Strategies for Mind Training
All religions teach the need for cultivating virtue and conquering vice. However, as we perform a holistic study of various meditative and contemplative traditions, we find that different explanations, different teachings, different principles, were taught in accordance with idiosyncrasy, the skills, the language of their practitioners and messengers, while the outward forms might seem different, particularized to a specific geography or moment in history.
In reality, when we examine the heart of meditation within all religions, we find that they are universal. There is a common thread. There is a synthesis regarding how to establish within oneself an alert, serene, clarified, cognitive state, that has the capacity to perceive the inner depths of a thing. All these traditions emphasize the need to develop the capacities of the consciousness, the virtues of the soul, by comprehending and removing the different psychological contaminants that afflict our daily state.
In our tradition, we spend a lot of time and emphasize how to practice meditation. We have received a very beautiful gift from our teacher Samael Aun Weor, whose books and writings offer a profound, practical basis by which to understand and interpret the variety of religious forms that we have been graced with. What is unique about his writings is that they specifically target the core teaching of meditation, the principles, the archetypes, the practices and blueprints by which we generate a new way of being, a virtuous state, a compassionate heart. Likewise, what is interesting is that his writings are very clear. They are very refined because they synthesize thousands of years of teaching about meditation, and so there is a lot of knowledge and wisdom contained in his books.
Unfortunately, for many people his writings are difficult precisely because they are given in a language that is directed to the consciousness, not the intellect. We make a very clear distinction between the mind, intellectualism, rationality, and a state of understanding, comprehension, real insight into the problems of life, which if we are honest with ourselves, we can find that our mind creates problems for us. The intellect cannot know anything beyond its domain, which is the acquisition of data: to compare and contrast information, to label concepts upon phenomena. The mind is a useful instrument when it is placed within its orbit, when it is cultivated with a real deep understanding of the virtues of the heart.
What is interesting about Samael Aun Weor’s writings is that they are very potent, very refined, very synthetic, as I said. He is often referred to as the Master of the Synthesis. Much in the same way that you can take 10,000 roses to produce a 5 ml bottle of rose oil―which is the size of your thumb―likewise Samael Aun Weor gave us a wonderful gift in which he extracted the essence of diverse religious forms to arrive at a very pure understanding of religion, of yoga, of spirituality, of meditation. Unfortunately, for some people it is too much. His writings are too strong. His teachings are very potent.
His name in Hebrew, interestingly enough, means “the perfume of God,” the aroma of divinity: סמאל Samael. It is also the “poison of God” because it is very strong, very direct, and very profound. His message goes to the core of what we are and points out the obstacles of the mind. It is poison to the ego. It is a knowledge that very expediently, directly, and powerfully approaches the fundamental issue of why we meditate, which is to cultivate virtue and to conquer our vices.
For some people, when approaching his writings, it is good to understand the context in which he had written and provided this knowledge. What is very useful is to study his books on meditation like The Revolution of the Dialectic, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology, and The Great Rebellion in conjunction with proven traditions and ancient methods, so that we understand and have clarity that this is not the teaching of one man. It is universal.
So in this lecture we are going to synthesize many points that he made in relation to meditation, practical techniques, the science of knowing oneself. But also, complementing his wisdom are the traditions in which he also studied, extracted, synthesized, and refined that knowledge. You will find many explanations in this lecture regarding Buddhist meditation especially from Tibet, the Mahayana and Tantrayana traditions. In explaining this synthesis, we will touch upon these traditions and how they all connect, so that we can radically achieve a profound state of serenity and deep insight into our daily problems.
The Purpose of Meditation
We will explore the purpose of meditation, why we meditate, why we reflect, and why we approach spirituality.
Meditation is a science in which we explore our inner reality, our states, our psychological nature, our qualities of mind, so that by separating from the world, the senses, the distractions of life, from the hustle and bustle of modern living, we can begin to gain a clarity and understating of how we produce our own suffering.
There are certain things in life that we cannot control. There are certain events in our politics, our society, our culture, that appear to be beyond our scope of influence, things that we cannot change. While there are many problems in life that afflict humanity, and while we may feel overwhelmed by the chaos that has been afflicting many people, we can learn to understand our own agency in this, to comprehend what we can do in this mess, what we can do to change our own daily problems, our confusion, our suffering, our fears, our morbidity, our disillusionment.
We practice meditation in this tradition because we really want to understand why we are in pain, but more importantly how to cease suffering. If you have studied Buddhism, you are familiar with the Four Noble Truths, and that 1) in life there is suffering, 2) that suffering has causes and 3) the causes of suffering can cease, but likewise, 4) there is a path known as meditation that leads towards the complete nullification of our conditioned, suffering, and psychological states. Meditation is the process by which we gain information about who we are, about our own psychological contaminants, defects, errors.
One has to be very confused to think that one is perfect in life and that we do not possess some type of fault or chip on our shoulder. Most people do recognize that they have errors but do not really know the process by which to actively look at them, confront them, comprehend them, and eliminate them. Meditation will provide us the groundwork by which we can do this, in which we can see within ourselves without confusion, assumption, belief, or preconception about what is really going on.
Most people are in a state of perplexity, confusion, disorder, and ignorance, not because we lack some intellectual knowledge, but because we do not understand how our behaviors produce the consequences of our life. It is a law of nature. We follow the trajectory of our actions, our behaviors, of our choices. If we are in a very negative situation and, while we like to blame our neighbor, our community, our spouse, whomever it may be, we have to be honest with our mind. We have to be very direct with ourselves and to really look where we do not want to: at the causes of our present circumstance, of how we ended up, and where we are at. If we are not happy with our situation, then we have to go within. We have to look at our choices and not to defend our sentiments with such vehement emotion, with animal instinct, with terrible fear. We have to look honestly, to observe in ourselves what we have in abundance and what we lack.
For some people, meditation is a means of acquiring spiritual experience, and this is very valid and useful. The truth is that even having some blissful state―in which you escape for some moments the conditions and limitations of your own mind―the only purpose of that is to inspire you to look at yourself further, to examine what keeps you encaged. What are the obstacles in our life? What are our repeated, observable, cyclical behaviors? In what way do we keep repeating the same actions, in the same circumstances, and why we should expect a different result? But the common tendency is to ignore our own culpability, our responsibility, our own agency.
So, meditation will provide us the means by which we can really reflect on our quality of life, our state of being, our purpose for living. If we are suffering a lot, if we are confused, if we are distracted, but we feel in our heart a deep inquietude, a deep yearning, or uneasiness in our very being, we have to listen to that. That is what guides our meditation. That is what guides our introspection. That is what drives us to understand what spirituality is and what to do.
The Natural Laws of Meditation
There are three trainings in diverse traditions. You find this dynamic especially within Tibetan Buddhism. You find it in traditions like the mystical doctrine of the Sufis, the mystics of Islam―three degrees or stages. You find it in Freemasonry. You find it all throughout the world, which proves and emphasizes that there are steps to meditation. It is a scientific approach. These are based on laws of nature. If you wish to enter and develop, to realize a real state of equanimity, of internal divine perception, you have to fulfill the causes and requisites of their fruition.
Believing or not believing, thinking or not thinking, assuming or rejecting with our mind or heart, does not indicate any real change, because psychological transformation is based on the actions that produce them. Just as nature has its laws, likewise, our spiritual life has laws. Divinity has laws. In the East this is known as karma: cause and effect, action and reaction. For every effect there is a cause, and in every cause there is an effect. It is inescapable in the same way that gravity is inescapable. You can believe that gravity will not affect you and therefore leap off a cliff. We can believe whatever we want, but nature does not adhere to our preferences, our assumptions, our ideologies, our concepts. Nature is nature.
So in this approach to meditation, we are very factual. While we may have lots of literature, and many concepts that we study intellectually, the real blossoming of the soul is based on enacting superior causes and conditions, superior ways of being, a higher level of being, because if you follow superior actions, you will produce superior results. It is a basic law. In science, they call it invariance, in which if you produce an action, you then must face the consequences of it. Maybe in this lifetime, maybe not in a few days, but eventually you will. So, by enacting superior, ethical behaviors like compassion, kindness, generosity, moral and psychological purity, we produce a conduit or a psychological matrix in which we are generating and activating a real potential.
The truth is that we need to create a space within our psychology that is conducive for realizing the spirit, our inner divinity, our inner God. When we lack serenity in our daily states, we cannot see clearly within. This is why ethics is the foundation within all meditative traditions. If you fulfill a horrible action, if you lie, if you steal, if you kill, not only are there physical consequences, societal repercussions, confrontations with the law, we really in turn disturb the waters of the mind. We become agitated. Just like a lake that cannot reflect clearly the heavens upon its surface when it is churned, in the same manner our mind cannot reflect anything positive within its surface. If we are engaging in negative, harmful behaviors, instead what we will have is a whirlpool, a storm, a hurricane, which most people define as our life.
But there are ways to train. The beginning is to train in ethics (Sanskrit शील sila). Refrain from harmful behaviors. Enact positive, conscious behaviors. We call this self-observation in our tradition. We observe ourselves. We examine, moment by moment, our thoughts, actions, our feelings, our impulses, our instincts, in the same way that a director of a film observes an actor in a scene. The actor is your own mind. It is your own negative emotions. It is your own instinctual, animalistic habits and behaviors. The consciousness, the soul, or what we call the Essence, is the director. We are looking within. We are examining our mind. We are examining our heart, and examining our impulses to be.
In this way, we are learning to distinguish and discriminate what to do in life in the moment. We call that conscience: following the inner judgement of our heart. That is the voice that emanates from divinity. The mind can rationalize and debate, “This behavior is good. I should do this,” and have many justifications, and yet we taste the flavor, the aftermath, the consequences of this―bitterness, remorse, sorrow. It is better to have foresight rather than hindsight. But so long as we are making changes in our daily life, we can in turn progress. We progress based on ethics. Again, acquiring information by observing yourself and by learning to fulfill the intuitions of your heart, the voice of conscience, we learn to navigate the boisterous seas of our life. Things begin to calm. The waters settle.
In that way we start to acquire states of समाधी samadhi. This is the word in Sanskrit meaning “bliss,” ecstasy of the soul. We start to experience blissful states of consciousness as we are working with concentration. We are beginning to integrate our mind, which is usually very dispersed, diffused, and distracted amongst multiple activities and obligations. The mind tends to be all over the place. But as you being to learn to observe yourself, remember yourself, and remember what you are doing at any given moment, you begin to integrate your consciousness. You start to strengthen it so that you gain continuity in your alert, novel, perceptive states, so that you can begin to understand something more profoundly in you. As you access that you feel bliss, you feel a sense of joy. You feel inspired. You feel elevated as you begin to recognize you are not anger. You are not pride. You are not fear. You are not resentment. You are not lust. You are not desire. You are something much more than that.
Some people have written to us online with a lot of distress, a lot of unhappiness, saying they have tried these techniques and methods and yet they continue to suffer a lot. They have many negative thoughts, many fears they say they can see in themselves. They recognize they have defects, but they are not changing and just feel very dark and sour. This proves that one does not have ethics. One is not awake. If we are not paying attention and seeing the mind for what it is, then we are identified with it. We are feeding it our energy. We invest ourselves in that self, in that anger, that pride, that morbidity, that resentment, instead of separating it and not feeding it, because when you recognize yourself, you feel joy. You feel happiness. You feel bliss. You feel samadhi to a degree.
Some people like to refer samadhi as some elevated mystical experiences within different dimensions, but the truth is that samadhi or bliss has to do with our perception and quality of being here and now. You will recognize a selfless state when it happens, as you are cultivating superior behavior in your mind, in your heart, in your body. Samadhi, the bliss of the awakened consciousness, a concentrated perception, is such that when you are not invested within the different modifications of the different defects you carry within, you begin to subsist within your own true nature, which is the soul, the Essence, the consciousness.
Prajna: Profound Wisdom
In this way, as you are established in that state, you then enter profound wisdom, which in Sanskrit is known as प्रज्ञ prajna. Prajna is the capacity for insight, when you really go into the depth of a phenomenon and even within noumena, the truth, the thing in itself, the essence of a given thing. Profound wisdom is the capacity to have profound perceptive understanding and analysis of very obscure things, qualities and states that are not accessible to the physical senses.
They are apprehended by, first, developing concentration, and when that is very strong, we begin to see things, have visions within our meditations. We can even physically leave our body and enter the superior dimensions in nature, which in kabbalah it is known as the Tree of Life.
The Integration of the Three Trainings
We need to cultivate all these qualities in ourselves. They are predicated and grounded within one another. As you begin to develop ethics, you begin to establish a state of concentration to a degree, happiness and joy in recognition of your work, your successes, and also your failures, by learning to move ahead so that with enough practice, we develop profound wisdom, by having insight of different experiences of life. But also, within meditation, we begin to feed our ethics even further. These work together. They complement each other. They funnel and feed within each other. These dynamics are deep and are interrelated. You cannot separate one from the other. If you want success in meditation, you have to consider these in their totality.
Types of Meditation
There are different types of meditation. We can talk about two specifically. There are meditations that focus on stabilizing the consciousness and there are meditations that help us to analyze, to develop perceptive, critical understanding of whatever we are focusing on in our practice.
When we are stabilizing the consciousness, we are learning to concentrate. In the beginning, right now, our mind is all over the place. Concentration is the capacity to focus our attention on one thing without being distracted. If you sit, close your eyes, introspect, and simply look at your quality of mind, in the beginning of our discipline, we find we are thinking many associative thoughts. There is a chain of compare and contrast, thesis and antithesis, good and bad, memories relating to other situations that relate to something else, and the mind wanders. If we forget that we sat down to meditate, to look within, we can recognize that we lack concentration. We do not remember what we are doing. We are not focused on one thing and being distracted by others.
This quality, concentration, is very important. In the beginning, it is necessary to learn to concentrate. Learn to focus your perception, your consciousness, so that you can focus on one thing and not get lost. If you examine your day, if you take public transportation, you start thinking of other things or daydreaming. Maybe you are listening to your music player thinking about something that happened earlier in the day, not paying attention to your surroundings, not being aware, and then we forget our stop. It means that we are not awake. We are asleep. We are daydreaming. We are not conscious. That has to change.
You learn primarily to develop concentration when you are learning to be aware of yourself, your surroundings, and your internal states at all times. If you are learning to self-observe yourself throughout the day, your meditations are going to be very strong because meditation, as a state of being, is based on the capacity to focus throughout the day. This is genuine willpower.
Now in the West we like to think of willpower as something aggressive, violent, abrasive perhaps. But willpower is really the effort of the consciousness to place attention to one thing with serenity. Genuine willpower is very gentle. It is not mental exertion: the mind investing in a lot of thinking, or the heart in feeling, or the body in acting. The consciousness is beyond that. Conscious will, it is the capacity to perceive without having to think or to rely on negative emotions or instincts. It is a serene perception and introspection within oneself. It is a state of equipoise. It is quiescence, in which with your willpower, you are learning to observe yourself and not get distracted by anything, to be alert and attentive.
As you are doing that, much in the same manner as you are riding a boat that rocks with the waves when you are moving, when you sit still and maintain your focus by holding on to the mast of the ship and do not move, eventually, the waters will calm. Then you can start to see things clearly. The storm passes. It is the same thing with our mind. With willpower, we learn to sit still from a state of perception. In meditation, we learn to calm the body, calm the mind, calm the heart, and in that way, you are gaining an understanding of how chaotic your mind was. You do not get identified with it.
This state is known as calm abiding in Sanskrit: शमथ shamatha, or in Tibetan: shyine. It is very important to develop this. You do this with concentration exercises, but also learning to self-observe your self and remember yourself through out the day, to not be inattentive, asleep.
We also have analytical forms of meditation which relate to the capacity to perceive with clarity. There are visualization exercises in which you perceive non-physical imagery. If I tell you think of an apple, you can see it. It is not a physical thing, but it is in your mind. That is visualization. It is the capacity to perceive non-physical images, which is important when we learn how to perceive and understand ourselves.
In the beginning, our capacities to visualize tend to be very weak, very dispersed, very clouded, very obscure. But with analytical forms of meditation, like visualization practices, we strengthen the capacity of the soul, the consciousness, to see within. We do this through exercises like retrospection meditation, in which we learn to visualize our day: what we thought, what we felt, what we did. You can review your day from the morning to evening, or evening to the morning. You visualize what you saw in yourself. You rely on facts. In this way you begin to comprehend the different defects that manifest in you from moment to moment. This is how you gain inner vision: internal understanding. You start to see yourself in a new way when you look at the observable facts of your existence, so that you can gain deep, lasting knowledge about what actions are wrong and what you can do to change them.
Some people call this faculty clairvoyance. Unfortunately, it is a French term meaning “clear vision” that was created by a group of French initiates who wanted to establish a technical language and flavor to their art, so that the uninitiated would not basically disturb them in their practices. Unfortunately, this term has harmed many people, in the sense that many believe clairvoyance, this visualization capacity, this dynamic, is something only for the exceptional and the few, when in reality, it is merely the faculty of imagination: to see within.
That imagination can be subjective, meaning, conditioned by our own internal states, our defects, our defects, or it can be purified and clear meaning conscious, undisturbed, objective. This is known as insight (in Sanskrit: विपश्यना vipassana).
Qualities of Concentration
Let us talk about some qualities of concentration. I already mentioned a few.
Real concentration in the end is effortless. I know that in the beginning if we sit to focus, perhaps on a candle, observing the flame, as one practice you can do, or in the exercise of self-observation, in the beginning, it takes a lot of effort. It is very intense to stay alert, because you find, as you are trying to observe yourself, that you forget. You get lost within the mind. You forgot what you were doing. It takes a lot of energy within the consciousness to be present. But as you really cultivate concentration within yourself, it does not take any effort, because when you establish a momentum and that quality or way of being in life, it is natural. It is serene. It is calm.
We make a very clear distinction between mental exertion of the mind and the willpower of the consciousness. The consciousness is serene. It is calm. It happens spontaneously even as you are training yourself, so that you can respond to any situation in life with understanding, with wisdom, with compassion. In the higher stages of concentration, there is no effort involved, when it is perfect. In that way, it is unafflicted by desire, by defects.
As I said, concentration relates and can relate to the state of bliss, in which as you are observing yourself, you are not tossed about by the mind. You are not hurt by your own anger, because you have created a space, in the sense of separation, enough that you can look at yourself without getting caught up, being swallowed by the animal. Instead, you confront it. You look at it with equanimity, with calm, and in that way, you are inspired. You have bliss.
The greatest joy of the Gnostic is the discovery of one of his or her defects, because a discovered defect will be a dead defect. ―Samael Aun Weor
So, there is joy in that work. It is a continuous process. When concentration is really maintained throughout the day in a continuous, persistent, disciplined manner, gently bringing ourselves back to the present moment, we develop what is known as mindfulness: continuity of attention. Self-observation is the capacity to observe yourself in moment, but maintaining that throughout the day, that continuity, is known as mindfulness: to remember yourself all the time. With practice you gain clarity of yourself. You see and understand your daily states without labels, without conceptualizing what is going on, saying perhaps, “This is pride,” “this is anger,” or “this is fear.” Instead, you just look at yourself. You see yourself.
