off into space. But the moon was its own planet. It had its own life, its rivers, its forests, its civilizations, its races.
When that planet fully developed its races, its humanities, when the knowledge was given to those ancient epochs, those peoples, the planet eventually has to die, because life is born, is gestated, it sustains, and then it passes. So life once existed on the moon, but the soul of that planet entered into our Earth in the next round, the Terrestrial Round, of which we are currently in—the terrestrial period.
It is important to note that these rounds exist because life is descending. First through the force of involution into different states of matter and perception, so that the souls that are entering into the universe can gain experience, cognizance, understanding.
And what is a root race? There are seven races for each round, as Samael Aun Weor teaches in his books. A root race is precisely a humanity, an age in which certain people are given the opportunity to enter into the mysteries of the secret teachings. To experience and live the path of initiation.
And of course, this terrestrial period indicates with exactitude that life has reached its maximum. Its full materiality. Now we are currently in the process of entering into the higher dimensions once again, from which life first descended.
In the future rounds, life will continue to exist in the ethereal plane. Reconquering the ether. Ascending towards higher worlds and higher states of being. Likewise, the astral plane and the mental plane. Until finally, that universe or the life of the planet and the different worlds will enter back into the Absolute, what is known as the cosmic night: the Mahapralaya, the cosmic period of rest.
Each period has seven root races, of which we are currently in the fifth. We once experienced and had life on this planet through the Polar Race, followed by the Hyperborean Race, the Lemurian Race, the Atlantean Race, the Aryan Race.
Each race or root race has his life and its death. There are always periods of great cataclysms in which such humanities are exterminated once the fruits of those races have been produced. When a humanity has given forth solar men, solar initiates, solar beings through the spiritual path we have been teaching in our courses, then those humanities reach their peak of civilization, and then they decay. When they decay, they are finished through great cataclysms of which the Aztecs and the Maya have depicted in their sun calendars of Tonatiuh, in which these different humanities experience different forms of their demise, which we won't go into depth today.
But we mentioned in brief because in order to talk about opera and art, the great forms of the sacred mysteries, we have to speak about our ancient humanities.
The Seven Aryan Subraces
We are now in the fifth race, the Aryan Race, which should not be confused with the Germans, because the German people are merely one aspect of the Aryan Race.
Each race has seven subraces, of which we have an image of our Aryan Race in the top right. Why is the fifth root race the Aryan Race? Because we are governed by Ares, by Mars, by Samael, the angel of strength. The previous periods were governed by other angels, but now we are under the jurisdiction of Ares, of Samael.
It was a mistake of certain people amongst the Nordics, the Germanic peoples, to think that they were the only Aryans on the planet. That was a mistake. The Aryan Race has flourished upon the whole planet and every continent.
Each root race is divided into seven subraces as we stated.
Humanity amongst the Aryans first developed in Tibet, then moved into India and China.
The third subrace existed in the Middle East, the fourth in Greece and Rome, the fifth amongst the Nordics as well as the Anglo-Saxons, Teutons, and European people.
In Latin America, we have the sixth subrace. Right now, in the United States, we have the seventh subrace that is developing presently here and now. We have stated and it has been stated that the subraces, or better said, the subrace of the United States, is a mixture, is a crucible, a melting pot in which all the races of the our planet are mixing, precisely with the purpose of generating the seed for the next root race, which is the sixth in our terrestrial period.
The sixth root race will be known as Koradi, which is the new people, the new age, the new era of Aquarius cited by Samael Aun Weor, in the Book of Revelation. After our Aryan civilization is destroyed with great cataclysms, like the previous races before, certain people and certain seeds of our race, the seventh subrace, will be extracted and taken in order to develop the new humanity.
So the best seed is always used to cultivate new plants, new life. The same with the subrace of the United States in which the Gnostic movement is marching firmly forward, having originated from Latin America, but also has spread throughout every continent of the planet, to all of humanity, our Aryan race.
We have talked and have spoken a lot about the great cataclysm that is going to afflict our humanity in this present epoch. Nuclear wars, forms of destruction, the end of an era of perversity which has really reached the maximum. Because this Aryan race is so degenerated, divinity has no other option but to eliminate it and to save those seeds, those few people who want to change, psychologically. And through preparing ourselves to the initiative work, we provide ourselves the opportunity to exist in the future root race, if we are pure—if we fully eliminate the ego.
But why talk about opera in this context? It might seem like a digression, but it is important to note that this ancient history, which is not known by our scientists, has been taught in opera especially, Wagner's Ring Cycle, Das Rheingold.
We will talk about how these great works of art have always spoken about and alluded to these ancient forms of humanity, in a symbolic way, but which people who are very literal, don't know how to interpret… those who are very fanatical or who may like the classical composers, but don't understand the symbols of their work.
This history is only understood through the consciousness. We cannot necessarily find physical remnants of these ancient humanities. There are a few, but the real evidence lies in the internal planes in what is known as the Akashic Records. But to give some indications towards the past remnants of our ancient humanities, we know that there are statues and sculptures on Easter Island, which Samael Aun Weor stated are the remnants of Lemuria who were giants [like Fafner and Fasolt in Wagner’s Das Rheingold]. Gigantic figures, gigantic people, who existed in this third dimension, but also in the fourth before they finally descended into materiality.
What is also interesting is that there have been found by certain archaeologists and scientists, certain glass layers in the Earth found in the Sahara Desert, Libya, Mojave, and other places which could only be formed by the aftermath of tremendous atomic explosions. It is said that in order to create such layers of glass that have reached the diameter found, I believe in the Sahara or Mojave, it would take nuclear explosions 10,000 times more powerful than those used in New Mexico. The Mahabharata also has certain allusions towards nuclear war amongst the Atlanteans, who destroyed themselves through that type of technology, in which Plato, I believe in his Timaeus, hints at, that these ancient civilizations existed [Wagner even depicts the giants Fafner and Fasolt killing one another in Das Rheingold, reminiscent of how the giant civilization of Atlantis reached its tragic conclusion].
This type of history is not really easy to validate except through awakening consciousness in the internal planes, to really experience and understand from experience where these root races came from. How they lived. What they did. We have Easter Island and a few other remnants found across the planet that point towards the remnants of these civilizations.
It is interesting that we have these facts which scientists can't explain. They want to ignore that there were civilizations before us that were more powerful. The Atlantean science was by far, much more developed than our Aryan Race.
So why talk about opera? Opera developed amongst the fifth Aryan subrace, especially amongst the Anglo-Saxon, Teutonic, and European peoples. We find that beautiful forms of art that teach the secret knowledge that have been given in Tibet amongst the Indians and Chinese. Especially in the Middle East amongst the Muslims and Sufis. Likewise, amongst Grecians and Romans, and also in Europe amongst the Germans, the English, and other Europeans
While we state that opera is the synthesis of all other art forms, we also state that just because this form of art is synthetic and highly refined, doesn't indicate that the fifth Aryan subrace was superior, because we know from history that the first and second world wars were initiated by this subrace amongst the Aryans, amongst the German people as well as the Europeans, which is very degenerated.
But it was the purpose of the White Lodge to provide teachings within this subrace to give some type of knowledge and understanding for future peoples amongst the Latin Americans, among the Europeans, and especially within the United States, in which we are explaining this knowledge in a very open fashion.
In the age of Pisces, we had many forms of art that had inspired people, but people don't understand the real meaning, their significance.
In the age of Aquarius, the era of the water bearer, we are explaining this knowledge for the first time, the significance of these great works of art. The White Lodge gave many operas, many forms of music, of drama, that teach how to unite with Christ, with the truth but, because people were not necessarily benefiting from that knowledge, the White Lodge determined there was a time in which that knowledge had to be finished, concluded, which was around World War I, when the opera Parsifal debuted. We also have Turandot that came out in 1926, which is fairly late.
Since where we are now in the age of Aquarius, and because this Aryan Root Race is going to end through many great cataclysms, we are now explaining for the first time the meaning of these operas—to give to humanity the secret knowledge that has been hidden, but also has been visible to them for many centuries. But for the fact that people have not known kabbalah and alchemy, they could not interpret it. So now we give this knowledge explicitly for the benefit of those who suffer and who want to understand the path that leads out of suffering.
Art and the Sabbath
Art has always been considered sacred and the ancient epochs, but not in these present times. The Sabbath, the day of Saturn-day, Saturday, relating to the Holy Spirit, was the day of learning among the ancient cultures, in which people would recreate to listen to either opera or great works of art. To see dramas, presentations of the secret path on their day of rest, in which art is highly significant and relates not only to Venus, but to Saturn. Saturn-day—because the teachings of Saturn, the teachings of the Holy Spirit, as well as the teachings of the Third Logos, are precisely the wisdom or the intelligence of the divine, because Binah in Hebrew means “intelligence.” It is the knowledge of the higher mysteries, the secret path.
Ancient art was always used to convey profound cosmic truths, principles, realities. People would attend these performances because they understood from experience that they were divine, profound, and personal. Because when one has personal experience from initiation, from meditation, one sees one's own experience reflected in art.
Therefore, art becomes something very prophetic, divine.
The Sabbath, the day of the theatre, the day of the mysteries, was very popular in the ancient temples. Marvelous cosmic dramas were then presented. Drama served to transmit valuable teachings to the Initiates. Different ways to experience the Being and the manifestations of the Being were transmitted to the initiates by means of drama. Among the dramas, the most ancient one is that of the Cosmic Christ. The Initiates knew very well that each of us must become the Christ of such a drama if we indeed aspire to the Kingdom of the Superman. The cosmic dramas are based on the Law of Seven. Certain intelligent deviations of such a law were always utilized in order to transmit transcendental teachings to the neophyte. ―Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
So what does it mean to become the Christ such a drama? Many operas teach the Christic path, in which the great heroes, such as Sigmund and Siegfried in the Wagnerian Cycle of Der Ring des Nibelungen [The Ring of the Nibelungen]—they must overcome great traumas and tragedies and conflicts. Likewise, Prince Calaf from Turandot must conquer the heavenly divine kingdom of China, and marry the divine princess Turandot by overcoming the temptations of Christ.
So these works of art depict psychologically what one must do in those situations, here and now. That art reflects that path itself. It can provide inspiration for those who are working.
The Kabbalah and Alchemy of Music
As I stated, classical music is a medium for prophets. Music is the sacred language of kabbalah, of alchemy, of numbers, of intuitive principles. Music can teach us many profound things through the emotional center, through the heart. That language can only be understood when we know the Tree of Life and the mysteries of working within a matrimony, the Holy Spirit, the divine feminine, and the divine masculine.
So, art is based on these profound principles, on the world of numbers, on the worlds of numbers relating to the Tree of Life and its symbolic language.
When we have been discussing the nature of numbers in relation to the tarot, we have been talking about how those numbers reflect principles, aspects of our psychology, of our spirituality, which we must learn to work with in its progression, in its development. Music depicts through the heart, through its emotional impact in the soul—in relation to specific dramas—what one must do in the spiritual path when facing those types of temptations and ordeals.
It is also important to remember that music is divine, or can be divine. It can elevate the soul, or if it's degenerated, it can push the ego to act, the mind to indulge in negative thoughts, negative sentiment, negative feelings.
But, classical music is the language of the higher worlds. It is literally the messages of the superior angels, the prophets, who are teaching about higher levels of being, higher ways of being.
We must comprehend the significance of music, happiness, and optimism. One remains in ecstasy when listening to The Magic Flute of Mozart, which reminds us of an Egyptian Initiation. ―Samael Aun Weor, Igneous Rose
And if you remember the opening of The Magic Flute with its three notes, it refers to the Pyramids of Giza. So again, you see how numbers and notes take on conceptual dimensions. They represent things which are very practical for those who are meditating and waking consciousness in the internal worlds, so that when one has those experiences, one can listen to music and interpret the meaning of those messages.
Obviously when listening to The Magic Flute, we hear an initiation relating to Egypt, and personally I have been to Egypt in the astral plane. I have been to the temple of Giza in that dimension. When listening to Mozart's Magic Flute I hear and I see in my mind, my experience of being accepted into the temple. But in order to understand those messages, we have to awaken consciousness, otherwise, those messages and music will not be interpreted. They will not be understood.
This is why Samael Aun Weor stated for someone who is awakening consciousness:
One feels amazed when listening to the nine symphonies of Beethoven, or the ineffable melodies of Chopin and Liszt. The ineffable music of the great classics comes from the exquisite regions of Nirvana where only happiness that is beyond love reigns. All the great Children of the Fire (the angels, the Elohim, the Malachim, the masters) distill the perfume of happiness and the exquisite fragrance of music and joy. ―Samael Aun Weor, Igneous Rose
In the temples of the higher dimensions are beings that relate to the world of music. We know from Kabbalah that Tiphereth, of which we will be explaining in depth today, is the world of music.
Beethoven, the great master of major mysteries, is a guardian of the temple of music, which Samael Aun Weor confirmed when meeting him in that initiation or related to that state that he experienced.
The great masters of humanity, the angels, the Elohim, bear within their eyes, their consciousness, the beauty of divinity, the beauty of divine music. Personally, when I have been with certain Elohim, after experiencing certain ordeals and overcoming them, I remember in one occasion, I was tested in the astral plane, given certain symbolic experiences which I had to overcome in relation to the four elements.
This reminds us of The Magic Flute in how Tamino and Pamina must, in a matrimony, face the four deals of the elements. Personally, I have had that experience whereby I was tested through the elements, in a symbolic way, and after conquering those ordeals, I was face-to-face with the angels in a living room. When looking at them, one can only see the purity in their eyes, divinity, and the exquisite serenity that they exude is truly indescribable, but one can only describe it in forms of music.
The great classical compositions show us the beauty of the soul.
We could remember the sixth symphony of Tchaikovsky, in which, before the great battle in the first movement against the dragon, of which we've spoken about in Arcanum Six [Indecision from the Eternal Tarot of Alchemy and Kabbalah]. One hears the melodies and harmonies of the soul united with its consciousness (or Tiphereth united with Geburah; the human soul with the divine soul).
Music, again, is a profound medium for prophetic art. It teaches that through its dramas and symbols, its emotional impact, how the path of initiation is not taught in the dead letter of certain religions, and that when people look at religion and have made it something dead, there is a means to revive it. To give it life, specifically done through the great classical composers, which is why we heard Wagner state that:
When religion becomes artificial, art has a duty to rescue it. Art can show that the symbols which religions would have us believe literally true are actually figurative. Art can idealize those symbols, and so reveal the profound truths they contain…I believe in God, Mozart and Beethoven, and likewise their disciples and apostles; —I believe in the Holy Spirit and the truth of the one, indivisible Art; —I believe that this Art proceeds from God, and lives within the hearts of all illumined men... (those who have awakened consciousness in the internal worlds)—I believe that he who once has bathed in the sublime delights of this high Art (through having experiences in meditation and having lived it personally in the higher dimensions) is consecrate to Her for ever, and never can deny Her… —Richard Wagner, “An End in Paris”
…when you verify, and the examples such as The Magic Flute of Mozart, certain experiences in the astral plane, you watch those operas and you become inflamed. When we witness the same experiences depicted in symbols through music, through art, and therefore, one feels amazed and “one is consecrate to” art “forever.” Because...
I believe through Art all men are saved. —Richard Wagner, “An End in Paris”
Divine art, opera, is a means of saving humanity or saving those who want to enter into initiation.
Personally when we went to go see Turandot at the Lyric Opera House, for those of you who are listening online, we took some of our students to go see Puccini's masterpiece in the Lyric Opera House in Chicago, and I remember that morning having certain astral experiences about what was going to happen when watching this work of art. And personally, having experienced some of the mysteries of that piece of music, truly watching that art form, really puts one into ecstasy.
It elevates the soul and when you have experience of what these masters have taught, you are consequent to her forever. Even if your ego or doubt wanted to deny the truth, you would know it and you would not be able to deny her.
Richard Wagner is a great master who depicted the entire path of initiation in his Ring Cycle of which will be giving future courses most likely.
Classical Music and the Human Machine
Talking about some of the practical dimensions of listening to music, in our Gnostic studies we emphasize that classical music elevates the five centers of the human machine, and that negative forms of music are destructive for the emotional center, especially, but also the mind and even our sexual, instinctual, and motor centers, which certain vulgar music can inspire through the ego to dance or to act in negative ways.
But the way to discern the difference between conscious music and vulgar music is through meditation—by having familiarity with superior states of being, because many of our students ask us online, but also in person, about how one can discern between conscious art and diabolic art.
In many cases, such art forms may be very similar and very hard to discern, one from the other, but the way to resolve that question is to examine your emotional center when you are listening to certain forms of art.
Does it provoke anger, resentment, pride, laziness, gluttony, avarice, greed? Negative states? Which if we are observant, we will see that those forms of art provoke those elements and therefore we can know that they are negative.
But to learn how to perceive conscious art is through meditation, and by awakening within the higher dimensions, because when you listen to works like the nine symphonies of Beethoven, and observe the reaction of the heart in a profound state of concentration and awareness, we can sense and discriminate and interpret the impact in the emotional center of that art.
This is why the ancient schools of mysteries taught that the whole science and art of the secret path had to integrate all three brains of gnostic psychology. They knew very well that people don't just learn from the intellect through lecture, through books, but through movement and through emotion. Three brains: the intellectual brain, emotional brain, and the motor-instinctive-sexual brain.
This is why Samael Aun Weor wrote in The Revolution of the Dialectic that:
In music it is well known that certain notes can produce happiness in the thinking (intellectual) center, other notes can produce sadness in the sensitive (emotional) center and other notes can produce religiosity in the motor center. —Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
If we are listening to Puccini's Turandot and we are very attentive, concentrated in our three brains, meditating, waiting, listening—we observe our heart—we can hear how some notes can inspire us to have profound understanding in the intellectual brain.
I believe you mentioned asking about the difference between the intellect that is superior and the intellect that is inferior. The inferior intellect churns with thought. It projects its ideas. But understanding is the capacity of the superior intellectual center in which one understands something without having to think about it, and that applies to music. You can listen to a composition and immediately know. You can understand through the notes and its emotional impact that it conceptually represents something that you experienced and therefore that produces a profound state of religiosity in the motor center. It can inspire.
The Sufis taught to dance, to perform the whirling dervishes, and we'll talk about that in our next slide about how religiosity can inspire the motor center. How certain notes produce ecstasy, not only in the mind and heart, but in the body.
This is why certain forms of dance are very sacred.
Indeed, the old Hierophants never ignored that integral knowledge can only be acquired through the three cerebrums. A single cerebrum cannot give complete information.
Inspirations and Meditations on Classical Music
This music was formed to teach conscious principles, like we find with the Sufis—many indigenous cultures, as well as ancient civilizations like amongst the Middle East. Among the esoteric circles, they would use music in conjunction with dance to portray or embody conscious principles. To inspire the devotee to want to practice the path.
So that is really the purpose of opera. Of any classical music. It is to inspire us to work, because that music is something heavenly and divine, and when we understand and feel that intuitive impact of an opera or a piece of music, and we understand its message and shows us that this path is possible, that it could be done, one then feels inspired to meditate, to work.
Music is also an expression of consciousness and the Sufis teach that one should listen to music and gather around certain dances and works in order to inspire us to enter the path, and also to help us keep walking it.
As we stated, when listening to conscious music, one should observe one's three brains. Music becomes a very profound form of concentration or concentration exercise, in which our object of meditation, we sit, or better said, our object of concentration, we relax in a chair, on a couch, or in bed. I actually don't recommend lying down because one may fall asleep, especially when the music is very calm and soothing. Instead we sit in a chair and we give our full attention, with eyes closed, to the music, to the composition.
The principle applies even to opera, but it's a little different because with opera, you need to have your eyes open. Which is why watching opera is much more demanding in terms of meditation, because with classical music you can sit, close your eyes in a chair, listen to the composition, be aware of its influence in the three brains—how the notes produce inspiration in the heart, concepts in the mind, or intuitive understandings in the mind, and religiosity in the motor center, humbleness, humility.
That is easier to do than watching an opera because when you watch an opera, you need to know who is saying what, what the characters are doing. Therefore, that type of meditation is much more difficult, which is why opera really was not intended for the masses—although people like Verdi, Wagner, Mozart, Beethoven, and others composed to earn money. In a superficial sense they had to live. But their real purpose in giving that art was to reach the few.
So people who were very trained in meditation would watch their operas, who were initiates. They would understand the meaning just by listening to the music and observing, because they had trained themselves in concentration for so long where they can listen to the music and not forget what they are doing.
Sufi Teachings on Spiritual Concerts
The Sufis teach these principles very beautifully which apply not only just to Middle Eastern dance and music, but also to opera. The Sufis taught that when one listens to such works of art, one should act like one is in a temple. That one is in the presence of the divine, because one truly is listening to Christ, to God, when one hears the Ninth Symphony of Beethoven.
As we stated in our lecture on our Arcanum Nine, literally we hear the verb, the voice of the divine Elohim, singing in unison. It is a representation of Christ. So, when we listen to music like that or watch operas, we have to be very attentive, in a state of humility, in prayer, because those works of art were not given haphazardly, but intentionally to teach specific truths. So...
Know that listening to poetry with beautiful melodies and delightful intonation—when the one who listens does not believe it to be forbidden, does not hear anything that is blamable according to the divine Command, is not driven by the reins of his lust, and does not gather with others for the sake of lusts—is wholly permissible. —Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
The Sufis emphasized that when one listens to music one should do so in accordance with the Divine Law, which they call Sharia, not to be mistaken with the punitive laws of Muslim countries, but to the spiritual discipline of the initiates in the Middle East. Ethical work.
So, music should not inspire us to identify with pride or lust or anger or fear or degeneration. That is something we can only determine by listening and being awake and following our intuition. That music is permissible when it does not inspire the ego. It does not inspire our desires. That is only something we can discern through constant work and tasting the psychological flavor of higher states in comparison with lower states. It is like comparing water and wine. It is a distinct taste, but we have to learn to meditate to discriminate the difference.
There is no denying that poetry was recited before the Messenger of God, and that he listened to it and did not censure those who recited it. —Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
The Sufis have often argued with the orthodoxy that poetry and music are divine expressions, such as with the Qur’an, which can be read in a very melodic and beautiful way and that Prophet Muhammad did not find those forms of recitation to be illicit, negative. This is something that has pertained to the Sufi schools and their fight for survival against the Muslim orthodoxy, because many Muslims think that poetry and music are not positive. But the truth is that according to the Sufis, music is something divine.
So if hearing it without beautiful melody is licit, how should the rule be altered by hearing it with melody? This is the obvious side of the matter. What comes next is that the one who listens should find his wish to perform acts of devotion increased. —Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So while this pertains to listening to the Qur’an, one should feel inspired to listen to that scripture, but likewise with classical music, an opera. When we listen to such art, we should really feel motivated and inspired, which is not very difficult to do when we are approaching certain operas or music for the first time as some of us experienced with the opera Turandot at the Lyric Opera House.
He should remember the degrees that God Most High has prepared for his servants who fear Him. This should lead him to guard against sins, and immediately convey to his heart the purity of feeling and impression required by the religion and preferred in the divine Law. —Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So this principle applies to meditating on classical music.
He should remember the degrees that God Most High has prepared for his servants who fear Him. —Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
Meaning, when we have respect and reverence for divinity, we listen to the music and we hear the power of the divine. Such as with Mozart's compositions, his Requiem. Especially Verdi's Requiem, in which we hear the severity of the law falling upon and punishing the souls of the damned. When we hear that music, we feel fear and reverence in recognition that we do not want to enter that fate. Likewise, when we listen to music and see operas:
This should lead him to guard against sins, and immediately convey to his heart the purity of feeling and impression required by the religion and preferred in the divine Law. —Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
Like with Parsifal, in which we find the hero is confronted in the garden of temptation by Kundry, Kundabuffer, the inverted serpent. Listening to the sublime music of Wagner's composition, we remember in our own experiences certain temptations in the astral plane, in which witches and sorcerers try to tempt one to fall from the path. One is tempted to engage in lust in that state when one renounces that like Parsifal does. One should fear and feel inspired to reject sins as required by religion, as preferred in the divine law, which is chastity.
The great Arcanum is the divine law, which the Muslims call Sharia, or the Sufis called Sharia, because the public orthodox Muslim doctrine does not know the spiritual dimension of these things. But instead, the divine law has to do with the great Arcanum, the stipulations of chastity.
I heard Abu Ali al-Daqqaq say, "The spiritual concert is forbidden to ordinary people because of the continued maintenance of their egos.” —Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So look at all the opera house today. Millions of individuals go see the opera, but it's vulgar for them because they are egotistical. They don't understand how to meditate. They don't know how to discern the conscious qualities of that, of that work of art. Therefore it is really forbidden because amongst the Sufis, they were very strict. They felt that their dances should not be given to people who are fornicators.
But because we live in a different era now, this knowledge is more open and therefore the spiritual concert is open to all. It is why Mozart, Puccini, Wagner, Beethoven, the latter who only composed one opera, Fidelio, they gave that opera and those art forms because they wanted to give the teachings for a future people. For people who have understanding.
But “spiritual concerts are forbidden to ordinary people because of the continued maintenance of their egos. It is permissible for renunciants, people who renounce lust, desire, fornication, and the ego, because of their pursuit of inner struggle.
It is permissible for renunciates (people who renounce lust, desire, fornication, and the ego) because of their pursuit of inner struggle. —Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
And how is this acceptable for renunciants? It is enough to look at an opera like Puccini's Turandot to see the path of renunciation there, especially in the first act in which Prince Calaf is going to ring the gong that is going to put him on trial for the three riddles—to answer before Devi Kundalini, the Divine Mother. Everyone goes against him. They strive to put him away from the path, but he fights very adamantly and very courageously, because he is renouncing evil, the infernal worlds. We will be talking about the dynamics of that opera in our next lecture.
Lastly, classical music or spiritual concert “is recommended for our companions,” for the initiates, for the masters, “for the sake of the life of their hearts.” —Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So going back to what we Richard Wagner taught, he stated that when one understands divine art, one is consecrate to her forever and cannot deny her.
Kabbalah: The Tree of Life and Classical Music
So where does music originate from, kabbalistically?
We talked about how the universe is emerged from the Absolute: the Ain, the Ain Soph, the Ain Soph Aur, descending down the different levels of materiality, energy, perception, and experience.
Music is Christ, the Word, the Logos.
In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word was God. —John 1:1
Christ is an energy. It is vibration. It is sound. It is harmony. It is the force that creates, that originates, that gives life.
Therefore, classical music as composed by the great masters of Tiphereth, those who reach the Fifth Initiation of Fire, are those who learn how to incarnate the Christ, the Word, through their heart, since Tiphereth relates to the heart.
They express the divine teachings down through Netzach, the mind, Hod, the emotional vehicle, Yesod, our vitality, and Malkuth, our physicality.
I like to read for you some quotations from a book called Christ's Will by Samael Aun Weor, who explains the nature of kabbalah, of music, of sound, of Christ, very synthetically and beautifully.
He emphasizes that the will of Christ is music, is art, because Christ is harmony, is beauty, is purity, which, can either reflect in music or in the heart of those initiates who know how to experience the truth.
16. Christ's will is ineffable music.
And why is that? Music is Christ. The Divine Logos. The Verb. As we find in the Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, relating to the nine heavens of the Tree of Life and also Kether, the Crown of Glory, which anoints or crowns any initiate who has fully reached the end of the path. Willpower is Tiphereth, the human soul, which must learn to conquer the disharmony of the mind, Netzach, the mind, Hod, the emotions, Yesod, our sexuality and instincts and Malkuth, our physical body.
So music, Chokmah, Christ, the world of sound, gives beauty to Tiphereth, because we find that the trinity finds its equilibrium within the heart, within Tiphereth.
21. Music grants willpower the harmony of the great cosmic diapason. —Samael Aun Weor, Christ’s Will
Or the great marching symphony of the cosmos, because as we heard in the Ninth Symphony of Beethoven, the Ode to Joy:
Freude, schöner Götterfunken
The music is a march, is a symphony, in which all the Angels march towards the ineffable light of Christ, of the Absolute, the Ain Soph Aur, the “limitless light.” So those lyrics literally mean:
Joy, beautiful spark of the Gods,
…which is heilig, holy, Tum. We have done the mantra Tum previously, in which we invoke the crown, Kether, Chokmah, the Son, and Binah, the Holy Spirit, into our three brains. The mantra Tum is a profound mantra of ineffable power in which the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, enter inside of us.
“Heiligtum” means sanctuary. So, to return to that holy sanctuary is to return to the top trinity of the Tree of Life.
Your magic reunites those whom stern custom has parted.
Your magic reunites those whom the custom of the ego has separated, has pulled apart, because the ego is disharmony, is dissonance, is conflict.
All men should become brothers under your gentle wing (within the Absolute).
So that is the great cosmic march. diapason. The great symphony of the initiates in which one returns the light of divine truth.
So willpower relates to that principle, because it is through our will that we will decide to enter the harmonies above or the dissonance of the infernal worlds below, beneath the Tree of Life, which is Klipoth, the hell realms.
22. The volitive acts of music are as harmonious and solemn as the movement of the stars in the space (which again is something that Beethoven depicted).
So only by raising the fire of Kundalini up the lower bodies, the first initiation of fire, relating to Malkuth. The second initiation of fire related with Yesod. The third initiation fire relating to Hod. The fourth initiation of fire with Netzach and with Tiphereth, one must raise the serpent power of Kundalini in order to create the causal vehicle. To raise it up the spine, to the mind, then into the heart.
So only when that power has reached the third spinal chamber of the body of willpower, will our willpower, our actions, will be in accord with the vibrant symphonies of the divine.
24. When willpower is distant from music, it is coarse and rude, like the caress of a feline beast... —Samael Aun Weor, Christ’s Will
What does it mean that willpower is distant from music? Because when we act from anger, from resentment, from pride, we create music, but in hell. Through disharmony, through hatred, through fear, through our interactions with humanity.
25. However, once the sacred fire has entered the third spinal chamber of the body of willpower, volitive actions are true living symphonies... —Samael Aun Weor, Christ’s Will
Our actions become divine, and this explains why certain composers like Tchaikovsky, Mozart, Beethoven, they depicted so much in their art. People don't comprehend how they had the capacity to express so much. That is because people in Malkuth, do not know anything about spiritual development, but when someone raises the fire of Kundalini, one can awaken capacities of genius, of intelligence, Binah in kabbalah.
So conscious acts are represented by the works of the great initiates, the prophets. Beethoven is a prophet. I don't really consider him to be a musician because he really taught in his art how to unite with Christ. The same with Wagner, Chopin, Liszt, Berlioz, Bach, and many others.
26. Christ's will has the majesty of the tempest and the love of the dawning star...
And why is willpower music? Tiphereth is the causal world. We have Malkuth, the physical plane, the physical world. Yesod, the etheric world. Hod, the astral, emotional world. Netzach, the mental world. And Tiphereth, the causal plane.
I remember having an experience in Tiphereth after overcoming an ordeal in the astral plane in which Samael Aun Weor took me and let me experience a little vacation in Tiphereth, in which in that experience one sees the trees, the waves of the water, the wind as cause-and-effect, rippling in beautiful harmony, in perfection. I saw there many masters in their tunics of initiation who were welcoming me at that level saying, “This is what is possible for you if you work.”
So that world is a world of causality, cause and effect, in which you see how the rippling of the tides, the wind, the air, of people's speech, people's communication, of one's interactions, is of divine love, of purity.
So, the world of will is a world of music.
There is a temple of music in the world of Nirvana, the sixth dimension, the fifth sephirah of the Tree of Life [from the bottom up].
34. Every living flower, the sigh of every bird, and the love hidden within the bosom of the earth, are living incarnations of music...
So this asks us to beg the question: what is our psychological state? Do our actions produce harmony, happiness, or suffering?
The comprehension, the beauty, and the harmony of the soul is represented in opera. Especially composed by the great masters. Not modern opera, but those composed by initiates.
Samael Aun Weor continues:
38. The ineffable orchestras of the zodiacal belt resound in the world of willpower, lifting us toward the most sublime summits of samadhi.
So harkening back to the beginning of our lecture, we spoke extensively about the cosmic days and the root races and the subraces. That is because when the universe forms from the absolute, it is because of music. It is because:
41. The Word is incarnated within the heart of every lotus, and in the throb of every life.
So remember what Wagner said about his belief in the illumined men, the initiates, those who have incarnated Christ and who teach the path of Christ and their art as bodhisattvas, as prophets.
42. “And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.”
So look at the operas that our humanity has. The light shines in the darkness, but people don't understand the messages they contain.
42. “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.” (That John is broken down acrostically is Johannes. I E O U A M S: the seven vowels, which we pronounce with our sacred runes, the runic exercises, the verb).
So in order to understand Christ, we have to work with those mantras, the seven notes of the musical scale.
42. “The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe (Or better said, follow him from having understood from experience what those teachings entail). He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him (referring to those cosmic rounds we spoke about—the Saturnian, the Solar, the Lunar, and the Terrestrial periods) and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him (through kabel, kabbalah, through listening to the great operas of music, and listening to what those symphonies entail, that art) to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name [Hashem, the Verb]: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh (through initiation), 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 1:1-14
So Samael Aun Weor continues:
43. Music is will of God...
Now other forms of music like rock and roll, rap, many that we can list that are degenerate. They provoke the ego to act, which is why the Sufis taught that we should only listen to music that is accordance with the divine law, with Christ.
51. We prove with this that willpower is music, and that every action is a daughter of music.
Therefore we can say that opera, as the manifestation of the spoken verb, drama, and music, is the perfect amalgamation and alchemy of Christ. Opera is divine. It is the synthesis of all the previous eras of art and music. It is the most refined. The most synthetic.
Now we cannot say that modern classical music portrays the higher principles of the divine, even though such compositions can be very mathematical, but they tend to be very cold, dissonant, and discordant.
Classical music in a modern times tends to be from the ego, and as we stated, the Age of Pisces ended quite a while ago, but at the same time, the White Lodge had determined that humanity does not need any more works of art, of that nature. There may be some people in these times who are Gnostic and who are working on music, which is wonderful. I know a few people who are trying to do some Aquarian music. But in terms of the great prophetic works of art like opera, the time has ended, because the Aryan Race is going to be concluded soon.
73. The golden tongue resounds in all creation.
…as he states in his book Christ's Will. He is talking to the initiates who have achieved the Fourth Initiation of Fire, who were entering into Tiphereth. By raising the sacred fire of Kundalini up that spine of the essence in the world of beauty, of Tiphereth.
A person who reaches the fourth initiation of fire becomes a buddha, a master that level, but is a neophyte when entering into this dimension.
76. With patience, study the divine art of music.
So if you really want to learn music and its significance, we should awaken consciousness in Nirvana, the sixth dimension, the world of Tiphereth, because when you are in that dimension, you see literally cause and effect of all phenomena: thoughts, actions, movements, people, things. Everything is in a great flux and reflux of life, cosmic movement.
And so those colleges of initiation in that level will teach you how to work with music, which is how Beethoven, Mozart, Wagner, learned.
They physically received training in this world to become composers, but their real training consisted in meditation and learning in the higher dimensions, which explains why someone like Beethoven, who went completely deaf, I believe before composing his Ninth Symphony and the Missa Solemnis, he was able to compose his art, even though he physically couldn't hear anything.
So people don't have explanations other than he was a genius, and yes, he was, but we know that he was a prophet, because he was awakened in those dimensions.
78. Music-will is Christ's will.
Meaning: those prophets teach through Turandot, through Tosca, through the Ring Cycle, through The Damnation of Faust, through Mefistofele by Arrigo Boito, and many works of art of initiation, and yet people do not understand the art.
84. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. —Samael Aun Weor, Christ’s Will
So we are discussing Christ-will, in the Verb. You see these Elohim are greeting the Sun, Chokmah, within the arms of the Divine Mother, and they are playing celestial music, which emphasizes again how when we work with sacred art, and we listen to sacred art especially, that that music can inspire us to form Christ within our hearts, within our souls, within our minds, in order to become like Elohim.
Conclusion of The Perfect Matrimony
We will conclude with an excerpt from the Perfect Matrimony, which provides a very beautiful experience by Samael Aun Weor, about an opera he saw in the fourth dimension.
He concluded The Perfect Matrimony by relating experience he had by going into a Rosicrucian temple in the Jinn state, the fourth dimension, where he watched an opera composed by an angel or performed by one of the Elohim, one of the Gods.
So as we stated, opera is the royal art of consciousness. It is a means of effectively communicating initiation and the path of the present development of our humanity, but also the past epics our humanity developed in.
Samael Aun Weor was in this temple, which was only populated by very few people. He said he could count on the fingers of one hand how many people deserved and had come present to this performance. So, this is in the fourth dimension, where he listened to an opera sung by an angel, a God. So...
…the master commanded the Angel to go up to the choir of musicians and singers in order to sing. The Angel obeyed, and after having ascended to the choir, he sang the history of the centuries in opera (so this experience tells us that opera truly is a divine art and also that opera teaches us the ancient histories of humanity).
Because, in the Lunar Period, the Selenites, the inhabitants of Selene where Samael Aun Weor was teaching, even at that time, had degenerated and entered the path of black magic. Billions of souls in that planet became demons and the demons that we have now in our planet Earth, who are the heads of the black lodge, came from that epoch. Samael Aun Weor was even crucified in that world before, when he was giving his doctrine.
So he thought that the Earth-Moon, which reincarnated into the planet Earth, the life of that planet, carrying the karma of that ancient histories with it, somehow was something distinct, and that the other planets of other humanities did not experience or witness this great tragedy, of billions of souls being lost in the abyss.
I believed that in the rest of the worlds things were different. The Angel pointed out this error when he said, "And this that has happened on Earth will always be repeated on all the worlds of the infinite space." When the Angel finished his ineffable song I understood why so many people had attended my meetings, and why, from the many who began, only a few remained with me. Now I am willing to continue with the few. I am no longer interested in having a room full of people. Indeed, many are they who begin, but few are those who arrive. —Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony
So that experience with an opera explains for us the fact that humanity has reached its peak, or the Aryan Race has reached its end. Because no more art is being given, on a grand scale, as we found within Europe. Because humanity has received the knowledge within music, within art, but doesn't want it. It doesn't understand it, and it is now our duty in these lectures and courses to explain some of the operas, which we will be seeing not only at Lyric Opera house, but also viewing together.
It is important to remember that with opera, we are concluding this humanity by teaching the secret knowledge in a very explicit way. So, we are going to explain many operas and works of art from the kabbalistic and alchemical traditions, so that those few who want to learn the path itself and to practice it can do so.
Questions and Answers
Question: What about modern composers who conduct Beethoven or Mozart? Is that considered a medium...?
Instructor: Yes, because someone could be a medium of Christ without knowing it [Editor’s Note: a “vehicle,” not a spiritualist or a practitioner of mediumship / channeling], and you know you have people like Pavarotti and many singers who are very talented and they are not initiates, but their skill is so profound and so dharmic.
Question: What about, Pink Floyd, if there are certain songs that you feel moved? Is it all or any song that is not classical or opera is considered negative?
Instructor: I know a lot about Pink Floyd. I mean I've listened, I grew up on Pink Floyd, too. That kind of music, you know, there are certain things which can be very negative. But then there's some that it's kind of in limbo, necessarily. Not so deep down, but still it may be beautiful. But it still belongs to Klipoth, not necessarily at the deepest degree, like you find with like death metal and black metal and all sorts of other evil things, that are gangster rap, or things that are very destructive.
Question: What about Gnostic art?
Instructor: I know this is a good question because I know some of our listeners and some of our students have asked us and wanted to pursue the creation of Gnostic art and rap, which personally, I'm actually a musician myself. I played piano for about ten years and I have certain compositions that I have been inspired to do, but personally, I don't have the time or the means, because I'm teaching these lectures. So, I found that my most effective means of helping humanity is explaining art that's already been done.
But people who want to pursue art, it's their business. Personally, I am a composer and, in a very amateurish degree, minor degree, I have music in my mind that I hear that I have heard in my meditations that are divine, but for me to articulate that, it would have to be an entirely different work that would take me away from teaching these lectures.
Question: Does one need to listen to the opera in full or only specific songs?
Instructor: The best effect is when you have watched it. When you have seen a performance. You have read the lyrics, you know what they are singing. Personally, I have listened to Turandot so much and I've seen the opera so many times that when I listen to the lyrics, I know certain words and lyrics, like with Beethoven's Ninth Symphony too, which is why I could relate to you the lyrics from that Ninth Symphony, because I have listened to it so much and I know the lyrics. So, I can just cut to the chase if I wanted to listen to certain parts, because I already know the meaning of it.
Question: Would you consider church music the same or close to classical music?
Instructor: It can inspire a lot of religiosity for sure. I mean, I have been to churches where, even though not Gnostic, you hear certain songs which have very ancient roots, which are beautiful. They can inspire you, which is why many people go to those churches because they hear the music and it inspires them. There are certain roots of divinity that try to teach them that way, you know, even using people who don't know any better.
But you know, the result is a little muddled, because as I said, people have listened to the operas of the masters. "The light shineth in the darkness." But people don't comprehend the light, because we need instructors and people to teach explicitly what the kabbalistic and alchemical teachings of all that work of art symbolize.
Question: The last things I have heard is that because they changed the hertz, the frequency....
Instructor: I have heard that too, and I know that Samael Aun Weor stated explicitly that, as I mentioned in this lecture, that certain music, the vibration affects the human machine very negatively—especially mechanical music, synthesizers, electronica. If you observe your five centers and you listen to that music, after having acculturated your body and mind to listening to opera and classical music, you find that there's a disconnect. It is very discordant.