While it is important in our studies to understand the different qualities of our defects, it is important not to get caught up in terms. Sometimes we refer to the seven deadly sins or the legion of defects to help us have some type of groundwork to approach the complexities of our mind. When we talk about self-observation, you learn how to see how each defect works together, but also individually. Defects are not easy to categorize, if we are really honest and look at ourselves, because anger can be proud. Lust can be gluttonous. Fear can be angry. Vanity can be greedy. Each ego has its unique flavor that we have to comprehend and not to box up in some category in the intellect. This type of perception and concentration we are talking about is not strictly limited to a set of ideas. It is something really deep.
As you are observing yourself, you get a more vivid, intense, and stable consciousness. The consciousness becomes more robust as you exercise it, in the same manner that by going to the gym, you get stronger. It is also one-pointed in the sense like if you are really investing your whole heart and concentration within your consciousness, you are able to direct it at one thing at will, and to sustain it at will, for however long you want. This is what it means to be undistracted, and it is that foundation that allows us not to be obscured within ourselves.
When you are able to look at something with your consciousness without obscurations, without distraction, you start to understand the inherent nature of that thing. It is selfless. Self-observation, when the consciousness is looking within, does not have a self. It is clear and unconditioned. To be specific, the ego in Latin is a term for “I,” “myself,” “me,” “my desire,” etc. That is the self we need to understand and know so that by comprehending them, we can eventually remove them. But the consciousness does not have a conditioned sense of self there. Consciousness is perception. It is knowing. It is understanding. It is liberated, but it is not based upon a sense of “I.” This is something that you can only understand through experience and through the practices that we are going to elaborate.
The Basis of Concentration
So the basis of concentration involves some teachings from the Lam-rim Chen-mo [The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment], Tsongkhapa especially, a great Buddhist master who explained in his writings some ethical foundations and some stipulations that can help us to develop basic concentration.
One of them we already mentioned is an ethical lifestyle. If we are killing, stealing, lying, performing sexual misconduct, indulging in alcohol or intoxicants, negative behaviors, extortion, crime, etc., then we do not have basis in which to concentrate, because our mind will be a complete storm. Ethical livelihood, a compassionate lifestyle, is our best defense against negative circumstances in life. As Samael Aun Weor wrote:
The best weapon in life is a correct psychological state. ―Samael Aun Weor, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology
Ethics has to do with living appropriately in the given moment. Cultivate your mind and cultivate a better way of being.
We also need to cultivate an environment that is going to help us rather than hinder us. A conducive environment has to do with establishing a space in our home or a place to go to meditate. For some people, their home is not an option. Maybe we have roommates, or other people nearby, neighbors, whatever it may be. We need to learn how to cultivate a space or have somewhere to go to practice. It is ideal to have a room in your home that you can dedicate to meditation. Have a well kept space and altar because that devotion to that particular space and environment for practice can charge us with a lot of enthusiasm, and a lot of joy to really continue and aspire in these studies.
For some people, a room is not an option, but instead one has a corner in their apartment or home, a park, or temple they go to. Whatever it is, we need a conducive environment that is going to facilitate our capacity to concentrate within.
In that way, we have to learn to reduce the desire for more. For some people, we have attachments to future expectations or longings for a better situation, better environment, better circumstances. Maybe some people (and it is common in the Gnostic movement) want a Gnostic spouse, feeling and thinking that they cannot meditate and enter the path if they are not married. This is an illusion. Whatever our desires for more or for different situations, we have to reduce our attachments.
We have to learn to become like renunciates, as seen in this image of Buddha Gautama Shakyamuni shaving his hair off before he became an ascetic. He eventually entered the wilderness in order to fully dedicate himself to meditation. Now, we are not advocating that kind of extreme practice, fakirism, or living in the wild to just meditate all day and only eating a grain of rice, which is extreme. Instead, what we are learning to do is be content with our situation. We need to learn to renounce our attachments and our desires for a different situation. We need to learn to accept what we have. We are where we are at in accordance with our actions, our karma. Our situation is a direct reflection of our mental states:
The internal is the reflection of the external. ―Immanuel Kant
If you want a better situation in your life, we need to learn to be content with what we have and the blessings that we already received, to accept our karma like the hammer and the anvil. It can be painful, yet we have to learn to get comfortable with adverse and difficult situations. If you are changing your mind, transforming your mind, having gratitude for the gift of life, and the fact that we still have a consciousness that can work despite a physical, emotional, or mental illness, we can really learn to transform ourselves. I have known people in these studies who have suffered really terrible illnesses, physically, emotionally, and mentally. I know one person who is suffering from schizophrenia, and by learning to comprehend his own inadequacies and faults, by learning to get treated and helped, has achieved great progress. There are some people who have a physical ailment, or are paraplegic, who cannot walk, who are sick. There is one example of a meditator who was dying of dysentery. If you are not familiar with that, it is very painful, and yet he still developed his meditation practice. So, reduce your desires and accept your situation.
Renouncing Useless Activities
It is not easy, but if you do and learn to renounce useless activities and distractions, we really can radically change.
So, some useless activities that we are probably already familiar with: fsome people, it is television, browsing the internet, doing useless things that really do not produce anything spiritual for us. Yet we tend to gravitate towards these things because our mind is agitated and wants to do something.
By reducing and renouncing useless activities, we learn to spend more time in useful activities like meditating and developing concentration.
Supportive Posture and Relaxation
We have to have a supportive posture, supporting our spine in a way, relaxing deeply, so that we can calm the body and also forget about it. The important basis of concentration is that our posture has to be adequate enough, in which we can relax it completely and no longer be identified with its itches, scratches, or discomforts. Calm your body. Spend a lot of time relaxing it, and learn a position that is useful for you. It can be full lotus or half lotus. Particularly for Easterners, this tends to be very common. For Westerners, you can sit on a chair or lay on our back. Although I do recommend that, if you are learning concentration for the first time, to do so sitting up on a chair, because sometimes laying on our back can be so relaxing that you forget the practice and you fall asleep. Learn to relax to the point that your body can suspend its activities, your senses calm, and you can look within completely, but without forgetting what you are doing.
For this we have to learn to work with energy. The consciousness needs energy to work. It cannot be active if we are not working with our vital forces, our mental forces, and our emotional forces. Every action requires energy in life, without exception. If we are wasting energy mentally, emotionally, or sexually―as we explain in our tradition as the most important energy we need to work―then consciousness will be depleted. It will not be able to awaken in a positive, pure, and clear way. We need energy to awaken the soul. If you are interested in learning how to work with creative energy especially, you can study Samael Aun Weor’s The Perfect Matrimony, or books like Kundalini Yoga and The Yellow Book.
Introspection and Withdrawal of the Senses
As you are working with energy, you are withdrawing your senses. You are working with exercises like pranayama, which is the practice of controlling the breath. You circulate the vital forces of your body, and in that way, you are withdrawing your attention from the external world. You are introspecting and entering your own psychology. You are calming. You are entering quiescence, equanimity, dispassion.
Mindfulness and Abandoning Distraction
As you are going within, you are developing mindfulness. You are not forgetting what you are doing. Mindfulness is important when you are developing concentration, as I said. You need to learn to self-observe throughout the entire day, not just for one moment, but for our entire, daily states, our entire life. We already mentioned that it is important to abandon distractions, things that are really pointless, as I said.
Also, abandoning distractions is not only physically renouncing activities, but it is learning to avoid the distractions of our mind. If we are sitting to concentrate upon something and your mind is thinking of something else and wants to go over some minute detail of your day, it can be good to look at it for a moment, but then abandon that distraction and return to the point of your practice. If you are sitting to practice with a specific purpose, I recommend that you fulfill that and stick to your guns, so to speak. Do not do something else than what you intended at the beginning of your practice, so that you have consistency and continuity, because the mind will look for excuses and opportunity to do what it wants, which is to wander in the mind.
Vigilance, Awareness, and Self-Observation
Vigilance helps us to establish concentration because, as I said before, with mindfulness, we learn to be awake at all times. To be in vigil means “to not sleep. “ Vigilance also has to do with the clarity and quality of our perception, to really see oneself in greater depth, greater vividness, intensity and purity. Awareness has to do with remembering oneself, being aware of one’s environment, and observing oneself moment by moment.
All of these principles help to establish concentration. If you practice these principles very heartily, you will radically progress.
Some basic concentration practices include focusing on external sensory objects. That is very good for beginners especially.
Upon External Sensory Objects: Breath
We have concentration upon the breath, Anapanasati, in which you only focus on the inhalations, the retention and the exhalations of breath. If the mind starts to think of something else, just focus on the breath. This is a very useful exercise when you are beginning to develop concentration, because grounding yourself in a natural function of your body can help you to gain awareness of yourself and some continuity in your attention. You can inhale for eight seconds, retain the breath for eight seconds, and exhale for eight seconds―however long you need, whatever is natural for your lung’s capacity.
Upon External Sensory Objects: Mantra
We have mantras and sacred sounds, which are vocalized sacred words. Mantra literally means “mind protection.” It is a vibration of sound in which it reverberates within our body, our internal physiology, and within our consciousness. Sacred sounds are a great way to charge your body with energy, and they help you to focus as well. It is good in the beginning to mantralize out loud. It is good to vocalize these sounds because there is a physical benefit to them.
There are practices in our tradition like the runes, which you can study on Glorian.org, in which you adapt postures in your body and vocalize sacred sounds in accompaniment with prayer, so that these energies and vibrations activate different centers of your psychology and physiology. It is also good to pronounce sacred mantras by whispering them throughout the day if you want to maintain your attention and concentration while you are at work. You can also do it mentally if you do not want people to notice.
We work with all three aspects: the physical vocalized component, there is a whispered component, and there is a silent recitation in the mind. Swami Sivananda wrote that silent Japa, mental recitation, is the most powerful because it requires the most attention and skill. I recommend that you work with all aspects of this. Spend some time vocalizing out loud during the day, whisper them as well, but also mentally pronounce these mantras when you are engaged in your daily life. This will help you maintain profound concentration and mindfulness.
Upon External Sensory Objects: Relaxation, Pulsation, Circulation
You can also concentrate upon the pulsation and circulation of your heart. This helps you to relax. Focusing on your heartbeat is very beautiful. It really grounds you in your own body. It helps you to realize that your heart, your physiology, your body, is a beautiful living thing with intelligence, with life. We often ignore our own body throughout the day. We are tense. We are uptight. We are agitated. By learning to relax your body, by learning to focus on the beat of the heart, you become more aware of yourself. You become more in tune. You relax. Relaxation is key. You want to relax yourself and your body to the point that you can forget about it. With this exercise, if you are really concentrated, your body can fall asleep, and you can have an astral projection through the chakra of your heart. It is very beautiful and very effective.
Upon Internal, Visualized, and Conceptual Objects: Candle or Stone
You can also concentrate upon internal, visualized, and conceptual objects like a candle or a stone. Light a candle. You observe it. You look at its features. You examine it and close your eyes. Then gently you construct the image your mind. Let it appear and show itself within your imagination. You learn to observe that quality in your consciousness, your imagination. You are visualizing the object. If the mind starts to play with the image―which it will―simply open your eyes again. Become observant again. Observe the candle. Look at it. Then close your eyes and visualize again. With practice you will learn to sustain an image with real intensity and vividness, with clarity and longer periods of time. You can also take a stone and simply observe it and visualize it as well in the same way.
The point is not to think of other things or let the mind do what it wants. But on this point, it is also important not to force the mind to do your practice. You do not want to exert tension in your mind. Imagination does not take effort in the sense that you are trying to build something in your intellect. You want to look at the image, close your eyes, gently bring it upon the screen of your attention, your visualization. If you are tense, relax. Open your eyes and look at the object again. This is not a violent repression of the mind. Do not beat it up. Do not beat yourself up. It is very calm and very peaceful.
Upon Internal, Visualized, and Conceptual Objects: Sacred Art, Sculptures, Mandalas
If you gain some skill, you can learn to concentrate on sculptures or mandalas, which are sacred art forms. They represent qualities and principles of divinity, which can inspire our practice. It takes more skill to visualize, obviously, more complex images, and we will talk about this in brief in the next few slides.
You can also focus on a plant which is the body of an elemental soul of nature, in which you learn to observe the plants features and visualize its qualities. If you are really deep in your meditation, you are concentrated and fully focused on what you are doing, you can relax to the point of falling asleep, then learn to enter the superior worlds to speak and communicate with the soul, the elemental of that plant. It is a very beautiful experience.
Upon One’s Own Mind without Discernment or Distraction
Lastly, you can explore and concentrate upon your own mind without discernment or distraction. This practice is not accompanied with a deeper visualization. What it is, is that you are looking at your internal states, not trying to discern or look at the depths of these defects, but you are learning to just look at the flowing thoughts and distractions of your mind without getting carried away by it. It is like looking at a blue sky in which clouds emerge, they sustain, and they pass. Concentration can be developed in that way. It can be very difficult for beginners, but work with whichever exercises help you most.
Deepening Concentration: Mindfulness
There are ways to deepen concentration once it is initiated. Mindfulness, as I said, is the capacity to remember what you are doing moment by moment throughout your entire day. Concentration is much more robust and strong as you consistently return yourself back to the origin of your discipline
Deepening Concentration: Remembrance
Remember your practice. For some people they like to have alarms on their clocks, watches, or phones set throughout different times of the day, so they can remember to engage their practice in case they forget what they have done or what they have been doing. Their alarm can bring them back. For some people, that can be very useful.
Deepening Concentration: Vigilance
Vigilance, as I said, is the capacity to not sleep, to be aware at all times, to remember yourself. Once you learn to identify distractions in the moment―this takes a lot of discernment and skill)―if you have established some degree of concentration, not forgetting what you are doing, there are other forms of distractions that emerge from the subconsciousness, infraconsciousness, and unconsciousness that ripple upon the surface of our awareness. As the waters are stilling, you can learn to look within with more profundity to learn and see the origins of distractions before they even really manifest upon the surface.
Deepening Concentration: Remedy Excitement and Laxity
Sometimes we can feel excitement or laxity in our meditation practice. You can feel overexcited or agitated, like you want results, or you can feel lax like you are really dull, heavy. You want to fall asleep. You simply enter oblivion, eight hours of unconsciousness where one does not even dream.
The remedy for excitement is to learn to reflect upon your mortality. Reflect on the fact that at one point we will die. Our life will end. Therefore, why be agitated? We have to face the reality of our circumstances, of our life.
For overexcitement, some desire for something, we have to curb that by understanding and reflecting that our desires are transient. They are futile. They are impermanent. Reflect on impermanence. Nothing lasts forever in this universe. Therefore, why be attached?
If you are lax or dull, you can practice a visualization exercise. You can imagine a bright sun in your consciousness, your mind, in your heart, as you see in this image of a buddha meditating towards the sun. Imagine a bright, brilliant, golden sun within your consciousness, so that light can give you strength and inspiration. You can also visualize any image that gives you joy and encouragement from the diverse religious traditions, so that you are inspired to embody those qualities.
Deepening Concentration: Notice an Object’s Qualities as They Are
The important thing is that we need to notice an object’s qualities as they are. We cannot project our assumptions and ideas of what we are seeing. You just have to look at what is there. Do not let the mind label what you are seeing. In that way, you abandon expectations, assumptions, or thinking that your meditation will end up a certain way. Some people enter a meditation expecting a samadhi, an astral projection, a mystical experience, and they ignore that that very desire is what obscures their practice. We have to abandon all expectations. Let the mind settle. Simply be, and if the experiences come, they will do so by their own accord when you are receptive.
Deepening Concentration: Increase Relaxation
You can also learn to increase your relaxation in order to really deepen concentration, because if you are agitated by excitement or feeling dull, you want to relax the body. But again, if you are too tense, you want to let go so much on the strain, so to speak. You do not want to be too tight psychologically.
Deepening Concentration: Unwavering and Effortless Focus
We need unwavering and effortless focus. This is something that happens in the higher degrees of concentration in which you no longer waver from thing to thing. You are no longer distracted. But then as you are becoming more acquainted with that state, it does not take any effort. It is effortless. You simply will it and it is. It is very gentle, spontaneous, intuitive, and a wonderful, blissful state.
Deepening Concentration: Don’t Exert Thought and Energy
Now, if you are forgetting yourself, gently refocus upon the object. I cannot emphasize this enough. Do not exert the mind. Recall your attention. Reflect upon the object, and be gentle. Do not exert yourself with thought and energy. That can be a major obstacle towards the end of your concentration practices, especially as you are advancing towards higher stages. If you exert yourself to any degree, you will lose that state. For some people, they can be meditating or even having an astral projection, in which they are awake in that state, then they become fearful or engage in a thought for the moment or they exert their mind, and then they lose the samadhi, the ecstasy, the experience. Do not exert yourself at that point. Let your mind settle.
Deepening Concentration: Momentary Retrospection
If you forget what you are doing at some point in your meditation, it is good to utilize a momentary retrospection when you lose that mindfulness. So, if you are meditating and you remember your object, but then for a minute you forget what you are doing, it is good to reflect in that moment about what thought led you down that chain of associative thinking, that led you towards distraction.
Qualities of Insight
Some qualities of insight that are really important to reflect upon, as I said, are insight, which is imagination: the ability to perceive internal imagery. In the same way that you dream, you perceive images that are not physical. Likewise, imagination is that capacity. It is direct perception of internal reality.
Dreams occur in a material dimension that is not physical. There is a different form of matter and energy there. There is a reality there that is very concrete, but it is not as concrete as our physical dimension. Likewise, our internal experiences emerge within our consciousness in the form of non-physical images, sounds, visions. This is clairvoyance.
But unfortunately in us, our perception tends to be very clouded. It is very conditioned. Most of our time throughout the day, we engage in fantasy. As I said, when we are distracted, we are thinking of our co-worker, perhaps, and an event we had in the day. Perhaps we were angered by their actions, and so we are ruminating about revenge. This is negative clairvoyance, fantasy. It is mechanical. It just happens within the mind, and we simply go with it if we are not questioning ourselves, examining ourselves. That is a negative psychological state in which we are wasting profound reservoirs of energy within our body, heart, and mind.
Real clairvoyance, real vision, conscious imagination, pure seeing, is when we are looking at the contents of our experience without any ego there to filter. In the beginning, it is going to be mixed, because we are training ourselves for the first time. We are learning to see ourselves, who we are.
But of course in the beginning, we are going to be mixed, as I said. Often times in the beginning, we struggle to visualize. We struggle to see the qualities and colors of an image, and to sustain that within our consciousness.
It is important to reflect that there are different forms of visualization or imagination, we can say. I mentioned that there is a negative component, which is fantasy, egotistical, the projections of the ego, mind, or desire. But then there is conscious imagination, which is the soul.
Now the consciousness can learn to develop its perceptive qualities by projecting an image. We learn to take a candle, as I said, you imagine it. You visualize it. You are projecting that image within yourself so that you can develop that capacity in you that can see it as it is with your imagination.
With practice we also learn how to receive images as well. As you are entering a silent and serene state of mind, your body is fully relaxed. You are fully withdrawn in your consciousness. You are imagining that projected imagine within your awareness, the screen of your imagination. Suddenly without thinking about it or expecting it, you receive something new. Perhaps a situation, a dream, a vision emerges. Often times it occurs in a form of some type of drama in which you are an actor and a participant. You are witnessing yourself doing things, seeing people, seeing landscapes, seeing cities. There is really the infinitude of possibilities here, of different experiences that you can have with your imagination. But the important thing to remember is that when you learn to project images and remain consistent and sustain those visualizations the best we can, we learn to receive images of a new type. This is really meditation: to receive information that you have not known before, to receive something in a new way. This is an unconditioned, conscious, and clarified state.
When you receive these visions or experiences, we can start to sense and discriminate that there is a different quality to these images and these perceptions from our daily, egotistical states. For most people, those visions occur very quickly and then they end, suddenly, we are back in our body, in our chair where we are meditating, once again. So, this shows us that our imagination, our perceptive qualities, are not necessarily sustained as of yet, fully developed. We can gain sparks of insight here and there. Those types of perceptions give us a lot of inspiration and joy to continue working. These experiences become more sustained and detailed the more we work with them, to the point that we learn to develop and access supraconscious states.
There are many possibilities within imagination. In the beginning, we have small visions or experiences, but with dedication for many years, we can learn to access perceptions, not only of individual consciousness, but of a universal state, of a divine perception. This has to do with our studies of different dimensions of nature, the multidimensionality of our Being called the Tree of Life. You can study many courses in our website, but also Glorian.org, if you want to find out more information about that: the different structures, principles, and spheres of being that exists within and without.
Those experiences are very spontaneous, as I said. They come when we do not seek them, but when we establish the requisites and the steps, the foundations for their actualization. These experiences are very factual. They relate not only to our psychological states, but to different events in our life. This is how we can confirm the reality of our perceptions, their validity, their veracity, their truthfulness, when we look at the physical facts and how they relate to what you perceive. Otherwise, we can be clouded by our own subconscious memories, our habits, our own frustrated desires, even our deep infraconscious states, which are deep traumas, desires, or terrors within the deeper qualities of our psychological abysses.
We have to be cautious of our own perceptions. Do not take them at face value, but learn to discriminate with the heart.
Also, study the different teachings, the symbols throughout various traditions, so that we can learn to interpret with clarity. We have given many courses before about this subject. You can study the Sufi Principles of Meditation on our website. One lecture we talked extensively about how to interpret what we perceive [Awareness, Unveiling, and Witnessing]. You can also study our course Gnostic Meditation where we talk about those same principles: Imagination, Inspiration, and Intuition.
Insight Practices: Visualizing, Pondering, or Discerning an Object
Some practices for insight include visualizing, pondering, or discerning an object―when you take an object to perceive in your consciousness, your visualization, and try to discern, intuit, or comprehend what it is in a deeper level. As you are learning to sustain that visualization and simply imagining it with an open mind, new insights can emerge regarding it, as I said. You start to have experiences. They enfold magically within your perception.
Insight Practices: Visualization and Retrospection of Memories and Dreams
We also have visualization and retrospection of memories and dreams. This is probably one of the most important within our tradition. It really is the bread and butter of our meditations, because retrospection helps us to understand how and why we are thinking a certain way, or dreaming throughout the day, and in our nightly life when we are physically asleep. We review our states so that we can understand interrelations, the connections, and the subjectivities of our own egotistical states, so that we can comprehend the ego and eventually remove them.
Insight Practices: Visualizing and Comprehending a Deity
There is a practice within Tantrayana, Tantric Buddhism especially, in which we visualize and comprehend a deity. This practice involves imagining one’s self as a divine being, not from a sense of megalomania, pride, or vanity of a mystical type. Instead it is about learning to embody the qualities of compassion that we find present in sacred beings, in sacred masters, in sacred entities, the divine.
Insight Practices: Comprehension of Conscious Qualities
Also, we can perform insight practices of comprehension of conscious qualities: comprehending our virtues. I know some people get caught up in the ego and are very distressed by their own mind. We always recommend to meditate on their virtues. Meditate on compassion. Meditate on what it means to love, to sacrifice for others, to be patient, to be diligent. When you recognize those qualities in yourself, you will not be easy to be fooled. You will not give up because you recognize what is real and what is false.
In retrospection dynamics or meditation, you need to have some relative state of concentration. We say that typically you want to have enough concentration and continuity in your discipline that you do not forget what you are doing, because you need to remember all the different events of your day. You recall your memories, and you visualize them. Take a part of your day, those that you remember most. You can also start from your earliest moment to the last, or from the last moment of your day when you sat to meditate and reflect on the morning.
Probably in the beginning, at some points you will recognize that there are times in your day in which you do not remember anything. This means that we are very asleep. You can pray to your inner divinity to help you remember what happened. We have a mantra that we use with retrospection, and it is:
You pronounce it like this:
You pronounce that mantra mentally. You can do it out loud as well, but I recommend doing it mentally, and look to extract the moments, the events that you had forgotten, or that are difficult to ascertain. Those mantras, as Samael Aun Weor states, are like dynamite. You are blowing a hole within your subconscious caves, your mind, so that you can go into the depths to see and shed light there.
It is also important that when you are retrospecting that you observe when your thoughts and emotions arise in connection with visualization. So for example, you are retrospecting your day and suddenly as you are thinking about an argument you had at work or a conflict. You start to feel that anger again. You have thoughts of revenge, animosity, or rage. You have to observe that reaction in you when it is happening, in response or in reaction to your visualization. The important thing is that you look at your reactions because that is in relation to your visualization. So, you can pause a moment in your retrospection and look at that defect that is so adverse in you, to examine it, to discern, to intuit, to understand, to comprehend your mental processes. You look at your reactions.
For some people, they can retrospect the entire day, or you can retrospect your week. I recommend you work daily, but you perform retrospection meditation upon events that occurred even in your childhood, or even when you were born.
The consciousness can remember if you train it. So, it is important that when you are performing retrospection meditation that you remember that your consciousness is distinct from mental processes. Your consciousness is not the mind. When you are remembering your day, you are not doing it with the intellect. It is a different skill. You need to learn it through practice. Visualization and perception of the events, recollection, recall, attention, is very different from thought. You have to learn to distinguish the two. If you want to distinguish the two, I recommend learn more about self-observation. Practice it n your daily life. Study Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology by Samael Aun Weor. That will teach you the distinction very clearly.
Visualization of a Deity
When you visualize a deity, you want to achieve some relative level of mental equipoise. We have Padmasambhava here, a great Buddhist master from the Tibetan tradition, a great initiate. You can take an image of a great master, a deity, and imagine yourself as that quality. You want to embody certain aspects of comprehension, compassion, joy, love, of certain divine figures, like Jesus or Virgin Mary. You can visualize those entities or beings and that your consciousness resonates with that, that you are that quality in your most profound depths and recesses of your heart.
Pick an image or figure that really inspires you, an image of a deity, a god, an inner being. You combine this with prayer and deep spiritual longing. You need to feel in your heart, that tremendous love for that being, for that master, for your inner God even. You can take an image of your inner Being―if you have had that experience where you have seen your inner divinity as a figure―because divinity can take any form to teach us. You can visualize that. Visualize your Innermost. That is obviously a much more difficult practice if you have not had that experience. If you do, then in your meditations and internal visions you can reflect on your true nature. Combine it with prayer with longing with joy. We yearn with our heart and beg that we may realize those qualities in ourselves.
Discerning Mental Processes
When we discern mental processes, we need to comprehend the how and the why of the mind. Serenely perceive the mind’s changing states in the moment. We need to look at ourselves.
How is our intellect? How are our emotions? How is our body changing moment by moment? How is it functioning? Why do we react a certain way? Why do we think certain thoughts? Why do we behave in certain circumstances a certain way?
You need to look at this when you are discerning your mental processes in meditation. You are looking within at how your different thoughts are moving about and what they are doing. You are learning to extract and understand what is there. This is a very profound meditation that you can perform in which you are just discriminating the thoughts and emotions from your consciousness.
Again, your consciousness is very distinct from thought and emotion. They are separate when you look at their different qualities, their taste. They are as different as water from wine. You learn to acclimate yourself gradually to what is real from what is false. But of course, in that process, you have to learn to not identify with those thoughts, emotions, and fluctuating states. You do it gradually and question yourself on what you think, see, understand, and know, because we need to be very cautious with our own mind. We must not assume that we know what we know, not out of a sense of morbid skepticism, but from a conscious analysis, an inquiry into wanting to understand the reality of our own inner states.
When you expand your consciousness, your mental processes will become more subtle, in which thought will seek to evade our radar, so to speak. But in this practice, you are discerning your mental states―just looking at what is there. Do not label with your thoughts or emotions, but learn to see within what each ego, thought, feeling, or memory is doing. Apprehend the phenomenon and the phenomena without conceptualizing your mind, without boxing it up in a category and assuming that we know. Simply look.
Integrating Concentration and Insight
When you are working with concentration and insight, you are integrating these qualities in a deeper sense. Some principles that relate to this involve the fact that when you have greater concentration, your insight is much more profound. If you are able to focus your attention on one thing without distraction, your capacity to understand it is going to be much more deep than if your mind is fragmentary and dispersed.
As I said, imagination is the perception of non-physical imagery. That quality develops in us as we are working with concentration and stabilizing our perception. We gain greater color, vividness, intensity, sustainability, understanding, and the overall quality and clarity of our vision increases the more we work with it and the more we remove our negative psychological defects.
It is important that our consciousness can only understand through perception. It must first perceive before it can understand. You cannot comprehend what you do not see. This is why meditation is fundamental for real change. You may intellectually conceptualize that you have a defect that you want to remove, but unless you see it, you cannot do anything about it.
Now, visualization in this process strengthens our insight, our ability to understand something, because when you are learning to visualize, you are granting your consciousness more strength by which to first see more, but also develop and inspire deeper concentration in order for you to practice more, to understand more. It is also important to know that perfect concentration, shamatha, is not necessary to gain initial wisdom. You just need enough concentration so that you do not forget what you are doing, if you really want to develop insight further.
Shamatha, or calm abiding, the ability of concentration, without insight, can produce a very temporary state of liberation or bliss. We can feel joy, as I said, in recognizing a state of consciousness that is not identified or limited by distractive thoughts. Obviously, if you are perfecting shamatha and learning to introspect within, you can learn to access even deeper states of bliss. This state of shamatha in which you are absorbed within concentration is not a final state of liberation. It is not the end. There are many degrees of imaginative knowledge, inspirational knowledge, intuitive knowledge that is accessible only when we really abandon all distractions of mind. Having some stability of concentration is not the end, as some schools like to think. We do state that perfect serenity and insight are needed if you do want complete liberation. In the analogies I mentioned to you before, the lake cannot reflect perfect images if there is any ripple there. Both are needed in their fullest forms in order to go really deep.
Advice for Developing Concentration
Here is some advice for developing concentration.
We recommend that you overcome procrastination, meaning, try to meditate as much as you can, but do not postpone it. Do not delay the practice of meditation. Learn to cultivate some time and period of your day to actually practice, so that you do not enter self-defeatism, when you feel like you are beating yourself up and then you are not getting anywhere because you are morbid, sad, or overwhelmed by the magnitude of this work. Start small. Begin with what you can, and gradually build from there.
Also, give up useless activities, because the more time we give up doing senseless things, the more time we have to practice.
Also, we should not forget the practice’s instructions, but learn to follow them, meaning, if you are sitting to concentrate but your mind wants to do something else, remember the practice. Do not forget the objective you have established and set down for yourself. Do not follow the whims of your mind, but learn to follow the instructions.
Do not forget to practice. When you are doing it, do not forget that you are doing it. Remain conscious throughout. We recommend that you start with two to three short sessions, such as five to fifteen minutes each. Start small but frequently. That is how you are going to go deeper in your exercises.
If you are unable to accomplish these or clarify what this all means, we recommend that you really study. Study the resources we have available and reflect on what you really want. Reflect on what you long for by approaching meditation, because when we clarify what we want, we have a greater understanding about how to achieve it.
Advice for Developing Insight
We also have some advice for developing insight. I recommend that in the beginning, visualize less complicated objects. Do not start with something really intricate that you cannot handle. Start with something small. If you are struggling to visualize with greater clarity, start smaller and simpler. If you have a larger object, you can visualize parts of it to gain clarity or vividness, sustainability, and intensity. If you want to take a mandala, just focus on one aspect of it, whether it be the head of the figure or the bottom. Whatever it is, just focus on that one part. When you master that, move on. Expand your degree of visualization.
Also, practice short but frequent sessions. You want to gradually increase the time. It is important not to strain or exert your mind. Learn to relax. This is not a strenuous thing where you are trying to scrunch your eye and brow together to visualize something and make it happen. This practice does not require any strain. Likewise with concentration. If you find that you are tense, relax your body, and return to the visualization. Then allow the imagery to sustain itself and hold.
Learn to first project that image in your consciousness. Imagine it. Learn to sustain it, and eventually you will start to receive new perceptions and insights without you asking for them, or expecting them, more importantly.
We have some reading sources available. You can study our course on Gnostic Meditation but also Glorian.org has a wonderful course called Meditation Essentials. We highly recommend it, and also, we finished a course called the Sufi Principles of Meditation where we go into more depth about each individual aspect of this science. We highly recommend that you study them.
At this point in time, I would like to open up the floor to questions.
Questions and Answers
Question: One of the things I find happens automatically, if I have been away with my mind somewhere for a fair time, is when I come back to where I am and I become present again, which is a shock. An adrenaline hits, like I have been smacked back into awareness. Any thoughts to this or how to keep it from occurring, as it upsets any calm in the body that was there? Sometimes it is like a smack. Other times I hear a loud sound that hasn’t happened in reality, whether a bell or like a firework bang, or something to that effect.
Instructor: The question is about when coming back to the present moment, it is like having a shock, an adrenaline hit, and that happens when arriving back to awareness in the present moment, that one feels an upset state, no longer calm in the body or in the mind, because one recognizes that one forgot oneself.
It is important to distinguish between the capacity of the consciousness to remember itself, to remember divinity, that you remember the moment, but without a sense of self-flagellation or abrasiveness, so to speak.
If I understand your question correctly, when coming back to the present moment, it can be a shock. Yes, we can forget what we have done in a moment, perhaps because we were distracted. Personally, in my experience when I had such moments, I felt great joy in remembering “Oh, I am supposed to be remembering what I am doing!” ― to be awake. But not out of a sense of shame or a sense of agitation or negativity. It is very different. The ego is always negative, a conditioned state which can produce a state of agitation in our body, mind, and nervous systems, particularly if we are more sensitive emotionally. In psychology, they refer to it as neuroticism, to be neurotic, more susceptible to negative emotions, and if we have that predisposition, sometimes having a shock of awareness in a moment can really startle us.
I recommend if you are struggling to being present in the moment and those shocks tend to disturb you, work with your heart. Learn to shock your consciousness with good energy, with positive superior emotions. You can develop the mantra O, especially, if you want to develop that capacity for yourself, so that your intuition and your conscience guides you, and reminds you, “Hey, you forgot yourself!” Now, you bring yourself to the moment without having to self-flagellate, so to speak, or to feel upset.
Question: Can you speak on memory? What is it? What is there in relationship to the Tree of Life or spontaneity of thought?
Instructor: Memory is ego, typically. Our mind, our defects, are constantly immersed in the past or projecting ideas into the future. Our psychological conditions are memories. We get lost in thought that associate one event with another, and with another event. That is how the mind projects its images, its contents within the screen of our imagination. It is typically negative, where the mind is projecting its own ideas or fantasies or remembrances about what happened.
In relation to the Tree of Life, the ego operates within the lower sephiroth or the four bodies of sin. We have Netzach, which is the mind, Hod, which is the emotions, Yesod, which is our vitality, and Malkuth, which is our physicality. Our mind operates those four sephiroth or spheres, and the ego operates within those bodies, those vehicles.
We tend to get caught up in memories within the mind, the intellect, Netzach, and often times have emotional responses to them, our Hod, which wastes and expends creative vital energy, which is Yesod, often times without our body [Malkuth]being aware of it or being agitated by those memories.
So, the ego is memories, the past. It is illusion. If you are in the present moment, you can learn to introspect within your own states, to those defects in meditation.
There is another type of memory which is much more distinct from our common sense of it. We call it work memory, in which the consciousness can remember what happened factually. Do our memories tend to be more or less accurate? Typically not. They are half-truths, fragments of what happened or what someone said. They are not accurate. Whereas work memory is the memory of the consciousness, to understand intuitively and profoundly what our daily states were, how we behaved, what we said, what we did, what we thought, how we acted. It is work memory because you have to work to get it. You work the consciousness. You exercise it in order to remember and understand in that way, whereas the ego does not work for anything. It just simply is. It is a heavy, conditioned, lethargic, destructive state. It is caught up in the past or is always projecting its anticipations and fears into the future.
Our ego operates moment by moment. We have to examine the different trends in our psychological states, to examine what is going on there. What are the interrelationships between our thoughts, our feelings, and our actions?
Comprehension is spontaneous. This is something more deeper than thought. Comprehension happens in the moment in which you are brilliantly aware, awake, comprehending any given phenomenon. It can happen without you thinking about it. Thought is much slower. Thought is a machine, but the consciousness is what has to operate the human machine. So, there is a very distinct difference there. If you want to learn more about those differences, you can study our course Beginning Self-Transformation. It goes into great depth about this.
Question: How can we transform negative mental vibrations when starring at a candle or plant or person?
Instructor: I recommend that if you are overcome by negative mental states, energies, or influences, that rather than focusing on a candle or a plant, you learn to work with prayer and conjurations. We have different exercises that help to protect our mind, such as sacred sounds or mantras from negative influences.
We have given a course and are continuing to add to it on our website, which is called Spiritual Self-Defense. You can study those lectures which emphasize different practices in order to defend oneself from negative influences corroding our spirituality, or from influencing us in a negative way.
Question: How do we distinguish obsessive thoughts from insights from our higher self, soul, inner Being, especially when those thoughts go against our ethics―sexuality or lust?
Instructor: The answer is in your question. Your ego does not do anything in accordance with the law, spiritually speaking. Our ego always goes against our ethics. So, if our thoughts and our desires, our mind contradicts the ethical stipulations of any tradition, it means that we are being driven about our own inner Satan, שטן Shaitan in Hebrew, our adversary, our ego, the devil.
So, you learn to distinguish real insight when you are not caught up in your desires. You can only distinguish between them when you establish yourself a space within your interior, a calm, serene, ethical state. You cannot distinguish anything if you are giving into your desires. This is the basis of any religion. If you want to learn to have insights from your inner divinity, you need to not act on your ego, your desires, your lustful thoughts. That is the beginning for anyone. It is very difficult because we have so many conditioned states and a lot of desire, but it is possible. Learn to reflect on the qualities of the prophets, the masters, the divine beings, because they can give us inspiration to want to fulfill their ethical codes of conduct.
The second part of this question is:
Question: Namely do we simply accept our truth, or do we also change it to make ourself better?
Instructor: Unfortunately, most of us do not know what the truth is because we have a lot of desires. Most people want to accept their desires at the expense of religion. This is why you find religions today have degenerated. People are basically giving into their preferences and not really looking at the reality of their actions or what the different religious scriptures actually teach. They are adulterating what they taught.