The Master Samael explains that initiates feel great love for the classical composers and feel great repulsion or revulsion towards the music of vulgar people, because that kind of music you taste and you know exactly what the egotistical messages behind it. It doesn't inspire anything decent, because if you meditate for a long time, and some people who listen to classical music in our studies for the first time, don't like it. It is because they are not accustomed to it. So, people who are not accustomed to that kind of music, you mean obviously, we gravitate towards what our level of being is. If your level of being is high, you feel only attraction towards music like Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker, his ballets, or other very beautiful music. But if we're very inferior in our states, we might listen to rock and roll or death metal or whatever.
Sadly, I know a lot of people in our movement, instructors who teach this knowledge, but they still like a lot of forms of degenerate music like metal. I remember one instructor was teaching in a certain place and he mentioned that he liked old metal music, which is stuff that I grew up on that now when I hear it, I cringe. I can't stand it, because the music is so degenerate, and you listen to it and you feel that it is bringing your level of being down.
Question: What about more like Crosby, Stills and Nash?
Instructor: My father enjoys that music and he showed me a lot. That stuff is not that degenerate. Some music is very superficial like if you look at the nine inverted spheres of Klipoth, some music is very beautiful. But it is still egotistical, we could say. It is in the first sphere of hell, which is known as limbo.
Some music is really down there, which certain bands, like black metal and not just black metal, but you know extreme forms of death metal, like Morbid Angel and Cannibal Corpse and things like that. I have known these bands and I know what their music preaches, where they talk about things that are very black. They are speaking in Aramaic and all these languages or Babylonian or whatever, and they are trying to invoke Klipoth. It is intentional. That is why these bands have inverted pentagrams, which of course for our listeners, represents the inverted man, the fallen man.
Question: On a side note, there are also all these microbreweries that are using satanic, or esoteric symbolism. I grew up on rock and rebelling against the system, so we listened to rock like Pink Floyd.
Instructor: Yeah, and sadly a lot of people in our movement don't understand that difference because they feel that, "Well this music is rebelling against the government and you know, all these political affiliations," but we emphasize in our teachings that music should elevate the soul. You should feel that your level of religiosity, your inspiration, your meditation should be lifted when you listen to music. So that's why, you know, personally I tend to be very strict. If I hear something on the radio I don't like, I avoid it.
Those listeners who are from Chicago, we listen to WFMT 98.7, which is a classical music station, and even the many things they play are very bad, because it is very modernized and very degenerate. But you can pick a good things out from them, and personally I use an iPad or iPod.
Question: I listen to Sirius Radio and I have listened to the modern songs and I just don't resonate with them.
Instructor: So the thing is our level of being attracts our life, and if we listen to music, and basically music is a type of food, and this is why the Muslim state, like in the quote amongst the Sufis that "we should only consume what is licit."
They often speak in their tradition about Halal, eating only what has been blessed or what is holy, which is similar to the Hebrew Kosher. People not only eat with food, but eat impressions, because Samael Aun Weor emphasized that one needs water for the body, air for the body, we have our food for our physical vehicle, but our mind also is nourished. Our consciousness is also nourished with impressions, which is why he also stated that if you want to have experiences in the higher dimensions, acculturate yourself to listen to classical music, because that will literally raise your level of being.
I know one missionary told me he was listening to Beethoven's symphonies and fell asleep. He had a tremendous samadhi where he left his physical body and entered the higher dimensions because he was so concentrated on the music when he fell asleep, that he awakened his consciousness. So, art can help us in that endeavor, because it gives us impressions that nourish our consciousness.
Question: Isn't it easier to surround yourself with good things rather than trying so hard to do this or do that?
Instructor: Which is why our home should be like a temple. Personally, my car is like my home because I drive so much, and I always play positive music. I listen to operas, I listen to classical compositions. Things I am really familiar with, readily, because when I listen to lyrics, I am able to hear certain things. When I really listen to a certain pieces, again and again, there are certain understandings that can kind of deepen, especially when you are studying a certain work of art.
[Editor's Endnote: If you are interesting in learning more about the principles of gnostic art, study Fundamentals of Gnostic Art].
Whether we've studied a spiritual teaching for some number of years, or if it's something new, regardless of the tradition, we always go back towards the very root, which is the direct experience of the truths contained within religion. This is why we say that Gnosis is a heart doctrine; it is a doctrine of the heart. It is not exclusively intellectual, for while we study and accumulate knowledge, a robust spiritual culture, of different scriptures and different writings, really what we look for is the practice. What we seek is the experience. And this is why we say that Gnosis is a Dharma of the heart.
When we say that it relates with the heart, it has to do with certainty, the fact that we know from experience, for its one thing to read about spirituality, about the different realms of the universe called the Sephiroth in Kabbalah, different modalities of consciousness, out of body experiences, experiences in which one may find oneself conversing with the Gods. It's one thing to read about it; it's a completely different thing to experience it. And this is why we say Gnosis relates with the heart; it is what we live palpably within ourselves.
So whether we've be studying for a long time, or if we are new to this teaching, this is what we always come back to—the fundamentals, to question what it is we truly know from experience, that which we have lived within our flesh and our bones, within the very atoms of our consciousness. And it is this type of experience which really shows us that all religions are unanimous, that there really is no distinction or conflict between them. This knowledge is about activating the very latent potential to become something superior, to become a being that is a living incarnation of God, and we do this through practical efforts, practical work.
This knowledge has been given many names, and in this lecture, in speaking about the Heart Doctrine or the secret path of the heart, we're going to delve into the many different schools, the foundations and structure of religion, how the heart develops in accordance with initiation and stages of the path, and really that it is a practical science; it is very practical.
Regardless of the profundity, the vastness, and the complexity of this type of teaching, really it is actually quite simple: it relates with how we use consciousness. As we were talking in one of our previous lectures, we were talking about Pinocchio, which means, "pine seed." In Buddhist terms we refer to this as the Buddhadhatu, which means, "the seed of the Buddha." It is the potential to become a being that is fully awakened. The root word budh means "cognizance," and the Buddha is one who has fully awakened that.
This is really our goal; this is what we want to become, and this doesn't come about by theories. It comes about by work through spiritual discipline, through practice. And this is why you see, particularly in this tradition, we have so many tools, to activate that, from different prayers, conjurations and invocations, practices of magic in which we invoke the superior forces of the Tree of Life, known as Father, Son and Holy Spirit in Christian terms; the First Logos, Second Logos and Third Logos in Gnostic Greek terms, and many names. These tools and exercises are meant to develop the pine seed, so that this pine seed may become a Christmas tree, completely illuminated and developed.
This all is based upon our actions. It's based upon what we work upon in our heart; how we develop the heart, because Gnosis, if we examine the term (in Greek it's a silent "g") relates to the Sanskrit word Jnana, meaning "knowledge," and Prajna, which is the wisdom of the heart, such as with the Heart Sutra or Prajna-paramita Sutra. So we find that cognate, "Jna," "Gno-sis," "Jna-na," "Pra-nja." We find this even in Hebrew names such as Eliana, which is commonly translated as "God has answered me," but can literally mean "my Goddess of Knowledge," and if you know Kabbalah, that's one of the sacred names of God, "My Goddess of Knowledge: Iod-Chavah" or אלוה ודעת יהוה Eloah va Da'ath Iod-Hei-Vau-Hei in Tiphereth (the world of the heart) which is equivalent to the aforementioned name. Eliana relates with that: Pranja, Jnana, Gnosis, knowledge within the human being, since when we know the divine through the conscious awareness, Tiphereth, it has to do with the certainty of the truth experienced in one's heart.
What we emphasize always is practice, not theories. If we want God to answer us, indicated through the name Eliana, we have to develop self-knowledge. We study the theory in the beginning, so that when we have the practical experience, we can orient ourselves appropriately. This is why we have so many different books; we have over seventy books from astrology to Tarot to Kabbalah, Alchemy, Tantra, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, many writings. But all of that is useless if we do not know how to work the consciousness, if we do not know how to develop the seed, so that it may sprout into a Buddha, an awakened being.
The person who initiates this type of effort, who works in a practical way, in Greek is known as μυστικός mystikos, which means "initiate." It comes from the Greek root myein, which means "to close the eyes." This is also the root word of "mystery," and in a very famous scripture known as The Voice of the Silence, transcribed by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, it says this:
"Before the soul can see, the Harmony within must be attained, and fleshly eyes be rendered blind to all illusion."
So it means to close the eyes to the misconceptions or the theories, the beliefs of many traditions and religions, and to really seek to experience what is internal, because this knowledge is completely internal. We have to really become blind to a lot of the concepts and misconceptions made about religion and spiritual practice, because generally humanity is focused on the external and ignores the treasures that we carry within our interior, that pine seed that can really blossom into something rare and beautiful.
It's necessary to learn how to close the eyes in a figurative sense. It doesn't mean we become naive or stupid; it just means we know how to live in this world with wisdom, to take advantage of it for our spiritual work, to use that so that we can really be of benefit, not only to ourselves, but to others in a genuine way. The mistake of many traditions, or the misconceptions about traditions, is that it is solely related with the external. This is what we call the Eye Doctrine in the scripture that I've quoted from, the doctrine of the physical eye, meaning we always look towards the physical world for answers and explanations, of phenomena or, better said, noumena, which is completely mystical and is not based on physical experience. It's something internal, more profound. And unfortunately, many schools of philosophy, many religions, they interpret the scriptures in a very literal way in accordance with theories, in accordance with the eye, with what is most easily seen, but it is very rare for a person to develop that internal sight in order to see within the scripture itself from living experience.
And the Master Jesus explained this very beautifully in the book of Matthew, Chapter 13:
And the disciples came and said to Him, "Why do you speak to them in parables?"
He answered and said to them, "Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven (myein, "to close the eyes," to see within"), but to them it has not been given (meaning that they have not awakened the consciousness to experience these things, which is our divine nature within).
For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance. But whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.
Therefore I speak to them in parables because seeing, they do not see, and hearing, they do not hear, nor do they understand.
And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says, 'Hearing, you will hear, and shall not understand, and seeing, you will see, and not perceive.'
For the hearts of this people have grown dull (relating with the Heart Doctrine). Their ears are hard of hearing, and their (spiritual) eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts, and turn, so that I should heal them.
But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear (since you have accomplished this through myein, closing your eyes to the illusions of the world), for assuredly I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desire to see what you see and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it. -Matthew 13:10-17
So he makes a very strong distinction between the exoteric and the esoteric, that which is readily perceived on the outside by external perception, meaning what we term in Gnosticism as the Sensual Mind, and then there one's inward perception through mystical exaltation of the consciousness. In Gnostic Psychology we refer to three types of mind:
But the Intermediate Mind is much different; it has to do with beliefs and theories. It has to do with concepts, things that, while we have not experienced them, we still think they are true; we do not know if they're true, but we may have a faith in a religion, and say, "Well, we should believe in Jesus and I feel like I'm saved because I have accepted Christ as my savior, and I'm done." And that's the Intermediate Mind, it relates with a type of mysticism which is not based in direct experience in the consciousness. It is a belief in the heart or a concept in the mind that is not backed by experiential evidence within the awakening of the psyche.
But then we have the Inner Mind, the Inner Mind which is the faculty of the consciousness. It is what can directly perceive in complete mystical experience the truths contained in religion, sometimes known as, perhaps, awakening in dreams, such as is described in the Book of Daniel, which relates with dreams; or the ladder of Jacob, in which he perceived the angels ascending and descending, from the superior to the inferior worlds.
It's the Inner Mind we seek to awaken and to develop. We say that when the Buddhata, the seed of the Buddha, is fully developed, then the Inner Mind is one hundred percent awakened. This is what we call faith. Belief is to think something is true, but we don't practically know. Real faith, a term that is so abused in this day, really means what we know. When Jesus said, "With faith the size of a mustard seed (like a pine seed), you can move mountains," he's not talking about belief. He's talking about experience, because when you know something is true, your conviction is very determined and solid. It's unshakeable, and even if many people think you're crazy for studying a type of teaching like this, a type of mysticism of wanting to experience the divine in a personal way, you know its true, and really, that won't bother you because when you "know the truth, the truth shall set you free" (John 8:32).
It really has nothing to do with concepts, theories, beliefs, but we have to open the heart as Jesus says, to close the eyes to the physical world, close the eyes to the Sensual Mind, in order to perceive with the vision of the heart. Many masters are unanimous on this point. I'll quote for you probably the greatest Sufi Master that's lived. His name is Ibn 'Arabi, and this is from his book called Divine Governance of the Human Kingdom.
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 also can only be seen by the mind and eye of the heart.
He's really talking about a superior type of perception, in which the divine nature that we have can see with clarity the very essence and nature of this phenomenal world, and it is through mystical experience that we see, particularly in meditation, or out of the body, that we see that this physical world is really quite crude and is not accurate. It doesn't convey the actual essence of what occurs on a psychological level, on an energetic level. This is why in Hinduism this world is Maya, is illusion; in order to delve past the illusions of the world (really, it's internal), we have to develop the heart through the experience and perception of the divine. Ibn 'Arabi continues:
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.
(If you're familiar with Freemasonry or Egyptian mysticism, we know about the veil of Isis. It's that covering or the illusions of the senses which prevents us from perceiving Divine Mother Nature, or the divinity that we carry within).
It is only when the dark veils of imagination 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.
Gnosis is direct experience, and the very obstacle that prevents us from accessing those superior states, not just when we physically go to sleep and enter into those dream states, but on a moment to moment basis, is a lack of conscious attention. It is only by learning to direct our attention from second to second, from instant to instant, that we can really lift the veil of Isis, to penetrate with our comprehension into the very nature of the divine, which subsists on a moment to moment basis.
As Samael Aun Weor wrote, "The truth is the unknowable from moment to moment." When we think we know, that's usually a sure indicator that we probably are very asleep, because the state of awakened perception, or Self-remembering or Self-observation, to be in the now, everything is new, and we recognize, "I don't know anything!" Like a child who is fascinated with the experience of life, and everything is fresh and new. This is really the psychological attitude that we need in every second, and we always have to go back and cultivate that. It is the foundation. It is the foundation of mystical experience. It is the means by which, through the practice of meditation, we cultivate, facilitate and activate those experiences.
Really, it comes to my mind, the story of a Tibetan Buddhist master, who was asked by a student of his, "So when do you meditate?" And he replied, "But I am always meditating!" In every second. It's by using that clarity of perception, which we call consciousness, Buddhata, Tathagarthagarba, the psyche, the soul.
The Body, Soul and Spirit of the Heart Doctrine
This is the very key that opens the door to religion, to true reunion with the divine. It is a moment to moment awareness, a moment to moment effort, and it is this key that is so lacking in many traditions today, which have really died and lost the Heart Doctrine contained within them, or we could say that their esoteric heart stopped beating. And this is why we see many scriptures interpreted so literally. And the great masters, the Rabbis of The Zohar warned about this many centuries ago, even in their own time. The Zohar is probably the most advanced scripture given by the Kabbalists of Israel. The ספר הזהר Sepher ha Zohar means "The Book of Splendors." Splendor is a reference to the Sephirah Tiphereth on the Tree of Life, for as we say in the Invocation of Solomon, "Mercy (Chesed חסד) and Justice (Geburah גבורה), be ye the equilibrium and splendor (Tiphereth תפארת) of my life!"
It is from Judaism where we derive a certain structure or dynamic in religion, which we actually find in all traditions and we're going to talk about this in relation with the Heart Doctrine. The Kabbalists say that there is a body, a soul, and a spirit to every doctrine. In Judaism, the Torah, the Books of Moses, along with the complete writings in the Tanakh, is known as the body of the doctrine. The Talmud, by the Kabbalists, is known as the soul of the doctrine. And then you have the spirit of the doctrine, which is The Zohar. You can see that these are varying levels of instruction.
Moses wrote the Torah, the body of law and instruction. Some people confuse the Talmud with the Torah. The Talmud is more of the philosophical discourse regarding Jewish mysticism and way of life. It's really more of the soul of the doctrine. Whereas the body of a doctrine is just the narrative, and you'll see from this quotation of this illustrates this fact. This is about "The Real Torah" from the Sepher ha Zohar:
Rabbi Simeon says: "Woe to the man who says that the Torah came to relate stories, simply and plainly, and simpleton tales about Esau and Laban and the like. If it was so, even at the present day we could produce a Torah from simplistic matters, and perhaps even nicer ones than those. If the Torah came to exemplify worldly matters, even the rulers of the world have among them things that are superior. If so, let us follow them and produce from them a Torah in the same manner. It must be that all items in the Torah are of a superior nature and are uppermost secrets.
Come and behold: the world above and the world below are measured with one scale. The children of Yisrael below correspond to the lofty angels above (which, going back to Ibn 'Arabi's quote, he's talking about the angelic realm, the physical realm, and their connection). It is written about the lofty angels: "who makes the winds his messengers" (Psalms 104:4). When they descend downwards, they are donned with the vestments of this world. If they had not acquired the dress for this world, they would not be able to exist in this world, and the world would not be able to stand them. And if this is so for the angels, how much more so is it for the Torah that created these messengers and all the worlds, that exist due to her. Once it was brought down to this world, if it had not donned all these covering garments of this world, which are the stories and simplistic tales, the world would not have been able to tolerate it.
It's because this type of teaching is too direct, and why all the great scriptures are really symbolic. So we see that from the angelic realm, the superior regions, the messengers and prophets, from which we get from the word angeloi or angels, come down in order to express this type of teaching, which is very abstract. So to explain it in completely abstract terms, people would not understand it, since those indoctrinated by the Sensual Mind and the five senses are less capable of grasping it. The fact that it's written in stories and parables is in order to convey a message, but if we interpret literally, in accordance with the Eye Doctrine, and not the heart, we fall into many absurdities, many mistakes.
So we say that the Torah, which interestingly enough means "instruction," "law," etc., is the same meaning as Dharma. The Torah and the Dharma are really the law, the instruction, the foundation of spiritual practice. The problem is that, due to the hypnosis of the senses, people are not capable of experiencing the truths that are contained in the scriptures in a symbolic form, because if we read just the literal meaning, it's really quite useless. It might feed a person's pride to read about the history of Israel; it is very literal to them. They think that there is no symbolism, and meanwhile the whole scripture is symbolic. It is a vestment, a dress:
Therefore, this story of the Torah is the mantle of the Torah. He who thinks that this mantle is the actual essence of the Torah and that nothing else is in there, let his spirit deflate and let him have no part in the world to come. Therefore, David said, "open my (spiritual) eyes (through myein, meditation), that I may behold wondrous things out of your Torah (your law and instruction)" (Psalms 119:18); that is, look what lies under that garment of the Torah.
Come and behold: there is a dress that is visible to everyone. The simple people, when they see a person dressed beautifully, who appears to them distinguished by his clothing, do not observe any further. They make their judgments about him according to his distinguished apparel and they consider the dress as the body of man, and the body of the person like his soul.
It's like what Polonius says in Hamlet, "For the apparel oft proclaims the man" (Act III.iii. 72). This is now taken in a more spiritual sense. We can even draw an interestingly parallel to Friedrich Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra, wherein his fictional prophet discusses the torpidity of the common man in relation with the things of the divine, as well as those "famous wise men" who say they follow the Heart Doctrine, but are in turn hypocrites and literal interpreters of the Torah, individuals we may otherwise denominate "tarantulas," to use the author's terminology:
But even in your virtues you remain for me part of the people, the dumb-eyed people—the people, who do not know what spirit is. -On the Famous Wise Men, Book II
We continue now with The Zohar:
Similar to this is the Torah. It has a body, which is composed of the commandments of the Torah that are called the 'body of the Torah'. This body is clothed with garments, which are stories of this world. The ignorant of the world look only at that dress, which is the story in the Torah, and are not aware of anything more. They do not look at what lies beneath that dress. Those who know more do not look at the dress, but rather at the body beneath that dress. The wise, the sages, the servants of the loftiest king (which is Christ, that divine intelligence known by many different names in religion), those that stood at mount Sinai, look only at the soul of the Torah, which is the essence of everything, the real Torah. In the destiny to come, they are destined to look at the soul, the soul of the Torah.
We find this structure and dynamic in all religions, and I'm going to draw this parallel amongst all religions, or some of the major ones that we know of that express this type of dynamic: a body, a soul and a spirit of a doctrine.
In the Buddhist sense, we have the following schools:
Mahayana means "Greater Vehicle" and it relates more to how we work practically to help other people. You may be familiar with the term Bodhichitta, which we're going to talk about in relation with the soul of the doctrine. And then you have the spirit which is Tantrayana, the very essence, root or core of a doctrine, which is very advanced. Vajra means "lightning" or "diamond." So this indicates the most pure teaching we know of.
We find this even in Sufism.
Shari'ah is the written law or code of Islam, Al-Qur'an and Al-Hadith. This is the code of conduct any spiritual aspirant must fulfill. Such ethical discipline is the foundation of all religious practice and spiritual achievement.
Tariqah is the soul of the teachings, the practical techniques for achieving spiritual change. These practices have never been given openly by the Muslim initiates, but were transmitted by mouth to ear. However, we now have such techniques available in the writings of Samael Aun Weor. Tariqah also represents the philosophical teachings that explain Al-Qur'an and Al-Hadith, which we find in the Sufi writings of Rumi, Ibn 'Arabi, Al-Qushayri, and others.
Haqiqah is the truth, the realization of divine spiritual truths within the many explications of the great Sufi Masters. One example is the poetry of Mansur al-Hallaj, the Muslim Christ, who was tortured and killed for pronouncing أنا الحق Anā l-Ḥaqq (I am the Truth!). Truly, this master completely embodied the Heart Doctrine, since he had no psychological impurities in his mind; he had completely awakened his Inner Mind and embodied the truth.
With this explanation about the body, soul and spirit of any doctrine, we can now understand the following words from the Prophet Muhammad:
The outer law (shari'ah) is my word,
the spiritual path (tariqah) my actions,
and the inner reality (haqiqah) my inner states.—Muhammad
In relation with the Heart Doctrine, the very heart of a teaching is Tantrayana; it is the secret teachings, in relation with alchemy, Tantra, the very highest yoga practices, which were not given to any student unless they proved themselves worthy.
Right now we live in a very different age of accessibility and information, and the fact that people need this teaching, that we need the tools and techniques, such knowledge is given openly. It's given more readily so people can practice. But in the past this was conserved. If you're familiar with astrology, the age of Pisces, during the times of Jesus, things were very conservative in relation with the dissemination of the esoteric knowledge. The Kabbalists of Israel were very selective and they did not want to give the teachings openly, but you see that Jesus went forth and started publicly these sorts of things, and they reacted very violently, because they were very conservative.
Tantra and alchemy was not given so openly. It was given to those who proved their worth, first of all, by fulfilling the very foundations of spiritual practice, by demonstrating that they could enter into the Heart Doctrine through practical experience. Truly, the Shravakayana, the Dharma, the Torah, in the very foundations of practice, is given very beautifully and simplistically in the Four Noble Truths of the Buddha, because a Shravakayana practitioner, someone who is working the very foundations of ethics and practice so that they can experience these types of things, has to understand the nature of Karma.
Ethics, Renunciation and Karma
Karma is simply a law of cause and effect, but it is not so simple, because we have many internal processes that occur even without us knowing about it, physical, emotional and psychological. Karma is a topic of its own, but we'll introduce this in relation with the body of the doctrine.
So the First Noble Truth states that, "In life, there is suffering." The person has to acknowledge that there is suffering in this life in order to want to change. If we're attached to our way of life we will not seek to improve it. It's the recognition that suffering exists where we inquire into their causes, the Second Noble Truth, and when we see that there are specific causes to suffering, that certain actions are being produced which inevitably bring negative results to us, we realize that there is an antidote called "cessation." Cessation refers to the end of the causes of suffering, the Third Noble Truth. By the very fact that we discover cessation, we discover that there is a path, the Fourth Noble Truth towards the cessation of suffering.
Really we are delivering this knowledge of the Heart Doctrine in the Kabbalistic and Buddhist way, particularly in relation with the mantra Om Masi Padme Hum that we performed prior to this discussion, because it tends to be more readily familiar than, say, the Sufi tradition. However, we felt it important to explain this aspect of the Heart Doctrine since many are not familiar with it. We also emphasize Buddhism by the fact that the Buddha synthesized the Heart Doctrine very beautifully. However, we find the Four Noble Truths in all religions.
There is suffering. Obviously suffering has causes which we produce. There exists the cessation of the causes of suffering, and there is a path, just as Jesus taught, "Straight is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it" (Matthew 7:14).
As I was saying that the foundation of the body of a doctrine is understanding the nature of cause and effect, the nature of Karma, how Karma actually functions, how we actually produce results. That's an enigma in itself, since often times we will try to present something and perform a certain action, only to not produce the result that we want. Such as in interrelations. We may think that we said something funny or something good, and it produces a bad result.
But we all do this, we all have certain ways of being ignorant, of causing suffering, and it is this type of ignorance which prevents us from accessing the more deeper levels of spiritual practice, the Heart Doctrine, of going further into the experience of the divine.
We find certain foundations or descriptions within each stage. Shravakayana is in relation with ethics and renunciation. It means that the very foundation to know what is right and know what is wrong; do what is right and don't do what is wrong. We find this in the ten commandments of Judaism. We find this in the ten virtuous and non-virtuous actions of Tibetan Buddhism, which we synthesize into body, speech and mind. It's a very interesting parallel in relation with the levels of instruction of these teachings: the body, soul and spirit of a doctrine.
We categorize it in this way because there are sins of the body, sins of speech, relating with the heart, with emotions, and sins of the mind. So these are the three brains of Gnostic psychology: intellect, emotions, and movement or the motor brain.
We have a presentation of certain literal vows that we need physically; however, the real work is to fulfill them psychologically. That's really where the Heart Doctrine starts to enter in relation with the Shravakayana path, the very foundation, because it's one thing not to physically kill a person, steal from them; it's one thing not to hurt someone physically through violence, but if we observe ourselves psychologically, we can be doing all those things and worse in our mind, since we feel that no one can perceive what exactly is going on. We feel, "Well I am isolated. I can think all the negative things I want; I can feel all the negative things I want." Meanwhile that brings consequences, because thoughts and feelings relate with matter and energy. It's not physical. It relates with the subtle dimensions, such as with the Astral Plane, Hod, in Kabbalah; Netzach, the mind, on the Tree of Life.
Even if we may not express anger with words, we can kill with a bad glance, a bad look. Energy travels great distances, even if we are not perceptive of this fact. This is why we can sense if a person is upset even if they make no outward indications of such; this is known as the science of telepathy or transience: the transference of psychological and mental energies within interpersonal relations. Without unjust reason, then, Samael Aun Weor stated within The Major Mysteries:
"It is as bad to talk when one must be silent as to be silent when one must talk. There exist criminal silences as well as indignant words."
Stealing does not only include material things, but taking credit for another person's ideas, concepts, or spiritual teachings. The latter type of theft is the worst and is most common. Many fanatics of spirituality steal the teachings of the great prophets and adulterate them, claiming them for their own. We find this all throughout spiritual movements, whether of Theosophy, Rosicrucianism, Hermetic philosophy, eastern yoga, and even Gnosis. Those who steal the teachings of others and claim them for their own, without paying due respect to the Guru, are those who indefinitely follow the Eye Doctrine. For as H. P. Blavatsky transcribed in the aforementioned scripture, The Voice of the Silence:
"The Doctrine of the Eye is for the crowd, the Doctrine of the Heart, for the elect. The first repeat in pride: 'Behold, I know,' the last, they who in humbleness have garnered, low confess, "thus have I heard.'"
Sexual misconduct is any negative action that abuses the sexual energy, principally through fornication, the loss of seminal energy through the orgasm, and adultery, which is not only physical, but psychological. There is adultery in the mind whenever someone feels lust in his mind and heart towards another person. This was indicated by Jesus in the Gospels, but also the Lord Buddha two thousand five hundred years ago.
Lying, divisive speech, hurtful speech, and senseless speech are abuses of the Verb, the Word, which is Christ. Whenever a person utilizes the verb in these manners, the mind and soul suffer the consequences, which is again the adulteration of forces within the psyche. God is the Truth, and to lie is to sin against the Father. We have to remember that Christ is not a person, but a cosmic energy. Therefore, to sin is not some moral burden upon our shoulders, but a misappropriation of energies. Hurtful speech, divisive words, or senseless speech as with many who claim to "speak in tongues," abuse the Verb and disturb their minds tremendously, making them greater candidates for suffering, simply because they take the harmonious energies of Christ and use them in negative ways.
Covetousness does not only involve desire towards material objects, but even psychic powers. Many students enter esotericism wanting spiritual powers, to accomplish mind control, which is one hundred percent negative. Christ respects free will, and to dominate another person in this way is very bad. To covet powers is also useless and eventually converts one into a magician of darkness, since the only true power belongs to the Lord. The great initiates always renounce power, fame and glory and surrender everything to God. This is hidden within the Arabic word Islam, which means "submission to the will of God."
Oftentimes such sentiments are fueled by malice, wanting to gain power in order to harm. It is not my purpose in this lecture to go so much into the consequences, but to help us reflect on how we commit these types of errors within ourselves on a daily basis. This is in order to awaken the comprehension of the heart, to enter into the Heart Doctrine.
Wrong views entails ignorance of Karma, a lack of perception of reality which makes us act in wrong ways. This is the root of our suffering: our lack of comprehension of the causes of suffering within our psyche.
So our thoughts produce consequences. In the very exoteric level, we must stop; we should not do those things physically, because it's going to create bad energy, and if we try to meditate with a mind that's so disturbed, we will not be able to comprehend anything; it will be too chaotic.
What we want is to go into how it applies to our mind, how it applies to our hearts, because that is really where the work is. There's also many types of behaviors are generally so condoned in this society that we accept them, such as idle chatter; just talking, something we think is really innocent. The great master Swami Sivananda said that "Idle chatter is the diarrhea of the tongue." Truly it is, because people are something like volcanoes, just belching out words without comprehending where it's coming from or the effect they have.
This type of behavior disturbs the mind. If we try to sit and meditate after a very chaotic day, where we don't have enough restraint on our mind or actions, meditation becomes very difficult; Self-observation becomes very difficult. Trying to see the roots of our problems becomes very difficult. This is why renunciation alongside ethics is the foundation. We have to renounce these types of habits on a moment to moment basis, not just saying "Well, I'm not going to do that again," and we get into the same situation and repeat the same thing. The real effort is finding yourself running towards the cliff and finding yourself at the ledge, refraining and saying, "I'm not going to do that," and then stopping before the fall. It could be a moment of restraint. The Buddha said this is a wonderful moment; that really shows we are working to change and are changing, if we can stop ourselves from acting in habitually negative ways.
If we find ourselves beginning to act a certain way that is contrary to the teachings, or thinking negative thoughts, but stopping ourselves through comprehension, renouncing them and letting ourselves relax, not identifying, that is a strong indication that we are developing our ethics.
Ethics is really the foundation of concentration. It is impossible to concentrate in meditation if our mind is disturbed, if we do not have enough restraint. This is what the Buddha said in the Dhammapada, the very first lines: "Mind precedes phenomena. We become what we think." So if our thoughts are garbage, if our thoughts are very negative, then that is what our life is going to be externally. It's how we are going to react and relate to others, or how we're going to affect other people.
Sivananda gave some beautiful quotes in relation with this: "Students fail in meditation because they lack ethics" and "Concentration without purity is useless." Pretty strong coming from a man who is generally considered to be laid back and happy, but he had a very strong Martian side to him, very disciplined nature, and we really have to be like that. We need to be focused; to be disciplined, but not militant; to be strong and firm, but flexible; because it's one thing to adopt this type of conduct, "I can't do harmful things; I can't think harmful thoughts," but to do it in a repressive way is wrong; it will get us nowhere. And I have seen that happen with many people, who have been so effected trying to adopt a spiritual practice when doing so in a very cloistered way, helping them become very negative and morbid people. They perceived how much negativity they have within and they don't know how to deal with it.
The thing is just to relax. If we catch ourselves doing negative things, thinking negative thoughts, then just relax. Be firm. Observe, be concentrated, but don't be paranoid, because the truth is we carry a lot of degeneration, a lot of negative habits, negative qualities, but it's by renouncing those habits, in a calm way, that we grow spiritually. You know that in an argument you can be forceful without being offensive. "You know, I agree with you, but this is my space." You can assert yourself without being overbearing. The same with spiritual discipline, except the one we are up against is our own mind.
This is the type of gentle and affirming attitude that we need in relation with ethics, how to control the mind, without storming and thundering like Zeus, "This is not how I want things to be!" But really, true strength and force is relaxed, firm but gentle.
Bodhichitta and the Heart Doctrine
This is just the foundation of the Heart Doctrine The Heart Doctrine is founded upon these principles of ethics and spirituality, but we find through investigation and practice that this is just the groundwork for the path itself, the Heart Doctrine itself:
The Dharma of the "Eye" is the embodiment of the external, and the non-existing. The Dharma of the "Heart" is the embodiment of Bodhi, the Permanent and Everlasting. -H. P. Blavatsky, The Voice of the Silence
Bodhi means wisdom. As I mentioned to you before, the term Bodhichitta, which is essential to Mahayana Buddhism and is essential in Gnosis, since these traditions are unanimous. Bodhichitta literally means "wisdom-mind," "wisdom-heart," or "wisdom-consciousness," and we know from Kabbalah that wisdom in Hebrew is חכמה Chokmah, which is Christ, so really we can say that this is "Christ-mind."
As I said, Christ is not anthropomorphic. Christ is an intelligence, is a force, which we find in all of nature and can become personalized in any individuals that have developed themselves to incarnate that, and Jesus is probably the most beautiful example of this fact, because he is a very elevated master. For example, we look at light bulbs, which are just the vehicles for the expression of light, and the light itself is that energy, Christ. Any terrestrial person is just the vehicle through which the light of the Lord can express Himself.
This brings us to another important term, if you're familiar with the Mahayana term in Buddhism: Bodhisattva. As I said, bodhi is light or wisdom, sattva means incarnation. So an incarnation of wisdom is somebody that has developed him or herself to the point where they actually have that intelligence within themselves, that they are working in a very superior way; symbolized by the birth of Jesus in the stable, and how he grows up into a complete and full human being, fulfilling the life, passion, crucifixion, death, resurrection and ascension of Christ.
We use the term Bodhisattva in relation with individuals who have achieved what we call mastery. This is a very high level of development, but it is, we can say, the beginning of a much greater spiritual evolution, or better said: revolution. Upon achieving mastery, these initiates may incarnate that intelligence if, on the sole condition, they worked to help others. So it's one thing to reach that type of height in spiritual development, it's another thing to incarnate Christ, because in Mahayana Buddhism we understand that alongside the Bodhisattvas are what we call the Pratyeka Buddhas or Shravakas.
Bodhisattvas and Pratyeka Buddhas are initiates, meaning that they worked in teachings of alchemy, teachings of spiritual development, working with the force we call Kundalini, the fire of the Holy Spirit, raising that fire from the coccyx to the pineal gland and into the heart within successive dimensions, which relate with the lower five spheres of the Tree of Life. And when reaching the sphere of Tiphereth, one attains mastery, as a beginner. It is highly significant that when you imagine a person transposed upon this Hebraic glyph, Tiphereth aligns and relates with the heart. It's the human soul, the human consciousness developed into a master. Yet remember that even upon reaching those heights known as Nirvana, very blissful states, not all of them become Bodhisattvas. There are really two paths that open up when you reach those heights of what's called mastery.
The Pratyeka Buddhas follow the spiral path. But the Bodhisattvas follow something very different and very radical, called the direct path. Both paths eventually lead to the original source of the divine, what we call the Absolute. Some know It as Parabrahma, Allah; we use the term Christ as a type of impersonal force and intelligence within creation. But really is that uncreated source, which both the spiral and direct paths lead to, but in very different ways, with very different results.
This is really the very Heart Doctrine, because Tiphereth, the human soul, relates with the heart, and if we are fortunate enough to reach those stages of development some day, it's a very major decision: to choose between the spiral path of the Pratyeka Buddhas and the direct path of the Bodhisattvas who incarnate Christ, is something very significant. You can read about it in The Three Mountains by Samael Aun Weor. But really, the spiral path is a very long trajectory which takes many cosmic days, known as Mahamanvantaras, periods of activity in which entire universes are born, and pass away with cosmic nights or Mahapralayas.
It takes many cosmic days on the spiral path, very slow, because those individuals choose not to renounce the happiness of Nirvana, and if you experience Nirvana, you can see why, because it is blissful.
Some people wonder if a person took the spiral path, if they would return. It depends upon their karma, because we know that Nirvana is governed by laws. The Tree of Life, whether in the very heights or the bottom of this physical world, is governed by karmic laws. Nirvana is governed by periods of activity and repose. When Nirvana enters into activity, the Nirvanis or initiates of that realm will have to physically incarnate because of cause and effect, because of past karma that they owe. We know, given through the writings of Samael Aun Weor, that Nirvana is in a period of activity, and many Pratyeka Buddhas have physical bodies.
The problem in general is that it's very easy to fall again. You reach those heights, and then you come back to the physical world and are tempted to make mistakes again. So they lose the doctrine of the heart in their level, right? But a Bodhisattva is someone who renounces everything, is a being that is very revolutionary, which is considered very scandalous.
It comes into my mind the Prophet Muhammad. Very radical. Jesus. Very radical. Buddha. Very radical. They created many enemies cause they go against everything that is wrong and unfortunately, pretty much everything about this planet is wrong.
With the direct path, it's very straight; it's short, but its very difficult, because the initiate pays his karma entirely in one life. That is really the essence of the Heart Doctrine. For one thing we have ethics and renunciation; this is the foundation in the beginning. But with Bodhichitta, with Christ-mind, with altruism and inspiration to help others, we take on everything: all the suffering of this planet on our shoulders, the cross of Jesus, in order to help humanity, to transform it.
That is really the beauty of the great initiates. When I think that I have problems and difficulties, I look at the life of Jesus, and see how much he was despised and hated by everybody, but he just returned that type of negativity with love, sincere gratitude for those people. Bodhichitta is really that. Bodhichitta is composed to two principles:
Emptiness, Prajna, in Buddhism, is the very primordial root of nature and existence. It's a type of emptiness or space, which if you recall from the Book of Genesis, "And the world was formless and void, and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the deep." It's what we call the Abstract Absolute Space. It is the Nothingness or space, which does not indicate nihilism like many people think when they study Buddhism and react with horror.
It is emptiness, but the genuine type of existence beyond our concepts. That is the Heart Doctrine, the realization of That, even if it's just in a minor Samadhi, which in truth is not that minor. If you find yourself entering the Illuminating Void, that is really where we can say that Bodhichitta is strengthened. Let us remember that Bodhichitta is comprehension of Karma, cause and effect, inter-causal relations, in relation with ethics. It is the understanding of the impermanence of phenomena, coupled with conscious love. Many schools of Buddhism, and I've even heard many Gnostic instructors saying "Well, it's either one or the other." But it's not—it's both.
If you really have love for a person, conscious love, it's because you understand that they are suffering from Karma, that they are afflicted by causes and conditions. When you see that this is impermanent, that nothing is really stable in life, that everything is inherently empty of intrinsic existence and depends upon specific causes—we do not fall into nihilism, which is due to the fact that we understand we have existence and comprehend the nature of cause and effect.
When we see how impermanent psychological states are, we can truly forgive a person very easily, such as if he or she is angry at us for one moment, and nice to us in the next. There's really nothing to get angry about. Usually, we think, "Oh, he's angry at me!" Or "She's angry at me!" Or "Oh, he's being nice to me!" "She's being nice to me!" However, none of that is permanent. None of that is. It's really on this basis of the impermanence of nature that we can develop real understanding and compassion, the Heart Doctrine, to develop Tiphereth and Bodhichitta.
In the beginning of our spiritual practice we always try to develop ethics and change ourselves in certain ways through renunciation. But what we want also is to develop Bodhichitta, that altruistic love for other beings through comprehension of emptiness, Karma and impermanence, which is the essence of the heart, the Heart Doctrine; it's real wisdom. Understanding that there is karma, that things are interdependent, that nothing is separated or isolated, and that we affect others, we develop genuine concern for others to the point that we don't even exist in an egotistical sense, but are always giving out as much as we can to the best of our ability. That is really what Bodhichitta is.
Tantrayana / Vajrayana: The Diamond Vehicle
However, this is really not the end. There is the Vajrayana or Tantrayana path, which is the most revolutionary and difficult to understand. As I said, vajra can mean "diamond" or "lightning," and a vajra is a symbol of power utilized within ceremonies of Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism, the meaning of which will be clarified shortly. The real essence or the spirit of a doctrine, the heights of spirituality, is the understanding of Prajna or emptiness, and it is precisely through the vajra that we can come to know the truth. First we need to develop ourselves in our practice through ethics, renunciation and comprehension of Karma, followed with the generation and strengthening of Bodhichitta, wherein we work to make changes within ourselves and ascend higher.
Despite the beauty of this level of teaching, the real heights of the Vajrayana path is really the experience of the Absolute in meditation, where we fall asleep, and our soul goes to the Void, the space, which is so amazingly symbolized in the beginning of one of Wagner's operas, Das Rheingold from Der Ring Des Nibelungen or The Ring of the Nibelungen, which is literally about one hundred and thirty eight bars of music in the same key, which is symbolizing that ocean, the space that keeps on going, and going, and going. It is very overwhelming; that is really the nature of the emptiness, the Void.