So, we cannot just accept our psychological state, because our mind is not reality. It does not see reality. It does not see the truth. We have a lot of desires, preoccupations, preconceptions, and attachments. If what we want is to enter a state of meditation, we need to learn to confront all of that, to accept the fact that we are at fault. By recognizing our own defects, we learn to change them. We do not necessarily make our own egos better by cultivating more intellectualism, sentimentality, or certain ritual observances without comprehension, but instead, it has to do with removing the obstacles that prevent the realization of our own inner Being within us. That is how we purify ourselves.
Question: Can you speak about the importance of having a sense of awe and wonder while observing ourselves throughout the day, and the importance of this sense of the consciousness? I notice that when my consciousness is in a more active state, this sense of awe and wonder is present within me.
Instructor: Yes, that is a very beautiful statement and question, because when you are really observing yourself, you are seeing life in a new way. You are seeing like a child. You ever watch a child looking at things, being absorbed within the novelty of the moment, within reality, within the joy of being present? That is a psychological state that we need to cultivate whenever we are observing ourselves, when we have consistent and continuous awe, respect for our own inner divinity, because we are seeing life in a new way. We are not caught up in our own mind, clouded and obscured by thought.
When you are actively perceiving and remembering yourself, you are cultivating a real inspiration within you, and that is how you know that you are really doing it. You feel joy in the process.
Some people, for some reason, they get very upset, overwhelmed, and angry when they are observing themselves and they see such and such defects: “I am so negative,” “I am so evil,” and feel very morbid and repressive. This is wrong. When you are seeing with your consciousness, you feel inspiration and joy―a very different state. Even though you may be afflicted by defects, you still feel that happiness and alert novelty in the moment by following that intuitive state.
Question: Do you have any tips for interpreting dreams or visions?
Instructor: Yes. We touched up on some points in the Sufi Principles of Meditation, especially in the lecture called Awareness, Unveiling, and Witnessing. We go into some detail about how to interpret dreams and visions. But also, we are going to be giving a course very soon in person and also broadcast the lectures on Dream Yoga and Astral Travel. We are going to go into a lot of depth and many aspects of that science.
Question: When sleeping, I would have some vivid or lucid dreams. I would then sometimes have an intense vibration in my ears, extremely tense with an oscillating vibration. I would try to work through that sensation, but it would ultimately just wake me up. I was also afraid every time this occurred. The vibrations were compounding with increasing intensity. Can you provide any insight?
Instructor: When you experience any type of psychic perception, psychic sound, or vision, you also must learn not to identify with it. The important thing is that whatever happens in your meditations, or your dream yoga exercises, practices, that whatever occurs, you do not identify with it. Personally, I have experienced many such sounds like you have mentioned: oscillations, and vibrations in the brain. In the beginning I remember being scared of it, obviously. It is unfamiliar. It is unusual. It is strange. It is uncomfortable because we are just not acclimated to that type of transition, in a conscious sense, from the physical world into the internal worlds.
When you become more familiar with them and you let them happen without fighting against them or trying to accelerate their process, you let the astral projection and the experiences unfold magically on their own. Eventually, with practice you will get to a point when that happens to you, you get really excited. You realize, “I about to astral project!” and so, you let it happen and you go about your business in the internal worlds.
Just be patient. Do not get fearful. Learn to accept what happens. Look at the psychic impressions that emerge, but do not get filled with fear. Instead, comprehend and meditate on your fears that you do not like in those experiences, because the reality is that those type of vibrations are happening all the time when we go to sleep. The reality is that we do not have any awareness of them. When we go to bed, we experience them every night, but we do not really do so with attention or awareness. Let them happen and be patient.
Question: So, what is meant to go beyond duality and become one or whole if we keep having this fight against our animal instincts?
Instructor: That is a really good question. I like that a lot, because it helps us to understand or to comprehend the different nuances of diverse spiritual philosophies, but also the practical application of those methods. Now when you are observing yourself, there is a type of separation there. When you as a consciousness are looking within your internal psychology and your thoughts, feelings, and body, you need to have a sense of separation as a consciousness. You are learning to look at the different multiplicity of defects that are in you. You can only do that if you are looking within and examining your relationship of your three brains to your environment.
Now the reality as religions teach―like in Islam or even in Hinduism that God is one, but expresses as many―the reality is that our consciousness has the potential to be unified and whole, integral. Yet for now, it is dispersed and fractured amongst multiple defects like anger, pride, vanity, fear, lust, laziness, etc. Our consciousness is trapped within those defects.
In the process and path of meditation, we are learning to integrate ourselves more and more, just as you integrate your concentration by learning to focus on one thing and not get distracted. In this path, we learn to integrate the soul, so that it can unify with divinity. Therefore, we become a unity, a perfect being.
So, the problem with many people who approach these ideas of duality and wholeness really do so from an intellectual standpoint. They are not comprehending that in order to be unified, you need to have an integral consciousness in a practical sense, in the practical dimensions of life.
Fighting one’s animal instincts can be a problem for people because in that sense, when you are exerting mental effort to repress your own mind, you are harming yourself. That is a harmful activity. We are not talking about that. When you meditate, you are not repressing your mind. Some people like to think of meditation like that, where you are just fighting your desires with your intellect, your heart. But that is not the real meaning of real spiritual work, spiritual war. It is the consciousness that has to act. The consciousness has to look at each defect and not give in to them or identify with them. But you do not do so by exerting effort, by fighting or repressing your mind. Seeing something that is negative and then feeling shame―that is just the mind battling the mind. That is duality there. That is the dualism that keeps us hypnotized within unconscious, suffering states.
If you want to be integral, you really have to be your unity, which is your consciousness, because we still have some consciousness that is available to us. Traditionally, we have 97% ego according to Samael Aun Weor and 3% consciousness. The problem is that 3% tends to stay asleep and inactive. What happens for most people is that giving into one’s desires, that 3% becomes swallowed within the rest of the ego. That is a big problem.
Even though we have 3% consciousness, we can still achieve a lot because that is still what remnant we have left of any integrity or unity within us. It is that unity of our soul that has to work and free the rest of the consciousness that is trapped. This process does not involve a dualistic notion of fighting oneself, in the sense that your ego is fighting the ego. That does not work. The consciousness has to understand all the different aspects of our psychology, so that it can integrate everything. It can integrate the shadow, so to speak according to Jungian psychology. Do not create a duality within yourself in the sense that your mind is trying to fight your mind. You can only recognize what is objective and subjective by learning to see with a serene state of mind. Serenity does not require any type of conflict of intellectual concepts. It is a very subtle thing. It is not very easy to apprehend.
I recommend to study Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology and Light from Darkness and Spiritual Power of Sound by Samael Aun Weor. He talks a little bit about how the mind cannot fight the mind. Instead, the consciousness must understand and work upon itself.
Question: Do we get tested more often as we work more and more, bettering ourselves?
Instructor: Yes. You will get challenged by divinity. Divinity is very demanding. You say you want to enter the path of initiation and spirituality. Divinity says, “Prove it.”
So if you want to show that you are a very ethical person, you get tests so that those hidden defects will come out of you, so that you can see what you need to work on. We have talked about this extensively in our course The Secret Path of Initiation, which you can study.
Question: So we as a physical being have a role in teaching our own soul and not simply manifesting our soul’s desires?
Instructor: I would like to provide some clarity regarding the distinction between the soul and desire. We say that our desire is ego. The ego wants. It craves. It needs. It seeks. It strives. It wants to be fed: “my thoughts,” “my pride,” “my anger,” “my fear,” “my gluttony,” “my lust…” That is desire.
The soul is not desire, in strict language. I know some people get caught up in semantics, but the soul does not crave anything. It only longs for divinity. It is a different, conscious quality. It aspires to the heights, not out of ambition or pride, but from humility and love.
As physical beings and as consciousness within such bodies, we need to basically train ourselves in meditation so that we can work. The one who teaches the soul is the Being, the Innermost, the divine. In the process of meditation, we need to train our body, heart, and mind to work effectively, consciously. The one who teaches you, that is your inner Being, your divine spirit who manifests his intuitions, hunches, and inquietudes within the heart, within our conscience. So, the conscience, intuition, guide us. Our inner judgment guides us in this process, teaches within our heart what we must apply, in terms of these practices, so that we can effectively change.
We need to learn to hear that voice, but also act on it. That is what we need to teach ourselves, how to do, because the divinity within us needs us to respond. We have a choice. We can follow our desires, egos, or follow the intuitions of our heart, which is ethical consciousness of Being.
Question: Should we be aware of our three brains during the day?
Instructor: Absolutely. That is the beginning of self-observation. You learn to examine the contents of your thoughts, your feelings, and your impulses.
The Three Brains:
We need to understand how these brains function, how they operate, what their food is, how they process life within these respective machines, so that we can operate and manage our negotiations with the world. You have to learn to observe how your thinking works, how your feelings and your impulses manifest.
The important thing is not only just to be aware of your three brains, in a moment that you have anger boiling inside with these negative emotions, thoughts, and desires that harm verbally, or not. The important thing is to be aware of it first, but also to learn how to act consciously within your three brains. Transform the impression that you received.
So, the beginning is awareness. A lot of people are already familiar with this within spiritual circles and movements. It is the kindergarten of spirituality. Be aware of where you are at and your states of mind. It is important not to just get stuck there. Being aware does not guarantee that you are going to act ethically. You can be fully aware of yourself while you are committing murder. You can be fully aware as you are stealing something from someone. Having awareness is not enough. Yes, it is the beginning, but if you are investing your awareness within negative psychological states, it means that we are awakening negatively. We are acting in a destructive way.
If you really want to curtail that, first be aware, but then learn to act ethically within intuition, with conscience. The more awareness you invest within transforming negative psychological states and responding to life with the highest ethical caliber, you learn to transform the situation and produce happiness for others. That means when you understand how negative thoughts work, you also understand how superior intellectual understanding emerges. You understand and learn how to work with intuitive mind: knowing an answer without having to elaborate with the intellect, with the slow and laborious process of intellectualism, with theories, with ideas. Instead, your mind can receive an insight, intuition, and then you can act with a superior emotion, with love, with compassion. In that way, you are also training your motor-instinctive-sexual brain, not only to be aware, but to know how to respond to the higher centers of your being, because your sexuality and your motor-instinctive qualities, belonging to your spine, operate vertically in relation to the lower parts of your body. So, they are inferior in a sense, but they are also a foundation of how the other centers work.
Be aware of these processes, but you also want to integrate the three brains in your actions, because most people, we can become aware that our thoughts are in one direction, our heart is feeling something else, and our body wants to act in another way. That means that we are split in three. We are not integrated. First become aware of that, but then you learn to integrate your self by learning to act consciously, by transforming impressions, by becoming aware of that process, and also making conscious choices of how you drive your human machine.
Question: My question is, how to distinguish the voice of the consciousness and that of the mind, emotions, and call to action by the ego? What does it feel like in the body when the consciousness is communicating with one?
Instructor: The only one that can really guide you in that is your own meditation. I can relate to you qualities of my own experiences, which could help inspire you and give you some sense of direction, but knowing the voice of divinity is a very difficult thing, especially because we are so hypnotized by many conditions of mind, many problems, many egos. You will know it in your heart by examining yourself and by reflecting on how your behaviors and your tendencies whether lean toward it or against the ethical law of divinity, which is compassion, ahimsa, non-violence, truthfulness, patience, humility, conscious love, chastity.
If your inclinations push you to act against those ethics, you can be sure that you are being driven by your own ego. The problem is our defects become very subtle as we are entering this work, because as we study gnosis and meditation, our own defects acquire a mystical flavor, which is very dangerous. The ego adapts to our studies because it does not want to die. Therefore, the ego wears a mystical robe, adorning fornication with a type of spirituality, where the mind tries to justify committing adultery or looking at the opposite sex with lust. One’s mystical logic, so to speak, can be, “I am a spiritual person. I need to appreciate the beauty in other people.” That is some of the logic that people tell themselves. But really, they are just being demons. It is very subtle. It is a good question, because it is not easy to discriminate what is real and what is false. If we had it down perfectly, it would mean that we have no ego. We would be done. But in the process of changing ourselves, we need to learn to be patient.
You learn to discriminate the voice of the silence in you gradually, and often after periods of great disillusionment and despair, such as we feel like we are not communicating with our inner God. We feel lost. We feel disoriented. We feel in pain. But suddenly we can get an insight in the moment, an inspiration, a realization that we can do something about our situation. The more that we acclimate ourselves towards that hunch, those inquietudes, those longings, the greater and strong that voice becomes, but the problem is that we tend to just give into our mind. We do not discriminate what is there.
The way that you do it is by meditating. That is the only way. Abandon your senses. Suspend them. Relax. Work with energy. Practice pranayama or alchemy. Work with your vital force. Circulate it. Pray to your inner Being, “Show me what I need to understand.” Empty your mind. Observe it and look.
The more you look at yourself and take the time to really meditate, the greater the distinction you will find between your conscience and the ego. You will know it like night and day. Right now, because we are so clouded by our own negative behaviors and our distractions, activities in life, we tend to get very lost. The water is churned, and the sediment is spread out everywhere. This is why we need to learn serenity. Sit still. Calm your mind. Act ethically in the day to the best of your ability. You are not going to be perfect, but you will gradually learn it.
As you start to acquire serenity in yourself, the sediment of the jar starts to stratify, becoming layers, and then you can see and start to discriminate what is actually going on there. That is the way.
When we look out at the events of the world today, we probably see many scenes that frighten, confuse, or anger us. So, the goal of this lecture is to learn how we can understand the meaning of these events, and more importantly, the meaning of all the experiences that we have personally in our lives. This is part of the course Cultivating Virtue, Conquering Vice that we have been giving, to help people with practical steps when you begin seriously trying to apply the Gnostic teachings to your daily life. So, the goal of this lecture will be practical, and also build upon other introductory lectures that have been given by various instructors leading up to today’s lecture.
How can we use life experiences, both pleasant and unpleasant, for our own spiritual growth and transformation? How do we come to learn from our life in a spiritual way?
We commonly interpret our life through a worldly lens, because we are really identified with our terrestrial self: “my name, my job, my education, my family, my race,” etc. But when we approach these teachings, we are really trying to come into contact with our eternal self, our soul, our spirit, our inner divinity, and for that we need to take a different approach than we commonly take when we view our lives.
There is a really great verse in the Bible, 8th chapter of Romans, verses 5 through 7. Paul of Tarsus stated:
For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. ―Romans 8:5-7
What Paul is pointing out for us here that when we are so concerned with the things of flesh―providing for our physical life, for our physical comfort, taking care of our material needs, and also, adding all those things that we want that bring us pleasure materially―they are not necessarily the things that we need. We are actually in a state of death, spiritually speaking. This is not going to the extreme, saying that we do not need to worry about getting food or providing for our families, nor taking care of the deeds that are our responsibilities in our worldly life. But when we shift to a spiritual mindset, we are able to do those things in a harmonious way, with our spiritual development, and that is why Paul states so clearly that to be carnally-minded is death of our soul, but to be spiritually-minded is life and peace.
When our soul is awakened, when our Essence―which has been mentioned before, the seed of our soul, our consciousness―is active, we are able to experience a deep sense of peace even if we go through our lives doing all the necessary things that we have to do. Even as we see the tremendous events that are taking place on the world stage, we have the life within us. We have the serenity of God’s law in our heart. That is what gives us the ability to remain peaceful even through events that would cause most people to become extremely anxious, irritable, or angry.
We know in this teaching that we exist in four bodies of sin. These are the physical body, the vital body, which provides the energy that animates our physical body, the astral body, which is the vessel for our emotions, and the mental body, which is the body of our thoughts.
It has been talked about in previous lectures. But to recap, each of these bodies are subtle. Aside from the physical body, which is a dense body, the subtle bodies are not something that we can see directly with our physical eyes, but they are something that all of us are experiencing continually throughout the day. We are constantly thinking, in most of our cases. We are also feeling, moving around physically, and that vital energy is continually spreading throughout our body to keep us alive, to keep our heart beating.
We call these the four bodies of sin because we refer to these as lunar bodies. They are bodies that are given to us by nature, and they are subject to the laws of nature. That is why Paul of Tarsus points out that the carnal mind is not subject to the law of God, because this mind, the lunar mental body, is subject to the laws of nature, the basic laws of karma, physical and energetic, cause and effect. But that law of God is a law of spiritual growth, of eternal life, of development and compassion for all beings. It is a kind of eternal wisdom that our carnal mind, our common, worldly mind, is not able to access. Our carnal mind is always selfish and seeking for our own worldly benefit, even when it hurts the people around us. That is not in accordance with the higher law of divinity, which is mercy, compassion, and penetrating spiritual wisdom.
I want to also talk about the ego, which has also been mentioned in other lectures, because the ego is what inhabits these lunar bodies. The ego is what causes us to no longer be aware of God’s law and aware of what our own inner divinity wants us to do and wills to be done. Instead, the ego is aware of all the various, contradictory desires that we might have. So, we might be experiencing gluttony, greed, envy, lust, all forms of selfishness, which are related to our worldly life: “How can I get more, more, more for me, me, me?” But this is enmity against God because God is the source of all light of all beings, and when we separate into a false self, an ego, we are using all of the beautiful vessels of nature―that we have been given―to sin, to act in ways that are inharmonious, especially when we sin against the law of chastity, the preservation of the sacredness of sex. We are also showing enmity towards God because sex is the source of all life, just as God is the source of all life.
So, in this teaching we really need to change our mindset to, “How can we perform acts that are spiritually beneficial for us?” In order to do that, to break from the habit of worldly mindedness, we need to awaken that Essence, that seed of our soul, to extract that spiritual meaning from life’s various experiences.
How to Develop Attention
In order to start to awaken into this new kind of conscious vision of our life, we need to develop the capacity of attention. Gurdjieff, who is a famous esoteric teacher preceding our tradition, but which we have a lot of correlation in our tradition in our tradition as well, gave us the following example. He stated:
An aspiring pianist can never learn except little by little. If you wish to play melodies without first practicing, you can never play real melodies. It is the same with psychological ideas. To gain anything, long practice is necessary. ―Gurdjieff
So, in order to awaken this conscious and profound state of being, we need to start with the little things, with attention. We need to begin by developing the capacity for attention, because most of us now a days, sadly, have the attention of a goldfish. We receive a lot of external information from the news, television, movies, music, text messages, phones, computers, etc. So, all the time, our attention is constantly distracted and moving from one thing to the next. So, we need to develop a sort of permanence of attention that is the foundation which we can go to a more profound state of self-awareness and observation of what is happening within us, as well as what is happening outside of us in our lives.
Gurdjieff was asked by one of his students:
Student: “How can we gain attention?”
Gurdjieff is using these kinds of unconscious movements, these fidgets, so to speak, as a way to point out that we do not have control over our body. We are not consciously aware that we are moving around all the time. So, in order to first become aware of the way that we move and gain some control over our body and be conscious of that, we have to focus our attention on one thing. He gives the example of these kinds of nervous movements. But you can also focus on your breathing. Always be conscious of your physical breath, because our physical bodies are a wonderful place to focus on, continually throughout the day, as we are moving around. By watching your breath continually, you will gradually strengthen your attention, and then after that attention is strengthened, you will begin to discover that a new kind of consciousness emerges while you act throughout the day. So, you will be focusing on your breath and also talking to a friend or maybe working at your job. Through this division of your attention between the outer world and yourself―in this case, your breath―a new kind of consciousness emerges in that middle space. That is just a case of conscious awareness that we need for really profound self-observation. This is the foundation in which we can expand attention to observe our three brains.