Understand that this is not something we will immediately come to understand, since first we learn through the intellect through concepts. To experience it as a Heart Doctrine is another thing. But that's why we study first, so that when we find ourselves in a samadhi having that experience, we will have more courage because we will understand what's going on. So it won't be as terrifying, although to the ego it is very terrifying, because every sense of self, security that we have in the egotistical self, really becomes annihilated before That, to become one and merge with that universal soul, universal compassion, without shackles or limitations, truly beyond this universe of relativity and Karma, cause and effect.
The wisdom of Prajna or emptiness has been known by different names, and so while I am teaching this in the Buddhist flavor, you can see how this applies to all religions irregardless. In the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism, this philosophy of emptiness is known as Dzogchen, founded by Padmasambhava, who was an Indian Master of the eighth century, considered the second Buddha in comparison to Gautama Sakyamuni due to his knowledge and level of attainment. We also have Mahamudra, which is practiced by the other three schools of Tibetan Buddhism: Gelug, Sakya and Kagyu. Really these two philosophies are synonymous, they really have the same meaning.
Dzogchen translates into "Great Perfection" and Mahamudra means "Truth Seal." This is going to be very significant in relation with other traditions besides Buddhism. I will read for you what Samael Aun Weor wrote in Zodiacal Course:
"The Doctrine of the Heart is called the seal of the truth, or the Truth Seal."
In Islam, we know that the Prophet Muhammad is known as "the Seal of the Prophets." And what does a prophet teach? He teaches the truth. He is the seal of the truth. That is Mahamudra, even given as the identity of a great initiate. For example, if you're familiar with Al-Miraj, which is the ascent of the Prophet into the superior worlds or seven heavens, he rides on a mystical animal called Al-Buraq. The word "b-r-q" means "lightning." Lightning is a vajra. Vajra relates with Dzogchen, Mahamudra, the Truth Seal, the Seal of the Prophets.
So we see that Muhammad is a master of tantra, or Vajrayana. That's how he ascended to the superior worlds. Padmasambhava said this about Dzogchen:
"It is the secret, unexcelled cycle of the supreme vehicle of Tantra, the true essence of the definitive meaning; the short path for attaining Buddhahood in one life."
This is the straight path, the direct path of the Bodhisattva, and as it says in the very opening of Al-Qur'an, Al-Fatihah:
In the name of Allah , the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful.
All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds,
The Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful,
Sovereign of the Day of Recompense.
It is You we worship and You we ask for help.
Guide us to the straight path,
The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favor, not of those who have evoked Your anger or of those who are astray.
So we really find the essence of alchemy in the Vajrayana path, the very heights in all religions. It's very interesting that Dzogchen is the "Great Perfection" or that Mahamudra is the "Truth Seal." Muhammad was the seal of the truth, seal of the prophets, and if you know Kabbalah, the sphere of תפארת Tiphereth, relating with the heart, begins and ends with the Hebrew letter ת Tav. The letter ת Tav is literally the "seal." It means "covenant," and really this is the seal of covenant of the heart, about developing Bodhichitta.
Now Bodhichitta in Tantra has more connotations. It is synonymous with sexual energy, which is the very power of the Holy Spirit in the body, the psyche. Bodhichitta can be represented by the masons as the Cubic Stone, the stone has to be chiseled. This relates with the stone that the builders rejected and is really the foundation stone of the temple. In relation with Muhammad, he was meditating in the Mosque of Mecca (Al-Masjid-al-Haram), near the cubic stone, and its from that stone of Bodhichitta, the vajra, the lightning bolt, the fire of Kundalini, which rises from the spinal column to the heavens, took him all the way to the very heights.
And it's described in Al-Hadith, which is the Muslim oral tradition, that he was before Allah and it's impossible to give attributes to that. Really the scriptures are saying Allah is emptiness, the space, the primordial root nature of our consciousness, which is pure happiness and divine nature, without form.
Although we have not mentioned this earlier, there is a powerful scripture by the name of the Heart Sutra, or Prajna-paramita Sutra, which elaborates on the nature of the emptiness and ultimate wisdom of the awakened consciousness. To discuss the implications of this work would take many lectures, but here we are referencing it for further study.
Really, the emptiness or void is the spirit of a doctrine. That is really the Heart Doctrine. This is why we say in the Shravakayana level we don't fully grasp this, because it really takes a lot of heart in order to renounce our egotism, to develop spiritually, to really develop ethics. The problem is that many exoteric traditions do not have the Heart Doctrine. There really is no Heart Doctrine there, it's just theories; many discussions and polemics, arguments over terms. All of that has to do with the loss of the heart in many people, where there isn't even that genuine longing to change. That genuinely longing for that seed, Pinocchio, to develop into a true human being.
The Master Jesus explains it in this way in Matthew 13:19-23:
Therefore hear the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside.
But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy.
Yet he who has no root in himself, but endures only for awhile, for when tribulation or persecution arises because of the Word, immediately he stumbles.
Now he who receives seed among the thorns is he who hears the Word and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the Word, and it becomes unfruitful.
But he who receives seed on the good ground, is he who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and produces, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
The Christian Gospels relates with a much more ancient scripture, The Voice of the Silence as we have been discussing.
The seeds of Wisdom cannot sprout and grow in airless space. To live and reap experience the mind needs breadth and depth and points to draw it towards the Diamond Soul.
Diamond soul refers to vajra, or Vajrasattva, or Vajrayana. So really the seed can become that if we develop it progressively through the different stages of practice.
"Great Sifter" is the name of the "Heart Doctrine," O disciple.
The wheel of the good Law moves swiftly on. It grinds by night and day. The worthless husks it drives from out the golden grain, the refuse from the flour. The hand of Karma guides the wheel; the revolutions mark the beatings of the Karmic heart.
True knowledge is the flour, false learning is the husk. If thou would'st eat the bread of Wisdom (Prajna, emptiness), thy flour thou hast to knead with Amrita's clear waters (relating with alchemy, the science of transmutation). But if thou kneadest husks with Maya's dew, thou canst create but food for the black doves of death, the birds of birth, decay and sorrow.
While this is just an explanation of the structures of religious practice, these are the degrees and stages by which the heart develops. These are levels of development, levels of practice. Generally when we work in meditation, the foundation is concentration. We learn to control the mind, so we can concentrate in order to really meditate. In relation with practice, we see that these three schools are synthesized again. Samael Aun Weor categorized this very simply and beautifully in one of his books of astrology, specifically the chapter on Leo:
This is a much more simplified didactic of some of the more Hindu or Raja Yoga models.
So we learn to concentrate. When we learn how to concentrate our mind on one thing, really the heart will open up to the experience of the divine. Meditation is really a state in which you receive new information, where as a lake on a mountain top, you reflect the starry heavens of the Being. And when you have enough stillness and concentration of mind, where you mind is focused, your heart opens up spontaneously. Then Prajna, the spirit, wisdom, will enter into you in a moment of comprehension. It doesn't necessarily mean you're going to find yourself flying out of your body. That can happen, and if you practice diligently, it will happen. Those types of experiences will unfold, cause naturally if you're setting forth the causes and conditions for Dharma, fruit will naturally grow as a result of that.
So the Heart Doctrine is hidden within the body, the soul and the spirit, but more so in the spirit. We say that the body is exoteric, the soul is mesoteric, and the spirit is esoteric, coming from the Greek esoterikos, mesoterikos and esoterikos. And really, an intiate, a mystikos, who closes the eyes to the exterior senses, awakens the heart and experiences those things for him or herself.
Questions and Answers
Audience: You touched more in the beginning on the nature of belief and how we should have preference toward experience rather than theories. If I remember right, from what I've read, I guess belief, such as when the Bible tells you to believe, it's not just telling you to accept theory. It's, when traced back to the Latin root, it has a context that people are not even aware of in the present day, and it's been ruined and gutted out by the Catholic Church.
Instructor: The word belief comes from "be" and lieve, or "love," which is where we get the word libido. As I mentioned in Tantric practice, Bodhichitta is synonymous with sexual energy, how we use that force. The first commandment of Moses, as was given by Jesus of Nazareth, explains this. Someone asked him, "What is the highest commandment that exists?"
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. --Matthew 22:37
This relates with the three brains of Gnostic esoteric psychology, the heart, the mind, and the soul, or waters of sex. This is what it means to be a "believer," one who knows how to "be" through the power of love, the science of alchemy. Alchemy, as we have studied in a previous lecture, is Allah Khemia, "to fuse with God," to reunite with that. A real believer is someone who knows this type of alchemical science and you find this in the Qur'an too. This really was the original intention in the word "belief." Many people, however, would think that the way we're expressing it is in the literal sense, to just think that a concept is true with one's mind. But it's much more deeper than that.
Audience: That would only be using one of the three brains? But then the real meaning of belief is to have action, or performing religion within all three brains.
Instructor: Yes. It is not just an intellectual concept. It's not just a feeling in the heart. Or sensations. It has to do with our actions.
Like when someone says they believe in the cross. What does that really mean? Well the cross is alchemical, because the vertical beam is the phallus and the horizontal beam is the uterus. Together they form the symbol of the Holy Spirit, which is Father, masculine, יה Jah, and Mother, feminine, Eve, חוה Chavah.
Even the symbol of Islam is alchemical too, because you have the crescent moon and the star of Venus. The moon relates with Yesod, the sexual energy or Bodhichitta. The star of Venus is the Divine Mother. So this indicates how you work with that energy through the power or love, to be a believer. That is what a believer is in the true sense of the word. But when I'm talking about what people term belief, it's in the completely exoteric sense.
Audience: You made a very interesting point about the symbol of Islam with the star and the moon. I tended to think that that's a lot like the cross too because you said that there are masculine and feminine components. Isn't that what you're seeing with the moon? The star and the moon would be like the sun, masculine and the moon would be feminine?
Instructor: The Divine Mother, the Virgin Mary dressed in a blue mantle in the Assumption, standing over the moon, has to convert it into a sun, a star. And that is really what the symbol of Islam signifies.
It gets even more alchemical in relation with yoga, because generally you find crosses on the tops of churches, and the symbol of the crescent moon and the star on the top of a mosque. Really the body is a temple, and the very top is the chakra Sahasrara, which is the very highest chakra in relation with omniscience, Samadhi, Mahasamadhi, experiences with the most elevated aspects of the Tree of Life.
So we see that the cross has to be carried from the bottom of the spinal column and raise it to the very heights. When we see the cross at the very height, it's referring to alchemy, how we raise that energy to the very top of the pineal gland. In the mosque too we find the same thing. The moon is related with the angel Gabriel, and Gabriel, or Jibril in the Qur'an, is often referred to by Muslims as the Holy Spirit. So it's the same thing. The Holy Spirit is really found by raising the moon in our sexual glands to the brain, transforming it into a sun, from a feminine lunar force to a solar masculine force, to the very heights of realization. This is what a church or a mosque indicates in their architecture.
Audience: The church is the body itself?
Instructor: It also relates with the Tree of Life, because the cross has four points, related with Father, Son, Holy Spirit, and the very root of existence, God, Ain Soph, otherwise known as the Star of Bethlehem, the root of our Being. The Holy Spirit, in relation with Gabriel, is the same thing, the very heights of realization that we find in the pineal gland, and the cross relates with the four elements: earth (the physical body), water (sexuality), fire (heart), and air (mind). And this also relates with the Hebrew letters:
א Aleph - Air
ש Shin - Fire
מ Mem - Water
These constitute the three mother letters of Kabbalah. With ה Hei, the Earth, we can spell השם Hashem, literally translating as "The Name," and is used as a term of respect in the place of יהוה Iod-Chavah, the sacred name of God. Such as in the saying, אדני ברוך השם Baruch Hashem Adonai, "Blessed be the name of the Lord."
We see that just as our inner Being is a Tetragrammaton: Father, Son, Holy Spirit and Ain Soph, even our physical body is a Tetragram, in relation with alchemy and the cross. In synthesis, a believer uses the cross of their body in order to practice transmutation or alchemy, to fuse oneself with God.
Audience: Am I remembering this right? The I, the A, and the O represent the superior elements?
Instructor: This is the Latin version of the same thing. IAO among the Gnostics is considered one of the most powerful mantras of the Lord.
I - Ignis, Fire, ש
A - Aqua, Water מ
O - Origo, Air א
We demonstrate that we are true believers by how we use our sexual force for God, our Bodhichitta, which is the root of all creation as symbolized in the Book of Genesis, the Garden of Eden, because we have a physical body, the earth, and the three other elements, which relate with God. So really we are a miniature cosmos, a human being that needs to be standing upright before God. That is what a believer is, to use all three letters, the fire (heart), the air (mind) and the water (sex). Usually most people are just using their air, thinking "Well, I think God is real," when they don't really know. They do not follow the Heart Doctrine at all, because they really have no experience.
Spiritual creation is a combination of the three; the four elements.
Audience: You're talking in relation with the cross those three, if I remember correctly in relation with those three top points of the cross itself, and then the one element that is not talked about, which is the bottom point. So that there is earth, air, fire and water.
Instructor: Yes, the earth can relate with the bottom point, since that is where one is grounded. That is if the cross is stable. However, we also talk about the cross in motion, the swastika, which is a very sacred symbol amongst many religions, but was unfortunately abused and misappropriated by a mistaken group of people who exclusively considered themselves "Aryan." We have to remember that the zodiacal sign of Aries relates with fire and that all of humanity is governed by that force, sign the God of Aries, Samael, is working intensely through our current zodiac, Aquarius.
When we see the swastika in motion, like in Tibetan Buddhism or Hinduism, it's really all the elements in motion; they're mixing. All the forces of the swastika mingle together, such as with the chakras. When all of the chakras are activated, it's not like one activates over the other: they work harmoniously, in unison. So if you have experiences of clairvoyance or clairaudience, usually it's in combination with many things. These psychic phenomena don't tend to remain so isolated. Just like any normal experience: you have thought, feeling and sensation. They usually happen all mixed together. This makes it hard to isolate specific phenomena, whether in the external or our internal worlds, our psychology. This is what makes access to the Heart Doctrine so difficult, because we tend to be very confused in our three brains and how they function.
Audience: I've read some articles on the swastika where they say it's not even supposed to be pointed in a particular direction, since one represents the wheel of life and the other the wheel of death.
Instructor: There is that connotation. One of the directions represents the actualization of the Mahamanvantara, which means the creation of the Tree of Life, the expansion of existence out of the Absolute, that primordial root nature of consciousness, into manifestation, into this creation that we have.
Then we have the other direction, the Mahapralaya, the cosmic night, where the universe gets absorbed back into the Absolute, symbolized by the days and nights of Brahma. When Brahma exhales, we have creation. When he inhales, all of that returns to the source. So we always have periods of activity and repose, intimately related with the breath of God, and it is the wind, the spirit, א Aleph, that rotates the swastika in motion.
As I mentioned, Nirvana has periods of activity and repose. What we're talking about now is a much grander cosmic scale, represented in the swastika or Gnostic Cross.
Originally, the counter-clockwise swastika used to represented how manifested creation, the Tree of Life, unfolded from the Absolute, the emptiness, the Prajna. However, since we have entered into Malkuth, the physical world, that swastika needs to return back to the divine origin, the emptiness. This is symbolized by the clockwise swastika which we find depicted in Buddhist art. The swastika should rotate now to the right, clockwise, towards the Absolute, for the left, counter-clockwise, indicates a fall into even more dense states of matter and energy. We are in Malkuth, as I said, and we do not need to descend further into the infernal worlds, which is signified by the counter-clockwise Nazi Swastika, a symbol of degeneration and black magic.
The essence of a true believer, a follower of the Heart Doctrine, Bodhichitta, is the work with the cross: they use everything they have, but most importantly the heart, following the superior emotional center. The path of the heart, as Samael Aun Weor indicated, is Mahamudra, the realization of emptiness, Tantrayana, Vajrayana. "To love thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, with all thy strength." Everything. Those are really the four elements relating with the psyche, the Hebrew letters, relating with the Cross or Vajrayana, the Heart Doctrine.
Audience: Is there a succession of the chakras, such as a list to work on?
Instructor: It is particular to you. This is why Samael Aun Weor gave so many different practices, because our needs are different. I might need to work more with my heart. Maybe you need to develop more clairvoyance. It depends on you. You need to meditate and really analyze, "What do I want to know and what do I really need to know?" And sometimes, just meditating and not even intending it, you can have certain experiences in which the heart opens up, whereby clairaudience, psychic sounds appear in your psyche; you hear sounds in the astral plane; or clairvoyance emerges where you start seeing images. So while you're physically meditating you gain access to the internal worlds.
This can spark your interest, such as "Since I experienced that I need to develop that more." So there's no determined checklist, such as starting first with the Muladhara chakra and moving up to Svadhisthana, Manipura, Anahata, etc., although that can be effective.
Audience: I've heard in particular with Glorian Publishing that they tend to emphasize the heart, because that is probably the most default and the most needed.
Instructor: That also relates with the emotional brain and the Heart Doctrine, to really develop Bodhicitta, real love for other human beings, genuine compassion originating from comprehension of emptiness of phenomena. We see that human beings are predominantly intellectual, especially in the West. Really, our heads are libraries. You go to university and see many different instructors and that their hearts are dead. If you look more intimately through clairvoyance you see they are just intellectual. Really, they just regurgitate information. I like what one German philosopher said, Friedrich Nietzsche, that university professors are like clocks; just make sure you wind them correctly so that they'll tell you the time. They'll repeat facts like this and that, being that they are just intellectual.
People tend to be way too intellectual. That is why we teach the Heart Doctrine, to experience, because it entails a superior emotional quality. While we refer to the three brains: intellect, emotions and motor-instinct-sexual impulses, we also relate to superior centers relating with the psyche, which are our direct connection with the divine. We have a superior intellectual center, which receives concepts and abstract principles from God. This is the divine Nous of Plato in The Republic, the objective spiritual reasoning of the philosopher kings, real human beings in the true sense of the word.
Then you have the superior emotional center, which becomes activated by listening to the great classical compositions of the masters of music, such as Beethoven. Profound and Kabbalistic works given through music and art. That's really food for the heart, since in works such as the Ninth Symphony of Beethoven, we experience the Heart Doctrine, the emptiness of Prajna, the Logos or Word of Christ within the magnanimous choral movement, along with the Vajrayana path that leads out of suffering. It's very explicit, but to understand it you need to experience it internally in order to recognize the message physically, since Beethoven was an initiate who wrote for other initiates of the Heart Doctrine. The Chorus teaches about Bodhichitta, the mysteries of the heart, and represent the Elohim, the Gods singing in unison. Many voices, but one universal harmony, Prajna, ever flowing, the swastika in motion, the power of God in movement, the emptiness, the real wisdom or happiness of the Lord. Beethoven's greatness is unveiled to the spiritual sight when we see that he wrote from having experienced many Mahasamadhis. It's really unbelievable how anyone could convey such experiences through music, which is a living scripture.
In relation with the heart, yes, listening to music like that develops our emotional center through conscious superior sentiment, not to be confused with sentimentality, like Hallmark cards.
Therefore, we always emphasize the heart, since it is the heart that is always going to lead us to liberation, represented by Jiminy Cricket, giving us, represented by Pinocchio, inquietudes: pushing us to study, pushing us to practice, pushing us to want to change. He's really in the heart, the consciousness or Buddhata, the cricket who is like a little Verb, a little IAO we can say. IAO is Christ, for in the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He is a small voice, a little representation of that principle that guides us in our actions and tells us what to do. We must always follow him within the heart.
If we struggle with that, there are many practices we can use. Many prayers, such as the Pater Noster, which is very powerful and beautiful. The Bodhisattva, Francis of Assisi, gave another tremendous prayer to develop the heart, the Heart Doctrine within:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
This is the Bodhisattva path. Even Mother Teresa had some beautiful teachings too. I do not know of her development, but she really embodied in a profound way the principle of sacrifice without self-consideration.
The heart comes first. It is really the instrument that will take you to the very heights. As Muhammad said in Al-Hadith:
There is an organ in the body that, if it is righteous, ensures that the whole system will be righteous; and if it is corrupt, the whole body will become corrupt. This organ is the heart.
"There is a polish for everything that takes away rust; and the polish for the heart is remembrance (of Allah)."
This is Self-remembrance, remembrance of our Inner God. When the heart is polished like a mirror, it can reflect God within, in every action. Then we will become a better instrument for the Lord to act in our life, guiding us.
Audience: You were talking about purity with concentration, where your concentration practice can be put askew if we are not keeping purity of mind and heart. This was profound for me because I've been studying for a long time, but have never heard this or overlooked it, or had it said like that. You can be sitting there meditating, concentrating, and can be less distracted if you actually kept more purity in your thoughts, speech, and all that. So really, ethics is the catalyst for your concentration, whereby concentration is the root catalyst for what becomes meditation, where you can actually concentrate very well? Then meditation is a potential catalyst for Samadhi, and things of that sort?
Instructor: The foundation is concentration, ethics, renunciation. Without concentration we can't meditate. And this is the failure of many practitioners and schools: they try to meditate for twenty years but have no experiences, because they do not maintain purity in their mind, heart and actions; the sins of body, speech and mind.
Audience: They're meditating but haven't established concentration practice, whereby they could focus completely?
Instructor: Basically what we want in meditation is to sit for however long and to not forget that we're meditating. This is described in the diagram of the Nine Stages of Meditative Concentration in Tibetan Buddhism, or Calm Abiding: the Stages of Serenity. We find this diagram throughout the Tibetan Buddhist monasteries. It has been used and taught by all the great Tibetan Buddhist masters. Therefore this really emphasizes its importance.
Here we see a monk chasing after a wild elephant. The elephant is the mind. In the beginning it is chaotic, running all over the place, without control, but eventually through his tools, a rope and a hook, representing mindfulness, restraint, concentration, he is able to calm it down, until reaching the stage where the elephant is becoming more white instead of gray, indicating he is becoming more pure and docile. The monk finally reaches the point where the mind is subdued, and then Samadhi or mystical experience occurs, he is flying.
These stages are not like plateaus, or a checklist to fulfill one by one. These are principles, and one can fluctuate greatly within the diagram. It depends on our effort. But generally when we meditate, we at least want to develop the degree of concentration where we don't forget that we're meditating, which are the middle stages of concentration, the fourth or fifth stages. This is a very profound diagram for comprehending and developing concentration. It is a guide or map for our practice in developing the Heart Doctrine within.
Today we are going to be talking about karma. Karma has a Sanskrit root. It comes from the Sanskrit word karman, which means “to act.” Now, commonly many of us, especially in new spiritual circles toss this word around frequently, meaning karma is that people get what they are going to deserve, right? If you say something bad, it is going to be bad karma. Maybe you have seen the little tip jars that say, “If you leave money for your barista, you are going to get good karma.”
We hear the term karma quite a bit, but I think that karma should be taken very, very seriously for those of us who want to have mystical experiences and want to radically transform our life, want to achieve that self-knowledge and that mastery of self, which allows us to transform our experiences and our external situation by transforming our internal situation.
If you're looking for a road map to do just that, you need to comprehend karma. Karma, in its true comprehended state, is the key to helping us to get out of ignorance. Ignorance is known as one of the three poisons of Buddhism along with craving and aversion. It is said that if you can eliminate one of those three poisons, you can escape the wheel of suffering, the wheel of samsara: cyclic birth and death, the wheel of existence and escape to Nirvana, right? The heavenly realms, cessation of this cycle that we are stuck in.
But for that we need Gnosis. Gnosis is the opposite of ignorance. We see the same root there “gno.” Now, through true Gnosis and comprehension of karma, we can transform our own psychology quite a bit, and by transforming ourselves, we will see a consequence and transformation of our lives.
So it is very, very critical, and it is also very accessible, because if you are really waking up, if you have really been applying the practices that we have been teaching thus far in this course, like self-observation, retrospection meditation, observing the three brains, observing your internal states and your external states, then you should be able to see karma. You should be able to see very directly how when you say a certain word, it affects the people around you. It affects your own psychology. You should be able to see how one action you do may be a kind action for someone else. It leaves you feeling happy. Maybe you go home at the end of the day and you feel good. Whereas another action, maybe a cruel word, leaves you feeling unhappy, unsettled, frustrated, or angry. That is karma. That is seeing how a cause that you put into motion produces an effect.
The Perplexity and Reality of Karma
So we'll dive a little bit more into karma, but I wanted to start with a story from the Jewish tradition. This is a story about Moses after he died. He went to heaven and God gave Moses the opportunity to look down over the Earth at all of the events and situations and people, everything that was going on and to see it all from God's perspective. Moses was very pleased with this, and he saw that it was good. Its creation was good.
But there was one situation that Moses saw that really bewildered him. It perplexed Moses. He saw a soldier riding his horse along a hot dusty road. The soldier saw a shady tree next to a stream and he pulled over his horse, climbed down and got a drink out of the stream. He took a break. Now as he was climbing back on his horse, he didn't notice that he dropped his purse, a little bag of gold coins and he rode away. Not long after Moses saw that a young boy came walking down the road and next to the tree, he saw the purse full of gold coins. He opened it up and he was astonished to discover this. So he took the purse and he ran home in excitement.
Only a short while later, a very tired merchant came walking down the road and saw the shady tree next to the stream and decided to have a drink and rest for a while, under the tree, and he fell asleep. He awoke when the soldier had come back having realized that he had lost his purse. The soldier shook the merchant by the shoulders and yelled at him, asking where his money was. The merchant swore to the soldier that he had not stolen the coins, but the soldier did not believe him. So he took out his sword and slew the merchant down.
When Moses saw the situation, it really upset him. He went to God and he said, “I look at all of this creation that you show me and I see how all of it is orderly and good. But what is happening here in this situation with this merchant and the soldier? How could this merchant undergo such a tragic misfortune as to be killed by the soldier when he didn't steal the money?”
God showed Moses a scene from previously. The same merchant was in a busy marketplace when he saw a man walking with a bag full of gold coins looking at different items to buy, and this man had at his side his young son. Now the merchant was looking to get enough money to buy something that he needed, and so he went up and he struggled with a man to get the gold coins. But when the man wouldn't give up the coins, he killed the man and ran off with the money, leaving the young boy orphaned. God showed Moses how that same merchant was the one who was killed by the soldier who lost his purse, and how that young boy, whose father had been killed and who lost his inheritance that day, came to grab the purse of the gold coins that should have rightfully been his.
Now that is a nice story. But I think that this story is very relevant for what we are going to talk about today, because we often don't have that bird's eye view. More frequently, we find that we are in the situation of being down on the ground and being very frustrated with what we see, all kinds of horrible acts and all kinds of terrible tragedies that are happening in our world every day. And we wonder: how can it be that there is a just law, a conscious divinity organizing this world, this creation, when these types of terrible things happen? We might become frustrated. So as much as we liked the theory of karma as a belief system that things will turn out the way that they should, people get what they deserve, at the same time, we may have those moments of frustration in which we are not sure that we are able to make sense of them.
The Force and Energy of Action
Now up to this point, we have been talking a lot about energy, and the way that we use our energy is very directly related with karma, which is the law of cause and effect. So I am going to share a quote here from another Gnostic instructor that I think summarizes two very essential points. And the first he says this:
In each moment of your life, you are creating. The human organism is a transformer of forces, and according to your will and your action, those forces are transformed, and those forces produce consequences, results. This is called karma in Sanskrit, from the word karman, which means “to act.” Karma is simply the Law of Cause and Effect. —Gnostic Instructor
So we can imagine a crowded marketplace where you are standing in a long line, and it's hot and somebody shoves you. That is a cause, right? And you might turn and respond to them and shove them back, and that creates another cause. What kinds of effects arise from the initial cause and the responding cause? We can see in that very simple scenario a chain begin, a chain of cause and effect.
In this teaching we talk about recurrence, the law of return. That is, all of us as Essences return lifetime after lifetime, pulled by the very energy that we have put into motion. We create an imbalance in nature, a disharmony, and that disharmony will be equilibrated by this law of cause and effect. Every cause will produce an effect, and so this will follow us from lifetime to lifetime until all of those energies have been balanced again. That is why we can understand from previous studies about our human machine, our three brains, sexual transmutation, how energy becomes very important, especially very powerful energy like our sexual energy, because that is the energy with which we create.
In this present moment, we are creating consequences. Your thoughts are creating consequences. Your emotions are creating consequences. Your physical actions create consequences, your words. Everything is creating a consequence. But are we aware of it? Are we perceiving the effects of our actions? Are we perceiving the energies that come into us in each moment as we are stimulated by life, by all these difficult situations or happy situations, the varied experiences of life? Those energies strike us in a given way, strike our psychology, and produce an energetic reaction, a response from us.
We want that response to be conscious. We want it to be a virtuous response. We want it to be a very serene, peaceful, loving response from a place of wisdom, but many times, as you know, being where we are at, we react mechanically and we produce consequences that perhaps increase our suffering rather than diminish it.
Interdependence and Internal Responsibility
So when we look at these situations on life, which are very frustrating, it seems so removed from the small actions that we are taking day-to-day, but we really have to be aware of our small actions, because our society is a reflection of the individuals who live within it. We like to place the blame somewhere else. To say, “Oh, it's them, not us! It was this person's fault, not me.” We have to look very critically first at what is in our control.
What is our response to life? What are the things in our life that we can change?—because they are caused by us, the problems and the suffering caused by us. How can we change and address those problems first and then worry about larger problems that may seem unrelated to us? Although, of course, we know that everything is interdependent and related.
So I'll continue with the rest of this quote from the Gnostic instructor that I mentioned.
We are not here on this planet to do whatever we want, to just do whatever we please, even though this is the philosophy that our media loves to promote. Our culture loves to tell us that life is just about enjoying all of the pleasures we can, as much as we can, until we die. This is a very convenient lie for those who are benefiting from us behaving in that way, but we do not benefit from this behavior, neither does God, neither does humanity. The evidence is all around us. Because of our behaviors we have created this society. Because of how each of us behaves individually on a day-to-day basis, we have created this world, not God. We have created starvation, poverty, rape, war, nuclear weapons, chemical weapons. We are the ones who created all kinds of cunning ways to cheat one another. We have made all of that because of desire. To change this planet, we have to change ourselves. —Gnostic Instructor
Now I am not advocating for extremism by sharing this quote. Of course, you know, we might know that there are many pieces of technology, like your smartphone, that have negative effects on the other side of the planet, and yet to be able to function in society, it would be very hard not to support certain industries. We want to do the best that we can, but we also have to realize that the real problem that we need to be addressing is not, perhaps the material problems of life, but rather the problem of desire.
If we can't first understand that in ourselves and address that in ourselves, the root problem, the moral problem, and the spiritual problem which causes our own suffering, then we won't be able to truly address it in the most efficient ways in our world. We might be able to work on some of the symptoms, treat the symptoms, suppress the symptoms, but can we truly get to the root of the disease that is creating a society that is totally out of balance? That is disharmonious within itself and with nature.
So as many things as we as we look at in this world that seem very unjust and unfair, until we truly understand within ourselves how we create those types of imbalances, we can't seek a greater comprehension and understanding of all of the greater things that are happening in this world. Our own divinity can teach us all of the reasons for the different situations that are happening on this planet right now, whether good or negative. But before all of that, our inner divinity is going to ask us whether or not we have been sincere with ourselves: whether or not we have addressed the problems that we have the power to change in our current situation.
Now what is wonderful for us as Gnostics is that when we take this kind of radical personal responsibility for the state of our life and for the state of the world, we are able to use karma for our own self-transformation. We are able to use karma to our benefit, not as a law which mercilessly punishes us for our ignorance and for our mistakes, but as a law that we can use consciously to understand how we can take better actions and achieve a better, higher state of life, a higher state of consciousness, a state of life with less worries.
Now, less worries doesn't necessarily mean that we're going to be rich. We might be, we might not be. It doesn't mean necessarily that we will have our dream job. We might, we might not. But it means that with harmonious actions we can create a harmonious state of being within ourselves and that means that whatever situation we find ourselves in, we are in a better position to experience that from a positive point of view and to respond to that situation from a positive point of view, rather than reacting negatively, unconsciously, and mechanically to situations in life and making problems even worse. We have a higher state of consciousness from which to comprehend our situation and respond to it.
The Four Certainties of Karma
I recommend a book that is sold through the Gnostic Store online. It is called Karma is Negotiable. These four rules or the four certainties of karma are extracted from that book, and you can definitely read a lot more about them in the book.
But to cover them simply, this is the road map that I was telling you about. This is what we need to investigate to see if it is true, if we are really experiencing this in our lives and if we find and validate these laws to work with them to our benefit, rather than being unconscious victims of the law of karma, to work with the law of karma—to become, in a sense, a magi, a magician who uses this law to his advantage to very quickly and expediently transform his or her life.
1. Actions produce related consequences
So the first certainty of karma or rule of action and consequence is that actions produce related consequences. Simply put, if you plant the seed of a pine tree, you are not going to grow an orange tree. So whatever you hope to be the consequences, you have to examine if you are taking the actions that are really going to produce those consequences.
Let's say that you really want to have a consequence of great relationship with one of your family members. But in your actions, if you really sit and meditate on your actions, you see that the seeds you are planting are seeds of discord. Maybe you are criticizing them, or you know, doing different actions that create disharmony in that relationship. So you have to analyze your actions and ask yourself: “Are these actions that I am taking in my family life, in my work life, in my relationships and in my personal life, going to produce the consequences that I really want? Are they going to create a higher level of being, a more harmonious lifestyle? Or are they going to create more problems, more complications, more suffering?” Because our actions will produce related consequences.
2. Consequences are greater than their cause
The second is that the consequences of our actions are greater than the actions themselves. So if we think about throwing a pebble into some water, we know that the water will be displaced. But what about all of the creatures that are living in that water? What about the plants in the water? Yes, we might see the superficial ripples of that water, but what about all the ripples that move down through the deeper parts of the water as that stone travels downward?
We know that a few words on Twitter can have enormous consequences, right? A few words spoken at the right time and the right place can move a nation to war, to rebellion, maybe even inspire them to peace.
At the same time, silence in just the right moment can have dramatic consequences. So when we do a small action, like maybe telling a white lie and we think it will have very small effects, we should really pay attention. We should really observe what those consequences are, not just physically, not just in our relationships with the people we have lied to, but also in our own heart, in our own mind, in our spiritual life. What are the consequences of that?
3. You cannot receive a consequence without committing its corresponding action
The third rule is that you cannot receive the consequence without committing its corresponding action. So if we hope to achieve a very high level of spiritual development and spiritual awakening, we have to commit their corresponding actions. You need to take the actions and invest the energy in order to receive receive that result.
If we are investing 99.9% of our time into a bunch of things that, in, perhaps, the spiritual view of things, are irrelevant, and only 0.01% percent of our time into our spiritual life, well, that is how much consequence we are going to get out of it. I am not saying that we should disregard our responsibilities. We absolutely need to live in a harmonious way in society. We need to take care of our family. We need to do our job. We need to be able to have the things to provide for ourselves to be able to live and have a good life and take care of ourselves, but at the same time, if we are over investing in certain areas of our life and yet expecting, you know, tremendous results in our spiritual growth, when we are not investing in that particular area, then we are kidding ourselves.
4. Once an action is performed, the consequence cannot be erased
The fourth law or fourth rule of the law of karma is that once an action is performed, the consequence cannot be erased. Once you pull the trigger, you cannot take the bullet back into the gun. Once you say that cruel word, you can never remove that from the other person's memory. The consequence and the effects of what we do are guaranteed.
So if we are performing good actions, we can have great joy in that because we know that those actions, those virtuous actions, selfless actions, that are not motivated by our own egotism, will produce positive results. But, if on the other hand, we are doing harmful actions, we will have to pay for that.
It said in the Bible:
Be not deceived. God is not mocked. For whatsoever a man sows, that he shall reap. ―Galatians 6:7
We see it in all traditions, that law of cause and effect.
So we should take these, and we should examine our actions and look at the consequences they produce. Try doing something kind for someone and observe, self-observe yourself. What are the consequences within yourself, within your heart, your mind, your body? What are the observations you have of the other person in that situation? And conversely, maybe you catch yourself doing something else, something that you have come to regret. Well, observe the consequences of that and consider these four certainties of karma, and investigate them for yourself. Don't take our word for it, but truly investigate them in your own life.
Now many of us might feel that it can be a heavy weight to think that we have had many previous lifetimes where we might have done bad things, good things, and we are not sure and now we can't erase the consequences of those actions. Well, the important thing is that we have this present moment and we have each moment after this to use it to our advantage.
This is where that line at the bottom of the screen becomes very important.
5. A superior law always overcomes an inferior one.
The law of karma is an infallible law. Actions produce consequences. We see that in physics. We all know that. But a superior law, a spiritual and divine law of mercy, perhaps, or the law of sacrifice, can be used by us consciously in order to overcome our karma. There is some karmas that we can't totally erase, certain karmas related with our sexual energy. Karmas related to adultery and fornication are crimes against the Holy Spirit, which, we have been taught especially in the Christian tradition, cannot be forgiven. But many of our actions that might have produced negative consequences for us or will produce negative consequences for us, can be overcome by working with superior laws like the law of sacrifice for others.
If we have done something wrong to hurt someone, if we said a cruel word, we can apologize. We can go and try to make it up to them. Now we can't erase the consequence of the previous action, the previous wrong that we have done, but if we are sincere in our action to make up for that or our apology, we may be able to overcome some of that damage. That would be working with a superior law in that case.
Personal Accountability and Causality
So let's talk about superior laws that we want to work with. Well, actually before we get to that, that's actually a few slides ahead, I want to talk first about how we usually respond to any situation. So this is a quote from Samael Aun Weor. He is talking about how many times we experience injustices or what we what we believe to be injustices, and it is very difficult for us to transform them. We, many times, feel like we are the victims of others’ cruelty. The victims of others’ criticisms. That it is other people's fault that we are suffering the way that we are and if other people, you know, would just understand us or respect us or do their share of the work better, then we wouldn't have these problems.
We very rarely want to look at ourselves. We very rarely want to assume that radical personal responsibility that I talked about earlier, where we accept that if something bad is happening to me, I have caused it in one way or another. I have contributed to causing this result.
That also means I have the power to change it. If I had the power to create this, I have the power to change it in a fundamental way. Perhaps not entirely, but I have some power in the situation.
We see here that many of the times, more in these situations where we are very upset, we feel overwhelmed by negative emotions and we complain. Rather than taking that type of responsibility for our lives, we rebel against our circumstances. We get mad at God. We get mad at karma. I think that this is a really powerful quote from Samael Aun Weor, so I'll share it with you.
We ask for love when we have been merciless and cruel. We demand comprehension when we have never known how to comprehend anyone, when we have never learned to see the other person’s point of view. We long for immense good fortune when we have always been the origin of many misfortunes. We protest against persons who insult us when we have always insulted everyone who surrounds us. Slander annoys us terribly when we were always slanderers and filled the world with pain. Gossip upsets us, we do not want anyone to gossip about us, however we were always involved in gossip and backbiting, talking badly about our fellowmen, mortifying the lives of others. That is, we always demand what we have not given; we were evil and we deserve the worst, but we suppose that we should be given the best. —Samael Aun Weor
So we should examine ourselves in the way that we respond to situations. When something bad happens to us, do we immediately criticize and gossip about the other people involved? When we are mad that somebody is not understanding our point of view and how much they are causing us to suffer, have we taken the time to meditate on their point of view and how they may be suffering? We want a ton of fortune for ourselves, but how much have we contributed to the well-being and good fortune of others? We make some very profound statement here, and I think it's worth meditating on and reflecting more.
When we respond to life in that way, we are not using our energy in a way that will produce positive results for us. We are actually making our situation worse. We're in a bad situation and we go and we say bad things about the other person, we are going to create more problems for ourselves. If we are in a bad situation and people are saying bad things about us and we learn to control ourselves, to recognize that what other people are saying. If it's not true, then it will pass away, and if it's true, then they are speaking the truth and why should we protest against that? If we learn to be calm and not react mechanically to life, soon enough people will be on talking about something else and we will have freed ourselves from the cycle of creating more and more problems in that situation. We will pay the karma and that situation will dissolve, eventually. Some situations take longer to resolve themselves than others.
But Samael Aun Weor taught us that the best way to get rid of a problem is to stop thinking about the problem. Many times we obsess about our problems and we put a lot of mental energy into that, and then the next time we see that person, we start screaming at them without them even saying anything, because we worked ourselves up over it. That might be an exaggerated example, but if we would merely let the problem be and move on to the other duties that we have to take care of, many times things resolve themselves. And when they can't resolve themselves, we should meditate on it, ask for guidance within.
Ethics: The Foundation of Spirituality
So the best way for us to work positively in any situation we are in life and to start cultivating a foundation for our own spiritual developments, the right environment for us to awaken, to be able to observe more, to be able to comprehend more, to have mystical experiences, is to work with ethics.
Here is another quote from Glorian.org I am going to share:
Ethics are not just mechanical laws that some external authority is trying to impose upon us. These rules, commandments, or vows have a very specific function, which must be clearly grasped, and that is this: If you perform actions that are harmful, you create disharmony not only in your environment but in your mind. Yet if you follow these ‘observances,’ or positive practices, you create positive energy, not only into your environment, but in your mind. So the purpose of Yama and Niyama or the Commandments of Moses is to stabilize our psychology so that we are no longer vibrating with so much negative emotion. —Gnostic Instructor
How do we cultivate an energetic environment in which we can have a connection with divinity? Well, if we are going around all day lying, cheating, stealing, gossiping, talking about nonsense, what is the quality of our mind? Our mind is filled with energetic garbage, so to speak. So we need a way, we need a method, in which we can harness positive energies and we can restrain negative energies. Working with energy is a form of magic, right? All of us wish that we could snap our fingers and have a better situation in life where we were happier, right? Well if you truly master ethics, if you truly learn how to work with the energy of your own psychology and to respond consciously and positively to the energies in your environment, you become a magician in that sense. This is the basis for magic, is to be conscious and to be controlling energies.
Now we talked in our last lecture about harnessing our sexual energy. That is an extremely tremendous force. And if we don't harness that energy alongside a tremendous effort of ethics and self-discipline, we will create a lot of problems for ourselves, because we will be working with a large, powerful force of energy and we will be pouring it into all of the directions that create more and more disharmony, more suffering for ourselves and for others. We need the Ten Commandments of Moses or Twelve Commandments Moses. We need teachings like Yama and Niyama to be our map, so that we can understand how to work with our own energy within us and the energy that we want to give into our environment. Because when we know how to master ourselves and become masters of the energy within ourselves and within our own psychology, then we have the foundation for becoming masters and kings and queens of nature.
The Eightfold Path of Yoga
I have taken the first two steps from Patanjali's Yoga Sutras of his Eightfold Path: Yama and Niyama. Yama means “restraint” and Niyama means “precepts.” So with Yama, we will be talking about what types of actions we want to restrain and with Niyama, we will be talking about what types of actions we want to put forward. We want to follow those precepts. We want to take those actions in order to produce the type of psychological and spiritual environment in which we can awaken and have a more harmonious lifestyle.
All of us know, if our life is very chaotic, if we have a lot of problems, it is very hard to calm down your heart, to calm down your mind, to calm down your body and to sit for meditation and try to communicate with God. It is very difficult if you have a very disharmonious environment or a very chaotic life with lots of problems. By following these steps little by little, getting control over our own actions, we will gradually be able to transform ourselves and transform our environment as a result. “As within, so without.” This is a very common Gnostic adage.
In Yama, restraint, the first principal is ahimsa, non-violence. Each one of these builds off of the previous one, so that means that before we can even go on to the next steps, we need to look at what mastering non-violence is within ourselves, to the best of our ability. Okay? So first we should have a good grasp on what non-violence means, and how we can restrain violence within ourselves and within our actions in order to then build on to the next one.
I want to point out that violence is not just physical violence, going and punching somebody or hurting someone physically. There are other levels of violence. We can have violence against ourselves. How do we talk to ourselves? Are we constantly saying negative things about ourselves? Because if we know that in our Essence we have divinity within, we shouldn't be performing those types of violent emotional actions against ourselves. In the same way, we shouldn't be criticizing others, whether we are saying those words out loud or whether we are thinking them mentally or emotionally, just having evil will towards others. Those are forms of violence. You can kill someone with a word, with a look, to a degree. You can emotionally wound people with your silence. Sarcasm is a tremendous example of violence on the mental plane. There are many times where people will use sarcasm as a way to criticize and mock others in a very cruel and demeaning way, but then to brush it aside and say that they were joking when all along, mentally, they meant it. And you can sense that. You can feel that disconnect in between somebody's words and what you feel is their intention behind them.
But before we look at it in others, we need to look at it in ourselves. So just becoming aware of what we are doing is the first step, and if we observe something in ourselves that we think is creating violence mentally, emotionally, physically, against someone else or against ourselves and our own inner divinity, then we should try to restrain that as best we can, because it's going to produce negative consequences. It is going to imbalance our mind, our heart, and our physical life, and our relationship with others.
So after that we have satya, which is truthfulness. Now this doesn't mean to go around just all honesty all the time in everyone's face, because sometimes that would be a form of violence. If we know that being bluntly honest would really hurt someone, then perhaps it is best to keep silence.
What we want to restrain is our inclination to deceive people. Maybe we are a secretive person and we take a lot of actions that are very deceptive. Are we living in a genuine, sincere way in our interactions with other people? Or are we being deceptive? Are we lying? Are we presenting ourselves as one sort of person so that we can win somebody's favors, so we can impress the people on the interview committee for a new job, so we can attract a partner that we want? Are we presenting ourselves in a false way or are we being genuine and humble and showing ourselves for who we truly are? Because it may be the case that you get that spouse or that job based on a false presentation of yourself, and sooner or later that will crumble, because you aren't actually meant to be in those situations. It is based on a lie.
So truthfulness goes beyond just what we say. It goes into the very way that we express ourselves in life, and it starts with honesty with ourselves, sincerity with ourselves. As long as we are pointing our fingers at everybody else and blaming them for our situation, and we refuse to take any personal responsibility for our situation, we are not being fully honest. Yes, there are systemic problems that exist in this world, but there are also many problems that we ourselves create in our lives, and we have to address those before we can address anything else.
After we have mastered, or I guess gotten the basics of non-violence and truthfulness, we move to asteya, non-stealing. So again, this isn't just stealing people's money and stealing other people's possessions, although of course, it includes those. How do we steal other people's time? How do we steal other people's attention or goodwill? Do we steal the credit for something when we weren't actually the person who put in the hard work and the effort to do it? Do we, through a false presentation of ourselves, steal a relationship from someone because we attracted them based on a lie, when they should have been perhaps with another partner?
Stealing hits on many levels, and again, all of these are working with energies. You know if we are violent against other people, that violence will come back and will strike us mentally, emotionally, physically. If we are deceiving others, how will we ever see the truth of God, the truth of reality, the truth of divinity, if within ourselves we are producing deception and lies? And if we were stealing from others, then that energy will again be stolen from us.
We say that people who practice black magic, because they don't get their energy from their own inner divinity, they steal energy from other people. They hypnotize other people through those people's desires, whether lust or greed or so on, and they feed their energy from those people.
So in this, we want to practice harmonious action, trusting that, you know, by performing good deeds, by doing our daily responsibilities, we will have what we need.
The next is brahmacharya, chastity. So in our previous lecture, we spoke about this at length. It is essential that we keep our energies pure, that we transform our energies and transmute them. If we are wasting those energies, if we are pouring those energies into harmful desires, into lust, which only seeks personal satisfaction at the expense of others, then how will we ever have peace and harmony within ourselves?
This is our root force, our creative power. Our sexual energy is directly related with our consciousness, our mind, our soul. If we don't have good control over that force, then our mind is going to be all over the place. Our conscious attention is going to be all over the place. Now if we can harness that force through purity, we will have sexuality, but a pure type of sexuality. We will transform that energy according to its divine archetype, rather than in a way that is against the laws of divinity.
We see this in a tree or a rose, which perfectly takes the energies of nature, its own sexual energies, and transforms those energies and follows its own archetype. It becomes something beautiful and harmonious. It does not have to steal from nature, because it's in balance with nature. That is what chastity is.
Many times people equate chastity with celibacy and they think, “Well, if I am not lustful, then I just won't have any sexual desire. Well, then I am just going to have nothing, right? I just won't feel anything.” Chastity is a form of sexuality. There is sexual impulse there, but it is pure. It is loving. It is about divinity. It is about what is best for others and not about selfish desire.
Now, building upon those foundations, we come to aparigraha, which is non-avariciousness, non-greediness: not trying to take more than what we need. This is restraining the part of the animal instinct that always wants to hoard and hoard and get more and get more. You know, it is accepting having enough, to be comfortable, to live a secure life, but not having to always be chasing more and more material things, or more and more emotional sensations.
Maybe we are somebody who is addicted to praise, and so we are always trying to put ourselves in situations where more and more people will praise us and think highly of us, dressing a certain way or making certain jokes or talking a certain way to get more attention. Well, are we stealing in that case? Shouldn't we be happy with enough? Why are we always seeking more? Why are we addicted to those sensations? So again, all of these go beyond just physicality. How are we emotionally using our energy, our sexual energy? How are we mentally using those energies?
Now once we have restrained these negative energies, we have tried to restrain our actions physically, emotionally, and mentally to a certain degree, we need to take actions that are positive physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. So these are Niyama, precepts. These are the positive actions which will produce positive results. The ones we talked about before will produce negative consequences for us. These will produce positive consequences for us and for others.
The first saucha is purity from desire. So again, purity is not just the absence of impurities. Purity is not just having nothing in it that makes it dirty, the way that many times we think of it. Purity itself is virtue. It is beauty. It is harmony. It is divinity in a pure form. Divinity has an energy, has a presence, a very powerful presence, but it is not seeking something. It exists. It has will, but it is not motivated by egotistical desires. Having purity from egotism is what this principle is all about. It is about being in harmony with the energy and the will of our inner divinity, cultivating that connection, and when other things come up to pollute that energy, we choose to hold true to our conscience rather than following egotism.
Next we have santosha, contentment with what one has. So this is pretty much the opposite of aparigraha, non-avariciousness. In non-avariciousness, it is non-attachment. It is non-grasping. It is about not seeking more. Santosha is about the quality of just being genuinely happy with what you have.
Unfortunately, this is becoming rarer and rarer. You see people on the street. Often they don't look very happy. Many people are often looking stressed or worried, but if we were at peace, if we were like a child connected with our inner divinity and fully conscious of everything that is happening in life, we would have this contentment, this peace and serenity with what we have. We would feel joy to be alive, to be in a beautiful world like this, to have the relationships we have with people. So it is quality in itself, but of course, as I mentioned before, we can't often reach these states and so we have at least a basic grasp on Yama, on restraint.
Tapas are austerities, spiritual practices. So we have many practices in Gnosis, which work with energy, and produce very positive and harmonious results for us—to cultivate a lot of energy, a lot of will power, a lot of joy in connection to divinity, and gives us the energy that we need for mystical experiences.
These are things that many times beginning practitioners complain about, having to sit to meditate or do runes or different yogic exercises. We will actually talk about them in a forthcoming lecture, but when you have worked with these and you truly see energetic results that come from them, you understand the value. These practices awaken consciousness, awaken the compassion of the heart, the wisdom of the mind, strength and vitality in the body. So we work with those practices daily in order to produce positive effects for ourselves and for others.
Svadhyaya: Scriptural Study
Next is svadhyaya, the study of scriptures. No matter which tradition you have a relationship with, studying the root scriptures from the highest teachers in those traditions is important, not the modern commentaries that are watered down, but actually going to those roots scriptures, reading a verse, sitting and reflecting on it, meditating on it, praying to divinity, “God, help me understand what is meant by this verse.” Maybe you read a passage and one line sticks out to you. Taking that one line and sitting down praying, praying for guidance and then meditating on it for 15 or 20 minutes, writing down the results that you got from your meditation—that is a great way to study the scriptures, not just on an intellectual level, but emotionally and spiritually engage with them.
Ishvarapranidhana: Remembrance of Divinity
And finally, Ishvarapranidhana, continual remembrance of God. This is our shield. If we are in remembrance of God, deeply and profoundly feeling the presence of our own inner divinity, how can we steal from others? How can we lie, or be violent, or be greedy, or be lustful? If we feel God within us, if we feel this contentment with what we have, if we feel energized by our spiritual practice, inspired by the wisdom of scriptures, and we feel pure in our heart like a child, innocent like a child, well then, why would we want to harm others? Why would we want to do these egotistical actions, which we know from our own study of our life and of karma, produce harmful effects for us and for others.
Working with these steps is the foundation for being able to manage your own energy, and as a result, transform your life, to create a lifestyle that is harmonious for spiritual practice. This might mean giving up, temporarily or for a time, distancing yourself from certain people or certain environments: not going out to bars or places where you know there are many lustful people, places where there is violence, but staying in environments and with people who you know cultivate positive energetic responses in you.
Especially at the beginning, this is really critical, because we kind of have a bandwidth, energetically, of how much we can transform before we become overwhelmed and hypnotized and fall asleep and just get sucked in again—like turning on a really really powerful engaging TV show and just becoming immediately hypnotized.
Now, maybe a master could do that and have no problems staying awake and maintaining themselves, but for many of us, we might get sucked in. So maybe we need to take a break from those types of TV shows and just focus on calming down our mind, calming down our heart. Stop taking in tons of impressions and energy that is disharmonious and actually let our mind set a little bit so that we can see: “Why am I suffering? What is hurting in me?” rather than running away and distracting ourselves, really looking at our suffering, looking it in the face because it's there. Whether we choose to see it or ignore it, it's there. By looking at our suffering, we will be able perhaps to see what has caused it and then perhaps to understand what actions we can take, such as these positive ethical actions, to resolve it. So we work with that energy daily.
Now finally, I want to conclude with sacrifice, because sacrifice is the ultimate tool that we use to negotiate our karma. Previously, the instructor mentions that we have three factors in Gnosis that are very commonly talked about. The first being death, psychological death, which we gave a lecture on. The second being spiritual birth, which was the previous lecture. And the third is sacrifice for humanity, conscious, willing sacrifice for humanity.
If you have ever done something and then you felt remorse for it, genuine remorse, you wish that there was a way you could take back that deed. You wish that there was a way you could go and make it up to that person. That is the type of longing that the sincere spiritual aspirant has.
When we look at ourselves, when we look at the problems that we have created for ourselves and the pain that we have caused others, we have a longing to do something positive to resolve that. Not just so that we won't have to have those negative consequences, but because we genuinely, deeply comprehend the harm that we have produced and no longer being ignorant of that. Now having the knowledge of how much good we could have done instead, we wish to take actions to produce that amount of good, to achieve our potential as a spiritual being.
We follow the guidance of our inner divinity and we find the best way that we can sacrifice for others. Sometimes that means going to the soup kitchen or donating money, or donating clothes. Those are good acts, but many times sacrifice goes beyond mere service for others. It is a sacrifice to practice the ethics that we just talked about. For many of us, that is a tremendous sacrifice to change our lifestyle, our way of thinking, our way of talking and acting and feeling, to try to transform our lives down to a more ethical lifestyle. But the results of doing that for the people in our lives and for everyone we may meet in the future, the results of that for ourselves, are extremely positive. So whether or not we have money to donate or time to go volunteer, or perhaps opportunities to teach spiritual teachings to others, we can all make a tremendous sacrifice by working on ourselves to become better people.
People who follow their own inner divinity, who live a harmonious lifestyle, feel sincere compassion and act on that compassion in intelligent and wise ways for the benefit of others. If we can't create that environment for ourselves, it becomes very hard to truly create it for others many times. We think we are helping someone, and really we are just adding more trouble to the situation.
Many times we want to help someone else so that we don't have to look at our own problems and deal with our own problems. So in the beginning, let's not get confused with over-sacrificing ourselves and giving up everything to take care of others, so that then we have no energy left to take care of ourselves. We need to be able to take care of our own responsibilities, to manage our own energy, to be living a harmonious life ourselves. By doing that, we are producing a tremendously good effect for others, everybody around us and for humanity as a whole. And then from that state, we might be able to know what is intelligent action, to be able to help others whether spiritually, physically, emotionally, mentally, whatever ways we have a unique vocation or calling to do so.
But we should not be sacrificing for others to the extent that we ourselves are getting burnt out, and then have no energy left to work on ourselves spiritually. That would be counter-productive.
Sacrifice builds upon birth and death. We need the death of our own egotism. We need that work on our own psychology and our own defects related with Yama, restraint. And we need the birth of our soul related with Niyama, those spiritual precepts that we can follow, those positive actions that we can take. But in addition to that, we need to also have a mindset which values the benefit of others as well, which hopes for the good benefit of those around us, of our family members, our friends, of all of humanity and all beings.
As our teacher Samael Aun Weor stated:
Those who only preoccupy themselves with their own spiritual progress and do not work for others achieve absolutely nothing. Whosoever wants to progress must sacrifice the self for others. —Samael Aun a Weor, Tarot and Kabbalah
We know, as we talked about at length, that to sacrifice the self is to sacrifice our egotism. That doesn't mean that we run ourselves dry trying to run here and there and do favors for everybody. We sacrifice our self-interest, our selfish desires, our desire for more attention, for more pleasant sensations, for more praise—whatever these desires are that are beyond what we actually need to survive and to be able to take care of ourselves and our duties. We sacrifice those egotistical desires and instead spend some time reflecting on how we can be a source of benefit to the people around us.
We all have jobs. Many of these jobs are focused on service, customer service. How can we transform our job and make it a place where we don't just drag our feet and try to get the next paycheck, but really try to do a good job so that our customers or our clients or our co-workers benefit from from having us in that environment, from speaking with us from the work that we do? That is a great place to start, working with this factor sacrifice.
But in addition to that, we need to be conserving our energies, putting them into positive actions, positive spiritual actions, and we need to be restraining our own egotism, our own negative habits, our own negativity, and trying to replace that negativity through meditation with positive insight and comprehension from our inner divinity. If we have a negative thought, it's not just repress it and push it down, but to truly investigate, “Why am I so angry?” To go, to pray, to sit and to meditate on your anger and look at it. Maybe meditate on the other person's point of view whom you are angry with and see how they are suffering, and to truly work at it until you gain some comprehension that helps you to feel a positive state, a virtuous state, a compassionate state. Then you have achieved Gnosis. You have achieved a bit of Gnosis about yourself in that situation, and when we know ourselves, we come to understand others much, much better. When we understand others, then we know what we can truly do to help them.
We mentioned that meditation is a state of consciousness. It is not a technique. Although in this tradition, we study many practices, many dynamics, many exercises that lead to this state within our daily life.
Meditative states, experiences, cognizance can always be understood through the balance of two things: study and practice. This is known as method and wisdom within Buddhism and as Samael Aun Weor, the founder of our tradition stated: “Knowledge and being must be balanced within harmoniously in order to produce comprehension.”
So, we must have knowledge of the method, what different religions teach in their very heart, how to achieve the experience, the perception of the divine. This is why we, in this tradition, study many aspects of religion, because they all teach something very valuable about how to meditate.
In the spirit of this course, we are exploring the science of meditation as taught within Sufism, although we do reference and study Buddhism, Judaism, all religions. We must always study Gnosis wherever it may be found, because the principles of Gnosis are universal, and we know from our studies that Gnosis is direct knowledge. It is cognizant experience. It is the state of meditation, of understanding. And because mediation is universal, we can always drink the wine of Gnosis from a Sufi, Buddhist or Christian cup. The religious forms are different, but the complete knowledge is the same.
The Universality of Gnosis within Religious Traditions
It’s important that we learn to drink this wine, this divine teaching, within every tradition—without exception. But we also must never pollute the purity of that knowledge with extemporaneous things, with novelties, innovations. We must not adulterate the wine of Gnosis through a bad cup, through a filthy chalice.
This is the symbol of how meditation in different traditions throughout time originally taught this teaching, this profound science. But with time and the degeneration of humanity, those religious forms have been corrupted. So, in the times of Jesus, the gospels speak about the pharisees, which can really symbolize any person from any tradition who thinks they know Gnosis, the wisdom of direct experience, but they have merely corrupted the original teaching through belief. And we have mentioned many times in our lectures and courses that belief is not real knowledge, real faith.
When we believe in something, we think it is true or we feel it is true, but we do not know. Faith is Gnosis. It is what we have experienced. It is what we have verified, and this very pure fountain of wisdom which we always must drink from, which we always must validate through our own practice, through our own experiences.
And when we have that experience, we are able to look at any religion, any teaching, and find the principles of that doctrine, to recognize it, to know it, because we have seen it for ourselves. We know it for ourselves. But the pharisee, a type of psychology that thinks it knows, but does not, is prevalent in any tradition. As Jesus of Nazareth stated, the pharisees wash the outside of the cup, but not the inside, which is a symbol of the soul. It also can refer to a religion’s tradition, meditative traditions, where the principles of this doctrine have been lost, because people, thinking that they know and understand the scriptures from experience, they mix that wisdom with impurity.
Also, this is why Jesus stated, we must pour new wine in new wine-skins. It means to have a psychological attitude that is investigative, to open one’s mind to the new. And to simply experiment.
We have to look at these practices and really test them from our own experience, to really have genuine faith, to really know. This is a conundrum or a catch 22 for students who approach any tradition. They are inspired to want to know themselves, to study themselves, to experience divinity. But because we are so corrupt with ego, we often do not know where to look for that wisdom, and so in the beginning we are blind. This is why there is a great danger in the beginning for students: to simply attach themselves to any teaching without verifying or testing it, to accept and believe in it with their minds and hearts, but without awakening the consciousness.
We study all religions. We drink gnosis, direct experience, not only from the writings of Samael Aun Weor but from the Sufis, from the Buddhist masters, from the great Kabbalists of Israel. This indicates that we have to know how to read, to understand. We have to learn how to verify. We have to experiment. This is why we study all religions, unanimously. We look at their essential principles, to know what they all teach in their essence, so that we do not become confused or intoxicated by the wine of theories, of belief systems, of merely accepting or rejecting the doctrine in our mind and heart without really comprehending the value of it.
So, Gnosis again, is real faith. It is witnessing real divinity, which the Muslims call Shahada, the declaration of faith. There is no God but God and Muhammad is His Prophet. We explain the meaning of that term, Shahada, which relates to mushahada in Arabic, signifying mediation.
So, we are going to further explore the principles of meditation according to Sufism, in order to fill a very severe need in our studies. Many people are not familiar with how mediation is taught in the Sufi teaching, how Gnosis is within Sufism.
As we were talking about the allegory of the cup, we also have to be very careful when we study. Gnosis is often the mixed, the principles of meditation are often mixed with corruption.
Every tradition in time degenerates. It is a law of nature. It has happened with Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam and even today in the Gnostic tradition.
It is because the root knowledge is often overlooked, untaught or forgotten. To have real wisdom is based on experiencing the truth for ourselves, and in this way, we do not get lost. We do not get confused when we see or hear things that are not in coherence, do not correlate with what we have verified, and this is the importance of studying the divine law and the way, in harmony.
The divine law is that we serve divinity through our practices. The way is that we experience the truth. And in this way, in our process of developing both knowledge and being, studying the tradition and meditation, no matter where it is found―we also test and experiment, we verify. We always look at the principles of a teaching, to see what is pure, what is true, and then we disregard that which is superfluous, corrupted, unnecessary.
The Definition of Principles
I would like to define for you what the word principle means as we are opening this discussion. In the online dictionary, a principle “is a fundamental truth, a proposition that serves as the foundation of a system of belief or behavior or for a change of reasoning.”
A principle is a fundamental law or truth. It is what we can verify, what we can experience. This becomes a foundation for a system, which in this definition refers to “belief.” Or in this definition refers to belief, which is inaccurate.
While principles always make up any religion, in our studies we do not believe in these things. Some people may and they can teach what they like, they can get many followers because they really believe that they know. But we have to go beyond the surface and really get at the heart of what a teaching, a school, a method entails.
Principles can also refer to a code of behavior, which we spoke about very abundantly in the previous lecture on the nature of the divine law, and ethics.
It also can support a chain of reasoning, of understanding, of comprehension.
So, in the beginning of our studies we read, we reflect, we comprehend the knowledge with the mind. We learn the terminology, the explanations, but more importantly we have to apply what we read. This is the balance of knowledge and being. This is the balance that leads us and conducts us towards integrity, to comprehension.
A principle also is “a general scientific theorem or law that has numerous special applications across a wide field.” It can be a law, principles like gravity. These are tangible experiences. These are truths that are not merely just a concept. It is a factual element of life.
While the principles of meditation pertain to our mystical states, they refer to how we live our life daily. What we know, what we see, what we verify. We know that if we act with anger, we will suffer. This is a principle or law of human behavior, of ethics. Which is why ethics is always the foundation of any tradition in order to really enter meditation.
As we stated, we find Gnosis in all religions, without exception. Just because Gnosis was the heart of those traditions, not everything that was taught in those faiths has been sustained, has lived, has not been corrupted. It’s sad to say, there are many people who take the principles of meditation, the principles of Gnosis, the teachings of Samael Aun Weor, or Sufism or Judaism or Buddhism, and they adulterate them with drugs, with politics, sectarianism, fanaticism. Many even attribute these qualities to the original heart of the founders of the religions themselves. This is very sad. It creates a lot of confusion, a lot of conflict.
People project their concepts onto the knowledge, and that is how one adulterates the knowledge. Because of a lack of genuine ethics, of following the divine law, many so called spiritual people have driven people away from the actualization or study of themselves. We find this in every faith, especially Islam, which is a tradition that has been greatly abused.
Hopefully, after this course, you will find that the principles of Gnosis are very alive within the original writings, which we always have to examine in light of our own experience and through teachings by Samael Aun Weor, who gives a very cohesive and comprehensive perspective, a practical wisdom that can aid us in understanding these things for ourselves.
As Samael Aun Weor wrote in The Revolution of Beelzebub:
“It is absurd to adulterate Gnosis with different teachings because the Christian Gospels prohibit adultery. It is absurd to conceive of Gnosis without the Maithuna, sexual magic.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of Beelzebub
We will make some references to that teaching, tantrism, sacred alchemy, with our discussion of essential principles today.
“We can drink the wine of Gnosis (divine wisdom) within a Greek, Buddhist, Sufi, Aztec, Egyptian, etc., cup, yet we must not adulterate this delicious wine with strange doctrines.” ―Samael Aun Weor wrote in The Revolution of Beelzebub:
This means that, we look at what the Sufis wrote, what the Gnostics wrote, and we verify. We look at those traditions with the eye of discrimination and selectivity. We have to look at the essential principles of these traditions and to understand them from experience. There is no other way.
The way must be validated through the divine law and the divine law must be validated through the way.
So, in this way, Bayazid Bastami, a Sufi initiate, stated “The thing we tell of can never be found by seeking, yet only seekers find it.”
So, we can never seek for genuine knowledge, just through mere intellectual pursuit. We have to understand these things through practice. So genuine seeking is through daily meditation, daily experience.
The Fundamentals of Meditation: Study and Practice
So how should we approach meditation? To emphasize my previous point, we have to look at the original scriptures. We have to look at the original writings, before commentators or commentary derived from those root sources. Whether we study Buddhism or Sufism or any teaching, we have to look at the founding documents, the original verb, the fundamentals of religion. To really look at it with a clear mindset, an attitude of investigation.
The following is from a Sufi book called Al-Risalah, known as Principles of Sufism, written by a master by the name of Al-Qushayri. His writings were often used by the Sufi master Rumi, amongst the Mevlevi Sufis, his disciples. It is a very rich book that you can study if you wish to understand the principles of Sufism, the principles of Gnosis. We quote from this book extensively because it is a very pure document. If I give testimony of this, it is because it is a text that I have investigated many times and have had experiences internally about, in the astral plane, in the mental plane, beyond.
We have to learn to investigate the written word and to reflect deeply on what we read to balance study and practice, method and wisdom. This is what it means when Al-Jurayri was quoted in this book:
“A clear vision of the fundamentals of religion comes about through the application of their derivative principles, and the derivatives are corrected by comparing them against the original sources. There is no way to the station of contemplation (meditation, mushahada) of states except by esteeming as great the means and principles that God has esteemed to be great.” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
So, the fundamentals of religion refer to the Latin religare, reunion, unification with divinity. We must study and apply, more importantly, derivative principles. What are these principles? Serenity, concentration, faith, ethical behavior, codes of conduct, divine love. These are qualities of mind, of consciousness, qualities of the soul that we can develop intentionally, so as to achieve re-unification with our inner God. We have to study and apply these principles in our daily life through our ethical behavior. The derivatives refer to qualities of consciousness that originate from those laws.
So, a principle is a law, a law of nature, whether in the physical plane or in the internal planes.
What principles do we enact in our life in order to obtain religion? What do we do on a daily basis to guarantee we will experience and know the state of our inner Being, our inner God? What about our life derives from these principles?
By fulfilling ethical conduct, what is the derivative, what is the result in our factual daily life? We have to investigate this. But to know these principles, we can study. This is the beauty of Sufism. It teaches us the level of Being, what we are psychologically, what are the virtues of the soul. So, when we comprehend and eliminate certain defects, we enact ethical behavior and really comprehend our faults. We develop the virtues of the Being in us. We derive genuine contentment, happiness, liberation by following these laws of the soul.
Sufism is very beautiful for that understanding. It teaches us about the virtues of the Being. We can experience these things if we are working seriously. So, “these derivatives are corrected by comparing them against the original sources.”
Another meaning is, we can study the writings of many teachers whether from Buddhism, Sufism, Judaism, Gnosticism. But whenever we really study a tradition, we have to really look at the founder of those faiths. We have to look at the original sources to analyse them, to really understand them, intellectually at first, and then through our experience. So, what I mean by the original sources is the writings of the Buddha, the sutras, the tantras. The writings of Padmasambhava. In Islam, the Qur’an. In the Gnostic tradition, the writings of Samael Aun Weor. We have to look at the original writings of the prophets, beings who really demonstrated a high level of integrity and understanding, the writings of Jesus or the scriptures about Christ. We have to look at these original sources, compare them to everything else that came after, because the writings or teachings of the prophets have precedence. They have the most light or knowledge.
We have to study where the light is most pure and learn to compare what came afterwards with the sense of integrity and discrimination, because impurity comes later. The light initiates, but the shadow emerges afterwards.
It is good to really be studious. It doesn’t mean we just become bookworms. It means we develop our understanding with a lot of patience and practice, because “there is no way to the stage of contemplation, the witnessing of divine states except by esteeming as great the means and principles that God has esteemed to be great” in the teaching of the prophets. They gave methods and means, principles of divinity, laws of the cosmos that are really divine.
We have to really understand what these laws are for ourselves because there is a system. There is a way. There is a path. It is specific. It is based on laws. It is not a belief or a concept to adopt, a behavior to imitate superficially. It is a code of conduct, a way of acting consciously. It is the fulfillment of law, the law of causality. Because the soul cannot be created, the consciousness cannot be developed, if we do not apply the principles or laws that ensure its fulfillment in us. Just as there is a law of gravity, there is a law for developing the soul.
If we wish to return to God, we have to learn to adopt and practice and understand how those laws of divinity operate based on facts. And in this way, when we see how this teaching works, how ethics works, how compassion is really the essence of religion, of harmonizing communities, of bringing real peace and love in our own life and the lives of others―we realize with awe that it is a beautiful knowledge. It is a great thing, that is so wonderful that it is incomprehensible to the mind.
When we experience those states of beatitude, of compassion, of serenity, it truly transforms us. This is how we empower our practice, when we have those experiences. But first we have to study and apply the knowledge. We have to know the principles of God, the principles of meditation, and to work very diligently to experience them. But not out of craving, the desire that wants to have some kind of Samadhi or mystical experience, but simply changing our daily life, working on behaviors that make us suffer, so that we can obtain a state of knowledge, the certainty that certain ways of behaving are wrong, create problems and certain ways of behaving also produce harmony, happiness. This is how we inspire ourselves and this is how we develop certainty, real faith that this knowledge works.
Certainty in Meditation
This is why we are going to examine some writings from the Qur’an that talk a lot about this nature of certainly, of real faith. So, everybody in this knowledge, this teaching of Samael Aun Weor, wants to develop certainty. Every practitioner who is really applying meditation wants to have that verification of the truth, wants to have a foundation, an experience―to really know that we know and that we have experienced God, that we know divinity, in whatever level, because there are degrees of knowledge, but also there are degrees of certainty.
There are some very beautiful teachings within this Muslim scripture. I will preface this discussion by saying the Qur’an is a very closed book. It is a book for initiates, people who are really walking the path of meditation, of the science of alchemy (from the Arabic Allah and the Greek khēmeia), to fuse oneself with divinity in the perfect matrimony, and also the study of Kabbalah.
We know that Kabbalah is the Jewish mysticism, and we will talk about the Tree of Life near the end of this lecture, how the Hebrew kabbel means “to receive” knowledge that we are certain of from experience, relating to our physical life and internal life. Just as there is Kabbalah within the Jewish tradition, we also have Kabbalah in the Arabic tradition, because Arabic and Hebrew, the Semitic languages, share the same roots. They are very ancient.
We always must study the science of meditation, the science of alchemy, if we are married. If we are a single person, we can practice many exercises that work with energy so as to awaken consciousness. This is the science of transmutation, of mutating the creative force of our body into understanding, into light.
The Three Forms of Certainty
There are three forms of certainty within the Qur’an which can help us to understand the whole map of meditation and our own experiences. I have included the Qur’anic verses where you find these terms mentioned and I will read for you excerpts from the Qur’an that talk about these principles. There is the knowledge of certainty ilm al-yaqin. There is the seeing of certainty, ayn al-yaqin, and there is the truth of certainty ḥaqq al-yaqin.
So, what is the knowledge of certainty? It refers to what we know with the intellect. It can study a religion, a system, a principle, a faith. We can have a certain level of certainty in our mind, intellectually that we know. We learn the theory, the concepts, the languages, the terms. We see how the system works, at least in the mind. We have concepts that are organised, a type of rationalization which is necessary in the beginning. This is why when we talked about the definition of principles, it is also “a fundamental truth for supporting a chain of reasoning.” This knowledge is very logical. It is very dynamic, concrete.
Knowledge of certainty refers to things making sense in our readings and our studies, because we have to have that knowledge in the intellect first.
However, we can’t just leave that there. We have to really see with certainty what those principles entail. This is the second level of certainty, ayn al-yaqin.
Al-yaqin means "certainty." Ilm means "knowledge" and ayn, if you studied Kabbalah, refers to sight, the eyes of perception.
To see with certainty means we have experienced what that knowledge entails. We can be reading about astral projection, dream yoga, meditation, samadhi and have that knowledge of certainty in our intellect, of what that teaching entails. This is good, but the next step is to really practice and to experience and see that truth for ourselves. So not just hearing about an astral projection or reading about it, but actually experiencing it for yourself. That is ayn al-yaqin, the seeing of certainty. It is what we have verified.
But there is an even deeper level to that knowledge. Ḥaqq al-yaqin, the truth of certainty. This is a very profound level of knowledge and we mentioned in our previous lecture that Haqiqah is the truth, the highest teaching of yoga, of religion, of meditation. It is the profound knowledge Maʿrifa of the truth Al-Ḥaqq, which is one of the names of Allah in the Qur’an.
To have the truth of certainty means not only just having an astral projection, which is very beautiful, very powerful, very profound. It means to have a tremendous samadhi in which the soul is lost within the Being, in which we become the Being. The Being manifests in us, a state of happiness and liberation that is truly undefinable, profound, beyond words.
It means to be completely free of the ego. There is no ego there. No “I.” No “me” nor “myself.” There is only Al-Ḥaqq, the Truth, which is why the Sufi master, Mansur al-Hallaj stated before the orthodox Muslims, “Ana 'l-Ḥaqq.” He said, “I Am the Truth!” which of course scandalized those people who were very fanatic and religious, institutionalized, dogmatic, because Ḥaqq is one of the names of God, and basically, he said “I am God.”
However, people did not understand that it wasn’t Mansur Al-Hallaj who said that. It was the truth within him saying that. Just as Jesus said, “before Abraham was, I Am.” Only divinity can say that, and that’s a very high level of attainment, the level of a master who is reaching perfection.
It is very profound, and don’t think that you cannot have that experience to a degree in the beginning, because your Being can give you that knowledge, that certainty, if He wants. You just have to be diligent about your work, but don’t get confused after those experiences thinking that we are God, because we are not. We know from experience what divinity is. We have the truth of certainty. We know it. But we return back to our body, from our experiences from dream yoga or whatever, and then we learn to walk our daily life, to continue working, because the experience of the truth does not mean the complete realization of that truth.
Mythomania and the Death of the Ego
In order to self-realize we need to annihilate the ego. This is the problem with certain people in our tradition who have an experience of the truth, the truth of certainty. They unite with God and then they come back saying “I am the Master So-and-so… Follow me!” This has led to many problems in the movement, because experience of the truth is temporary. Self-realization is something else. This is not to denigrate those experiences, because we need those experiences. We need to have truth of certainty in meditation.
We need to know these things for ourselves, but it doesn’t mean that we become mythomaniacs. It’s a term we use in this knowledge, to make a myth of manas, myth of mind. The mind thinking it is God. It is not [Editor’s Note: the term mania is well known as a delirious state of grandeur within psychotherapy and studies on mental illness. See the Spiritual and Mental Health Course for more information on this topic].
So, the consciousness can experience the truth, can see the truth. The mind can have knowledge of certainty knowledge of the truth and the intellect, but the actual experience is something else. The consciousness is not the mind. The consciousness can see with more or less clarity, but to know the truth of certainty we have to be free of ego, even if just for a temporary moment in our meditations.
States of the Truth
The Sufi Master Ibn 'Arabi stated that, “knowledge of certainty is like hearing about a fire.” He said that the “seeing of certainty is like seeing a fire, and the truth of certainty is being burnt by fire.” Degrees of knowledge, degrees of experience. But don’t think these types of states are inaccessible to you. Many people hear about these truths and they become overwhelmed, feeling like it is impossible for them to know this truth, to know these experiences for themselves.
This is why in the Qur’an, chapter 50, verses 15 through 16, states:
“Did We fail in the first creation? But they are in confusion over a new creation. And We have already created man and know what his soul whispers to him, and We are closer to him than his jugular vein.” ―Al-Qaf 15-16
There is a lot of interesting teachings in this verse. “Did We fail in the first creation?” says divinity. This first creation is the birth of our body, our physical conception. When speaking about people who don’t really practice mediation, they are in confusion over a new creation. This new creation is the soul, the soul that we develop. The body is one thing. The soul is another. We have to create the consciousness, build consciousness, develop consciousness. In this way we form the true man, the true Hum-man. Hum means spirit in Sanskrit. Man or manas means mind [Hu is also a mantra amongst Sufi schools, representing the breath of God]. A mind that is fully united with divinity, the spirit, that is a true Hum-man.
Divinity in the Qur’an states, “And We have already created man and know what his soul whispers to him.” This is a very high level to attain, to be a real man or a true human being, a woman. “And We are closer to him than his jugular vein.”
People think divinity is far away, but God is with us in every moment. This is why is Ihsan (beautiful action) is to act as if we see God even if we do not, because surely He sees us.
Divinity, the Being, has been given many names in the Qur’an. He is:
We work with meditation, we work with exercises of energy known as transmutation, and we work to serve humanity, to help humanity. We learn these states of being, through applying the principles of meditation. This is what leads us to the three forms of certainty.
We have to learn how to first study what these qualities are, but then we have to see them from experience, and if we are really serious, our Being will enter us and help us, will manifest in our deeds, will manifest and express in our daily life as these qualities: Al-Murid, "The Willing"; Al-Raḥman, "The Compassionate"; Al-Raḥim, "The Merciful"; Al-Alim, "The All-Knowing"; Al-Wadud, "The Loving"; Al-Khaliq, "The Creator"―principles, laws of the soul, laws of divinity, which are very high.
Qur’anic Verses on the Three Certainties
We can taste these in meditation and in our daily life if we are working seriously, working daily. So, it is a means to have knowledge and seeing of certainty. I will read for you some excerpts from the Qur’an where we find these verses, these terms. The knowledge and seeing of certainty are found in Surah 102, known as Al-Takathur: “Rivalry in Worldly Increase.”
This scripture refers to how people, when they approach meditation, or they approach religion, are often afflicted by desire for pursuing worldly things. To have real knowledge of certainty and seeing of certainty is to contemplate the inevitability of death, because if we don’t live our life seriously with this type of knowledge, we don’t know where we are going to go when we die. But if we awaken our perception, we develop the seeing of certainty, we can know everything, then we can generally access the truth.
“Competition in [worldly] increase diverts you
Until you visit the graveyards.
No! You are going to know.
Then no! You are going to know.
No! If you only knew with knowledge of certainty...
You will surely see the Hellfire
(states of suffering, the future that awaits those that do not eliminate the ego).
Then you will surely see it with the eye of certainty.
Then you will surely be asked that Day about pleasure”
(meaning vain worldly pleasures). ―Al-Takathur
So, if we are serious about meditation, and many times and in many traditions, students are asked to meditate about the certainty of their own death, the death of the body. This is in order to develop commitment to the path. If we are serious about our spirituality, we realise that we cannot waste our time on superfluous things, because eventually we will go to the grave and enter into the internal worlds.
If we are asleep in this physical world, we won’t have certainty of that state of consciousness when we die. This is a very scary thing to think about, because when we physically go to sleep, we black out for eight hours, typically, and we do not remember anything. This indicates that we are asleep consciously in the physical world. However, if we want to have real experiences, real certainty of the afterlife, we have to awaken here and now.
The truth of certainty is given in Surah 56 Al-Waqi’ah (The Inevitable) of which we will read a few excerpts.
“Indeed, it is a noble Qur’an in a register well protected. None touch it except for the purified.” ―Al-Waqi’ah 77-79
So, the Qur’an in Arabic means recitation. It is recorded as a scripture in the internal planes according to the Sufis, guarded by the Elohim or Buddhas, the angels, the masters. It is only accessible to those who are purifying themselves, for those who have the truth of certainty.
What does it mean to be purified? It means to work on our own mind, our own egotism, our defects. If we do not comprehend our own errors and work to eliminate them, we cannot develop our spiritual sight. We cannot awaken within the internal dimensions. The reason why we may not have experiences in the beginning is because of our own psychological obscurations, our defects. If you wish to see the internal worlds, wish to see within meditation what we are, we must remove the veil of our understanding, of the mind.
So, like any scripture, we can only interpret when we are pure, when we have awakened our consciousness. We move beyond the knowledge of certainty. We see it for ourselves and by the grace of divinity we can have that truth unveiled in its totality.