The Three Brains
What are the three brains? They are three centers that process different information, different stimuli, and different kinds of energy. The first is the intellectual brain, which we can consider it the thinking center. The intellectual center of course is associated with our physical brain and is where we often process all kinds of intellectual information. Some of us are really intellectual people and so we feel very comfortable with thinking things through, reasoning through life. We like to read a lot of books or theorize often and that might be the tendency that we have.
However, there are two other brains that we also use. The second is the emotional brain, the feeling center. This is associated with our heart, and often we feel this energy in the solar plexus area. If you ever felt an emotion of fear, you might feel that sinking in your gut. That is the emotional brain. So, for those of us who are imbalanced in the emotional brain, we might be constantly overwhelmed by emotions. We really like social dramas, romances, or watching television shows that really stimulate our emotions, and we might have trouble coming to a conclusion about how to take action or being reasonable in a time when we are very emotionally agitated.
The third brain is the motor-instinctive-sexual brain, the motor center. This is responsible for animating our physical body, all of the unconscious processes of the body like heartbeats, or the sexual instinct, or your impulse when you are burned―you pull away from the fire. For those of us who are imbalanced in this center, we might be very active people, always on the go, loving sports, and do not take time to nourish our emotional brain or to really think things through.
All of us have these three centers and we are using them all the time, but we need to be aware of when we might be out of balance, because if we are out of balance, we are often stealing energy from some of the brains and channeling that energy to a brain in which we have a predisposition. So, if I am a very intellectually centered person, then I may be stealing all of the energy from my physical body, or even some emotional energy to keep my mind always active, always studying, always thinking through new things. As a result, I might become sick physically or I might develop some kind of mental imbalance such as schizophrenia. In the emotional brain people who are investing too much in that center can develop emotional illnesses like depression or anxiety disorders. People who abuse their motor-instinctive-sexual brain might overuse their physical body to the extent in which they can develop a lot of physical disabilities that can create problems for them later on in life.
Samael Aun Weor teaches us in the Fundamentals of Gnostic Education:
The balanced and harmonious function of the three brains results in the saving of vital values and, as a logical consequence, the prolongation of life. ―Samael Aun Weor, Fundamentals of Gnostic Education
These vital values are distributed among our three brains in different proportions. So, we can say, for example, our intellectual brain has twenty vital values, and our emotional brain might have thirty vital values, and our motor-instinctual-sexual brain has fifty vital values. The more that you use one brain, the more that you use up those values. But preserving these vital values is essential to prolong our life, our physical life, and preserving these vital values is also essential to awakening our consciousness and prolonging our spiritual awareness of what is happening throughout our daily life.
So, we really need to learn how to balance these brains. If we are too intellectual, how do we engage in activities that develop our emotional center and motor center? And if we are imbalanced physically, how do we do different activities to develop our mind and heart? If we are imbalanced emotionally, how do we do activities that help to develop our mind and keep our bodies strong and healthy?
Samael Aun Weor stated that the ancients knew how to intellectually cultivate the three brains. They did this through classical art, music, poetry, dance, theatre, and opera. We think about that kind of information which stimulates the mind, heart and body in different ways all at once. We might realize that it is very different from the education that we received in school. Most of us in the West are very intellectual because we received that training throughout our school life. So, we need to take a conscious effort into redeveloping all three centers in harmony at the same time. I encourage you to find classical art, music, poetry, dance, theatre, and opera that inspires you, that you have a spiritual affinity towards.
Begin to extract the spiritual meanings from these art forms as you look at a painting or you watch a play, or you listen to classical music. Try to extract with your consciousness the spiritual significance that is embedded into those art forms. As you gain the ability to analyze art in this way, you will also be able to develop the ability to analyze your own life experiences as scenes in a spiritual drama in which you have to learn the various personal lessons that your inner God has provided for you.
Everything in our life is controlled by karma, the law of cause and effect. Our inner divinity, very intelligently, organizes the experiences of our life in such a way that they become a gymnasium to strengthen us psychologically and spiritually. When we see a scene in an opera, in which the hero of the opera is really struggling with a profound emotion, and we come to understand what that scene signifies for the development of one’s soul, then we might take a moment of turmoil in our own personal life and reflect on it in meditation to see what this means in the overall arch of our development [learn more by studying The Secret Teachings of Opera].
Many of the experiences in our life help us to see our own ego. So, we have to experience difficult situations in order to see the imbalances that come out in our intellect, our heart, that will cause us to act in an egoic way, in a worldly mindset, against God’s will. These are things that cause us to hurt other people or even cause harm to ourselves, because we are not thinking in accordance with the harmony of God’s wisdom.
Gurdjieff talked about this when he said that there was a sort of lamp of consciousness, and this lamp requires energy in order to continue burning. As we try to observe or pay attention to ourselves, our physical body, our emotional or intellectual center throughout the day, we often run out of energy. Those vital values are exhausted. Part of this is because when we act in an egoic way, we are expending too much energy. So, to act in a lustful way or a greedy or envious way, wastes a lot of our vital energy and causes us to become intellectually, emotionally, and physically depleted. Then we just do not have any energy left to be consciously aware of our breathing or our emotional, intellectual, motor-instinctive-sexual brains, right?
Balance in the Three Brains
How do we act in a way that is peaceful, harmonious, and balanced in the three brains, in order to prolong that attention? Gurdjieff gave us an example of a lamp as well as the example of a small accumulator, which today we can compare to an electric battery. We know that when a battery is depleted, the lamp runs out, right? Gurdjieff explains that the intellectual mind is like a very small battery with little energy, which is not sufficient to maintain our conscious attention. So, when we are very identified with our intellectual mind during the process of self-observation, we are often not able to pay attention to our body, or our heart, and we are usually not able to self-sustain our self-attention for very long. We are focusing on our mind in a very intellectual way: “What am I thinking? What am I doing now? What is the other person saying? How do I feel in my heart?” We are too identified with the mind. We have to remember that we are not just a mind. We are not just brains with legs to carry our brains around, right? We have a heart. We have a body. We have a soul. Throughout the day, we have to observe the heart and we need to balance ourselves, because the heart and the body, the emotional and the motor centers, often have much more vital energy than the mental body.
In order to stay self-aware for longer periods of time, we need to really incorporate the energy of all three brains simultaneously. This is difficult. In the beginning, remember that we are focused in just one aspect of our physical life throughout the day, continually, to develop our attention. Then we begin to expand that awareness to the emotional and intellectual center. We do not do this in an intellectual way. We do this in a conscious way. Just observing, not intellectually analyzing: “What is my body doing? I am moving my hands,” but rather we are observing the movement of our hands. We are feeling it with all of our conscious being. We are feeling the emotions of our heart. We are observing our mind without meaning, to interpret those thoughts, just observing those thoughts on the screen of the mind. It takes time to develop this skill, just like any aspiring pianist needs to begin with very simple skills in order to be able to play beautiful melodies. We begin with the basic skill of attention and we gradually expand it towards the three brains in order to really reach this profound state of self-observation.
Self-observation is a very essential skill for our spiritual development, because when we observe ourselves, we are not so identified with our life experiences. If somebody says something critical towards me, usually I am so focused on what they say that I mechanically react to them in a very instinctual, carnal-minded, way―acting from an ego, a sense of pride, maybe, and I am not at all aware of my intellectual, emotional, or motor brain. I am acting in a total, unconscious way, just as someone who unconsciously fidgets when they are nervous without even noticing it.
When we have self-observation, we can observe the outer world. In this example of someone criticizing us, we can see simultaneously what emerges in our mind, in our heart, and in our body to react to that person, and then we have the conscious awareness to be able to, hopefully, choose in that moment if we want to respond in the instinctive way or if we want to respond from a more conscious place in accordance with God’s will.
It is not easy to develop this skill, but it is essential, and it will benefit you in so many ways. Developing the ability to live harmoniously and not waste our vital values through these egoic states, we are able to prolong our physical life. But more importantly, we are able to develop our spiritual life and to perceive new aspects of consciousness, new sides of life that we never saw before.
In his book Fundamentals of Gnostic Education, Samael Aun Weor offers us this beautiful example of what one might experience during self-observation. He states:
The revolutionary psychology of the new age teaches that three distinct psychological aspects exist within each person. Thus, we crave a thing through one part of our psychic essence, yet we desire a decidedly different thing with another part, and we do a totally opposing thing through the third part. I.e., in a moment of supreme pain, perhaps the loss of a beloved relative or any other intimate tragedy, our emotional personality can reach even to desperation, while our intellectual personality asks itself the “why” of such a tragedy, whilst the personality of movement only wants to run away from the scene. ―Samael Aun Weor, Fundamentals of Gnostic Education
We can all relate to having an experience like this, right? That is the key to the beginning, to digest our life experiences. When we experience a situation like this, we use the steps that we just talked about. We awaken our consciousness through the attention. We balance the three brains to see in a harmonious way, and then we observe ourselves: “What is happening in my body right now? What is happening in my heart right now? What is happening in my mind right now?” That allows us to perceive life from the spiritual mind instead of from the carnal mind. That allows us to really understand ourselves and see what is inside of us, to observe a new ego of pride, or fear, lust, or jealousy that comes out in such a moment. That is why all the experiences in life are more useful to us than any chapter in a book, because if you were able to be conscious and observe one experience in your life and later meditate on it to extract spiritual insight and wisdom in that moment of your life, it can teach you how to evolve spiritually. It can show you who you are in this moment, psychologically speaking. It can unveil to you how God can transform you. God does transform you in a moment like this when you are awake.
If we experience a moment of losing a beloved relative or losing something precious to us in an unconscious way, all we do is suffer and we react mechanically, often causing more suffering. If we experience the same situation in a conscious way, we feel that grief, but we are able to understand it as a spiritual lesson about life, about the impermanence of life, or the value of our human relationships, and we are also able to provide comfort to the people around us instead of becoming lost and self-absorbed in pain. That is the value of this process: attention, balancing the three brains, and self-observation.
Meditating on the Three Brains
Meditation is really the final key to gain the most insight of our lives. When we meditate on a situation that we experienced today, we can see the reactions in our three brains and observe them in a state of serenity, and then we can penetrate into a deeper insight about those situations. I give the following as a suggestion for your meditation practice, to do each night as you are working throughout the day, to observe yourself and the three brains.
First become physically comfortable. You need to find a physical, comfortable position for you in which you can sit without falling asleep, and maintaining attentiveness throughout your meditation.
Then become aware of your three brains: “Am I experiencing any disequilibrium in my physical body or in my vital body right now? What am I feeling emotionally right now? What kind of thoughts are passing through my intellect?”
That awareness will help us to calm down, to settle the three brains. We especially need these three brains to be balanced and in harmony when we are meditating. Take the first part of your meditation just to relax. Breathe deeply. Become aware of your three brains.
Then when you feel like you are in balance, when you feel like you are relaxed, but attentive and consciously awake, then you can reflect on a difficult life experience, whether one from that day or the past. Watch it on the screen of your mind. In the beginning, it is really challenging not to get identified with that experience. We need to be able to maintain serenity and observe what comes up in our three brains when we reflect on this experience, without then fueling more energy into those responses. So, if I reflect on an experience where I was rejected by someone that I loved, then I feel pain and anger coming up in my heart. I am thinking critical thoughts about that person, and even my body is even clenching and clenching my fists. Then that is not what we need. We need to be able to then breathe, relax the body, relax the emotions, relax the mind and stay in balance as we observe, see and feel what is happening in our three brains: “Ok, I am observing this feeling, this feeling of hatred in my heart. I am observing these critical thoughts. I am not continuing to fuel that hatred or continuing to think more critical thoughts. I am just observing them and praying to my inner divinity to show me myself as I really am.” That is what it means to observe these reactions with equilibrium, conscious awareness.
Remember, that situation cannot hurt you in that moment during meditation because it is not happening. It is not the present moment. So, do not get re-identified with it and bring it back to life. Just observe it. Study it, and see yourself, because that situation is a mirror which will help you to observe yourself and what you truly are. We might think we are a great person and always trying to do our best for others, but a moment like that can show us that we really do have a part of ourselves, an ego, that is very ugly, that is filled with hatred that wants to criticize and hurt other people. That is the valuable information that life can give us, that we cannot learn by reading a book about somebody else’s life, right?
If we are able to, we can go to a deeper state of relaxation and observe new insights. This takes time, but to those who are skillful with meditation and have been meditating for a long time, they can then enter into this deeper state of relaxation in which the mind is blank, but open to new perceptions. Some images may come into screen of perception and that image can encode a message from your inner divinity, which relates to the situation that you were just observing. You can write down those images or any observations that you had about your three brains in a spiritual diary, whether in that meditation or subsequent meditation. You can reflect on those new insights that you gained, then try to go deeper into them.
If you are particularly meditating on a traumatic experience or maybe a set of traumatic experiences that are related, this is not something you are going to fully comprehend in one meditation sitting. So, you need to continue to record these observations in a diary. At least that is my recommendation. Then each time, meditate deeper and deeper. Keep going. Our first meditation will be very superficial. We might see a superficial, egotistical quality in one of the three brains, but then if we meditate on that quality and go deeper into it, we see that behind that there is a deeper suffering, a deeper pain. Each layer takes us deeper into the inner states of our psychology. With this meditation, we are going to really extract meaning from our lives that will really transform the whole way that we experience life.
Before applying Gnostic teachings to my daily life, I was so confused and suffering all of the time. Most of the time I did not think that there was any meaning to my suffering. I had a very nihilistic approach to life, that suffering is just meaningless, and life does not have any purpose. But little by little, by applying these teachings, I began to understand a really profound and magical significance to the things that happened to me, to the experiences I had, to my relationships with other people. I saw that within each one of those experiences, my inner God is giving me a profound lesson: the need to change, to improve myself, to grow as a spiritual being, and also destroy my ego, eliminating it through the power of my inner divinity, to be purified, to become a spiritually minded person who is in equilibrium with my inner divinity. Therefore, God can act through me in a harmonious way that helps others, instead of my ego acting through those four bodies of sin and causing pain for myself and other people around me.
There is a final verse from the Bible that I would like to share with all of you because it gives me a lot of strength through moments of tribulation, and I use this verse quite often for meditating, to set the right mindset when I reflect on something painful that has happened to me.
Paul of Tarsus wrote:
Therefore, we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. ―2 Corinthians 4:16-18
This process of self-observation and meditation helps us transform our mind from that carnal mind, we talked about in the first slide, to the spiritual mind. We can begin to see new aspects of life that we can never have witnessed before because our consciousness, as a faculty, as a sense, opens up new inner worlds to us. Our dreams at night become much more vivid and much more meaningful. The experiences that we have in dreams can also be analyzed in meditation just in the way that our physical experiences can be analyzed.
The symbols of our dreams can also enlighten us to learn how to experience the symbolic significance of things that happen to us in our life. That is why art, drama, and scripture are so valuable for us to learn spiritually. When we learn to interpret something spiritually, an opera, or a play, or a beautiful work of classical music, on a spiritual level, then that gives us the ability to apply that same method of spiritual, conscious analysis to our own daily life.
If you have any questions, I would be happy to take them now. You can type them in the chat if you need to, or we might be able to take those questions by unmuting you if you raise your hand.
Questions and Answers
Question: Do you think dreams could be precognitive, or represent our insecurities and fears?
Instructor: That is a really wonderful question, because just as we experience life in an unconscious and mechanical way, we often experience dreams in that same way. So, yes, we do have a lot of egotistical dreams which are just showing us that we have some sort of emotional turmoil that we are experiencing, or that we are afraid of some situation. Maybe we have a dream in which we really see our envy, towards another person, in a symbolic way. That is why we need to interpret and dissect the meaning of these dreams through meditation, because if we just look at them in a superficial way, we are not going to see what egotistical qualities of ourselves that they are trying to reveal to us.
We also have dreams or visions that are very awakened, in which they have a much more spiritual and conscious significance to us and teach us profound wisdom from our inner divinity. It is also good to distinguish if this is an egotistical dream, which is just “my ego acting out.” It is valuable because it shows us an ego of ourselves that we need to see and analyze, recognizing its in there, in activity. But there are also valuable dreams that are much more profound. You can also become lucid in your dreams at night and ask your inner divinity to teach you and give you insight about something that you are struggling with. You will often be answered in a symbolic way, which is why we need meditation and the ability to extract the spiritual significance of those symbols.
Question: How do you cope with challenges remembering your dreams?
Instructor: Another great question. Yes, especially in the beginning, because we are very unbalanced and we are depleting a lot of energy from our three brains through out the day, then we do not have any vital energy left to be conscious in our dreams at night.
So, if you have trouble remembering your dreams, I have a few suggestions. Of course, the first is that you really have to try and re-balance your three brains and not waste a lot of energy and vital energy throughout your day. Do not get overwhelmed emotionally or do activities that deplete you of energy, like unnecessarily theorizing and reading a lot of intellectual books. If you have a job and you have to do that, do what is necessary, but do not over deplete yourself. Do not watch a lot of television shows in which you waste a lot of emotional energy. Do physical activities that keep you healthy, but not too much physical exertion which will deplete the energy. That is all related to the first strategy: to save and preserve your vital force.
Secondly, there is a special kind of diet that you can have in which each morning. You take nuts―I like to use almonds, honey, and citrus fruit, like orange juice or oranges. A few things that are helpful before sleeping is a prayer to the maiden of our memories. This is found in the Gnostic Prayer Book by Glorian Publishing. The prayer to the maiden of our memories is from Samael Aun Weor’s teaching, and it is a prayer that will ask our inner divinity to take the maiden of our memories out of our physical body in order to remember everything that happens when we are asleep. Then in the morning when you wake up, you can use the mantra Raom Gaom...
…over and over to remember your dreams. You can also recite this mantra mentally if you have a partner you might wake up by doing it physically. You do not want to move around a lot. You want to recite the mantra and allow the dreams to come back to you. That is Raom Gaom.
Finally, performing a retrospection meditation before you go to bed, where you review the events of your day, starting from that moment going back to the very moment that you woke up that day, or start from the moment you woke up to the present moment. In my experience, I find that has been so helpful. It activates my conscious memory. It awakens my consciousness, and it allows me to reflect in all of the events of my day, but it also strengthens my ability to remember my dreams that I have through out the night when I wake up to do the Raom Gaom mantra the next morning. So, those are some recommendations and strategies for remembering dreams.
Question: What realms do we experience nightmares in?
Instructor: Nightmares are in what we call the inferior astral plane. So, if you ever seen the image of the tree of life, there are many higher planes of existence above us that we experience consciously when we are having a real, conscious, divine, awakened vision, but most of the time, in those dreams we are in very egotistical states, like running away from a monster. Things like that are in the inverted astral plane and in this inferior astral plane is where all of our egoic qualities live. The things that we see in those realms are real, but they are subjective. They are things that are only real because of our ego. They are egoic states. Like I said, experiencing those lower dimensions of reality, the hell realms, the infernal realms, is valuable because it shows where we really are, where certain aspects of our consciousness are trapped in ego.
Question: I just had a question referring to the four bodies of sin. When in those bodies, when consciousness is taken from those bodies, and perceiving not with sin of those bodies, is that something? Is it a different body that is moving, extracting consciousness from those bodies, or is it something within the bodies themselves that it is not of sin? Or is it both? Are those perceptions outside the bodies of sin or within them?
Instructor: That is a great question. Thank you so much. So, in this case, it is actually another body, not a body of sin, but another body called the causal body which is the body of willpower. It is really our soul. So, that body is often acting through the four bodies of sin: physical, vital, astral, and mental. That body of willpower, when it becomes trapped in self-will, in ego, is perceiving everything in a self-centered way, but that self is a false self. It is an illusion. That is why we call them the bodies of sin because they are bodies in which we are able to sin against the will of God and to perform actions that are inharmonious. Sin, we can think of it not in the stigmatizing way, but as an action that is inharmonious with God’s will.
So, when we experience something consciously, as you mentioned in those higher levels of nature, we are able to go in our consciousness, not necessarily bringing our body of sin with us, but yes, sometimes we are experiencing, through our lunar astral body, something conscious. That body itself does not have to be a vehicle through which we are always experiencing things egotistically, but is a vehicle through which we might be able to go internally to a higher dimension, a higher astral plane, if our inner divinity wills it, to see something consciously.
Question: So, is it like the spirit is extracting, or purifying it?
Instructor: What we are talking about here is we experience everything through the consciousness. The consciousness for most of us is 97% ego. So when we experience something consciously through our body, a physical, astral, or a body of sin, 97% of the time we are often seeing though the filter of the ego. But there might be 3% of the time when we are able to experience that through a body of sin, like the astral body through the internal planes, or in the physical body in the physical life, 3% of the time our consciousness can be pure. It can see that exactly as it is.
The lunar bodies will eventually be dissolved by nature, and if we perform the entire Gnostic work, the three mountains, we create solar bodies to replace the lunar bodies. The lunar bodies are just temporary vehicles and are subject to the laws of nature. So, they cannot become internal vehicles. Yeah, in a sense, we purify those bodies of sin as we eliminate ego, but we are not so concerned with purifying the lunar astral body as we are concerned with purifying the consciousness itself, because the consciousness can then perceive through any body, astral, mental, causal, physical body, without ego.
Question: With meditation, do you seek guidance, like a prayer, or wait for the spirit to speak to you? Or both?
Instructor: Yeah, I always pray before I meditate. Sometimes you are just observing things as they are and then, as I stated, when you go into a deeper state of meditation, that is when you try to allow the mind to become blank and see if some new images or new insights appear to you. So, in that case, you can sit down, and you can pray: “Inner divinity, help me understand this situation.” Then observe. In the deepest state of relaxation, in the deepest state of meditation, you will receive that guidance, or hear. Most of the time I receive it through a visual image, a symbol that helps me to understand what my inner divinity wants me to know about that situation.
Question: Any advice for the instinctual center? There is not much information about it, but It helps to observe it.
Instructor: So, if we have an over imbalance where we are spending too much instinctual, physical, sexual energy, then we need to preform activities with the other brains, something emotional like listening to classical music, or something a little more intellectual like studying a scripture, bible study. That can help us to balance it.
Question: My over arching emotion right now, as I anticipate my dad’s death, is anger and judgment towards those who have not taken the COVID precautions we have been asked to. Are you saying meditate on that, and it will take me deeper and deeper into the lesson?
Instructor: Right. So, there is a lot of chaos happening in our world right now, and a lot of us feel upset about that right? Everything happening in the world right now can be meditated on. So, you can meditate on the COVID-19 pandemic. What I find more valuable is that you can meditate directly on your anger and judgment of those people. Most of the time we see pride. We see a sense of entitlement. Now, this is also related to a lot of pain and suffering that you feel about your dad’s passing. In this case, you might need to wait a little bit after the situation and until you have really developed this skill of equilibrium and meditation in order to go deeply into finding those answers.
Meditate on it a little bit every day and observe those emotions as they come up, like when you turn on the news and you feel that kind of anger. Observe that demand that other people be up to the standards that we want other people to live by. That can be something that helps us to go deeper into that understanding of our own ego.
Question: When observing emotions, when you are in a situation when you cannot meditate immediately, how do we meditate on it later? I find that my emotions and thoughts are different when I wait to meditate.
Instructor: Sometimes that is a good thing. If you are in a situation where so much is happening, where someone is yelling at you for example, that you cannot maintain your conscious equilibrium in that moment, you might be good to wait until your emotions calm down a little bit and then to observe it. Even when your thoughts and emotions are different when you meditate, just see what is there and try to really visualize very clearly that event, and it should bring out some of the emotions that you felt in that moment.
This is also about observing through our three brains simultaneously in meditation, as I talked about, because if we are meditating in a very intellectual way, then we are just thinking, “Oh, I remember I felt angry. I felt really annoyed with that person. I felt impatient…” That is really superficial. That is intellectual type of meditation. We really want to bring that feeling into our heart by replaying the scene on the screen of the memory and see that feeling in our heart.
Like I said, it is a delicate balance. It is very hard to maintain equilibrium, because that emotion, you will feel it come up again in your heart, and you do not want to fuel more energy into it. You just want to observe it. Let it pass, and then reflect on what you just observed on coming out again in your heart or in your instinct or in your mind. It is very difficult to maintain that balance, so do not be frustrated if you do not get it right away. It might take some time.
Comment: Some dreams are just projections of our fears...
Instructor: But they are also real, in a sense, because your ego has a form of matter. It is just not objectively real. It is not something created by divinity. You have used your energy to create a false identity, which is the ego. At night when you see a dream that you are filled with fear, that dream is showing you something real in your in subconscious mind, in your own ego. It is real. It has matter. But it is not permanent. It is not eternal, because the ego will be destroyed eventually, whether by nature or by us consciously, in collaboration with our inner divinity.
Question: Is there a method to identify if we are following our intuition versus ego?
Instructor: I am so glad that you brought this question, because I forgot to say something in my lecture which is exactly about this. So, another instructor stated that when we are in harmony in the three brains, when we feel that peace and we are observing something in our life, but we feel that the three brains are acting in harmony with one another, then we know that we are conscious. That is the consciousness. That is our intuition. That is our real conscious Being, our soul, that can be active in that moment.
When we feel that the three brains are in complete disarray and acting in different ways―we want to run away, but also feeling a lot of fear and agitation, our mind is trying to reason, “What should I do next?” ― that kind of agitation in our three brains helps us to identify that we are in an ego. It is best in those moments, if we are able to, to calm down. Calm the three brains. Breathe deeply. Meditate if you can, and through that state of equilibrium, you will be able to observe that same situation without seeing it through the filter of ego.
Question: When we meditate on an ego that we observe during the day, is it good to feel conscious remorse and even be crying while praying to our Divine Mother for help in comprehension of the ego that we want to eliminate?
Instructor: Great question! I do not think it is necessarily good, but I think it is fine. It is ok to feel that conscious remorse and to cry deeply from our soul. That happens to me often when I meditate on painful situations, especially in ones which I did something evil towards another person. So, yes, it is a good quality of the soul to feel conscious remorse and to cry during meditation. That is fine.
Of course, pray to the Divine Mother for help and to comprehend that ego, because we deeply, really want to change. We do not want to continue hurting people and hurting ourselves through these kinds of egoistical actions. So, our Divine Mother, and that prayer to our Divine Mother to come and help us, is our strength. When I say inner divinity, I mean, Divine Mother, Divine Father. Pray to get them to help you. That is essential in meditation.
I am glad you all are asking these questions because I do want to emphasize prayer during meditation.
Question: Do these three brains correspond to the neocortex, mammalian, and reptilian brains?
Instructor: They have more of a relationship with the three nervous systems. Another instructor talks about how they relate to the central nervous system, the parasympathetic nervous system, and the sympathetic nervous system, etc.
Or If another instructor knows those three, feel free to chime in.
Another Instructor: We have the cerebral spinal system relating to the intellectual brain. We have the grand sympathetic system relating to the heart, and we have the parasympathetic system relating to our sexuality and our instincts.
We have to remember that these nervous systems are form of intelligence. As they process energies and forces, they help to create our experience, but they are also the channels by which the vital values can flow and whether our consciousness or ego can act. We need to remember, as the lecturer was explaining, to use these nervous systems well, we should be conscious of their processes.
So, our nervous systems have that correlation, and while some other people may refer to reptilian, mammalian brains… We use these three brains and nervous systems distinctively in this way. Most importantly, we need to remember that the brains themselves, the intellect, the emotions, and our motor-instinctive-sexuality, is merely a machine. It is a means of operating and existing. You can look at those resources online. We will give you some links.
Question: Can a person defeat all of their egos or can it take many lives to do so? What is the worst ego of them all?
Instructor: Great question! So, for most of us it is going to take more than one lifetime to do this work, but it is possible if someone has tremendous willpower and is very dedicated to performing this work every day. A very serious person could eliminate all the egos in one lifetime. For this question I really recommend reading The Three Mountains, by Samael Aun Weor, which is available on Glorian.org, because that talks about eliminating all the egos in one lifetime.
What is the worst ego of them all? My initial answer to this is lust, because through lust we lose a lot of vital forces that are very sacred and are very necessary for us to continue eliminating more egos, to continue to develop the soul, and to develop solar bodies, also, to really connect with our inner divinity. Lust is very serious. It is a very difficult ego to tackle, but every day we should be working on lust. We should be eliminating that ego little by little, weakening it, so we can gain more conscious strength, because our vital sexual energy is directly related to our willpower. The more we lose that energy, the more willpower we need to keep up in this work. We lose a lot of energy through that.
Question: Can you speak a bit on actively participating in life or the human experience as a opposed to observing life, or the human experience as a watcher? ― meaning, some spiritual speakers speak of the spiritual realm that one becomes far removed from the human experience as a spiritual being.
Instructor: Yes, it makes sense. Great question. As I mentioned, most of the time we are fused with our physical life, that we do not have any kind of inner spiritual life that we are conscious of. That is the first step: to separate from the physical life enough that we have energy, and we become aware of our own psychology and what is happening inside of us instead of what is just happening outside of us through out the day. But you are right. Sometimes people try to use spirituality to escape from life. We are trying to use spirituality as a way to live our life more consciously, to perform God’s will in our lives.
So, I gave an example, grieving a loss of a family member, a loved one, and how, if in that moment we are unconscious of our inner state, we can very easily become overwhelmed by our selfish suffering, our anger, and our pain. That is very common, right? But if we become conscious of that pain inside of us and we observe whatever egos are reacting to the situation, then we are able to kind of eliminate that ego and maintain that balance. Then we can more meaningfully engage with the other people who are suffering in our life.
So, you see how we are using that conscious awareness of ourselves to be more invested in a spiritual way with other people. But this kind of spiritual mindedness versus carnal mindedness is that a spiritual minded person realizes that what happens in life is temporary, transient, and always changing. In that sense everything that happens to us is an illusion. That is not an excuse to do whatever you want because everything in life is an illusion and nothing lasts. But it is showing us that we need to act from a deeper, eternal place, a place of spiritual, conscious wisdom, in order to use this lifetime to perform actions that really develop our own soul and other people, and actions that will provide a lasting meaning, instead of actions that gather a bunch of wealth for us in one lifetime that we lose when we die.
Spiritual acts, virtuous actions, gather a kind of spiritual wealth for us that we never lose. We actively participate in life through good deeds that are part of our conscious states. So, when we are more conscious, when we are more awake, when we observe within us as well as what is happening outside of us, then we participate in life in a meaningful way that is in alignment with the will of our inner divinity. That is how we should actively participate in life, in ways that serve other people, and for the purpose that our inner God has for us in this lifetime, which we can only know as we go deeper and deeper into meditation and conscious awareness.
Question: How can one relate to what is called bi-polar and the three brains in relationship with someone who is diagnosed as bi-polar?
Instructor: Bi-polar is an emotional illness. We are born with psychological illnesses, or at the least pre-dispositioned to develop an illness at one point in our lives, because of actions that occurred in previous lifetimes. It could be that in this lifetime, someone might have overused their emotional brain and then they develop bi-polar, this really strong imbalance where the emotions are extremely manic and overwhelmingly happy. But in a way, it is not really reasonable when we relate it to their actual life, being overwhelmingly depressed and overcome with morbidity. That could be the result of abuse, overuse of the emotional brain, whether in this lifetime or in a previous lifetime. If we have bi-polar for example, and we are trying to regain balance, we need stability, in some cases that might require, depending on the severity of the condition of that person, some medication just to get to a point of stability. Then you can work one of the egos that produce those imbalances.
If we have a less severe case, we might be able to meditate on those egos directly and see what it is causing us to become overwhelmingly emotional. This could be related with egos of pride in a lot of cases.
Question/Clarification: We know what is good for the emotional brain, intellectual, sexual brain, but for the instinctual body, reactions with fear, etc., it is not very clear how to transform it.
Instructor: So, there may be some kinds of martial arts like Aikido, in which you can develop instinct, in the body, in a way that is really a spiritual practice. A lot of ancient martial arts, or ancient dance as well, could be really good for developing the instinctual center, especially with martial arts, because the instinct is very active in the moment when you are reacting to somebody’s attacks.
Question: What exactly is the Guardian of the Threshold? Is this a demon or our egos?
Instructor: It is the full embodiment of our egos. There is a whole lecture on The Guardian of the Threshold that I gave recently. The Guardian of the Threshold is the embodiment of all of our egos, every deed that we have done, every emotion we have felt, and every ego that we have developed, embodied into one gigantic beast that we may see in an astral experience, when we begin this work very seriously, and that we need to conquer. Even though we cannot eliminate our ego in one fell swoop, we can subdue our ego enough that we develop some conscious equilibrium in which to work. That conscious equilibrium is really necessary to start eliminating the egos one by one. That is a process, but as I talked about, this all begins with attention.
If you feel that you are not getting that equilibrium, look at how you are losing energy throughout the day. What are you doing each day that is using up instinctual energy, motor energy, sexual energy, emotional and mental energy? What are you doing through out the day that could be wasting all of those energies? What can you change in your daily behaviors to save some energy? Also, work on developing attention with the practice that I mentioned earlier.
Question: How do we comprehend and stay conscious when someone has extremes swings of emotions?
Instructor: Just in the same way we have to comprehend and stay conscious in any, very overwhelming situation. So, if you can imagine being at a place where there is a fire, and you are stuck in the building near the fire, in that moment, your instincts are going to take over your whole body and you are probably not going to maintain conscious awareness. I hope you will. At least maintain your consciousness physically. In that moment, you just will not have the bandwidth. You will not have the capacity of conscious stability or conscious energy to maintain that. It is the same way when we are dealing with a person who really has extreme swings of emotion. We may just not have the capacity of conscious stability cultivated yet or developed yet in order to really stay conscious with them in that moment. That is why it is a gradual process.
Start with the little things first. Start with a small situation, and if you need to, you can walk away from this person, if possible, when they are getting too overwhelming for you, and go meditate on exactly what you are experiencing in that moment, with that person, right away if possible. Over time, you are going to be able to stay more conscious in more overwhelming, or stimulating situations, right?
So, we should continue to just keep developing more and more over time, and not expect that right away we are going to be to do this. It is a long process, and it involves what I just talked about today. Keep meditating on it day after day, on what egos are coming out during that situation with that person, because those egos are what are putting you to sleep, consciously speaking, so that you are not able to maintain your equilibrium when you are interacting with them.
Question: Is there a good example of what it looks like what one should be feeling, thinking, and acting like to be in balance with the three brains?
Instructor: The most powerful example we think about the crucifixion of Jesus. He was, of course, suffering tremendously there. But he was conscious. In the Catholic tradition, there are these Stations of the Cross where you see these different acts that Jesus did while he was carrying the cross and heading to his crucifixion, and in each one of those acts, you see a tremendous amount of conscious wisdom and compassion for the people around him. So, if we are acting in a way really filled with love for the people around us, feel very awake, and we are able to really do actions that sacrifice for other people, then that is an example that we would know when we are acting consciously and not through ego.
Study the crucifixion of Jesus the Christ if you want the best example for what it looks like when one is conscious and acting in balance with the three brains.
It looks like that was the last question. Thank you everybody for attending and we look forward to seeing you at the next lecture!
Sincerity on the Path to Truth
The word religion comes from the root religare, which means “to reunite, to bind together.” And real religion is about our own personal journey to reunite with our inner divinity.
The point of this course is to help us to work with our heart when we approach spirituality. So many times, we study a lot of texts and we get caught in the mind and we spend a lot of time accumulating knowledge, but then in our practical life, we are suffering a lot. We are confused. We are having struggles in our relationships or not sure which way we are supposed to go, what direction to take.
When we have a connection in our heart to our inner divinity, we can activate a power of conscience, which can guide us. A lot of students, especially in the West, struggle with that, because here, especially in American culture, we are taught that knowledge is approached with the mind. All of us have been in school where we have been forced to memorize a lot of different facts and figures and learn different strategies and formulas, and all of that is in the mind.
How often is it that something we have learned really touches us in our heart and really changes the core of who we are?
When we talk about cultivating virtue or conquering vice, these are tasks in our spiritual development that we approach with our heart, not just with the mind. In this tradition, we teach that there are three important factors that we use on a daily basis to approach spiritual awakening:
The first is death. We say death of the ego. Ego in this sense is one's own self-importance. One's selfish desires that get in the way of our ability to see the truth. So a lot of students in this tradition know the importance of killing one's ego, letting oneself die so that we can be born into who we would like to be, because unless we let go of who we are, we can never become something better, something new.
Of course the second factor that we talk about is birth, the birth of the soul. Now, this has levels of meaning on the surface, of course. The birth is what comes after death. When we let go of our ego, what happens next? We don't just become a void. We actually embody virtues. Our soul begins to grow, to breathe, to shine through us, because now it has the space and the energy in our life to be able to develop itself―to not be suffocated by pain and suffering.
On a deeper level, which we will discuss a little later in this lecture, birth has to do with sexual regeneration, harnessing one's own creative potential in order to activate their spiritual life. Our creative force is the power of divinity within us, just as divinity has the power to create worlds, you know, all of nature around us. We have the power to create life in our sexual potential, and when we learn to harness that in a divine way, we will be able to awaken our soul―to give birth to the soul within.
The third factor is sacrifice for others. Until we do something good for other people, we don't deserve to have anything given back to us. So on this path, we are constantly trying to develop virtues that have the benefit of others in mind. Of course, a common law that people talk about is karma. If you don't have the merits to receive spiritual blessings, then there is nothing that can be given to you to overcome that. If all you do is you go out and hurt people, you are cultivating an energy around yourself that is attracting negative experiences to you.
So all of us, we come into spiritual teachings in order approach to truth. We are on the path to truth, right? And we need to cultivate the energy around us that will propel us towards truth and not the energy around us that will propel us into more confusion, more falsehood, and more suffering. In order to do that, we have to sacrifice for others and do the right thing, take ethical action. And yes, you know all world religions teach us a path of ethics: a basic code that we could follow. That is a great starting point, but at the end of the day, we have to truly listen to our heart to be able to know what is the right step to move forward.