“It is a revelation from the Lord of the worlds. Then is it to this statement that you are indifferent and make the thanks for your provision that you deny the Provider?” ―Al-Waqi’ah 80-82
Many people are indifferent, even in Gnosis. What does it mean to be indifferent to any religious or spiritual teaching? It means to be asleep. To not feel the urgency to want to change. If we do not feel that longing in our heart to want to know and to give thanks to our inner divinity, it means that we are very hypnotized by our own mind. We are indifferent. We are cold, lukewarm according to the Bible. But anyone of us who is studying this type of knowledge feels a spiritual inquietude, the impetus of the Being that is pushing us to work, to develop the genuine truth of certainty in ourselves. The way we can develop this further is to meditate on our own death. Which is why the Qur’an states:
“Then why, when the soul at death reaches the throat and you are at that time looking on, and our angels are nearer to him than you, but you do not see. Then why do you not, if you are not be recompensed, bring it back if you should be truthful? And if the deceased was of those brought near to Allah, then for him is rest and bounty and a garden of pleasure.” ―Al-Waqi’ah 83-89
So many people lead their life mechanically and then they die, not knowing where they will go or where thy came from, and this is very sad. Anyone of us who is studying meditation is pushed by our own inner God. We have the longings to want to really see the mysteries of life and death, to be inspired. It is this inspiration that pushes us to experiment, to know, because we fear and we have that anxiety that we do not know where we are going and that if we do not work on our own conduct, we may end up in states of suffering worse than our present life, because the divine law is cause and effect. We will reap what we sow.
And if we think that we will not be recompensed for our wrong action, then simply look at our life. If we are honest, “bring your proof if you are truthful!” We cannot deny the law of causality. It is in every aspect of nature and the universe. There is this law of Shariah, the divine law.
But if we are brought near to our inner Being, Allah, through meditation, through practice, “then for him or her is rest and bounty in a garden of pleasure.”
“And if he was of the companions of the right (those people who are following this path), then the angels will say, ‘Peace for you, you are from companions of the right.’ But if he was one of the deniers who went astray (the people who feed their ego, who do not work on their mind), then for him is the accommodation of scaling water and burning in hell fire.” ―Al-Waqi’ah 90-94
What is this left-hand path and right-hand path? We will not go into too much detail here, but the right-hand path refers to people who are working to incarnate the Being, who are eliminating the ego. The left-hand path is often referred to as the path of the sorcerers, of black magicians, people who fortify desire and who enter states of suffering which are very intense.
So “Indeed, this is the true certainty. So exalt the name of your Lord, the Most Great.” That is the end of that Surah.
This is true certainty, and many people often get very afraid when they read the Qur’an. They see the language as very strong, mentioning damnation and hell fire and states of suffering, and become very afraid and very averse to this tradition. But if we waken our consciousness in the internal planes, we find that we are recompensed for what we do. It is the law of nature. If we are good people, we develop our conduct and develop certainty, we know that we will go to better states when physically the body dies. But if we are passionate, filled with hatred, with violence, with adultery, with sarcasm, with Phariseeism, fanaticism, egotism, we will naturally follow the trajectory of our own actions. This is the truth of certainty. The law, the truth, Al-Ḥaqq. It is the way to see how to get out of that, and meditation aids us in that process.
Psychological Work and the Signs of God
Everybody in Gnosis wants to have experiences, as I have been stating. Many people start to practice meditation and do not have experiences. They become very frustrated and discouraged. This happens often and it is a normal process, because it is not easy to first work on our mind, and that’s the priority in this tradition. We do not seek to have experiences, though they are very beautiful and necessary, but the priority is working on our own defects.
This is why it says in the Qur’an Surah 2 as Al-Baqara, verse 118:
“Those who have no knowledge (ilm or marifah in Arabic) say why does not Allah speak to us or come to us a sign?” ―Al-Baqarah 118
Meaning through some kind of meditative experience.
“So said those who were before them, words similar to what they say. Alike are their hearts.” ―Al-Baqarah 118
What does it mean that their hearts are alike? If they want to have experiences, they’re attached to the concept of having Samadhi or mystical vision. For their hearts are lukewarm, their hearts have not been purified.
Remember that we stated in the Qur’an that the Qur’an is only read by those who are purified, and can only be understood in that way. Prophet Muhammad taught in the Hadith, the oral tradition of Islam, “There is an organ in the body which, when it is pure, affects the whole health of the organism. When it is impure it pollutes everything. This organ is the heart, and the polish of the heart is Dhikr, remembrance of God.”
It is like a mirror. If you polish your heart through ethical conduct, your heart can reflect the heavens. Then experience comes naturally, easily. This is why the Qur’an states:
“We have certainly made the signs clear for the people who have certainty.” ―Al-Baqarah 118
We have verified it. But of course, certainty of the truth only comes about by working on the ego, which is why Al-Qushayri in his book Principles of Sufism stated:
“Uncertainty, knowledge does not come about except by the prior fulfillment of its conditions. That is, one must examine things in a pertinent and relevant way.” ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
So, this is the beginning, as we were stating. Study the doctrine, memorize it, develop certainty of knowledge. Be pertinent and relevant. Look at those things in your daily life that you want to change the most and look at the aspects of the doctrine that are most relevant to that.
Some people study Kabbalah first, some people psychology, meditation, alchemy. We have to study all these things together in their relationship, but how our study unfolds is natural to us, our own idiosyncrasy. We have to examine things in a very relevant way. Study meditation, how to practice it and apply it to your life. This is what is most important, pertinent.
When we are studying these things and applying these things:
“The when the hints of the divine become continuous and clear demonstrative evidence has been obtained, the perceiver (the meditator), through the succession of lights and his deep reflection upon them, becomes seemingly independent of the consideration of proof.“ ―Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism by Al-Qushayri
As we are practicing, we may experience many things. We develop evidence from our own experience. It is demonstrative. It is factual. Some people when they are meditating may see lights, images, scenes pulling out or playing out within their consciousness. Some people have visions, astral experiences, jinn experiences. When deeply reflecting on these qualities, through time, experience and practice, we become seemingly independent of the consideration of proof. Meaning we are no longer filled with the desire to want to prove these things egotistically.
The desire or the mind says, “I want to know,” but this frustration is the obstacle. We can deeply reflect on these truths, but we do not necessarily crave the understanding or experience. It will appear in our consciousness when we stop thinking about it.
When we silence our mind, relax our mind and withdraw our senses from the physical world, from our body, when the mind is serene and calm, our heart is purified. The deep reflection, the lights of divinity can reflect in us. “This is the state of certainty.” That is when we know we have experiences.
But first polish the mirror. As Rumi stated, “Your goal is not to seek after love, but to merely remove the causes and conditions that have prevented you from knowing it.” Meaning, remove the ego, and in that way we grow spiritually.
The Tree of Life: A Map of Consciousness
When we study the principles of meditation, we are going to study the Tree of Life in its synthesis. The Tree of Life on the left is the map of Kabbalah, is the levels of consciousness, levels of being, which the Sufis speak abundantly about without using the Hebrew language.
We won’t explain all the dynamics of this Tree of Life, but merely introduce it in the context of our discussion, because this map helps us to understand where we are, where we are in our meditation. We have to learn this Tree of Life very deeply, its levels of consciousness, levels of being, so that when we study any scriptures, such as the Qur’an, we can interpret with clarity, with understanding. In this way we apply these principles to our life, so that we can really deepen our meditative practice.
For example, we have the lower seven sephiroth, which means spheres [emanations] in Hebrew. It is a map of the multi-dimensionality of our universe, of the different dimensions of the cosmos, but also of our own psyche.
We have Malkuth, the physical body.
We have Yesod, the energetic, ethereal or vital forces which permeates our physicality and gives it life.
We have Hod, our emotional vehicle or body of dreams. We operate in this vehicle when we enter the dream world, which we navigate in those planes of experience when the physical body is asleep.
Likewise we have Netzach, which is our mind, our thoughts.
We have Tiphereth, our willpower or human soul. It is the beauty of the soul, which the Muslims have referred to with the name Hassan. Hassan reminds us of Ihsan, meaning: beautiful action. It is through our own will that we can act beautifully through divinity, which is our consciousness.
Geburah, meaning justice in Hebrew, is the consciousness, our sense of right and wrong.
Our intuition which tells us what to do, how to act. Sometimes our will in daily life may act egotistically, may follow our own mind or emotions, may misuse our vital energies and the physical body.
Or other times we learn to use our will, to follow our hunches, our spiritual inquietudes, our conscience, which is Geburah, the divine soul.
In this way we learn to practice ethics, so that we can experience the spirit, Al-Ḥaqq, the Truth, Chesed.
On the right we see an image of a Tree of Life within Islam, because the Muslims didn’t explicitly teach about this Tree of Life, although in their writings you can understand those principles, if we are informed, which is part of the purpose of this course, so we can look at these principles and apply them to our studies.
Meditation is experience for when we learn to work with the Tree of Life in us. Calm the body, rest our vital energies, such as through mantras, sacred sounds, alchemy, runes, pranayama, sacred rights of rejuvenation.
We calm our heart through prayer, through humility, through polishing our emotional center, our emotional qualities.
We silence and calm our mind. Withdraw our senses from the physical body, our energies, our emotions, our thoughts.
We concentrate our willpower in order to reflect within, to follow our intuition, our consciousness. In that way we can have experiences of the spirit.
That’s a very synthetic way of talking about this dynamic. We will come back to this again and again, but I merely wanted to introduce this Tree of Life in the context of our course, because we will go very deep into these principles.
Silence and Insight
So, what are these essential principles of meditation that we have been discussing? In the Gnostic tradition, we have concentration and imagination, produces the state of meditation.
Concentration is the ability to focus on one thing, without thinking of anything else.
Imagination is our capacity to perceive images of a nonphysical type. So, if I was to ask you to imagine an apple, you can see it in your mind. It is not physical, but we perceive images that are not physical. That’s a very simple example of this quality. It is the capacity to perceive internal imagery, such as through dreams.
If we wish to have that type of perception very developed, we have to work with many exercises to develop our imagination, which we will be explaining in this course.
Concentration is when we are able to focus on one thing with our willpower, our attention, without being distracted.
We develop our concentration through ethics. If our mind is wild, we can’t concentrate or focus on one thing when we sit to practice, if we are engaging in unethical behavior all day.
We feed our anger, our mind becomes agitated. We feel lust, we pollute our mind stream with conditions of mind, desire, which are contrary to the state of imagination. We can’t see clearly if the mind is chaos.
This is the meaning of polishing the heart. The heart is developed through our ethics. When the heart is polished, we can reflect the images of God, and this is the state of meditation. So, this is the Gnostic conception of this dynamic.
Concentration, imagination equals meditation, the state of comprehension.
The Buddhists refer to this as Shamatha and Vipassana, which relates and completes Samadhi, mystical experience.
The Sufis refer to this dynamic as silence and insight, which refers to witnessing the truth.
They all teach the same thing. While you may be familiar with the Buddhist conception or the gnostic teaching of this dynamic, we are going to explore these principles according to Sufism.
So, by obtaining silence of mind, serenity of mind, we develop understanding or insight. We can see things clearly in us. And of course, there are many practices to develop serenity, concentration, and there are also practices to develop imagination.
The Key to Successful Worship
To conclude, in order to develop certainty in us, to develop real worship of divinity, we have to combine silence and insight, according to the Sufis. Serenity and visualization, concentration, imagination. Dhul-Nun al-Misri was a Sufi initiate who wrote the following:
“The key to success and worship lies in meditative reflection, fikrat. Whoever persists in such reflection in the heart will behold the invisible realm in the spirit.” ―Dhul-Nun al-Misri
So, this means: polish your mind, polish your heart, act ethically, develop compassion for others, especially when you are tempted to behave in negative ways. Work on anger. Look in yourself at anger. See it for what it is. Comprehend it. reflect upon it. See it. Develop serenity in you so that when you are working on your mind in mediation, you can go deep.
Reflect on yourself, be deep, be profound. In this way we awaken our consciousness to behold the invisible realm, the Tree of Life, in the spirit.
“Whosoever contemplates God through keeping watch over their thoughts which pass through his heart will be exalted by God and in all his outward deeds.” ―Dhul-Nun al-Misri
This is the meaning of “Truly We are closer to you then your jugular vein.” Whomsoever acts by working on their own mind, their own thoughts, by what they can perceive, here and now, will learn to purify themselves. It is only by purifying our mind, by acting ethically that we develop genuine serenity, silence, and eventually insight and understanding.
So, we will be examining these principles very deeply, in the coming months. I would like to invite you to ask questions.
Questions and Answers
Question: I have a question in regard to an indifferent approach. My question is that in a lot of Samael’s teachings, he talks about how we should also have an attitude of indifference towards the studies, not necessarily what you meant as how I understood it, which was to approach it with a state of equanimity (as of that indifference). Not like the attitude of what you said, like laziness, not having the fuel to go after those experiences. Could you please expand a little on that?
Instructor: Absolutely. Very good comment. What Samael Aun Weor mentions about practicing with indifference, has to do with, as you said, being neutral. Having a state of equanimity, not being driven by passion or craving to have experiences, but neither wanting to reject what we see, but to verify and to test.
So, there are two forms of indifference, as you mentioned, and that we were talking about. One is to be in a state of equanimity and to be scientific―test and verify. Look at what the teachings provide. Practice them, but do not expect an immediate reward. Neither fear what the outcome may be, but simply work with them and try them with an open mind.
This is the meaning of pouring new wine in new wine skins, or a new cup, a fresh cup. We learn to drink that experience and those practices by trying them, and seeing what works from experience. But the other term of indifference is (in terms of the Qur’anic language) not really caring about or having an inspiration to want to practice at all.
So, it’s a very different thing as you know. One thing is to practice with the neutral, equanimitous state of mind, but one thing is to be so lazy and intellectual to not want to try anything at all. The latter state is very common in the Gnostic movement, or any tradition really. People may like to study intellectually and are very fascinated by theory and they have the knowledge of certainty of things, but they are really lukewarm when it comes to dedication. Dedication is fulfilled when we practice this science
Question: Would it be accurate to say that serving humanity, showing compassion to others, helping in a soup kitchen for e.g. is wonderful and great thing to do, but to really serve humanity is to act ethically, to not act of negative emotions, not act out of the “I’s,” try not to dominate moments or always be right or point out how others are wrong? Is it accurate to say serving humanity is ethics?
Instructor: Absolutely, because any type of service becomes corrupt if we do it with our desires. If we are working on our anger, our pride, our fear and our negative internal states, that’s going to be the greatest form of worship. It is what Dhul-Nun al-Misri teaches too, and many other Sufis.
While we do not negate the need to want to help other people, we perfect that art when we are being patient with ourselves and other people. In terms of serving humanity, we have our jobs, we have our careers. We have certain services that we are doing to genuinely help others, but that quality of that service is contingent upon our own mental states.
So, they go both hand in hand, but more importantly if we are going to serve well, we have to work on our ego. That is really the greatest form of sacrifice and service, because we can work at job that we really hate, that is very difficult and yet it is where our Being needs us to be.
Personally, I have a job that is very difficult. I work with very difficult clients who test me all the time, who are very negative, and many times I have wanted to quit my job. I have wanted to leave because its been a very painful process. But I found that my Being has put me there, and I have verified this through experiences many times, in order to work on my patience, work on my ethics and work on my mind. When I have been able to change my own negative internal states, my own frustration and anger, I have really been able to serve humanity better at that job.
Our greatest form of prayer for divinity is when we comprehend and annihilate anger, which is why Prophet Muhammad taught “The strongest amongst you is he who controls his anger.” We can’t really help other people if we are afflicted by our own desires.
So they relate to each other: service and death of the ego. They are two aspects of the same thing, including the other factor, which is birth. Birth, death and sacrifice―the three factors of Gnosis. Of course, it’s a form of prayer in which we no longer react to life, we contemplate God in our thoughts, our deeds and our hearts. When we do not act on our ego, but act virtuously, God exalts us and helps us with certain meditative states and experiences. Hope that answers your question.
Question: Yes, definitely thank you. So, the sacrifice and the serving of humanity, that can come through voluntary suffering, whereas the suffering is when you are in an ordeal and you want to argue back and prove that you right, show that you are the victim in the situation but instead you do not act on your anger, your pride and that’s voluntary. Its hard because you want to point out that you are being wronged but instead you take the higher road, and that’s voluntary suffering, correct?
Instructor: Absolutely, and that is really the foundation of developing certainty. People want to experience God, but they do not want to work on the veil that covers them. When we are angry, we do not see God. We see anger. We want to hurt, but if you are changing your mental states, you are tearing the veil of Isis according to the Freemasons. In that way we can really serve the other person, especially when they are crucifying us, metaphorically speaking.
Maybe some of you may have heard of this concept before, of letting yourself die to attachment or desire. But what does it mean in practice? It can be a very lofty ideal, but sometimes it is hard to figure out exactly what is meant by that. We are going to go through some of the different teachings around this topic of psychological death, break it down a bit, and then we will finish up with a practical aspects of how we might hope to achieve this little by little in our daily lives.
I want to begin with a quote from Samael Aun Weor. He states in his book Tarot and Kabbalah:
Intimate self-realization costs has a price, life itself. ―Samael Aun a Weor, Tarot and Kabbalah
The intimate self-realization, which is related to the work of our soul and our spiritual development, costs life itself. What does that mean? Well, I am going to keep you waiting and I am not going to explain right now what it means, but we will come back to it a little later on, and should it keep it in mind as we talk about death, because of course, death is something that all of us should be very aware off.
All of us will die one day physically. Although this is unavoidable part of life, many times we try to avoid it, even if the news or in a media, we often see that images of death can be covered up: funerals, closed caskets. We have a society that tries to shield us from death and keep us focused on goals we want to attain from life: wealth or status, worldly success. Many times we are glad to avoid the topic of death, because we fear death, although we know it is inevitable. We have a strong fear of dying. Part of that has to do with a loss of all of those things that we cling to and hold.
Another part of it is fear of the unknown. What comes after death? We might have many beliefs about this or many ideas about this, but who truly remembers dying? Who truly knows and has experience what will happen to them after death?
We sometimes hear stories of saints or prophets or masters, who were crucified or burned alive or tortured and killed―many gruesome deaths―and yet we hear that throughout all of that they had a type of serenity and love, even for the ones who were harming them. So, why were they not afraid of death or even the pain associated with it? What was the difference between us, as common people, and those who have achieved the higher degree of self-development, spiritual development? What comes after death?
Well, in this teaching we understand the law of karma, the law of cause and effect, and we know that whatever actions we sow in this lifetime, we will reap the effects of those actions, whether in this life or after this life. So what comes after death is entirely determined by what we do today, maybe what we have done yesterday―what we will do tomorrow and for the remaining days of our life. And yet, many times we find that it is hard to live by that principle. Although we know that we should be treating others well, perhaps it can be difficult.
So, I want to begin our talk today with this quote from the Bible from the Book of James:
What does it profit, my brothers, though a man say he has faith, and have not works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say to them, Depart in peace, be you warmed and filled; notwithstanding you give them not those things which are needful to the body; what does it profit? Even so faith, if it has not works, is dead, being alone. ―James 2:14-17
I am going to begin this discussion today by thinking about: what do we put our faith in? We may say: "I have faith in God" or "I have faith in,” perhaps, something like “reincarnation or heaven or hell.” We may say we have faith in karma, and that we know if we do these good deeds today, that we will reap the benefit for them after this life comes to an end.
But does that faith produce works? Do we truly see that our actions reflect the things we claim to have faith in? Or is that faith merely a belief? And when push comes to shove, do we act in a way that we feel will get us the one up now?
Maybe we have to lie to get what we want in a certain situation, and even though we say we have faith and the truth, and we know that lying is bad and will cause us pain later on. Does our action reflect that we truly know that? Or is it merely a belief, because we see that faith, if its merely a belief, and does not reflect itself in our actions and in our works, is dead. It is dead faith.
We want living faith, because when we speak of faith in this tradition, we try to emphasize that it is different from mere belief, that faith is something that we know from direct experience, that we know so deeply, that no matter what anyone says, we will not be shaken. We would not have to react or argue with them. We will not doubt ourselves, because we would know that this is true, because we have lived it. We have experienced it directly.
I will give you an example of something that most of us, if not all, have living faith in. Perhaps you burned yourself―whether it is on a hot tap or a fire. And maybe when you were a little kid, there was something hot around, and you accidentally burned yourself. Now, if you know nowadays that something is hot or you see a fire, no matter how many people tell you: "Oh, no no! Go ahead! Touch the hot stove!" or "stick your hand in the fire! Go ahead, and step into the fire!"―you will not do it. Maybe if your house is burning down and there is something very, very precious, you might risk it, but must of the time, if there is not a very good reason―no matter what anyone said to try to convince us―we would not touch that fire, because we know we would be burned. We know that from experience, and it is just not worth it to take someone's word for something. We already know it is true.
In the same way we do not have to argue with people about whether or not grass is green, or the sky is blue, because we know these things. And even if somebody comes up to you and tells you: "No, the sky is neon green!"―you will just perhaps think "that's a little strange,” but you wouldn't have to waste your time in an argument or doubt yourself, because you can see that that is true.
So, when we hear that prophets and saints, that Jesus and Buddha, Krishna, all these great masters have given us some message that divinity, that angels, that demons, hell and heaven, that these types of places and beings are real, it can be hard for us to have faith in that if we don't have an experience or remembrance, or we have not seen that directly. So it might feel that we have to just believe and take that person's word for it, that we have to trust that the saints and prophets, who preach these type of messages―they experienced it―and so we should take their word for it.
But the reason that Gnostic path is such a difficult one, is because we take nothing on mere belief. We truly have to test and investigate these teachings, the teachings from beautiful masters, beautiful spiritual teachers, and we have to test them and evaluate them in our own experience and in our own practice. And that takes more than just normal efforts. It takes super efforts. And, so, in this tradition we work very hard to do that.
The Reality of Death
I start with this sentiment about faith, because all of us know for a fact that we will die. We know that intellectually. Perhaps we’ve seen our loved ones die and that hit us with a lot of grief and, perhaps, made us think about our own mortality. But do we truly deeply comprehend the reality of death? Do we know it so deeply that we live our life truly knowing that this day could be our last? So that co-worker or friend, or family member, who you have a grudge against, and you know that: "OK, yeah, sure I should let that grudge go,” but still it eats away at you. Do you truly stop and think: "If I die tomorrow, would this grudge really matter to me? Would getting my revenge on this person really be that important? If I would have die tomorrow, wouldn't I wish instead that I felt love for them? That I have forgiven them?"
So, we have to question whether or not we deeply comprehend the reality of our inevitable death. Because if we did, perhaps we would be living quite differently. So, one practice is that at the end of each day is to contemplate your daily activities, to do that retrospection, meditation of everything that have said and done, thought and fell that day from the perspective if you were to die that night―and to think if you would have done something differently, because, hopefully, God willing, the next day will have another chance to try to do it differently.
Death in the Tarot
There is Arcanum in the Tarot that is very commonly associated with death. The Arcanum of death is Arcanum 13. But as you noticed here in the Tarot card from the Gnostic, Eternal Tarot deck, Arcanum 13 is immortality.
So, there is a relationship there. Immortality has in its center the root "mort,” which relates to death. But "immortality" is to be able to overcome death, to be able to resist death. So even in this card, we see the rebirth―reaping the wheat, representing death. And we see young wheat that is growing in the period of, perhaps, youth and we see up above the flowers, representing birth and rebirth.
As we think about this hierarch of the law, reaping the grains of wheat, Samael Aun Weor explains in his teaching that these grains of wheat―each little grain and the long grains and the short grains―represent vital energies, vital qualities that we have, vital values.
We learned previously about the three brains. We have an intellectual brain, our intellectual center, which processes intellectual energy. We have an emotional brain, which processes emotional energy, and we have a motor-instinctive-sexual brain, which processes energy in those levels. And those three brains are mechanical. They are machines. And each of those brains run on a certain type of fuel, which we can think of as vital values. We can compare each one to, perhaps, an engine. And just like the engine in your car requires gasoline to run, each of these three brains requires vital values to be able to run.
Now we have a kind of funny word to talk about―Bobbin-Kandelnosts, but whether or not you remember the word, it is important to know that at the beginning of our life, each of us are given a different number of vital values in each of our three brains, and that after the quantity of vital values has been used up, that that brain will no longer function properly.
If we use up all of our intellectual values, perhaps, we will have it illnesses of the mind, mental illnesses. If we do so with our emotional values, we might have disorders of the emotional center: depression, anxiety. And if we do so with our motor-instinctive-sexual center, we may have very difficult physical illnesses as well.
What is important to recognize is that conserving energy is very important. And when we have some states of Being, like pride, or envy, or anger, or lust, we use up a lot of those vital values. Whereas, where we have a calm disposition, when we are able to respond to life with genuine compassion and serenity, we do not use hardly as much energy, and we prolong our life by preserving those vital values.
So, the qualities that waste the most energy are egotistical. You might think that you have a problem at work and so you need to deal with that problem at work. But let's say that you are home from work, and there is nothing you can do to work on that problem right now, but you are spending all night or maybe your whole weekend worrying and thinking about, and trying to figure it out, and going back and forth, thinking the same thoughts over and over, and really getting anxious about it. This can waste a tremendous amount of energy. At the end of the day, you just to have to go to work and take and action. You just have to do what you can to solve the problem.
But we tend to think that we can use our intellectual brain to solve the problem. This is might be helpful for certain types of problems, but for many problems it is actually the wrong center be using to try to fix them. For example, in that case, perhaps, we need to use our motor center to act, to do something, to take care of it. We have to judge each situation on case by case basis. But we also need to be observing how we are responding to the different situations in our life and evaluating how much energy we are expending, and what are we truly gaining from that energy. We know that: "Yes, it takes energy" to be able to sit for half an hour or an hour to meditate. But what do we gain from an hour of meditation?
I think that there is no one, who would truly say that they regret meditating. But perhaps we spend an hour yelling at the person that we are angry at and we might come to regret that later on.
So, thinking of these types of perspectives, when you review your daily activities, what are you truly getting out of it? Are you preserving your life force, your vital values? Or are you squandering it on things that, when the moment of death comes, will not have as much significance as you might feel they do in this moment?
Opposing the Ego
For that reason, we seek in the study to radically oppose our ego, our own sense of self. The things that we have planned for this life, that we want for this life, that are entirely egotistical, that are about our prestige, our success, our material wealth, all of these things. Yes, we need to be concerned with worldly affairs to certain degree, in order to live and to survive in this society, and to do our job, but when do we go overboard? When are being wasteful of those energies, and when are we actually using those energies in an appropriate amount to complete the daily tasks that we have to perform?
So that is why we seek annihilate our ego entirely. This work takes a very long time, but this is a work of this arcanum, because Arcanum 13 is related with Gospel of Judas Iscariot. And most of us will be familiar with the story of Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Christ. He sold Christ to the authorities for 30 coins of silver. Those 30 coins of silver can have many levels of meaning, but simply put, they might represent worldly desires: desires for wealth, desires for sensual pleasures, desires for power and fame, sensation.
So, do we sell our Intimate Christ for the worldly sensations, for the desires of our personality or our ego? Do we sell our spiritual life for worldly life? And when the moment of death comes, when everything that we have accumulated in this world, when life has taken away from us, what would we truly have left? What would we have invested into our soul, into the part of ourselves that will go on after death?
So, let's look at what Samael Aun Weor has told us about this arcanum. He says that this Arcanum relates to our true identity:
Common and ordinary people do not have a true identity, because only those phantoms of the pluralized “I” are expressed through them. Thus, after death each human is a legion. ―Samael Aun Weor, Alchemy and Kabbalah in the Taro
We talked before about ego in contrast with consciousness and personality. The ego we sometimes refer to as one, like we need to annihilate the entire ego, because it is an aggregate, but it is an aggregate of many different egos, many different desires. We might experience in any given moment that we desire multiple things. Maybe we want to go out and get some exercise today, but we are also really tired, and we just want to sit on the couch. In that moment we are pulled by two desires.
Or, perhaps, we want to scream at the person that has just criticized us, but at the same time another part of us troubles to have a kind reaction, to express compassion instead of anger.
Many times we feel this conflict. That is why Samael Aun Weor is pointing out here that common, ordinary people like us do not have a true identity. We have a plural life identity. We have all these little "I's" that in each moment are fighting for control of our machine, our human machine, fighting to drive the intellectual center in one direction, and the emotional center in another direction, and a physical center in another direction. So, we need to be aware of that, that many times we say: "Oh, yes, this is truly what I want, this is me. This is what is important to me and what I value. I value honesty!" But a little while later, just in a right situation pressure, we betray the things that we have said we value. We lie when we say that honesty is our policy, or any number of things.
So, as much as we believe we may be good people, who would never do certain immoral actions or unethical steps, at the same time we have to realize that we don't truly know ourselves, that there are depths of our identity, in our subconsciousness, that would terrify us. We don't know what we are capable of in a given situation, when pressures are just right. We don't know what might emerge out of us, when we are truly frightened or when we are tempted by something more than what we can resist.
We have to recognize the part of ourselves that we are aware of, but also always are thriving to know our deeper self―things about ourselves that might emerge in our dreams or in our fantasies, and we are examining: "Who am I really?" Because everything that emerges in your mind has a relationship with you. It is a part of you. So, we might think some angry, hateful thought or a violent thought, and then we say: "Oh, but I am not a violent person. I would never do that!" But if it is a part of our mind, it is a part of us.
We are more than just our actions. We are more than just our thoughts, more than just our emotions, more than just our instincts. These people are complex.
Consciousness: Our True Identity
So, what is soul? Soul, which should be our true identity? Samael Aun Weor states:
Whosoever incarnates their soul acquires true identity and thus already IS. Present humans are not self-realized beings. ―Samael Aun Weor, Alchemy and Kabbalah in the Tarot
This points out to us that we have more to accomplish, that we are not in our most developed state. We try to state that people nowadays are the most evolved civilization that there has ever been on this planet, but when we look at the state of our world, when we read the newspapers and hear about all the violent acts that go on, we know that it cannot be true, that people cannot be living at their highest potential of spiritual development, compassion and wisdom, and virtue, and all those qualities that we see represented in saints and Christ-like figures.
So those figures are divine because they are representations of their own inner divinity, of their own inner spirit. On that level our Being, our spirit, is perfect, and is perfect knowledge. It does not have to think, because it knows, because it is truth and beauty, and perfection, wisdom, love and virtue. It already is. But how do we reach a state in which that spirit is what is emanating from us? Physically, emotionally, mentally―in our words, in our deeds.
Willpower and Desire
The next section here on willpower gives a very important clue onto a big obstacle that we might encounter:
Present humans confuse the force of desire with willpower. We need to engender Christ-Will. ―Samael Aun Weor, Alchemy and Kabbalah in the Tarot
Many times we had a desire that is so powerful that we felt we would do anything to pursue it. Maybe this was a desire for job or a new car, or certain partner. Any number of things, maybe even a desire for certain type of food. We take all kinds of actions and maybe we have violated our own ethics in order to be able to get what we wanted. All the time we thought we were fighting for "what I want,” that is "my will,” but truly from a spiritual perspective, in those moments, we were controlled by desire. We were not in control of that situation. The desire was driving us, that egotistical desire was driving our human machine. Perhaps, a desire was to get revenge on someone who has betrayed us and truly hurt us, and all the time we felt: "This is my will. My will is to get revenge and make this person feel the pain that they would make me feel.” All along we think we are doing our will, but afterwards, when the deed is done, and we see the suffering, and that we have a look in the mirror and know we have truly hurt someone that we once cared about, then we might question: "Was that really my will? Or was I being driven by a demonic force within myself? An egotistical force that now I wish I had never had that desire in the first place?”
So, we need to be analyzing our day every day, because we can catch things. We can see things. We can recognize a desire, and we can comprehend it before it drives us to take actions that are harmful for ourselves or for others. When we do that, when we meditate, when we pray, when we ask God to illuminate our mind, to help us to comprehend the truth, and what is the right action in those situations, we can begin to gain true willpower. Because our will should be united with the will of our inner divinity.
Our inner Spirit is the best part of each one of us. If every person could reflect their Spirit and perform the will of their Spirit, they would perform truly miraculous deeds. They would be a beacon of love and wisdom. So, we want to engender that―that Christ-will, the will of divinity within us, our own unique representation of divinity.
Many people might claim that they feel they are channeling the divine, and maybe in a moment they have a mystical experience that is truly beautiful and is divine. But can we sustain that state on a regular basis? Or is our willpower constantly overrun by different desires that are driving the car?
The Relationship Between Life and Death
We need to ask ourselves: "Who do we live for? Do we live our lives for God? For the will our inner Spirit, to truly become the best that we are able to become under the guidance of our inner Father? Or do we live our life for an ego? For the worst parts of ourselves? The demonic parts of us, the vices that we carry within?”
Samael Aun Weor goes on to say that:
Life and death are two phenomena of the same thing. ―Samael Aun Weor, Alchemy and Kabbalah in the Tarot
In every moment that we are living in a certain way, there is another rout of possibilities that is dying. Every time we come to a fork in a road and we choose to go right, we are not going left. Right, simply put. When you make a decision, you are putting into motion a new chain of events, a new chain of a facts. And, so, when we act on a harmful quality, we are giving life to that harmful quality. We are feeding it our energy. We are letting it live and express itself through our body, through our heart, through our mind, through our words and actions. We are giving it more strength and vitality. But what dies as a consequence of that?
If I spent 75% of my day thinking about me, doing actions for me, pushing others aside, so that I can get at the front of the line, well―what is dying in the 75% of my day? What is dying, is the will of Being, the life of my own soul, the possibilities that my Spirit might have performed through me had I truly been awake, had I truly been mindful and at one, and in a state in which I could hear the will of my inner divinity, could feel that will, could be that will and perform it.
Every time we make a decision or we say something, we are sowing the consequences. We are sowing the causes that we will reap different consequences. So, we need to be aware of that, when we go and we evaluate our life.
We see here a butterfly, coming out of cocoon. What has to die for the butterfly to live? Well, we know. If we know a little bit about biology, we know that for the butterfly, the caterpillar has to die. A lot of us like to think that we are already butterflies and we are flying around and maybe we know so much about what there is to know, and we are really living life for a full potential. Some people like to think that. But the reality is we are actually closer to that of the caterpillar. We are very limited in our thoughts, in our emotions, in our physical abilities, in our spiritual abilities. We are not merely invisible. We truly cannot fly into the higher realms of existence, and experience and see the truth of reality in nature for ourselves. We have a very narrow ability to perceive.
What happens of the caterpillar? Does it know what it takes to become a butterfly? What if the caterpillar refuses to die, refuses to build the cocoon, fights to death to preserve its existence as a caterpillar? Feels that being caterpillar is the height of all there is to be and it chooses instead to focus on getting fat, eating a lot of leaves, reaming the earth and never wants to fly? It will never know what potential it had.
This is the analogy here with the fool. We say that we have an Essence. We have a seed of the soul and we believe that that there is an ego and our personality in our physical body, that that is "who I am,” and that is all that we know of ourselves. So, to give up things that “I egotistically want, that maybe I spent many years wanting and worked for, a certain number of my bank accounts, a certain promotion at work, a certain type of spouse, to give that up―seems like giving up myself. What else would there be for me if I didn't have that?” Because we do not know what it would be like to truly experience possibilities of our soul and of our Spirit.
If we knew that, if we knew what it was to be the butterfly, which actually is used in many symbols to represent the soul, the psyche, if we knew what that was, we would be so glad to let that caterpillar go, because we have already experienced what the caterpillar is like. Now we want to know what it is to be a fully self-realized being.
But in order for our soul to live―the ego has to die. That is why life and death are part of the same thing. In every moment, in order for you to live, something has to die. Even if we are vegetarian, we have to kill plants in order for us to live. And in order for anything to live, for anything to be born, there must be death as well.
Jesus said the same thing in the Bible. In the Book of John he said:
Truly I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a seed. But if it dies, it bares much fruit. ―John 12:24
So, we want to know what fruit we could bare if we are performing the will of our Being. Perhaps you had an experience where you have done a good deed, a truly selfless deed, and maybe something just came over to you in that moment and you put aside whatever else you were doing or worrying about to truly help someone who needed help. The consequences of that action were far greater than the act itself. Some of us are fortunate to have had that person come back to us at some point and share with us what a difference we made in their lives, but sometimes we never find out. Maybe, that kind word or that kind deed, was the only thing helping that person to keep going or the break that that person finally needed to get to the next stage of their life. Or maybe it was the example of kindness that gave that person faith in humanity, that gave that person faith in their own goodness.
There are many jaded people in the world today, unfortunately, very cynical, who believe that it is naive to believe in goodness or in these virtues of the spirit. Those people were have been hurt enough times to know that trusting people can sometimes cause pain. But trust is actually a quality of strength, because after that period of naivety, after that period of cynicism, we come to realize that regardless of getting hurt, what we do is a reflection of who we are. If we truly want to reflect on our life and on ourselves with self-respect, with dignity, with the piece and serenity, they come saying: "Hey, maybe I didn't always did a great job, but I truly know that I strived every day of my life to do the best that I could, to do the will of my inner divinity, to do what my conscience called upon me to do.” That brings the type of serenity that no matter what anybody else says about us, no matter how we are judged or persecuted by the world, or whatever criticism our loved ones might say, we know that we are truly striving for the best that we believe we are capable of―truly trying to follow the guidance of our inner divinity, to manifest greatness of self.
We have to realize that all these saints and prophets, and great beings, like Jesus, Krishna, Muhammad, Moses, Buddha, all of them were once people just like us, whether in that lifetime or previous lifetimes. All of them had to fight. Of course, yes, it was partially the grace of divine will that all of us have access to the mercy of divine will, but also it was a result of their own super-efforts, their tremendous discipline to work on themselves and to strive for the best of what they knew they were capable of in their heart, in their conscience.
Samael Aun Weor also says that when one dies to the cosmos, one is born for the Absolute.
The cosmos is representation of this material world, the realm of Samsara in Buddhism, the realm of cause and effect, in which we are chained to the wheel of suffering. The Absolute represents the unmanifested reality, the perfect divinity, nirvana in Buddhism, the part of us that is deeply within us right now that we can realize, that even in this body we can have access to the Absolute, to nirvana, to the state that is free from suffering, because it is, because it knows, because it is perfection and love, and wisdom. But we have to die to this world to be born into that world.
And that is why Jesus also stated in the Book of Mathew:
For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, and whoever will lose his life for my sake will find it. ―Matthew 16:25
Jesus is speaking there as a representation of the Christ, that is older divinity, that is universal. That is an energy and an intelligence that is beyond anyone person, but can manifest within us―you and me, if we work, if we eliminate our ego, if we die to what we feel right now is “my life and the things I want, the things that my personality and my culture, and my family says, I should do.” We give up those temporary pleasures, those temporary desires of this life, and we work to give up our life and dedicate our life and our daily actions and our words for the sake of our inner divinity.
We lose our life for the sake of God, our inner Spirit. Then we truly find our life, we find our soul, the potentials of reality that we can scarcely imagine in this moment. We begin to see another side of life, another side of ourselves that is much greater and what we currently experience. But if we desire merely to save our life, our property, our bank account, our prestige, our status, our success, then at the end of our life, when death comes, we will lose that and we will lose the opportunity we had to develop our soul as well.
That is why we have to work hard. This brings us back to that quote that I mentioned at the beginning: "Intimate self-realization costs. It has a price, life itself.” We have to work extremely hard on our mind. Each day we have to get better and better. Yes, we start where we are. We start with little actions, little changes, whatever we are capable of today. Then tomorrow we will be capable of a little more, but we have to be truly giving all that we can give in each moment, in each day―those moments when we are awake and catching ourselves, when we are tempted to choose, to not to give into temptation, but instead to pray in our heart: "God, guide me in this moment to do your will, to do the will of the best part of myself, my soul, my Spirit.” That is how we live, that is how we find our life. We give up our life in order to find eternal life, the life of our soul, our self-realization.
The Psychological Work
We see in this image Perseus holding the head of Medusa. Medusa, if you are nor familiar with the myth, was the Gorgon, a mythical beast, and anyone who looked at her and saw her eyes, would turn into stone, would die. They would be immobilized, unable to act ever again. Perseus is the hero who finally conquered Medusa. This is related with the problem we have been talking about, about giving up the ego. How do we overcome our ego? Well, we can use the example of Perseus here. Perseus, in order to kill Medusa, had two tools in particular. He had others, but in particular, there are two tools that he had in the myth.
One was the sword, the sword with which he was able to cut off her head. That sword is related with willpower. The sword is the symbol of our will, divine will, the power of the will of divinity. For if God wills something, it will be done. Nothing can stop our inner divinity. If we incarnate that will, we will be capable of much more than we are capable in our present egotistical form, because of that power of divinity. So, Perseus was demonstrating to us that it takes tremendous willpower, not tremendous desire. Desire is an obstacle we all face. We are replacing that desire with true willpower.
He also had a shield that was very reflective. He was able to use this shield like a mirror to see around the corner, to see Medusa without looking directly into her eyes. And thus, he was able to avoid being killed by her, being turned to stone, and he was able to use her reflection to see what she was, to observe her and to kill her with the sword of his willpower.
So, we know that we need willpower and we also know that we need reflection. That is the self-observation, self-reflection that we do. It is also meditation. We might be angry during the day. In that moment we see something in ourselves coming out. Or we might feel envy, and we feel that envy and we see somebody getting something good without us, and we feel really envious, and we say: "Oh, yeah. I see that. I wish I didn't feel envious, but I do.” So, we go home, and we use that shield, that meditative state, in which we are able to separate from our ego, to separate from ourselves and to reflect on it in a state of peace and serenity. We are able to observe that envy as though it were a separate person, as though its desires were not our desires, but were separate from us. In that state we can learn a lot about it. We can see for what it is. We can separate from it, and we can avoid being killed by it. We can avoid being turned to stone. That is how we can cut off its head with our own willpower.
Perhaps that sounds a little bit too abstract for some of us, but I promise at the end here―we are moving into the last section―I will give a practical example. But I want to wrap up with renunciation, because renunciation is truly the method that we use to die psychologically. Renunciation is truly the way that we kill our ego.
What does it mean to renounce something? It means to give something up. Sometimes this is something precious to us, and when we renounce it and we give it up, it can be painful. But sometimes, if we have meditated on something, like our envy, or our pride, or our lust, or our anger, our greed―we meditated on it and we have seen how ugly it is, how much it really causes us suffering―every time I act on it, it causes me to suffer, and causes others to suffer. Then we go to renounce it on the altar of our inner divinity. We are happy to be rid of it!
That is a state of comprehension, that is when you truly know from your own deep comprehension, from your own meditation, your own direct experience that that action, that that state, that quality of mind and emotion, brings harm, brings pain, brings suffering. And, so, you want to renounce it. You invoke your Divine Mother and you pray to Her to help you to destroy that part of yourself, that ego―to free your soul, your Essence, your consciousness from that egotistical desire, and to destroy the desire and regain that energy, that willpower into your soul.
Renunciation is the first of the Three Principle Paths in Buddhism, as taught by Tsong Khapa, the great Buddhist teacher. So, I am going to read you a little passage from the Three Principle Paths, which is a short scripture that Tsong Khapa wrote.
Without pure renunciation, there is no way to end
So, what does it mean "the striving for pleasant results in the ocean of life"?
Life has many experiences and many possibilities. We are striving for many pleasant results. None of us wants to experience suffering. None of us wants to experience old age or illness, or death. We want to experience happiness, and pleasure, and joy, and feeling looked up to and respected. We want those pleasant results, and so each day we devote a large portion of our life to pursuing those pleasant results, to pursue more money. Maybe we work at the job that we really do not feel good about. Maybe we do not even like our job, but we work there because we want more money. That is a pleasant result we are seeking, the feeling of security we get from having a lot of money or the feeling pride from having a lot of money. So, we devote how much of our time and our energy and our efforts to pursuing that, to striving for that.
Without renouncing that desire or any number of that desires that we have, there is no way that we can end that striving for pleasant results. As long as we hold on to that desire and we say: "Yeah, yeah, yeah, I want my Spirit to develop. I want to be self-realized, but also I want to be wealthy and I want to have a yard, and a big house, and a lot of people respecting me, and I want to be famous."
Whatever it is for us, maybe it is not such materialistic things. Maybe there are other desires we have that we want to achieve in our life. As long as we hold on to those, we are killing the potential of our soul, at least to the degree that we are holding on to these desires. That is why he stated: "It is because of their hankering life”―hankering after all the things that we want in life―that beings are fettered, that we are being chained up, that we are bound here. We are not able to achieve our full potential, that we are not able to experience those higher possibilities of the soul and the Spirit, to see the rest of life. It is because of our striving after pleasant results that we are the caterpillar instead of the butterfly.
So, first we must seek renunciation. Without renouncing egotism, as it manifests in in our daily deeds, then we cannot begin on the path. We cannot achieve freedom and liberation from suffering. Tsong Khapa goes on to say:
Leisure and fortune are hard to find, life is not long;
So, he is talking exactly about we have been talking about. Death is inevitable, and we need to think about that constantly. In fact, in Buddhism there is a practice of meditating on one's death. Truly sitting and meditating on what it would be like if in this moment your body began to die, life began to fade from your organs, from your body, from your tissues and you began to be able to lose your last breath, and think about, perhaps, your funeral and the grieving relatives and all the things that you would leave behind. You realize that this is inevitable, that this actually will happen―maybe not in a way you have visualized in your meditation, but it will happen. How you are living your life reflects how you hope to feel at that moment of death―or other things before that moment change, because we do not know when it will come.
So, we have to think about how all the things that we invest our time into might be reaping fruit later on that we will only lose, because they are temporary. So that is how deeds and our fruits never fail. It is the teaching of karma. Whatever actions we take today, will have an effect even if we see in this lifetime. If we perform good deeds, we will see the fruits of those deeds someday.
He goes on to say:
When you have meditated thus and feel not even
So, we have to begin where we are at of course. We need to renounce what we can today and those things that we cannot renounce, we just need to observe them and study them more, until we learn about them and understand the true effects of what those are attaining for us.
I had some rare moments when I thought something was bad and then by observing it and meditating for a while, I actually found that it was producing good effects for others and for me, but I have been beating myself up about it, because of some beliefs that I had. At the same time there were things that I believed were good deeds that I was doing to help others and later came to find were not actually the case.
A Practical Example of Renunciation
So, here is where I deliver on my promise of giving you a practical example. Here at our level, how can we experience renunciation? How can we die psychologically? So, several years ago I was practicing self-observation during the day and retrospecting the entire day each night in meditation. I was assigned to a project to work on with two colleagues of mine. It was a group project and I was very excited about the topic that we working on, because it was a project that I actually had much previous experience in. So, I would see, I could feel that excitement in myself and that energy. I wanted to get work on this project. And when I sat down for the first meeting with my two colleagues and we talked about the topic of our project, I discovered that they were not so enthusiastic about it. They wished that they got assigned to different project and they didn't have the experience that I had in it. So, I thought: "Oh, well, if you guys aren't excited about it, I could really take on a lot of the work here. I have a lot of ideas about this. I have got a lot of experience in it. I am really excited about it. So, you can kick back and relax, and do not worry about it too much.” So here in this case I thought I was doing a good thing.
Now, time went on and we continued to have meetings and I felt something was off. I could intuitively feel in those meetings that there was some distance between me and the other two. And there was one meeting that I remember, where we sat together, and I was pitching some ideas to them and they were shooting down my ideas. Then they began to talk about their ideas, and I realized from their discussion that they have been meeting together separately from me and discussing their own ideas. I felt this pain in my heart in that moment and I felt hurt, and I felt that they didn't appreciate me and the good things that I was trying to do. I went home that night and I was meditating on my day and I took some extra time to focus on that experience and to think: "Why was I so hurt in that moment?" And to observe it: "What did I feel? What was the look from their faces? How were they feeling?" Just to replay it as best as I could.
Suddenly I had an experience, where I saw the situation in the other person. I was not trying to do it. It just happened. In a meditative state, I was seeing it as if though from another person's perspective, and I was replaying and seeing all the things that I was saying. And I realized that from the very beginning, I have come into this project, although I thought I was doing something good, there was actually a desire for my own ideas, my own pride in my ideas and my experience, and what I had to contribute and the success I wanted to see for myself in this project. I had not seen that, because of course I was inside of that desire. But when I saw this in meditation from the perspective of third person point of view, I actually saw that I was being quite arrogant and that I wasn't giving them the same appreciation of their ideas, that I have kind of written them off at the beginning, and gone off on what I wanted to do. So, was it any surprise to me that they have felt that they had to meet on their own and come up with their ideas on their own, and push back against me, when I had out of arrogance not even listened or valued their perspectives?
So, I felt very humble when I saw this. Although initially I felt hurt and angry at my two colleagues, after comprehending this in meditation, I actually felt embarrassed. I felt shame for the pride that I had shown and I had just honestly not seen it. But now that I saw it, I knew that I had to renounce it.
It was actually difficult for me despite having seen this and comprehended to a degree in meditation. It was difficult for me, but at the next meeting with them, I started off the meeting by apologizing, by admitting that I felt I hadn't really valued their opinions from the beginning, and that because I was so excited about the project, invested in my own ideas, I hadn't really listened to them enough. I apologized for that and said that I would like to work in a more collaborative fashion from now on. And for the rest of the project, what they will experience will be completely different.
I had to die in my pride. It was painful to renounce my pride. I was embarrassed of how I was, how I have been acting. I was also in those moments, when I had to apologize, still kind of feeling like: "Uh, I should not have to apologize to these people. They still did something wrong too!" So I had to renounce. I had to be humble. I had to give that up and die. I felt pain emotionally as I was dying.
But after I did that act, I reaped the benefits of what it was truly like to collaborate with others, what it was truly to like learn from them and share valuable ideas that I had, and to appreciate them and to see the way then. They came to the way to appreciate me as well. I had no regrets about having renounced my pride. So, as I was fortunate in that situation to see something in myself that I had not seen before, to see my life from the perspective of others―my actions from the perspective of others, and to let my pride in that moment die, to take the action that I felt the guidance of my conscience leading me to take, which was to apologize and to humble myself.
Additionally, I will add that not long after that I was hired for a new job and I went in to that job with a lot more humility. I listened to my colleagues and I valued their ideas and I supported their ideas, and I didn't just go into every meeting boasting about how great my ideas were and trying to get everybody to listen to me about how great I was, because from that experience I had truly learned something that had changed me on a deep enough level, that I would never go back and want to act the way that I had behaved before.
So that is a very practical example. I picked a very little example, but as small as that example is, and as insignificant as may seem, it had effects in my life. There have been bigger effects, bigger examples in my life that are a bit too personal to share, but each of us in our own way (whether big or small) can be analyzing our life like this, can be praying to our divinity to overcome our defects and sometimes, to lay the desire that we cling so tightly to on the altar of divinity, and to sacrifice that for our inner Spirit, can be painful. But the gifts are bestowed upon us―the potentials, the capabilities, the wisdom, the virtue, and the love that is bestowed upon us in degrees as a result of that action, are much much more valuable than anything we have lost in the process of sacrificing and renouncing.
So, I conclude the lecture with one more quote, which I feel truly summarizes everything that we have talked about today in a very practical way. This quote comes from Dion Fortune:
The personality and the things of the senses have to be sacrificed in order that the Higher Self may manifest; there can be no dispute on this point. All the Initiates have declared it to be so. ―Dion Fortune, The Training and Work of an Initiate
She is talking about all the great spiritual teachers, the initiates, have taught―that when you sacrifice the things of our physical senses, our personality, our egotism, in order that our higher self, our Spirit, our highest potential, can manifest.
She goes on to state:
We are inclined to think that, having sacrificed the personality, we shall be bereft of all things. This is because the mind of the West still clings to its habit of believing that the death of the body ends existence. So we believe sub-consciously that the death of personality ends enjoyment of the fullness of life. ―Dion Fortune, The Training and Work of an Initiate
Here she is talking about how whether or not believe that there is life after death, we actually live as though we feel that survival in this world is all there is. Our actions demonstrate where faith truly lies.
We might state that: "Oh, yeah, it is good to be generous and to donate money,” but at the same time, another part of us truly takes actions to gather more money, because our faith is in the security of the world, the security of money, the security of material possession and status as well. So we believe that the death of our personality would end our enjoyment of the fullness of life, but we do not realize that our ego actually restricts our experience of the rest of existence―all of those states of consciousness that are beyond our current state of consciousness. As long as we remain trapped in ego, trapped in that cocoon, we will never achieve those higher states, the greater potentials that we are capable of. We never will become a butterfly, who can fly into the realms of the heavens and truly meet divinity face to face.
And finally, she concludes:
We forget that the merchant who sold all he had was able to purchase the Great Pearl. True, he had realized all his assets, but they were re-invested in something of far greater value. The Gospel story implies that he bore off the Pearl in triumph. So it is with us if we make the sacrifice of the things of the senses that permits of the incarnation of the Higher Self in the physical body. ―Dion Fortune, The Training and Work of an Initiate
So we sacrifice the things of this lifetime that we want and we desire egotistically "Just for me, just because I want it,” in order for our divinity to manifest in our physical body and to perform good deeds and great teachings for the benefit of humanity. Just in case you are not familiar with the parable of the Great Pearl that she references here, it is in the Gospel of Mathew that Jesus taught:
Kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, who when he found one of great value, went away and sold everything he had, and bought it. ―Matthew 13:45-46
The Pearl of great value that Jesus is referring to here is our soul, is our spiritual life. It is of such great value that it is worth selling everything that we own. And that is why Dion Fortune mentions that "the merchant bore off the Pearl in triumph.” He did not sit around crying about all the things that he had to give up and renounce for the spiritual work. He went off so happy, because he truly knew and experienced the benefits for spiritual life, for his soul, the benefits that we was able to perform good works for others, for those he cared about, for the world, which is experiencing so much suffering.
So welcome everybody to our introductory course on the studies of spirituality within all traditions.
In this type of study we emphasize that the human being, as he or she is now, has the potential to become something more, something greater, and profound. Contrary to conventional belief, that the human being as we are now is the epitome or the peak of potential, we state that this is a false assumption.
Every tradition in the world has taught or been delivered by all the messengers of divinity, no matter what the tradition. We study in this school all of the teachings of these different faiths, primarily because we want to look at the heart, the essence of spirituality, because it is universal. It is one intelligence; one type of understanding that expresses in accordance with the needs, the language, the culture, the qualities of the students, the time and place in which those teachings were given.
But if you really look at the heart of what yoga teaches, Buddhism teaches, Judeo-Christianity or whatever faith, we find that at the heart, there is a science by which one can achieve what people call religion. The word religion in Latin means “reunion,” religare. In the East, it is yoga, from the Sanskrit yug, “to reunite.” And all these traditions have taught that the human being is a seed, has potential to become something truly divine and magnanimous, beautiful.
Different religions called this seed consciousness. The Buddhists call it Buddhadhatu, the seed of a Buddha, an awakened one, a master.
The Christians and Muslims and Jews have called it soul, and there are many names for that quality of being in those faiths. In this study, we call it the Essence. It is the pure potential to reflect divinity, and this is something that we can experience for ourselves when we know the science of meditation and when we practice it.
We can develop that potential in ourselves and have the experience of what different traditions have called divinity. That knowledge amongst the Greeks was called gnosis, but not intellectual knowledge. A lot of people in the West, especially in academies, like to think that gnosis was isolated to the first Christians, but that experiential wisdom of knowing divinity has nothing to do with theory, with believing, with a concept. It is what we know by experiencing the awakening of our Essence.
They are very vivid experiences which have been allegorized in all the scriptures. You have Moses on Mount Sinai, you have Krishna, like in this image, manifesting all of his qualities to the meditator, known as Arjuna in the Bhagavad-Gita. You have many faiths, many stories. The Greek mysteries, the Buddhist teachings, they are all symbols of internal truths. It is not literally that Moses went on a physical mountain and saw God, that it was a physical experience. It is a spiritual and psychological experience, something we witness in meditation, inside.
We can verify these things for ourselves through experimentation, through practice and therefore we don't need to believe in anything, to follow an institution, a religion, a dogma, a belief system. We like to be very practical in this type of studies.
But of course, it is a very difficult thing to do. It is not easy to experience divinity, to conquer in ourselves the causes of suffering, to understand that which in our own life really conditions and makes us suffer, because there is a reason why we may not know God now or divinity or Brahma, Christ amongst the original Christians, which is not a person. It is a type of consciousness that is universal, which different traditions call by different names and have been symbolized by all the beautiful paintings of any tradition.
These are not literal people. These are qualities of being, and in this image we see the Lord Krishna who is the Hindu Christ, that divine consciousness that is not personal to just one individual, but is universal to all beings. We see that he is a child seated with one hand facing up, the other down, and he is surrounded by millions of figures. This is a beautiful painting about the experience of the meditator Arjuna who asked Krishna, “I want to see You in Your true form. Show me in my consciousness, in my meditations, what You are.” And then Krishna, or divinity, manifested in a form of images―not physical images, but images we can see in meditation or in dreams.
This is very beautiful experience that was depicted in this scripture. And you see that all these multitudes of figures represent all the universal qualities of divinity, which are inside: compassion, divine love, selflessness, patience, compassion. But to really develop these qualities in us is not easy. If it were easy, then all of humanity will be a very different state of being. This planet would be a very different place.
So this indicates to us that these qualities are not developed in a permanent sense, are not realized in our own daily life, and so in these studies we like to be very practical. We like to analyze certain methods of meditation that teach us how to have that experience, and how to develop and maintain that state. I am sure any one of us who studies any type of meditation or is attracted to religion or any type of faith, they really deep down want to have that experience. They want to escape suffering.
This difficult path of meditation has been discussed in all religions. It is not easy to confront in oneself negative states like anger, resentment, pride, fear, laziness, lust, desire. All traditions teach that it is these negative qualities of mind that trap us. They enclose our potential in a static state. It is not active because in us, that potential is not active or developed. It has to be freed. It has to be worked upon very intentionally.
So in the beginning some people practice meditation and they may have an experience seemingly by accident, but the reality is that there are certain causes and conditions that brought about that state. One may not be aware of how and why. Some people call this spiritual awakening, insight. It happens. But if we want to be permanently established in that state, it is important to put forth the causes and the conditions that produce that reality in a permanent way.
So this is called self-realization amongst the Hindus, the realization of our true identity, which is divine. It is the awakening of consciousness. But of course, developing that is challenging, primarily because of the difficulty of our own conditions of mind, which is why in the Bhagavad-Gita, chapter 7, verse 3 state:
Among thousands of men (or women, practitioners) one perchance strives for perfection (to realize that perfect divinity inside. As Jesus of Nazareth stated, "Be perfect as your Father who is in heaven is perfect.") Even among those successful strivers (those who are really working to experience that truth) only one perchance knows me in essence. ―Bhagavad-Gita 7:3
So again, these are levels of consciousness. I believe even the 14th Dalai Lama stated that consciousness has the potential to expand to an infinite degree―so other levels of knowledge, levels of understanding.
This tradition or this statement has been paralleled in the Christian Gospel by Jesus, who was an incarnation of Christ. He manifested that divinity in himself, and with his life was allegorizing certain steps and stages about the spiritual path. He also said:
Enter by the narrow gate (enter into the meditative path that awakens your full potential, your seed, your Essence of soul). For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter it by are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to spiritual life, and those who find it are few. ―Matthew 7:13
Think of an analogy of a tree. A pine tree has thousands and thousands of seeds. How many of them actually become a full tree when they land on the Earth? You may have a handful, or one or two. A few. So spiritual development is no different than nature. Things happen progressively in steps, when the causes and conditions are ripe. In order for a seed to develop into a pine tree, it needs water. It needs appropriate soil. It needs sunlight. It needs the conditions that give birth to that full development of a tree.
But of course, many seeds are lost, and this is the sad reality. Our true potential is not a guarantee, that it will develop into something fully perfect and divine.
And this is very evident by the state of humanity today. We can look at the news and simply see the state of crisis in which people are afflicted: wars, violence, acts of destruction, which are truly horrendous. It is evident by the state of our culture and this planet that people are not developing the seed of their spirituality. It is a difficult fact to realize. It is very unpleasant. If that seed were fully manifested and developed, there would be no wars, because divinity is compassion. It is love. So it's evident that this seed of humanity is not generating into a tree. It is degenerating. It is not being developed. And so any person who looks at the news and feels that horror of what this planet is in, evidently feels inspired to want to know the reason why, and as well to escape that type of destruction, which is very prevalent.
And so how do we develop that seed? There are beautiful stories and many scriptures that can teach us about that development. The Bible is one of them, which is a very misunderstood text, read very literally, dogmatically. People don't understand that scriptures like the Bible are telling parables through stories. They represent principles and truths which are psychological, spiritual. We have a very famous statement in the Book of Matthew, chapter 13, verses 31 to 32 about the development of that perfect seed, how the seed of the human being can become a god, an angel, a buddha, a deva, a jinn―whatever name we want to give to that fully self-realized and perfected individual.
Another parable put he forth unto them saying, the kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge and the branches thereof. ―Matthew 13:31-32
Individuals like Jesus or Krishna, Moses, were once like us, a seed. But because of certain discipline of mind and training, they became the individuals that we emulate, in which millions of people follow, who are inspired. We like to think in this culture or even for thousands of years that those were just exceptional people. It had nothing to do with people like us, that somehow they receive the grace of God and were able to have those experiences, which is true to a degree. But the reality is that they worked to become them.
They were once like us, people afflicted by fear and distress and anxiety and suffering. But because of their tremendous compassion and their work ethic, they were able to become enlightened beings. And like a tree, they can house through their teachings and their instructions, all of the birds of heaven, all the saints, all the students of meditation who really want to become like that.
You have many myths and stories throughout the world that teach and allegorize, whether in art or religious scriptures, stories that all teach the same thing: that we are a seed. We could become like divinity into a fully developed Christmas tree. If you are familiar with the Christmas tradition or the Christian tradition, people like to decorate a pine tree with many stars and globes and luminous objects and a star the very top. It s a very ancient symbol of this concept. The soul became a fully developed master of meditation and has lights illuminating that tree. It is a symbol of what we can become, as performed on the Nativity of Christ, the birth of Jesus, who symbolizes the birth of divinity in our hearts through practice and specific methods.
There is a very ancient teaching in the Aztec and Mayan religions that also point towards this concept. Samael Aun Weor who is the founder of the modern Gnostic tradition of which we study, wrote in a book called The Great Rebellion:
One codex of Anahuac states that, "The Gods created humans of wood, and after having created them, fused them with divinity." But later adds, "Not all humans achieve integration with divinity." ―Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
So what does it mean that the gods made people made of wood? A very interesting concept which anthropologists like to laugh at and read literally, thinking these are very superficial people or ignorant people who believe that, literally, people were made of wood by the gods.
Unfortunately, that materialistic view point misses the point. There is something symbolic here.
Even in art, amongst the Greco-Roman tradition, Renaissance art, European art, they reflected these concepts in their images. But people who are very materialistic like the thing that God is a person, physical. They don't understand that it is a representation of something spiritual and conscious, psychological. This is the creation of Adam in the Sistine Chapel: a beautiful symbol of the development of or creation of the soul.
Some of you may be familiar with a story called Pinocchio, which also hides this truth. It was written by Carlo Collodi, who was an Italian author, and wrote about the story of a wooden boy that wanted to become a human being. It is a symbol. His writing was intentionally veiled in the form of a children's tale so as to avoid persecution. He was writing for a very select group of people who are studying this type of knowledge that was at the time forbidden to unveil or convey, primarily because people would not understand it and would create problems, because this type of thinking goes against the grain of institutionalized dogma. We can only think of the inquisition as an example.
So “Pinocchio, Pinoccoli or Pinocchio is the Tuscan Florentine word for pine nut or pine seed.” It is a symbol of us. We are a seed in a potential state that may want or feel inspired to become a fully developed human being, a person of flesh and bone, a fully developed being, a spiritually enlightened one.
The Three Esoteric Sciences
There is a lot of teachings in that story which are very beautiful and profound, symbolic. And if we read it from the knowledge of three types of science, we can gain a lot of understanding.
Those three sciences are known in different cultures and traditions, which we study in synthesis here. The word esoteric means “secret, hidden,” that which has not been taught publicly. These esoteric sciences, while some aspects of these traditions have been conveyed to the public, they were never fully explained until very recently, through the effort of many authors throughout different traditions, such as the Western Esoteric Tradition: the Golden Dawn, Rosicrucianism, Theosophy of Blavatsky, Rudolf Steiner's writings, from Anthroposophy, and many other teachings.
We study these three sciences called Kabbalah, alchemy and psychology, in order to develop our full potential. Kabbalah, alchemy, in the Book of Genesis, in the Old Testament, are called the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. These are symbols, practical methods and ways of study that can awaken the seed and develop it. These are not literal trees in the Middle East, that people think a single man and a single woman existed in a garden in Mesopotamia many millennia ago. That is a very literal teaching or interpretation.
What people don't recognize is that these sciences permeate all of the language of the Bible, but because people have not been instructed about the symbolic nature of those types of teachings, they of course read it like a newspaper. They don't really see the real value and depth of that instruction.
קַבָּלָה Kabbalah is the Tree of Life. These Hebrew letters read from right to left. The word קבל kabel in Hebrew means “to receive.” You may have heard many Jews study Kabbalah in this time. Real Kabbalah, in its spiritual sense, is knowledge that we receive from divinity, from direct experience. We can study Kabbalah intellectually and read books, but it doesn't equate with the actual personal verification of meditation for ourselves.
Kabbalah is a beautiful teaching that is symbolic and helps us understand all the parables and stories of the Bible, because the Hebrew letters themselves represent numbers, which are spiritual. They represent things, qualities of consciousness, and these letters also represent qualities of soul, which we study very didactically in our courses of Kabbalah, which we have on our website chicagognosis.org, or you can study also on Glorian.org.
We also have the science of alchemy, or the Arabic الكيمياء: Allah-Khemia. The word Al or El in Hebrew is God. Khemia is a Greek term meaning chemistry: to fuse or cast a metal. Many people have heard of alchemy as being a medieval superstition of people literally trying to transform lead into gold, out of greed, and there are people who were like that, who misinterpreted this tradition to think that they could actually accomplish this feat. But the real depth and knowledge, the spiritual symbol of alchemy, is transforming the lead of the personality, our own negative states of mind into the gold of the Spirit. It is also the work with energy, working with all the energies we have in our body, in our heart, in our mind, so that we can fuse like a metal with divinity.
And then lastly we have psychology. This is the Greek (ψυχολογία psychologia) read from left to right. Psychology in these times is divorced from spirituality. People think psychology is simply the study of the mind, the brain. If you look at the original etymology, psychology is actually something very dynamic.
It comes from psyche, logos. Psyche is soul. It is consciousness. It is the essence of a person. It is not just the intellect, because truly in our depth, we are more than just a mind. We have a heart. We have a body. The consciousness is not just thinking. It is the ability to perceive, even beyond thought. So psyche and logos or logos, in its original term, means “word.” You may be familiar with the Book of John: "In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word was God." The Greek word is logos. “In the beginning was the Logos, the Logos was with God, and the Logos was God.” These are symbols or qualities of being.
So what is genuine psychology and it's real root? It is how the soul, psyche, through meditation, unites with logos. Very simple. It also has to do with studying the obstacles in our own mind that create conflict for us.
We develop the seed of our potential through these sciences, and we will explain about these three in synthesis today.
The Sexual Seed: The Synthesis of Spiritual Creation
So the word seed has a very interesting connotation. A seed is the sexual synthesis of any being, whether from plants, from animals, from human beings. That seed of a person, of a soul, can be developed, very intentionally, when we learn how to work with all the energies that we carry within―not just our heart or mind, but even our creative potential.
That seed, which is sexual, our creative sexual potential, can give birth to a human being. We know this. The seed of a man and a seed of woman can unite to create a child, but people do not know that that very same seed, that energy or power that can create a human being, can create the soul, can fully empower it, because it is the power of life.
It is the most powerful creative power a human being possesses. It is how all societies are run. People are born through the seed. They have life. And just as physically we can have life with this body, the generation of our physical temple, we can also learn to transform the sexual seed through specific practices, transform that seed into energy, because creative sexuality is a tremendous power and a powerful responsibility. It is a tremendous responsibility to give birth to a child. It is very serious. But even more so, to give birth to a child within us, our full spiritual development, is even a greater responsibility. It has more power.
We can do that by learning to work with our energies. Some people may be familiar with Buddhism, of tantra, spiritual union, sexual union of husband and wife, working to connect from a state of purity of mind in order to transform everything that they have into developing their spirituality. This is why all traditions and all religions have really fought and explain that marital union, the love between husband and wife―not in a legal sense or in terms of paperwork, but from a conscious standpoint―has tremendous power, tremendous responsibility. The Bible relates some of these teachings in a very symbolic way, which people have interpreted, again, literally, but we'll explain some of the alchemical significance of these lines.
Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made... ―Galatians 3:16
If you are familiar with the Old Testament, Abraham is one of the patriarchs of Judaism, the founding fathers. His people, the Jews, were promised by divinity that they would receive help. This is the fundamental, literal meaning. But if you look at this in a symbolic way, there is something more interesting.
He saith not, And to seeds, as of many (meaning: individual people, because every person is a seed. When they are child, they grow and become a human being.) But as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. ―Galatians 3:16― Galatians 3:16
So what is that seed that is mentioned in the Book of Galatians? We could look at this image of a elderly man with a sun emanating from his genitalia, a book in his hand, a staff of power in his left. This is from the medieval tradition of alchemy. So many alchemists, who knew the science of uniting with divinity, taught their truths through art. They didn't explain this explicitly, because they would face many problems and persecutions, many scandals.
So they taught through art, and this is a very beautiful image representing an elderly man who is a symbol of our own inner divinity, the figure Jehovah amongst the Jews. He holds a book in his hand, referring to study, the need to study oneself, one's life. He also has a staff in his hand, representing a weapon, a type of will that is needed in order to achieve genuine religion. We have a sun emanating from his sexual organs because, just as the ancient people knew that the sun gives life to all things, they made the connection and knew that our own sexual seed is the power of generation.
The sun generates all life in every level. We could not exist on this planet without light, and so the ancients knew that this seed is a type of solar force. It is a solar energy. It is a power that can give life. And even Plato and many Greek masters knew that the ultimate divinity is the sun, the Platonic Logos. Or like Jesus, and the great paintings has a halo of light around his head, because he has used his own seed to transform that, and to develop the light of the saints. He is a Christmas tree with light, with spirituality.
There is a statement by Samael Aun Weor in the book The Great Rebellion. He states that:
The Sun has deposited the seeds within the sexual glands of the intellectual animal in order to germinate a Human Being. ―Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
Some people get offended when they hear this term. But if you look at the story of Pinocchio, he was a wooden boy. He wanted to become a real, fully developed human being made into the image of divinity. And what is an animal? It comes from the Latin anima; to animate, to have life. If we look at humanity, we find that all the violence and wars and bloodshed and poverty and affliction is not the result of our own humanity, but that which is animal in us: anger, violence, prostitution, hatred, lust, envy. These are qualities that are animalistic, instinctive, and we all possess those elements.
But unfortunately, it is a very difficult thing to see how our own states of mind are the cause of our suffering. These are animal qualities. And because we have the intellect, we can rationalize. We are anima, souls, with intellect. But an intellectual animal is any one of us who has the seed and who can develop into a perfectly enlightened being, like in this image.
And what is a real human being? You can look at the Sanskrit: hum-man. Hum means “spirit.” Man or manas means “mind.” It is a mind that is united with hum, the spirit. And what is that Spirit? Like in the previous image, we saw Jehovah pointing his finger towards Adam, creating the soul, a symbol of creating the perfect being, not a literal history. That represents how the spiritual force of divinity is fully perfected in manifested in us. That is a real human being, hum-man, like Jesus, Buddha, Krishna. They fully manifested all the qualities of the Spirit in a perfect way. That is a real human being.
But when we are criticized and we respond with anger and say very negative things, it indicates to us that we have much from the animal kingdom inside. Science and popular culture likes to defend that which is animal. You see it in our television, in our movies, in our cinemas, in our sports, in our fighting for power, in our politics, in our religions. These are animal qualities: competition, fighting, debating, arguing, inflicting harm.
But a human being is beyond that. Has transformed the seed into something perfected and we can do that by working with our energies through the science of alchemy.
Obviously, such seeds can develop or be ultimately lost (going back to the quote of Jesus and the Book of Matthew or the gospel of Krishna). If we want those seeds to develop, it is essential to cooperate with the efforts that the Sun is making in order to create Humans. ―Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion―Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
We have other images in this graphic, a lion beneath the genitalia of this elderly figure. You may be familiar with the Christian tradition of the Lion of Judah. It is a symbol of the strength and power divinity. You have also figures below who are fighting, grappling each other with swords and weapons, doing acrobatic acts, playing games. That represents all of humanity, people who don't really take spirituality seriously, their conscious life seriously, because they choose to engage in frivolities and wars.
So what is the way to escape the circus of humanity, the chaos? It is by studying ourselves like in this open book, and using our staff, which is a symbol of willpower, of daily effort.
The Seed of the Second Birth
Since we are explaining about the seed of generation, we find a very beautiful teaching in the story of Jesus talking to Nicodemus. It is very common knowledge amongst Christians, or the belief that one is born again through belief. This is from the old scriptures of the Gospels, a very famous teaching that is not very well understood.
Jesus answered, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” ―John 3:5
People commonly interpret this as baptism, a ceremony or ritual in the church that one has received the water of spirituality and is blessed and then is saved.
Unfortunately, this type of thinking does not really address the practical problems of our sufferings. We may believe in divinity, in an institution or a church. We may be inspired by our groups. This is all necessary and beautiful, but belief does not change suffering. We continue to suffer whether we think something is true or not. The way that one overcomes suffering is through action, through work. But in a more deeper level, this scripture hides something very interesting that relates to alchemy, spiritual birth, the birth of the soul.
That which is born of the flesh is flesh. Obviously people do not need to be taught how to generate a physical child. But that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit. Through the matrimony or union of man and woman, one can give birth to a physical child, but that which is born of the Spirit through the same union, can give birth to the Spirit.
But of course, there are very specific procedures involved. When the couple works in their marriage or their union―and when I mean marriage, I don't mean papers, but a real marital union is the union of two souls that love one another perfectly, that are selfless and working on themselves, fully investing all their energy and love and potential, not only for their own benefit, but for the benefit of others. So that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit.
Birth is a sexual problem. In order to give birth physically we need male-female. But Jesus was indicating symbolically how through the same connection, but done with purity and with specific methods, one can give birth to the soul, the Spirit. And this is symbolized in some of the Kabbalistic meaning, the language of this scripture, which if you see these letters:
Jesus answered, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born (ה) of water (מ) and of the Spirit (ש), he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” ―John 3:5
This is Hebrew. We can look at the meaning of these individual letters, transpose over certain aspects of his explanation. This letter is called ה Hei. It is related to birth. It is even shaped like a womb. The letter ה Hei refers to birth, genesis, the divine feminine. The next letter is water relating to מ Mem, and מ Mem has two forms. There is an open Mem (מ) and there is a closed Mem (ם). Sometimes in Hebrew, when a letter is at the end of a word or name, it takes on a different configuration, but it is the same letter, the same meaning. Now water is מ Mem. You have very famous references in the Bible to water: the water of life, the fountain of youth, the waters of Genesis, how the world was made and life came from the waters.
Again, the book of Genesis is not literal, a literal history, but refers to the birth of the soul. Those waters are our own sexual fluids, the creative waters of life, which, when they are conserved and transformed, can generate a lot of power, to give strength to our spirituality and make us truly warriors, those who really work out of compassion for others and generate all the beautiful qualities of the soul.
So “except a man” or person “be born of water and Spirit,” and the word Spirit relates to this letter called ש Shin. ש Shin has three prongs and refers to fire, but not a literal fire. It's a spiritual force, a power. Remember that Moses saw the burning bush, that Tree of Life, the Being, the divine, our true nature, inflamed with fire and light. Or Krishna with all those figures and light emanating from him. It's fire. It is a type of energy. It is not a literal fire in the kitchen. It is a fire that gives birth and light and understanding to our life.
That fire is contained within our own waters, because obviously, when a couple engages sexually, they are inflamed. The organs are inflamed. There is energy circulating, and the Buddhists call this tantra. Tantra is Sanskrit for circuitry. This is the circuitry of God. That fire can be conserved and circulated throughout the body and the mind to give youth. That energy which can create a child can rejuvenate the body and the soul, create harmony in every level. So if one is not born of water and the Spirit, one cannot enter the kingdom of God. This is the meaning of “to be born again.” It is a pure marriage or union. And again, marriage has nothing to do with paperwork. It has to do with love.
So you look at these Hebrew letters and the science of Kabbalah teaches this very beautifully. These letters can be reorganized in different ways in order to spell different meanings. You use these three letters to spell השם Hashem, which in Judaism they say ברוך השם אדוני Baruch Hashem Adonai meaning: “Blessed be the Name of the Lord.” השם Hashem is a reference to the highest identity amongst the Kabbalists. You also take those letters and switch them around you spell משה Moshe, Moses.
Moses is a figure in the Bible or was a real person, but can represent something psychological, spiritual. He frees the Jews from this bondage in Egypt, which are psychological parables that teach about freeing the soul from the bondage of suffering and returning all of the parts of our soul to the Promised Land.
So all this is very interconnected and very interesting, and there are many connections we can draw between this tradition and many others. I am just providing a very general example that highlights that this is a very intricate and beautiful teaching. Very dynamic, but very simple in synthesis.
Spiritual Birth is Not a Theory or Belief
And as I stated, birth is a sexual problem. It is born from the Genesis of two human beings, male-female. And Samael Aun Weor wrote in The Perfect Matrimony:
A seed never germinates because of what a person believes or stops believing. An insect is never born because of what a human being thinks or stops thinking. A man is never born from the parchment of theory. This subject matter is sexual and in this, the angel is no exception. ―Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony
So this is the highest level teaching given in Buddhism, in Christianity, in Sufism. The mystics of Islam talk a lot about the love of the soul with divinity, but unfortunately people like to extrapolate, and they don't see the connection that we show the highest love of divinity in one's relationship, which is sexual. We show our love not only just with words, but with connection, because that is how the circuitry of God exists, how the energy flow between male-female.
Liberation within Sex
So this is an image of Padmasambhava from the Buddhist tradition, who is showing the highest teachings of yoga tantra, where literally yoga is “union, reunion.” There is no greater power or reunion with divinity than in the sexual act, because men and women can create a child. They can create life.
This is Padmasambhava with his consort, his wife, and he explained that in order to enter the highest teaching, individuals must be prepared through a lot of work in meditation on themselves, because the obvious difficulty of sexual connection is having that energy buildup and losing it. So the foundation of all traditions of meditation always taught chastity. Of course, this is a very misunderstood science today. People think of chastity simply meaning abstention from sex. But chastity has to do with purity. It means immaculate purity. So by conserving that power, one can transform it, raise it through the body, the different centers of energy in ourselves, in our mind, our psyche. And this is how spiritual birth occurs, by working with that energy.
Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remains in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. ―1 John 3:9
So the essential component is that the seed remains inside. That energy is never let out, whether it is to procreate a child or for simple animal pleasure. So it is a very specific procedure. That seed is never lost. Instead, it is transformed into energy through certain exercises and prayers. It is done with a tremendous sense of respect and love and purity and honor.
Mind and Perception
Lastly we will talk a little bit about psychology. So we mentioned a little bit about Kabbalah, the Hebrew letters. We also talked about the science of alchemy: fusing oneself with divinity, working with our most vital principles.
In these times, there is a predisposition to believe that we are the intellect. We are the mind. Because we think, we rationalize, we conceptualize. But we emphasized that the mind is not our genuine identity. It is not really the full essence of what we are, because we have perception even before thought. But in these times, people tend to identify very much with intellect, with thinking, with concepts and rationalization, because in the West, especially, that is the foundation of our culture. We are very intellectual people.
We do use the intellect for our spiritual studies and we need it. We need it to exist in this society, but it is not the sum total of what an individual is. Consciousness is very different from mind. Consciousness is the ability to perceive, to know, to understand. And we can understand things without having to think.
This is very evident by certain experiences of businessmen who go to meetings, as an example, and they think and they think, they think, trying to argue out a problem, to solve a solution. But many of them become tired and they can't figure out what they need to do for a certain proposal. They take a break for five minutes and don't think of anything, and suddenly, they may get an understanding. People come back to the meeting rejuvenated, energized. This is a concrete example that can reflect something in our spiritual life.
Understanding doesn't have to be intellectual, a concept, a way of thinking. The mind is not the sum total of what we are. If we put our hand on a hot stove, we burn our hand. We retract in pain, and only later do we have the thought, “That really hurt!” Instead, we had consciousness of the experience and we reacted. We understood the problem where we got injured. And then we thought later about, “Well, I shouldn't do that again.” This actually shows us that the intellect is the slowest aspect of a person. It's not the quickest. It is actually not the most divine either. It is actually not divine at all. It is just a machine. An intellect can have understanding of concepts. It stores information and then it gives back. We can learn to use the mind in a spiritual way, in a conscious way, in an intuitive way. But the intellect has also been used to feed qualities like anger and resentment. Anger has its own logic fear, its own logic, ways of thinking.
And so these qualities of mind, again, are animalistic, which is allegorized in the story of Jesus riding on a donkey into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. He is representing, or what it is representing in that act, how our own inner divinity must conquer the mind and this is what we attempt and practice in our meditations. Don't think so much. Don't worry so much. Don't daydream. Don't fantasize, but just simply be aware and attentive.
As we begin our practices of meditation today, we were just doing relaxation: a very basic practice in which we just become aware of our body, because most times we go through our day unaware of even our breathing, or circulation. You may have found that when you are starting to concentrate on certain parts of the body, you may start to daydream or think about other things. It means that the mind is not in control, that the mind is riding us instead of we, ourselves, riding the donkey, because the mind is like a donkey. It is an animal. It can be tamed or it can be wild.
Anyone who begins to practice meditation realizes that the mind is very chaotic. It could be a very disconcerting realization to make, but it is not a means or a reason to stop practicing. It is just that we are learning about what our state of mind is. We are just not cognizant of that fact on a daily basis because we tend to be very unconscious, in a spiritual sense. We don't really are aware of the full totality of our life.
So there is a concept of, “I think therefore I am.” This is from the famous French philosopher Descartes. So anyone of us who study philosophy at universities really takes a lot of time to emphasize that “I think therefore I am,” that the intellect is somehow our true identity. But according to Samael Aun Weor in his book Igneous Rose, he mentions that:
The concept of Descartes, “I think, therefore I am,” is completely false, because the true Man is the Innermost, and the Innermost does not think, because He knows (since our divinity sees and observes and understands all things. It is a state of consciousness).
So we can look at our own lives to see examples of this where the mind is animalistic. We can even look on the news. Again, people committing acts of violence which are really cruel, inhumane, we say, demonic.
The Innermost does not need to think because He is omniscient. ―Samael Aun Weor, Igneous Rose
He sees and understands all things.
We also have a quote from the Book of John:
I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. ―John 14:6
Of course, people think that one has to believe in Jesus and that one is saved, because he is the way, the truth, and the life, but symbolically, Christ, divinity, was speaking through him, saying that only through your own inner divinity can you reach your inner true development, your potential. “No man cometh unto the Father,” which is a symbol of our own inner divinity, the Innermost, we can say, “but by me.”