What is the right thing to do? There are a lot of situations in life that are so particular that we can't just go to the Bible, or go to the Bhagavad-Gita, or go to any scripture and find our exact situation written out there and exactly what we should do. And we feel a lot of pain in those situations, moral pain, because we are not sure what is the right thing to do.
Maybe no matter what action we take, somebody gets hurt. Or whatever action we take, we feel like we are not going to be happy with that. Many times, we turn to friends or teachers or different people that we respect and rely upon to find those answers, but our goal in the Gnostic movement is that each person can cultivate within themselves the substance of sincerity: such profound honesty and wisdom within themselves that the confusion passes and that, when they go and they sit down and they enter deep into meditation, to connect with their inner divinity, they know exactly what is the right action to take. Even if it is a difficult action, they feel in their conscience that they know what to do, and that confusion, which is a form of tremendous suffering for us, can lift.
Sincerity is so important that it is taught as a practice in the Buddhist tradition that can liberate one from the wheel of suffering. In Buddhism is a concept of recurring rebirths into different realms of suffering. This is taught as the wheel of samsara [or Bhavachakra: The Wheel of Becoming]. Even if one lives a life and suffers terribly after they die, they will be reborn again into another body and have to suffer again. In Buddhism, the ultimate goal is to escape the realms of suffering, to become enlightened, awakened, and free from being caught in this wheel.
In a Buddhist scripture called The Questions of the Naga Kings of the Ocean (Sagara-naga-raja-pariprccha), we can find the following passage:
Lord of Nagas, a single practice of the Bodhisattvas correctly stops rebirth in the lower realms. What is this single practice? It is the discernment of what is virtuous. You must think, "Am I being true? How am I spending the day and the night?" ―The Questions of the Naga Kings of the Ocean
A bodhisattva is a person just like us who is on the path to truth―who is seeking to become awakened and enlightened―to not just know the truth and the intellect, but to feel the truth in one's heart, to be one with truth. So, it is a very important question to ask ourselves, “Am I being true?” If we are being true, if we have profound honesty with ourselves, then we have the discernment of what is virtuous. We can know, even in a difficult situation, even in a morally gray situation, what is the virtuous action to take. Then we have the freedom to choose if we want to take that action or not.
That is to be truly free, to be free from the confusion which causes us suffering. In a state of confusion, we continue to take actions that lead us into deeper and deeper suffering, more and more problems. But in a state of awakening, a state of profound wisdom, we know which actions will take us out of suffering, and also help others to come out of suffering as well.
At the end of the night when one reviews one's day, when one thinks about one’s situation in life, we should ask, “Am I being true? How am I spending the day and the night?” If we say that we want to be spiritual people, we want to be a good person, but all throughout the day we observe in our actions that we are really just looking out for “me, myself, and I,” and we are not trying to be the light that we want to see in the world―that is our starting point. And for most of us, that is where we are at. We begin in a state of realizing that a lot of the times we do things that we regret or that we are not proud of, because we are put in a situation where we are not sure what else we can do.
So to be able to be honest with ourselves, that single practice can take us all the way to enlightenment, according to this Buddhist scripture. That single practice of every single day, being continuously honest with ourselves, can help us to find our way out of suffering. But there are two big obstacles in the beginning for people who are really trying to apply the Gnostic methods of birth, death, and sacrifice.
The first is a fear of truly seeing ourselves for what we are.
Observing Our Many Contradictions
An esoteric philosopher was giving these teachings in Russia and his name was Gurdjieff. This was in the early 1900s, and he taught that if a man was to truly see himself for what he is in a given moment, without all the buffers that prevent him from really looking at himself, he would go insane, because of all the contradictions that we carry within. And maybe we realize that in one moment we say we want to do something, and not so long later, another contradicting desire comes out. So how do we know which one is really me? How do we know what is the part of me that I should really follow?
Gurdjieff gives this teaching about being able to observe oneself and also being able to observe reality. He says:
Many things are necessary for observing. The first is sincerity with oneself. And this is very difficult. It is much easier to be sincere with a friend. Man is afraid to see something bad, and if, by accident, looking deep down, he sees his own bad, he sees his nothingness. We have the habit of driving away thoughts about ourselves because we fear the gnawings of conscience. ―G.I. Gurdjieff
Many times we are in a situation that is really difficult and we want to focus on the problems with our situation that are blocking us, that are causing us difficulty, that are making us unhappy. We want to focus on the other people that we can blame for our , and it is true that there are many problems with our legal systems, our government, our world, our relationships, and yes, probably everyone has a share in the guilt for the difficulties that we encounter. But at the end of the day, the person that we really have power to change is ourselves, and many times that is the hardest place to look, to place the blame.
It is much easier to say, “Well, I never got anywhere in life because this and this and this,” or “I am unhappy because these people keep doing this to me.” How hard is it to look at ourselves, and see the ways that we are preventing ourselves from having the happiness that we would like, that our own bad actions are producing negative energy in our life, that is affecting everyone around us!
So the first barrier is being able to look at ourselves without fear of what we might see there, and to really rest in the knowledge of who we are.
Sincerity may be the key which will open the door through which one part can see another part. With sincerity man may look and see something. Sincerity with oneself is very difficult, for a thick crust has grown over essence (which is our soul). Each year a man puts on new clothes, a new mask, again and again. All this should be gradually removed ― one should free oneself, uncover oneself. Until man uncovers himself he cannot see. You must go on trying to be sincere. Each day you put on a mask, and you must take it off little by little. ―G.I. Gurdjieff
So over the years we have developed a self-concept of who we are and “I am this type of person; I like these types of things; I have this type of temperament; these are my characteristics; these are my interests.” And that is the crust that Gurdjieff is talking about. That is such a thin layer of who we are as a living being, and yet, that is the part that we think is who we really are. Sometimes it takes journeying into a new place to see yourself beyond the idea that you have about yourself. It takes going into a new environment to see how you act when all the comfortable things that you are used to are no longer around you. And that is one way to remove our masks.
The other is through meditation. When we watch ourselves throughout the day and we see things that we do and we are like, “I wonder why I did that?” at the end of the day. We teach that you can use a retrospection meditation. Sit down, calm your body, calm your heart, calm your mind. and observe on the screen of your mind with your imagination, the scenes of your day exactly as you experienced them. And as you observe them, you will begin to, without effort, understand something new.
I once had an experience where I felt very justified in myself that I was doing the right thing in trying to help other people and other people were angry at me. I felt this was really unfair, because obviously I was trying to help them, so I felt that my actions didn't deserve to be repaid with cruelty. And yet when I sat down in meditation and really calmed myself, and then recalled the images of my day, I saw it from their perspective―and it changed me on such a profound level that I had to stop doing the behaviors I was doing, which I was justifying by saying, “Well, I am right!” And instead, I had to realize that I was doing things that were creating suffering for other people.
That is the level of sincerity that we are seeking in our spiritual work. It is not enough for us to just put on a mask and say, “Oh, I am a really nice person!” but then behind the mask we are thinking negative thoughts all the time, having a lot of anger and resentment, a lot of envy―but we are trying our best to be a good friend. We want to really be that genuinely good person―to be so since are in a world which is radically insincere. We want to be the light that can wake people up from a negative state of mind, but it is very hard, and the first step is being able to be sincere. So that is why today we are talking about the barriers to being sincere.
Prayer and the Divine Mother
The first is, many times when we encounter something painful in ourselves, we don't want to look at it. We say, “Okay, well you know, that's enough meditation. I have got to go off and do something else,” and distract ourselves from it. But if we really want to change our state of suffering, we have to look exactly in the place that our heart is telling us is causing our suffering.
One technique that we use in Gnosis is practiced with our Divine Mother, the divine feminine, which is the embodiment of love and virtue. She has a lot of power, a lot of insight. So, many times in prayer, I have gone and have offered myself and my situation to my Divine Mother and said, “I am lost! I don't know what is going on here. I am suffering so much, and I need the clarity to be able to get out of the situation.”
Prayer can be really powerful and have very powerful effects, but we have to approach prayer with sincerity, and remember that our prayer in our spiritual life is not about what other people think about us. It is about our genuine experience, our genuine openness with divinity. In many areas of life, we have to put on a performance, or at least we feel that way. We have to be a certain person. When we go before God in our own heart, whatever that divinity looks like to us, that is where that performance can be put aside, and we can finally be our true selves.
Maybe see a part of our self that we don't let ourselves see when we are out in the world, when we are busy, when other people are watching. And that is the power of honesty with oneself and sincerity. That is why it is so essential that, if we don't have that as our basis, spiritually speaking, we might learn a lot of things, we might learn to act a certain way, but in our heart we are not going to fundamentally change. We are not going to have those results that we really, desperately want.
Revelations and Self-Transformation through Ordeals
The second obstacle to sincerity is not wanting to hear and listen when other people and situations show us who we really are.
In our daily experiences, just as I have described, we have many situations where we blame the situation, we blame other people, and we don't turn our introspection back on ourselves and say, “What is it? What is going on with me in this situation? What have I not ever seen about myself before that this situation can show me?”
People might criticize us. They might really see something about ourselves, but because of our own ego, we want to defend ourselves. We want to say “That person doesn't know anything! Look what they are doing wrong!” and we don't change, because we are not taking a different perspective on situations and on feedback that will actually help us to develop ourselves.
If somebody criticizes you and they are right, they have given you such a great gift because now you have the power to see something that you didn't understand about yourself before, and to change.
Gurdjieff goes on to say:
People do not understand that sincerity must be learned. They imagine that to be sincere or not to be sincere depends upon their desire or decision. But how can a man be sincere with himself when in actual fact he sincerely does not see what he ought to see in himself? Someone has to show it to him. And his attitude towards the person who shows him must be a right one, that is, such as will help him to see what is shown him and not, as often happens, hinder him if he begins to think that he already knows better. ―G.I. Gurdjieff
In both of these quotations, Gurdjieff is pointing out to us that the biggest obstacle is that we already think we know who we are. We already think “I have got myself figured out.” And so if other people try to give us feedback that is contrary to our idea about ourselves, we get offended, we get upset, and we want to run away from that revelation.
If situations seem to turn out in such a way that seems unfair to us, we don't want to look at if the situation is actually what we deserve to be experiencing. We don't want to examine it in that way. We have to have a different attitude towards life, to be sincere. We have to have an approach to life that lets us take feedback, take situations that are difficult, and transform them.
In the East, the lotus is the symbol of such self-transformation. The lotus is a beautiful flower that grows from the mud, from muck. For a lot of us, our situation in life feels pretty murky. It feels like we are dealing with a lot of painful, ugly things that are going on, different situations. We see it on the news all the time. So how do we take the muck of our situation and use it to nourish the seat of our soul so that we can grow? We can become something beautiful like this lotus, rather than just letting ourselves die in the midst of that.
The Substance, Energy, and Force of Sincerity
Samael Aun Weor is the founder of the Gnostic tradition, and he taught that:
We must cultivate sincerity, because the most beautiful flowers of the Spirit germinate within the substance of sincerity. ―Samael Aun Weor, Igneous Rose
Sincerity is a substance. It is a living thing. It is something we have to cultivate―by creating that space that I just described, where you actually take off the mask and you go before divinity, and you bare your whole heart. You look at yourself and your life situations as they really are, with all of your courage, without running away. That is how you begin to give your soul the space it needs to really grow―to see itself―to experience new perspectives.
A lot of times we go through our days thinking the same things, feeling the same things, doing the same things―on repeat. We never get a chance to think anything new, experience something new, to see ourselves from a different perspective. So we have to create an environment in our lives, whether that is through our meditation practice, or through sincere relationships with friends or family, or the people closest to us, in which we have the space to grow and see things in new ways. Because it is from that substance that radical honesty, that beautiful virtues of our soul can grow, that our spirit can really shine, and will see potential in ourselves that we never thought possible.
We can talk about prophets or masters, you know, like Buddha, Muhammad, Moses, Jesus―all those people were people just like you and me, physically speaking, but they worked so hard―whether in their current lifetimes or in previous lifetimes, to develop a closeness with divine truth, with a penetrating love and wisdom of the universe―that they were radically changed. They were able to achieve feats that most of us deem miraculous.
All of us have that divine potential within us. In Buddhism it is called the “seed of Buddha-nature” that we can develop, but we have to create a space with which we can do it.
If a person says that they are after enlightenment and after truth, but they spend their days lying to people, deceiving people, keeping a lot of secrets out of a sense of defending oneself, one's own idea of oneself, how can they become one with truth? If we spend our time saying lies to people, we create a disequilibrium in own mind at heart and body that affects the people around us and that affects us. It prevents us from being in harmony with the true nature of reality.
Sexual Energy: The Power of Truth
Now, another esoteric truth, as I mentioned, is the factor of birth. When we really want to get into the deepest mysteries of truth, we have to be working with the practice of sexual transmutation.
In Gnosis, we know that this practice involves taking one's sexual and creative energy, and using it with purity, whether individually or in marriage with one's spouse, to be able to harness that energy without losing it, and transmute it up to the brain. And when we do that, that energy can awaken all of the centers of our body. It can regenerate us and can help us to really perceive something mysterious within ourselves and within the universe.
An old, ancient gospel from the Gnostic tradition is the Gnostic Gospel of Philip, and the author of this gospel wrote something that seems perhaps a little enigmatic on the surface, but I am going to break it apart from the esoteric perspective. It is written in this gospel that:
The Word says, "If you know the truth, the truth will make you free.” ―Gospel of Phillip
We have heard this in the Bible. Jesus was the one who said that the truth will make us free. Jesus is an incarnation of Christ, a universal force of wisdom, truth, and compassion. And he is saying that if we know the truth, and not just know it on an intellectual level, but really become one with that truth, we are free.
All those situations of confusion and suffering that I talked about: feeling stuck, and “Like we don't really have the power to change our situation and to get out of it,” if we knew the truth, the truth as a principle, a metaphysical principle beyond any one person, then we would know what is the right path to take.
What is important to point out there is that the truth is not something that we can know in one moment and hold in our intellect and then continue to talk about again and again and again. The truth is dynamic. It is deep. It changes in each moment. It changes in each one of us. So, we have to have the openness in the sincerity to say, “Even though I understand this aspect about the truth, there is a lot more that I don't understand. There is a lot more that might be related to this aspect of the truth that I can’t understand”―to keep approaching ourselves, our life, our experience, and divinity with that openness, so that we can truly understand more and more, and not foreclose ourselves early.
The verse from the Gospel of Phillip goes on:
Ignorance is a slave, knowledge is freedom. If we know the truth, we shall find the fruit of truth within us. If we join with it, it will bring us fulfillment. ―Gospel of Phillip
When we talk about truth as a substance, the substance of sincerity, this is deeply related with our sexual force, our creative energy. Our creative energy is where we define ourselves.
We all know that in an act of sex, we can create a new life. We can radically change our life forever. And in many other ways, sexual actions have tremendous repercussions, whether they can be traumatic, or whether they can be great. So, we have to use this force with sincerity. We have to use this force to our advantage and not become enslaved by it―because, when we are joining with the purity of our own sexual force, we can find a fulfillment that is beyond anything physical.
The Gospel of Philip goes on:
At present we encounter the visible things of creation, and we say that they are mighty and worthy and the hidden things are weak and insignificant. It is not so with the visible things of truth. They are weak and insignificant, but the hidden things are mighty and worthy. ―Gospel of Phillip
We spend a lot of time working on our physical identity, our physical life. We don't spend quite as much time working on our soul, even though this is the part of us that we believe to be eternal, that we believe to go on after death.
So, many times there are students that really work with these practices. They finally reach the point where they say, “My spiritual life is something that I want to take seriously. I want to become one with truth. I want to apply these practices.” A barrier that they encounter is that they become caught up in the physical changes that take place. When we are working with sexual transmutation, for example, whether as a single person using pranayamas, or as a married person practicing sexual alchemy, we are going to experience changes on all levels.
But the physical changes, the energetic feelings that we might have, are the very bottom portion of who we are. The really powerful changes are what are happening on the higher levels of the consciousness and the psyche. Those are what are described here as the hidden things which are mighty and worthy.
A lot of times we'll have students ask us, “What do these feelings mean if I am feeling a sensation in my spine or my third eye? Does this mean that I am awakened?” Physical sensations come and go in this work, and we shouldn't let them become obstacles for us. We shouldn't get scared of them. We should accept them. Let them be and understand that with time, we will see the changes in our lives and in the people around us that are really going to be the mighty fruits of the truth that we will find within us.
Sexual Alchemy: The Path to Truth
Finally, the Gospel of Philip goes on to say, that those of us who are really working with this practice will discover a very powerful force for radical change within ourselves. If we have been working, under the premise that we have been doing sexual transmutation, meditation, sacrificing for others, trying to become more awakened, the Gospel of Philip says:
Perfect things have opened to us, and hidden things of truth. The Holy of Holies was revealed, and the bedchamber invited us in. ―Gospel of Phillip
The Holy of Holies being our sexual alchemy, our sexual work, through which we become purified, we become new, we become born again through sexual transmutation, which is talked about in depth in The Perfect Matrimony by Samael Aun Weor. The bedchamber is the way that we can enter into that, not just know about it as a concept, but truly transform ourselves in our deepest substance, through our creative force―to become something new―to transform.
Now, this next part of the Gospel of Philip, which is what I am going to finish with, is talking about many levels of truth. So yes, it has some relevance to our experience on this planet and in relation to other people, but the deepest significance of it that I want to talk about here today, has to do with our psychological change.
We have been talking about ego, being sincere, countering all these things within ourselves. So when we truly see something in ourselves, we finally get that space of sincerity. Maybe we are crying in meditation because we really touched on the point that is hurting us, that is causing our suffering. How do we change it? How do we become something new? How do we kill what is false in us? What is creating pain for us? What is a lie that we have based our life off of and how do we give birth to something new―something that genuinely springs from our center, from the core of who we are, our essence?
He talks about the seed of the Holy Spirit. The seed of the Holy Spirit relates to that creative potential, our seed. And he says that:
As long as the seed of the Holy Spirit is hidden, wickedness is ineffective, though it is not yet removed from the midst of the seed, and they are still enslaved to evil. ―Gospel of Phillip
Within ourselves, if the sexual potential is utilized [by the Essence], our wickedness will be ineffective, meaning that there is not a lot of power to drive it.
In fact, we can think about times when our sexual energy, our sexual impulse was triggered by ego, by desire, and the lengths that we went through to try to get what we desired. Sexual energy has a tremendous power, and if we do not unlock this power, then in one sense, we become ineffective. We become unable to produce the changes that we would like to see, whether for good or for evil―whether we would like to see people hurt, or whether we ourselves would like to see the benefit of others, and the benefit of ourselves.
We have to tap into the sexual energy. In this school, we teach only white tantra, which is working in a way that benefits others. We don't teach black tantra, which is working with sexual energy for one's selfish aims at the expense of others, and ultimately causes the suffering even for the one who is using it.
That is why this Gospel of Philip, which was for initiates back in early, early times, they―who knew the secret, who knew about the bedchamber, inviting them into the mysteries of divinity―they would work with this power to change themselves. They would elevate what is good in themselves, and destroy what is false in one's self. That is why the Gospel of Philip goes on to say:
But when the seed is revealed, then perfect light will shine on everyone, and all who are in the light will receive the chrism. ―Gospel of Phillip
This means the anointing with the blessed oil, or for our purposes in esoteric significance: the chrism is the sexual energy, the semen, or the sexual fluids of a woman, the chrism, with which we raise to the brain, to the mind, to anoint the head.