Christ is an energy. Christ is the seed, a force, which can birth to our soul. So as we are talking about alchemy, we give birth to the soul through that energy when we learn to work with it.
The Story of Pinocchio
And lastly we'll conclude with a teaching from the story of Pinocchio, to kind of circle back. There is a very famous part of the story in which Pinocchio is going to school and the Blue Fairy, a symbol of the divine feminine, is teaching him, telling him go to school and learn. It is a symbol of how we go to a certain school or group or meditative school and learn this type of knowledge: how to transform ourselves.
That Blue Fairy, the divine feminine, has been called many names in different traditions, symbolized by Mother Mary, Athena amongst the Greeks, Kali, Durga amongst the Hindus, a symbol of our own creative forces that is feminine, inside, and which can help any meditator achieve genuine religion.
Pinocchio is going to school, and then he is confronted by a friend who says “Why go to school? Join me come to the Land of Play where we can play all day and never work.” And Pinocchio is tempted. He goes and eventually goes to this place, where eventually he is transformed into a donkey.
Of course, later, I believe, even in the film by Disney, which does a very good job of depicting this, in the book he gets out of that state eventually. He has to do a lot of work to reverse that, but it is a symbol of how in life, we come to any kind of school of meditation that teaches us how to change, and yet we then get distracted. Our friends say, “Come out to the bar and drink with me!” or “Come see this movie!” or “Let's go to the Land of Play” in a figurative sense: television or whatever distracts us from attempting the practice of meditation, so that we can be more introspective and spiritual, profound.
This is a type of work, because there are a lot of temptations in this society. Our Western society is a land of distraction: sports, media, television, news. We tend to saturate our whole life with all these things, which pull our attention away and makes us very distracted. And so he becomes a donkey, but eventually he gets out with the help of the blue fairy, his Divine Mother we can say. The Divine Mother in Hinduism is a symbol of our own Being, an aspect of our divinity.
Divinity is not just male. It is represented as a masculine projective force, but also is receptive and feminine. There is that duality there and we will talk more about that in our studies of Kabbalah (See The Divine Mother from Beginning Self-Transformation).
And so we have a teaching from the book Igneous Rose:
The Innermost must flagellate the mind with the terrific whip of willpower. ―Samael Aun Weor, Igneous Rose
Flagellation, again, is not literal here, but it is a recrimination. Meaning, we start to act in a mental state of anger in a certain situation or crisis, we want to react in a certain way. But in that moment, we use our will and our awareness, our attention, not to act on that type of behavior, so that we don't cause harm for ourselves or for others. It is a type of willpower. Again, if you look back at the image of the old man with a book in his hand and a staff, he has a staff in his hand and the sun in his genitalia. That staff is a symbol of will, which is why all the shepherds in the Bible had staffs, a symbol of willpower, spiritual willpower.
The one who identifies with the mind falls into the abyss. ―Samael Aun Weor, Igneous Rose
One who enters into greater states of suffering, not only just in some dystopian reality or hell realm, according to religion, official religion, but in our own existence. So there are different levels here. We can find that if we act on negative states of mind, we suffer. As the Buddha taught in the Dhammapada:
Mind proceeds phenomena. We become what we think. ―Buddha, Dhammapada
If we think wrong and harm and evil, then the result will be harm for ourselves and others. But if we enact the virtuous qualities of mind, positive qualities of mind, we reap the benefits, and other people obviously benefit too.
The mind is a donkey upon which we must ride in order to enter into the heavenly Jerusalem. ―Samael Aun Weor, Igneous Rose
And the quote from Carlos Collodi from the book Pinocchio:
Boys who do nothing but play end up turning into donkeys. ―Carlos Collodi, Pinocchio
So what is a donkey? It is a stubborn animal. And you may find that in meditation that the body is stubborn. The mind is stubborn. We sit to adopt a posture or an asana and to relax, and yet we start thinking of other things. We start day dreaming of other things. The body wants to shift and move. We want to adjust ourselves. We feel tension or pain, but if we are always moving in our posture, we are not actually meditating. This is why a great Swami from the Hindu tradition of yoga, Swami Sivananda said, “Your asana, your posture, should be like a mountain, firm,” but relaxed. We don't move. And if you resolve in yourself in the beginning: “Don't move,” you'll find that your mind starts thinking over things or your body wants to move. You have an itch. You have a pain in your neck. You want to adjust yourself. That shows us that the body is like a donkey. It is an animal. You have to train it. The mind likewise. And sometimes even our emotions too. Negativity is animalistic.
So we hope to conclude with the fact that the soul can develop through these three sciences: alchemy, Kabbalah, and psychology, because that seed can become a tree of life when it is intentionally nourished and developed.
Do you have any questions?
Questions and Answers
Question: Where would you put astrology in all this?
Instructor: Sure. For those who are not familiar with astrology, it is the ancient science of the stars: astros-logos: astros, meaning heavens or stars, Logos meaning divinity. We can say that astrology permeates all three sciences―in the original sense or in the interpretations of astrology that there are 12 zodiacal signs that one is born in. According to Hindu tradition, one is born in a different zodiacal sign in each life, if you studied reincarnation and what those concepts entail.
But the zodiac has to do with certain influences in the mind, the heart, the personality, our spirituality too. There are different levels of influences from nature and the cosmos that influence a person. Of course, astrology today is a caricature. It is very divorced from a lot of the ancient roots and sciences that these astrologers actually knew. Astrology in its real sense is astros-logos: how the soul unites with the divinity of the stars. Every star and every planet has its own intelligence, its own divinities. Real astrology is when, in a state of meditation, we can let the body go to sleep, and the consciousness can awaken in what is called the internal dimensions. Some people call it dreams, astral projection, dream yoga, out-of-body experiences. This is something that you can experience for yourself and provoke at will if you seriously practice this.
In that way, in those dimensions known as the Tree of Life, again, the Tree of Life is a symbol of different levels of dimensions of nature that are psychological, spiritual, internal. And you can have those experiences in which your body is abandoned and you as a soul, in those planes, some people call it the astral plane, world of dreams―and then in that state, with profound clarity and awareness, you can call upon divinity. This is symbolized by Moses talking to God on Mount Sinai.
What is a mountain? It is a symbol of climbing that Tree of Life in meditation. A very difficult path, but you can reach the peak, those higher levels of consciousness in those states, and then you can call upon for help in those vivid, conscious, illuminated dreams, lucid dreams, people call it. In that way, you can get help from all the divinities of the stars.
If I am telling you this is because this is what I do regularly in my own practices. We receive help. And anyone can do this, because we all have a seed that can develop into that potential. Astrology relates with Kabbalah because when we receive that wisdom from any divinity, help for our physical life, we are performing Kabbalah, kabel, “to receive.” But also we can learn to have those experiences more regularly by working in alchemy, which is the science of The Perfect Matrimony, a book written by Samael Aun Weor, who is one of the founders of this tradition that we study along with many of the books that we have.
Astrology is not just the study of charts or memorizing complicated glyphs and numbers, which can have very interesting correlations to our life or not, but more profoundly, real astrology is when we develop our seed through these methods, these three sciences, so that we can receive help from the stars, literally, from heaven. Heaven is not a physical place, but a state of consciousness. You can awaken in the dream state, no longer projecting your dreams, your mind into that dimension, but you can see things as they are. It is not a vague or an amorphous dimension, but it is a material world just manifested by different levels or laws of nature. It's not physical or material like this physical plane. It's something different.
But that's real astrology. You can talk with the divinity of the stars. We have a book available called Practical Astrology with the different practices that you can use for each of the zodiacal signs during certain times of the month, where you can experience these things for yourself, receive help from those different influences.
Any other questions?
So if you are interested, I invite you to see our websites chicagognosis.org. You also can visit Glorian.org [formerly gnosticteachings.org]. You'll find a lot of resources that teach this science in a very profound way. We have many courses available. The books that we have for sale here are also available online. You can also read every book, every chapter online. But if you want a hard copy, you can always purchase from here too.
Everything that we teach here is practical. You don't have to believe in any of it. We don't recommend that you believe in any of it, but in a state of neutrality, experiment and practice and see the results. And as you see results in yourself, that develops what we call genuine faith. People in these times confuse faith and belief. Faith is real knowledge born from experience. When you know from conscious experience that putting your hand on a hot stove burns you, you have faith that if you put your hand on a hot stove, you are going to get burned. It's a concrete experience. But even with those mystical experiences that all the saints of the different traditions taught, you can have that faith too, and you'll know from a state of lucidity and consciousness what those realities are, and then you don't the believe in anything. Belief doesn't change anyone. So again, you are also free to take some flyers and pamphlets if you are interested. We have the books available too, but I thank you all for coming.
So the purpose of this course is to study and understand, as well as apply the principles of meditation. Meditation in its heart has been taught in the core of every religion, but in accordance with the skills or dispositions, the needs, the qualities of the students, and the particular culture in which this teaching has been given. So in Gnosticism we study a variety of faiths, a variety of teachings, which all point towards the development of the soul.
In the spirit of universality and study, we are going to be examining in this course how the Sufis taught the science of meditation. Sufism is a very beautiful teaching, but which unfortunately is not very well studied in the West; neither is it understood or practiced well, primarily because in Western society, Sufism has taken an academic role, where it has been exclusively limited to discussions and polemics of academies. But in its practical essence, Sufism teaches us how to understand our way of being, who we are fundamentally—to see and comprehend the path that leads out of suffering and towards the personal experience of the divine.
Some of you may be familiar with the poet Rumi. He’s actually the most popular poet in the west. He stated: “Remember that the entrance door to the sanctuary is inside you.” So this statement is very profound and applies to the science of meditative knowledge: how we explore ourselves to perceive and understand what in us makes us suffer and what we can do to change.
Samael Aun Weor, the founder of the modern gnostic tradition, wrote in The Spiritual Power of Sound:
“It is completely impossible to experience the Being, the Innermost, the Reality (the divine) without becoming true technical and scientific masters of that mysterious science called meditation.” —Samael Aun Weor, The Spiritual Power of Sound: “The ‘I’ and the Being”
Meditation as denominated by the Sufis is mushahida. It means contemplation, to witness, to perceive. If you've heard or studied the public teachings of Islam, they have a very famous statement or declaration of faith called the Shahadah, which is the famous postulation: "There is no god but God, and Muhammad is His prophet.” In a profound way, to witness divinity, to witness the truth in ourselves, to experience what religion calls God, that all depends on meditation—because to bear witness of something, we have to see it. We have to perceive it. And that is what meditation is for. To see divinity. To know divinity. To not believe or leave that knowledge exclusively in the intellect or a sentiment in the heart. To really bear witness of the truth is to be a practical meditator. To practice contemplation, mushahida. That is how we enter the sanctuary inside of us, because all of us have divinity, the reality, the Being inside.
Samael Aun Weor, who founded our tradition, explained that Sufism teaches about the level of being, qualities of consciousness and also the way to perceive in ourselves, to understand the obstacles: that which conditions us and makes us suffer, by perceiving in us that which gives us pain. There is a way to change and to experience what divinity is, what religions have called divinity, no matter what the name from whatever culture.
So the purpose of meditation is to comprehend, to remove suffering and to elevate our consciousness to a better state than what we are presently in.
Meditation is not a technique. It's a way of being, a state of consciousness. Meditation is a profoundly lucid, pristine, cognizant state, that is free of conditioning.
So let us examine ourselves, if we aspire to learn meditation, to fully practice it. What in us is conditioned? What in us makes us suffer? What psychological states do we experience that are problematic for us, that make others suffer, that create conflicts at work and home, in the bedroom? What in us produces our pain?
To change all that, to no longer be afflicted, we practice the science of meditation. It is a state of consciousness: one in which we clearly perceive in us that which needs to change, which can be transformed. Because only from the state of equanimity, of dispassion, of calm, can we truly change our situation.
Contrary to popular belief, meditation is not daydreaming. It is not fantasizing or spacing out. Neither is it a dull state, a torpidity of mind, a cloudiness. Neither is it simply relaxing. Relaxation is essential, but it is not the state of meditation. It is what leads to it, what sets the foundation.
Meditation is the science of perception, of witnessing the truth for ourselves, to practice mushahida.
By comprehending ourselves, we learn to perceive clearly, because fundamentally all of us struggle with anger, with pride, with fear, with resentment, with envy, with lust. These are qualities of being which are very negative: fear that debilitates, that conditions, that traps the essence of who we really are.
Fortunately in religion and any meditative teaching there is a path that leads out of those conditioned states. But what it requires is a type of renunciation, a type of work, a type of practice. And this practice helps us to perceive the reality of our situation. Not what we believe or we fantasize, what we want to change simply with the intellect, by thinking or feeling, or daydreaming about a utopia, a better situation.
Meditation is the means by which we practically apply profound principles of understanding. As we say in this tradition: “Meditation is the daily bread of the Gnostic.” That bread is understanding, because when we understand something in us, when we comprehend defects like anger or pride or resentment, we can learn to remove them. Comprehension is the sustenance of the soul. Comprehension is essential. Understanding the conflicts of our mind and where they originate produces peace, equanimity, serenity.
And so the reason why we suffer is because we don't have equanimity. We don't perceive clearly in us what makes us suffer. Sadly humanity does not really understand or apply the methods for change. People suffer because they do not perceive reality as it is. We have desires that want the external world to change and yet we don't change fundamentally. Because of conditioned elements like fear and pride and anger and lust, we see life through the lens of these desires. Reality is one way, our desires want something else. And because our desires are never satisfied, never fulfilled, we go on through our existence, repeating mistakes, suffering, wanting the situation to change, yet not changing our own perspective.
It would be more radical and interesting if we were to transform our own mental states, because by changing who we are inside, we learn to change our situation.
So in a symbolic way, all of us are addicted to psychological states that produce suffering. But unfortunately we don't like to see this in ourselves. It's not a pleasant truth to understand: that we produce our own suffering and that we also make other people suffer too.
An alcoholic, someone who is addicted to intoxicating substances, may know intellectually that the desire or craving for alcohol is harmful, yet that person may continue to indulge in that desire, that state. They continue to suffer. So we may know on some level, whether we have experienced drug addiction or alcoholism, that engaging in that element is harmful. We may continue to do so anyways.
While this is a very extreme case, this is an example of our daily state. An addict knows that that addiction is wrong, but continues to feed that desire. And because desire never equates with reality, that person continues to suffer. The reality of engaging in that desire is to feel more and more pain, more suffering. And so all of us have addictions, perhaps not to substances, but to states of anger, of fear, of pride, because we want our situation to be a certain way, according to our egotism and desires. And yet because reality is what it is, we fight against it and suffer.
That is the state of the ego, egotism, the self, which we explore in our studies of meditation and seek to comprehend. Because by comprehending desire and the origins of our traumas, our sufferings, we reach the state of equanimity and change.
So on a basic level, we do not comprehend how our own desires make us suffer, because if we understood our desires and how they are never satisfied, we would not act on them or feed them. Because desire, which is always in conflict with reality, can never be filled, never be quenched. And when we don't get what we want, we suffer. That is a state of mind, of egotism.
The Reality of Suffering and Internal Transformation
This is why our world is what it is today, with all of its wars, its chaos, its afflictions. Humanity is in a state of crisis and people like to change the world with politics and theories and beliefs. People attempt to resolve the external situation without even considering how we psychologically are the cause of all the pain in this world. If the individual were to examine him or herself, his or her own mental states, which cause violence, extortion, prostitution, destruction—such a person would comprehend and would enact a superior way of being, a better way of acting, of relating to the world.
Samael Aun Weor wrote in his book Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology that:
“All things, all circumstances that occur outside of ourselves on the stage of this world are exclusively the reflection of what we carry within.”
It is a very difficult realization to make, but anybody who approaches spirituality sees in themselves, observes in themselves, how their states of egotism are the exact reflection of the chaos we see humanity in today. Society is the individual. It is a reflection of the individual mind. Trying to change the society in which we live can never produce results, if the individual does not change him or herself. It is a fundamental law of nature, a dynamic. The society is the individual. How we relate to others is a reflection of our own internal psychological states in which Sufism teaches us very beautifully how to comprehend, to analyze, to know.
“With good reason then we can solemnly declare that the ‘exterior is a reflection of the interior.’ When someone changes internally and if that change is radical, then circumstances, life and the external also change.” —Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology
So the science of meditation is what will lead us towards that change. As Samael Aun Weor wrote in The Great Rebellion:
“In life, the only thing of importance is a radical, total and definitive change. The rest frankly, is of no importance at all.”
So when we study Sufism or any tradition, meditation, we have to be very tired of suffering. We have to be very firm in our resolve, to work on our own mistakes and not to blame others. To change who we are. Because if we cannot change ourselves, it is impossible to change another person, to influence them, to help them. So therefore if we are really working effectively in ourselves, then our situation will change. It is a law of nature, like gravity, like attraction.
What we are psychologically attracts the circumstances of our life. If we are drunkards, we will be at the bar with other drunkards. If we are lawyers, we will be with other lawyers. If we are studying spirituality, we will meet others in a positive sense who are studying the same type of teaching, who also want to change. And so these type of influences help, or don't, depending on our state of mind.
We have to examine the facts. This is the radical zero-base by which we approach the science of meditation, because meditation is a state of consciousness. It is a state of understanding. It's about acquiring information, acquiring data. We have to see and look into ourselves, to witness that which causes our affliction—to see it, not to daydream, to theorize, to believe, to think we are a certain way, because of our cultural heritage or experience, but simply to look, to examine, to perceive.
Because as I provided the example of an alcoholic, they may know intellectually that their desire for alcohol is destructive, that it causes harm. They may intellectually know this and yet continue to engage in that desire itself. So what is missing in this example is observation of the facts: looking at what the situation is, what is the reality.
“Gnosis is lived upon facts, withers away in abstractions and it is difficult to find even in the noblest of thoughts.” —Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
So this term gnosis is Greek. It means knowledge, but not of the intellectual type. It is conscious experiential perception of reality. There are many levels of this perception, just as within the Muslim or Sufi doctrine there are levels of witnessing the truth.
So you've all heard the famous public declaration of faith: "La ilaha illa Allah, Muhammadun rasul Allah” (There is no god but God and Muhammad is His prophet). There are many people who recite this declaration and believe that they are now followers of God and that they are saved, simply because they think a certain way or feel a certain way.
But unfortunately, gnosis is lived upon facts, it withers away in abstractions. It is an abstraction to believe in a concept, that one is a follower of a tradition, or thinks that one is a saint, to believe that we are holy people because of our religion, of a institution, of a group. These are just concepts. They don't relate to the reality of our situation, about what we are psychologically. Believing in God does not change our anger in a moment of crisis. When we are criticized, we respond or react negatively and create problems, suffering for ourselves and others.
This declaration of faith on a public level does not really do anything, although people are welcome to practice and believe what they want. But in this teaching we like to be practical. What does it mean to witness divinity? To bear witness of something? It means that we've experienced it.
To witness something, or a person who is a witness in a court of law, sees an event with objectivity (hopefully). But in that situation, when we say we have seen something, it's because we've experienced it. It is what we know. It is not what we believe. To really bear witness that there is a divinity inside of us—and that there are many masters of humanity, of any tradition, that we have experienced—is another thing. It's another thing to really have that knowledge for ourselves from experience.
So what is this declaration of faith mean in a more profound level? To bear witness means that one is practicing mushahida, which is the Arabic term for meditation. Because in a state of meditation, when we have abandoned our conditions of mind, our negative internal states, we can in turn enter in to states of consciousness that are more elevated and that are beyond physicality. The body goes to sleep and the consciousness can experience truths that are beyond physical matter and energy. Some people call these dreams, lucid dreams, out of body experiences, astral projections, jinn experiences.
These are states of consciousness that are very real and the one who has experienced them knows those states primarily because of facts, because fulfilling the necessary principles of meditation, by working practically with them, and therefore such a person does not need to believe in anything—doesn't believe in a tradition, doesn't think something is true or think God is there, but knows it, because one has the experience. It is no longer an abstraction, and that unity of God, that the public teaching of Islam fundamentally ignores, is something inside. People like to believe in God as some anthropomorphic figure in the clouds, who dispenses lightning bolts to this poor anthill of a humanity. That figure does not exist. Instead it's better to think of, or conceptualize in the beginning, of divinity as a state of consciousness, which is inside of us, our true nature.
The Unity of God and the Soul
And so that unity that there is only one God is something psychological, internal, profound. That unity is a state of being which is very pure, has no suffering, has no pain, no anger, no lust, no desire. It is a definitive state of liberation. But if we look at ourselves and look at the facts of our experience, we find that we have many different desires. We have anger and pride and fear and laziness and gluttony. In one moment we may desire to have coffee cake—in the next watch television, go on YouTube, get into an argument. We are constantly conflicted, moving in multiple directions all at once. We have many desires which are not unitary, they are actually disparate, conflicting, contradictory.
We are a walking paradox, because physically we have this body which is unitary or works as a unit, but psychologically we are not a unit. We are very conflicted and this is why people suffer so much, why we are in the situation we are in. Because we don't look at the reality of our mind.
So meditation is about gathering data about that multiplicity of desires and discursive factors in us, which we seek to comprehend and to eliminate, to change. Meditation is how we see clearly in us what needs to change. Therefore “Gnosis is lived upon facts, it withers away in abstractions,” ideas, beliefs, “and it is difficult to find even in the noblest of thoughts.” So religion as it is taught today has very noble aspirations, but we have to look at the practical aspects of these doctrines, of these methods, to see what works and what doesn't. Because if humanity continues to suffer and we continue to suffer, it means that we are not changing fundamentally. This is the radical foundation by which we address ourselves when we study this type of teaching.
There is a Sufi initiate, a Sufi teacher by the name of Al-Junayd. He was quoted in a book called Al-Risalah, which simply means Principles of Sufism. He elaborates and even confirms what Samael Aun Weor states in this quote from The Revolution of the Dialectic:
“Al-Junayd states: To affirm the unity means to distinguish the eternal from ephemeral.” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So what does it mean to affirm God? To know divinity, to have that divinity manifest in our very thoughts, our very words, our very deeds, our very ways of acting, our life. To have happiness that is eternal, that is unconditioned, that is pure. It means to distinguish that which is eternal from that which is ephemeral. Meaning, get through the illusions.
Look at the illusions that we continue to engage in about ourselves. It means to look at that which is not concrete, which is not real. Because all these desires, according to any meditative tradition, are not our true identity. Our true identity is happiness, a state of contentment, a state of peace. And so everything else is arbitrary. It is not eternal, and therefore we have to learn how to go inside of ourselves, to calm the mind and to learn to remove the conditions that have trapped us, that we put into place.
Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī, the greatest poet of the Sufi tradition stated:
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”
Therefore we have to rely on facts, observe ourselves, gather data about what we are doing at any given moment. To practice awareness of ourselves. Because as Al-Jurayri, again from this book Principles of Sufism, teaches:
“If someone does not seek to acquire the knowledge of the Unity (of divinity, from experience) through some kind of evidence, the foot of his delusion will slip into an abyss of destruction.” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
Of course this is a very serious case, but any person who approaches meditation does so because they no longer want to suffer in life, and want to change themselves. We have to rely on evidence; look at what we are. Do not assume we are a certain way, or think intellectually we are or possess certain qualities, but simply to look, to observe, to not daydream. But also not to seek for love, but to look at ourselves, to see what has trapped it. Because by removing these imperfections in ourselves, we can truly experience what love is.
The Three Levels of Meditative Instruction
Meditation was taught in the schools of Sufism very similar to many other traditions. There is an introductory teaching, there is an intermediate teaching, and there is an advanced teaching.
The following words are Arabic: There is Shari’ah (introductory level), there is Tarīqah, (the intermediate level) and there is Haqiqah / Ma’rifah (the advanced level). These are respectively an exoteric or public teaching, a mesoteric or intermediate teaching, and a hidden, secret mystical teaching, an esoteric teaching.
If you study Buddhism you're very familiar with the three schools: Śrāvakayāna, Mahayana, Tantrayana.
We are going to explain a little bit about these terms because they hold a lot of value for studying what meditation is and how to practically and effectively apply it.
People hear the term Shari’ah and in the West this term has a lot of baggage. People associate Shari’ah with Shari’ah law, as the punitive laws of Muslim countries, in which people have been stoned or executed, have been harmed. And sadly people have used that aspect of, or misinterpreted the original intent of this term. Shari’ah simply means law, but it is not a cultural law. It is not morals. It is not dogma.
The Sufis have a very interesting interpretation of what Shari’ah means. It simply means conduct, how one acts. Shari’ah as a public teaching, in the true sense, refers to how we produce actions which bring about the harmony and happiness of others, but also ourselves. This is known as ethics, codes of conduct, ways of being. It has nothing to do with the violence that is truly afflicting the Middle East. Whether people would like to interpret certain scriptures for their own benefit, to promote degeneration and destruction is one thing, but the Sufis have always explored the Qur’an and other mystical writings from a symbolic point of view.
Shari’ah refers to in its true sense, ways of being, superior ways of acting, such as compassion, kindness, understanding, love. It also means to refrain from those negative states of mind which produced suffering: anger, fear, pride, etc. This is the most introductory level of any meditative tradition. Ethics. Producing causes of happiness in oneself. Actions that produce harmony, peace and refraining from behaviors, even mentally and emotionally, which cause conflict.
The intermediate state which is built off of this foundation has to do with the heart. Tarīqah means “path,” and the Sufis explain that this is the path one follows in the desert of life. All of us are in particular situations in life, our experiences. We all have our own sufferings and hardships. We are symbolically wandering in the desert. Tarīqah has to do with those special practices that are for the benefit of others. The introductory level of religion, ethics, has more to do with training our own negative mental states and producing positive states. But the path of spirituality, Tarīqah, is working more for the benefit of others.
So this is a very profound shift in one's focus, in which our meditation is not just about us. We learn to change who we are so that we don't affect others negatively.
I believe there is a statement by a famous Sufi master. His name is Ibn Arabi. He said that he would always go on retreats, khalwa in Arabic, in order to not abandon the world, to avoid negative people, but he would go off into the desert or wherever in order to reflect on himself and work on himself, so that he did not affect others. He said most people enter retreat because they want to avoid bad people, the cities, whatever. But what Tarīqah, the mesoteric level of meditation, the heart of any religion, is more about working for the benefit of others.
We meditate not just for our own benefit, to know divinity for ourselves, but in order to express positive states of being with others. To produce the happiness of others.
This is the path that leads us towards the highest stages of realization. When we work for others, when we develop compassion, when we eliminate states like anger, we are in turn preparing ourselves for even higher degrees of understanding, which is Haqiqah, Ma’rifah.
Haqiqah is truth from the Arabic Al-Haqq, which is one of the names of divinity given in Islam. Ma’rifah means knowledge. Again this is the Arabic equivalent of the word in Greek, gnosis. This is the esoteric teaching. It is the hidden teaching. It has to do with certain practices which are very expedient, in which people who have fully established themselves in meditation and are working for the benefit of others can receive methods and practices in order to truly advance. To have more power and energy and work by which to impact others positively.
This is the equivalent of Tantrayana, the teachings of tantrism or the perfect matrimony explained by Samael Aun Weor. It is the teachings of alchemy according to medieval science, the science of a marriage, how a couple can work together in their matrimony, in their union, in order to transform everything they are for humanity.
Ibn Arabi, who is called the greatest of Sufi teachers, stated that in the introductory level of Shari’ah, “What is yours is yours and what is mine is mine.” There is separatism. Individuals work primarily on their own minds, so that they no longer suffer. In the intermediate path, Tarīqah, “What is yours is mine and what is mine is yours,” he says. People share and commune and work together. People work on their minds, their hearts, in order to help humanity as a whole. And then in the advanced state, Haqiqah, Ibn Arabi states: “Nothing belongs to you or me.” Because at that state of meditation, one is working very seriously and is impacting humanity out of the state of selflessness. For Ma’rifah, he says: “There is no you or me.” There is only God.
This is the highest teaching of religion, because the word religion from the Latin religare means “to reunite.” This is when the soul or consciousness in meditation and through this type of work has united as a consciousness with the Truth, Al-Haqq. No matter what name is given to that Truth, no matter what religion, that divinity. This is a very profound state and at that level in which one can truly say “There is no god but God and Jesus is His prophet, and Buddha is His prophet, and Krishna, Moses, Muhammad, whomever, are His prophets.” That is the highest experience of the truth which we can taste in the beginning if we're working seriously. But these levels are developed gradually, progressively, as we are practicing the requisites.
The Divine Law, the Way, and the Inner Reality
There are some very beautiful teachings about meditation and these dynamics explained by a Sufi writer by the name of Al-Qushayri. He wrote in the book called Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism explanations which are very profound about understanding what this past level instruction entails. He states:
“The divine Law [Shari’ah] commands one to the duty of servanthood.” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So again, what is this divine law? Some of you may be familiar with Buddhism, with karma, cause and effect, action and consequence. The divine law is acting for the benefit of others. Curtailing negative emotions so that one no longer suffers oneself.
“The divine Law commands one to the duty of servanthood [to serve divinity].” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
This is not a belief. It's a factual practice in which when we are confronted, such as at work, we may be criticized; we feel anger rising in ourselves, hurt self esteem, pride. We learn to serve divinity by not acting on those elements. By first restraining ourselves consciously, looking at ourselves and not acting from a state of negativity. That is how we serve God in us. We don't enact our desires. We learn to act with the soul, with consciousness.
“The Way [Tarīqah], the inner Reality [Haqiqah] is the contemplation of divine lordship.” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So what is this inner reality as we were saying? It is gnosis. It is experience. When in meditation, we experience what divinity is. It also means that we comprehend ourselves, all of that which clouds the mind, which prevents us from reflecting that divine truth in ourselves.
“Outward religious practice not confirmed by inner reality is not acceptable. Inner reality not anchored by outward religious practice is not acceptable.” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
What is outward religious practice? It has to do with any type of exercise in our tradition or any tradition which is not confirmed, not understood, which is not experienced. It has to be validated by inner reality. Meaning, if we're practicing meditation or any type of exercise, such as pranayama, runes, sacred rites of rejuvenation, mantras, any type of practice, which we are using to develop our spirituality, has to be verified by inner reality. We have to genuinely perceive how these practices work. How they are effective. Because simply going through the motions of praying mechanically does not produce any results. Therefore this type of practice is not acceptable. We have to really vividly, consciously understand the purpose of any exercise, so that we can become prepared for meditation.
“Inner reality not anchored by outward religious practice is also not acceptable.” Meaning, having any type of experience, weather in dreams, or in meditation, which have nothing to do with our practice is also not acceptable.
There are many people who by engaging in this type of exercises start to see things in themselves. They have dreams or visions. But unfortunately because the mind is so conditioned, we are so afflicted with ego, that all we are seeing in many cases is a reflection of our own subjectivity, our own conditions. So if someone is filled with anger, they see through anger. They have dreams and visions and experiences filtered through that element.
Unfortunately we have a lot of egotism and we project a lot of our mind into our dreams when the physical body is asleep. So having those type of inner experiences, not grounded in any type of ethics, is unacceptable. If we have visions or perceptions, which are not grounded in our spiritual practices, is also not acceptable. We have to learn to differentiate that which is objective from that which is false, and this is the fundamental quality of meditation. It's discernment. To discern what is ephemeral from what is eternal.
“Divine Law brings obligation upon the creation, while the Way is founded upon the free action [or experience] of the real.” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So this path of ethics, divine law, is an obligation upon us. Divinity does not want us to suffer. Divinity wants us to enact positive actions which produce happiness. It is an obligation. It is a trust and a tryst. It is an agreement that anyone takes, when they are seriously working and looking in themselves to change. And so this way is founded, meditation is founded upon the free action or experience of the truth. We have to perceive and experience these things for ourselves, what religion, scriptures and practices actually entail, and their results.
“The divine Law is that you serve Him, the Way is that you see Him.” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
How do we serve divinity? When we are with our loved ones, our parents or family members are really provoking our anger, our self-esteem, our pride—we want to be sarcastic, negative, harmful, hurtful with our speech—we serve divinity when we refrain from those behaviors. That is how we serve divinity. Because religion is about bringing communities together, creating harmony.
“The Way is that we see Him.” In the beginning we don't see divinity. We all want experiences, to have some type of ecstasy of the soul in which we talk face-to-face with our own inner Being, our inner God. Unfortunately, because we are conditioned, we don't see that in the beginning typically, unless we are really working seriously. We serve divinity by fulfilling ethics and we learn to see divinity when we fulfill those basic requirements. Because when we act on egotism, we feed desire and continue to cloud and condition our mind.
As Prophet Muhammad taught in the oral tradition of Islam, there is an organ in the body which, when it is pure, can reflect the truth. It is like a mirror. If it is cloudy, it cannot reflect anything—it is dirty. But when it is polished, it can reflect the truth. That organ is the heart, and the polish for the heart is remembrance—to remember divinity in those moments in which we are really tested. We are provoked to the edge, and yet we refrain from acting on those negative qualities of mind and that we, in turn, enact positive, superior action. That is how we polish our heart, refine our conduct, so that we can see divinity, to know divinity and therefore it is no longer a theory. It is what we experience.
“The divine Law is doing what you have been ordered to do. Haqiqah is bearing witness to what it is determined and ordained, hidden and revealed.” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So again Haqiqah, Truth, to know reality, the Being.
“I heard Abu Ali al-Daqqaq say that God's saying [in the Opening Surah, Al-Fatihah of the 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.” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So those of you who are not familiar with the Qur’an, one of the most commonly recited prayers in the Muslim tradition states from the very opening of this book:
In the name of God, the infinitely Compassionate and Merciful.
Praise be to God, Lord of all the worlds.
The Compassionate, the Merciful. Ruler on the Day of Judgment.
You alone we worship, and to You we turn for help.
Guide us on the straight path,
the path of those who have received your grace;
not the path of those who have brought down wrath, nor of those who wander astray.
―Al-Fatihah: The Opening
“You alone we worship.” That is Shari’ah, the divine law. But why? What does it mean to worship divinity in accordance with meditative science?
It doesn't mean to believe or feel in the heart that one is a saint or a good person. To worship divinity is to have that respect and even that anxiety in moments of great trial in which we are truly tested.
We worship divinity by our actions, not through any type of mechanical, canonical prayer, by reciting words, which can have meaning or not. We demonstrate our worship in divinity by our level of acting, our level of being, how we behave in moments of great trial. We worship divinity when we don't feed anger, pride, lust, because we know that those qualities of mind will produce suffering for ourselves and others. We worship divinity because we want to make divinity manifest in us.
So this is the outward practice: “You we worship.” And then the inner reality is established by: “To you we turn for help.” So how is it also that we can worship divinity? It is very simple. We practice concentration, we relax the body, we focus in ourselves and silence our mind. Remove the obscurations of the psyche. Don't think so much. Ask a question of your inner divinity for help, for insight. When we concentrate our mind, we are performing a type of worship, because the distracted mind, a discursive mind, a fractured mind, cannot reflect anything true. It is simply conditioned by its own negativity.
“You we worship” is a type of concentration in which we abandon the mind, we abandon thinking, we abandon emotion, we relax the body, relax everything that we think we are and achieve a type of stillness. When we attain quietude in the mind, when we are no longer thinking so much, when thoughts are no longer there, when the heart is at peace, we can then receive the inner reality, the way. That is when we turn for help. Because remember that the mind and the heart are like a mirror, or even like a lake. If the lake is turbid, filled with waves and conflict, if it is churning with emotion, it cannot reflect any images on it's surface. But when it's still, it can reflect the heavens, the stars, nature.
And this is an allegory of our own meditative practice. “You we worship.” We concentrate. We relax the mind. We silence the mind. And then, when we're no longer thinking, insight, spontaneous, intuitive, emerges. We receive understanding. We can even receive experiences where we witness different states of consciousness, which are not physical. Imagery, which is not physical. Experiences that are beyond our physical reality. This is the inner way. This is how we turn for help. This is when we receive understanding, comprehension and with comprehension there is serenity, there is understanding and peace. When we understand the cause of a certain fault in us or a certain problem, we are no longer afflicted, and then we obtain religion.
“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
Another very famous Sufi from the Persian tradition, wrote corroborating the thoughts of Al-Qushayri. His name is Abdullah Ansari of Herat, from the book Stations of the Sufi Path:
“Now, the divine law (Shari’ah) is entirely the divine truth (Haqiqah), and the divine truth is entirely expressed in the divine law, and the foundation of actual realization of the divine truth is the divine law and the claim to follow the law.” ―Abdullah Ansari of Herat, Stations of the Sufi Path
So don't think of a law or this law as something physical, political, social. This law has to do with consciousness. Certain behaviors produce sorrow and pain. Certain states of consciousness produce happiness. By learning to work on ourselves, we can learn to experience this truth.
“The divine law and following that law without realizing the divine truth is useless, just as claiming to realize the divine truth without practicing and understanding the divine law is useless. So all those who act without integrating and realizing both of these together are acting in vain.” ―Abdullah Ansari of Herat, Stations of the Sufi Path
Simply believing in a tradition is useless. To say, “There is no god but God and Muhammad is His prophet,” or to believe in Jesus, in the Buddha and whomever and following a type of moral system, does not change anyone. Morality is, again, different from ethics. Morality are beliefs about how one should act. But that does not mean that one acts consciously. Ethics is what we do practically ourselves, so that we can experience the truth.
The Three Blessings of the Sufis
We will conclude with a beautiful teaching again from the book Principles of Sufism. They talk a lot about three blessings, which synthesize and summarize the foundations of meditation according to the Sufi teachings. It's a very beautiful book that elaborates many anecdotes and stories of which we will relate a few.
There are three blessings: faith, submission and beautiful action, Iman, Islam, and Ihsan. So faith has nothing to do with belief. When you witness something for yourself, you have faith. You have experienced it. You know it. Even as basic as putting one's hand on a hot stove and getting burned. One has faith and knowledge and understanding, that to place one's hand on that kitchen stove is to get burned. That is a very basic level of understanding. But in a more profound sense, we have faith when we verify through meditation what divinity is. What consciousness is. And that certain actions are either the bane or the boon of the soul.
Islam simply means “submission” in Arabic, “to submit.” People like to think that in the public sense, Islam has to do with following a certain tradition or series of prayers, which is beautiful. But in a more profound sense we submit to divinity when we work on our mind. We no longer act on egotism and that is how we act beautifully, Ihsan.
If you’ve heard the Arabic name Hassan, it originates from this Arabic root Ihsan. It means beautiful action. To act with such clarity and intuition in great trials and crises. To do what is right in a moment of great difficulty. That is Ihsan. Actions like that of Jesus, when he was crucified. The love and selflessness he showed to his enemies is perhaps the greatest act of selfless love, a beautiful action, our humanity has ever witnessed.
All of us have that potential to act beautifully and these three blessings are emphasized in the following anecdote:
“[The Angel] Gabriel appeared to the Prophet in the form of a man, ‘O Muhammad,’ he said. ‘What is faith (iman)?’ The Prophet replied, ‘To believe in a God, His angels, His books, His messengers, and destiny—it’s good and bad, its sweet and bitter, come from God.’ ‘You have spoken the truth,’ said the visitor.” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So he uses the term belief and in the original Arabic there are meanings which are much more profound. People commonly associate belief with thinking something is true or feeling something is true, but not knowing. Belief comes from be-lieve: to be through the power of love, which is not just an intellectual thing, but is an act of consciousness in which our very ways of acting, thinking, feeling, moving, behaving is done from love and remembrance of divinity. To be present, to be conscious.
“‘You have spoken the truth,’ said the visitor. We were surprised that someone would corroborate the Prophet, both questioning him and confirming what he said. ‘And inform me: What is Islam (submission to God’s will)?’ he continued. ‘Islam is to establish prayer, give the poor their dues, fast during the month of Ramadan and make the pilgrimage to the House of God.’” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
This is the public level of Islam, certain prayers that people adopt and fulfill in a type of kindergarten for the science of meditation. Prophet Muhammad was even known to have said: “An hour of contemplation is better than a year of prayer.” But in the beginning it is good to pray. To pray to whatever divinity or form of divinity we have an affinity for. Islam is to submit to divinity through our heart, through our actions, where our very ways of being is a form of prayer. We can pray five times a day towards Mecca or any type of tradition that studies meditation. We can adopt many prayers, which are very beautiful and useful. They are all very powerful. But what's essential is that when we pray, we don't think. We don't rationalize. We open up our heart. We reflect in ourselves how we need help.
And to meditate, because an hour of contemplation, is the greatest prayer. To observe ourselves and to learn about what makes us suffer is the greatest form of prayer. It is also in this way that we give the poor their dues, we help others. All of us are poor or poor in spirit, and humanity also is very poor, and needs help.
“To fast during the month of ramadan and to make the pilgrimage to the House of God.” So fasting has many levels. Many Muslims will physically fast during this period of time. On a more profound level, which we will elaborate in the future lectures, fasting has to also do with how we no longer feed our ego. It is a type of fast. We don't give our desires what they want. It is a type of discipline. “And make pilgrimage to the House of God.” This is the famous Hajj, pilgrimage to Mecca, which is a very beautiful symbolic teaching about the inner work which we will elaborate in future lectures.
“‘You have spoken the truth,’ he said again. ‘So tell me about doing what is beautiful (ihsan)?’ ‘Doing what is beautiful is to worship God as if you see Him, and if you do not see Him, certainly He sees you.’ ‘You have spoken the truth,’ he said.” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
In the beginning we don't see divinity. We don't know what the Being is. But even though we are clouded of mind, the heart is not polished firmly, clearly yet. Divinity sees all of our actions, our inner being. So acting beautifully is knowing that on some level there are consequences to what we do. This is ethics. And in this way, by developing ethical behavior, we calm the mind. We develop peace of heart. We establish ourselves for deeper states of serenity.