The Gospel of Philip says:
Then slaves will be freed and captives ransomed. "Every plant that my father in heaven has not planted will be pulled out." What is separated will be united, what is empty will be filled. ―Gospel of Phillip
As I mentioned, yes, this has some significance to people in the world, but most importantly for our purposes, it has significance for us. Within us, there is a multiplicity of identities. Some of them want what is good for others, other parts of us want to hurt other people, want to make other people suffer, because we are suffering.
When we transmute our sexual energy, when we reveal that light through a revelation in our spiritual practice, practically doing it, not thinking about it, but really doing the practices, then this light emerges in our soul, which shines on all the different parts of ourselves, and we become anointed. We become blessed with the light of the Holy Spirit.
Many religions, especially I think Pentecostalism, is a popular one nowadays, talk about being blessed with the gifts of the Holy Spirit: being able to speak in tongues or heal the sick or perform miracles. But the practical significance for us as beginners in this spiritual work, is that we can heal what is sick in us.
There are parts of our heart, parts of our mind, that are sick, that are diseased, that are dying and suffering terribly, and using the sexual energy can regenerate us. It can awaken us. It can give us access to the light of divinity, the knowledge of divinity, and truly, the power of divinity.
So, what is a slave in us will be freed. What is captive in us will be ransomed. Sometimes we feel compelled by a desire to do something that we know is harmful, that we know hurts others, and as much as we try to overcome our addictions, we don't feel like we have the power, but this power gives us the chance to do that. And that is why whatever is planted in us that is not planted by our inner Father, our inner divinity, can be pulled out, can be taken out of us and we can be purified and born again.
We are separated from our inner divinity. As I said at the beginning of this lecture, that religion is to reunite with the part of ourselves that we are searching for, that we are longing to know the truth, as a principle that exists within us. Through sexual transmutation, through ethics, through purity, through working on our mind, through awakening our heart, we can be reunited to God within ourselves, and we can be filled with the light of our divinity and no longer feel that emptiness.
Questions and Answers
Question: We talk about students who in this type of studies are really struggling with a problem. It could be an addiction or desire, a behavior that they want to seriously change. On the surface, we have this examination of our life, but we feel we don't want to do certain things that are causing suffering, not only for ourselves but for other people. We may find that we know intellectually that doing this and this is wrong, and yet we continue to do it. Okay. So the question is, especially for online students to is, how do you help, with the tools that we teach here, the student to reconcile that conflict?
Instructor: Yeah, because this is a hard path, and especially with the sexual aspect of these teachings, a lot of students say, “Well, I feel that my sexual energy is precious and valuable and I want to use that, I want to conserve that, and I want to work with it through transmutation, but I am struggling because everything in society is telling me other different messages―and how do I overcome that?”
So, it takes a really profound sincerity in oneself. Like I mentioned before, the first step is going into meditation, bearing your heart―whether it is to a divine feminine, divine masculine―it doesn't matter. It can be just a gender-less feeling in your heart of, “this intelligence that loves me and wants what is best for me, that I can put my trust in, that I can give my heart to” and say, “I am suffering. This is really what I want. But I have a lot of other pieces in me, whether it is fear, whether it is desire, whether it is envy that are working against me achieving my goal of becoming free” from whatever this addiction might be.
In that case, with that sincerity, we start at the beginning. Without the sexual energy, without that transmutation, it is going to be very hard to actually make a lasting change, because if we are being honest in our heart, we are being honest in our words and our deeds, and we are trying our best to be sincere about our spiritual work, but then with our creative energy, we are working completely against that. We are dividing ourselves in that way. We are not being integrally whole with all parts of who we are.
Question: Talk too about, even the term virtue etymologically refers to “virile, virility.” How does that virility, that energy, give a practitioner in meditation strength?
Instructor: When we harness our energy, it is the substance of our virtue. Our sexual energy as you mentioned, virtue, has the same etymological root as virile, virgin. “Vir” has to do with sexuality, so by harnessing that, we can begin to give birth to those beautiful flowers of the spirit, the virtues of our soul. And that comes from being honest with ourselves and in our actions and in our deeds sexually, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually.
Question: I had thought that while you are going through the path of righteousness and truth, of course you might say it's easier if you have a partner, a friend, friends, and a community. Because then you can sit down and identify and talk about the particular struggles you are having, and for a lack of a better way of saying it, you can plan a strategy of how you want to deal with it and support one another. If you are going through it alone, it is very conflicting. Sometimes you may make a bad decision just out of anxiety, so I have thought of that and never really had that but I always thought that if I had a partner or some friends who understood and who also were truth seekers or community, that we could say, ok we know this exists: How are we going to plan to go through this and survive and have the warmth and light out of life? I think that is missing a lot of times.
Instructor: In some cases that can be helpful, definitely. Especially in our physical life, to have people around us who support us in the lifestyle we want to live. If we are trying to, for example, be sober, giving up drinking in a culture where drinking abounds, but then we have a group of people that is like us, trying to be sober, that is going to create an environment that is much more conducive. But, that can also be a barrier, because if I can just go to, you know, my elder and ask him for all the advice, and I myself don't have to develop within a reliance on my own inner divinity, that can become an obstacle. In fact, are you familiar with Tarot at all? Tarot, like tarot readings? [Editor’s Note: see The Eternal Tarot]
Comment: Oh yes.
Instructor: So, they are, esoterically speaking, can represent different principles of reality and the Arcanum Nine of the Tarot is the Hermit, is initiation. It is representing for us, in a symbolic way, that ultimately our spiritual work is done alone, even if we are in an environment with a lot of friends who are into spirituality, and where we can put on the show around our friends. But when it comes down to our heart, we have to do that work inside, and nobody knows and nobody sees that but God, you know?
Why do we as instructors keep our identities private? It is because our true path to truth is lived privately. It is within each one of us. It is not about anybody else, anybody else's opinion. Sometimes people are in spiritual groups, they are saying, “Well, everybody is doing this and saying this is good, so I have to do it” and they themselves, by just going along with the flow, aren't really evaluating, “Is this a good thing?' Put them in a different group and they might do the exact opposite.
Another Instructor: In Buddhism, they talk a lot about the three jewels. The Buddha or the teacher, the Dharma or the teaching, and the Sangha, or the school, community. Community is important. It is good to meet with people and to talk about, especially in our organization, we have retreats and activities that involve people to talk about these kinds of things, which are very contrary to the current of our culture and humanity. So, it is good to meet with people who are sincere. When people are practicing by themselves , and developing themselves with the methods we are providing here, that aura of sincerity, that of sincerity becomes strengthened. But of course, as we were discussing, if a group is based off of fanaticism and fear and cultural norms or group norms, when the practitioners are not being sincere in themselves, that is where you have dogma, institutionalization, problems.
Question: And one thing we could also ask is when we are cultivating this serenity or this sincerity, how does one know that their prayers or their efforts are going to be answered? Because sometimes you feel that we are being very sincere with our efforts of practice, and we pray and meditate, but we don't get the answer immediately, and that often can create a friction in us where, “This is not working. Because I am trying this this and this. I am following formulas in meditation: ‘process a, b, and c.’ I am trying these practices that we are doing as a group or individually, and I am not getting the results that I want.” So this is something that students often ask us is, well, how does one know whether we are really being effective or not? And how do we tie that into sincerity, being honest with where we are at?
Instructor: You know by the fruits. If you notice a change in yourself and a change in your life that is really lasting, and you know that you are approaching it in the right way. If you just feel like you're stuck and you are encountering the same problem again, and again, and as much as you are trying to change yourself and nothing is changing, then you need to go back to the beginning and work on understanding that situation―really putting your all into understanding: why does the situation keep repeating in different ways of my life? What is it that I am doing that is reproducing this situation? You can do that through retrospective meditation and, like I said, you know, working with sincere prayer and meditation to see something new in yourself.
Question: Can we get to talk a little bit about the actual process by which, and the procedure by which, we develop sincerity, because the beginning of meditation we know is, our posture, relaxing our body, relaxing our mind―letting go of the residue of the day: tensions and anxieties―and developing a state of equanimity. But in order to be really sincere, maybe you can comment on this, is, once we have that serenity developed and are no longer pushed around by lying, how does one go into the mind to work on a specific defect so that through comprehension, you can eliminate it?
Instructor: The first obstacle is actually getting relaxed enough physically, emotionally, and mentally, that your mind calms down, that you can focus your attention on one point without becoming distracted. If we have achieved that, then the next point is to be able to go into the place that hurts.
So in the quote that we talked about, people are afraid to look at themselves. If you have achieved that stability of mind and you can actually look at the area of your life that is causing you pain, you have to be able to hold your attention there, and really look at it, and not just one day, but working on it day after day. Sometimes the insight will come not in meditation, but it will come in a dream. It will come later on when you are cooking, and you are not even thinking about it.
So, the approach, if you find a place that really touches in your heart, then you know, this is what I have got to be looking at. It is not something in the mind, “Oh, is this what is important or is that what is important?” and not only weighing it on an intellectual level, but really feeling with our heart. What is it that is hurting me here? What is it that is hurting me most? Why am I suffering and going in that direction?
Question: When meditating, I have seen some people laying on the ground, does it matter which position you take? I like to meditate laying down.
Instructor: Me too. The important thing with meditation postures―we can try all different kinds of asanas or postures―but what is really important is you have a position where one: you are comfortable enough that you can actually relax, and two: you are not so comfortable that you fall asleep. If you have a position, if you are the type of person who can lay down and you can still stay awake and keep your mind concentrated, but that is what helps you to relax, then go for it. Yeah, you don't need to sit up or sit in a chair or lotus posture or anything like that.
Another Instructor: More importantly what is essential for medical practices is having a posture that we can relax fully but without losing the thread or practice, and this is where sincerity becomes so essential, primarily because if we are meditating and for 30 minutes we are daydreaming, remembering what happened in the day, following a chain of associative thinking, memories, being overwhelmed by emotions, and then suddenly you remember, “I was supposed to be meditating!" or we fall asleep and we lose our attention―that means that we weren't meditating for those 30 minutes. This is why it is important to be sincere about practice because, we talk with a lot of students, where people are going through certain problems and are trying to resolve conflicts in their life through meditation, but the way that they approach it is an issue. We focus on an event in the day and try to really visualize and to understand what defects or behaviors we engaged in, in that moment. When students concentrate, when you are meditating in that way, you visualize an event in the day, you recall the thoughts and the feelings and the impulses to act in that specific moment.
Question: How does one work against the mind and comprehend that particular situation, and also be seen in the context of being sincere, not trying to change what happened? They say “Oh well, I think this is what happened…” but instead to really look at the facts. So how does one go about that process of that practice of retrospection?
Instructor: Well that has to do with our stability of mind. Our stability of mind is dependent upon what we are doing throughout the day. So, if somebody is changing things, egotistically going through, then they don't have enough control over their attention.
That is something that we have to be really relaxed, emotionally relaxed. So taking a deep breath if we are feeling overwhelmed, or if our mind is getting distracted with other thoughts, going back to the beginning, working on that again and again, and every meditation is going to help us over time to achieve the technique that we need. But what is really important―a lot of schools might focus on asana, your postures, different mudras, different mantras―those can be great and those can help, but really the focus that we have is much deeper than that.
We are looking to achieve a change on a spiritual level that is within the body, but it is also beyond the body. If we have a posture in which we can sit comfortably, we have a state of mind in which we can concentrate to a fair degree, then we have enough to begin doing a deeper work. As we do that deeper work and we change on a deeper level, we might realize, “Okay, I need to adjust my posture” or we might have better control with our mind, but ultimately if we have just enough to get started on the deeper work, then we shouldn't get fixated on physically, “How am I sitting? What different energies am I feeling in my body?”
Those can be great. Sometimes they are pleasant. Sometimes they are not. Just experience them as they are. Let them be, but the intention at least with the Gnostic path is to become one with truth, and you don't become one with truth by sitting in a certain posture. I mean, we have had people sitting in those postures for thousands of years and yet, our planet is still the way that it is today.
So, what is really important is going deep within yourself. If people are on a path and they want to learn about awakening different energies, there are a lot of techniques you can do. The techniques in our tradition also awaken energies, but it is not for the sole sake of awakening those energies. It is for a deeper purpose.
Question: Talk about comprehension, because once we have that foundation and serenity where we can actually focus on a problem of the day, or a defect we saw in our self-observation that we want to work on: how does one go about comprehending those elements and removing them? Because some people, they go into retrospection and they will reflect on what they saw in the day, but we get caught up in being angry again, or being resentful, being proud, being fearful and not being able to separate from that. So again, we talked about the serenity for being able to see that, but not how we could identify with it. Being serene is one thing. It is the beginning. But the real work is being able to perceive those particular defects or egos, and how do we go about comprehending them?
Instructor: You are saying for someone who already has stability of mind and is able to observe something in themselves without becoming identified with it how do they develop comprehension?
Audience: Yes, on a deeper level. We get that question where they say, “I am seeing that I have anger, that I have lust, that I have fear, that I have all these things; and I know I have these faults, but I am not changing fundamentally.” One thing is to know it intellectually, “I have this” or they will say “I have anger and I shouldn't have done that.”
Instructor: So do we really feel it in the heart? Samael Aun Weor writes, comprehension comes through the heart. When we are observing something, have we meditated on it from the other person's point of view? Maybe we see it more like “Yeah, I shouldn't have done that wrong.” But have we really contemplated how we might have affected or hurt the other person?
Many times, taking the perspective of others, being empathetic, can really trigger our own remorse. Remorse can be a virtue. Guilt is not a virtue. Guilt can just create, you know, more baggage for us. We don't want to be beating ourselves up necessarily, but feeling genuine remorse of “I want to change in our heart” is the beginning of comprehension. Sometimes we don't comprehend it right there in our meditation session. But if we are really, sincerely working, an opportunity, another experience will come that can teach us another deeper level about that defect that we want to work on.
We have to just keep at it with persistence. Consistency is really the key. Tenacity and consistency: to be able to continually work on a defect in different levels. We might understand it on a superficial level, intellectually, “Yeah, that is wrong, that hurt somebody,” but to go deeper into it with our heart, to awaken our heart is really the key to changing, because when somebody really feels it in their heart like, “Oh man, I messed up. I wish I hadn't done that!” That is when we can really change.
We have practices and mantras like the mantra, 'O' that works specifically with awakening the heart, and if we feel like our heart is cold and we are stuck in our mind all the time, we can work with that. If we feel like our heart is suffering too much and we are overwhelmed by emotional pain, we have the practice with the Magic of the Roses to help us heal our emotional pain.
If we are feeling way too overwhelmed by a topic, then maybe we need to take a break from it. You know, there are extremes. We got to be in balance. You don't want to go so much into something where you are overwhelmed and then you can't function in the rest of your life. This balance depends on you knowing yourself well enough to know, “Am I too intellectual? In which case I need to be working more with my heart,” or “Am I too emotional? In which case I really need to work with calming down―you know, getting serene, being able to back off emotionally so that my heart calms down enough that I am not in confusion.”
Sometimes the best thing to do is to be patient and to wait, because as long as we are funneling more energy into the situation, we are probably creating more problems. If we stop funneling our energy into the situation, we relax. We just let it be what it is. People are saying bad things about me, whatever. Whatever the problem is, just let it be what it is. Sometimes people get distracted and they start talking about somebody else instead and it just disappears. But if you keep funneling energy into it, it is going to get worse and so with patience, with stepping back, we can calm down enough that maybe the correct action that we should be taking will emerge for us. But, if we are just throwing more energy into the problem, we are creating disequilibrium in our mind and heart and in our situation.
Question: What about meditating on virtue? As oftentimes, in this work, we can see a lot of things we don't like. Oftentimes, many students and even instructors will face certain conflicts in their daily life that provoke very subconscious tendencies that are very ugly. And what does it mean to meditate on the virtues and how can it help anyone practicing meditation to not become morbid.
Instructor: That is actually going to be another part of this course, is not being overcome by despair.
Question: (paraphrasing) I recently started to realize... getting certain dimensions and being out of the third dimension and into the fifth dimension and being in higher dimensions, but the more that you see into that dimension, the more sad it can get because you see, you start to see people for who they are... You start to feed off people's energy and it can affect you if you are not careful, but you are also stuck like… What do I do or, when you are around your environment and stuff?
Instructor: It is a very real challenge that as you begin to wake up, you are realizing all these beautiful truths and virtues and also look at the reality of, you know, what is inside of people― what is inside of me―which is ugly. What is inside of other people which can be pretty ugly too. Yeah. Absolutely! So I will answer both of these.
So the first question, it can be very beneficial if we see something in ourselves, that is really negative, to meditate on what is the antidote to this, because just as we carry a lot of ugly things within ourselves, we also carry beautiful things within ourselves. The proportion at which we express them might be different, but we can just as easily be generous as we can be greedy. And so, for those of us who think we’re saints, we have got to be aware that we have a dark side that is just as easily activated. And for those who become overwhelmed and become morbid about their negative attributes, they should sit and meditate on what would be the right thing to do in this situation.
To go and do that is liberating in itself―to see that you have the power to do something virtuous that you think is the opposite. So we are trying to work with duality to create a unity. It doesn't have to be either good or bad. In fact, those terms aren't really useful for the purposes of your direct lived experience. Your experience is what it is. So if you see something that you find repulsive, go and apply something that you think is beautiful to it, and create a unity there, create something that is balanced.
In terms of what you are talking about, that as we awaken and we become more aware of what is around us, we see how those energies can affect us, especially if we have a more open kind of psychological state of being. We have a lot of practices to protect ourselves [see The Divine Science by Samael Aun Weor]. These aren't practices that hurt other people. They are just strictly to create a space around myself that is protected, to cultivate a space within which my energy can radiate outwards and help other people, but I don't become drained by them.
So one important thing is, if there is somebody really toxic, as much as you might want to help them, you might need to help them from a distance, because becoming ingrained in a “like best friendship,” with somebody who is really toxic, you are mingling your energy with them on a regular basis, and you know, we take on the color of the people that we are around, and it can really drain us. You might lift them up a little bit, but at what cost to the other people in your life who need you? I mean loving people from a distance.
There are some books too. We can give you a book for free so that you can learn about protecting yourself in those situations and to not be discouraged by the state of the world. It can be really difficult. But we also see really beautiful things in ourselves. We see beautiful things that people are capable of, like you were describing, other places, other parts of the world where there are beautiful things. It doesn't mean any place is free of problems, but every place and every person has some good in them, and we have to be encouraged that if we are doing our part with creating beauty in ourselves, creating that light, that you know, other people are capable of the same. If they choose to do that, they are capable of it.
We have to hold on to the hope that, you know, other people are doing the best that they can to try to live happy lives, and if people are really creating problems for themselves and struggling, you know, that is their free will and we have to respect that. We have to do what we need to do to protect ourselves, but you know, at any point in life, people can change and I know that because, I went in a certain direction in life, and at a certain point, I had had enough with what I was doing, and was able to change. So I have hope for other people because of what I have lived through, and then, when I become overwhelmed with some of the things that I see, people close to me really suffering, I just have hope that if they want to, that opportunity will come for them.
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