This is how we learn to bear witness, to give testimony of the truth, to experience, to know the unity of the divine. The unitary state of consciousness, which in Arabic is called tawhid.
“I heard Abu Hatim al-Sijistani say... that al-Jalajili al-Basri said, ‘For the testimony of unity (tawhid) to be in force, faith is prerequisite…” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
Meaning, if we have no experience, no faith, we can not really affirm the validity of any teaching. So we have to really test and validate and experiment with these principles to see what is true.
“‘…for whoever has no faith cannot testify to the unity. For faith to be in force the divine law is prerequisite, for whoever does not hold to the divine law has no faith and cannot testify to the unity.’” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
We develop faith by experience, by enacting the causes that produce the state of meditation, of contemplation.
“‘For the divine law to be in force refined conduct is prerequisite, for whoever has not refined his conduct cannot hold to the divine law, has no faith, and cannot testify to the unity...’” ―Al-Qushayri, Al-Risalah: Principles of Sufism
So in synthesis, we prepare the practical foundations of meditation by developing our conduct. If we give in to desire, we can no longer perceive reality, but if we work on our own negative mental states, our own negative qualities of mind, we can in turn open up our psyche and our heart to know the truth.
Questions and Answers
Audience: Hi, I have a question regarding the word meditation. Would you be able to expound or break down the actual word or maybe the root word, and where the word comes from and what are the parts of the word? Because one of the things that I've been exploring are things like meditation involving a certain posture or the idea of meditation involving certain thoughts or certain practices, when often a state of meditation might be achieved looking at a tree or going for a walk. But then the question is, am meditating or am I moving nearer to meditation? My idea of meditation may not be at all that.
Instructor: Excellent question. In Arabic the word for meditation is mushahida, which relates to the term Shahadah, meaning declaration of faith, to bear witness of something. So meditation in it's proper sense is when we witness with clarity, with no condition of mind present, what the reality of a given situation is, or our own internal states. What is actually going on. Because meditation is, according to Samael Aun Weor in his writings, the state of acquiring information. And there are many levels and qualities of that type of introspection, of that witnessing.
Witnessing can be simply seeing in ourselves defect of anger—in a moment when which we are criticized, we are observing ourselves, being aware of ourselves, our surroundings and we see our quality of mind for what it is. Witnessing can also have to do with being aware of our surroundings as well. Being very vivid, very clear. So meditation is about being awake, acquiring data of our experiences. It's a quality that is very dynamic and there are many levels.
Some people have studied astral projection or dream yoga in which one is awake in the dream state. One is no longer in the physical body, but one is experiencing life in the internal worlds. That is a form of witnessing as well. A state of meditation. But the problem is that once we experience that state, even if it just for a moment, our own conditions of mind, our own egotism, pulls us out.
The way we learn to sustain those states is by again practicing meditation, going into ourselves, silencing our mind, relaxing, suspending our senses, looking inside of ourselves. Consciousness is very beautifully explained in many of the Sufi writings, which we are going to explore in this course, which can give you an idea of what those qualities and states are like. But the best teacher is always going to be your own practice. Examining your own mind and what qualities are objective and clear and what are not. Unfortunately, no one can really teach you that. That's something you have to really work within yourself. We can give you indicators and examples, but actually experiencing what that state is like is something very practical and personal.
Audience: Thank you for the presentation tonight. It was very helpful. You mentioned the fine example of a polished heart. It really made and impact on us here. The other thing is, in doing the practices, you also mentioned not to be mechanical. Wouldn’t the use of imagination, after preparing yourself, in the practices be essential and being able to perform them in a way that you can connect to divinity? This would also be carried on over to concentration and focusing and in our meditations.
Instructor: Absolutely. The term imagination is commonly called clairvoyance. For those who are not familiar with the teachings of conscious perception, imagination, it is the ability to perceive imagery that is not physical. And so whenever we do any practice, whether we are doing mantras or prayers and concentrating our minds, we open up our imagination to visualize and to perceive in our mind's eye the result of the goal we seek.
So imagination or perception, which is given the name clairvoyance, meaning “clear vision,” has to do with qualities of perceiving. When we do runes or any exercise of practice, any mantras, we learn to visualize in our mind energy flowing. Or we can visualize any figure within any tradition that truly inspires us, such as an image of the Virgin Mary or any of the Greek Gods. Imagination is essential to our practices. Meaning, to concentrate the mind is important in the beginning. We learn to concentrate ourselves by working in ethics, and once the waters of the mind and the heart are polished and refined and calm, that's when we can start to see things more clearly in us.
That is what the Sufis call witnessing. We learn to witness the truth when we are serene. We're not thinking. And in that exercise of runes or any type of practice that we do in this teaching, we first calm our mind and we visualize, we pray, we try to see in our consciousness any type of energy we are working with, or working with the Divine Mother in the sacred rites of rejuvenation. For those who are familiar, these are yoga postures that we perform along with prayer and visualization exercises. So we perform certain visualizations in which we ask for help from divinity in order to bring down healing energies in our body and our mind.
We have to see with our eyes closed what we are doing. If we're invoking or calling upon these forces, we have to learn to see them, to imagine them, to perceive them. And there are many levels through perception. So it's important that when we are meditating or silencing our mind or doing any type of prayer, we also imagine divinity in our consciousness and ask for help.
So of course imagination is very important. We will be talking more about that faculty as we advance in this course. We will hold a lecture about that topic specifically, but of course we want to see the prayer, relaxation, concentration, imagination. These are the factors that open up the doorway to experience. With the analogy we're providing, when the mind is calm or concentrated and relaxed in the state of prayer, we can start to perceive superior images, which don't come physically, but are internal and are something very dynamic.
Audience: I have a question regarding to the lecture. Throughout the lecture I kept thinking of a part of the Bible. I forgot the part of the Bible where it says: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” I don't know why that thought kept presenting itself throughout the lecture. Is there something related to that? Because my understanding to that is, having the fear of the Lord is being able to understand good and evil. So is there a way that you can expand a little bit about that?
Instructor: So going back to the teaching of Shari’ah and ethics, we learn to be afraid of acting wrongly in order to obtain wisdom. Somebody who's not afraid of behaving poorly in any type of circumstance—not in the egotistical sense, but from the state of reverence of divinity—that person will not have any real development.
So that statement, "The beginning of the knowledge is fear of the Lord.” That fear in original Hebrew is pechad. It can also mean reverence or awe. The Sufis talk a lot about the awe of divinity and that we have to have awe and reverence for our inner being, especially when we are tested. Situations arise in which we are conflicted and we really have to feel that reference and awe of divinity, knowing that even though we don't see divinity, divinity sees us. And if we act on our mind, we will cause problems. So that is one level of that meaning.
The beginning of real Ma’rifah, witnessing of divinity, is that precise respect we have for our Being when we feel anger is about to emerge and it's about to take over, but we refrain from acting on that element. That's the beginning, but we go deeper in meditation and look to comprehend in even deeper roots what that emotion was about, and we look at the facts of that. But again, relating back to Shari’ah, ethical conduct is the beginning of knowledge. Without ethics, we can't really have experience or knowledge of divinity.
So that term γνῶσις gnosis, in Greek, means “knowledge.” But it does not mean knowledge of a scholarly type, something that we learn by going to university or from reading a book. It is knowledge that we gain from our experience of life, and consciousness. It is personal to each person.
And so every religion, every meditative tradition, teaches gnosis in its depth―a type of experiential wisdom which is beyond labels, and terms―although many different teachers have used different terms to refer to the same thing.
If you have studied meditation from Buddhism or Judaism, even the early Church Fathers of the Christian tradition too, practice meditation. You find that they all refer to the same thing, the same principles. And so at this school we like to go at the heart of what these traditions teach, primarily because some of the techniques from these traditions are very useful, very helpful for answering a particular type of problem that everyone is experiencing on this planet now, and has for many ages― and that is the problem of suffering.
It is very easy to look at the news to see how afflicted humanity is, whether from the East or the West. Despite the great accomplishments of some of our greatest teachers, or philosophers, the efforts of any type of authority figure to resolve this issue of suffering, have always ended badly.
We see that people’s efforts to try to resolve social problems, political problems, religious problems, traumas, psychological issues, we find that many people always like to go to the external world. “If I just fix this situation, if I change my job, if I associate with these people, if I do these things externally, I am going to be very happy.”
But the reality is that, we change situations and tend to carry that type of problem with us, wherever we go. And it is very easy to want to blame politicians and the external world for all of the chaos that is going on, and of course, those people are liable for their own actions, but blaming those people does not necessarily help us to resolve our own issues.
Such as at work. I know in my position at my current job, I work with clients who can be very difficult, very challenging, people who have suffered a lot of trauma, and rather than getting angry at them when they have been disrespectful to me, I have learned to transform my own mind, my own state, because I cannot blame them for what they have been through, and I cannot judge them that they are really to blame for what is going on. But the truth is, by changing who we are psychologically, we can be more serene in difficult situations.
And so, every tradition teaches that suffering comes originally from inside, our own state of mind. I believe the Dalai Lama was interviewing some Buddhist monks who had escaped the Chinese. They were exiled from Tibet, and the Chinese soldiers had done horrible things, crimes against humanity. And I remember that one of these monks spoke to the Dalai Lama, or the Dalai Lama asked him, “While you were imprisoned amongst the Chinese, what was the greatest danger that you faced?” And the monk said very serenely, “losing my compassion for my enemies [the Chinese].”
So I know it is a natural sentiment to want to feel angry at these people who harmed us, who caused us pain, but at the same time, if we hold on to anger, that makes us vibrate at a very low level of being. It is important that, yes, we feel a sense of indignation for the wrongs that are committed, but we can find that being angry and worried all the time does not make us any happier. Why hold on to these emotions that are so painful? It does not mean that we ignore what the Chinese are doing, or what so-and-so is doing, because one can act from a state of consciousness that is free of anger, but is severe, but not angry, not violent, not resentful.
And those are qualities of consciousness that are very elevated, in which we find in teachers like Jesus, or the Buddha, or Moses, or Krishna. These are people who were once like us, but who through the science of meditation, learned to transform their own imperfections and become great people, very wise beings, who knew how to handle situations with a state of equanimity, of calm.
So the question that we are going to ask in this lecture is, where does suffering come from? Where does it originate, and more importantly, how do we overcome it? I know the case of the Dalai Lama speaking with the Buddhist monk is a very extreme case, but some of that is very illuminating. Part of Buddhist practice is that one has compassion even for one’s worst enemies―primarily because, those people who are so violent and angry and terrible, do not want to suffer either. The problem is that they are confused. They do not understand that their actions produce the harm of others, the suffering of others.
And it is a natural feeling to want to demonize those people: “They really are, truly, inhumane,” “They did this and this,” “They are not even human beings,” we could say. But in reality, even the worst people have consciousness. But unfortunately, they have conditioned themselves so much, that they do not understand that what they do is harmful―which is why even Jesus on the cross said, “Father forgive them, they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).
Very powerful statement of profound compassion for one’s tormentors. Freedom or happiness is internal, and yes, while the external world can be more terrible and we can continue to feel so overwhelmed and anguished, and resentful and fearful about what is going on, those emotions do not help us to resolve the problems that are outside of us.
If we learn to be more at peace with ourselves and do not identify with the negativity of others, from a state of equanimity, we can handle any situation, and therefore produce our own happiness. But also, even more importantly the happiness of others: to bring communities together, to bring people to resolutions, at peace.
So in this image we have a human figure with a lock over his head, primarily because I wanted to make the point that the mind in itself, our human potential, is so vast, but we comprehend so little of it, what is possible for us. We have to learn to see that―if we do not know our full potential, you could say, in a manner of speaking, that we do not necessarily know all of that which is possible for us, or who we could be, what we can become. But we do have people, figures like Jesus or Buddha, or Krishna, what ever great luminary from any tradition who exemplified such beauty.
That is possible for us, to have such happiness or selflessness, compassion, altruism, humility, faith, strength in the worst circumstances. Those are qualities that are natural to consciousness, but which we have to learn to find more and more as we go through the trials of our life, but we can develop through the science of meditation.
The Purpose of Meditation
We like to emphasize that meditation is not simply just to relax, but that is the beginning. If you cannot relax your body, cannot relax your mind, you cannot go deep. You cannot examine that which needs to be examined. And so by examining ourselves, we have the key, and meditation is the key by which we can unlock our real potential, our real possibilities.
As I said, the word Gnosis in Greek means knowledge, and you find it in every tradition. It is the wisdom of consciousness. It means to awaken parts of our consciousness that are dormant, things that we do not know of. I believe medical science says that we only use about 3% of our human brain, and that there are many aspects even of our physicality, our mind, that we do not know about. And so, it is possible to awaken more and more and develop more and more beauty in our life, more compassion, more serenity, more strength.
The Four Noble Truths
The way that we can develop that knowledge is by examining this particular model which is from Buddhism, which as I said, we study all traditions. But the Buddhist model of the Four Noble Truths has something very interesting that we can examine.
It says that “in life there is suffering,” and the Pali term is “Dukkha.” The word suffering or Dukkha can also mean “dissatisfaction, displeasure,” sometimes even “disgust.” It means to have a dissatisfaction with the way things are, which is why any one of us comes to any type of tradition to study meditation or religion, or any type of world faith. It is because people are tired of suffering. They do not know what to do.
And he also said that “suffering has causes,” (Samudaya) so there are causes of suffering. And this is the distinction, the step that most people tend to get caught up on―too much externalizing, saying “the external world is to blame.” But we should ask the question about ourselves, and things that we do in our life that may make us more happy or more sad, more afflicted or more at peace. I am sure we all can identify certain actions in our life that really made a difference for others, or even for ourselves.
And so there are causes to suffering, which do not originate from the external world, but, if we are more aware, we can see that. Really in our own selves, we have all the keys to produce the happiness of the world or the pain of the world, and those causes are psychological.
As the Buddha taught, our state of mind produces our life. It is a very revolutionary type of thinking. Who we are mentally and emotionally is what interacts with the world. If our states of being are negative, if we are angry or violent, or resentful, and that radiates out to others, we in turn experience negativity.
Obviously when we are resentful or angry towards our loved ones, our spouse, they react the same way, and then that tension and that pain escalates, becomes more elevated and extreme, to the point that families break, communities fall apart, religions degenerate, politics become scenes of animalistic behavior, instinctual behavior and violence, not just physically, but verbally. So, we see that those causes of suffering are inside: we produced the state of the world that we are in.
So “the causes of suffering also can cease,” and this is the next step, which is very beautiful―that there is a way to remove those causes of pain, which are within us―things that we can control, not the external world. But things that we do in our life that can make us suffer or be in pain, are the things that we can change.
So the causes of suffering can be eliminated, and the term in Sanskrit is Nirvana. Nirvana simply means “cessation,” to cease suffering, to end suffering. It is a state of mind. And I am pretty sure we all can verify that truth for ourselves, that suffering can cease.
I know in my position, where I work, I have had some very difficult people come to me and criticize, and in those moments of being confronted and feeling that tension, and the fear and the thoughts of “Oh, I am being put on the spot here,” that anxiety. From a state of meditation―because meditation is not just sitting to reflect, but also in our daily life, how we are opening ourselves up to the new―I had the intuition and realized that, I have to listen to this person and not be reactive, to not react to that problem, but to learn to be patient. By learning to respond with love and kindness to that situation, those causes of suffering had ceased. I deescalated a situation that could have been bad.
I am sure we all could think of examples of this in our own life. That is a very introductory level of what that truth is, but in a deeper sense, by learning to meditate, we can understand where anger comes from, where fear comes from, where insecurity, fear, resentment, pride, all these qualities of mind which are sources of affliction for us in the long run.
We could find that those causes can cease, and that “there is a path” that leads to that end [cessation of suffering]. That path is called meditation. And so, meditation, as I was saying, is not just about sitting to relax the body. As I said, that is the first step. We want to relax the body to the point that we want to feel that we are about to fall asleep, that we are so calm that the body is ready to enter, we are about to enter into physical sleep.
And it is from that state of calm that we can learn to calm the mind next. We have a calm body, we have a calm mind. And in that way, we can learn to be more attentive and aware of ourselves, either in daily life or when we sit to practice. So that, by learning to go inside, we can comprehend the sources of our own emotional states, our own psychological states.
So a lot of people talk about freedom, and this ties very much deeply into this study of meditation, because meditation is about becoming free. I know a lot of countries and politics and revolutions are very fascinated with this term freedom, and ironically, people even kill in the name of it.
To be free physically is one thing. Especially in North America, we have certain freedoms which are envied by the world. Freedom to eat what we want, believe what we want, marry whom we want, travel wherever. We tend to have a lot of freedoms which are envied by other countries, but this all in itself is not necessarily a real sense of freedom, because all of those things can change, as we are seeing even in our politics, border control, immigration policies, things that are going on that are constricting the life of people in this country, but also in other places too.
So those things can change. Those are temporary, but real freedom is a state of being: to be free from suffering, from anxiety, from fear, from pain, from traumas. And as the founder of the modern Gnostic tradition, his name is Samael Aun Weor, he wrote a book called The Great Rebellion, which is a book about rebelling against one’s own negativities, and acquiring genuine happiness.
Freedom is something that can only be achieved within ourselves. No one can achieve it outside of themselves. “Riding through the air,” is a very Eastern phrase which allegorizes the sense of genuine freedom. No one can really experience freedom while their consciousness remains bottled up inside of the me, myself, the “I.” ―Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
So this is a very powerful statement.
Consciousness can experience freedom, but only when it is not bottled up inside of this sense of “me, myself, I.” The desire of “what I want,” “what I crave,” “what I need.”
I know a lot of people like to think that, “I think therefore I am. I think this way. I believe in this tradition, or, I am from this race. I am from this culture. I am from this religion. Me, me, me, me, me!”
Even in pop psychology we talk a lot about ego. Someone with a big ego we think of someone as, like, maybe, in politics, or in a position of authority in our world, “Oh, they have a very big ego. They only think about themselves, do what they want.” And we have many examples of this. But even in a more fundamental level, we all have ego, and the word ego in Latin simply means “I.”
Anytime we say: “I want, I crave, I need, I want to do this. I want to ride my bike. I want to get a new job. I want this, I want that”―this sense of self is called ego, “I.” As I was explaining about the Four Noble Truths, we say that there are causes of suffering, and those causes are internal. So, on a fundamental level, the sense of “I,” “what I am,” “what I want,” “what I crave,” we could say, in Buddhist terms, is the cause of suffering.
But we have something else besides ego. We have that which is called consciousness. And consciousness is simple the capacity to perceive. It is the ability to understand, to know, to experience. For example, you are in your kitchen and there is a hot stove, and you accidentally put your hand on it and you get burned. You pull your hand back, and you become conscious of that experience that you burned yourself and got injured, and so you are now more aware of being in the kitchen and aware of one’s surroundings.
So that is a form of Gnosis, in a very basic level―knowledge. So, this sense of self, “me, myself, I,” does not come first. We can actually say that, the ability to experience as a consciousness is different from ego. We could say that ego is a type of condition, is a shell. It is a type of negative quality of mind. Such as anger, which is a sense of self which is very violent, even not physically, mentally or verbally. It is a sense of self that desires and says, “He hurt me.” “She did this.” “I deserve better!”
What we do not realize is that, in those moments in which we are investing ourselves in that emotion, that we are draining a lot of energy. We feel depleted. We do not necessarily resolve our problems, and that sense of self is a trap.
At least this is what all traditions of meditation teach, that according to Buddhism, desire is a cause of suffering. And desire is anger. It is fear. The logic of fear says, “I need to do better at my job or I am going to get fired, and I am not going to be able to support myself.” That fear has its own thoughts and logic, and the reasons we tell ourselves we have to do “this, this and this,” and we are caught in this wheel of tension and anxiety and pain and fear and uncertainty.
So regardless of the fear, we may be doing excellent at our job, and yet, there is that emotional state that does not want to believe that we are capable or good enough. I am sure many people have that experience.
So where is our freedom? If we are caught in that sense of self that says “I want,” “I need,” “I need to get a better job,” “I am not being treated here well,” “I am not getting paid enough,” “I am not getting what I need when I want,” we are enslaved. So that type of thinking is very exhaustive. I am sure, if we are honest, we can say that we get very drained by this type of thinking. It wastes energy physically. It wastes energy mentally, and it is a state of pain.
So what Samael Aun Weor is saying in this quote, is that our consciousness―that part of us which religions call soul, that which is really divine, that is our connection with the divine itself―is trapped. Our consciousness is trapped in anger, fear, pride, and states of being which are causes of suffering for us.
And this is a very difficult thing to discriminate and to see in oneself because, we like to say, “I know myself,” “I know who I am, where I am from, what I believe in; my gender, my race,” whatever. And yet, despite the fact that we say we know ourselves, we continue to repeat problems.
Or problems repeat that we cannot seem to get or understand: “I do not understand where this is coming from, or how to resolve this,” but what if we ask the question that few people really ask is, “How am I contributing to the problem? What if the problem is not outside but something inside of me?”
I was giving the example of being at work and we could be doing a really great job. People really respect us, really admire us, and yet we have that fear that says “I am not good enough.” This is a kind of common emotion you find in many places that really fuel this machinery of industry―people feeling like they are not good enough. They always have to prove something: “I have to prove myself in this situation, in this circumstance.”
But we do not realize we are wasting energy. We are actually investing our consciousness in these states which, we can say, put us in a state of sleep. We are not really aware of what is going on in the situation. Such as at work, you may feel like “Hey, I am not doing well,” but then people say “No, this is excellent!”
You are being observed, or people comment and make the compliment that they really respect you as an individual, so it is like “Oh! That is shocking.” You know, that is one minor example. So our consciousness should be free, expansive, liberated, serene, peaceful, happy, loving, compassionate, pure states of consciousness that are very divine. Those should be more developed in us, but unfortunately, our tendency in our daily life is to invest ourselves in negativity and reactions and problems.
So that sense of “me” or “myself” or “I” we call ego. And this sense of self, according to Buddhism or any tradition, they say that, this sense of self we tend to grasp onto, is the cause of suffering. So, the question is, how do we resolve that? How do we confront this sense of self we have, and learn to comprehend it better? Maybe even eliminate it, because consciousness, our true potential, is trapped in those states. If we extract them, we can develop more consciousness, and that is what meditation is for―expanding consciousness, working on our imperfections so that we can become truly happy, great beings.
Understanding the myself, “my persona, what I am,” is imperative if we sincerely wish to attain freedom. There is no way we can destroy the fetters of our enslavement without previously and totally comprehending this question of “mine” and all that concerns the me, myself, the “I.” What constitutes slavery? What is it that keeps us enslaved? ―Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
Now of course this is very strong language, but if we are honest, we can see that, are we not enslaved to a certain quality of mind that repeats all the time? Family problems, conflicts with our neighbors, or whomever, or spouse? We tend to be enslaved to suffering. And this is the great dilemma that, I believe even Shakespeare wrote in his play Hamlet, “To be or not to be, that is the question,” in a kind of allegorical sense.
So it is good to question ourselves: what constitutes slavery? “What are my habits and problems and ways of being that I keep repeating, that other people are pointing at me?” Because sometimes other people see us better than we see ourselves. You know, we tend to think that we are a certain way but, sometimes a lot of people may not agree.
What constitutes slavery? What is it that keeps us enslaved? What are the obstacles? We must discover all of this. ―Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
What is the Mind?
Which brings us to the next question: who are we? We have been talking a little bit about what ego is, what the self is. So what is the mind? Even our best scientists and doctors and philosophers have been struggling with this question for centuries, to figure out, what are we, fundamentally? What is the mind? What is thought? What is emotion?
So we have included an image of a man pondering this thought, with a bunch of gears and machinery images of wheels above it. I picked this image because sometimes our ways of thinking can get very mechanical. We tend to go through our day with certain routines: getting up for work, getting up for or going to our job, interacting in certain ways with people, and the thing that we can question is, what are our mechanical ways of behaving?
When certain situations arise, how do we respond? What is our typical attitude? This is something that we can question in ourselves and ask: “Well, why do I react towards this person who is very irritating? Why am I irritated by what this person or what this client says?”
Unfortunately, we do not tend to ask that question. We just feel irritated and we want that person to go away, or to not be associated with them, but it is an interesting question to ask.
“Why am I thinking this way or behaving this way to this person?”
This is what meditation is for, asking that question, “Well, why am I behaving negatively to that person, or feeling like I am justified?” Maybe that person―and this is a Buddhist question that we can ask ourselves―what if that person has some type of concern about us, that we are not treating them well? And the psychology that we kind of go through, the kind of gears, the machinery that we go through, is that we tend to want to blame others, and not look at ourselves.
Whether or not that person is wrong, it would be interesting to ask that question, “Well, why am I reacting to that person? Why am I thinking that? Why do I feel agitated? Why do I want to one-up this person? Why do I want to prove them wrong?” Because usually what we do not see is that, in that moment in which we are criticizing the other person, even just mentally and not verbally, we are suffering. We are stuck in the wheel of life, the wheel of mechanicity.
The mind, we can say, according to Buddhist concept, is where we have thought, experience thinking, even our emotional states. The western psychological tradition calls it ego, “I,” but we also could say it is desire. Again as I was saying, “what I want, what I crave, what I need,” and we always tend to be stuck in this type of thinking that says, “I want to fulfill my desires until the day I die, and whatever happens next, I do not know.”
But, honestly, if we ask ourselves, is that a kind of life worth living? I believe we mentioned that Socrates mentioned: “the unexamined life is not worth living”? Not asking those deep questions about, why are we the way we are? Why are we so convinced that we are right, and other people are wrong? But it is interesting even, in meditation, to ask this question “What am I? Who am I?”―and to constantly examine ourselves.
This is the basic beginnings of what meditation is, so that by learning to develop consciousness, we can go beyond thought, go beyond feeling, go beyond the body. And this is the major distinction that religions or, the original heart of those traditions taught, is that, the consciousness is not anger or thought or even feeling. It is something more dynamic, more beautiful, more profound―something free and liberated. It is spontaneous action that does not need to think.
It is the love of a mother that saves her child when in danger. It is a state of fearlessness, and there is a whole range of emotion and qualities that are not what we like to typically say we experience, but something even more beautiful―love, selflessness, strength. But of course in order to develop those qualities in us, we can learn how to, in moments of great crisis, examine who we are in those moments.
I am pretty sure we had cases in our life where, something terrible happened and we reacted badly or poorly, to the point that we came back and apologized to the person and said, “I am sorry I did not realize what I had done was wrong. I was so overcome at that moment.” And that is a type of hindsight, right? It is better than no sight, but there is a way to have foresight in the moment: we do not react and cause problems and pain for our family or loved ones, or anyone, and learn to transform the situation.
In that way, and by going home to meditate, we can learn to understand why we acted how we did. If you are familiar with the myth of, in the Middle East, I think it is The Thousand and One Arabian Nights, there is the story of the genie and Aladdin's lamp. I mentioned that quote from Samael Aun Weor; he said that “So long as the consciousness is bottled up within the ‘me,’ ‘myself,’ the ‘I,’ we will continue to suffer.”
So in that Arabian myth, that piece of literature, the story is that by rubbing the lamp, a genie can come out and can grant any wish. It is a symbol of our consciousness. It can grant anything we wish and need for ourselves, a state of beauty or, any type of contentment we seek. Of course, the bottle is what traps the genie. You break the bottle, you free the genie. It is a symbol, which we can accomplish in meditation, but first we have to learn to examine the difference between the mind and the consciousness.
I also use the term divinity. I did not use the term God, primarily because the word God has a lot of baggage. There are a lot of traumas associated with that term. When people think of some type of figure like God or a deity, they think of some anthropomorphic old man in the clouds with a beard who dispenses lightning to a poor anthill of a humanity. So that type of God, according to Friedrich Nietzsche, does not exist, which is why he said “God is dead”―at least the idea of some kind of person outside of us, that is organizing everything.
We do not refer to divinity as God, or at least try not to, because where someone had a certain religious upbringing and certain traumas, that can cause a lot of pain for people. Instead we like to use the term Being, and I think this term more accurately represents what divinity is. It is a state of mind, of Being, or a state of consciousness. So Being means to be, to be here and now, to be alert, to be attentive. The Being is not outside, but inside our heart, our consciousness.
Divinity is a quality like love, selflessness, compassion, but is very far beyond our concepts of what love and compassion is. It is a state that we can taste, and that we probably have tasted in our lives at some point, but they were temporary. They went away. That is why certain people, or a lot of people come to any type of tradition, is because they had that experience and they think “Well how do I repeat that?”―and they do not know how.
A state of love and selflessness or compassion, or faith, of understanding, or certain situations working out for one’s benefit. So we want to ask ourselves: how can we earn that and repeat that? That is why we have meditation.
The Being and the Mind
We make a difference between, a distinction between, this Being, our Being, our divinity, and the mind. We could say Being has no form, although all the religious traditions have used forms to represent divinity, whether it be Mother Mary, Jesus, certain scripts or languages, representing, like in Islam, they do not represent God; they just use certain letters to represent Divinity. Or amongst the Aztec and the Maya, they use certain sculptures and images to represent qualities of the Being, which is an infinite spectrum.
This does not mean that there are many gods, separate gods, or that there is just one God. In fact, consciousness is, or the Being can be universal. It is one thing, but can manifest and express in different ways, which is why whether polytheistic traditions or even the monotheistic traditions share the same roots. The problem is that the people of those traditions have adulterated their understandings, thinking that there is only one or the other. But the truth is that, divinity is one light, but can express in many ways.
Those are qualities of Being. We make a distinction between the mind and the Being. The mind is the intellect where we think, and I am sure we can see in ourselves that, if we overthink certain problems, we do not get anything done.
I believe it is a common experience amongst business practitioners where, they will be at a meeting for hours, and try to think out a problem, and they do not resolve anything. Then they say, “Okay let’s take a break, get some coffee for five minutes.” They walk away, and when they are not thinking of anything, suddenly [snaps fingers] the insight comes and they are like “Ah-ha!” That is how divinity works. They come back to the meeting all energized and excited, and many people have that experience and they say, “I know what to do now.”
Overthinking and thinking and thinking does not resolve anything. Of course, we need the intellect to be able to exist in this society, because the intellect or the mind is a machine. It can store information that we need to interact with people, like that previous image we looked at with the gears turning. The mind is useful, but it has to be under the service of our consciousness.
Of course, distinguishing between consciousness and thought in the beginning is very difficult, but something we can develop more and more through meditation.
Samael Aun Weor in the book, The Spiritual Power of Sound, wrote something very interesting about this distinction:
The mind only serves as a hindrance to the Being (the Innermost). ―Samael Aun Weor, The Spiritual Power of Sound
The term we use for the Being is the Innermost, and that term comes from the Western Esoteric tradition. Innermost means, that which is our inner true identity, within us. So as I was saying, thought is a hindrance. We think too much about a problem, we do not resolve anything, whereas intuition or the Being [snaps fingers] knows. We know how to solve a situation without having to think. That is a quality of the being.
The mind does not know anything about Reality. If thought knew Reality― the Innermost, the Being―then all people would already be comprehensive... ―Samael Aun Weor, The Spiritual Power of Sound
Meaning if the intellect was the way, this world would be a better place, but the question is, well if humanity is not getting any better right now, if there is only more wars and conflict and violence on this planet, we have to question our method. What are we doing wrong? That fundamental basis is trying to resolve things with the intellect, the mind, and not more with the heart, with understanding.
It is completely impossible to experience the Being―the Innermost, the Reality―without becoming true technical and scientific masters of that mysterious science called meditation. It is completely impossible to experience the Being―the Innermost, the Reality―without having reached a true mastery of the quietude and silence of the mind. ―Samael Aun Weor, The Spiritual Power of Sound
We will conclude with a quote that emphasizes this point. It is from a Buddhist master by the name of Nagarjuna. He wrote in The Precious Garland something very interesting:
Scratching an itch brings pleasure, but more pleasurable than that is not having an itch. Likewise, satisfying worldly desires is pleasurable, but more pleasurable than that is not having desire. ―Nagarjuna in The Precious Garland
So again, this is something very profound. The desire or thought, or sentiment, the feeling, the sense of self that says, “I need to resolve this problem”―certainly, that type of thinking can be pleasurable, but in the more higher senses of meditative practice, not having that type of “self” is even more powerful, and more pleasurable.
I know a lot of people get fearful when they say, “Well if I get rid of this sense of ‘I,’ ‘myself,’ ‘me,’ the ego, what I think I am, what will I be?” People get afraid of this sense of, and think of this as a nihilistic thing, but the truth is, when we eliminate anger, we free consciousness that is trapped in anger. We experience love.
I am sure that if we have studied even the Christian tradition, they talk about the seven deadly sins, but they also talk about the seven virtues. Such as, if we eliminate anger, we develop serenity, sweetness and love. We eliminate pride, we develop humility and compassion. Eliminate certain faults, and then we develop consciousness that is more beautiful and pure, unconditioned.
Now I know this is a very rudimentary introduction to some of the principles of meditation but, one thing we would like to emphasize is that, through meditative science, there is a higher way of Being, and that we can use these techniques to transform our daily life, and in that way we have less problems, and resolve things with more understanding.
Questions and Answers
Do you have any questions?
Question: Yeah, I suffer from anxiety and depression…
Question: But I am also suffering from longings…
Question: And it is not going away…
Question: And the mind takes over, and I have these visions, I am going to end up killing myself down the road because I cannot cope.
Instructor: Yes, so I have actually worked with people, I am very close to people in this tradition who have suffered depression. And unfortunately, a lot of people, regardless of being on any type of anti-depressants, it is very difficult to deal with.
One thing we can say about that particular condition is that, it is a state of mind that is inverted. A lot of times we can say the opposite of depression is pride, such as feeling good about oneself, having pride, “I am this way. I am successful. I am this, I am that.” But depression is that type of sentiment inverted: we call it shame. It is a sense of self that says, “I am not good enough,” “I do not deserve this. “People hate me,” or “no one wants to be with me. I do not know how to resolve my problems. I am not lovable.”
The way to resolve that type of sentiment is by relaxing our body, observing ourselves, becoming conscious, becoming aware of our thinking, our feeling, our emotions. We can actually go into the mind to understand the traumatic roots of that sense of self, where it originates from. Because the opposite of shame is dignity. That is a conscious quality. It is a quality of the soul, which is eternal. Our true nature is divine, has a sense of dignity and love, and self-respect and compassion, not only towards others, but for oneself.
The problem is that, when we suffer those type of conditions, which also can not only be neurological, but also something even more profound, coming from psychological roots or traumas in one’s life, which combine to produce the experience of depression―but there are ways to heal that, radically.
I have worked with people in this teaching who have suffered mental illness: schizophrenia, depression, and by using a lot of the techniques that we are studying, in combination with some of the efforts of doctors, they have been able to achieve homeostasis, balance, and get through life with happiness.
I mean I personally know people who have suffered depression, and because of working with these techniques, they have been able to change themselves. But depression is a sense of self or desire that is very inverted. It says it wants to harm itself. But we have to realize that, that sense of self is not our true identity. It is not who we really are.
Question: Right because you suffer “from” it, you do not “have” it? It is not in you… you suffer “from” it?
Instructor: Yes, it is a condition of mind. It is the lamp that traps the genie. If you break the lamp, if you look in yourself and analyze the cage, when you meditate on, “what are these thoughts that I am experiencing? What are these fears? Where do they come from?” It is not an intellectual process, but it is a conscious inquisition. It is a quality of inquiry that we go and we ask ourselves, “Well, where is this feeling coming from?” And then look at it, and it can be very painful and very scary to look at those kind of emotions.
You know, it is a very difficult thing to do, and whether or not someone suffers from depression or any mental illness has that fear too. But of course in those conditions, it can be more difficult, but it can be changed. We have a lot of techniques that we use in this tradition.
There is one exercise in some of the books we have available. We even have a video online on Glorian.org, of a remedy to cure depression. It does not require medication. It does not require anything. It does not have side effects. It is called the magic of the roses.
And in this tradition we use a lot of practices, not only just meditation or relaxation, but we also practice working with some of the magical traditions, which are not just hocus pocus or making things appear, like a rabbit appear out of a hat, but when we develop consciousness we can learn to work, not only with our own consciousness, but the soul that is within plants, or in animals and other Beings, in order to achieve a type of balance and harmony.
You can look online. There is a whole video about the magic of the roses. And personally, when I have suffered any trauma emotionally, real strong situations that were very painful, I have worked with that exercise and that radically healed it. But of course, every situation is going to be different. You may find that in those cases, some people with mental illness, of course, they should get professional advice and seek a doctor and see what medication can work, to help acquire that balance, plus meditation.
So hand in hand those things can help. But I would recommend looking on Glorian.org look up the Magic of the Roses. [See also our course on Spiritual and Mental Health]
Question: What was the first thing you said?
Instructor: It is Glorian.org [formerly gnosticteachings.org].
Any other questions?
Question: In meditation, you are supposed to not do anything or think, so when you meditate on these questions, I get confused.
Instructor: Sure. No, it is definitely, a real difficult distinction to make. What does it mean to be conscious, and what does it mean to be thinking?
Now I know in the beginning we really want to use the intellect to resolve problems, because that tends to be our state of mind since the beginning, before we begin to train. But as you are learning to meditate, you will find that, as you are relaxing your body and just observing yourself, you find that, you will start to see more and more and separate from thought, from memory, from these things.
It is a kind of separation that is needed. It does not mean a dislocation or a type of apathy, or a dull state, or a nihilistic state. I am pretty sure you might have had the experience where, if you are falling asleep sometimes, maybe dream images start to appear. Things just start to happen, like when the body is asleep you start to see places, or people, or things, or sounds. Those are qualities of our subconsciousness. Usually we are not aware of those states, but as you are relaxing more profoundly, you will start to see those things. As you are observing yourself, they will start to appear.
So I know in the beginning it is very difficult but, with training, we start to develop more and more, we start to separate more and more from the mind. And the initial step is relax, and after your body is fully relaxed, try this exercise.
Just observe and become aware of your mood and your thoughts. Even during a lecture we can pay attention to a degree, and then suddenly we are thinking about other things, or make associations or memories about a certain concept that we hear. Then sometimes our train of thinking goes off. We start thinking and thinking and thinking and thinking, and then we realize [snaps fingers], “Wait a minute… I am supposed to be listening. I am supposed to be in this lecture!” And we all have that experience, and then suddenly we try to backtrack for a minute or two saying, “Well, what did I miss?”
You know, it is a very common experience. That shows us that our mind tends to be very distracted. But meditation first begins by learning to concentrate. So that realization, “I am not paying attention,” is the very beginning. That is the type of “ah-ha” moment, the comprehension that we realize in ourselves, “Ah, I lost my focus! I am not really aware of what is going on.” We can also say, “I am not really awake.”
But when you bring your attention back to that type of recollection, you find that it gets easier. It gets easier the more you work at it. And some basic practices we use in this tradition, you could take a candle―if you find that you get distracted too easily―take a candle and light it, sit in a relaxed posture, relax your mind and your body, and just observe the candle. Just look at the flame. You will find that as you are doing that, you will start to think of other things, and then you will realize how, we tend to be thinking too much, or we are usually caught up in that cycle, that machine.
That exercise, you just look at a candle, and if you start daydreaming or thinking of other things, just bring your attention back, gently. Some people think concentration is like going to the gym and being really fierce and strong, but real concentration is strong, but it is relaxed. It is calm.
So you see, “Oh I lost my attention,” pay attention back to the candle. But in the beginning, it is okay to, if you are trying to resolve a problem or an issue, to think about it and try to come up with an understanding of what is going on. You will find that the more and more you practice, the more you leave the mind behind, and the more that you can access a state of consciousness that is intuitive. It simply knows. It understands, without having to think, and that is like [snaps fingers] an “ah-ha” moment, “I understand, now I comprehend what I need to do.”
Any final questions?
Question: If we are feeling lonely all the time and then we meditate, will that help the loneliness?
Instructor: Yes, because loneliness is a desire for company. It says, “I need to be with people,” “I need to be social.” And of course, having a social life in important, but feeling lonely does not have to be an affliction. Meditation can help us to resolve that sentiment.
Understand you know, where loneliness comes from. What is it? What does it want? What are we feeling? Why do we feel that way? And asking that question and questioning that. But you also find that as you are, not only practicing meditation, but changing those qualities of being, we learn to associate in the external world with different types of people, you know...
Question: I isolate myself an awful lot so, that is why I am on my own, that is why I am lonely, I have created it…
Instructor: Sure, yeah, and certainly that was my case many years ago, until I found this type of teaching and started practicing. And then I found that I was much more outgoing and more, I guess, charismatic or, just interrelating with people. Because I used to be very solitary and isolated, you know, was struggling with that in myself, and then I learned to change that, to the point where I can get jobs and careers, and fulfill a very, you know, pretty happy career with what I am doing now, with working with a lot of different people.
So that transformation is easy to achieve. It just takes a type of work ethic, you know? But also, being willing to try new things and meet new people, because obviously, you know, as you start to change yourself, you will interact with different people.
It is the law of attraction. If we are developing more virtuous qualities of mind, we naturally radiate and gravitate to those situations where, those people are practicing the same things. And then you feel a sense of a community and strength and affirmation from others that really make you feel that you belong, and that you are respected and are fulfilled.
But the first step is confronting that, of course this is the major thing that, many people do not like to do―to confront themselves. But if we do, we can attain great changes, not only for ourselves, but for the benefit of others.
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